28 November 2008

The "Owners" of Our House

Let's pretend I visit your house.

You offer me food and rest. I decide to stay.

Then, I order you and your family around, use your things and rearrange the rooms.

I take down your photos and religious symbols, replace them with my own and make you speak my language.

One day, I dig up your garden and replace it with crops that I can sell.

You and your family must now buy all of your food from me.

Later, I invite my father and his buddies over.

They bring guns. We take your keys.

I forge a deed and declare my father to be the owner of your house.

I bring more people. Some work for me. Some pay me to stay in your house.

I seize your savings and spend it on my friends.

You and your family now sleep on the porch.

Finally you protest.

Being reasonable, I let you stay in a corner of the house and give you a small allowance, but only if you behave.

I tell you, "Sorry, I was wrong for taking the house."

But when you demand your house back, I tell you to be realistic."You are part of this family now, whether you like it or not," I say. "Besides, this is for your own good.

For all that I have done for you, why aren't you grateful?"

Some of Us feel like that. Some of Us who live on My Island would say that the little allegory above pretty much sums up what the U.S. of part of A. has done with Us. They came, they took, they took over, they marginalized Us, built Our house into a product placement McMansion and We sleep on an air conditioned back porch, part of "the family," but relegated to a step above the family mutt (called Dubya for obvious reasons.)

Some of Us argue that We should ask to be invited into the house and be given permission by the current "owners" to sleep in one of the bedrooms, ignoring the obvious century-old fact that the "owners" want Us on the back porch because We're not one of them.

Others of Us want a better porch, you know, one with a jacuzzi and maybe a few massage chairs. But those same folks aren't willing to work or pay for the "needed improvements" and the "owners" aren't spending another dime on the back porch unless it pays off immediately and lazyboys (double pun very much intended) just don't count.

A handful of Us want to take back Our house, either telling the "owners" it's time they moved out, or to a smaller group, forcing them out as the squatters they are. In either case, it means We take on the full responsibility of owning Our house, in every sense of the word, from maintenance to daily living to future improvements. And sadly, to the majority of Us, that is just too daunting. It literally strikes terror in the masses of porch-dwellers who look around and wail "But look at all We got!", whereas the small group of Us point out "But look at all they've got... that's rightly Ours."

And there We are, on the back porch, some of Us sunning Ourselves, most of Us parked in front of the TV screen that gets adjusted ever so often to avoid the sun's reflection; some of Us timidly tapping on the back door with a ragged fingernail, a few doing the same at a window; some sitting and boasting about who they knew who slept inside or who they know who once served ice cream to the third cousin twice-removed of someone who now sleeps inside; many grumbling about how the porch isn't cool enough and lacks enough ice to be really comfortable, but don't move from their lawn chair to try to solve either problem; a large group of Us sleep quietly, awakening rarely to squawk some name and wave some flag then go back to sleep and some of Us, too few of Us, mutter about how this is not the way things should be and spend Our days wondering why the rest don't get it and unable to come up with a rallying cry to get the people off their chairs, off the floor, off the damn back porch and striding confidently to the front door, knocking sharply and saying in a clear strong voice "We move in next week. And don't forget to take the damn mutt with you."

The Jenius Has Spoken.

P.S.  The quote is from the Free Hawaii blog. Their group of mutterers is certainly much larger and better organized than Ours. 

26 November 2008

Answering Our Tough Status Questions

So I write a post about Our status and then MC Don Dees comes along and drops like a metric ton of questions on Our heads, questions well worth asking, and thus, well worth answering.

Although the sub-text of the questions tends towards "Status is no big deal; stop making it so," the fact is that too many of Us revel in status pettifoggery and headless-chicken racing about it. But the questions are valid, so here We go:

++Why is it important for Puerto Rico to solve the status issue?

If nothing else, to stop its mindless use as an excuse, distraction, cover-up, deception, conspiracy platform and rumor mill. On a more fundamental level, to end Our colonial limbo.

++What are the injustices or needs or freedoms that would be solved (removed/added) by solving the status issue? (Ask an easy one, okay?)

We are a captive market, forced more often than not to buy from the U.S. of part of A. or twist Our economy to fit its goals. We are led by elected political office holders for which We have no vote (President, Congress). I believe self-government is like being an adult: it is a right you earn, not because of age, but because you've shown by your actions you are an adult. Morality and law support the idea that everyone deserves a chance to be an adult; I state We should have that chance. We would lose the overt "safety net" of the U.S., but We'd be in no danger of some armed invasion. (Who would try? Why would they try?) We'd be free to estalish Our own identity, whatever that might be.

++With the exception of the travesty in Vieques, has the US done anything to Puerto Rico like Russia recently did in Georgia?

Agent Orange was tested in Our western mountain ranges, without notification or Our consent. (Exactly like property.) A sterilization campaign as a means of population control was federal government policy in Puerto Rico until the late 1970s. A medical researcher used Puerto Rican patients for cancer testing in the 1930s--pre-Tuskegee Institute--killing all 13 subjects. The doctor was later the namesake for the "exemplary scientist" award of the American Association for Cancer Research. Aside from that--and more--the question implies that unless a surprise armed invasion happens, We have nothing to complain about. We do. What happened in Vieques outright killed two people in 60+ years; unethical military, medical and scientific "research" have killed/maimed hundreds of Us, most likely thousands and U.S. political policy has essentially marginalized Us for decades. At least with an armed invasion, you can shoot back at a clear target.

++If we don't pay taxes to the US, what is it that they are doing to us through their continued colonization of Puerto Rico?  

Raking in the dough. In one word: Profits. Back in 1905, the estimated percentage of profits leaving Puerto Rico--to U.S.-based companies--was 65%. That was considered a problem for Island growth. In 2003, the estimate was that 67% of  the profits generated here were going out, mainly to U.S. companies. That was considered "business as usual." We are a captive customer, a larger client of the U.S. than Canada and a home to over 550 Fortune 1000 U.S. companies. They aren't here for the weather.

++If free trade is a potential reason for sovereignty, what is it that we have that is worth trading that would sustain our economy?

What We have now: human resources, favorable mid-Americas location and a stable sociopolitical climate. Would We have to ramp up Our advantages and create new ones? Certainly. But that's part of being an adult: you have to work hard, with discipline and focus, to earn your way. On a more practical level, Our economic infrastructure--as developed by the U.S.--offers a known level of sophistication that would attract investors, provided We created the proper tax structures and incentive plans.

++If Spain kept Puerto Rico as a colony for 400 years, why isn't there the same level of animosity towards Spaniards as there is towards Americans?

The distance of history, theft and propaganda. Barely anyone alive remembers the Spanish occupation and We barely discuss it in schools, to the point where We don't learn that Spain granted--through negotiation, not arms--a level of autonomy to Puerto Rico in March of 1898 that was more favorable than the mutant hybrid status We have now. As for the "theft" part, the U.S. stole Us from Spain without reason, unless being a bully to an aging whore of an empire 300 years past its glory is a reason. No one likes to be manhandled, and Europe is much older than the U.S., so We tend to revere the "classic" over the "modern."

++If we reject American culture because of its colonization of Puerto Rico, why do we embrace our Spanish culture? Didn't they keep Puerto Rico enslaved for 4 times longer?

We "gained Our identity" with Spain, who brought themselves, Negro slaves and wiped out Our Indians to forge Us. No different than the U.S., whose folks came in from England, brought in Negro slaves and pretty much wiped out their Indians to forge their people. People in the U.S. show a fondness for English things, so why not Us for those of Spain? "Bygones be bygones" and all that, don't you know. And given the way We don't study Our history, We don't really know how bad Spain treated Us. And your question also implies that the U.S. is keeping Us enslaved.

++In today's globalized economy, aren't all economies so closely linked as to be considered tightly integrated into a world economy? Can Puerto Rico sustain itself as an independent economy?

The simple answer to both questions is "yes," but simple answers can lead one astray. Many economic sectors are not directly affected by globalization (local non-professional service industries, specialized retail sales, personal health and legal services, short-run manufacturing, transportation) and thus can serve as launch points to build bridges into a more globalized economy. As for whether Puerto Rico can do it, that's the question independentistas have never been able to answer with any degree of validity, not because there isn't an answer (other countries with less money, fewer people and more limited infrastructure have done well), but because they can't break through their own lust for U.S. greenbacks and convince Puerto Ricans that "Yes, We can." (Catchy slogan, by the way. Make a good political catch phrase, I'd say...

++Many people say that our colonial status, "perceived" lack of identity, or the unconcluded self-determination of status are the reasons we suffer from the effects of drug trafficking, crime, poverty, and government corruption, why do most other independent Latin American countries suffer from the same issues?

Because they are wrong. Our status has nothing to do with drugs, crime, poverty and corruption. Our status is simply the environment in which these ills flourish by personal choice. Dictatorships in Central and South America have the same problem, as do democracies and whatever the hell Venezuela has. However, one ill can be laid largely at the U.S. of part of A.'s doorstep: its insatiable need to buy drugs is what fuels that ill around the world. And again, that ill arises from personal choice. This queston illustrates part of the deception, fraud, lying and demagoguery that surrounds Our status hullaballoo.

++What does it mean to be free? Free from what? Why is it so desirable to be a free country? Does freedom mean that we'll be safe?

"To be free" is very much a subjective definition, depending on the person defining it. "Free from what"--again--depends on the individual. The reason it is desirable to be a free country is to be able to fulfill one's potential in one's own way, a notion that applies to individuals as well. And no, freedom doesn't mean We or anyone will be safe. Safety is a separate issue, but freedom is a right that requires vigilance and sometimes a struggle to defend it.

++Is the desire to be free idealogical or is it based on the motive of what's best for the majority of the people who live here?

To Me, this is the crux of this exercise. Our struggle for self-determination, to be free from outside impositions, is ideological and it is not what's best for the majority of the people who live here. The reason it isn't what's best for them is simply because the majority can neither conceive, believe in or act toward anything better, unless it's handed to them on a silver platter loaded with cash. In other words, without a major, obvious, personal benefit they can receive with little or no effort, Puerto Ricans will not--ever--make the effort to be adults.

++If our motivation is idealogical would it be worth thrusting upon the majority of our citizens the hardships that becoming independent would most assuredly cause?

Yes. But then again, I'm a Jenius and I know better than they do. Another argument is that all growth requires effort and stasis is the low road to extinction. A third argument is that Our settling for less harms everyone while benefiting outsiders and those who suck up to them. A fourth argument is that there is more dignity in standing on your own two feet than loafing at the foot of your master, whether that master is a benevolent parent or an indifferent government. And a fifth argument, for those who say you can't eat or clothe a family in dignity: Have We tried?

++Recently, most Latin American countries have been experiencing economic growth between 6 and 10% annually. Isn't that because most were previously considered under-developed nations?

Could be. It's easier to grow at 10% when you go from $100 billion to $110 billion, rather than growing at 10% trying to go from $1 trillion to $1.1 trillion. Another factor could be that these economies have leap-frogged expensive intermediate steps (in telecommunications and manufacturing) and gone for lower investment/higher return modern options. And a third factor could be the globalized economy that allows for greater (exponential) returns to economic and sociopolitical actions. And yes, by G8 standards, they were under-developed.

++If we're considered (by our own government) to posess a first world infrastructure, where would our economic development come from if we've already risen from third world status?

From that very same infrastructure and what We can build upon it and around it. The question, added to the one above, seems to imply that "high" economic growth comes from being under-developed. That's like saying that great weightlifiting comes from malnourished athletes. Sustainable and socially-enhancing economic growth can happen at a 3-4% annual rate, provided sociopolitical stability is maintained and wealth distribution isn't concentrated in a tiny percentage of the population. The infrastructure We have gives Us the tools to build a present and future economy. It's what We have and it will do... if We choose to use it to the best of Our abilities.

++If we are already proud to be Puerto Rican why do we abuse the island environmentally or abuse our fellow citizens?

Because in many ways, We're not proud to be Puerto Ricans: We're vain to hide insecurity. It's pretty much the same difference between loving someone--defects and all--and lusting after someone for having a great body or a fancy car. Lust and vanity are ignited  by external (extrinsic factors) and are fed by insecurity, a feeling of not being worthy, whereas love and pride flow from internal (intrinsic) factors based on feelings of self-worth. The first are fleeting sparks, and though fierce, fade quickly. The second run deep, flaring occasionally, but burning bright through dark and light. 

++What does it mean to be proud to be Puerto Rican? What exactly are we proud of? Sure there are achievements, I'm not speaking of that. If we are so concerned with what our families, neighbors, and friends think about where we live, what kind of car we drive, or what brand of clothes we wear, why doesn't that same concern for self-image expand to what other countries think of Puerto Rico when they visit or observe the island?

I'll start at the end and work My way back. We don't care about Our image abroad, or what We show visitors here, because We think of them as We think of Ourselves: not worthy. The "keeping up with the Rivera's" syndrome is part of every society; in that We're no different than the "Joneses" in the U.S., the "Humphries'" in Great Britain or any number of examples dating back to antiquity. As for what it means to be proud to be Puerto Rican, it means--albeit to Me--to acknowledge Our differences, Our culture and achievements, while also acknowledging Our place in the world. It's not "Puerto Rico, love it or leave it," but "Puerto Rico, love it for what it is and could be."

As for what We are proud of...Roberto Clemente, danzas, Rafael Hernández, Luis Muñoz Marín, Rafael Cordero, Richard Carmona, plenas, Pedro Albizu Campos, "La llamarada," Enrique Laguerre, Ramón Frade, José De Diego, Sylvia Rexach, Carlos Delgado, Head Start (conceived and implemented in San Juan by Mayor Felisa Rincón), José Ferrer, Teodoro Moscoso, the Ponce Art Museum, Julia De Burgos, Raúl Juliá, José Celso Barbosa, Ramón Frade, Rita Moreno, Justino Díaz, Antonio Paoli, Pedro Flores, Juan "Pachín" Vicens, Rosario Ferré, Antonio Barceló, Eugenio María de Hostos, Ramón Emeterio Betances, ay bendito, "La carreta," René Marqués, Taínos, abolishing slavery sans bloodshed, Esmeralda Santiago, Luis Lloréns Torres, bombas, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Benicio Del Toro, Luis Palés Matos, J-Lo and Marc Anthony, Evaristo Ribera Chevremont, Antonio Barasorda, Chita Rivera, Tito Rodríguez, Gigi Fernández, Tito Puente, Marisol Malaret, el cuatro, the Casals Festival, José Feliciano, Manual G. Tavárez, reggaeton, Ednita Nazario, Antonia Coello Novello, Ricky Martin, Ana G. Méndez, María Celeste Arrarás, Agustín Ramos Calero (Our most-decorated WWII soldier), Jorge Otero Barreto (most-decorated Army soldier of the Vietnam War), los seis, Gilberto Concepción de Gracia, Luis Muñoz Rivera, Manuel Zeno Gandía, Ernesto Ramos Antonini, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Wilfredo Gómez, Edgardo Martínez, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, fiestas patronales, Iván Rodríguez, José Gautier Benítez, Chi Chi Rodríguez, Rebekah Colberg, Virgilio Dávila, misas de gallo, the Vatican's select coffee, Bacardi, José Campeche, Angel Botello, Sixto Escobar, Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez, Nydia Velázquez, Agustín Stahl, Miguel García Méndez, Daddy Yankee, Sonia Sotomayor, salsa, Medal of Honor winners (Eurípides Rubio, Fernando Luis García, Héctor Santiago-Colón), Roberto Alomar, Carlos Arroyo, Antonio Martorell, Lorenzo Homar, Hermán Badillo, Modesto Cartagena (most-decorated Hispanic in U.S. history), Benjamín Marcantoni, Giannina Braschi, Fernando Rodríguez Vargas, Hila Levy, Sor Isolina Ferré, Lisa Fernández, Francisco Oller, Antonia Pantoja, and so so much more...

The Jenius Has Spoken

24 November 2008

Referendum or Restitution?

This is gonna let some worms out of the can...

While researching some points on Hawaiian independence for an earlier post, I came across the World History Blog, discussing that subject. Although Hawaii's situation is very different from Puerto Rico's (they gave sovereignty to the U.S. in 1898, the same year the U.S of part of A. took Our autonomy by unsigned treaty), there is one common point: a referendum to decide political status.

In Hawaii's case it was a statehood vote; in Puerto Rico it was a choice to establish some new "compact" later called commonwealth. Many groups in Hawaii are still objecting to the change to statehood, and in the World History Blog post, the first argument point is that U.S. military personnel was allowed to vote in the referendum. Then comes this statement:

The second point is that the vote is illegal under UN rules as there was no choice for independence on the ballot. However, the UN certified this vote by removing Hawaii from the list of non self-governing territories. As this was a requirement of the UN, the UN had the legal right to interpret the vote. Hawaii was deemed to be a part of the USA by the international community by this action of the UN.

In other words, by being declared self-governing, the pro-statehood vote (94% of the votes cast, though only 29% of the eligible voters voted; talk about minority rule...) was deemed to be legally binding for the territory. In fact, neither domestic nor international law recognizes a right to a plebiscite before a transfer of sovereignty. Therefore, the U.N. resolution recognized Hawaii's right and authority to choose statehood.


Here's a quote from Wikipedia: During its 8th session, the United Nations General Assembly recognized Puerto Rico's self-government in November 27, 1953 with Resolution 748 (VIII). This removed Puerto Rico’s classification as a non-self-governing territory (under article 73(e) of the Charter of the United Nations). (Emphasis Mine.)

Puerto Rico held its constitutional referendum in 1950. The constitutionally-based commonwealth was inaugurated on July 25th, 1952. And yet, the U.N. recognized Puerto Rico's self-government in November 27, 1953.

Hooboy, We have a problem. For you see, up until that day almost exactly 55 years ago, We were not considered self-governing. So the process--the so-called negotiation--between the U.S. and Puerto Rico that led to the commonwealth "experiment" was not, as the pro-commonwealth party has always insisted, a deal between equals, it was an I-agree-to-allow-you hand-me-down between sovereign nation and its territory.

Therefore, if according to international law We stopped being a colony in 1953, then We have to face up to certain truths:

--As a self-governing territory, it is up to Us--and no one else--to make the focused effort to establish Our permanent status.

--The only binding plebiscite is a Congressionally-mandated referendum wherein We can put into motion whatever ultimate status We choose.

One can argue, like I do, that We are still a colony. Calling a politician a human being doesn't make him one. (Weak example, but Me like being snarky...) And under Our Constitution, We have no other choice but to establish a Congressional playing field for Us to then decide Our status future.

It's not like We haven't tried, though: 1898, 1912, 1914, 1919, 1923, 1929, 1932, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1948, 1956 and 1960 were "trying" years (in more ways than one.) Even if We "legally" couldn't have one until late 1953, that's 0-for-11 right there. Then in 1967, Our first true plebiscite went for commonwealth and nowhere (in more ways than one.) More local ones in 1993 and 1998 proved to be underwhelming, the last having 50.3% of the vote being for "None of the above."

So should We be trying for a referendum that Congress has shown for 110 years it isn't willing to be serious about or should We take the position of "You owe Us" with the U.S. for making an illegal grab of Our Island back in 1898?

Both positions run like crazed weasels through Our daily political life. I have a suggestion: Since the only option We can choose that doesn't require extensive negotiations with Congress and the Federal government is independence, how about We start ignoring the "ties that bind Us" and start acting independently, as if Our sovereignty were a given and thus to be used?

Impossible, you say? Why no. It's as easy as making a worldwide public proclamation to that effect and then walking the talk.

The U.S. won't stand for it, you say? Of course not. But how will they try to stop it...without placing the issues We need to discuss in full view?

It wouldn't work, you say? Not with the current crop of cretins We have in charge, but that's where We--the people, the voters--come in.

We've given the U.S. 110 years to make up Our minds for Us, almost exactly half of that time covered by years in which We could have done it Ourselves. In a matter of days, We will have spent more time with the power to decide than without it...and here We remain, between referendum and restitution. As We were in 1898, 1912, 1914, 1919, 1923, 1929, 1932, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1948, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1993, 1998 and 2008. And every year in between.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

21 November 2008

And There I Stand

Apropos of I don't remember what, I read this blog post on 3by9.com and have excerpted the following:

Many people use their blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. to rant, snark, and other wise (sic) express themselves. In many of those writings the writer is sharing an experience, talking about something he/she does or doesn’t like, telling someone off, disagreeing with someone, agreeing with someone only to have others disagree with their opinion…it comes in many flavors. Do you think about how the person or company you’re writing or talking about will take what you’ve said? If you say something behind someone’s back did you think about how he/she will take it if they found out what you said?

...It is easy to sit back with the “shield” of the internet and throw stones criticizing people, many times with no real basis (you know, like facts) to back up what was written. It is very easy to take a “persona” and try to detach yourself from the persona saying the things that could land one in hot water. The common thought process is that the person writing will never see the person being written about, so why not?

Think again. 

...Did you expect the person you talked about behind their back to find out about it?

...Be careful what you say and how you say it yet be true to yourself. 
(Emphasis Mine.)

Just this week I interviewed the incoming House President Jenniffer González, or as I called her recently, Jenniffer "Gluttony" González. (I missed a chance to be very clever by not calling her "Gluttonny".) I have also interviewed current House President José "Puppet" Aponte, incoming governor Luis "Larva" Fortuño and current Mayor of Caguas Willie "Multiple Nicknamies" Miranda over the past two years.

First of all, I'm aghast that I have actually done this many interviews with parasites. (There I go again...) Second, I fully expect for these people to do one thing concerning My opinion of each of them: Ignore it.

For one, I'm not on their A-list of reading material, assuming they know how to read. (Uh-huh, doing it again...) Second, even if they did find out what I wrote about them, I wouldn't feel bad about it at all. Unlike the 3by9 post's argument of lacking facts, I always place My facts or rationale alongside My criticisms, attacks and/or pejorative nicknames. You may argue about the validity of the facts, but I have taken the time to include them aong with My thought processes and thus you and the person targeted have My viewpoint as complete as can be.

So when I highlighted the last two sentences of the excerpt, I did so with the intention of replying to their thrusts. Yes, I blog as if the people I write about will find out what I said about them. I may not think it likely that they will, but I am prepared if and when they do. For example, if "Gluttonny" (Oh boy, talk about a drumbeat...) had asked Me why I gave her that nickname, I would point to the post and say "You're in politics mainly for yourself." She could argue that I'm wrong, but the weight of the evidence--as I see it--shows her grabbing everything she can for her own benefit. Thus, "Gluttony," now "Gluttonny."

Offensive? Yes. Gluttony is a deadly sin. Inaccurate? No. And there I stand. For the last sentence I quoted above is where I have always stood, saying what I think in a manner consistent with My thoughts. You may argue about the style and many do, but no one--as I have said before--no one has ever accused Me of saying anything except what I believe.

Now as to whether this "opinion cloud" is right or should be managed in some other way is an entirely different discussion. For now, Jellyfish or Larva, Tantrum or Gluttony, Il Castrao or Puppet, let them read what I think and then decide if it merits attention or not. Either way, there I stand.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

19 November 2008

Comments on Puerto Rican Independence

My Thanks once again to Global Voices Online for picking up another Jenius post. However, this time they listed Me as "Jil the Genius." Versatile, I am.

While I was there pondering the "Jil the Genius" change, I noticed a section titled "Puerto Rico: Independence, Anybody?" Thanks to Skye Hernández, My original July 4th "Independence (Some)Day" post was highlighted for discussion. Six comments appear of which one is largely a repeat. 

The first (and fourth) comment are from ronbothunter, who amongst his remarks says "Puerto Ricans, who desire to be free, must always know that the federal government, here in the States has no “subject matter jurisdiction” over the person, case or location and should be challenged to proof (sic) it."

Actually, this point goes against Puerto Rico and has been "proofed" several times, with the most convincing argument being Our Constitution, which clearly states We have a subordinate role voluntarily accepted. To challenge the question of jurisdiction must begin with challenging whether Our Constitution--Our "compact"--has a legally valid basis from the point of view of whether We had any other real option or not. In other words, Our fight is not with the U.S. and its indifference, but with Us and Our search for convenience.

In his second comment (the fourth shown), ronbothunter adds this: "The Federal Government owns Puerto Rico as an ASSET, because it is a slave colony—whether you like the idea or not. But the Federal Government takes orders from those who own and run this (Corporation) Country, but are not of this country. The International Bankers, who really own the corporations called the USA, will let PR be free, only if enough real men of Boricua blood wish to be free, by reserving their rights under the Constitution."

The operative words here are slave, colony, corporation and international bankers. Although I am one who has advocated the economic imposition of U.S. interests on Puerto Rico--thus making Us a colony--We are not slaves. And to call a government a corporation to later state that said "corporation" is run by international bankers is like calling a race horse a playing card and casino dealers the Gnomes of Zurich. (To make it easier for ronbothunter to understand: Your statements are one foot below the heights of stupid conspiracy thinking.)

The second comment listed is from Jerri Johnson who states: "In my investigation I have found no real way for us to continue with the lives we have and be independence (sic). Twist the number (sic) around anyway (sic) you want complain all you want but no matter how you do it we are very well off when compared to others and will likely be even stronger if we chose statehood. Hawaii certainly improved greatly after choosing state hood (sic)."

True, We are better off than most other "non-industrial" countries because of Our relationship with the U.S. of part of A. But your investigations, Jerri, mean squat as to whether We can or cannot continue with the lives we have and be independence (sic). Just because you--and Independence Party president-until-death Rubén Berríos--can't come up with a solution doesn't mean there isn't one or several. 

And though Hawaii may have improved greatly after choosing state hood (sic), any simple search for independence movements in Hawaii will reveal a deep level of discontent with the process and end result. Sadly, even Vermont--yes, Vermont--shows a stronger independence movement than We do.     

Comment #3, by ecoavila, is another example that monkeys can learn to type. Badly.

Comment #5, by Antonio Santiago, is short and sweet: "I love your article! May Free Independent Puerto Rico LIVE FOREVER!" Unfortunately, he isn't referring to My article. 

And in the last (for now) comment, Eduardo García writes: "…independence will never happen for we the puerto rican (sic) VAST MAJORITY do not want it or SEEK it!!!!" I agree, but it's distrubing to Me that in 3 out of 5 instances, he didn't capitalize "Puerto Rico", but did so 2 out of 2 times for "United States/Estados Unidos de America (sic)." Then he closes this depressing session by plunging headfirst into the ideological latrine of confusing dissent with disillusion by stating that independence-minded people--patriots in every sense of the word--should "...pack your bags and move to the dominican republic (sic) or la madre patria (sic) for yours is a lost and unwanted cause in puerto rico (sic[kening])." 

Sigh. And a strong need to spit.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


17 November 2008

Sleep, Perchance to... Dread

I think I've forgotten how to sleep. Not in the sense of "not sleeping," but in the sense of "sleeping badly."

Now part of that could be age-related. I'm not 18, or 28 or even 38 anymore. And despite avoiding drugs, alcohol, Republicans and unprotected sex, I haven't been so good at avoiding walls, fences, trees, ground, other bodies, exhaustion and sub-standard eating habits. In other words, I've pushed My body too hard, too often with too little and where chemicals didn't get Me, I got Me.

Still, I'm in fairly good health for having had almost two dozen fractures, almost three dozen severe sprains, a couple of dislocated shoulders (I barely have two as it is) and a diet that often only consisted of caffeine, sugar and whatever meat by-products were within reach. Now don't get the impression I'm clumsy or uninformed: I'm not. But I am given to excesses when My ego is on the line. (And there's an admission I've never made before.)

Back to sleeping. I first thought I'd forgotten how to sleep almost a year ago, but simply let the thought take a hike. But, like its progenitor, it came coming back, because the problem kept coming back in the form of severe neck and shoulder stiffness.

"Age-related." Uh-huh. Could be. But knowing that it couldn't be age-related (it's Me We're talking about here, okay?), I figured I'd actually analyze how I sleep.

(Go ahead, figure out if you've ever done that.)

And what I discovered was quite simple: I sleep badly. I literally hit the sack in whatever position I drop into and let that be My guide for the next few hours. And over time, those laissez-faire slumbers, even for just 3-4 hours a night, have taken a toll.

Instead of seeking a relaxing posture, I would consistently fall asleep with twisted neck and shoulders and unbalanced body. Too scientific? Too analytical? I figured not when I realized that most people will blame anything for their physical maladies except their own behavior. My severe morning stiffness (make your own joke, if you absolutely must) was--in every way--MY problem. I didn't need a pill or a doctor, I simply needed to adapt and adjust.

I'm not saying I have any great insight here, only that I have an insight. But if I'm writing about this now, you must have reached the conclusion that My problem, rather than being solved, is continuing. It is. For despite insight, I keep acting like I will, eventually, "fall back" into the right habit. And it hasn't happened yet.

The right pillow. The right mattress. The proper relaxed posture and positioning. Exercise to reduce the current muscle strain. Stretching. So many variables for what has usually been--and should be literally--a no-brainer. You might see it as very simple and it may very well be. But not to Me. Because it's simple largely to the extent you focus on solving it, and despite My problem analysis, I don't really pay much attention to forging a solution. To Me, it's just a minor problem. But untended, minor problems have a tendency to become major ones.

They say that defining a problem is halfway to a solution, and that to move effectively on a solution, making a public statement about it is a huge step forward. Done and done. Now Let's see what happens in those moments when sleep should be the restful slumber that knits the soul rather than a prelude to slowly-fading pain. 

The Jenius Has Spoken.

15 November 2008

Crystal Ball Time

Here are some predictions for the incoming administration led by Luis "Larva" Fortuño:

--A power struggle with Thomas "Tantrum" Rivera, future senate president. Larva will get run over by the Tantrum, but will make it seem as if the hit-and-run was really a "working agreement for the good of the people and to ensure progress."

--Jenniffer "Gluttony" González will crash into her role as the new president of the house of representatives and raise being loud to overcome deficiencies to the level of art.

--New commonwealth party president Hector "What Am I Doing Here?!" Ferrer will pick and choose his moments so as to place others--such as Willie "Musical Chairs" Miranda--at the forefront of the several iffy propositions this struggling party has. One of the stickiest points: Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo, exiting governor, will be nailed on some of his charges.

--The Larva will get entangled in social issues rather than devoting himself to economic ones. Why? He thinks he needs to establish a social platform in order to become an effective leader. He is wrong.

--As the economic situation gets worse around the world and the local prospects dim, Larva and minions will develop a "mountain out of molehill" approach to Our issues, in essence exaggerating the impritance and value of peripheral matters in order to distract and obfuscate. (The media will play along like starving retarded sheep.)

--No vital project in education, health or energy will emerge during 2009. The hemorrhage of educational funds will be masked by "new" funds, the near-bankrupt health system will be propped by fiscal shenanigans and the desperate need to enhance Our energy infrastructure will play second fiddle to bombast, hot air and pie-in-the-sky theorizing.

--Before the year is out, a major coalition from within the party will be directly undermining the Larva at the legislative and municipal levels. Why? To force his resignation as potential gubernatorial candidate in 2012. The party bigwigs don't want him, the party power-brokers don't need him and the party base will see his Larva-ness as "Jellyfish Part Two," and will want to hold onto their 2008 gains with a new candidate.

Conclusion: Another slow-motion roller coaster ride through the dregs of inertia and political filth. Woo. And hoo.

The Jenius Has Spoken. 

12 November 2008



It's that tiME of the year when intelligence, creativity, conscience and history coME together to celebrate ME and My ME-ness.

Just to get you into the celebratory mood, play this video. It's only 21 seconds long, so I can be patient...

I deserve the huzzahs, having successfully navigated the waters (hahahahaflood) of Life, the horrors of Election Year and the 16th consecutive losing season of the Pittsburgh Pirates to stand triumphantly atop Mount MEBirthday and cheer.

For those of you who haven't noticed, I launched Jenius Jots, which needs a subtitle, like "The Daily Newspaper for People who Read" or "The World as I see It, in Facet Form" or "I Read 2 Hours so You Can Read for 10 MinutEs" or "Now What?"

Apropos of it being My birthday, I do have a couple of anecdotes to share, from recent experiences:

The other day I followed an old MarriEd couple from a departMEnt store to the superMarkEt, a total of MaybE 20 MinutEs, simply because their every utterance was another salvo in an endless arguMEnt. It caught My ear when they started with oatMEal and who wanted soME, who didn't, how much there was at hoME and MEsMErized Me as they continued through curtains, toasters, apples, coffee, milk and the lunch MEnu. This couple had honed their fighting so that every phrase coMbinEd words, tone and timing in a Multi-layerEd attack worthy of a really uncoMfortablE one-act play.

I stopped following them after he declared he wanted to eat lunch, ordered her to check the MEnu, she refused because she didn't want to eat lunch and they sniped at each other, walking in slow circles between the bakery, liquor and detergent sections.

Earlier today, I ran into the doctor I visited 6 years ago and who, when looking at My cholesterol result of 340, asked Me "What are you going to do?" My answer--"Sell when it hits 400"--got Me a reMarkablE stinky-eye response.  I went to her last month and hadn't had a chance to see her after My cholesterol level had been checked. When I told her it was 207, she asked "Do you have a little joke for that?" to which I replied (I was forced to... really): "It's lower than My IQ." 

Her response MadE the first stinky-eye feel warm and cuddly.

A normal person would switch doctors at this point. I just called her office and MadE an appointMEnt for next Thursday.

I'm grateful to My family and friends for their loving support and birthday wishes and look forward to the pizza party I'll have later today. In any case, My birthday celebration usually starts in October and ends in DeceMbEr, so there's plenty of tiME to live it up soMe MorE.

Last comMEnt: Do you know what My favorite pseudo-scientific word is? MEME!

The Jenius--Me!--Has Spoken.

10 November 2008

Larva Lowdown

In the kind of coup you see in Three Stooges films, governor-elect Luis "Larva" Fortuño showed two serious problems before he takes office:

1) He has no control over his party.

2) His biggest supporters are numbskulls. Even by statehood party standards.

Squabbling on the victory platform turned what should have been a crowning political moment (akin to winning Miss Pork Sausage 2008) into a hissy-fit, led by the usually-offensive Thomas "Tantrum" Rivera. "Tantrum" has the demeanor of an S.S. trooper and the behavioral pattern of a rabid dog with itchy butt. A loyal supporter of former governor Pedro Stupid Rosselló, "Tantrum" is best known for acting all hinky and snarly when his limited intelligence or vocabulary is challenged.

Given that, you can see why he's the next Senate President. No? Well, golly gee, slap My tushie and call Me Tammy! He's there because soon-to-be-former Senate President Kenneth "Slow-brow" McClintock is a traitor! To the party! Useless! (I'm imitating "Tantrum." No, I'm probably quoting him.)

So Stupid supporters--and the party "elite" is filled with them, leaving dregs of dregs for the Larva--have their strong lever in the Larva cabinet. Over in the House, former Stupid puppet José "Scarecrow" Aponte, whose Christmas list used to be only "I wish I had my own brain", battled feebly against the ponderous juggernaut known as Jenniffer "Gluttony" Gonzalez, the 32-year old bulldozer who's best known for her championing of... herself.

Glued to the Larva from way back, "Gluttony" set her sights on leap-frogging (with hydraulic assistance, naturally) more experienced representatives and achieved that goal. She brings no clear platform other than naked self-interest. At least in that sense, We know what to expect.

So dismal is this scenario that one local paper weakly defended the mutiny by saying that the Larva would have "approval and control of the budget," decided at the House level, ignoring the fact that it is at the Senate level that specific appropriations--the earmarks and handouts--are doled out. "Control of the budget?" Dream on.

Four years ago, We saw a weak-willed governor take office with a hostile Legislature as opposition. In about 7 weeks, We will see a weak-willed governor take office with a hostile Legislature as opposition. And if you think because they all nominally belong to the same party that this will mean greater cooperation between them than what We had these past four years, let Me remind you that the crudest, bloodiest and most injurious wars are, without question, civil wars.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

07 November 2008

Election Recap(sizing)

Turning My attention to the local scumfest known as general elections, the statehood party bounced into power at the executive, legislative and municipal levels, handing the commonwealth party its largest setback since 1968, the first time the statehooders won.

Now all they had to do was beat a non-governor with 24 Federal charges hanging over his head, who followed his own party's female quitter, amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression. 

Wow. That's like beating up a mummy. 

More on those two parties in a moment. Let's turn Our attention to the lesser lights, the smaller dim-bulbs of Our political system, the independence party (PIP, as abbreviated in Spanish) and the PPR, Rogelio "Flaming Kamikaze" Figueroa's crashed party.

Neither party achieved the minimum 3% of the total vote (down this year to 79% of the total registered voters, a minor scandal in and of itself that can be explained by increasing voter indifference and the exodus of the middle class). As such, both parties must collect signatures and get reinstated.

Bluntly, neither should. The PIP has taken a lofty ideal and turned it into a boring social club whose budget comes directly from the government. The independentista movement is not dead, it's simply caught in the clutches of dessicated goons. To reinstate the party at this point is to openly admit that its sole purpose is to suck greenbacks into private pockets. If you look at the PIP "campaign," you'll see lousy party offices, few ads (and they get most of those costs reduced to peanuts or nothing by true believers) and fat cats. Major party funding for a small social club. You can draw the picture.

As for the PPR, despite the warnings and advice, they fell far short of any solid showing...and yet the outnumbered the PIP by almost 1%. That a fourth party, a lamebrained newcomer led by a delusional neophyte with no solid agenda could get more votes than a historical party based on the purest patriotic ideal is the clearest sign that the PIP should just go away. For the PPR, however, the victory is hollow, for not one of their candidates earned anywhere near enough votes to earn a seat anywhere.

Of course, both parties recite the tired mantra of "We will continue the battle," but they are lying to themselves. The PIP is a money-grubbing ghost whose remaining ideal is freeloading. The PPR, a party launched by environmental enthusiasts, stands for nothing except the clearest example of how not to actually become a party.

The "clever" solution is to have both parties merge and by combining the accumulated political savvy of the PIP (especially where filching from Us and Uncle Sam is concerned) with the energetic cluelessness of the PPR, you could create a viable (4-6% of the vote) party for 2012. 

That's the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is merging the two and having the PIP weaseling out the PPR, thus destroying the only viable pro-political process movement this Island has.

That Luis "Larva" Fortuño beat Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo was a given; that the Larva doesn't have control of his own party was My given, and so it has become apparent. On the very victory platform, two elected candidates started openly jostling for senate and house presidencies, and despite the Larva's mealy-mouthed order to cease and desist, the jostling continued and bore fruit.

More on those two some other day. For now, it merits notice that the Larva is seeing the openexpression of what party elite and close observers have been feeling but not saying for a long time: Fortuño is a pendejo, deemed gutless and bereft of the brass balls the statehood party equates with true political smarts. That balls are not where thinking occurs is exactly the problem with the statehood party.

Add to this that the Larva makes McCain seem like a liberal and you have an amorphous governor-elect, incapable of controlling his own party and out of touch with the current White House. 

This bodes well for Us, huh?

And what about the Jellyfish? Well, he resigned as president of his party, about 6 months too late. The scramble to not fill the vacant post is akin to a group playing musical chairs that keep humming loudly when the music stops. The front runner to become the president of theLusitiania party is Willie "Dark Horse No More?" Miranda, the oft-elected Mayor of Caguas. But, the party and Our society don't go well with dark horses (emphasis on "dark") and there's also the matter of age: Willie has lots of it. Based on that, they'll most likely ask him to become the new Executive Director of the party and eventually pick one of the young guns in the Senate as party president to vie for La(rva) Fortaleza in 2012.

Two more things: I maintain that the U.S. of part of A. will never grant Us statehood. But the election of Barack Obama as President does give statehooders a new ray of hope. For whatever that's worth.

And the huge electoral sweep, with the statehood cabal winning the vast majority of Senate and House seats triggers Our constitutional "minorities" adjustment, where 5 more senators and 6 more representatives are added to keep the majority party from having a constant decisive (2/3 of membership) control. So not only did most of the damned parasites get re-elected, We now have more of them to suck Our life and future away.

Woo-hoo! We showed them, didn't We?

The Jenius Has Spoken.


05 November 2008

A Dream to Remember

I never thought I would see such a thing in My lifetime. Born at a time when the self-proclaimed leading democracy in the world did not allow certain citizens to vote because of the dark color of their skin, last night's thunderous election of Barack Obama is a true turning point in history.

Forty-four years have passed between the Voting Rights Act and the new President-elect, 44 years that encompass the needlessly-violent reality of a civil rights movement, the criminal death of its most charismatic leader and the embattled rise of minorities in a nation that calls itself a melting pot, but has always acted more like a centrifuge, spinning components into separate sections.

The reality of Obama's election is a mirror for generations and races. To My generation, it is the acceptance of an arrival long overdue. To those older than Me it is a paradigm shift from when "they" were "less" than "Us." To the younger sets, it is the acknowledgement and long-awaited proof that the fading American dream of rising to success through determination, self-growth and skill still holds true.

To minorities in the U.S., who live marginalized while hearing fancy words about empowerment and inclusion, one of theirs has climbed the mountaintop. To African-Americans, this means far too much for Me to even begin to imagine the response, but I can say this: Obama's father was black, his mother white. My son's mother is black and I am white. To look at Obama, President-elect Obama, is to see My son's future in a way it could never be seen before.

And in the moment of triumph, the camera lingered on the face of Rev. Jesse Jackson, the first African-American to run for the Presidency and a man who was standing next to his mentor, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., when that singular civil rights leader was brought down by a bullet in the tragic months of 1968. Rev. Jackson's tears flowed freely, his hand occasionally pressing against his lips as if to contain even greater emotions. Someday soon I hope to discover his thoughts at the moment, as the years and events tumbled through his mind, hoping his vaunted eloquence can do justice to so monumental a task.

And I can't help but wonder if, within those sharp and lingering memories, he recalled the simple request made by Dr. King on that spiritual day when he spoke for so many of Us: I have a dream...that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

The road ahead is by no means smooth or easy. The nation's first black President inherits a murderous moron's cauldron of chaos, with two mismanaged wars, an economic debacle, shredded Constitution and increased global contempt for what the U.S. of part of A. is, does and stands for. But last night, President-elect Obama, in his acceptance speech, addressed the world. And unlike every other acceptance speech by every other President-elect in history, this time the world was watching and listening.

The first African-American President. The first truly global President. A dream I and many others never thought We'd see. Let's hope--and make sure--than when My son and Our children look back on it, it will be a dream to remember.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

04 November 2008

Political Future

Politics--and history--are the order of the day, but in true Jenius fashion, this is about Me.

Over at Puerto Rico: A Paradise Lost?, The Insider has quoted Me extensively regarding his support for Rogelio Figueroa's Puertorriqueños por Puerto Rico (PPR) party platform:

"When I want expert blogger insight on Puerto Rican politics, I read Gil the Jenius. A quick search of his blogs shows that Gil does not have much confidence in him to say the least, describes him as an advocate lacking the experience and know-how of a political leader, and even “Egofabulous” with a questionable wardrobe during the final debate.  

(Boxed quote: ) "Rogelio is as useful to Our politics as a baby bottle is to an auto mechanic."

If the man was as visionary as one might claim his platform is, I would think Gil might have plans to vote from someone other than Spongebob."

First, some housekeeping: Yes, I did vote for Spongebob and Pepe Le Pew...and no one else, and I will soon post a response to The Insider's expanded take on local alternative energy production.

Back to the kamikaze. I have indicated before that I did meet with Rogelio and his "executive team" to discuss rewriting/editing the party's platform and (I mention now) to serve as a consultant to his party's campaign. I will also point out that I have never done that before and after this experience, will never do it again.

I knew very little about Rogelio and his party before the meeting, so I did the basics: For one, I read the party platform off its website. Killed two birds with one stone since I was going to have to rewrite it (I thought.) What I read struck as Me as idealistic and off-target with the average voter, aiming at environment and energy when the voter wants economy and employment.

But I didn't disagree with it.

In fact, I recently found a column I wrote for PuertoRican.com, dated January 28th, 2002, in which I outlined 5 basic points a platform had to have to successfully launch a new party in Puerto Rico:

1) No status position. It would literally push the status issue to the backest burner, where it belongs.
2) Clean Government. Really clean, not “whitewash” city.
3) Refocus to high-tech economic growth. This Island is twenty years’ behind the times with its neurotic focus on manufacturing as primary economic engine. 
4) Revamping education to world standards. The Knowledge Economy doesn’t work with 50% functional illiteracy and a fraud-ridden, ill-designed Educational system.
5) Reducing the Government’s size through privatization. Controversial as all get out, but economically sound, especially in terms of foreign investment into Puerto Rico.

I later expanded these same points in a column dated February 4th, 2002. And though at the time I wrote the columns to suggest that then-Federal Prosecutor Guillermo Gil be the main candidate of that party, I did so on the basis that he was a political outsider who could launch reforms from his power base.

But notice that in all 5 of the points I dropped online in 2002, the PPR and I are in substantial agreement. (I'd link you to an English version of the platform, but the PPR doesn't have one. If that doesn't tell you We're a monolingual country, what will?)

So why am I down on the PPR? (Make no mistake: even if they get 10% of the votes, I'll still be down on them.) Two words: power base. Back in 2002, Guillermo Gil had one if he wanted to use it; in 2008 Rogelio doesn't have one and he's unwilling to build one.

My first inkling that Rogelio was off ego-tripping was when he told Me that, very early that morning, 6 people on the street came up to greet him as he came into his office. And that, he pointed out with a touch of excitement, was after only one TV interview! I let it slide, but when he repeated it, I pointed out that at that early hour, 5 of those 6 people were homeless and didn't vote. (His party offices are not in prime urban real estate, if you catch My drift.)

I suggested he had to overcome his inexperience in politics and build a power base by running for the Senate, as an at-large candidate, to give him and his party time to learn the ropes, develop a network of relationships and get a true feel for what they were up against. I also suggested finding two spotless outsider candidates to run for governor and head beggar (okay, resident commissioner). He asked Me why and I explained that the gubernatorial candidate would carry the message to the people and against the opposition, and though that candidate would lose, Rogelio and the party would become stronger through exposure, by not only getting the word out, but by attacking the points the PPR wanted to highlight as crucial.

I said the PPR was not a "governing" party, but a "political activism" party, i.e., one that could participate and create changes from the inside. For that reason, the PPR had to do two things: (1) Get Rogelio and one other candidate elected as legislators and, (2)  Preserve and expand the party's franchise by achieving more than 5% of the votes.

In a talking points memo I drafted on June 2, 2008 (e-mail Me and I'll send you a copy; it's in Spanish), the first 3 points in that memo are about what I have just written. The PPR had a perfect "outsider gubernatorial candidate," a successful, semi-retired business man who'd made significant contributions to both major local parties and, as I immediately pointed out, was immune from attack by them because he would know "where the bodies are buried." We had to explain that point to Rogelio.

Despite My bluntness--or maybe because of it--Rogelio kept insisting he could--no, that he should--run for governor. I asked him point-blank if he could garner the 900,000 or so votes needed to beat the incumbent and his major party opponent. Rogelio said that of course he could, that he thought he could get a million votes. I then pointed out what I'd learned in doing the basics: On Google (at the time), Governor Aníbal Acevedo pulled in 14,000 results, ex-governor Pedro Rosselló pulled in 11,000, Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño had 8,000 and "Rogelio Figueroa" less than 200, of which, I pointed out, the first 6 were of a roofer in Florida with a bad reputation.

Later, as topics and themes were rehashed, the meeting plunged into a battle of egos when Rogelio practically yelled at his campaign advisor and stated, in no uncertain terms, that he (Rogelio) was the party and the only ones who challenged him on that point were the attacked advisor and Me. I left the 4-hour meeting fully aware that six months before the election, the PPR, a party that came together as an extension of environmental activities that fully 85% of Puerto Ricans didn't know or care about, was in the hands of an ego-tripping neophyte.

And that My first foray into politics was simply confirmation that the process sucks, the egos and ids run rampant and that straight talk backed by good, even great ideas, has as much impact as snowflakes on a volcano.

Do I think the PPR has good ideas? Yes. But at the platform level, all three parties have good ideas. What distinguishes the PPR from the rest is that, at least in technology and the environment, they speak from experience and careful thought, not just as political crows trying to squawk a pleasing tune. As for the people, well, the PPR had the usual bunch of spineless yes-men and yes-women that accept trading dollars as partial payment for the abdication of their dignity, self-respect and intelligence.

Can Rogelio get his party past the magical 5% mark? Sure. But the war, if you will, is not 2008: It's 2012. I advocated the PPR winning the battle it could now in exchange for a greater chance at winning the war, with better resources and knowledge, in 2012. Rogelio chose to put himself out there, thinking with his ego rather than his brain, and thus placed the PPR's none-too-secure future in even greater jeopardy.

A kamikaze. Egofabulous. As useful as a baby bottle to a mechanic. And soon to be a footnote in Our political swamp's history.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

03 November 2008

Time to Grow Up

From Hispanic Business comes the word that Our--Puerto Rico's--economic model is "obsolete."

Do tell.

Let's see: An economic model based on low wages, tax-free investments and permissive regulations is now faced with Federally-mandated minimums, taxed investments and over-bureaucratic corruption. Oh, gee, why did THAT go wrong?

For the first time, Puerto Rico is in a recession when the U.S of part of A. isn't. Boo hoo. Due to changes ordained from Congress and Our own politically-asinine viewpoints, We're like kids who are going without while Our parents are just starting to tighten their belts.

In a word: Time to grow up.

There are times--not many, but they do come up--when I look around at My Island and think "We're pathetic. We seek to be taken care of like friendly mutts, striving for that mediocre place where Our basic needs get covered and We can frolic in the dirt until We get whacked by a rolled-up newspaper." What does that have to do with Our economy? Everything. For if We don't take it upon Ourselves to become masters of Our own Fate, We're just dogging it.

And We have for several decades. Politically, We've been as decisive as a "positively maybe...perhaps." Economically We've been frogs in a pot of water, paddling hard as the water heats up and the level goes down, so now the water's boiling and We can't see Our way to jumping out. But We're still flailing and hoping someone--someone other than Us, pathetically--drops a couple of ice cubes in so We can cheer on a boxer or a beauty mannequin.

Most of the time I see My Island as just indifferent, not in a pathetic way, but in the same way a toddler is indifferent to utility bills: There's no "there" there for the toddler. Not stupidity, just a severely limited worldview that will--should--expand and deepen with time. That it hasn't, well, that does border on pathetic. But I have hope.

Maybe over the next few years, as Our middle class departs and Our infrastructure rattles to a near-stop, We'll wake up and start expanding Our worldview. We'll stop being indifferent and notice the reality that Our National Life contains, We'll take charge of learning what they mean and how they affect Us, so like toddlers who realize that without paying the power bill they can't watch TV, We'll aim at the simple solution of "doing something about it" instead of plunking thumb in mouth, sitting dumbly on the couch and waiting for the magic box to speak again.

Toddlers become children who can work odd-jobs and make a few dollars. Not much, but enough to strengthen the sense of responsibility and duty that, combined later with a teenager's energy and idealism, are the basis for most fundamental social change. And as you can see, the process of growing will take time, maybe a generation or two. That's really all it takes. That We have let three or four generations go by without growing up is just...Us.

The Jenius Has Spoken.