Maybe it's not Apple, but your setup. First, you should still be able to sync via cable/USB to itunes. Look at the itunes General tab for your device once connected. You can turn on itunes syncing there. Likewise you can turn off icloud syncing on your iPhone, Settings>iCloud then turn off any type of syncing your want.
For icloud syncing, you must turn on specific types of syncing as well as turn on iCloud. You need to log in using the proper user/ID and password on all devices. To check if iCloud really is set up properly, use a computer's browser and go to icloud.com. Try logging in. If it works, use the same info to log in on your iphone and MB. If it doesn't work, then you are not use the right ID/password or you do not have an icloud account.
Let us know what happens when you try these things.
I can only agree, I have had numerous problems with iCloud syncing (between iMac OSX Lion and iPhone iOS 5.1.1).
I have disabled all iCloud functions from both my mac (System Preferences > iCloud > uncheck all) and phone (Settings > iCloud > set all to "Off" - EXCEPT "Find My iPhone").
WARNING: In doing this you will likely lose some data from BOTH your Macbook and iPhone - permanently. So be sure to back up everything you can before proceeding.....