Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fidel No More

Message from the Commander in Chief

Dear compatriots:

Last Friday, February 15, I promised you that in my next reflection I would deal with an issue of interest to many compatriots. Thus, this now is rather a message.

The moment has come to nominate and elect the State Council, its President, its Vice-Presidents and Secretary.

For many years I have occupied the honorable position of President. On February 15, 1976 the Socialist Constitution was approved with the free, direct and secret vote of over 95% of the people with the right to cast a vote. The first National Assembly was established on December 2nd that same year; this elected the State Council and its presidency. Before that, I had been a Prime Minister for almost 18 years. I always had the necessary prerogatives to carry forward the revolutionary work with the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.

There were those overseas who, aware of my critical health condition, thought that my provisional resignation, on July 31, 2006, to the position of President of the State Council, which I left to First Vice-President Raul Castro Ruz, was final. But Raul, who is also minister of the Armed Forces on account of his own personal merits, and the other comrades of the Party and State leadership were unwilling to consider me out of public life despite my unstable health condition.

It was an uncomfortable situation for me vis-à-vis an adversary which had done everything possible to get rid of me, and I felt reluctant to comply.

Later, in my necessary retreat, I was able to recover the full command of my mind as well as the possibility for much reading and meditation. I had enough physical strength to write for many hours, which I shared with the corresponding rehabilitation and recovery programs. Basic common sense indicated that such activity was within my reach. On the other hand, when referring to my health I was extremely careful to avoid raising expectations since I felt that an adverse ending would bring traumatic news to our people in the midst of the battle. Thus, my first duty was to prepare our people both politically and psychologically for my absence after so many years of struggle. I kept saying that my recovery "was not without risks."

My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath. That’s all I can offer.

To my dearest compatriots, who have recently honored me so much by electing me a member of the Parliament where so many agreements should be adopted of utmost importance to the destiny of our Revolution, I am saying that I will neither aspire to nor accept, I repeat, I will neither aspire to nor accept the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief.

In short letters addressed to Randy Alonso, Director of the Round Table National TV Program, --letters which at my request were made public-- I discreetly introduced elements of this message I am writing today, when not even the addressee of such letters was aware of my intention. I trusted Randy, whom I knew very well from his days as a student of Journalism. In those days I met almost on a weekly basis with the main representatives of the University students from the provinces at the library of the large house in Kohly where they lived. Today, the entire country is an immense University.

Following are some paragraphs chosen from the letter addressed to Randy on December 17, 2007:

"I strongly believe that the answers to the current problems facing Cuban society, which has, as an average, a twelfth grade of education, almost a million university graduates, and a real possibility for all its citizens to become educated without their being in any way discriminated against, require more variables for each concrete problem than those contained in a chess game. We cannot ignore one single detail; this is not an easy path to take, if the intelligence of a human being in a revolutionary society is to prevail over instinct.

"My elemental duty is not to cling to positions, much less to stand in the way of younger persons, but rather to contribute my own experience and ideas whose modest value comes from the exceptional era that I had the privilege of living in.

"Like Niemeyer, I believe that one has to be consistent right up to the end."

Letter from January 8, 2008:

"…I am a firm supporter of the united vote (a principle that preserves the unknown merits), which allowed us to avoid the tendency to copy what came to us from countries of the former socialist bloc, including the portrait of the one candidate, as singular as his solidarity towards Cuba. I deeply respect that first attempt at building socialism, thanks to which we were able to continue along the path we had chosen."

And I reiterated in that letter that "…I never forget that ‘all of the world’s glory fits in a kernel of corn."

Therefore, it would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer. This I say devoid of all drama.

Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who were very young in the early stages of the process. Some were very young, almost children, when they joined the fight on the mountains and later they have given glory to the country with their heroic performance and their internationalist missions. They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement. There is also the intermediate generation which learned together with us the basics of the complex and almost unattainable art of organizing and leading a revolution.

The path will always be difficult and require from everyone’s intelligent effort. I distrust the seemingly easy path of apologetics or its antithesis the self-flagellation. We should always be prepared for the worst variable. The principle of being as prudent in success as steady in adversity cannot be forgotten. The adversary to be defeated is extremely strong; however, we have been able to keep it at bay for half a century.

This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I shall continue to write under the heading of ‘Reflections by comrade Fidel.’ It will be just another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful.


Fidel Castro Ruz

February 18, 2008

5:30 p.m.

From Cuba



DEN said...

Fidel has happy feet upon leaving his job after too many years as the chief cigar tester/el presidente'.

Porn commenter's complete with bad spelling issues are lurking about as noted in yesterdays comments.

DEN said...


US banks have been quietly borrowing massive amounts of money from the Federal Reserve in recent weeks by using a new measure the Fed introduced two months ago to help ease the credit crunch.

The use of the Fed’s Term Auction Facility, which allows banks to borrow at relatively attractive rates against a wider range of their assets than previously permitted, saw borrowing of nearly $50bn of one-month funds from the Fed by mid-February.
Equities lure US pension guarantor - Feb-18
Lax banks blamed for defaults - Feb-18
US consumer confidence drops sharply - Feb-15
Full coverage: Credit crisis - Jan-18
The $280bn question: where are the rest of the subprime bodies? - Feb-11
Fed chief ready to cut rates further - Feb-15

US officials say the trend shows that financial authorities have become far more adept at channelling liquidity into the banking system to alleviate financial stress, after failing to calm money markets last year.

However, the move has sparked unease among some analysts about the stress developing in opaque corners of the US banking system and the banks’ growing reliance on indirect forms of government support.

“The TAF ... allows the banks to borrow money against all sort of dodgy collateral,” says Christopher Wood, analyst at CLSA. “The banks are increasingly giving the Fed the garbage collateral nobody else wants to take ... [this] suggests a perilous condition for America’s banking system.”


Perilous for who? Those rich bozos have theirs, it is us that will suffer for their indescretions and manipulations.

Hajji said...


Bush: I "Don't Think" The War Has Anything To Do With The Economy

Government bolstering banks, failing risky lenders, Forclosures de rigeur...

New construction of houses nobody can afford, houses left vacant as "investors" walk away.

Rampant inflation, plummenting currency values, escalating prices for food staples, gasoline, healthcare costs skyrocketing...

Just who the hell's a "Bannana Republic Tin-Pot Dictator"?



Hajji said...


That porno-link post is still up.

Can't you take it down?

Saladin said...

Good morning DEN, I hope all is well on your side of the hill.
In the news this morning:

Swindle - What Change Really Means

By Bruce Marshall

17/02/08 "ICH" -- -- Do not be fooled! Barak Obama's call for National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank (NIRB) does not signal the return of the Democratic Party to the values of FDR and a revival of the Constitutional prerogative to 'promote the general welfare', but would rather provide more welfare for Wall Street and worse. Obama's plan is nothing more than the direct means of instituting the Rohatyn-Rudman National Investment Corporation (NIC) plan called for in 2005, which in essence is a revival of Mussolini's methods of corporatist control of the state in a politically correct post modern fashion..

When Senator Obama states that his National Investment Reinvestment Bank will magically turn $60 billion into trillions of dollars as he did in his Feb 13th Jamesville, WI speech, one can easily realize that the only way that this can happen is through the perverse magic of Wall Street. What would happen is that bonds floated by the NIRB will be bought on the open market, to then be speculated upon, securitized as derivatives, traded and ultimately used as collateral on the newly built infrastructure. What we will see is the emergence of an infrastructure bubble to replace the mortgage bubble, propped up by initial government expenditures towards infrastructure. This is just the start as Obama will fund the feel good 'carbon credit' swap to be the next blast of hot air to make Wall Street giddy. This is a key insight to a true understanding of what is going on. Bailout the financial powers with a clever plan that will raise money to then buy up hard assets, in other words the remaining wealth of our nation, as the meltdown crisis of over a quadrillion in derivatives losses grows and grows..

Besides artificially propping up the markets, Obama's NIRB, as an initiation of the Rohatyn/Rudman infrastructure investment model, opens the door to the privatization of public assets. International predators and asset-strippers want to buy up public highways and impose cutthroat tolls, as they are already doing in many states. Then they run the turnpikes into the ground as cash cows while they mercilessly bilk the users. Privatization is a key goal of the Anglo-American financiers behind this scheme. Both the NIC and NIRB rely on the new darling of the markets, PPPs, known as public private partnerships. PPPs are the means by which market forces will dictate, and that is the word, the implementation of these projects. The argument is that the PPP will keep costs down, but in reality only because the private corporations, now controlling the public sector, will own the assets of what is being constructed. The PPP model is none other than the model implemented by Mussolini in his fascist corporate state. The creation of NIRB funds hark back to Hjalmar Schact's 'MEFO' bills that created the speculative bubble of money so that the National Socialists could rearm Germany and fight World War II..

Since 9/11 America has certainly turned into a top-down police state, but true post-modern fascism requires a popular movement to usher it into power. Bush has created a dictatorship out of the Presidency, now the next step towards fascism is being marketed to exploit the desire for change. The depressed national mood, due to the war and economic recession/depression has compromised sane reasoning and courageous opposition needed now more than ever. This has created the conditions for a newcomer to magically appear with a message of hope, using the mantra 'Change', wrapped in a swooning fever that has infected the young and left liberal excuse machines, such as 'Move On' who were never serious about stopping Bush/ Cheney and the war.

Since he passed his audition at the Democratic convention in 2004, Senator Obama has been taken over by George Soros and other hedge fund millionaires to launch a campaign out of nowhere, based on nothing but rhetoric and Wall Street millions. As darling of the rich elitist Kennedy/Kerry/Dean wing of the Democratic Party, Obama's pseudo-Camelot will deliver Wall Street and the Anglo-American financiers the goods while disguised in a patina of racial teflon and faux populism from the upper crust. For substance ask, where is the bill in the Senate by Kennedy/Kerry/Obama calling for a freeze on all foreclosures? Where's their filibuster against the war? Where is a real minimumn wage in the form of a living wage? Where is impeachment of Bush-Cheney? Why did Senator Obama move against raising heating oil assistance to the poor in the recent spending bill?

The answer to this last question, besides Rohatyn, is Obama's top economics controller, Austan Goolsbee, a sinister Skull & Bones, Friedmanite Chicago School free trade/free market economist who has delivered the real answer to the question of the difference between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. Goolsbee stated on CNBC that Obama is more market friendly ­ more in the pocket of Wall Street. This is precisely the establishment's secret fear of Hillary Clinton that she might act as her heroine Eleanor Roosevelt, to implement a post modern New Deal that would oppose austerity measures against programs that help the poor. That she would fund essential public services, like hospitals and schools, and provide universal health care available to all. The greatest fear is that she might act like FDR to now start regulating the markets starting with a 1% Tobin tax which could eliminate the income tax burden for everyone earning less than $125,000 year with plenty of money to fund the basic social programs of a civilized and truly decent society.

Now Obama, with economic advisers such as David Cutler, who believes that rising health care prices are good for the economy, and Jeffrey Liebman, who wants to partially privatize social security, you see that Obama's MBAs will be quite good at implementing the vision of the Democratic godfather Felix Rohatyn (ex-Lazard Freres) and Republican Warren Rudman, an proponent of savage austerity and the wrecking of entitlements.. Their obsession with balanced budgets, privatization, and asset stripping will be given new cover as the United States is dissolved into one great corporatist PPP.

Yes, we do need infrastructure, but the reason we have an infrastructure crisis is because people like Rudman and Rohatyn have influenced thinking against infrastructure projects because it would get in the way of their balanced budget mania and plans to loot the economy. Now they have a new solution and salesman. Watch out!

Remember it was Rudman who was a key figure in the conservative revolution around Gingrich. The nefarious interest of Rohatyn is even more sinister considering that this is the fellow who was part of the international team supporting fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet, where Rohatyn's social security privatization scheme was first tried. Soon a limited revised version of social security privatization will be introduced by Obama when an alarm is pulled by Wall Street during a Obama Presidency. In the 1970's Rohatyn became the actual dictator of New York City under Big Mac (the 1975 Municipal Assistance Corporation), trumping the city government, as a financial czar who cared more about the city's bond rating than lives, cutting essential services, including many inner-city hospitals in a mad example of a PPP. Rohatyn, who is also recognized as the money bags behind the pro-Obama Democratic Leadership Council, is also a big proponent of military privatization which is another step towards feudal fascism. No wonder the Democrats have not stopped the war; it is good for their business arrangements too.

While Senator Obama says that he will stop the war and use that money to initially finance the NIRB and his green initiatives, this will do nothing to stop the speculative forces that are causing the present hyperinflationary bubble. Will Obama stand up to the speculators whose gambling is responsible for up to 40% of the price of every gallon of gasoline? Not likely.

Sure the NIRB will create some low-wage jobs, but the PPP arrangement will make certain that organized labor does not get assertive about living wages and benefits, all the while private companies welcome a work force of illegal immigrants who will do much of the work for virtual slave wages as is already the case.

So, what is to be done? First, we need a real debate towards electing a President and Congress who will confront the crisis, the real issues surrounding the present meltdown of the derivatives bubble and what that means for the entire economy. The sub-prime mortgage collapse is the tip of the iceberg. If Obama prevails, Americans will find that like the SS Titanic, the USA does not carry enough life boats that are not already owned by the bankers. Congress must come to reassert its constitutionally mandated sovereignty, by taking steps to federalize the Federal Reserve, regulate the markets, save the essential banking interests of the people, and then create the money with which to create honest investment into our nation's infrastructure to thus promote the general welfare of all.
It never fails to amaze me how the stranglehold of our two corrupt political parties is able to continually hoodwink the people. Throw them a few meager crumbs and the reality fades to black. The republic is going to get exactly what it deserves for it's laziness, greed and apathy.

DEN said...

Who the hell is Bruce Marshall??????

DEN said...

Hajji, porno-B-gone!

DEN said...

Felix G. Rohatyn, former U.S. ambassador to France and former chair of New York's Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC), compared New York's 1970s fiscal crisis with the one the city faces today at a lecture sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs on Feb. 26.

Rohatyn, who managed negotiations in the 1970s enabling New York to resolve its severe budget short-fall, drew parallels between banking systems, debt structure and the key players of both periods. New York of 1975, he explained, "was really a tale of two cities," as the liberal, media capital of the U.S., with both tremendous wealth as well as severe poverty. "We were very concerned back then about the effect of city bankruptcy on public assistance programs -- everything from healthcare to education to housing," said Rohatyn.

In the 1970s, he added, the city had no ready access to credit. In fact, New York created MAC in the 70s to issue bonds backed by a dedicated portion of the city's sales tax. Rohatyn also suggested 70s city planners lacked accuracy and transparency in accounting methods which made it difficult to navigate the crisis. He discussed the role of the governor's office in strongly supporting New York's financial viability. "Bankruptcy to Hugh Carey was plainly unacceptable," said Rohatyn.

As opposed to our system today, 30 years ago banks were in the hands of a few financiers who were committed to finding solutions to the city's economic problems. For these city powerbrokers, heavily invested in the community, New York's financial ruin would have been devastating. Overseas, European governments feared New York's insolvency could have negative repercussions for international financial markets. Talks with the unions were especially tense. Concerns about looming layoffs and tapped pension funds dominated negotiations. The White House's involvement also was elevated. Rohatyn confirmed President Gerald Ford's threat in the mid-1970s to veto a federal bailout plan for the city "cost him the election."

Today, some things have changed, and others haven't. "In 1975," joked Rohatyn, "Alan Greenspan was Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense, and Dick Cheney was White House Chief of Staff."

But there are some vital differences. New York's financial institutions today -- Morgan Stanley and Citigroup -- are "multinationals more interested in Argentina's emerging market, than in New York's [stability and potential,]" said Rohatyn.

New York today also boasts strong accounting methods and sound debt standing, with the option of floating bonds in international markets. Rohatyn also has high praise for New York's new mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a man he calls "financially sophisticated" and in tune with real situation of the city's 2003 financial crisis and budget deficit.

Rohatyn, invited by SIPA to give this year's M. Moran Weston II Distinguished Lecture in Urban and Public Policy, currently serves as president of Rohatyn Associates LLC, a firm that provides financial advice to corporations. He was former managing director of the investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co. and a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Stock Exchange from 1968 to 1972. The Ambassador also served on the Board of Directors of several NYSE listed corporations.

SIPA created the Weston lecture to bring public leaders to the School to discuss important domestic issues -- from expanding home ownership to the changing economic base of cities. The series is named for the late Weston, the University's first African-American Trustee and the founder of the nation's largest black-owned financial institution. Franklin D. Raines, chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, and Andrew Cuomo, former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, are former speakers. This year, the Rohatyn talk drew more than 100 students.
Columbia U

Considering this man escaped the Nazis, I don't think his is nearly as nefarious as believed.

DEN said...

It's Time to Rebuild America
A Plan for Spending More -- and Wisely -- on Our Decaying Infrastructure

By Felix G. Rohatyn and Warren Rudman
Tuesday, December 13, 2005; A27

Two recent, very different events on opposite sides of the United States serve as startling examples of our unwillingness to support needed public investment or to consider the consequences of failing to do so.

On the Gulf Coast, the failure to invest adequately in the levees of New Orleans and to prepare for or manage the resulting disaster was obvious to the world.

On the Pacific Coast, in the state of Washington, a quieter crisis loomed. The region's infrastructure had been outstripped by growth. But the new governor, Christine Gregoire, had the courage to impose a phased-in motor fuels tax to repair the state's dilapidated and congested roads and bridges. Her opposition tried to repeal the legislation with a ballot initiative, but thanks in part to the support of the state's most powerful business leaders, voters stood by her and supported the tax, which would cost the average driver about $1 a week. They appeared to understand that this is a small price to protect lives threatened by bridges such as Seattle's Alaskan Way viaduct, a twin deck freeway that is used by 100,000 vehicles a day and that could collapse in an earthquake. Their last-minute intervention may have prevented one more disaster for now, but the opposition will undoubtedly be back.

Neither the Gulf Coast nor the Washington state experience is unique. In many parts of the country, the population has outgrown its infrastructure. The resulting decline in quality of life is having a direct effect on the region's corporations as well as on its residents.

Private investment has led U.S. economic growth for two centuries, but it could not have done so without a series of complementary public investments in canals, railroads, roads, the airspace system, water projects, public transportation, public schools and the like, which improve business productivity and our standard of living while generating significant increases in private-sector employment. But these investments have been badly neglected in recent years. A biannual survey by the American Society of Civil Engineers, grading all categories of infrastructure from schools to sewers, indicates a gap of $1.6 trillion over five years between what is needed to bring national infrastructure up to reasonable standards and what is now in prospect. School buildings alone would require $125 billion to reach a minimal standard of safety and soundness.

Americans may not want "big government," but they want as much government as is necessary to be safe and secure. Today state and local governments spend at least three times as much on infrastructure as the federal government does. In the 1960s the shares for both were even. Even so, increases in state spending have not been enough to check the decline in many of our public assets. A new type of federal involvement would be a powerful initiative and would require a new focus. Rebuilding America is a historic task; we have the means to do it.

The shortfall in investment is aggravated by the fact that most infrastructure money is given out by formulas that do not force all projects to be evaluated on consistent or rational terms. The solution to both issues could begin with a national investment corporation (NIC) that would be the window through which states and groups of states and localities would request financing or grants for all infrastructure projects requiring federal participation. It could, over time, replace the existing dedicated trust funds, as well as address new missions for America's public infrastructure programs, including renovation of public school buildings.

The NIC could use its financial power to bring about improvements in policy. Funds for new highways, airports or water projects would not be granted unless modern technology, appropriate user fees and other non-structural solutions had been brought to bear. Capital grants to individual school districts would be contingent on adopting management and human resource practices that would improve school performance.

The NIC should have the authority to issue bonds with maturities of up to 50 years to finance infrastructure projects. The bonds would be guaranteed by the federal government. Such long-lived bonds would align the financing of infrastructure investments with the benefits they create; the repayment of those bonds would allow the NIC to be self-financing. In Europe, the European Investment Bank finances infrastructure in a similar fashion; it has created a superb and efficient European infrastructure, including a high-speed rail network, which is an enormous asset.

The federal budget is in crisis thanks to unwarranted tax cuts, unbounded entitlements, and open-ended commitments for hurricanes and homeland defense. But the budget does not recognize assets; it recognizes only expenditures and liabilities. Under the rules as we have them, the Louisiana Purchase would have been accounted for on the basis of the debt issued to Napoleon, with no recognition of the astounding value created. An entity as large as the U.S. government must have a cash budget. But the use of dedicated, long-term bonds within an NIC would become a de facto capital budget, providing us with better information about the stock of public capital.

There will no doubt be opposition to solving this problem. Advocates of "small government" will characteristically oppose government's performing its valid, historical role. Critics will accuse the NIC of being a "new bureaucracy" when, in fact, it might be the only practical approach to reform in the existing bureaucracies.

The coming year represents the last practical chance President Bush has to make a difference here. The nation's infrastructure crisis is no less serious for being silent. A federal role is needed to fix it, but that role must be reconceived, redrawn and refinanced. Success will improve our quality of life, our standard of living and our competitiveness. That will require government big enough and smart enough to be effective. That was the government of Lincoln and the transcontinental railroad, Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase, and Eisenhower and the national highway program. From Seattle to New Orleans, events are now making it clear that we must return to that long-standing, bipartisan tradition.


David B. Benson said...

We have Shrub, but there was a

Frog from Hell

a long time ago and far away.

DEN said...


Translation: Wheres my frypan dammit!

Oh I'm extinct? OOPS!

ò¿óarol said...

Did I miss some porno???

David B. Benson said...

Carol --- Try The Frog from Hell for kicks...

DEN said...

Frog from Hell Porn?

Might be good 'frog legs'from Hell, MM good!

DEN said...

Catch 22:

The ACLU cannot sue because someone has wiretapped them because they(the ACLU)cannot prove the wiretapping occurred.

Supremes kicked it to the curb.

David B. Benson said...

Den --- That's the way the cookie crumbles.

I doubt that even the more 'liberal' courts of yore would have done differently in this particular case. Its SOP.

DEN said...

Cookies? Thats another story.

A problem with no solution as the public is not privy to the wiretap.

Essentially no one can sue, so the goomers are pretty much able to wiretap at will without warrant.

A case of first impression has not been brought to the courts yet to declare the illegality of wiretapping in this case and is not likely it will happen.

The Supremes need to adhere to and support FISA law for a show of warrant, no warrant? Break the law.

Alan said...

Nope, I'm not at the Obama rally. I didn't sign up for tickets awhile back, when they were offered. I heard it was the biggest one yet population-wise, in the campaign, from any candidate. It's at the Toyota Center, where the Rockets play... but they had a road game tonight... so there could be up to 20,000 ppl there. Guess that makes up for him not agreeing to the debate here. It was canceled. Since him and Hill agreed to only one debate here in Texas, they both decided to have it in a Liberal town... Austin.

Dr. Evil said...

Obama even tied Clinton among white women, Clinton’s core group. Only white women older then 50 appeared to be sticking substantially with Clinton, Russert said.

DRAT! Post-Menopausal women seem immune to spell of My Jungle Drums!

A slight kink in my evil plan, but my evil plan STILL UNFOLDS!

Ha Ha Ha Ha! Heh Heh Har!!!!!!

-Dr Evil