20 February 2012

Collage of My Island's (Crappy) Issues

First Clipping: From the venerable Christian Science Monitor, a report on how Puerto Rico's violent drug trade is "seeping" into the U.S. of part of A., and how Washington must act to face this issue. A few lowlights:

--Our homicide rate, a record-high 1,136 for 2011, exceeds evens Mexico's appalling drug violence-fueled murder rate.
--A 76% increase in cocaine seizures in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during 2009 and 2010. Proof that cocaine is flooding the Islands: the street price has dropped substantially.
--The 17,000-member police force is overwhelmed, dispirited and under investigation for widespread corruption by the U.S. of part of A. Justice Department.
--Puerto Rico has become a major money-laundering center for drug monies, in conjunction with the Dominican Republic.

Second Clipping: The son of a noted local businessman was arrested with others in the Dominican Republic, with 122 kilos of cocaine. They were about to board a private plane, owned by Omar Díaz, to return to Puerto Rico. The Dominican authorities thus concluded an 18-month investigation into the activities of Omar Díaz, son of Santos Díaz, with the confiscation of several properties, including a $20 million mansion in La Romana, a resort city in the Dominican Republic. A few tie-ins:

--Santos says his son was "a model worthy of emulation," for he ran the Díaz Enterprises. The mansion in La Romana was one of three confiscated properties "owned" by a Díaz corporation registered in the British Virgin Islands.
--Santos Díaz was a prominent member of the notorious "Businessmen for Rosselló" bribery scheme, where company owners and executives paid $20,000 or more for "access" to government officials.
--Santos Díaz had a company known as Data Research Corporation (DRC), that was awarded a $100 million E-Rate contract to provide Internet access to Our schools. The contract was granted by the now-imprisoned, then-secretary of (mis)education Victor "Delictor" Fajardo, back in the 1990s, during Pedro Stupid Rossellós run as (un)governor. After several years, DRC had "wired" a grand total of 9--NINE--schools and the contract was investigated by the Federal government. That investigation served as the basis for the continuing U.S. Department of Education magnifying glass and reduced funding for technology programs.

Third Clipping: CTIA-The Wireless Association, is suing the (non)government of Puerto Rico over Law 280, which would require a registry for pre-paid cell phone purchases. The law seeks to curtail the use of pre-paid units in the drug trade, but the CTIA points out that the measure "violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and is preempted by federal law." And the CTIA is right. Local telcos have said that the law would be unenforceable, what with over 800,000 of these phones in use and would violate rights to privacy for "battered women and crime victims." The local telcos are right. By the numbers, even if as many as 30% of the phones were used for drug trafficking, why should 70% of the legitimate users be subjected to intrusion, or in the maybe 10% of battered women and crime victims, dangerous exposure?

Here's why: to establish a precedent. Let's not forget that Puerto Rico has been lauded in Republican Party circles as a "model of conservative" government, what with cutting government jobs and creating more stringent laws. But the reality is different: there are MORE government workers now than when The Darling Larva took office and crime is skyrocketing. But if some inroads could be made in further undermining rights in the """name of security,""" then maybe a little GOP oomph would come The Larva's pathetic way.

Fourth Clipping: Research done on recent statistics by local economist Rosario Rivera (@econrivera) shows that the amount of money transferred by the U.S. of part of A to Puerto Rico totals $13.5 billion, but that the amount taken OUT of Puerto Rico is $58.1 billion. Notice the $34 billion figure next to "Rendimientos de Capital"? That is the estimated amount of PROFIT taken out of the Island by U.S.-based companies. According to Rivera and fellow economists, that is the largest amount of profit removed from ANY economy, roughly 2/3 of the total profit generated on the Island. That this situation is exactly the same as it was in 1901, when it was first addressed, despite the changes made in citizenship and political status (from "war booty" to "colony" to "colony is now called commonwealth") goes to show that when it comes to the business of the U.S. of part of A., the bottom line is above everything else. 

Fifth Clipping: In a strong candidate for 2012 "Duh!(nces) of the Year" award, the Center for the New Economy, also known as the Keynestones Kops, "concludes" that social imbalance in Puerto Rico "stumps growth and limits opportunities." How We ever got along without the CNE just boggles My everlovin' mind...Whatever other conclusions the CNE may have stolen from actual researchers, thinkers and analysts might be relevant, but the fact is, the CNE isn't.

That My Island has limited opportunities for economic growth is patently evident and has been since the 1970s. That the chances for social advancement are limited is equally evident; just notice the increase in welfare recipients since the 1980s. That there is a severe reduction in social trust is obvious, becoming crystal-clear in the corruption-fueled, hack-Our-economic-tax-benefits limp-wristed push for statehood of the 1990s.

The CNE has the IQ of spoiled cabbage and is less tasty. Their output is pathetic at best and ridiculously useless at worst. The problems My Island has are very real, very severe and very frightening. But fat-assed """thinking""" paid for by fat-assed fatcats is nothing more than a fatbag of crap.

Which is what this collage is about: crap. Crappy drug war, crappy ethics, crappy policies and crappy economy.

Isn't modern art wonderful?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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