The Equal Sharing of Misery

The AP reports that El Jefe Convaleciente, Fidel Castro, is denouncing the growing gap between poor and poorer in his island fiefdom. No, he isn't turning back on five year plans and revolutionary sugar harvests, simply threatening those who accept money from relatives living abroad. As always, it's the Miami mafia that's buggering up the economy:

Fidel Castro said Wednesday the island's communist system has become plagued by "irritating inequalities and privileges" that have left the poor bitter and angry.

Turning a more critical eye on Cuban life than he has since falling ill and giving up power almost a year ago, the 80-year-old Castro said in an essay published in state-run newspapers "we are not a consumer society."

But he bemoaned that some Cubans use foreign currency sent from relatives abroad or brought to the island by tourists to set up illegal sources of profit. This while they continue to enjoy ration cards, free housing and health care and other social services.

My Spanish is too rusty to confirm that that last line is cribbed from Granma, but it's good to see that ordinary Cubans continue "to enjoy" rationing (20 oz. of beans per month, incidentally), health care and free housing (Photo: Luxurious rent-controlled apartment in Havana)

As is often the case, Castro has plenty of other things on his mind:

Castro singled out "the juicy profits" some Cubans earn running unlicensed taxi services, which include fleets of classic American vehicles.

Cuban officials concede the island's decrepit and overcrowded transportation system is on the point of collapse. Few Cubans are allowed to buy new or used cars, but can own hulking U.S. jalopies built before Castro's 1959 revolution.

Using scarce gasoline for profit "can compromise the independence and life of Cuba. We cannot fool around with that!" Castro wrote.

Full AP article.

reason Contributing Editor Glenn Garvin on the New York Times' Castrophilia here.

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  • ||

    But, but--universal healthcare!!!!one11

  • Axel||

    They have a longer health expectancy than America!!!! More time to suffer!!!!

  • ||

    I watched a PBS documentary on Cuban boxing schools. Really sad and pitiful. There was a scene of a (thoroughly impoverished) family sitting around the diner table. The topic of conversation was how all the American troops sent to Iraq were Cubans and other Latin American immigrants lured into service with promises of citizenship, which the US will undoubtedly renege on.

  • ||

    If Michael Moore likes it there, it's good enough for me.
    I bet they don't have guns in Cuba. I bet their president doesn't lie to the people. I bet they don't have corporations that exploit their workers.
    Well, back to my $25/hour job.

  • ||

    Turning a more critical eye on Cuban life than he has since falling ill and giving up power almost a year ago, the 80-year-old Castro said in an essay published in state-run newspapers "we are not a consumer society."

    Can't argue with that.

    To be a consumer society, you need people who have stuff, and a lot of other people with the money to buy it from them.

    Think the Beard still remembers what an 0 and 2 count is?

  • ||

    Where do you start with this one.
    Free health care
    Free apartments
    Free food

    What's the problem?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Singling out taxi drivers for their "juicy profits" is a pretty good sign the economy isn't exactly thriving. Then again, if anyone would know about "irritating inequalities and privileges" in Cuba, it's Castro.

  • ||

    Before a crypto-socialist points out good life expectancy and literacy rates for Cuba, they are comparable with the rest of Latin America. Most nations in Latin America also have 98%+ literacy rates and 70+ year life expectancy. Its not that amazing. Just about any nation outside of Sub-Sahara Africa can boast that much.

  • ||

    Yeah, Cesar, those were impressive figures thirty years ago, but in 2007?

    OTOH, while we're on the "rest of Latin America" kick, just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?

    I don't imagine the apartments in Managua have master suites, either.

  • ||

    You know life in Cuba reminds me of a joke a Rabbi friend of mine told me.When a man found out he had only one year to live he doctor suggested he marry a Jewish Princess.Will I live longer said the man,no the doctor replied,it will just seem like you have.

  • ||

    OTOH, while we're on the "rest of Latin America" kick, just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?

    I'd be willing to be money that the standard of living in Cuba is worse than every other country in Latin America except for Haiti.

    I'd live in Brazil or Mexico any day over Cuba, I don't know about you.

  • ||

    Fidel Castro is so fortunate. He never had to get himself elected, which is in itself quite a "democratic" feat since he has been the "popular" ruler of Cuba for nearly half a century. Plus, he doesn't have an opposition party constantly calling for his impeachment.

    Yeah, the Cubans have had such a wonderful life during the reign of Castro. Kind makes you wonder why Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan haven't moved to the island paradise, doesn't it?

  • ||

    Um, because they're not actually communists?

    I think you people miss the point of the statements about Cuba's health care system. It's not "Wonderful Cuba does it this way...," it's "Ever freaking Cuba, where they can't even afford to fix the cars, can..."

  • ||

    "OTOH, while we're on the "rest of Latin America" kick, just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?"


    Cuba was by far the richest and most advanced country in the region when dumbass took over. Compare Cuba with Mexico, a country right next to the US with close natural ties to the country. Mexico avoided communism and even though it is stuck with a horribly corrupt oligarchy similiar to Cuba's old regime is still today a hundred times better off than Cuba despite being much poorer than Cuba in the late 1950s.

  • ||

    But Joe the statements about Cuba are just lies. The elite in Cuba get great care but the majority of the country gets nothing. If you as an average person would rather be sick in Cuba than here, you are nuts. If anything Cuba's life expectancy and infant mortality figures just show how tough humans are. Even in a hell hole like Cuba people still somehow manage to live.

  • ed||

    It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

  • ||

    John,

    You need to stop only reading articles that match your preconditions, and then overstate what you've read, because you've read is probably already an overstatement.

    For example, you take a rational, defensible statement - Cuba was relatively prosperpous before the revolution - and turn it into "Cuba was by far the richest and most advanced country in the region..."

    You've never actually seen any figures comparing Cuba with the region, have you?

  • ||

    OK joe, here are the figures for Cuba compared with Mexico.

    Cuba

    Life Expectancy--77.08 years

    Literacy Rate--99%

    Mexico

    Life Expectancy--76

    Literacy Rate--92%

    Wow, trade in all your political and economic freedoms, live under the iron boot of a dictator, and you too can have a slight increase in literacy and life expectancy!

  • ||

    "You need to stop only reading articles that match your preconditions, and then overstate what you've read, because you've read is probably already an overstatement."

    Hi pot! I'm kettle. You're black.

  • ||

    I don't think Mexico is a good comparison, anyway. It's much larger, with much greater natural resources.

  • ||

    Why is is that some people are so eager to abandon all of their healthy skepticism and reason and believe the statistics peddled by the Castro government concerning free health care, housing and the supposed 100% literacy rate? Those statistics aren't worth the low-grade paper on which they are printed. Cuba has no independent media to verify any of the ridiculous claims made by the Castro government. If you believe that Cuba has 100% literacy, then you also are probably one of those that believe when he wins reelection with 98% of the vote, it was in a free and fair election. It never ceases to amazes me the amount of individuals that, when told about the abuses of the Castro government, they reply with the health care and literacy garbage.
    The best line I ever read about Castro and Cuba is beatifully applicable here. It reads (I am paraphrasing this from memory): Why is it whenever a jackboot smashes a Cuban face, a well-healed liberal always comments how that face had free healthcare?

  • ||

    Hi, Roy, I'm joe.

    I'm a liberal who does most of his political reading at the Reason website.

    So what DID you think of the latest issue of the American Prospect?







    Yeah, I didn't think so. Hi, kettle. I'm joe.

  • ||

    Joe;

    You are obviously well read and knowledgible about Cuba.

    Could you tell us just how many people have emigrated to Cuba in the last 40 years? I know of one who tried and failed -- Lee Harvey Oswald (well, may 50 years ago), but I just haven't heard the actual numbers. Certainly, since it is undoubtedly a paradise (There's certainly a lot of people who laud them for not being a consumer society) there should be a bunch of people who move to Fidel's fiefdom.

    How about Haitians? They certainly are impoverished. Many of them wind up in Cuba?

  • ||

    joe-

    It also has a very, very large rural and extremely poor Indian population that Cuba never had. But, lets try another Latin country, a very small one with very few natural resources, Uruguay.

    Uruguay

    Life expectancy--75

    Literacy--98%

  • El Gabo Gringo||

    OTOH, while we're on the "rest of Latin America" kick, just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?

    As a measure of progress Cuba shouldn't be compared to it's neighbors in the same way the USA shouldn't be compared to Mexico. Instead, it should be compared to it's peers.

    When Castro took over Cubans had per-capita incomes on par or better than those of Europeans in comparable industries.

    The fact that they would now struggle in comparison to their banana-republic neighbors is a measure of just how decrepit Cuba has become under Castro's iron fist.

  • ||

    Mark,

    Maybe that line would have less resonance if there weren't so many people who work hard in the richest country in the world and can't see the doctor.

  • Timothy||

    You could compare it to Costa Rica then. According to UNICEF:

    Life Expectancy @ Birth: 78
    Adult Literacy Rate 2000-2004 95%

    Basically the same, and Costa Rica doesn't have a jackbooted thug for a leader.

  • ||

    Narnian,

    You are obviously well read and knowledgible about Cuba.

    Nope. That's why I'm asking questions.

    Horrible, frightening questions.

  • El Gabo Gringo||

    Let me try this again, I always mix up my html tags since I'm a unix guy.

    OTOH, while we're on the "rest of Latin America" kick, just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?

    As a measure of progress Cuba shouldn't be compared to it's neighbors in the same way the USA shouldn't be compared to Mexico. Instead, it should be compared to it's peers.

    When Castro took over Cubans had per-capita incomes on par or better than those of Europeans in comparable industries.

    The fact that they would now struggle in comparison to their banana-republic neighbors is a measure of just how decrepit Cuba has become under Castro's iron fist.

  • Timothy||

    FYI: The same source claims the same life expectancy and 100% literacy rate for Cuba. Although per capita GNI is about 1/4 of Costa Rica's.

  • ||

    Thanks, Cesar, but actually, my question was "just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?"

    Does the web page you're looking at have income figures?

    And, perhaps, information on the countries I mentioned? (No reason, really, except it's interesting that you decided to avoid them and pick two entirely different countries, in response to my quesiton).

  • ||

    Trinidad and Tobago also compare well to Cuba (98% literacy rate), are small, have very few natural resources and like Cuba also have a history of plantation slavery. Is that similar enough?

  • ||

    "Few Cubans are allowed to buy new or used cars"

    How much do you want to bet that Castro is one of the "few" that can buy a new car whenever he likes? I think Orwell's classic line from Animal Farm, "some are created more equal than others", is applicable when discussing Castro.
    I often wonder how much differently the world would have turned out if Castro had not been rejected by the Giants.

  • Timothy||

    Panama has a life expectancy of 75 and a literacy rate of 92%, Nicaragua is worse off than Cuba (70 and unlisted) but it's not exactly a model of political stability either.

  • ||

    Costa Rica, while beautiful is basically a volcano filled jungle. It doesn't have anywhere near the advantages Cuba does. Cuba has great land for growing sugar and of course tobacco. It is a natural for tourism and had a very well educated and sophisticated population. Cuba was the pearl of Latin America before Castro.

  • ||

    Nicaragua was also run by Communists for over a decade, go figure.

  • ||

    Well, Cuba did have a middle class of sorts before the revolution (one of my oldest friend's family--who all moved to Tampa--was middle class). Now it just has a tiny, political upper class and the rest of the people, who drive cars from the 50s. How quaint. There's no question that Cuba was economically successful before for a much, much larger percentage of its population than today. ¡Viva la Revolucion!

    The Cuban government is oppressive, corrupt, and indefensible. Castro has amassed a personal fortune that is probably sufficient to improve the standard of living of the island all by itself. He's such a hero.

  • ||

    El Gabo Gringo,

    When Castro took over, European countries' economies were artifically low because of the Second World War. They actually had pre-existing industrial sectors, scientific and research institutions, and the other hallmarks of a post-industrial revolution economy. France and Belgium aren't really Cuba's "peers" in any meaningful sense - their GDPs per capita were similar for one brief and unrepresentative period.

  • ||

    Jamaica is slightly lower than Cuba on both fronts (75 years and 89%), Venezuela is 73 and 93%, Honduras is 69 and 80%, Dominican Republic is 74 and 87%.

    The only country that looks that bad in comparison is Honduras.

  • ||

    See, I keep reading assertions that Cuba is terribly economically deprived. The evidence people keep providing - the roughly equivalent literacy and life expectancy rates - seem to suggest otherwise, that Cuba is roughly comparable with similar countries, economically.

  • Timothy||

    joe:

    Jamaica:
    Life Expectancy: 71
    Literacy 80%

    Honduras: 68,70%

    Venezuela: 73,93%

    Dominican Republic: 68,87%

    So Cuba appears to be better than some and worse than some in Latin America.

  • ||

    Joe,

    Some raw numbers for you. A sample:

    Universal health care is touted by Castro apologists as one of the
    most significant advances of the regime. In realty, the Castro government
    inherited an already advanced health sector. In 1957, Cuba's infant mortality
    rate (one of the most accurate proxies for overall health conditions in a
    country) was only 32 per 1000 livebirths, the lowest in Latin America and the
    13th lowest worldwide, ranking ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany,
    Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Today Cuba stands 24th
    worldwide, and this omits mention of the staggering abortion rate of 0.71
    abortions per livebirth in 1991, which reduces infant mortality by
    terminating high-risk pregnancies. Cuba had the sad distinction of having
    more than double the abortion rate of any industrialized country in that
    year. In 1957, Cuba's 128 physicians and dentist per 1000 population was at
    the level of the Netherlands and ahead of the United States and the United
    Kingdom.


    Castro's just ticked off that his control isn't absolute, a typical narcissistic reaction.

    And yes, I have visited Cuba and talked to the locals (I'm Canadian), and they are patiently waiting for the old boy to die. Cuba, remember, has lots of tourism now. The people can see pretty clearly that the tourists, who are not Americans so no jingoist excuses, are w-a-y richer than they are. Lotta South Americans and Euros in the mix.

    Whatever else Castro controls, he can't keep Cubans from talking. He tries to - a Cuban outside the tourist industry is technically forbidden from talking with a tourist and will get rousted for doing so, coupla hours in jail and all that. Same thing if he/she is just plain "caught" on a beach where tourists are.

    But the people put two & two together anyway.

  • Timothy||

    You can look the GNI per capita numbers up yourself, they're all on that UNICEF page.

  • ||

    Joe-

    Do you think life expectancy and literacy rates are the only measures for standard of living? Have you ever tried--I don't know--GDP per capita? Or phones/TVs/cars per person?

  • ||

    But he bemoaned that some Cubans use foreign currency sent from relatives abroad or brought to the island by tourists to set up illegal sources of profit. This while they continue to enjoy ration cards, free housing and health care and other social services.

    Of course, the really infuriating thing about this is that the "they continue to enjoy..." line is the AP reporter's analysis, not Castro's.

  • El Gabo Gringo||

    Thanks, Cesar, but actually, my question was "just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?"

    Joe, if it's figures you want, they are at your fingerips online, assuming there are figures on Cuban wealth & GDP that are accurate/trustworthy.

    My question to you is, why would those figures be relevant? Was Cuba on par with those countries before?

  • Mike||

    "Maybe that line would have less resonance if there weren't so many people who work hard in the richest country in the world and can't see the doctor."

    A baldfaced lie. Anyone in America can see an emergency room doctor any time they like. And they'll only have to wait in line hours, instead of years or decades as in your average socialist utopia.

    And while we're at it, could you stop referring to it as "FREE healthcare?" There is no such thing, and you know it. Or ought to, anyway.

  • ||

    Would anyone seriously rather be born in Cuba instead of Trinidad or Jamaica?

  • El Gabo Gringo||

    When Castro took over, European countries' economies were artifically low because of the Second World War.

    Castro took over 15 years after the war in Europe ended, LOL. Joe, at first I thought you were sincere and were being bombarded by pissed of Cubans. After the mental acrobatics displayed in that answer, I no longer think you are sincere.

    Thanks.
    El Gabo

  • Charitin||

    Scores of Cuban medical professionals sent to Venezuela in exchange for oil have crossed over the border into Colombia and defected.

    The only defector INTO Cuba that I can think of was Huey Newton of Black Panthers fame. He defected BACK a few years later with his illusions smashed to shite and a few stories to tell.

  • ||

    Given the excellent state of health care in Cuba, you'd think it would be the poor people from the U.S. building leaky rafts and trying to float down there. I wonder why we don't see more people voting with their feet? All the traffic seems to be in the other direction!

    And as for the the embargo: why would a country with a vibrant and equitable Socialist economy such as Cuba want to trade with a country suffering through the late stages of capitalism? Ask anyone on DailyKos and they'll tell you, the U.S. economy is in the tank. What would Cubans want to buy from us, Herbalife franchises?

  • ed||

    Shouldn't joe change his name to josé for this thread?

  • ||

    I'm with Mark - I have no faith that the statistics supplied are accurate.

    I recently got into a discussion about immigration with someone and used 4.6% unemployment as one of my arguments. He said that figure was "way off." We got off on this ridiculous tangent about the politicization of the Congressional Budget Office, the proper way to collect unemployment data including the differences between the household method, the payroll method, and his obvious favorite, the "I saw two guys the other day that need work" method. Afterwards he said the number was "closer to 20%."

    The same person accepts Cuba's stated literacy and life expectancy statistics as canon. Go figure.

  • ||

    Wanderer,

    Those aren't actually raw numbers. They are comparitive figures, surrounded by a great deal of bile.

    That said, it's inarguable that the Cuban economy has grown at a lower rate than Western Europe, Japan, and Israel. For some fairly obvious reasons, those industrial socieities are going to show higher growth rates, especially considering the immediate post-WW2 period that is the beginning of the time frame in question.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    Do you think life expectancy and literacy rates are the only measures for standard of living?

    No, I don't. That's why I asked YOU why you were providing those figures when I asked about wealth

  • ||

    joe-

    Where would you rather be born? Cuba or Jamaica?

  • ||

    El Gabo Gringo,

    My question to you is, why would those figures be relevant? Was Cuba on par with those countries before?

    They'd be more illuminating than comparing Cuba to the United States. What countries do you think would make the best comparison with Cuba?

  • ||

    Wealth is complaining all day in the Internet. Cuba is very poor indeed.

  • ||

    Mike,

    Anyone in America can see an emergency room doctor any time they like

    And if you aren't an emergent case, they can kick you out the door. If you are treated, and have no insurance, they send you the bill anyway, then send it to a collections agency.

    How deluded does one have to be to think that poor people without health insurance can see the doctor for regular visits?

  • ||

    El Gabo Gringo,

    Please do some reading about modern European history, because you don't know what you're talking about. Yes, European countries were still recovering from World War 2 in the 50s.

    My, you're insecure about uncomfortable questions. Common for ideologues.

  • shecky||

    It's good to see America's Cuba policy working so well.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    Jamaica, obviously. Much less political oppression.

    Now, just as a reminder, the conversation is about wealth.

  • ||

    Lets say you don't care about politics. where would you rather be born, just out of material considerations?

  • ||

    Or better yet, Cuba under Castro or Jamaica under a military junta?

  • Wanderer||

    Joe,

    OK, call them comparative raw numbers, then, and they show Cuba losing ground, not gaining.

    Sorry, but the Cubans themselves are smart, they've seen all this stuff up close and personal, and they find ways to learn more. As one of them told me, "For 18 years my teachers taught me to think; then, when I became a man, the govt ordered me not to." His words, Joe, not mine.

    Why do you think Castro has to run the island like a prison, entrapping the people there and censoring outside communication?

    The real reason he gets outside support, IMHO, is that there are always those, like yourself, who fear a meritocracy and long for a a stable hierarchy where their relative position is enshrined, regardless of the absolute misery. So we hear calls for status and laws based on immutable characteristics (sex, race etc) rather than ability, as well as support for those like Castro who would put everyone together at the bottom.

    One by one, the authoritarian philosophies copme, then go: Fascism, Communism, now Islamism. When one fails, there's always another, cuz there are always a few, like you, who lack faith in themselves.

  • ||

    What does it matter how wealthy Cuba is? "It sucks" should be enough analysis.

  • ||

    I think people are confusing two levels of the "perks of Cuba". There is first the argument that Cuba may do some things better than the US. (and why do we believe numbers released from a dictatorship?) This is and ENDS argument. From my understanding, libertarianism is a MEANS argument--it is not what is accomplished by a given society that matters, only that they are free to make individual choices to accomplish whatever is accomplished. It just so happens to turn out that the ENDS generated by a free society (MEANS) will, in the middle and long run always be superior to the ENDS generated by an unfree society (MEANS). Do not confuse ENDS and MEANS as being the same when having these dialogues or there is no chance for an actual exchange of ideas.

  • Kent||

    Joe,


    And if you aren't an emergent case, they can kick you out the door. If you are treated, and have no insurance, they send you the bill anyway, then send it to a collections agency.

    How deluded does one have to be to think that poor people without health insurance can see the doctor for regular visits?



    Well, there's this:


    Faye Chao (Uninsured 26-year-old):
    My rent currently is $475 plus utilities. In total, my cost comes out to about $530 a month.

    Stuart Browning:
    What's your average monthly income?

    Faye Chao:
    On average my monthly income is twenty three hundred. And it's not taxed. Sometimes, you know, it varies. I save almost a thousand dollars a month.

    Stuart Browning:
    So why don't you have health insurance?

    Faye Chao:
    I'm young right now and currently don't need health insurance. Probably don't want to spend $200 a month.

    Stuart Browning:
    In this state, a 26-year-old non-smoker with no preexisting conditions can get a policy for $96 a month.

    Faye Chao:
    It's 96 dollars a month, but that's twelve hundred dollars a year you're spending on health insurance. And honestly, I feel it's ridiculous that we live in a first world country where I have to pay for basic health care.

    ...

    Faye Chao:
    I bike everywhere in the city, so I have gotten hit by drivers twice - and one time I ended up in the hospital. No, I didn't have health insurance, but I was treated - and billed for it later.

    Stuart Browning (off camera):
    Umm hmm. How much was the bill for? Do you remember?

    Faye Chao:
    Honestly I don't because I didn't bother to pay for it.

  • ||

    Hey joe, I think you missed the point in the first 95% of my post. You know, the part about how Cuba's boasts concerning its health care and literacy are total garbage. But even if they were true, so what. Does that excuse the treatment the Cuban people receive and the deprivation they suffer solely because of the Castro government? Given your response to my post, evidently it does. No free speech, freedom of religion, free press, free elections, no civil rights at all for that matter. But hey, at least they don't have to wait for a doctor. Its beyond chutzpah that individuals with this attitude feel they can lecture to the United States. Your moral compass is not pointing in the wrong direction, it's missing a needle.
    Of course the notion that no wait is involved in a socialist health care system in a dictatorship like Cuba, given the track record of liberal democracies like Canada, England, Sweden etc., is total garbage that is almost beyond need for rebuttal. Evidently some people would believe the world is flat if it were printed in Granma.

    Joe, I can go and see the movie Sicko myself; I don't need you to regurgitate it for me on these message boards.

  • ||

    One thing left out of the equation is the massive amount of debt Castro accumulated. My Cuban friends tell me all the time about how the country once had a great deal of wealth on hand and it's all gone now. I'm Castro probably spent a good portion of that $$$ on keeping in power...

  • ||

    Ah, an ask-joe thread. I heart these.

    joe, is it true that you're a stupid moron with an ugly face and a big butt, and your butt smells, and you like to kiss your own butt?

  • El Gabo Gringo||

    El Gabo Gringo,

    Please do some reading about modern European history, because you don't know what you're talking about. Yes, European countries were still recovering from World War 2 in the 50s.

    My, you're insecure about uncomfortable questions. Common for ideologues.


    Nice Joe. You've gone from mental acrobatics to name calling.

    Let me put it another way Joe: you are a troll. Like it or not, that's what you are doing on this thread right now and I have a no-troll rule I abide by, so c-ya

  • Wanderer||

    Hey Joe,

    Know what else strikes you about Havana when you're there? The collapsing buildings, that's what, 500 per year or so just in the central district.

    And the buses, which are literally semi-trailers with cattle cars for the people. Hot, hot, hot, and they only come by every hour or so in most places, when they run on time that is.

    And the sidewalks, with huge holes in them wherever there had been a grate, because folks have to steal those to get metal.

    And all the clandestine little biz's because the peoples' food rations are not enough to survive on, literally, so they have to break the law and make money some other way.

    And the cars, Joe, only the tourists ride in new cars. Oh, and the govt officials, too.

    And the soldiers with their machine guns in hand everywhere guarding the city. From what? Bermuda shorts? Man, they looked so hot and so bored.

    And the regular people,sitting around with nothing to do while the building, on whose stoop they sat, crumbled around them. They weren't lazy, tho; those with a task were quite industrious.

    And the gorgeous music everywhere. But I suppose Castro invented that, too. What a guy!

  • ||

    It's obvious joe can take care of himself, but I missed the part where joe was backing Castro. Seems to me he just wants some facts.

  • ||

    Wanderer--

    That list makes Mexico under the PRI oligarchs look like a great place to live by comparison.

  • ||

    Actually, I want to hear his answer to Warty's question.

  • ||

    "How deluded does one have to be to think that poor people without health insurance can see the doctor for regular visits".

    Hey, Joe, I am an oral surgeon, therefore I have a feeling I am a little bit more acquainted with the health care system than you are. If not, I apologize. I have news for you. Most of the doctors I know see indigent non-emergent patients all of the time. On top of that, most states have an extremely broad view of what constitutes emergent and thus what cannot be denied treatment. Furthermore, you are the deluded one if you think the ER sees only emergent cases. Many, if not most, would be considered non-emergent cases. That is because it is illegal in most cases to turn away individuals who seek treatment by visiting the ER, emergent or not.
    And for someone who obviously fancies himself an expert on healthcare systems, it amuses me that you imply socialist healthcare systems, be they in Cuba or in a liberal democracy, are free. Tell that to people who are paying a rather large chunk of their paycheck (although considering the economy of Cuba, large has to be a relative term)to the government in the form of health care taxes to support the "free" health care they are receiving (given the track record of most socialist systems,receiving weeks or even months later).

  • TallDave||

    Cuba is not just another poor Latin country. IIRC, at the time of the revolution, they were the richest Latin country, by a lot, nearly comparable to the U.S. Can't remember for sure, but I'll try to Google some stats later, if I have time.

    How do they compare to running dog capitalists like, say, Puerto Rico? That would seem to be a fair comparison.

    "I'm young right now and currently don't need health insurance. "

    That was my health insurance policy when I was in my twenties too. I didn't want to buy a reverse lottery ticket.

  • ||

    Life expectancy in Puerto Rico is 78, and the literacy rate is 95%.

  • ||

    I, um, think "Joe" might have taken a break to go search his "The Nation" archives for some better talking points....

  • TallDave||

    Overall though, you know what this reminds me of?

    Those arguments in the 1980s about whether Soviet citizens were REALLY worse off than Western Europeans.

  • highnumber||

    I bet Cuba doesn't have a foie gras ban. ;(

  • Sal Paradise||

    Hey, Joe called someone else an ideologue. Isn't that a drink?

  • Timothy||

    Joe: You want wealth figures, you asked how the literacy and life expectancy rates compare.

    GNI Per Capita, 2005 USD:

    Cuba: 1170
    Costa Rica: 4590
    Guatemala: 2400
    Jamaica: 3400
    Honduras: 1190
    Nicaragua: 910
    Dominican Republic: 2370
    Venezuela: 4810

    So, again, it looks like Cuba is, at best, middle of the back in terms of wealth per citizen in Latin America. Of course 2005 was before Chavez started trying in earnest to completely destroy Venezuela, so that number might be much lower now.

  • Timothy||

    Also, note, the countries you requested information on: Jamaica, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. ALL of those have higher GNI per capita than Cuba does, although Honduras is basically the same.

  • ||

    Singling out taxi drivers for their "juicy profits" is a pretty good sign the economy isn't exactly thriving.

    But it does explain why all those Cuban cabbies are driving around in tuxedoes, top hats and monocles.

  • ||

    Maybe that line would have less resonance if there weren't so many people who work hard in the richest country in the world and can't see the doctor.

    Bullshit. Every single person in the US is guaranteed access to the best care in the world, no questions asked. All they have to do is go to the emergency room.

    Most of the defenses of Cuba can be filed under the "But the trains run on time" school of "ends justify the means". YMMV.

  • TallDave||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba

    Since the 1959 Cuban Revolution, living standards in Cuba have been on a downwards spiral. In 1962, the government instituted food rationing policies, which were exacerbated following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In addition, Cuba has been experiencing a housing shortage because of the failure of the housing market's failure to keep pace with increasing demand. As late as 2001, studies have shown that the average Cuban's standard of living was lower than before the downturn of the post-Soviet period. Paramount issues have been state salaries failing to meet personal needs under the state rationing system chronically plagued with shortages. As the variety and amount of rationed goods available declined, Cubans increasingly turned to the black market to obtain basic food, clothing, household, and health amenities. The informal sector is characterized by what many Cubans call sociolismo.In addition, petty corruption in state industries, such as the pilferage of state assets to sell on the black market, is still common.[60] In recent years, since the rise of Venezuela's democratic socialist President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan economic aid has enabled Cuba to improve economically. Venezuela's assistance of the Cuban economy comes chiefly through its supply of up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day in exchange for professional services and agricultural products. In the last several years, Cuba has rolled back some of the market oriented measures undertaken in the 1990s. In 2004, Cuban officials publicly backed the Euro as a "global counter-balance to the U.S. dollar", and eliminated the US currency from circulation in its stores and businesses. Increased US government restrictions on travel by Cuban-Americans and on the numbers of dollars they could transport to Cuba strengthened Cuban government control over dollars circulating in the economy. In the last decade, Cubans had received between US$600 million and US$1 billion annually, mostly from family members in the U.S.[61]. This number is influenced by the fact that U.S. government forbids its citizens to send more than $1,200 to Cuba.

    A welfare state dependent on welfare from other states.

  • ||

    Ah, joe is one of those trolls who doesn't really care to debate. He's just interested in confusing the issues.

    For instance, neither infant mortality rates or life expectancy is a good comparisons of health systems or wealth or anything else. Why? Because they aren't measured the same way in every country (and since the data are reported by the countries in question, some of the data is highly suspicious, to say the least). In the US, just about any fetus delivered with a heartbeat (the most obvious example of an exception is in some cases of abortion) is included in the infant mortality rates. In Cuba (as I remember) only babies born after 6 months of gestation, weighing more than 1000g and breathing on their own count. If they measured the way we do, their infant mortality rate would be much, much higher.

    Life expectancy when figured from birth to death is distorted not only by choice of infant mortality measures but by cultural factors. For instance, the US has a very large car culture, and as a rate we have a very high (comparatively) automobile death rate. (I don't know how many Cubans die in car wrecks each year, but I'll bet it's low.) Those factors don't really relate to health care.

    If you want a better measure of health care, try to find life expectancy from age 50 or so, when most bad health problems kick in. The evidence seems to show that with reasonably adequate food, fairly clean water, and soem reasonable sewage practices just about anyone can live to be 75 or so. How much you enjoy those last 20 years or so is a different kettle of fish.

    Joe will no doubt try again, on this thread or in the future to cloud the waters, but any realistic comparison of Cuba to just about any other country except Haiti would show that Cuba sucks, big time.

    Of course, one way to settle this would be for Joe to say whether or not he would be in favor of having the Cuban system instituted in the US and run by George W Bush instead of Castro. If not, then he's an even more obvious fraud and hypocrite.

  • ||

    Well, all you need to do is compare the performance of Castro's administration to the performance of other Cuban administrations over the past few decades. Oh, wait...

  • Paul||

    If not, I apologize. I have news for you. Most of the doctors I know see indigent non-emergent patients all of the time. On top of that, most states have an extremely broad view of what constitutes emergent and thus what cannot be denied treatment. Furthermore, you are the deluded one if you think the ER sees only emergent cases.

    Mark, I applaud you, loudly. I work in healthcare too, as does my wife. Anyone who works in healthcare for more than about a week immediately notices just how much healthcare gets firehosed out to indigent patients.

    One of the primary problems with the American healthcare system is related to the fact that the ER is increasingly used as primary care by both indigent patients and patients able to pay.

    People routinely visit the ER for what are considered self-limiting conditions: colds, flu etc.

    There are many improvements that could be made to the U.S. style system, few of which require socialistic (european style) endeavors.

    Here's a fascinating article about a new way of looking at healthcare with some primary care "boutique" clinics opening up in Seattle. It's hard to say if it will succeed. But it's interesting, nonetheless.

  • Paul||

    Why? Because they aren't measured the same way in every country (and since the data are reported by the countries in question, some of the data is highly suspicious, to say the least).

    Just to pile on, I for one am getting tired of having to even debate this. The methods of counting infant mortality differ so much between countries, that it should be one of the last factors considered when comparing healthcare systems.

    Some countries throw babies out in medical waste if they're born a certain amount premature, whereas the U.S. still tries to save them in the NICU. In essence, many countries consider a baby born at say, 25 weeks a "do-over".

  • Wanderer||

    Joe might also notice that no residents of Cuba have commented on this thread. Why do you think that is, Joe?

    Oh yeah, now I remember: Castro won't allow them open access to the Net. As he does with the people themselves, he is trying to keep the truth from getting out, not in.

  • robc||

    I don't think Mexico is a good comparison, anyway. It's much larger, with much greater natural resources.

    So lets choose a "randomly" chosen latin american country half the size of Cuba: Costa Rica. I have no idea which has the greatest natural resources, but Cuba was (almost assuredly, I didnt look it up) richer 60 years ago.

    Today, Costa Rica has a GDP-PPP of $12.5k per capita
    Cuba $4k

  • robc||

    Seems to me he just wants some facts.

    The CIA world factbook is publicly available on this new fangled intarwebby thingy. Easy to find too, with this cutting edge "google" tool. Anyone who wants numbers can look them up themselves.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    Just in material terms? I'd rather be born in Jamaica if I was a doctor's son, I'd rather be born in Cuba if my mother was a housewife and my father was gone. Considering all the angles, Rawls-style, I'd say Jamaica, but it's close.

  • ||

    Wander,

    First, you're a prick for indulging in all that psychobabble about me without knowing a damn thing except that I ask questions people don't like to hear. Call me back when you get a masters, Mr. Meritocracy.

    Second, OK, call them comparative raw numbers, then, and they show Cuba losing ground, not gaining. They show it losing ground to a carefully-chosen set of countries in vastly different circumstances - countries with industrial development going back decades or centuries, during the period that their economies began to pick up after they were devestated by World War 2.

    Seriously, Germany, France, Japan vs. Cuba, and that didn't suggest anything to you? WTF?

  • ||

    Mark,

    Go tell it so someone who cares. I'm not interested in discussing Sicko, I'm not interested in why you can explain away the data that make your argument bullshit, I'm not interested in whatever completely-irrelevant Cuba-bashing you're looking to engage in.

    There are plenty of people who actually do think Cuba is a well-run country, and who really do want to argue about Sicko. Go find one, and stop bothering me.

  • ||

    Just as a blanket statement, if you've taken the last couple of hours to post random statement under the heading "bad stuff 'bout Cuba," just read the above comment to Mark as applying to you.

  • ||

    Hey, Mark, you're a highly-paid specialist who's several steps removed from the general practice of day-to-day medicine.

    An arrogant surgeon who assumes he knows more than he does but is clueless about the actual experience of patients looking for medical care?

    Nah, can't be. Not an Oral Surgeon!

  • ||

    Timothy, thanks for that data.

    Mmm, data. Horrible, forbidden data!

  • ||

    LOL, sometimes you people are just too easy:

    JorgXMcKie | July 12, 2007, 6:30pm | #

    Ah, joe is one of those trolls who doesn't really care to debate. He's just interested in confusing the issues.For instance, neither infant mortality rates or life expectancy is a good comparisons of health systems or wealth or anything else.



    joe | July 12, 2007, 3:55pm | #

    Thanks, Cesar, but actually, my question was "just how poor is Cuba compared to comparable countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Hondorus, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic?"

    Does the web page you're looking at have income figures?


    Three and a half hours - three and a half hours! - before you wrote your "Gotcha!" post about how I'm confusing issues about wealth by asking about life expectancy and literacy rates, I was pointing out to another commenter that his life expectancy and literacy rate figures weren't good proxies for what I was asking, which was wealth.

    Do you people even bother to read and understand the words on the screen, or do you just see someone not toeing the party line on Cuba and start pasting in anti-Castro arguments you've saved as macros?

  • ||

    robc,

    Yes, I could have researched the CIA fact book, but with so many people commenting so freely on the subject of Cuba, I figured there was a certainl level of expertise available, and I could save myself the trouble.

    I guess not. Or rather, there is a high level of sophistication in the repetition of talking points about Cuba, but when it comes to a factual question for which data that an actual expert would be familiar with...not so much, really.

    Anyone, you are quite right, in the future I will not assume that the ability to hold forth in passionate terms about what ails Cuba indicates a degree of knowledge about Cuba on the speaker's part.

    Lesson learned.

  • ||

    Straight from the man himself, folks: don't bother trying to debate joe until you've completed graduate school. Only then will you know everything, just like him.

  • ||

    Yawn.

    Read gooder, Jim Bob. Debate me all you want - just don't try to pull rank.

  • michael pwlfv||

    Why do people believe in what Castro says or Cuba publishes?

    He has credibility because BushHitler and he do not talk. Then we don't have to consider that something he says might be from BushHitler. As Goebbels observed, 'the big lie' is the best. Completely denying truth seems to just work better at keeping people from thinking to the truth.

  • ||

    Holy crap, joe. Seven consecutive posts?

    Gary Gunnels would be impressed if he were still here. Or...is he?

  • robc||

    joe,

    I gave you the data you were asking about (wealth, or at least GNP) before I criticized you for not looking it up yourself. No comment?

    I will point out that Costa Rica probably has the largest percentage of libertarians in its national parliament/congress of any country in the Americas (World?). Also, CR has no military anymore (although, with their neighbors, I would consider having one). Sure, they are poor compared to USA/Canada/Europe but they are fighting hard with Chile for that #3 spot in the western hemisphere.

  • Sal Paradise||

    My oh my. Quite a string of rants by our comrade joe. What's wrong buddy, are people asking questions you don't want to hear?

    You're perfectly capable of doing your own research, chief. Try it sometime instead of asking inane questions until you get the answer you want to hear.

  • robc||

    Holy crap, joe. Seven consecutive posts?

    Its been nearly 3.5 hours (THREE AND ONE HALF HOURS!!!!!!) since I gave him the info he was asking for and he still hasnt responded to it. Instead, he responded to my next post telling him to look it up himself.

  • Sal Paradise||

    Strange you had that long pause. I know you work for the city, but did they actually make you do some real work today?

  • Wanderer||

    Joe,

    I hit a nerve, did I?

    Hint: increased serotonin might help. Try a glass of warm milk and a cookie before you go to bed tonite.

    Milk has tryptophan which is used to make serotonin. The cookie will cause insulin to be released and insulin mops up tryptophan's chemical competitors in the ol' carcass, so more of it will be used to make the aforementioned serotonin.

    [Serotonin itself induces feelings of higher status, altho it appears that not only can serotonin cause you to feel high status, but high status, the real thing, can also induce more serotonin; a two-way street! Think happy thoughts, Joe; it's important.]

    Lastly, much of the serotinin will then be used in turn to make melatonin, so you are liable to fall asleep dreaming of a free Cuba. You have been warned.

  • ||

    And let us not forget that Cuba has one of the highest rates of emmigration failure in the Western Hemisphere.

  • ||

    Joe, you are an idiot who knows absolutely nothing about the health care system in the United States. You proved that with your comment concerning emergent care. Furthermore, I can't rebut your data concerning the Cuban healthcare system because you haven't provided any. And if your comment about the level of care provided in the ER was not enough to disqualify you from serious debate, you are actually gullible enough to believe the literacy and health care data provided by the Cuban government. And anyone who can actually claim, without a hint of sarcasm, that there is no wait time in a socialized system is too stupid to debate seriously. Sorry, but I don't usually expend a whole lot of energy arguing with people who have to wear a helmet to the dinner table. But, perhaps I am being too hard on you. Evidently you have a masters degree and as we all know, that is roughly equivalent to being infallible.
    But, I do love reading crap from people who think they know more about the health care system than people who actually make a living from that system. Why, exactly do you feel you are an expert on the health care system? Is it because you read some polemic on the internet? Give me a break. I would be willing to bet your experience with, and knowledge of, the day-to-day workings of the healthcare system of the United States is next to nil. Evidently the mere act of pointing this out makes one arrogant. So be it.
    Maybe we are being unfair to you. After all you claim it is wrong to compare data from industrialized nations to the workers' paradise that is Cuba. What a convenient way for you to discount legitimate criticisms of Castro's regime while at the same time rigging the debate so you can't lose. Evidently the only people who can fairly criticize the Cuban system are other dictators. And, of course, geniuses with masters degrees.
    However, in an effort to be fair, I believe everyone on this message board should give you the opportunity to tell us why exactly you feel Cuba is so great. I will listen with an open mind to the reasons why you feel we are unfairly maligning Castro with our "anti-Castro talking points" (as if it's possible to condense a record of 50 years of brutality into a couple of sentences). I am dying to read why you think, after 50 years of oppression, Castro is so cute and cuddly.

    P.S. It takes an IQ of about 12 to get a masters degree. Please don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. I would hate for you to have to go to Canada and then fly to Cuba to have that fixed

  • ||

    What's to be lauded about high literacy rates in a country where you can get thrown in jail for reading a newspaper/magazine/book/essay not approved of by Castro?

  • ||

    And I'd be willing to bet Cubans in Miami can read pretty well too.
    Without, you know, living under a 45 year dictatorship and all that.

  • coelakanth||

    I think joe just learned a lesson about posting when one's blood is up: it's always a bad idea.

    Dude, I like what you do here, but you seriously never responded to the data after it was given to you, and your attack on Mark's credentials was disastrous because it was disingenuous. To suggest that someone who actually works in the health care industry has no greater understanding of said industry than a layman comes off as mouth-breathing ignorance or intentional poisoning of the well. In other words it stank of desperation. You could have claimed anecdotal evidence, but didn't. Granted, there were a lot of unnecessary personal attacks thrown your way, which I wish wasn't a problem on these boards, but still. Bad form throwing the graduate degree out there. What's next, paychecks and penis size? Sorry, but someone who works in the industry does get to pull rank (to an extent). I remember you doing the same on the old Kelo threads.

    If you're gonna play the bad guy on the boards without the troll label you've gotta do better. It might not be fair, but that's the way it goes when you're on the other team's turf.

  • ||

    robc,

    Thanks for posting that data.

    Costa Rica is an interesting case. Remember the Arias Peace Plan?

    Keep up, Sal, I haven't worked for the city in two years. It's the glorious private sector for me! Pays better.

    Wanderer,

    I hit a nerve, did I? No, you're just a run of the mill dick.

    Mark,

    If, as you admit, I haven't written anything about the Cuban health care system, why do persist in addressing counter-arguments to me?

    coelakanth,

    Do you actuall know any surgeons? Or have any idea what their connection to the people who show up in a waiting room is?

    If you did, the observation that surgeons overestimate their understanding of health-access issues would make a lot more sense to you. Writing "I know about the access poor people have to health care, because I'm an oral surgeon" is roughly equivalent to writing "I know about the availability of low-income housing, because I'm a roofer."

  • ||

    What respose would have liked when the data was posted?

    How about, "OK." Does that work for you?

  • ||

    Joe - I may not agree with your health care policy preferences, but you have played this thread like a fiddle. By simply sitting back and asking questions, you had a half dozen twenty-somethings running around doing all kinds of reading and research to prove to you that Cuba is a bad place. Bravo Puppetmaster!

  • ||

    However, I don't see where you address Warty's concerns. What say you, joe, to the charges of having a smelly butt and a fondness for kissing it?

  • ||

    Once that embargo is lifted, talk about a win-win:

    Cubans have an assload of US 1950's autos that desperately need replacing, but they have no cash.

    American car collectors have an assload of cash waiting to be spent on 1950's autos.

  • ||

    Writing "I know about the access poor people have to health care, because I'm an oral surgeon" is roughly equivalent to writing "I know about the availability of low-income housing, because I'm a roofer."

    Eh, no. It would be about the equivalent of "I know about the availability of low-income housing because I provide housing."

  • Minion of URKOBOLD (VM)||

    JorgXMcKie | July 12, 2007, 6:30pm | #
    Ah, joe is one of those trolls who doesn't really care to debate. He's just interested in confusing the issues.


    tweet.

    newbie not knowing joe is not a troll. and for acting all, like, you know, n shit. (basically being an asshole)

    URKOBOLD will violate your neighbor's shed with a rutabaga wrapped in crisp lettuce and a peanut sauce.

    IF YOU PERSIST IN SUCH SILLINESS, THE PUNISHMENT LEVEL WILL INCREASE UNTIL YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE ENTIRE MOVIE GYMKATA AND WRITE AN ESSAY LINKING HOWARD ROARK'S TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS WITH FEZZIK'S.

    THREE REFERENCES TO JASON ROBARDS MUST ALSO BE IN SAID ESSAY.

  • ||

    "If you did, the observation that surgeons overestimate their understanding of health-access issues would make a lot more sense to you. Writing "I know about the access poor people have to health care, because I'm an oral surgeon" is roughly equivalent to writing "I know about the availability of low-income housing, because I'm a roofer."

    I never claimed I was an expert on the healthcare system. I simply stated my position within that system gave me more expertise in relation to you. Of course given your statement concerning access to care in an ER, which is a huge part of the health care debate, I think the guy that delivers the "Highlights for kids" magazine to my office has more knowledge of the healthcare system than you. And your analogy is so inapt it serves as a further reflection of your total ignorance concerning the healthcare system in this country.
    First, you foolishly made the statement that my knowledge of the system is inadequate because I am a specialist and not a general practictioner. Evidently, reading the term specialist made you think all of my patients have wealth roughly equivalent to the GDP of Lichtenstein and pay with bags of cash, thus I don't have to deal with insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. It doesn't take a masters to realize you are an absolute idiot. Second, I have news for you, wise one, specialists see patients based upon the problems present, not the size of the bank account. I have seen plenty of indigent patients in my career. I will reiterate, since you evidently weren't bright enough to catch it the first ten times it was written by various people: in a hospital setting, I am required by law to see patients, even indigent ones, if they come to the ER. I am thus well-acquainted, certainly moreso than you, with the health access issues involved in providing care to individuals who can't or won't pay. And unlike roofers, it's kind of necessary for me to actually meet the individual to whom the medical care is being provided. Maybe Cuba's health care system is advanced to the point that the presence of the patient is unnecessary, I don't know. Since you seem to fancy yourself both an expert on health care and Cuba perhaps you can comment of that for us.
    But what I find most amazing of all about the debate to this point is how frequently you seem to insult people about a lack of credentials, yet you have failed to provide yours. I think I speak for everyone you have insulted by asking exactly why you are an expert on the topics being discussed. You have provided no rationale at all as to why we should reject the arguments of people who have an intimate knowledge of the health care system and except your word instead. The same is true of your pathetically shoddy 'arguments" concerning Cuba. Evidently reading partisan talking points, which seems to be the extent of your knowledge, is vastly superior to the experience of individuals who have been dealing with the system most of their adult lives. Forgive me for being unimpressed with you and your laughable believe that having a masters degree makes you an unimpeachable expert in anything.

  • ||

    "Granted, there were a lot of unnecessary personal attacks thrown your way, which I wish wasn't a problem on these boards..."

    I can only speak for myself in this regard, but I responded in that manner when it was not only implied, very condescendingly, that I was ignorant, but was also explicitly written that I was arrogant.

  • ||

    "and your laughable believe".

    I did not realize until after I had posted that I mistakenly used believe instead of belief.

  • coelakanth||

    "What respose would have liked when the data was posted?

    How about, "OK." Does that work for you?" -joe


    I was thinking something along the lines of, "Hey, thanks for the data, it has affected my perception of Cuba in this way..." or "not affected my perception because...". Basically anything other than your response which acknowledged statistics you asked for but did nothing to address said statistics. I do agree it was funny that you made other people do your research for you (3.5 hours to get the data, oh noessss!!!), when I'm pretty damn well certain you know about the CIA and UN databases.

    By the way, you were bound to fail in this thread. Cuba is indefensible on moral grounds. I mean that, indefensible (at least here). It wouldn't matter if they had more money than Midas and a health care system vastly superior to our own because it would come at the cost of an entire nation's freedom. Your self-satisfied "asking uncomfortable questions" stance has no place in this thread because no, you haven't asked a single uncomfortable question. Quite simply, the answers don't matter and you (should) know it. If you think otherwise, you fail at asking provocative questions and have no understanding of this magazine and its readers. If we accepted tyranny with prosperity, we'd all love the United States government (not that its petty tyrannies are on par with those of Cuba in most cases).

    Mark, name calling has come from both sides in this thread. I actually don't think joe started it, but that's irrelevant. Name calling makes it hard to isolate the pure trolls.

  • k2keeffe||

    I still want to know why they kill people who try to leave.

  • ||

    'Equal Sharing of Misery'
    That's the plan of almost ALL democrats and way too many Republicans (thus the title: Republi-Crat)!

  • ||

    Ironchef, good point - I'd never thought about that.

    sage,

    Actually, a roofer DOES provide housing. He isn't involved in the aspect of the housing industry that would make him an expert on the access poor people have to affordable housing.

    Mark | July 12, 2007, 4:45pm | #

    "How deluded does one have to be to think that poor people without health insurance can see the doctor for regular visits".

    From Mark, who knows an enormous amount about the access poor people have to medical services:

    Second, I have news for you, wise one, specialists see patients based upon the problems present, not the size of the bank account.

    Yup, people without insurance sure do get in to see specialists a lot! Why, Mark's even seen some! LoL.

  • ||

    coelikanth,

    Since I didn't write a single word attempting to defend Cuba, your fantasies about my failing to do so don't really matter.

    Sorry asking about data makes your tummy hurt. Maybe you should work on that.

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