28 December 2009

The ABC Of Corruption

Most of the time when one speaks of political corruption, the reference is to monetary gain, the acceptance of bribes, illegal contributions or kickbacks in exchange for favorable use of power. But the more subtle--and thus more effective--type of corruption is one that eschews monetary gain to influence events, a "power behind the treasury" type of corruption that leaves its mark, but doesn't mark its user.

Here's how to do it. Person A--the power broker-- finds one or more persons "B". These B types are the ones that meet with the "C"s, the seekers of favors and collect the monies. However, the B or Bs never give money directly to the A; instead, they take instruction from the A and retain their positions as money-grubbers only to the extent that they fulfill A's objectives.

End result: Cs get ill-gotten deals, Bs make money...and eventually get busted. And the A? Gets away with barely a blemish.

To make the scheme clearer, let Me define the prototypical B: greedy and not as smart as he or she thinks. Preferably cautious, but if not, easily led by greed and an unrealistic assessment of his own intelligence to never see that he is being set up.

Someone like, say, Il Castrao, future prisoner Jorge De Castro. Obviously greedy, bare-faced as a chimp's ass and with a 2-digit IQ that together don't add up to 10.

Now for the ABC scheme to work, an A needs a handful of Bs: more than 1 (too easy to trace one B back to his/her A), but fewer than 5 or 6, for then there's too much going on that's out of an A's control. That's the simple scheme, the one We often see broken up with indictments and charges, where several or dozens of Cs get nailed and a couple of Bs...but seldom an A.

The key to A's survival: Forget the money, go for the power. Bs are doomed to fail for they can't ignore the money and are thus exposed over and over again.

But the ABC of corruption has a higher level, a three-dimensional version of the two-dimensional game. It involves an Alpha, who recruits As.

In this version, the Alpha seeks out potential As and gets them to recruit Bs who will allow the As to carry out their own power plays--and also those that the Alpha wants. The Alpha controls the As by expanding or limiting the A's access to ultimate power, just as the As do the same with their Bs. And in this higher-level scheme, the Alpha--if he or she has the highest power available--can create situations where Cs can line As pockets as well, albeit with smaller amounts of money than spent on Bs to keep the intangible balance intact.

But it boils down to the same final non-link: no money ever goes from the As to the Alpha, or from any level to the Alpha. Without a money trail as evidence, how else do you think someone like, say, Pedro Stupid Rosselló--an otherwise demonstrably intelligent man--could be so surrounded by dozens of proven corrupt officials...and not get charged?

Remember that Aníbal "The Jellyfish"Acevedo was hauled up on charges primarily for using campaign monies personally, a direct violation of the ABC scheme. And how likely do you think it is that those thousands of intercepted phone calls and messages in the Il Castrao investigation, now leading to current Secretary of State Kenneth "The Wanderer" McClintock, are not based on a money trail (the best evidence and easily actionable), but on a more subtle "influence trail"?

Il Castrao was investigated during his time masquerading as a Senator when The Wanderer was President of the Senate . We know Il Castrao is a B. What does that make Kenneth "Wanderer" McClintock? 

We'll find out in about 100 days.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

18 December 2009

Our New Media Rules, Part 2

From Part 1: We need a new media, retarded monkey, drunken midget, Dan Gillmor, here's My take on this: 

We will create a service to notify online readers, should they choose to sign up for it, of errors we've learned about in our journalism. Users of this service can choose to be notified of major errors only (in our judgment) or all errors, however insignificant we may believe them to be.

We invite our audience to participate in the journalism process, in a variety of ways that include crowdsourcing, audience blogging, wikis and many other techniques. We make it clear that we're not looking for free labour – and will work to create a system that rewards contributors beyond a pat on the back – but want above all to promote a multi-directional flow of news and information in which the audience plays a vital role.

We will make conversation an essential element of our mission. Among other things:

• The editorial pages will publish the best of, and be a guide to, conversation the community was having with itself online and in other public forums, whether hosted by the news organization or someone else.

• Editorials will appear in blog format, as will letters to the editor.

• We will encourage comments and forums, but in moderated spaces that encourage the use of real names and insisted on (and enforced) civility.

• Comments from people using verified real names will be listed first.

We seek the positive to point it out, analyze it why it works and encourage it and similar efforts. To fall back on “negativity sells” is to deny the power of positive examples. To dwell on failure and ignore success is to undermine the natural tendency of social progress. A critical eye sees just as much in the good and can teach others about its strengths.

We embrace the hyperlink in every possible way. Our website will include the most comprehensive possible listing of other media in our community, whether we were a community of geography or interest. We will link to all relevant blogs, photo-streams, video channels, database services and other material we can find, and use our editorial judgement to highlight the ones we consider best for the members of the community. And we'd liberally link from our journalism to other work and source material relevant to what we're discussing, recognising that we are not oracles but guides.

Our archives are to be freely available, with links on every single thing we've published as far back as possible, with application interfaces (APIs) to help other people use our journalism in ways we haven't considered ourselves.

We'd routinely point to our competitors' work, including (and maybe especially) the best of the new entrants, such as bloggers who cover specific niche subjects. When we cover the same topic, we'd link to them so our audience can gain wider perspectives. We'd also talk about, and point to, competitors when they covered things we missed or ignored.

Beyond routinely pointing to competitors, we will make a special effort to cover and follow up on their most important work, instead of the common practice today of pretending it didn't exist. Basic rule: the more we wish we'd done the journalism ourselves, the more prominent the exposure we'd give the other folks' work. This will have at least two beneficial effects. First, we help persuade our community of an issue's importance. Second, we help people understand the value of solid journalism, no matter who did it.

The word "must" – as in "The president must do this or that" – would be banned from editorials or other commentary from our own journalists, and we'd strongly discourage it from contributors. It is a hollow verb and only emphasizes powerlessness. If we want someone to do something, we'd try persuasion instead, explaining why it's a good idea and what the consequences will be if the advice is ignored.

No opinion pieces or commentary from major politicians or company executives. These folks almost never actually write what appears under their bylines. We're being just as dishonest as they are by using this stuff. If they want to pitch a policy, they should post it on their own web pages, and we'll be happy to point to it.

Creating a new media for Our unrepresented masses, whether it's a newspaper that forges enlightened opinion or a website being a sharpshooter on current issues or a radio show that fosters constructive analysis and dialogue or a TV newscast that eschews frippery for facts and context, whatever form it takes, We need a new media and We need it now.

As Bill Moyers said: "The quality of a democracy and the quality of its journalism are inextricably joined." It is no coincidence, then, that Our democracy and Our journalism are trash heaps of failure.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

16 December 2009

Our New Media Rules, Part 1

We need a new media. Our media lacks intelligence, vision, integrity and is thus powerless to do anything for Us except entertain Us, like watching a retarded incontinent monkey dancing on a drunken midget's head. Loudly.

So, based heavily on Dan Gillmor's excellent "New rules for news" article, here's My take on Our New Media Rules, covering what We should have in Our newspapers and news websites as well as Our radio and TV newscasts:

Transparency is the core element of our journalism. Every print article would have an accompanying box called "Things We Don't Know," a list of questions our journalists couldn't answer in their reporting. TV and radio stories would mention the key unknowns. Whatever the medium, the organization's website would include an invitation to the audience to help fill in the holes, which exist in every story.

We help people in the community become informed users of media, not passive consumers – to understand why and how they can do this. We will work with schools and other institutions that recognize the necessity of critical thinking.

We work in every possible way to help our audience know who's behind the words and actions. People and institutions frequently try to influence the rest of us in ways that hide their participation in the debate, and we do our best to reveal who's spending money and pulling strings. When our competitors decline to reveal such things, or fail to ask obvious questions of their sources, we talk about their journalistic failures in our own coverage of the issues.

The more we believe an issue is of importance to our community, the more relentlessly we stay on top of it ourselves. If we conclude that continuing down a current policy path was a danger, we actively campaign to persuade people to change course. This would have meant, for example, loud and persistent warnings about the danger of the blatantly obvious housing/financial bubble that inflated during this decade.

We will assess risks honestly. Journalists constantly use anecdotal evidence in ways that frighten the public into believing this or that problem is larger than it actually is. As a result, people have almost no idea what are statistically more risky behaviours or situations. And lawmakers, responding to media-fed public fears, often pass laws that do much more aggregate harm than good. We will make it a habit to not extrapolate a wider threat from weird or tragic anecdotes; frequently discuss the major risks we face and compare them statistically to the minor ones; and debunk the most egregious examples of horror stories that spark unnecessary fear or even panic.

For any person or topic we cover regularly, we will provide a "baseline": an article or video where people can start if they are new to the topic, and point prominently to that "start here" piece from any new coverage. We might use a modified Wikipedia approach to keep the article current with the most important updates. The point will be context, giving some people a way to get quickly up to speed and others a way to recall the context of the issue.

For any coverage where it makes sense, we tell our audience members how they could act on the information we've just given them. This will typically take the form of a "What You Can Do" box or pointer.

Except in the most dire of circumstances – such as a threat to a whistleblower's life, liberty or livelihood – we will not quote or paraphrase unnamed sources in any of our journalism. If we do, we will need persuasive evidence from the source as to why we should break this rule, and we'd explain why in our coverage. Moreover, when we do grant anonymity, we offer our audience the following guidance: We believe this is one of the rare times when anonymity is justified, but we urge you to exercise appropriate skepticism.

If we grant anonymity and learn that the unnamed source had lied to us, we will consider the confidentially agreement to have been breached by that person, and will expose his or her duplicity and identity. Sources will know of this policy before we published. We'd further look for examples where our competitors have been tricked by sources they didn't name, and then do our best to expose them, too.

We will absolutely refuse to do stenography and call it journalism. If one faction or party to a dispute is lying, we will say so, with the accompanying evidence. If we learn that a significant number of people in our community believe a lie about an important person or issue, we will make it part of an ongoing mission to help them understand the truth.

Replace PR-speak and certain Orwellian words and expressions with more neutral, precise language. If someone we interview misuses language, we will paraphrase instead of using direct quotations. (Examples, among many others: The activity that takes place in casinos is gambling, not gaming. There is no death tax, there can be inheritance or estate tax. Piracy does not describe what people do when they post digital music on file-sharing networks.)

There, that'll keep you thinking until tomorrow, when Part 2 shows up.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

14 December 2009

Love(less) Story

The Puerto Rico of the early 20th century was like the dirt-poor waif who's pretty much skin and bones, but has pleasing soft eyes and a gentle voice. Along comes the United States, like the rich dashing hero from the north, clean-shaven and smelling of expensive cologne, his wallet bulging with cash. He takes a liking to the sloe-eyed undernourished nymph and with the consent of her daddy--Let's call him "First Elected Governor of Puerto Rico," the man from the north takes on the girl as his mistress.

Sets her up in a nice apartment, small but neatly-furnished, buys her some nice clothes and gives her a lifestyle of modest comfort by his standards, but reeking of wealth by hers. The man from the north gets his...benefits, while Our doe-eyed gal gets her benefits...and gives them out, too, for the man from the north shares his mistress with "friends," "benefactors" and "partners."

The man from the north is a pimp...and Our dark-eyed waif is now a call girl.

Over time, she gets a bigger apartment, a car, nicer clothes and some jewelry. She's moving up in the world, but the man from the north isn't making any noises about formalizing a relationship and Our gal is making...progress...going from call girl to high-priced call girl. 

Most of the  time, Our gal is indifferent to her situation. But every once in a while, it bothers her. She wants to break out of the pimp/call girl dyad and move on, make something great of herself.


Instead of educating herself with humanities and sciences, she takes cosmetology and plays the lottery. Whenever the man tells her about a new car or a new gadget for the home or a new trend, Our gal rushes out to buy it, to be more like "his people." Thus she doesn't have savings to break away on her own. She could at least argue for the chance to "serve" clients that aren't brought to her by her pimp, but she backs off when he frowns at this notion. And when told her people to find another way of life--a different profession--she whines about how this is all she knows.

Sometimes she even complains to distant relatives, since none of her close relatives give a damn anymore. She sobs about how unfair her life is, what with her 1,600 square foot home, late model car, plasma screen TV, two cell phones and trips to Disney every other year, but no "ring" on her finger, a horizontal work position and limited options. Her distant relatives, living 4 to a room, with a clunker car, a radio, maybe a pay phone and have seen pictures of Disney in old magazines tell her to stand up for herself, while cursing her for being a wimpy crybaby. And a whore.

Our gal could say "no" to the man from the north or could say "put a ring on the finger or forget it." But every time Our gal tries to make her stand, she stutters, she squawks, her words become mumbles and her eyes fill with fear. So the man--her pimp--waits out her mood and keeps the stream of "friends," "benefactors" and "partners" coming through like a Chinese death march.

So there she sits, in her good-but-not-great house, living in the shadow of greater prosperity and power, bombarded by words and images that are not her own but undermine her sense of self, that create an image of need where none really exists and time flies by with no change in her status--yes, status--no growth in her heart and mind about it and no willpower to see the reality and act upon it.

A call girl at the ready, aging into lassitude, hoping that what didn't happen when beauty was ripe will happen when beauty is not even a memory...hoping that someday, the pimp will go back to being a dashing hero.

She expects him to make the choice. She doesn't believe she can ever make hers.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

11 December 2009

Il Emasculato

Jorge "Il Castrato" De Castro is awaiting sentencing for pleading guilty on federal charges. 


Now Il Castrato has been slapped with 182 state charges of fraud and bribery and other such weasel-brained activities, charges that could add up to 800 years to his federal sentence.

Hook in the crook.

I said loooong ago that the case against Il Castrato was not stopping there, that the mountain of evidence against the leprous-brained two-party political rat was also aimed at other targets. Some legal experts told Me I was wrong...and then current Secretary of State Kenneth "What? Me Worry?" McClintock (people, it's McClintoCK, not McClintoN; get it right) was named as the target of a--get this!--federal investigation.


Also named in the federal and state investigations are senator Héctor "My Favorite Drug Dealer is Dead" Martínez and a former legislator Carlos "I Sang Once, I'll Sing Twice!" Díaz.

Woo-hoo. This here's a party!

What can you do to a Castrato to make him give you more? You offer to make him an Emasculato, taking what little he has left, for let's face it, the only thing Castratos do is sing.

Now Il Castrato says he won't sing, but he's facing about a decade in federal country farm prison whereas with the 182 state charges, he faces at least the same amount of time in local prison, where the chances of him preserving anything of his former life, health and well-being are between zero and nil.

Castratos sing. They may not want to, they may hate it when they do, but they...will...sing.

And once their voices are no longer pleasing, they are simply Emasculatos, deprived of worth and maybe--if they ever had it--self-worth.

Il Castrato will sing. All We have left is to see who gets nailed in his swan song.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 December 2009

Chaos Theory

"A butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon can end up causing a typhoon in Singapore."

That--or something like that--is a metaphor used to exemplify chaos theory, but people misinterpret the theory, thinking that it means that all things are connected in a highly complex yet identifiable way. They are, but chaos theory really means that small changes in initial conditions can add up to highly complex and enormous differences in end results, thus making long-term prediction impossible (under present science and math applications.)

"Small changes in initial conditions." There was a song long ago that said "Little things mean a lot." They are both accurate and they both indicate--and the evidence is conclusive--that individual actions can and do add up to effect change.

The Jenius here has long advocated the power of choice, specifically, the power each of Us has to make a decision and make a difference. The problem with that notion is that all too few of Us believe it.

Now I'm not talking about the semi-mythical, if not outright fabricated, example of something like giving a bum a dollar and setting him on a path to becoming a brain surgeon who saves the life of your grandchild. But the notion, the concept, of a person's action becoming part of a stream of actions that change the immediate world is a powerful one, and unlike a lot of stories (like the birth of someone important worthy of annual commemoration happening on December 25th), this notion is true.

And notice what is needed: an action. Not words (though they may serve), not thoughts (unexpressed they aren't even words) and certainly not indifference: action. You take an action that may be entirely neutral and that action changes the initial conditions and thus creates the opportunity for a different level of outcomes in the future.

A teacher adds reading material to her classroom that gives a few students a deeper interest in science.
A father turns down an undeserved reward and his children experience the value of integrity.

A politician thinks "Just this once" and changes his vote to favor an industry that now competes unfairly.

A policeman angrily hits an unarmed suspect while a wide-eyed child watches from a darkened doorway.

We hear about the last two types of actions, in a dizzying myriad of ways and in a nauseatingly constant stream. We seldom hear about the first two types, except at small gatherings when the conversation is private or in a story book, fiction replacing fact, Art limiting Life.

You need Me to tell you this: It doesn't have to be that way. I need to tell you this because the message isn't getting out there and We need that to happen. So I'll say it, not only from belief, but to add My butterfly moment at this time. What happens now is not up to Me: it is up to you.

The initial conditions We started under have changed. Where will you--where will We--see them end up?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

07 December 2009

The Sky(way) Is Falling!

The local Ports Authority announces it is petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to privatize the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Our most important airfield. And of course, in their "Pollito Chiquito" way, the birdbrains are crying "The sky is falling!"

They do this because they equate privatization with dismemberment, whereas privatization is, in fact, more like surgery: it can be very beneficial or deadly and the difference is expertise and planning.

First of all, privatization of airports is not new, except in the U.S. of part of A. Over 100 airports in Europe and an almost equal number in Asia and Oceania have been privatized since the 1980s and yes, results have been mixed. But overall, as evidenced by several independent studies, privatized airports are better run that public airports, especially in terms of structural elements (runways, terminals, concourses, services.) And what does Our airport need badly? Structural improvements, especially in the concourses and cargo/repair areas.

According to an empirical study of European airports by the Robert Schulman Centre for Advanced Studies titled Privatization, Regulation and Airport Pricing, unregulated privatized airports tend to charge higher fees that public or regulated airports, but competition and the need to provide adequate passenger services (specifically, airlines) tends to provide a regulatory power to keep prices in check.

The study also says that airports lacking transportation competition (rail, bus, ships) and islands are particularly prone to higher pricing issues. 

Crikey! The sky is falling! The! Sky! Is! Falling!

But the study notes that the reliance of per-passenger fees which airlines bring and take from the airport means that airlines have a fairly strong bargaining position vis á vis the airports. And in Our case, American Airlines and American Eagle have a very strong bargaining position to help check airport pricing.

Analyzing airport privatization around the world, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued a Summary Report outlining 10 key lessons concerning airport privatization: Among them:

--Successful privatization involves customers from the outset.

--Independent and robust economic regulation (the government's "monitoring" role, as I have said before and often) is of high importance, but government royalties cannot be too high.

--The most successful economic regulation happens when there's an independent Competition Commission, including businesses and customers, to oversee pricing and related issues.

--Service-level agreements and progress standards must be clear and in place to ensure privatization makes the required improvements to remain competitive.

(Should I point out that the IATA was founded in Havana? The sky is falling!) 

Instead of crying out like a boricua version of a stupid chicken or burying Our heads in the sand like a mythical ostrich, We can take part in this privatization effort not because We can, but because it is vital to Our economic well-being. If the FAA grants the opportunity for privatization, it behooves Us to make the government engage in a privatization process that follows proven success methods and successful models, instead of engaging in its usual "screw the pooch" greed.

It's time We grew up and stopped "The sky is falling!" hysteria and replaced it with "The sky's the limit" vision.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

04 December 2009

Clusterboinging Fault

So before I go back to My usual 3-posts-a-week schedule, where are We in this whole "Who's running Puerto Rico?" clusterboinging?

Yes, a double question mark question. Jenius.

On the political side, it is beyond debate that the Fool calling the governmental shots is Thomas "Tantrum" Rivera, senate president in the way you combine the words "dog" and "pound". He has opposed Luis "The Larva" Fortuño since the grub was a primary candidate and openly challenged The Larva as early as Election Night.

Tantrum continued his, uh, opposition by threatening to hang The Larva's original Health Department nominee...and doing so easily. And then repeating the dose in budget and other legislative issues. The trend has continued and escalated to the point where The Larva backed down like a sissy from merely the potential threat of upsetting Tantrum with his latest Education Department nominee.

Staying on the Education debacle for another paragraph, it took The Larva until April--more than three months after his inauguration--to get an Education Secretary confirmed--by Rivera in a split-second, damn-the-law ramrodding through the senate. Given that delay and how quickly The Larva threw his latest nominee under the bus, who in his or her right mind would want to take the job now? Like I said long ago: only a mediocre, unqualified drone looking to make a name for himself or herself.  The patient's dying and the only doctor We'll find is a snake oil salesperson.

By having a spineless chicken (or Larva) as (non)governor, We don't have a government of direction and drive--the Executive functions--but one of stops and deviations, the perversion of the legislative functions of checks and balances.  By allowing a mad dog (I'm full of veterinary similes today) twist the legislative function into a personal exercise of power and plunder, We don't have a government of the people and for the people, but a government preying on the people for the benefit of the chosen people. And by being slack-jawed automatons watching the carnage, We don't have a government, We have prison guards.

Where's the judiciary in this clusterboinging? Playing with itself, like a retarded monkey with its foreskin. The judiciary can be bought and sold like cheap skanks to the closest bidder. (Yes, "closest," not "highest.") They will play-for-pay on the side they favor. Am I implying justice is money-based? No: I'm affirming it.

And the Fourth Estate, that all-important independent watchdog of government? Puh-lease. Our media isn't a watchdog, it's a flea: as smart as a flea, as observant as a flea and as dependent as a flea on the big dumb animal it barely feeds off of. I may even start a Pukelitzer Prize to reward the sycophants and asskissers that abound in that laughably tragic "fourth estate."

This bears repeating because it's obvious We're too stupid to get it the first 12,000 times: We elect the government. They work for Us...if We pay attention. Not "paying attention" in the usual boricua way of "My guy is always right!", but in the sense of "What is he doing, why and to what purpose?" 

Now I know some of you have already slumped inside, intuitively sensing that you are not capable or willing enough to make the effort. I'd insult you, but what's the point? You're the reason We're in this mess and you're the main reason We won't get out of it. You and your flatliner passivity, your cowardice to face reality, have elected the perfect representative: The Larva. And to some of the rest of you, who turned off your brains at the "My guy is always right!" sign are also to blame, because your ilk elected Tantrum.

And some of you, stop shaking your heads, smiling, thinking "I didn't vote for either!" Yes you did, by supporting the types of Fools that allow each other to act like dirty screws in a chicken-shit county prison. You voted and walked away from the whole mess, but the mess is every day, not every four years.

To the few of Us who want to make changes, who advocate kicking Fools in the groin if need be to make them obey the Constitution and rule of law, to forcibly remind the herd that We are the bosses, masters and owners of Our government and that they are nothing more than Our servants, well, We keep at it because We simply cannot accept descending to the levels of the rest of you.

Hmm, I guess I did insult you after all...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

03 December 2009

Idiot + Coward = The Larva

When you are so incompetent in your job that even lamebrains can see you are messing up, you are an idiot.

When on top of that you back down at the very slightest hint that you may have to defend a decision, then you are a coward.

Welcome to the Numb Math that is Luis "The Larva" Fortuño, so-called governor of Our Island of whatever.

This weasel-nuts excuse for a leader waffled for months to name a Secretary of Education and basically shafted the educational morass with the naming of Carlos "Pinhead Politico" Chardón, a proven failure at the same job 30 years ago. 

Then The Larva takes months to fire the two-time/ton loser and names Carlos Andújar as the nominee for the post. And because of a comment in a local blog where Dr. Andújar expresses regret that the local government is stereotyping people instead of responding to the needs of all people (more on that in a moment), The Larva immediately withdraws the nomination.

And whose stupid stereotype expressions did Dr. Andújar express regret over? None other than Thomas "Tantrum's" Rivera mouth fart about homosexuals being "mentally insane."

Let Me point out, Oh Tantrum, that you are not only wrong, you are dumbly redundant. And you say dumb things, too.

Another point: Blogueros, this isn't about Us. Just because Dr. Andújar was "outed" for a blog comment doesn't mean--at all--that "they" are out to get "Us." Forget yourselves for a moment and focus on the issue: Because of 22 words that simply express an opinion (more on that in a moment) in honest fashion, a limp-wristed excuse for a governor withdraws the commenter for nomination to a vital position in his wormy Cabinet. And for no other reason--none, damn it all--than to avoid having a rabid wannabe make his day more difficult.

In other words, The Larva gave integrity a blow...job.

(And yes, I wrote "limp-wristed" and "blowjob." Suck it up.)

Now was Dr. Andújar right to express his opinion? Absolutely, no matter what Tantrum's descending colon and prostate feel about that whole "freedom of expression" concept. Was he right? I don't think so, but I'm glad he took the time to express his opinions about the matter. Would he have made a good Secretary of Education? Well, thanks to the candy-assed weakness of The Larva, We'll never know.

And thanks to the "mentally insane" Tantrum, We know who's really in charge.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


P.S.  The Larva should listen to all of these 100 Lectures on Leadership...and have somebody explain them to him.

02 December 2009

The P(ove)R(ty) Trap

"Until you earn about $40,000 a year, you’re pretty much stuck in poverty, an economists’ numbers show.

In fact, until you get past $40,000 a year, any raise or higher paying job you get might actually sink you deeper into poverty."

The quote is from a column written by Megan Cottrel in True/Slant.com. It places the "poverty barrier" at $40,000 a year in a country with a gross national income per capita (2007) of $45,422.

Okay. Our gross national income per capita (2007) was $15,062.

That's less than 38% of the amount needed to "break" the poverty barrier and almost exactly one-third of Our northern owners' number. So what the column indicates is that in the U.S. of part of A., you must reach the per capita income level to truly break free of poverty, but for Us, who live in pretty much the same system, We must almost triple Our per capita income to achieve the same breakaway.

Now poverty is relative in terms of "how much you have versus how much is needed." People in Central Africa or some corners of Eurasia are very poor when compared to Us. We take for granted having food to eat (several times) every day, running water, cell phones. a house, car and more. But Let's just focus on Puerto Rico, on what We need to break out of the poverty trap We are in because--in Our minds and pocketbooks--We are definitely poorer than Our owners.

And no matter how you slice the argument, no matter how many factors you want thrown into this debate (from historical-political to cultural-emotional), the whole ball of wax boils down to two factors and only two:

1) We don't produce enough on Our own.

2) We don't keep enough of what We produce.

Yes, welfare weighs many of Our people down with the "damned if I do, damned if I don't" quandary framed in Cottrel's column. But it's simply a symptom of having an economy in which We don't produce enough Ourselves to provide Ourselves with a greater range of opportunities for growth.

Note that in the U.S. of part of A., according to the column, the quandary is how to move up. The underlying assumption is that the opportunities are there and simply must be managed. In Our case, it's not a case of how to move up, but how to create the opportunities.
And then, having created the opportunities, then We can focus on keeping enough of what We produce to break out of the poverty trap.

The formula for this, pared to essentials is: External value + Innovation + Efficiencies = Growth. You must create an economy that focuses on external value--what others value--uses innovation to deliver/create value and develops efficient processes, systems and methodologies to improve the value/cost ratios. Let's break it down:

External value: Guano on the rocky coasts of Chile is of little value to the locals, but of great value to farmers around the world. Electronics are of great value to the industrialized world. In Our specific case, We tend to aim for Our relatively piddling market of 4 million Islanders instead of aiming to reach the 6.6 billion potential customers worldwide. We don't see what the rest of the world values because We don't see--or think about--the rest of the world. Once We do that consistently, We can start serving what billions value.

Innovation: We'd rather imitate than innovate. And We've been limited to imitating rather than innovating. Less than 1% of corporate investment here is for Research and Development (R&D) and We rank dead last (have for years) in patents granted amongst the 50 States and territories. Imitation can get you started, but only innovation will help you catch up and then pass your competitors. We can blame the education system or Santa Claus (We love the freebie concept and innovation is soooo haaard), but We just need to blame Ourselves for believing that creativity is for crazy people who slash their ears off. It isn't: it's for passionate people who want to frolic in new spaces.

Efficiencies: A bottom line approach that anchors innovation to real-world results. Yes, you can build a bigger car, but it won't be valuable if it guzzles gas like a whale. You can build a faster car, but if it bears the same heavy operational cost, it won't sell. Build a bigger, faster, cheaper-to-fill-up car and you have an efficiency. Do the same with everything you produce, from panties to Prozac to premarital counseling to pancreatic cancer treatments and you will have an economy that races towards and breathes the fire of...


Japan did it. Turned its economy from crappy gewgaws and toys into a global powerhouse. So did Korea, beginning with Japan's sloppy seconds and exceeding it in the most vital industries of electronics and cars. "They are bigger than Puerto Rico" you say? Then look at Singapore, from rogue port to industrial R&D tiger in three generations.

"But they have autonomy," you say. Fine. Let's get it. But until We do, the only autonomy We need is the one We give Ourselves by looking at the world, understanding its needs and wants, realizing We can serve those needs and wants in Our fashion, doing so and improving the process every day.

But if We keep focusing on what We don't have and on the next freebie to come down the pike stabbed in Our guts, then the poverty trap will be the P.R. trap We have ultimately helped to create for Ourselves. 

The Jenius Has Spoken.

01 December 2009

Right About the (Fascist) Right

Ever so often I'd drift away from My topic framework of Puerto Rico and look north, to a land I grew up in and could see was being lock-stepped into fascism. I called the thieving two-term puppet in the Oval Office the murderous moron a few dozen times and thus fell far short of coming close to insulting it. I even launched Jenius Jots to display items that reinforced the goose-stepping idiocy the U.S. of part of A. was undergoing. And I started doing this in 2004.

Now confirmation about the fascist nature of a party that once called Abraham Lincoln its own comes from an unlikely source...and proves My point and that of so many other observers of the overbearing fear-mongering, racist, jingoistic hate screed of fascism masquerading as "patriotism": ultraconservative, rightist blog Little Green Footballs has publically parted ways with "the right."

What is the first--the very first--reason Little Green Footballs gives for separating itself from the madness? Support for fascists.

And note the rest of the list, a nauseating catalogue of hatred, stupidity and fear that has become insidiously and ruinously entrenched in the U.S. sociopolitical climate.  

I was right, I always have been right and I will continue to be right about the atrociously-misnamed "right." Calling them morons is an insult to morons. They have the Christian attitude of hydrophobic hyenas feeding on babies. And until the rest of the country wakes up and quashes their influence like crushing loathsome vermin into dust, the country We could once call the leader of the free world will continue to be nothing more than a mockable frothing rabid puppet of id.

And to use another metaphor, how many other "canaries" must "die" before We do something about being in the crappy coal mine?


The Jenius Has Spoken.

Update: 3 December 2009: Here's the single act that would do the most to yank the country off the fascist track and keep it off for the foreseeable future: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.