2014 December Uncategorized

Monday, December 29, 2014

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The-Coconut-Telegraph-w-CoconutsSince 2002. Anonymous Letters to the Editor with pictures. Published Monday through Friday by Noon.

badge officerPolice culture or “cop culture,” as it is sometimes called by police officers, has resulted in a barrier against stopping corrupt officers. Police culture involves a set of values and rules that have evolved through the experiences of officers and which are affected by the environment in which they work. From the beginning of their career at their academies, police are brought into this “cop culture.”

While learning jobs and duties, recruits will also learn the values needed to make it to a high rank in their organization. Some words used to describe these values are as follows: a sense of mission, action, cynicism, pessimism, machismo, suspicion, conservatism, isolation and solidarity. The unique demands that are placed on police officers, such as the threat of danger, as well as scrutiny by the public, generate a tightly woven environment conducive to the development of feelings of loyalty.

These values are claimed to lead to the code; isolation and solidarity leading to police officers sticking to their own kind, producing an us-against-them mentality. The us-against-them mentality that can result leads to officers backing each other up and staying loyal to one another; in some situations it leads to not “ratting” on fellow officers.

A Los Angeles Times report about the “Facebook manifesto” of Christopher Dorner, who was killed during a police manhunt after he went on a several day shooting spree in February 2013 in Southern California, observes: “When he arrived at the LAPD, he wrote, he found it a nest of racists. In the Police Academy, he complained about another recruit’s use of a racial slur and was shunned. On patrol with the LAPD, he complained that his training officer had kicked a mentally ill man, and in response the department conspired to destroy him. He had dared, he said, to violate the Code of Silence

I am enjoying the work of our Keys cartoonist!
christmas turkey dinner
What a great Christmas dinner at our local Moose club.  They opened their doors to the community and served ham, turkey with all of the side dishes and goodies to go along with the meal and it was free of charge.  They did the same thing for Thanksgiving too.  Although donations were accepted they were not required nor even asked for.  They also delivered full meals to those folks who may have been too ill or elderly to go the Moose club.  Not to mention their Christmas with Santa party for the kids.  Every kid left with a free gift and had plenty of pizza to share and got pictures with Santa — also free to the community children.  What a wonderful organization to have in our little town.  Thank you all so much.
[Literary Critic] The non-haiku calling itself haiku isn’t. There are no specific rules for writing haiku; however, the structure of haiku is always the same, including the following features: Only three lines, totaling 17 syllables throughout. The first line must be only 5 syllables. The second line must be comprised of 7 syllables.
Priscilla Coote
, Key West Art Center (If you owned several of her paintings you could say, “I’ve got Cooties”.)
[Windows 10 Preview]  Skips right over Windows 9 (thank god). Link
You know you are not a big hit when you are on the America’s Most Unwanted list.
[I Am The Walrus] Today in 1967, BBC Television broadcast The Beatles’ ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ in black and white. The press & public called it an utter disaster. The strong poor reaction caused a US television deal for the movie to be cancelled.  Full Video
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snowman globe3
If global warming were real, wouldn’t this snow globe have less snow by now?
I wanted to put my friend and neighbor on, but they sent an email saying they do not do Italians because it screws up their computers. I asked about my Irish friend and they said, ‘There is only One DNA Code for Irish, so why waste your time’. Their Spanish section is jammed with Juan Smiths and Pedro Jones so that is out too. has a Black only genealogy site that has infinite inputs for fathers, dope dealers and bartenders. Rednecks have a sub-section under the Black Section and you have to check the W Box. The Jewish section is secured with top secret passwords and user names and they charge big dollars to use it if you dare!
Tom Ursino of Grassy Painting was found dead in his yard by a helper on Christmas night.
hooker lampost
Pay for play
has been the way of the Caribbean for ions. The difference in culture and views on sex in the lower latitudes is much different than in the good ol’ USA. Wait until Cuba opens up! . Black Eyed Peas – Latin Girls
In this world
even butterflies
must earn their keep
the-interview29[Movie Review] I reached Tropic Cinema about half hour before “The Interview” afternoon matinee was to start. The bicycle racks out front were jammed full and there was a nice line inside and two Tropic volunteers selling tickets. I am hesitant to say much about the story line, as I really do think this movie should be seen fresh, so the surprises really are surprises. Yeah, there is plenty of slapstick, and plenty of ribald and raunchy, and, yeah, plenty of something deeper, and, yeah, North Korea is a bad news country. Pooping plays a key role in “The Interview”.

A syndicated editorial in today’s Key West Citizen covers the Sony Studios problem with the hacking and the chain cinema companies dropping “The Interview”. In a second, shorter piece in the Citizen today, North Korea is reported as denying it had anything to do with the hack and offered USA to jointly investigate, which USA declined, even as the hackers put out online that it was because of the movie that they did the deed.

Who can say who is telling the truth? While I doubt Sony hacked itself and took that financial bath for the publicity, I don’t doubt Sony chickened out, perhaps because it is a Japanese company and Japan is right close to North Korea? Whatever, when Sony pulled the film, it missed the entire point of its own movie, which is, in America, freedom of speech is paramount.

Mean people suck.
[“Drones and privacy”] The thing about shooting down a spy drone is that they all have cameras and are filming you as you shoot it down. I assume that video could be used as evidence in court.
i love cuba[Cuba] Why are Americans so concerned with changing Cuba’s government? I was talking to a 40 year old woman born and raised in Cuba who had no idea what Americans were talking about when talking negatively about her country. To her, it has always been the way it is. She said she never wanted for anything. If she wanted something the government didn’t provide, every Cuban knows somebody who can get it. Americans don’t like that but Cubans do. She has a college degree and said any Cuban can be anything they want as long as they are capable of passing the entrance exam. If they want to be a doctor or teacher they just have to pass the exam and all schooling is free to them as is just about every other thing. She is upset with the Miami Cubans and says they don’t know what they’re talking about and are living in the past.

It’s time for xenophobes like Mr FTR to stop finding the extreme examples they are so fond of and look towards home before throwing stones. Let he who is without sin … bla bla.

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pinwheel sm
Amazing kinetic sculptures that could hypnotize you. Video
You’d be amazed about how much stuff inside a federal prison is legal but not legal on the outside. For example, did you know much of the electrical and plumbing is done by federal inmates who are not licensed to perform that work. If they tell you work there you are required to work or go to the SHU[?].

The chicken that we got to eat was marked “not suitable for human consumption”. There are so few regulations on how to treat federal inmates. There are a bunch of BOP[?] policies, but very few regulations

[Easement] When the FKAA asks you for an easement on your property,  tell them that you can not do this because it violates Monroe County Code Section 20.  This section is quite specific and requires a gravity connection from your property to the public right of way.Monroe County Code Section 20-50. – Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning: Available, as applied to a publicly owned or investor-owned sewerage system, means that the publicly owned or investor-owned sewerage system is capable of being connected to the plumbing of an establishment or residence, is not under a Department of Environmental Protection moratorium, and has adequate permitted capacity to accept the sewage to be generated by the establishment or residence; and:

(1)  For a residential subdivision lot, a single-family residence, or an establishment, any of which has an estimated sewage flow of 1,000 gallons per day or less, a gravity sewer line to maintain gravity flow from the property’s drain to the sewer line, or a low pressure or vacuum sewage collection line in those areas approved for low pressure or vacuum sewage collection, exists in a public easement or right-of-way that abuts the property line of the lot, residence, or establishment;

Section 20-105. – Residential or Commercial Users. (e)  Private property; properties under one ownership. For private property or contiguous properties under one ownership with one or more EDUs that in total has a cumulative estimated wastewater flow of less than 1,000 gallons per day; (1)The utility shall provide a means of connection within the public right-of-way, whether by vacuum pit or other, that abuts the property and that can be accessed via a gravity system;…

We get continuous requests for recommendations on how to respond to the demands of FKAA.  This is one I used.  So far their response is “go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.”  Dig in, folks, do not sign the easement.  They already have an easement.  It is the street in front of your home. We are still fighting this on multiple legal fronts and could sure use some financial help.  Checks should be made payable to Dump the Pumps, Inc. at PO Box 1956 Big Pine Key, FL 33043 or consider our Paypal account available on our website. Link

rich man laying on money[Rich Folks Doing Good] Throughout history, many of the richest of the rich have felt a responsibility to help the less fortunate. Billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett has taken the call to action a step further by asking billionaires to follow his lead. By signing The Giving Pledge, created by Buffett, billionaires make a public promise to dedicate most of their wealth to philanthropy. To date, there have been more than 125 pledgers from around the world, many of them high-profile philanthropists and self-made titans. Bankrate put together a list of the 10 richest signers of The Giving Pledge, aside from Buffett, using net worth information as of Dec. 12, 2014, from Forbes.

There are 121 more rich folks that feel ,to whom much is given, much is expected.  Link

Kim Jong Un calls Obama a “monkey” and immediately jumps to the top of GOP 2016 polls.
This dickhead has been sneaking into people’s pools without permission, beware!
Has FTR Guy ever been to Cuba? I’ll wager he hasn’t or he wouldn’t be writing about it as he does.
The courts have turned into a mockery and this happened many years ago when money and lawyers forced control of the courts through political and financial leveraging. There is no such thing as justice and there never was. It boils down to who you know and how rich you are or what color your skin is today. An example of this is a situation where a robber breaks into a home, holds the occupants hostage, takes all their belongings and starts killing the hostages. Some one in the situation retrieves a weapon and kills the assailant. It is proven in court the person who killed the assailant had a legal right to defend himself to save what was left of his family, but the assailants family sues the defender for killing their offspring and wins a financial reward. It is time to cull this type of retaliation and harassment.
box camera closeBeginners Photography Classes at National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key] Are you interested in learning more about photography?  Do you want to meet people with the same interest?  Here is your chance:  The Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Photo Club is sponsoring beginner’s photography classes on Thursday evenings (January 15th-February 12th, 2015) from 6:00-7:00 pm at the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor Center on Big Pine Key.

Classes are designed to provide beginner photographers with an understanding of basic photographic concepts and improve their picture taking skills.  Total cost for the classes will be $25 ($20 if you pre-register) or $5 per class.  Proceeds benefit future Photo Club field trips that you are welcome to attend. Classes will be taught by Joe Gilroy who is a trained photographer and has previously taught photo classes.  Joe is current president of the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Photo Club.  For more information, please call Kristie at Events

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Marathon Super Boat
Grand Prix. July 3 – 5. For more information Events
Cuba gave up democracy in order to have a safe country. It probably is one of the safest countries in the world. The USA gave up privacy to be safe after 9/11. We may be safe from Muslims, but the USA is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The streets are unsafe, cops are gunned down in their cars. Homes are invaded, people held hostage. Children murdering other children in schools. These aren’t isolated instances.

Americans have no idea what it’s like to walk down a dark street without fear. As a matter of fact in America, the only people walking down a dark street are looking to harm you. So tell me again what is so bad about Cuba that we want to make it like us–a country riddled with crime and corrupt politicians? Americans are so brainwashed to what a great country we are that we accept all the crime and corruption. That is not the case in Cuba.  Cubans love their country as much as we do ours. Don’t doubt that for a minute!

[Gun Nuts] Machine Gun America has opened in Orlando. The starting price is $100 dollars per clip. Link
license-boat29[Boating licensing] The Big Pine Key Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering a limited number of scholarships to our Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S) Course starting January 12th to January 29th, at Venture Out Resort (Ships Store 2nd floor), 701 Spanish Main Drive, Cudjoe Key, Florida. Classes run for three weeks from 7:00

to 9:30 P.M. Students, ages 14-18 years old may apply. Graduating students will receive the Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card, Coast Guard Auxiliary Diploma and I.D. Card.  Florida law requires that persons born on or after January 1, 1988, complete an approved boater education course prior to operating a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or more. For more information go to our website for our online Scholarship application and select Boating Safety Scholarship Link

The war in Afghanistan is officially over. Just how they determined that is beyond me. We still have almost eleven thousand combat troops there, we are flying combat missions every day and Afghanistan is enjoying the best poppy harvest in it’s history. “Mission accomplished?”
[“Gibson guitar repair”]  I’ll bet that Dean Nickless could easily remedy the problem. He lives on BPK.
[“Cheap non tippers”] Not cheap but pissed off when a freaking cheeseburger costs $10 and sucks. Do you really think the help deserves my money too?
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sock puppet yea yeaThere are three types of puppets. The traditional marionette, (Pinocchio), is operated from above with a complicated system of strings by a skilled puppeteer, (Kindly Old Gepetto), and can actually put on a quite realistic performance. The second, the hand puppet, (Captain Kangaroo’s Bunny Rabbit or Mr Moose), is worked by someone, (Mr Greenjeans), sticking a hand up their rear and moving the lips and or arms to simulate action, and are frequently employed as a substitute for a ventriloquist’s dummy. The last, Muppets, (Kermit/Ms Piggy), are just chunks of sponge on sticks waved about from beneath by a controller, (Jim Henson), which were created to entertain pre-school children.
[Work Wanted] As for looking into paint work in the Keys I have all my own tools, a brand new Graco390 airless paint sprayer, 24 ft ladder, 2 16 ft ladders,18ft ladder, 1 7 foot ladder, 2 6 ft ladders and all other hand tools as well as carpenter tools, 2 HVLP sprayers. I was a production painter for 22 yrs with the same builder. I can run jobs or oversee crews. I am a journeyman painter with references, contact me at  Classified Ads > Situation  Wanted
hareens 12.2.14
[“Gibson rattles”] To the poster with the Gibson guitar with issues, take it to the nearest Guitar Center or Music shop, they should have a guitar tech that can fix it. Good luck.
tromboneThe Isle of Bones Bones, Key West’s jazz trombone ensemble, will give its annual concert on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 PM. The venue, as always nowadays, will be the One Island Family Unitarian Universalist Church, at Georgia and Petronia Streets. The group consists of three trombones, baritone sax, and three rhythm. It will feature Joe Dallas, Sr., the major jazz trombonist of the Pittsburgh area. Joe has appeared many times in the Paradise Big Band (where he will have a starring role in their concert the following Sunday night), in the orchestra of the Key West Pops, and in local clubs. He is an exceptional soloist, with an expressive sound and a comfortably relaxed time feel. The other trombones will be Joe Dallas, Jr., the director of the Paradise band, and Harry Schroeder, who has in recent years become the island’s most prolific musical arranger. Since the local music scene is missing competent bass trombonists, those parts will be played by Georges Hemund on baritone sax. “Georges’ presence is a real improvement in the group,” Schroeder says. “He’s a fine player, with a big rich sound, especially in the lower register of the horn, which gives us an additional texture. And he’s an excellent improviser—very few bass trombonists can improvise at all—so that we have one more soloist.”

The excellent rhythm section will consist of Chris Burchard, guitar; Bubba Barton, bass; and Skipper Kripitz, drums. “Four trombones are a lot of weight to have to drive,” Schroeder says; “it can be like pushing a large rock up a steep hill– but they do it well, and are excellent soloists into the bargain.”

The program will consist of arrangements written by Schroeder for this group. The tunes are mostly familiar jazz standards from all periods of the music; the charts are written with the individual sounds of the players in mind. “There’s a great advantage to writing for people you know, whose playing you’re familiar with,” Schroeder says. “That way you can write to their strengths.”

This concert is now in its tenth consecutive year. It has become an island tradition, as its name indicates—earlier suggestions for the group’s title were “The Funny Bones,” “The Hip Bones,” and, most recently, “The Southernmost Sackbuts,” but civic responsibility prevailed. Audiences in the past have been enthusiastic at the large warm sound and driving energy which the group generates, and many members come to this concert faithfully every year. Randy Becker’s church, intimate and with good acoustics, is its ideal venue. Admission, at the door, will be $20, with students in free. Events

drone no trespassing
[“Drones and privacy”] If your first instinct is to shoot it down, that may not be legal, as some of the courts are saying that is no different than any other form of trespass. Let the drone owner come to me to pick up his toy after it experiences turbulence over my house and I have my dog retrieve it from the water — three or four times.
The biggest math story of the year. Link
[Spy Cams] Me and my friends are kind of pissed at the local bars for sticking in all the spy cameras to watch the customers. I hear the cops have links to them too so they can watch for over-drinkers. Big Brother is alive and sucks in the Keys!
[Cajun Chowdown] I went to a luncheon on Friday at a friend’s home and they served a Cajun style meal.  Left over turkey Jambalaya, Cajun Dirty Rice made with ground beef and left over herb stuffing,  Shrimp Etouffee (a-two-fay) with big Key West Pinks and an Andouille (an-do-e) sausage gumbo.  What a killer meal.  All served with your choice of a Gin Fizz or a New Orleans Hurricane.  I’m ready to move to the bayous of Louisiana! (All the dishes were  made with Zatarain’s dry mixes from Winn-Dixie).
robin nest eggs
All about birds.
 Your online guide to birds & bird watching. Link
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Hunter S. Thompson squirted two cans of fire starter on the Christmas tree he was going to burn in his living-room fireplace, a few feet away from an unopened wooden crate of 9-mm bullets. That the tree was far too large to fit into the fireplace mattered not a whit to Hunter, who was sporting a dime-store wig at the time and resembled Tony Perkins in Psycho. Minutes earlier, he had smashed a Polaroid camera on the floor.

Hunter had decided to videotape the Christmas tree burning, and we later heard on the replay the terrified voices of Deborah Fuller, his longtime secretary-baby sitter, and me off-camera pleading with him, “No, Hunter, no! please, Hunter, don’t do it!” The original manuscript of Hell’s Angels was on the table, and there were the bullets. Nothing doing. Thompson was a man possessed by now, full of the Chivas Regal he had been slurping straight from the bottle and the gin he had been mixing with pink lemonade for hours. But then the whole evening had been like this. It began in late daylight, when Hunter shot his beloved tracer pistol into the air and then started training it at passing cars. One tracer hit a tree and boomeranged back at us. Everyone thought that was really neat. Video

The final resting place for 250,000 veterans is in a can on a shelf. Missing in America Project. Knowledge is power. Link
[“Gibson guitar rattle”
] Do yourself a favor and bring it over to Dean Nickless of Nickless Guitars on Big Pine. Not only will he fix it but he can build you a beautiful new hand made guitar that will rival any factory made guitar. Link
[Police uniform cams] They will just mysteriously not work the time that they are needed. Who are we kidding.
The little Tiki bar is growing up. I wonder if the big Tiki is sending over spies to watch the modifications?
[“Bounce dryer sheets”] Use a sheet to wash the inside of your shower door. It works unbelievably well.
LatePayments[Captain Doom and Gloom] Going out for breakfast or for that matter any meal is getting not only too expensive and degraded food wise, but the cooks (there is no such thing as a Chef in the Keys), have their damn grills set to high temperatures so they can get the meal out quickly. This burns the outside of whatever they are cooking and leaves the insides under cooked. Slow down people, we like our food cook correctly, not cremated or still frozen inside. Got that?

“Drones” A good high power sling shot with marbles can take care of a drone.

“Laptops” Do a search with the quotes “never move a laptop” and read the truth about why some hospitals and businesses are getting bad data input to their master computers that could effect your life and money! Tablet computers are fine because they have solid state memory, not mechanical hard drive storage, but they are a royal pain to type data entries into. What was your Blood Type Sir? Oops!

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What, me worry?
I thought the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” was a novel thing to call torture, but “harsh interrogation tactics” , wow, that’s beautiful. Kudos to FTR. Keep ’em coming. You can’t buy entertainment like that. Did he make that up, or should I be thanking Fox And Friends?
 What is happening in America?? A 21yearl old(adult?) daughter sued parents to pay for her tuition and the Judge said PAY UP. I was under the impression that @ 18 you were an adult(except for alcahol sales) and as such were responsibile for your actions and debts BUT some Uber Liberial judge just rewrote the rules and now are The parents responsible when their 34 year old sibling robs a bank. What is it about liberals who think that you are Entitled to Everything, didn’t they ever hear about TANSTAAFL. The chickens come home to roost sooner or later, But they do.
FTR you posted this:”The much bigger issue is that Obama’s decision makes it clear that he does not trust the police. He does not respect them”.

Remember the words you typed out said “He does not respect them”.

I think you’re full of it and heres some words the President really has said.

“I unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City,” Obama said in a statement. “Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification. The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day – and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day.”

Obama continued: “Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal – prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”

That is a far, far cry from what you claimed.

FTR you are straying away from reality with your hatred. It blinds you

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FTR: “Obama’s knee jerk reaction”. That statement must be spot-on because I’m pretty sure that FTR is an expert at what a “knee jerk reaction” is. Almost everything he writes is a knee jerk reaction to something that doesn’t conform to his narrow way of thinking.
from the right
There was a puff piece in the Citizen the other day about Cuba. It was full of smiling faces, happy Cuban people, and the suggestion that the Cuban people lived untroubled lives. The author even likened it to the “50’s in America”. He wrote: “It’s almost like watching scenes from “Leave it to Beaver” or “Mayberry RD.”

The piece is horribly misleading. The Cuban people live in harsh repression and grinding poverty that would make life in an American ghetto seem nearly idyllic.

Our daughter, son in law and their two adult children visited us for a few days. Their visit was the highlight of this Christmas season. Our son in law’s Mom fled Cuba in ’63 with him when he was two years old. They were only able to leave was because they had won an emigration lottery. His father did not win the lottery. He was forced to remain in Cuba. He finally was able to leave Cuba many years later. They fled Cuba so as to be able to raise their children in freedom. Our son in law worked hard, studied hard, and became a naturalized American citizen at 18. He is now proud to be in the Navy, he is a Master Chief in the Sea Bees.

castro29His father was jailed by the Castro regime for speaking out against Castro, and he was denied permission to leave until ’76 after he was released from prison. They have worked hard, were frugal, and have realized the American dream. She worked cleaning houses, and he operated a dump truck transporting fill. They still work, and currently own a number of high end residential rental properties. Their stories are not unique amongst those who have fled the Castro tyranny.

His Mom has made many trips to Cuba to visit family in Pinar Del Rio. She reports that the repression and hardships endured by today’s Cubans is virtually unchanged since the ‘60’s, if anything conditions have gotten worse.

Our son in law told us of the “Chivatos.” The word means “tattle tales or informers.” They are the members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. They are persons in neighborhoods who inform the government of any expressions of discontent or other perceived misdeeds committed by their friends and neighbors. Chivatos are rewarded with extra ration coupons for being government informers. They live better than their neighbors.

The Citizen article did not tell you of the fact that food and other commodities are harshly rationed in Cuba. The system is called “Libreta de Abastecimiento”   The ration books are issued monthly, but contain permission to purchase enough nourishment for only about a week. When the ration coupons are gone, then the average Cuban must “hustle up” food, etc. from the black market for the balance of the month.

Raul Castro apparently believes that the average Cuban is coddled. He is implementing an “updating of Socialism.” He intends to put an end to what he sees as the “excesses of the welfare state.” In 2009 potatoes were removed from ration books, peas have been removed, now tobacco is being removed.

The rationing system has been in place since ’62. It gives Cubans the right to buy gains, sugar, chicken, fish, eggs, rice and coffee, bread, cooking oil, and nearly all other necessities at state decreed prices. If you can think of a necessity, it is rationed in Cuba. It rations everything from light bulbs to women’s sanitary products. The prices are set according to a convoluted system of regulations that factor in conditions such as the ration card holders age and place of residence. When their ration cards are exhausted, they must turn to the black market to exist. That is fraught with danger, those who transport or sell the meat from an illegally slaughtered cow can get three to eight years. Providing beef at an unauthorized restaurant or workplace can fetch two to five years. And buying contraband beef is punishable by three months to one year in jail.

Cubans dread the possibility that the government might decide to remove things that are truly indispensable from the quota system, like bread, eggs and grains. They dread the possibility that Raoul will consider bread and milk as being “excesses.” Link

Many who are enchanted with notion of being a tourist in Cuba argue that the money spent by tourists will ease the plight of Cubans. It will not.

Nearly universally the resorts and hotels are owned by the government. It is true that there are a few B&B’s that are privately owned and operated, but the operators of those few establishments are actually likely linked to the government because in order to operate the government must turn a blind eye. Few Americans realize the employees of the resorts and hotels are paid in Cuban pesos.

Cubans working for firms with foreign capital on the island are being singled out to receive punishing taxes. A few days ago a new resolution was published in the official Gazette that fixes their salaries at only 8% of what the joint venture or foreign companies must pay the government in hard currency for their services.   That is Castro’s government announcement that Cubans who work for foreign companies will be permitted to keep only 8% of their salaries. Link

If there is an influx of American capital, it will only strengthen Castro’s stranglehold on the Cuban people. If free trade comes to pass it will be a life saver for the Castro regime. That because the Soviets and Venezuela are now faced with fiscal calamity and are now incapable of keeping the Castro regime afloat.

cuba-streetThe ineptitude and abject failure of the Communist form of government is on full display in Cuba. Cuba is a nation that is rich in natural resources, it has vast fertile farm lands, yet it must import more than 80% of its food. Cuba is one of the world’s largest producers of nickel and cobalt. It has large deposits of iron ore and copper. It has exploitable amounts of petroleum.

When my son in law’s mother learned of Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba, she wept. His father fumed. My son in law yearns to visit his homeland, but refuses to as long as it is under Communist control.

On the American left, much is being made of Obama’s putative opening of relations with Cuba.  A few prisoners were exchanged, but the thousands of political prisoners in Castro’s prisons continue to languish. Cuba still harbors murderous terrorists who have killed Americans. Cuba still harbors wanted American fugitives.

Obama said his unilateral changes in the American Cuban relationship should encourage reform in Cuba’s one-party system and centrally planned economy.

But Obama’s feckless changes can’t work because Raul Castro holds the US and Obama in disdain.

Mr. Castro rejected the idea that a change in relations will change his governance. In his address to the twice-annual meeting of the National Assembly, he said “we must not expect that in order for relations with the United States to improve, Cuba will abandon the ideas that it has struggled for.” Link

Obama brays while the Cubans weep