30 July 2012

Can We Decline If We Aren't "Up"?

"(P)ublic and commercial services work badly, the average person is becoming poorer rather than richer, the economy has been pulled horribly out of shape and government in the widest sense is hopelessly dysfunctional, with different branches of the state frequently at loggerheads with one another.”

Yeah, welcome to My Island...England? Okay, the quote above is from this book review in The Economist, the magazine Our """leaders""" should read if they knew how to read. Fact is, they can't, so they don't.

The book's premise is that England could have a Third World economy by 2014(!) based on the quoted description above. Now I've argued (way back in 2005) that We were not a Third World country, but could become one...and so We have. Don't agree? Then answer this:

Question the First: Are Our public services better now than in 2005? Or 1995? Or 1975?

Question the Second: Are We getting richer, as in increased income per capita in real dollars, not inflation-adjusted accounting smoke?

Question the Third--World (sorry, had to do it): Is Our economy in better shape than in 2005? Or 1995? Or even 1975?

Question the Fourth: Is Our government less bureaucratic and less contentious, thus more effective than it was before?

The answer to all four questions is a resounding "No." You can argue the points if you're a pluperfect moron or worse, a member of the misnamed LIBREInitiative, a group with an extra B and R in their names for reasons that have to do with abject idiocy.

Now in the case of England, they were once an empire, so it is appropriate to say they are and have been in frank decline for decades. But can We say We are in decline? For doesn't "decline" imply that there was an "up" and thus one is headed "down"?

The way I see it, We are in a black hole, where up/down mean nothing because We've long been sucked into a hellacious sucking nadir. We can't be in decline because We flatlined into sheer suckitude (yes, that's a word; I used it, it's a word) about 20 years ago and all We've done since is corkscrew around in swampy suckiness.

So yes, We are a Third World economy because We have allowed Our """leaders""" to shred what solid economic foundations We had through serial incompetence and prolonged graft, power-up the "government as nepotism central" surge to mollycoddle almost 30% of Our "workforce," allow national debt to pile up to the tune of over $60 billion in a country that produces about $57 billion...and where 64% of the profits We produce--at least--are sent out to the U.S. of part of A.

When you have a weak economy propped up and abused by an outside nation, governed through patronage, nepotism and graft, with the "haves" becoming a smaller, more powerful group and the "have nots" becoming the vast majority and where a clear majority of business profits leave the nation to line the pockets of the dominant country, you have a colony. Pure and simple.

And when the colony is stuck in a black hole of suckitude, it is nothing more than a Third World country.

We aren't going "down": We are are already there. Which means We have a huge potential to go "up." If We choose.

And as I said in 2005: We must choose.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

26 July 2012

Puerto Rico Needs Me

Go ahead: read the title again. "Typical Jenius," you might say, "As self-centered as ever." Maybe you shake your head. "Thinks that all this messed-up Island needs is Him! Like He's going to wave some sort of Jenius wand and fix it all!"

Yes, I do have a magic Jenius wand and yes I do think I could eventually fix what's wrong with My Island, but it would take the kind of dictatorial effort that is (a) anathema to My general inclinations and (b) ridiculous to think could ever come true.

No, I mean what the title says: Puerto Rico Needs Me...referring to You.

You who sees what the problems are and are already hard at work making solutions happen.

You who sees what the problems are and can spare the brain-time to seek solutions.

You who can see the problems and can spare the time to tell others where the solutions are coming together.

You who can perceive the problems and wish with all your heart that someone would let you help with the solutions.

You who perceive the problems and would help if a practical solution would be presented to you.

You who perceive the problems and would help only when its convenient, meaning when your chips are in the fire...as they are or soon will be.

And you who only occasionally perceives a problem, but gets all riled up about it and wants to do something now. You at least have a form of monkey-rage that can be useful, if properly guided.

As for the rest of you, those who perceive the problems and shrug their shoulders, shake their heads or make plans to live in Orlando, We don't need you. Those of you who perceive the problems and are waiting for "someone" to fix them, We don't want you. If the "someone" you expect to fix the problem is from the U.S. of part of A., do Us a favor and drop dead. And if you don't perceive any problems, but complain and moan and bitch that everything sucks while cashing your unearned checks...well, I already suggested another group drop dead, so why be redundant?

It is an inescapable fact: We are Puerto Rico, We are Our problem and thus We need Us to solve it. Too few of Us see that, fewer if Us accept this basic Truth and woefully--pitifully--very few of Us are trying.

But We are trying. It is a hard thing to do, this saving of a nation from itself, from its indifferences and biases and venalities. Nobody has to do it, but all of Us are required to.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

23 July 2012

Whiny Bag Of Shit

Long-time readers of The Jenius will remember--despite their best efforts, I assume--the myriad stupidities of former senator Jorge "Il Castrao" De Castro, a pathetic sub-weasel waste of space who "defied" the FBI when he was under investigation and is now a convicted criminal facing even more charges.

In his pitiful defense efforts, Il Castrao is whining--again--that he ratted on everybody he could way back in 2008 and that nothing, but nothing, has been done to these other people. He even points out that his current tax evasion charges should be dismissed because he brought them to the Justice Department's attention.

Oh. In other words, I told you I committed a whole slew of crimes, so you can't prosecute me on all of them because, well, you know, I'm already going to prison.

What a moron. Want to parade your """innocence""" in front of the feds now, O Castrated One?

So who's on the shit list Il Castrao threw to the feds?

--Businessmen such as Antonio Luis Ferré, president of El Nuevo Día, the largest newspaper chain in Puerto Rico; Jaime Fonalledas, president of Plaza Las Americas, the largest mall empire in Puerto Rico and highly-prominent corporate leaders such as Arturo Díaz, Miguel Vázquez Deynes and Rolando Cabral.

--Political figures such as ex-(out)house members Edwin Mundo and Angel Cintrón (currently highly-paid """government consultants"""; prominent lobbyists Alfredo Escalera and Guillermo Zúñiga; former senate president and now secretary of state(lessness) Kenneth McClintock and even current (non)governor Luis "The Larva" Fortuño.

There are more names, as many as 90 more, including The Larva's wife (she of the $500,00 annual income from a law firm that does the majority of mortgage closings on the Island...since 2008), current senators and representatives, advisors at the highest level and whatnot.

A cursory reading of the testimony Il Castrao spews leaves you with only two possible impressions: either he has a very vivid imagination...or he is telling the truth.

The devil, as they say, is in the details. And Il Castrao, pursued and persecuted for prosecution on so many fronts, spilled verbiage like Niagara Falls. He dropped names, dates, times, amounts, connections, events, activities, habits, routines and assignations like there was no tomorrow...and there wasn't. Not for him. For you see, he'd been under investigation for at least 2 years, amassing an evidence file with over 13,000 items (phone calls, e-mails, videos, etc.)

Let's take this one step at a time: Is it any surprise that given the weight of evidence and his public attitude of defiance and smarmy, shit-eating grins, that Il Castrao is going to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law? Nuh-uh.

And is it any surprise that despite his many claims, the verbal diarrhea flung by the pathetic Il Castrao has yet to culminate in another series of charges? No, not really.

There is a precedent here, one where a stupid, greedy, feckless bag of shit goes nuts raking in ill-gotten gains, dipping fingers in practically every corruption pie the statehood party ("Bakers of Large-Scale Corruption Since 1992!") could develop and then spilling his shitty guts when caught, only to discover that the (corruption) party turns its back on him and nothing much happens after that.

The precedent was then-secretary of (mis)eduction Victor "Delictor" Fajardo, going from fundraiser to felon. Did his lengthy accusations lead anywhere else? Not immediately.

Let Us remember that Delictor was part of the Pedro Stupid Rosselló (mis)administrations, 8 years so filthy in graft that no less a public entity than El Nuevo Día labeled them "the most corrupt in Puerto Rico's history" in a fiery editorial signed by...Antonio Luis Ferré.

Yes, the same guy accused by Il Castrao of paying about $10,000 a month to the party. You see, there's corruption and then there's corruption, at last that's how "Tony Two-Faced" appears to see it.

Is there evidence to substantiate Il Castrao's claims? Maybe, but the feds wouldn't sit on hard evidence for very long. To be able to nail more prominent local people would be a two-fold godsend involving crime-busting and power-mongering. The feds love that shit and would do everything they can to play that game over and over and over.

So the conclusion is: wait and see. Il Castrao, like every moral defective in history, is more likely to lie when the chips are down, but even a stupid animal like him knows when to fight to survive. Il Castrao was caught as blatantly red-handed as can be and his days as the defiant walking bag of shit have now been limited to being a whiny bag of shit.

But that doesn't mean he's wrong about his fellow fecal-filled future felons. It just means that, unlike Il Castrao, their time hasn't come. Yet.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

20 July 2012

Fortuño = Panderer = Slut

A mental, emotional and moral defective straps on a gas mask and a bullet-proof vest, arming itself with a shotgun, an AK-47 and two handguns. This wretched piece of filth bursts into a movie theater, throws tear gas at the premiere crowd and then proceeds to shoot at them, killing 12 and wounding several dozen. At least one of the fatalities is a child.

Some 2750 miles away, a mental, emotional and moral defective decides that this is the perfect opportunity to grandstand, to pander, to suck up to its own fantasies about who they serve and declares 5 days of mourning for the victims in a Denver movie theater.

Having declared nothing--not a fucking thing--for the 19 killed on its own island last weekend.

The Denver walking bag of hyena shit doesn't deserve to be named here. Our walking bag of horseshit does: (non)governor Luis "The Larva" Fortuño, he of the insipid mind and invisible talent. Not one week removed from being (a useless) part of a major crime summit here--one involving several Federal agencies, such as the FBI, National and Homeland Security--The Larva "acts" now not to curtail crime or offer solutions, but to pander.

Pandering, at its most basic, is what a pimp does, a lowlife living off the efforts of others by catering to base desires.

That fits The Larva to a T.  Witness the free-for-all money grab he has the pea-brained nerve to call "Our government."

Pandering also refers to brown-nosing, sucking up, seeking to curry favor through obsequiousness and flattery, relying on hypocritically empty words and gestures to attract positive attention and gain results based on nothing but self-interest.

That fits The Larva to a T. But who is he trying to impress, this spastic trash heap of uselessness?

Republicans. Namely the right-wing style-over-substance idiots who are trying like hell to keep running the GOP like the iceberg ran the Titanic.

Doubt it? Okay, follow Me:

--Declaring 5 days of mourning is not a common act. What happened in Denver is a horrible tragedy, but is it any worse than 19 dead in one weekend in your own fucking back yard? And this after a year in which over 1,100 people were killed, a record in your own fucking back yard?

--Will the 5 days of mourning really express Our solidarity with the folks who lost loved ones and friends in Denver? In a small way, yes, but not when Our own deaths are not only higher in total, but literally closer to home. The Denver killings were the result of crime, so saying--as The Larva's ass-mouth fart does--that their crime "deserves" 5 days of mourning is also saying that Our crime is not worth that much to The Larva and his ilk. That, in fact, The Larva and his ilk care more about Denver than Us. And no, this isn't some whiny form of inferiority complex: it is the only conclusion to be drawn after 3 1/2 years of The Larva's arm's length (non)treatment of the crime surge under his watch.

--So if the 5 days of mourning are not meant to impress Us or really express any extensive and deep solidarity in Our name, that leaves only one reason: public profile in the U.S. of part of A. And the primary--hint and pun intended--reason for this bag of horseshit to take a public stance like this now is to attract mainland party attention. Period. 

Not that The Larva is actually worth true consideration, but has the Republican Mormon with millions to hide, Mitt "The NitWit" Romney, picked a running mate yet? (Side note: In 2008, then-candidate John McCain could've picked Romney, but after the background investigation--including taxes--McCain chose Alaska governor Sarah Palin. We all know how that turned out, but doesn't that speak volumes about Romney?)

Now I would love--like I love pepperoni pizza and Slim Jims--for Romney to short-list The Larva as a running mate. Love it! Not only would it confirm how fucking stupid Romney is and how deranged and desperate the GOP is, it would also confirm My conclusion here. As I have a habit of being right, I'd be able to continue My long-established habit.

But even if Romney doesn't short-sell--er, sorry, I've Bain, I mean, I've been having troubles with My keyboard--even if Romney doesn't short-list The Larva, his pandering will be noticed, this bare-faced, shameless attempt to whitewash his reputation "over there" from the roundly-deserved shit-headed reputation he has earned here. For a party that suckles so avidly at the ulcerous teats of misinformation and framing, The Larva just got himself a few brownie(nose) points.

The thing is, the difference between a panderer and a slut is who sells what. A panderer sells others; a slut sells himself. It's ridiculously obvious where The Larva lies on that scale.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

19 July 2012

The Larva Gives Us Cancer

Doctor comes up to you and says "You have cancer." Serious news with deep and far-reaching implications and you feel...something. Sadness, fear, rage, desperation, need, hope, doubt...

Doctor comes up to you and says "The guy next to you has cancer." Be honest: you don't really care, not that much. Not as much as if it were you that got the diagnosis. Not unless the guy next to you is your father, son, brother, best friend...something like that. Otherwise, you react with a bland "Okay" and move on.

Be honest: it's what most of Us would do.

But what about the person to whom the doctor says "You have cancer" and that person says "Okay" and continues his moseying along unperturbed. Deluded? In deep denial? Stupid? Insane? Any of those would apply, but you wouldn't think the person was "right in the head," would you?

Let Me introduce the pitiful excuse for a (non)governor ("Long May He Waffle And Duck Eggs!") Luis "The Larva" Fortuño, he of the pencil-neck geek physique and equally-pathetic intellectual muscle. The Larva has reacted to the downgrading of Puerto Rico's bonds--that his (non)administration used to shove Us into Our deepest debt ever--with a terse "No big deal." This after crowing like an emasculated rooster that Our bonds had "reached their highest rating in 35 years."

For the uninformed, known around here as "statehooders," downgrading a bond means it is a riskier investment and in order for it to be held or sold, a higher interest rate has to be paid. In short, the downgrading is going to cost Us--not The Larva--a ton of money. A $16 billion tumor is now metastasizing and he can't give a fuck.

But even a nano-brained parasite like The Larva has the basal instinct of needing to feed, so his public "Don't give a shit" stance isn't echoed by actions. To wit:

--The Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority (abbreviation: DILDO) is doing everything in its power (yeah, "power") to keep its fuel surcharge high in order to keep supporting the massive bond issues it has made during this (non)administration. However, political reality means they've announced a "rate drop" for September...in time for the elections.

--The IVU Loto, a lottery based on your numbered sales tax receipt, is desperately trying to bolster its declining revenue by offering a car and 6 iPad giveaways every week. The bonds Moody's downgraded are exactly these (based on the sales tax revenue), and the downgrade was hinted at over four months ago.

Our debt equals Our Gross Domestic Product. That means We owe as much as We "make". If that were you, you'd be paying debts with every dollar you earn. Does that sound like a healthy arrangement to you?

If it does, you are too stupid to breed and should be euthanized.  Pity We didn't do that to The Larva back in 2008...because he isn't going to be paying anything for the cancer he's unleashed on Us.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

[Update: 23 July 2012: In this NotiCel article, it seems likely that Our government budgets in the near future will pay more in debt service than what it will invest in health and education. So now Our government is pretty much like many of Our families, paying off loans and interest from overspending and thus incapable of paying a medical plan or sending kids to something other than wretched public schools. The difference? Our families are ALSO paying for this government debt. I have to repeat this: the only good politician is a dead one. The sooner We make more good ones, the better.]

13 July 2012

Relative Or Not, Poverty Is Real

Over at Microsoft Money there's a slideshow of the "Poorest County in Each State," using data from the Census Bureau. Short version: the poorest county in each state, based on median household income (MHI) have incomes ranging from $56,564 (Windham County, CT) to the lowest, $21,611, in Wilcox County, Alabama.

According to the Census Bureau, Puerto Rico's MHI in 2009 was $18,314. What this means is that the poorest county in the U.S. of part of A. has a roughly 16% higher MHI than Puerto Rico.

No surprise there. We know We don't have the income of Statesiders. But the deep individual economic problems We create for Ourselves stem from the notion that We do.

However, regardless of Our political status or lack thereof, Our economic status is basically one of playing "Monopoly" with 10s and 20s when "the other guys" are playing with 100s and 500s.

And that, My Brethren, is a sure-fire recipe for...problems.

Think about it: the poorest county in Connecticut has a median household income roughly 309% higher than Our MHI. The U.S of part of A. MHI average is $46,723 and the poverty level for a family of four is defined as $22,314.

Or exactly $4,000 more than Our MHI. Which means, you statistical freaks, that at the very least well over 50% of Our households are in poverty.

We knew that already. But the ramifications and implications, though clear, are being debated as if they involved differential equations and higher-order philosophy by lunkheads who can't read without moving their lips or add three single-digit numbers without a calculator.

The ramifications all stem from being the limited-resource stooge at a no-limit game. When "they" can play with everything they have and We can only play with what "they" allow us to, We lose. Eventually and every time. Doesn't really matter who "they" and "We" are: it's just a mathematical certainty when the game goes on long enough.

For the lunkheads, a translation: We are poor because We are playing their game, by their rules and accepting their control. If that sounds like I am accusing the U.S. of part of A. of being a bully, tyrannical and abusive, you are right.


The implication is that if the game is rigged against Us--and it is--then the only two options are to either change the rules or change the game. Given Our situation, changing the rules could only happen if "they" allow it. They haven't and they won't: they are winning. Therefore the only rational, the only effective and the only pragmatic and dignified course of action is to change the game.
Meaning We tell "them" to take a flying leap at the freaking Moon and make Our own game, with rules more favorable to Our side and negotiated with other players in more equitable fashion.

For the lunkheads, a translation: If that sounds like I'm advocating independence for My Island, then what the hell took you so long?

Yet, as We know so very very very well, the notion of being an independent nation, of standing on Our own and shouldering the burdens and joys of Our development, facing the world as equals rather than as semi-obscure adjuncts of imperialism, that notion is as appealing to Us as jumping into a frying pan appeals to largemouth bass.

For the lunkheads, a clarification: Independence is not as agonizing and fatal as a frying pan is to a fish. You just think it is. That's why you're a lunkhead.

And that's why We continue to be poor: because We are playing a rigged game, with limited resources, with rules set to favor "them." And We are stupid enough to try to play the game "their" way.

Their poorest counties average roughly 180% more income than Our "richest" ones. And yet We supposedly play at the same table.

Lastly, for you lunkheads who fart "Well what about statehood to level the playing field?", let Me copy-paste this and have somebody with a modest 2-digit IQ explain it to you: "Changing the rules could only happen if "they" allow it. They haven't and they won't: they are winning."

Now shut up, lunkheads.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

12 July 2012

Pirate Fever! Catch It!

Yes, I know things are going to Hell in a handbasket here on My Island, but I'm setting that aside to focus on something special: My Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place.

As the second half of the marathonic baseball season is about to begin, the Buccos are riding high, 11 games above .500 (48-37), a peak they haven't achieved since their last winning season...in 1992.

Yes, 1992.

It's been 19 years since the Pirates have ended a season with a winning record, a streak so futile it has eclipsed the previous record 16-year streak (Phillies) by a margin long enough to launch "Game of Thrones." For a franchise that dates itself back to the origins of the National League, this 19-year streak has practically ripped the Pirates into oblivion.

Last year, they were in first place until a--get this--19-inning game was lost on a clearly-blown call by the home plate umpire. The loss put the Pirates into a tailspin and once again, as they have since George Bush Sr. was piddling in the Rose Garden, they finished under .500.

That the blown call was against the Atlanta Braves, the same team that beat the Pirates in the 1992 playoffs with another close call at the plate just made the whole thing worse.

So what makes Me think they'll really break the streak this year?

1) Schedule: The Pirates have the second-easiest National League schedule from here on in, meaning they've achieved their lead playing their toughest opponents in most series. Counterpoint: The Cincinnati Reds, in 2nd place, have the easiest schedule, but that just means the Pirates could miss the playoffs and still win 88-92 games.

2) Andrew McCutchen: The 25-year old All Star centerfielder is racking up big numbers, hitting .362 (1st in the league), slugging at a .625 pace (1st), with 18 home runs (4th), having scored 58 runs and driven in 60 (3rd in both categories). Unlike previous Pirates teams, this superstar is signed through the 2018 season, so the "Sell the star now" crap the Buccos used to make other teams great has (apparently) ended.

3) Pitching: The Pirates are not the old "Lumber Company" they've been historically, but are winning with pitching. The staff is well-balanced and isn't relying on one big arm to keep it in the hunt.

4) Mindset: The players now feel they can challenge for a division title and management is making noise to bring in the kind of players that make a layoff run a virtual certainty. By signing former Yankee A.J. Burnett and giving McCutchen a big extension, Pirate ownership is literally putting money where their mouth wasn't even flapping for almost 20 years.

For once, I'm looking forward to catching a baseball game soon. Since My Dad died, and with My Pirates deep in a losing streak, I'd lost interest in the games, barely catching even the playoffs. My lifelong love of the sport remains, but banked from a touch of sorrow, the loss of My only true fellow baseball fan and the bad decisions My team made year after year. Maybe this year I'll reconnect with the joy of a game I started playing with Dad when I was 3, in a tiny patio, with a hollow plastic ball and a hollow plastic bat almost bigger than Me.

And even if I don't reconnect yet with that little boy and his father's love of baseball, I'll still get to cheer as My Pirates win game 82 this year...and many more.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

Update: 16 Sep. 2012: The Pirates finally broke a 7-game losing streak today, edging the Cubs 7-6. The Bucs' record is now 73-71, a far cry from the heady two-digits-above-.500 they had in July. Pitching and offense have both declined, and the race to 82 wins in 2012 is now tight. Because the second picture's URL was deleted, I uploaded a different picture, one from when the Pirates were in good stead, heading into the playoffs with a still-dangerous Bobby Bonilla and a super-talented, pre-steroids Barry Bonds. 

05 July 2012

Puerto Rico 2016

Four years from now, We'll be four years deeper into Our interminable political-campaign-from-Hell, this misbegotten Patán Death March of Our collective soul or whatever We have floating inside Our bellies. Since this year's edition of the election-from-Hell features The Larva, current (non)governor Luis "Can't Find My Ass With A Map" Fortuño and The Slug, Alejandro "I Can't Get My Ass In Gear" García, I say We write the damn thing off as the largest example of human waste since New Math and try to figure out what might be coming at Us down the pike.

--Will We still be paying an abusive "fuel surcharge" in order to pay off enormously useless political debts that basically lined thieves' pockets?

--Will We still have a crumbling leaky morass of a water and sewer system virtually incapable of either collecting water, storing it, distributing it or charging rationally for it?

--Will Our tourism standing keep slipping by continuing to allow American Airlines ("Screw Puerto Rico: We're American") to throttle competition and serve as the strong-arm element of the major hotel cartel that blocks true innovation in Our services and marketing?

--Will We still have daily newspapers more akin to pure propaganda hogwash than information gazettes, radio "news" shows more akin to the campaign-from-Hell than discussion forums and TV news more akin to skanky gossip than actual information?

--Will We still have a crime rate eating at Our entrails like cancer eats colons?

--Will We still be years behind in developing Our educational system, or will We have made the plunge to being decades behind?

--Will We reorient Our economy to the quick-acting, quick-thinking realities of the early 21st century or will We still be party(politick)ing like it's 1959?

--Will We have an even more bloated government wasteland pushing 30% total Island employment or will We have the bloated 26% beached whale We have now?

--Will We slow down or stop the brain drain that enriches "them" rather than Us?

--Will We stop or reverse the welfare sump pump that sucks the life out of Our society?

--Will We come even a millimeter closer to actually giving a damn about these things?

Puerto Rico 2016: It's closer than you think.

The Jenius Has Spoken.