The Democrats have temporary control of the Congress and the White House, and this is their chance to make major changes in the American way of life, by greatly expanding the federal government. Their goals all have one thing in common: In the long run, they are all designed to lead to a permanent Democrat majority, by getting as many people as possible dependent on the government (willingly or not). One way to do this is to add more States to the Union, and the three candidates for this position are the solidly-Democratic Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia.
Guam is hardly ever discussed as a potential 51st state, so this page includes little or no discussion of that prospect. But the potential is there, many years from now.
Judge temporarily blocks FEMA from ending housing aid to Puerto Ricans displaced after hurricane. U.S. District Judge Leo T. Sorokin of Massachusetts ordered that the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot end its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program until at least midnight Tuesday [7/3/2018], meaning those depending on the aid to pay for hotel and motel rooms should be able to stay at least until check-out time Wednesday, according to online court records. The national civil-rights group that filed a lawsuit Saturday seeking the restraining order said the end of the FEMA assistance would lead to Puerto Rican evacuees being evicted. The temporary restraining order affects around 1,744 people, an attorney involved in the suit said. The FEMA transitional assistance was to end Saturday.
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Trump-bashing Puerto Rican mayor reportedly facing FBI corruption probe. The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who shot to international fame after criticizing President Trump for not doing enough to help Hurricane Maria victims is being investigated by the FBI on corruption charges, according to multiple news outlets. Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and her administration are under fire for allegedly obstructing critical supplies from reaching victims of the category-4 hurricane that leveled much of the tiny U.S. territory nearly nine months ago.
From Hawaii to Puerto Rico, the left's 'Katrina' narrative on Trump collapses. [Scroll down] That calls to mind the appalling "narrative" the left has been pushing for some time now, starting with the mess in Puerto Rico in the wake of 2017's Hurricane Maria, which pummeled the island and left the family of another relative of mine, in rural Puerto Rico, cut off and forced to live Third World-style, without clean water, access to communications, or even batteries (this was what they said the biggest problem was). The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yul'n Cruz, who tried to make so much political hay for Democrats by claiming that President Trump was neglecting Puerto Rico, is now under investigation for corruption. That same corruption delayed the aid in the first place. She tried to blame President Trump for the delays in aid, doing the same thing Democrats did to President Bush when the 2005 Katrina disaster in New Orleans happened, which was to claim that he was heartless and didn't care about people in peril. Hillary Clinton made lots of hay from this, smarmily lecturing President Trump on Twitter with the news that Puerto Ricans are citizens, as if he didn't know.
Puerto Rico suffers island-wide blackout. A blackout that affected the entire island of Puerto Rico on Wednesday was caused by a transmission line inadvertently taken out by an excavator, officials said. The transmission line was accidentally hit by the excavator while a private contractor was working to take out a collapsed tower during ongoing power restoration efforts in the U.S. territory, Justo Gonzalez, executive sub director of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority, said. The region was already suffering from an unstable power grid following Hurricane Maria, which barreled into the island seven months ago. Officials said earlier Wednesday that it could take 24 to 36 hours to fully restore power.
Overheard on Acela: Teachers' Union President Plots to Shut Puerto Rico Schools From First Class Car. Teachers' union president Randi Weingarten is plotting a teachers' strike to shut down schools in Puerto Rico, according to a conversation overheard Friday in the first-class car of an Acela train heading to New York. Puerto Rico is in the midst of implementing school-choice reforms, opposed by Weingarten's American Federation of Teachers. Last month Gov. Ricardo Rossell signed legislation to increase the number of charter schools and voucher programs. Weingarten said she does not want to use the word "strike," but wants to use the strategy of recent teacher walkouts in Oklahoma and West Virginia as a model to fight against school-choice reforms.
Puerto Rico a growing hub for cocaine, heroin shipments to the US. Puerto Rico has become a hotbed for drug traffickers attempting to smuggle cocaine and heroin from South America to the East Coast of the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 65,890 pounds of narcotics in and around Puerto Rico from drug cartels and smugglers in fiscal year 2017 than any previous year on record, according to federal data.
5 Of The Most Violent Cities In The World Are Right Here In America. [#32] San Juan, Puerto Rico: Many will think that San Juan earned its place on the list due to the devastation wrought by two back to back hurricanes, but it was already bad for years before. DHS ties this to drug trafficking. The island territory had begun to see signs of improvement in 2015 after a massive spike in 2011 that brought murders to an all-time high. The homicide numbers didn't immediately escalate after Hurricane Maria, but as the unrelenting darkness continued, violent crime began to increase until it reached 48.70 murders per hundred thousand residents.
Storm dealt Puerto Rico knockout blow after decades of fiscal failure, corruption. Six months after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, many leaders there are pointing the finger at Washington, but the scandal, corruption and waste that now plague the U.S. territory were around long before last summer's storm. Decades of dysfunction, mismanagement and embarrassing abuses of power left Puerto Rico reeling well before the storm delivered a knockout blow, say obervers. Enormous debt, absurd infrastructure projects and a tradition of corruption have hampered the commonwealth's ability to get off the canvas.
Puerto Rico turns to DOJ amid escalating post-Maria drug-fueled violence. Just a half hour from the charming cobblestone streets of Old San Juan loom the boxy World War II-era public housing projects, now home to thousands of residents trapped in a post-Hurricane Maria dystopian nightmare of crime and corruption. Police appear powerless to stem a spiraling murder rate, donations rarely seem to reach the public and the government's answer is most often to blame Washington. Families that a year ago enjoyed the trappings of upper middle class huddle indoors with scant food and sporadic power, while armed young men roam the streets enforcing a brutal code borne of social breakdown.
San Juan mayor used hurricane for political gain, storm-ravaged residents say. The mayor of Puerto Rico's largest city became an international star when she donned a T-shirt and baseball cap and begged for help after Hurricane Maria left San Juan in shambles. And she became a darling of the left when she took aim at President Trump for not doing enough to help her people. Six months later, constituents of Carmen Yulin Cruz are still strug gling for food, shelter and power, and many have turned on the leader who they say turned her global close-up into a never-ending parade of self-promotion.
Puerto Rico power grid snaps, nearly 1 million in the dark. Puerto Rico's power grid broke down again on Thursday [3/1/2018], leaving some 800,000 customers without power, as the US Caribbean possession struggles to recover five months after Hurricane Maria slammed the island. Justo Gonzalez, head of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), said that one of the island's main transmission lines was out of service. Officials said the line should be fully operational again before Friday [3/2/2018].
FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered. Two Democrats are calling for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be subpoenaed for documents relating to Hurricane Maria, suggesting the agency failed to provide tens of millions of meals after the storm devastated Puerto Rico. US Rep. Elijah Cummings and Stacey Plaskett, the congressional delegate from the US Virgin Islands, signed a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy on Tuesday morning [2/6/2018], calling into question a $156 million contract awarded to a small Atlanta-based company, Tribute Contracting LLC.
FEMA flip: Maybe Whitefish Energy wasn't so bad after all. Whitefish Energy probably won't say so, but the power contractor won vindication of sorts last week when it got a shout-out from a FEMA official for its work restoring power in Puerto Rico. You'll no doubt remember that Whitefish Energy spent time in the dock as public enemy No. 1 last year after it won a $300 million contract from the island territory to restore power in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Perhaps you also recall that we never heard that Whitefish Energy wasn't doing the job it had promised to do.
Democrats in Puerto Rico [are] Intentionally Keeping Power Off to Hurt Trump. [M]onths after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, nearly half the island's residents remain powerless. But FEMA sent hundreds of workers to the area to help restore the electrical grid, so why the delay? Materials. Items critical to restoring the grid in Puerto Rico are missing. So over the weekend, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began raiding warehouses. To there amazement, they found that Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority has been "hoarding" these critical items. The intercept reported that FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers entered a warehouse in Palo Seco warehouse where they found hundreds of tension steel sleeves and nearly 3,000 items necessary for contractors helping Puerto Rico restore power.
Largest Puerto Rican Newspaper Blames American Jews for Their Disasters. El Nueva Dia, Puerto Rico's largest newspaper, printed a column claiming the reason Puerto Rico is still a disaster is because of the Jews in America. In reality, it's because of their corrupt government, but Jews make a great patsy. Wilda Rodriguez, in her article titled, "What Does 'The Jew' Want From the Colony?", she contends "Wall Street types," rather than politicians in Washington, D.C., run the government. The "Wall Street types" are the Jews.
Puerto Rico police chief resigns as killings, absences spike. Puerto Rico's first female police chief resigned Monday [1/8/2018] amid a spike in killings while thousands of officers continue to call in sick to protest the lack of overtime pay.
While Pleading For Help And Mired In Debt Puerto Rico Pays Out Christmas Bonuses. It has actually been an annual tradition; a US territory sunk deep in a debt crisis doles out bonuses to federal employees at Christmastime, coming due in the coming week. What makes this year's Yuletide largesse more pronounced is that the debt has not only worsened, but currently the country is pleading for Congress to shell out billions in hurricane relief aid dollars. The bonuses themselves really are not the issue. The island will pay out roughly $100 million in Christmas checks this year while facing tens of billions of dollars in the red. At the same time as these payouts the Governor, Ricardo Rossello, is asking for just shy of $100 BILLION in relief aid for the island. While the bonuses are not central to the island's financials they do typify some of the underlying issues leading to the debt crisis.
Puerto Rico gives out $100 million in bonuses after pleading for $94 billion in hurricane relief. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello Nevares last month asked federal taxpayers to shell out $94 billion to pay for the territory's recovery from Hurricane Maria — then turned around and paid out about $100 million in Christmas bonuses to island government employees. The governor's aides say the bonuses are a longstanding tradition and part of the law, and were planned for in the budget approved last summer. But that budget came well before Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, leaving much of the territory in ruin and leaving the government begging for federal assistance.
Sanders Puts Forward A Super Expensive Green 'Marshall Plan' For Puerto Rico. Sen. Bernie Sanders will unveil an extremely pricey legislation to help Puerto Rico recover after a series of hurricanes flattened the American territory nearly two months ago. Sanders, a self-avowed democratic socialist from Vermont, is proposing a $146 million plan to resuscitate Puerto Rico's beleaguered infrastructure. His goal is to have the 70 percent of the island running on solar and wind power within a decade, but some analysts believe the idea is a too ambitious. "More than two months after Hurricane Maria, in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, most of the homes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still without electricity. This is beyond belief," Sanders told reporters Tuesday [11/28/2017].
Whitefish is halting Puerto Rico power repairs, claiming it's owed $83 million. Whitefish Energy is stopping its work to restore Puerto Rico's broken electricity grid because the company says it is owed more than $83 million by the island's power authority. Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski told CNN that repeated requests for agreed payments were not met and there was no choice but to suspend work. He claimed credit for the restoration of transmission lines by his contractors, even after his company's controversial contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was set to be voided.
The Lineman Got $63 an Hour. The Utility Was Billed $319 an Hour. The small energy outfit from Montana that won a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico's tattered power grid had few employees of its own, so it did what the Puerto Rican authorities could have done: It turned to Florida for workers. For their trouble, the six electrical workers from Kissimmee are earning $42 an hour, plus overtime. The senior power linemen from Lakeland are earning $63 an hour working in Puerto Rico, the Florida utility said. Their 40 co-workers from Jacksonville, also linemen, are making up to $100 earning double time, public records show. But the Montana company that hired the workers, Whitefish Energy Holdings, had a contract that allowed it to bill the Puerto Rican public power company, known as Prepa, $319 an hour for linemen, a rate that industry experts said was far above the norm even for emergency work — and almost 17 times the average salary of their counterparts in Puerto Rico.
FBI investigating Whitefish deal: report. The FBI is reportedly investigating the $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy to repair Puerto Rico's electrical grid in the wake of Hurricane Maria. People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that FBI agents from the San Juan field office are examining the deal and how Whitefish and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) came to the agreement. Neither the FBI nor Whitefish responded to requests for comment.
The Puerto Rican Genocide That Wasn't. The death toll in Puerto Rico currently stands at 48. Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20. As we approach October 20, the death toll from the hurricane is a lot less than the death toll from the deadliest month in Chicago. Despite media arm waving, with only 117 people not accounted for, the actual death toll in Puerto Rico isn't likely to rise very much. And even a death toll of 48 was only achieved by listing people who died of heart attacks and other medical problems that could not be treated because of hurricane damage. It's unknown whether some of them might have lived without the hurricane. It's guesswork. The previous, incomplete death toll showed that the actual hurricane seemed to have only killed 19 people. 2 suicides were also attributed to the hurricane. As were respiratory failures "indirectly linked" to the hurricane. But the media has been working hard to inflate the death toll. "We'll probably never know exactly how many people died," the Washington Post speculates. "Hurricane Maria likely killed more people than Puerto Rico says," the Daily News ghoulishly insists.
Puerto Rican Secretary Of State Blows Whistle On Hurricane Relief Fraud, Finds Unopened US Aid In Dumpster. Most of Puerto Rico still does not have power, and its inhabitants are struggling with shortages in food, water, and essential supplies. However, yesterday Marin made the shocking discovery that a sizable portion of United States aid to Puerto Rico is going to waste before it ever reaches the hurricane victims. The video shows countless unopened boxes full of ready-to-eat meals in a dumpster, presumably thrown away by Puerto Rican officials. The video was shot in Patillas, a city on the island's southeastern coast. You won't hear this stuff from the lying mainstream media.
Disturbing Video — U.S. Aid To Puerto Rico Thrown in Dumpsters. There has been a great deal of political consternation and talking points about U.S. aid, or the lack thereof, delivered to Puerto Rico. Indeed, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yul'n Cruz Soto has been a favorite of Democrats and liberal U.S. media as a spokesperson for claims the U.S. has not done enough for the island's people. However, a disturbing video shows Puerto Rico's Secretary of State showing boxes and boxes of food, water and supplies being discarded by Puerto Rican officials in dumpsters, obviously not reaching the intended residents.
FBI Investigates Claims Puerto Rico Officials Are Withholding FEMA Supplies. The FBI is investigating multiple allegations of Puerto Rican government officials withholding FEMA supplies meant for hurricane victims. The bureau received several complaints that local officials are distributing supplies to their friends and political supporters instead of people in need. So far, the FBI is aware of six areas in Puerto Rico where supplies are being misappropriated. This comes as President Trump hints he will pull first responders from the island.
Congresswoman: Puerto Rico Receiving More Than $1.6 Billion in Direct Federal Aid. Puerto Rico's only congresswoman, Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) defended President Donald Trump's comments about the hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico throwing the federal budget "out of whack." During his visit Tuesday [10/3/2017], Trump said, "Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico — and that's fine."
Fed's Dudley Sent Puerto Rico A "Plane Loaded With Cash". In the days following Hurricane Maria's devastating blow to Puerto Rico, air traffic on the island came to a complete standstill as airport damage prevented commercial pilots from servicing the island. That said, with the island economy grinding to a halt, San Juan International apparently managed to find a way to accept one very important plane... a "jet loaded with an undisclosed amount of cash" from New York Fed president William Dudley.
The Editor says...
In Re: Puerto Rico. [Scroll down] I've seen one report that dockworkers in Puerto Rico are either striking or refusing to unload and distribute supplies unless they are paid first. Beyond this, Puerto Rico's effective bankruptcy has been the talk of the public finance community for a while now. Puerto Rico has more than $70 billion in public debt it has no chance of paying back, accumulated through the usual blue-state governance model. The weakness of its electricity grid may be related to skewed spending for public employee pensions and the usual liberal boondoggles instead of physical infrastructure. Even before the hurricane, it was clear that bondholders were going to take a large haircut in any restructuring; now I suspect Puerto Rico may default completely.
San Juan Mayor Back On TV -- Wearing Another Shirt That Speaks Volumes! San Juan's mayor is hiding a new, very stupid t-shirt under her zip-up Nike sweater. Carmen Yul'n Cruz has taken to the medium of freshly printed t-shirts and baseball caps to get her opinions across. First, she appeared on Anderson Cooper wearing a shirt that said HELP US WE ARE DYING. And half of America asked: If you're all dying, how did you manage to get a specialty shirt printed up in time? Or do you have an entire box of those shirts on hand just in case? We're dying, but we still have a vibrate shirt printing industry! [...] In recent days she made the news for staging a press conference, where she claimed that they were without supplies, food and potable water... in front of stacks upon stacks of the very supplies she was crying for. Turn around, Carmen. But it wasn't til later that we found out that the reason that Puerto Ricans were suffering from a lack of supplies was because the Teamsters Union who were supposed to schlep the aid around didn't bother to show up to work. A full 80% of teamsters decided they'd rather stay in bed that day.
How The Democrats Set Up Puerto Rico For Disaster. When there's a national disaster, neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble, shelters are filled with crying families, and a Republican is in the White House, the Democrats jump into action. Not to help, but to make political capital from a disaster that they helped cause.
U.S. House committee examining barriers to Puerto Rico recovery: official. The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources said it will work to identify red tape and other bureaucratic hurdles to speed up Puerto Rico's recovery and rebuilding, as the island struggles to recover from the impact of Hurricane Maria.
The Mess Before Maria. Puerto Rico is a test case of whether nationalism is as dispensable as the heightening conventional wisdom assumes. Puerto Rico possesses many of the attributes assumed to represent the utopian post-national future, such as open borders with the United States, diversity, and a lack of national sovereignty. Yet, as demonstrated once again by the current post-hurricane crisis of electricity outages, in part caused by the power company failing to trim trees, Puerto Rico is instead a pit of corruption and fecklessness. Obviously, U.S. taxpayers will wind up paying to turn the electricity back on. But Puerto Rico is illuminating about the long-run sustainability of any system not based on national sovereignty and accountability. Nobody washes a rented car and nobody treats Puerto Rico like it's his or her own country.
President Trump isn't responsible for Puerto Rico's decades of corruption and collapse. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are very, very concerned about the people of Puerto Rico. Both have joined the mayor of San Juan in criticizing President Trump for not doing enough for the Commonwealth in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Seriously, where have they been? Where were they when Puerto Rico's debts ballooned to $123 billion, thrusting the economy into an 11-year recession? Where were they when 50,000 of the island's best and brightest hightailed to the mainland every year, looking for jobs and opportunities, as median household income sank to $18,626 as compared to $56,516 on the mainland? Where were they as the territory's power system went bust, while its administrators came under FBI investigation for stealing from the people of Puerto Rico?
San Juan Mayor Admits She Hasn't Met With Federal Officials At Joint Field Office Over Hurricane Relief Efforts. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, a Democrat, went on a tirade on Saturday [9/30/2017], accusing President Trump of allowing Puerto Ricans to die because he just doesn't care. But now it turns out Cruz is not in the loop and hasn't even bothered to participate in meetings with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other federal agencies. In a Sunday morning interview with George Stephanopoulos for ABC's This Week, the former Clinton press secretary grilled Cruz on what she's been up to since Hurricane Maria hit: [...]
Trump is not the problem in Puerto Rico. Steve and I have written about the efforts of Democrats and the media to convince the public that Hurricane Maria is "Trump's Katrina." Actually, it's doubtful that Hurricane Katrina was "Bush's Katrina." In any event, there is no merit to the left's attempt to treat President Trump's response to Hurricane Maria as wanting, much less scandalous.
No, Trump Didn't Botch the Puerto Rico Crisis. Puerto Rico is an island that suffers from its position in the middle of the Caribbean and its physical separation from the U.S. Its roads were in disrepair and its electrical grid was antiquated prior to the hurricane. The island has also suffered for years from ineffective local government and rising local territorial debt. The Navy used to operate a large Navy base there, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads. I spent six months on the island in 1993, but when the island's population protested the presence of the training range at nearby Vieques Island, the Navy shuttered the base, taking $300 million a year out of the Puerto Rican economy.
Trump on Puerto Rico's debt: 'We're going to have to wipe that out. President Trump told Fox News Tuesday that "you can say goodbye" to Puerto Rico's debt as the island struggles to recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Maria. Trump spoke to Fox News' Geraldo Rivera in an interview that aired exclusively on "Hannity" Tuesday evening [10/3/2017]. The president spend the day touring the damage left by Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century.
Desperately Seeking A Trump Failure In Puerto Rico. Based on much of the coverage of the Trump administration's response to Maria, you'd think it was Trump's fault that Puerto Rico is an island 1,000 miles off the coast of Miami where supplies can only arrive by air or sea, which was impossible immediately after the storm because the ports and airports were knocked out of commission. Or that Trump is to blame for the massive scale of the destruction that has made the logistics complicated and the recovery slow. Or that he's at fault for the fact that, when massive amounts of supplies did arrive, few Puerto Rican truck drivers showed up to deliver them to their destinations.
Puerto Rican Cop Says San Juan Mayor Is Sabotaging Hurricane Response For Political Reasons. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is deliberately withholding food and supplies from her hurricane-ravaged city as part of a publicity stunt, according to a bombshell video currently circulating across the internet. The video features a panicked female voice who identifies herself as a police officer from Guaynabo, a suburb of San Juan, calling into a New York City Hispanic language radio station. The caller accuses Cruz, San Juan's anti-Trump mayor with a penchant for supporting and befriending convicted terrorists, of staggering negligence and dereliction of duty in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Puerto Rico Enters the 'Great American Victim Derby'. Seems like everyone's a victim in the USA these days, from college "snowflakes" who can't abide someone with views unlike theirs within miles of their campuses to allegedly assaulted women wearing sexually explicit hats to multi-millionaire football players who are sure there's something wrong but can't always remember what it is (other than Donald Trump). The latest of the many entries in this "Great American Victim Derby" is Puerto Rico — or at least a significant part of the island's leadership. Who will win this derby? It's anybody's guess, but the thing about playing the victim game is that even — perhaps especially — when you do win, you're even more likely to continue to be a victim and play some more. Victimhood is self-perpetuating [...]
Fellow Puerto Rico Mayor Rips San Juan Mayor — 'She's Not Participating In Any Meetings'. The mayor of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico cast serious doubt Saturday on the claims made by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has repeatedly attacked President Trump and accused him of abandoning Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Guaynabo's mayor, Angel Perez, said in an interview with The Daily Caller that his experience with the federal government has been different from Cruz's, in part because — unlike Cruz — he has been participating in meetings with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies. Cruz has repeatedly accused Trump and the federal government of abandoning Puerto Rico.
Save Puerto Rico! Eliminate The Jones Act. Sometimes disasters are like bright lights, illuminating serious flaws in things you long took for granted. Case in point: The Jones Act, the infamous 97-year-old protectionist shipping law that has made Puerto Rico's recovery far tougher than it needs to be.
'Inept' Puerto Rican government 'riddled with corruption': CEO. For the last 30 years, the Puerto Rican government has been completely inept at handling regular societal needs, so I just don't see it functioning in a crisis like this one. Even before the hurricane hit, water and power systems were already broken. And our $118 billion debt crisis is a result of government corruption and mismanagement. The governor Ricardo Rossello has little experience. He's 36 and never really held a job and never dealt with a budget. His entire administration is totally inexperienced and they have no clue how to handle a crisis of this magnitude. For instance, shortly after the hurricane hit, the government imposed a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am and then changed it. Now, it's 7 pm to 5 am, and makes no sense. The curfew has prevented fuel trucks from transporting their loads. These trucks should have been allowed to run for 24 hours to address our needs, but they have been stalled, and so we have massive lines at gas stations and severe shortages of diesel at our hospitals and supermarkets.
Neighboring mayor praises Trump, says San Juan mayor playing 'politics,' AWOL at meetings. The mayor of a Puerto Rican city that sits next to San Juan praised the administration's help Saturday night, and chided the "politics" of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has been criticizing President Trump. In an interview with Secrets, Guaynabo Mayor Angel Perez Otero said that in several meetings with FEMA and U.S. military officials about the recovery effort, Yulin Cruz has been absent. "I've seen other mayors participating. She's not," said Perez Otero.
Other Puerto Rican Mayor: Trump Has Been Great, San Juan's Mayor Has Been AWOL. The Washington Examiner reported earlier today [9/30/2017] that the mayor of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico criticized neighboring San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for "playing politics" after Hurricane Maria. He also praised President Trump for his hurricane recovery coordination efforts. Guaynabo Mayor Angel Perez Otero says that Mayor Yulin Cruz has been a no show at coordination meetings between FEMA, U.S. military officials, and Puerto Rican leaders.
Trump Takes On San Juan Mayor For 'Nasty' Criticism Of Puerto Rico Response. President Donald Trump struck back at the San Juan Mayor Carmen Yul'n Cruz Saturday morning [9/30/2017] after her criticism of the U.S. federal government's disaster relief response to Puerto Rico. Trump insinuated that Democratic Party operatives told Cruz to criticize the president for not taking the appropriate tone when speaking about the recovery effort.
FEMA Director: San Juan Mayor Refuses To Participate in Puerto Rico Unified Command and Relief Efforts. CNN attempts to spin a narrative, FEMA Director refuses to engage. FEMA Director Brock Long explains how the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulin-Cruz has intentionally disconnected herself from the unified chain-of-command for Hurricane Maria relief efforts in favor of playing politics. Additionally and incredibly, Mayor Yulin Cruz has never even visited the San Juan Headquarters where FEMA, Dept. of Homeland Security, Dept of Defense, National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and PR state governors office are communicating, prioritizing and responding to the urgent needs of municipal leaders and the citizens of Puerto Rico. Ridiculously, Mayor Yulin Cruz chooses to remain a few blocks away talking politics to media cameras instead of engaging with local, state and federal officials on recovery efforts.
Puerto Rico Cop Calls U.S. Radio Station Reporting Corrupt Mayor of San Juan and Request For Help. A very emotional female police officer from Puerto Rico's police department in Guaynabo calls in to a U.S. spanish speaking radio station to tell listeners what is going on in Puerto Rico. The police woman is very upset, crying and sobbing often, and shares how the Mayor of San Juan is politicizing the situation and not offering help. The call and video was recorded September 28th, and highlights the corruption within government within Puerto Rico and the Municipal authority of San Juan.
The crass politics of windy compassion. Those ill winds blowing out of the Caribbean are blowing somebody good, or at least there's somebody who thinks they're good. There's always profit in somebody else's misery. Some Democrats in Washington see opportunities to make hay with Puerto Ricans who would settle for a drink of clean water and something to eat. Hurricane Maria, now safely out to sea, has so ruined the island that many Puerto Ricans are encouraged to resettle in Florida, a swing state with the partisan numbers so narrow that only a few Puerto Ricans might swing it permanently to the left and to the Democrats. [...] Democrats relish the arrival of younger than usual imports. These are not immigrants, but settlers as American as Texans, Californians or Pennsylvanians, American citizens by a 1917 act of Congress. They can't vote for president and they have no representation in Congress, but once ashore all they have to do to vote is to register in their new states.
San Juan Mayor Prioritizes Making Puerto Rico Crisis Political. The Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen
Yulin-Cruz attempts to make the crisis in Puerto Rico political. The insufferable mindset to make things political is
only exceeded by the ridiculous optic of calling for federal aid while surrounded by relief supplies provided entirely by the
U.S. federal government.
Report: Puerto Rico Teamsters Union, "Frente Amplio", Refuse to Deliver Supplies — Use Hurricane Maria as Contract Leverage. The ports are so full of relief supplies they can't fit any more on the available space.
Donald Trump Rips 'Fake News' CNN and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for Puerto Rico Criticism. President Donald Trump accused San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of playing politics in a tweet Saturday after she delivered an emotional speech accusing the administration of "killing" Puerto Rico's people. "If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying," she said during an interview with CNN on Friday [9/29/2017]. "And you are killing us with the inefficiency."
Are Illinois and Puerto Rico Our Future? Speaking of banana republics, Puerto Rico, which owes $74 billion to creditors who hold its tax-exempt bonds, and $40 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, has already entered bankruptcy proceedings. The island's imaginative 38-year-old governor, Ricardo Rossello, however, has a solution. Call Uncle Sam. On June 11, Rossello held a plebiscite, with a 23 percent turnout, that voted 97 percent to make Puerto Rico our 51st state.
Puerto Rico's sorry state. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is drowning. The island, so popular with tourists, is $123 billion in debt. That's more debt than the $18 billion bankruptcy filed by the city of Detroit in 2013. In May, San Juan declared a form of bankruptcy after creditors filed lawsuits demanding their money. [...] A referendum on the status of Puerto Rico was held in Puerto Rico on June 11. Three options were open to voters: remain with the commonwealth, independence or statehood. Statehood won. Would a Republican Congress and a Republican president ever back statehood for a territory that seems overwhelmingly Democratic and possibly add two senators and one voting House member to that party's total in Washington?
Puerto Rico voters back becoming 51st state in referendum marred by boycott. Puerto Rico's governor announced that the U.S. territory has overwhelmingly chosen statehood in a nonbinding referendum Sunday [6/11/2017] held amid a deep economic crisis that has sparked an exodus of islanders to the U.S. mainland.
Puerto Rico Upholds Statehood Demand in Contentious Vote. Puerto Rico's governor is vowing to make the U.S. territory the 51st state after statehood won in a non-binding referendum hit by a boycott and low turnout that raised questions about the vote's legitimacy.
Puerto Ricans Choose Statehood, But They Need to Choose Capitalism, Too. Voters in Puerto Rico overwhelmingly chose statehood in a non-binding referendum on Sunday [6/11/2017]. Yet statehood, or independence for that matter, is not a panacea for Puerto Rico's fiscal troubles — the island has been mired in a debt crisis for years and some supporters of statehood point to the inevitable bailout that would accompany accession, according to Frank Worley, a co-founder of the Puerto Rican Libertarian Party.
Don't Buy the Denials, Puerto Rico Is Being Bailed Out. Despite Congressional leadership's ardent denial that the latest version of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) will not pump taxpayer dollars into debt-ridden Puerto Rico, we are creeping towards precisely such a bailout. Updated last week, PROMESA seeks to redirect the indebted island territory "from a path of destitution towards a path of prosperity." Republican House and Committee leadership, including the bill's sponsor Rep. Sean Duffy, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, have vowed to do so without pouring taxpayer funds into the island. But that is not how the law would necessarily play out.
How Do We Encourage Terrorism? Let Us Count The Ways. For years, terrorists have been hailed as celebrities, fawned over by journalists, and deferentially received in the halls of power. Examples could fill a dozen columns. [...] At the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York on June 11, the guest of honor will be Oscar Lopez Rivera, an unrepentant member of the FALN terrorist group who spent 35 years in federal prison for plotting to overthrow the government. When convicted terrorists are treated to parades on Fifth Avenue, it encourages more terrorism everywhere.
The '51st U.S. State' Declares Bankruptcy. Puerto Rico has collapsed financially and has "filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection". When this was announced on Wednesday [5/10/2017], it quickly made front page news all over the planet. For decades, Puerto Rico has been considered to be the territory most likely to become "the 51st U.S. state", and there have even been rumblings that we could soon see a renewed push for statehood. But that is on the back burner for now, because at the moment Puerto Rico is dealing with a nightmarish financial crisis that is the result of an accelerating economic collapse.
Puerto Rico a dire warning for blue states. If you believe that states — and commonwealths — cannot declare bankruptcy, you are technically correct. But last week a commonwealth, Puerto Rico, filed for bankruptcy in all but name, utilizing the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2016. [...] Many local government workers don't pay into social security and many of them have no other pension plans. In states like Illinois, if you work for the state government, funds deducted for your retirement only go to one place — an Illinois retirement plan. So far so good — unless the politicians neglect to properly fund those pension programs.
Puerto Rico Declares a Form of Bankruptcy. The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, said he would move the island's debt crisis into federal bankruptcy court, making it the largest government to seek refuge from its creditors in United States history. Puerto Rico has roughly $73 billion of bond debt, and nearly $50 billion of unfunded pension obligations to restructure.
Paradise In Peril: Puerto Rico Shows Governments Do Go Bankrupt. Tired of wrestling with his creditors, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselo is taking the unprecedented step of moving his dispute to federal bankruptcy court, where he hopes to get a favorable solution to his government's desperate debt situation. It's not exactly bankruptcy, but it does set an ugly precedent that poorly run, financially strapped U.S. states are likely to follow. All told, Puerto Rico owes close to $123 billion in total liabilities, according to The New York Times, including $73 billion in bonded indebtedness and $50 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
Americans Support Statehood for Puerto Rico More than D.C.. Despite Puerto Rico's ongoing fiscal issues, a sizable number of Americans support making the longtime U.S. commonwealth an official state. There remains far less support for granting statehood to Washington, D.C. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of American Adults now believe Puerto Rico should be a state, up from 35% in the fall of 2013. Largely unchanged are the 39% who disagree and the 21% who are undecided.
Puerto Rico's toxic dumps: Obama's legacy, Pruitt's opportunity. Last month marked the end of eight years of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that many critics, especially Republicans, say spent its time, attention, and resources on donor-driven political causes while neglecting enforcement of basic environmental laws across the country. The critics are right. The lead poisoning of the drinking water in Flint, Mich., is probably the most egregious example of this that comes to mind for most Americans. But in Puerto Rico, where I reside, more than 65 percent of landfills operate in violation of federal environmental laws, putting communities at risk and threatening to spark a public health disaster.
Puerto Rico's new gov promises immediate push for statehood. Puerto Rico's new governor was sworn in Monday, promising an immediate push for statehood in a territory facing a deep economic crisis.
Will the next 'governor' of Puerto Rico actually be able to govern? Immediately after electing a new governor on November 8, Puerto Ricans will face an unprecedented challenge. Their government will be bankrupt but unable to declare bankruptcy. A Financial Control Board (FCB) will run their economy. Every public budget, and every law, will require FCB approval. The political impotence will be so profound, that U.S. Federal Judge Juan Torruella is recommending the suspension of elections in Puerto Rico, until the FCB has finished fleecing it. Given these grim conditions, many have lost faith in the "political class" of Borinquen, and are fleeing the island in record numbers. For the remaining 3.5 million souls, here is a brief list of what the next governor should do, and can do for their island.
Puerto Rico: All Banana, No Republic. Puerto Rico is being allowed to fall apart in order to rig American presidential elections by tipping Florida's electoral votes to the Democrats. The looting of Puerto Rico's institutions by the rich and the poor alike is depopulating the island. Puerto Rico is a fascinating test case for what has emerged as the central issue of 2016 politics: borders. The two American presidential candidates in 2016 both seem fairly centrist in terms of traditional left-right positions, but Mrs. Clinton ranks with John McCain as the purest example of current invade-the-world-invite-the-world establishment ideology.
Puerto Rico's Untold Tale of Corruption. By now, many Americans are familiar with the public debt fiasco that plagues Puerto Rico. The issue has steadily risen in prominence as the gravity of Puerto Rico's debt load sets in on the American public. Certainly, the island's economic mismanagement has taken center stage in Washington, as Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has been called to testify numerous times before Congress. What probably remains unfamiliar to many Americans, however, is the other specter that haunts Puerto Rico's government: its seemingly unshakable culture of corruption. Though well-covered on the island, the Garcia Padilla administration's questionable ties to political fundraiser Anaudi Hernandez hasn't truly broken into the mainstream media landscape. Hernandez, along with nine other Puerto Rican businessmen and officials, was arrested in December 2015 as part of an ongoing FBI corruption investigation into Padilla's government. At the time of their arrests, FBI special agent for San Juan, Carlos Cases, issued a scathing indictment of Puerto Rico's government and the role corruption played in driving it to the brink of default, stating, "Unfortunately, this is one more case of graft, greed, and corruption that over the last 20 years have contributed to the government of Puerto Rico's fragile economic condition and [placed it] on the brink of bankruptcy... Let there be no doubt this is only the beginning and the investigation will continue."
US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Prepares to Default (in Spanish). Puerto Rico is the poster-child for multiculturalism with both Spanish and English as the official languages. US officials pushed for many years to make English the dominant language, but in 1991 the Puerto Rican legislature issued a bill making Spanish the official language in school and government use. The decision was reversed by a federal court in 1993, but the Democrat Party that has dominated politics for 100 years demanded that schools continue to shun English. Today only 1 in 8 families speak English as the primary language in the home. Puerto Rico economy is now shrinking at a 6% annual pace and only 1.2 million, or 32%, of the island's 3.7 million of the inhabitants employed.
U.S. Gives 1/3 of Puerto Rico Food Stamps. As if it weren't bad enough that a record 47.7 million people — and growing — get food stamps from the U.S. government, federal records reveal that a whopping 1/3 of Puerto Rico's population receives them. This cost American taxpayers an astounding $2 billion last year, according to figures released by the government agency — the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — that distributes the benefit.
Puerto Rico approves statehood. A slim majority of Puerto Ricans voted Tuesday [11/6/2012] to approve a nonbinding referendum that would make the island the 51st U.S. state. The measure requires final approval from Congress, so it means little for Puerto Rico right now.
Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich Pressed on Puerto Rico Statehood in South Florida. Statehood is a controversial issue among Puerto Ricans and not all support the idea. Others believe it should become independent or remain a commonwealth. But many Puerto Rican voters in the United States back statehood, including many who live in Florida.
Santorum doubles down on English in Puerto Rico idea. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday [3/15/2012] doubled down on his statement that Puerto Ricans need to speak English before their island territory can become a state. He said that English needs to be "spoken universally" and should be a condition of statehood.
Puerto Rico and the Recurring Plebiscite. Congress quietly passed HR 2499, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act. But why? And does anyone understand what's in it?
An invitation or a hostile takeover?
Puerto Rico, the 51st State? Puerto Rico, a self-governing commonwealth whose residents are U.S. citizens, has already voted three times (1967, 1993 and 1998) against becoming the 51st U.S. state. But Congressional Democrats, hoping to add to their numbers in Congress, keep pushing for statehood. Late last month, the House voted 223 to 169 to begin yet another attempt to have the island join the union.
Why Tea Partiers Say Throw the Bums Out: Demoting all major economic and corruption problems facing our country to the bottom of the agenda, the House devoted a long afternoon [4/29/2010] and 12 roll-call votes to passing a bill to force U.S. statehood on Puerto Rico. Of course this ploy had to be Nancy Pelosi's doing, but she made it bipartisan by getting 39 Republicans to vote with her. ... [T]he new vote prescribed in the mischievously named "Democracy" bill will set an all-time record for dishonest elections. ... The bill would allow persons who were born in Puerto Rico but now live and vote in the United States to vote in these Puerto Rican referenda. That means giving the vote to a group based on ethnicity rather than on residency, and should be held unconstitutional under the 15th Amendment.
Obama Open to Puerto Rico Statehood. President Obama is open to the idea of Puerto Rico becoming a state, Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli said at a meeting of a task force devoted to issues related to the U.S. commonwealth.
Puerto Rico deserves better. The Democratic House leadership has announced plans to ram through a bill to stack the deck in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico. Amazingly enough, several ordinarily sensible conservatives, including House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, are poised to help them. The collaborators ought to reconsider. Arguments in favor of political self-determination may seem reasonable, but the bill in question actually tramples self-determination in favor of an underhanded political power grab.
Backdoor approach to statehood. When the Democratic majority was working to push through a government takeover of health care, Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Unfortunately, that same kind of backward logic is being used as Congress prepares to vote on the Puerto Rico Democracy Act (H.R. 2499), a bill to provide for a federally sanctioned vote in Puerto Rico on changing its political status. Although the House of Representatives is considering the bill this week, there are serious questions regarding the implications of the bill that have gone unanswered.
Puerto Rico — 51st State? Congress Scrambling to Make it So. Last night [4/27/2010] on his TV show, Glenn Beck dropped another bombshell — on Thursday, Congress will take up a bill to make Puerto Rico a state. Why is our Congress doing this now? Secretly? Quickly? If it hadn't been for one of Beck's "Refounders" (a Congressional insider), would we even know about this?
Playing The Puerto Rico Card. Faced with losing Congress, the Democrats want to make Puerto Rico a state whether the people want it or not. The Democrats would get two new senators, new congressmen and a campaign issue.
Do We Need a 51st State? No, and just in case someone thought there was even a slight stutter, let me repeat, NO. Puerto Rico has voted THREE times in the past, 1967, 1993 and again in 1998, "Do we want to be a state?" — Each time their answer was NO. So why is Washington,D.C. (District of Corruption) wasting time on a "non-binding" resolution to "give" Puerto Rico something it already has?
Puerto Rican Statehood Ahead? Understand: This is not about Hispanics. It's not about freedom. It's about power and control. Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth, but is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sovereignty. It's been a U.S. territory since after the Spanish-American War of 1898. They're not an independent country. It's similar to Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa. Some people like it, others don't; they get to enjoy many of the benefits of America — like protection — and they don't have to pay any taxes. That's a pretty sweet deal.
Rigging an Election in Puerto Rico. I have to profoundly disagree with Alex Castellanos and agree with Ramesh Ponnuru on the Puerto Rico plebiscite bill. I have been working in elections for two decades, and there is no question in my mind that H.R. 2499, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act scheduled for a vote tomorrow [4/29/2010] in the House, is rigged to foist an unwanted and unsolicited 51st state on Americans.
Puerto Rico a Potential 51st State? [Scroll down] The bill requires Puerto Rico to hold an election on a referendum that reads, "Do you want to maintain the status quo?" Now, if it seems strange that a bill related to potentially adding a 51st state to our union does not once mention the word "statehood," it should. The referendum is purposely written this way to bring about a desired result. Legislators know what the answer would be if Puerto Rican voters are asked to vote on statehood, since in the past 40 years, Puerto Ricans have eagerly voted against becoming a state three times.
FBI Launches Largest Cop Corruption Case Ever in Puerto Rico. The FBI launched what it calls the "largest police corruption case" in the history of the agency early this morning in Puerto Rico, arresting 129 people around the country — most of whom were public servants ranging from police officers to municipal workers to U.S. Army soldiers. The defendants face drug trafficking charges with possible sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.
Puerto Rican madness. Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño has proposed tax cuts that could be a huge boon to the island's stalled economy, but there is a dark side to his proposal involving a huge tax increase on major employers that could cost the island hundreds of thousands of jobs. Gov. Fortuño plans to cut personal income and corporate taxes for Puerto Rico-based companies, but he is paying for it with $5.8 billion in new taxes that target several dozen major U.S. companies operating on the island.
A secret $6 billion bailout for Puerto Rico? The Obama administration is eying a secretive tax deal critics charge is an indirect bailout for Puerto Rico to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars. The U.S. territory, desperate for revenues in the midst of the recession, surprised industry with a $6 billion tax on foreign firms — including a significant bloc of U.S. pharmaceutical firms — Oct. 22 in a rare weekend legislative session without any public debate in advance. But now U.S. taxpayers, not the firms, could end up footing at least a significant chunk of the bill.
IRS punts on secret $6 billion bailout for Puerto Rico. The Obama administration says it can't decide whether U.S. taxpayers should be on the hook for $6 billion in tax increases levied by Puerto Rico, but businesses are eligible for the disputed tax credits in the meantime. And, if the IRS eventually decides the credits were improper, those firms won't have to pay back the billions of dollars they already received.
Santorum says Puerto Rico must adopt English for statehood. Rick Santorum on Wednesday [3/14/2012] laid out one caveat he would hold for the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico before it obtained statehood, saying the island would need to make English its principal language before it becomes a state. Santorum portrayed the language requirement as a matter of federal law, though no language provision currently exists for territories seeking statehood. In the past, territories seeking admission to the United States have been required to adopt English as the language of state government.
Puerto Rico's Governor Confident About Statehood. The Governor of Puerto Rico is confident Puerto Ricans will vote to make the U.S. territory a state this fall, and despite recent comments from GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, English will not need to be made the primary language for that to happen. As a territory, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in the general election November 6th. But, they will vote on a statehood referendum on that day. Gov. Luis Fortuno tells Fox News it will be a process but he is confident it will happen.
Puerto Rico Governor Charged in Probe. A law enforcement official says Puerto Rico's governor has been charged in a long-running public corruption probe in the U.S. island territory. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday [3/27/2008] that Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila is among several people named in a sealed indictment.
If you like Puerto Rico so much, why don't you go there, ya little brat? And don't come back!
To Avoid Becoming The Next Detroit, Puerto Rico Needs Growth, Not Taxes. Puerto Rico's debt has been cut to junk by two credit rating agencies, prompting an outcry from officials of the recession-hit island that, after all, they've hiked taxes. Well, that's the problem right there.
Haitian Illegal Immigration Through Puerto Rico Is Skyrocketing Too. While U.S. immigration agencies grapple with a recent surge of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants at the Mexican border, the number of Haitians trying to enter the U.S. illegally through Puerto Rico has skyrocketed as well. In 2011, only 12 Haitians made the trek through the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean Sea. That number had ballooned to 1,760 as of last year, according to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, CBS News reports.
Puerto Rico Aims to Become 51st U.S. State in 2021. Puerto Rico has presented to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington a proposal backed by legislators of both parties to pave the way for this country to become a U.S. state in 2021. The Puerto Rican representative in Washington and leader of the island's opposition party, Pedro Pierluisi, proposed on Wednesday [2/4/2015] the law of the admission process of Puerto Rico as state.
All courthouse bathrooms closed without notice in a year-long greening effort. Civil servants at a federal courthouse in Puerto Rico were left with only one bathroom on the seventh floor of a nearby structure for a year after General Services Administration officials closed all of the government building's restrooms without giving anybody notice. The GSA action was part of the house-keeping agency's efforts to green hundreds of federal buildings that often disrupted employees and failed to generate promised benefits, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Funding of $4.5 billion for the greening projects came from President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus program in 2009.
Feds Consider Puerto Ricans Disabled Because They Speak Spanish. The Social Security Administration (SSA) approved disability benefits for hundreds of Puerto Ricans because they do not speak English, despite the fact that Puerto Rico is a predominantly Spanish-speaking territory. According to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency is misapplying rules that are intended to provide financial assistance to individuals who are illiterate or cannot speak English in the United States. Under the rules, Puerto Ricans are allowed to receive disability benefits for their inability to speak English as well.
Puerto Rico Officials Warn Government Shutdown Imminent. Puerto Rico's top finance officials said the government of the U.S. territory will likely shutdown in three months because of a looming liquidity crisis and warned of a devastating impact on the island's economy. In a letter to leading lawmakers, including Governor Alejandro Padilla, the officials said a financing deal that could potentially salvage the government's finances currently looked unlikely to succeed. It warned of laying off government employees and reducing public services[.]
Jeb Bush Endorses Puerto Rican Statehood in Spanish Speech. Jeb Bush confronted one of the Republican Party's touchiest debates head-on Tuesday, telling Puerto Ricans that conservatives should be proud that America is "an immigrant nation" and value the contribution immigrants make to the country.
Jeb Bush Endorses Puerto Rican Statehood in Spanish Speech. Jeb Bush confronted one of the Republican Party's touchiest debates head-on Tuesday, telling Puerto Ricans that conservatives should be proud that America is "an immigrant nation" and value the contribution immigrants make to the country.
Puerto Rico Governor Decrees Medical Marijuana Legal. Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed an executive order on Sunday, May 3, to put an end to the prosecution of medical use of marijuana on the island. A press release issued by the governor's office explained the decision by citing the use of cannabis for health purposes in other US jurisdictions. Effective immediately, the order authorizes Commonwealth's Health Department Secretary Ana Rius to allow the medical use of "some or all controlled substances or components of the cannabis plant."
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams. Exhausted by a recession that has lasted for most of the past eight years and by talk of a possible default on government debt, Puerto Ricans are leaving in droves. Many who stay are jobless; doctors who haven't been paid in months are downing their stethoscopes. The pain that is Puerto Rico's — and could soon be Wall Street's if the debt crisis isn't resolved — is poignant. Some blame its step-child relationship with America, neither a fully-fledged US state nor an independent nation.
Puerto Rican legislators narrowly approve raising sales tax to highest level in U.S.. Gov. Alejandro Garc'a Padilla is expected to sign the bill that would increase the tax from 7 percent to 11.5 percent, as well as create a new 4 percent tax on professional services.
Puerto Rico: Greece on the Caribbean. While investors anxiously watch Greece, another debt time bomb is ticking in Puerto Rico as the country scrambles to meet its obligations. The island commonwealth owes $72 billion in total public debt. Between June 30th and July 3rd the government has to pay close to $2 billion to avoid default on various general obligation bonds, guaranteed debt obligations and other debt like $415 million in electric utility debt.
Greece isn't the only place drowning in debt: Puerto Rico's governor says island is in 'death spiral'. Puerto Rico will be unable to pay its $72bn debts, its governor has admitted, as he told investors that they would have to accept "sacrifices". Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the government's head, told the New York Times that the island needed to be pulled out of a "death spiral", echoing the situation in Greece, albeit on a much smaller scale. The island's debt obligations aren't as vast as those of Greece, at just over a fifth of the European country's debt pile. But, adjusted for population, Puerto Rico's debt burdens are around two-thirds the size of Greece's.
Puerto Rico says it cannot pay its debt, setting off potential crisis in the U.S.. The governor of Puerto Rico said in a televised address Monday that the island cannot pay back more than $70 billion in debt, setting up an unprecedented financial crisis that could rock the municipal bond market and lead to higher borrowing costs for governments across the United States. "This is not about politics," said Puerto Rico's governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla. "It's about math."
Puerto Rico's Governor Says Island's Debts Are 'Not Payable'. Puerto Rico's governor, saying he needs to pull the island out of a "death spiral," has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions. The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, and senior members of his staff said in an interview last week that they would probably seek significant concessions from as many as all of the island's creditors, which could include deferring some debt payments for as long as five years or extending the timetable for repayment.
Who's ready for a bailout of ... Puerto Rico? Normally a story such as this winds up being about Detroit or Chicago or some other major US city because we're talking about an economy on the brink of collapse. But this time it's Puerto Rico. The Washington Post is reporting that the commonwealth is sitting on more than $70B in debt with a massive bond load and it currently will not be able to meet its obligations.
Untangling the Puerto Rican Debt Crisis Is Going to Be a Mess. Puerto Rico is short $73 billion it owes its creditors. [...] The U.S. government has already denied direct, immediate assistance to San Juan, capital of the American commonwealth. Reaction from the Treasury Department was muted, saying only the island needed a "long-term economic and fiscal plan," "a sustainable path," and "an agenda for economic revitalization." Republicans on Capitol Hill have already said no to a bailout from Congress. They're also refusing to consider changing the law to allow Puerto Rico to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy, as cities can do, a move that would set up a formal process for those holding Puerto Rican bonds to recoup some cash.
As Puerto Rico's economy falters, Democrats benefit. With Puerto Rico in a sustained economic decline and its government in arrears on debt, the exodus of its residents to the mainland is having a powerful benefit for the Democrats. [...] It doesn't require much cynicism to imagine that President Obama will do nothing to help the Commonwealth with its problems, in order to spur the emigration of more people to the mainland, in order to help his political party win a crucial swing state.
The Minimum Wage Is One of the Key Policies That Will Cause Puerto Rico to Go Bankrupt. Puerto Rico just signaled that it will file for Chapter 9 protection. They just hired former Detroit judge Steven Rhodes to assist them with this. This is the same tactic that was used by the City of Detroit. A lot of Puerto Rico's woes can be traced to entitlements and the minimum wage in that country. Sound familiar? Puerto Rico is a precursor of what is to come here in the US. With Marxist cities such as Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles all raising their minimum wages in the midst of a debt death spiral, default is in our not-so-distant future. Right now, there are a number of cities on the verge of bankruptcy due to pensions, student loans and welfare.
The Crushing Implications of Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis. The debt crisis in Puerto Rico could potentially cost financial institutions in the United States tens of billions of dollars in losses. This week, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla publicly announced that Puerto Rico's 73 billion dollar debt is "not payable," and a special adviser that was recently appointed to help straighten out the island's finances said that it is "insolvent" and will totally run out of cash very shortly. At this point, Puerto Rico's debt is approximately 15 times larger than the per capita median debt of the 50 U.S. states. Yes, the Greek debt crisis is larger, as Greece currently owes about $350 billion to the rest of the planet. But only about $14 billion of that total is owed to U.S. financial institutions. But with Puerto Rico, things are very different. Just about the entire 73 billion dollar debt is owed to U.S. financial institutions, and this could potentially cause massive problems for some extremely leveraged Wall Street firms.
More about the minimum wage.
Economic hardships in Puerto Rico spur a mass exodus to the U.S. mainland. In what some experts characterize as the largest out-migration since the 1950s, emigration to the U.S. mainland has accelerated in recent years, with 144,000 fleeing from mid-2010 to 2013, according to a Pew Research Center study using U.S. Census Bureau data. The island's population now stands at 3.6 million, down from it's [sic] population peak of 4 million residents in 2009. Several moving companies in San Juan confirmed they are extremely busy these days, packing homes for new clients heading for destinations across the United States, including Miami, Orlando, New York, Boston, Chicago and cities as far as the west coast. The departures come as Puerto Rico faces an estimated $72 billion debt the governor has said is unpayable. In a recent televised address, Gov. Alejandro Garc'a Padilla said that at the rate the debt situation is developing, every man, woman and child on the island would owe creditors $40,000 by 2025.
The Problem with Puerto Rico. Democratic Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has calmly announced that Puerto Rico's staggering debt of $72 billion (USD) is simply "not payable." While the island's economy is in recession, the unemployment rate is hovering around the 12% mark, water has been rationed, and financial institutions have rightly refused to lend any more cash to its profligate government, Puerto Rico is increasingly looking more and more like Greece.
Where Does Puerto Rico's Money Go? How does a US commonwealth with 3.5 million residents, US$22 billion a year from the federal government, $9-10 billion of its own tax revenues, and over $100 billion GDP get itself into a $73 billion hole?
Puerto Rican congressman tells millions of Hispanics to become citizens. A Democratic congressman wants millions of people who hold U.S. green cards to become American citizens in order to send Donald Trump and other Republicans a message that they're 'mean and frankly, let's be honest, racist.' Louis Gutierrez, who is the senior House Democrat from Illinois and a Puerto Rican immigrant, spoke on the House floor just after 10:00 Wednesday morning [7/15/2015], delivering a message especially to more than 5 million Hispanic U.S. residens who are eligible for citizenship today.
We, the people of Puerto Rico, continue to live in a state of subordination. We, the people of Puerto Rico, are American citizens, and have been proud to be citizens for nearly a century. We celebrate the legitimate civil rights victories the Nation's Constitution enables, even if they sometimes come, as President Obama observed, in small increments. And yet we, the American citizens of Puerto Rico, continue to live in a state of indefinite political subordination. Due to Puerto Rico's subordinate status as a territory, the public corporations of the Government of Puerto Rico cannot legally restructure their debt through a state-enacted bankruptcy code, nor through Chapter 9 of the federal Bankruptcy Code. So far, the island has been left to its own devices to address its tens of billions of dollars of public debt (43 percent of which corresponds to public corporations and municipalities).
Debt-plagued Puerto Rico defaults on a bond payment for the first time. Debt-plagued Puerto Rico defaulted on a bond payment for the first time Monday [8/3/2015], triggering what is likely to be a long battle with creditors as it seeks to restructure about $73 billion in loans. The U.S. territory, whose governor has declared its debts "unpayable" and is seeking the largest restructuring ever in the country's municipal bond market, paid just $628,000 of a $58 million payment owed by its Public Finance Corp. because the legislature didn't provide enough money, according to the island's Government Development Bank.
Puerto Rican Bond Default Raises Likelihood of U.S. Bailout. Observers lately have taken to calling Puerto Rico "America's Greece." That might qualify as an insult — to Greece. And the American public may be enlisted to cover the debts. On Monday, the island government announced that its Public Finance Corporation was unable to make a full scheduled loan payment over the weekend. The $628,000 disbursement was a blip on the $58 million due, itself a blip on the composite indebtedness of over $70 billion, all of it rated at or near "junk" levels. Yet the specter of collapse now has become very real. Moody's Vice President Emily Raimes terms the partial payment a "default." She says: "This event is consistent with our belief that Puerto Rico does not have the resources to make all of its forthcoming debt payments. This is a first in what we believe will be broad default on commonwealth debt."
Puerto Rico statehooders see opportunity as woes deepen. With unemployment at 12 percent, and the public debt reaching $72 billion, advocates for making the Caribbean island the 51st state say the economic woes are strengthening their arguments.
Religious Leaders Call on Fed to Save Puerto Rico. A group of Puerto Rican religious leaders have called on the U.S. Federal Reserve to "arbitrate" the commonwealth's debt dilemma only a day after Puerto Rican officials pushed back a crucial restructuring deadline. The interdenominational collection of 18 Christian leaders, in conjunction with Washington-based nonprofit Jubilee USA Network, issued a statement Monday [8/31/2015] lambasting the implementation of budget-restricting austerity measures as part of any potential solution to the island's sizable debt crisis.
Rubio says Chapter 9 for Puerto Rico will not solve problems. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said giving Puerto Rico access to U.S. bankruptcy laws would not solve the U.S. territory's problems and "should only be a measure of last resort," he said in an opinion piece published Friday [9/4/2015].
Clinton raised up to $500K in Puerto Rico visit. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reportedly brought in between $200,000 and $500,000 for her campaign in a Puerto Rico fundraiser Friday [9/4/2015]. Clinton attended the 200-person event at the Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan for approximately 90 minutes, according to CNN. Attendees paid between $1,000 and $2,700 each for seats at Clinton's fundraiser.
Let Puerto Rico Go Bankrupt. Proponents of Puerto Rican statehood have always said that the island's in-between status — it's not a state, but not independent either — leaves it with the worst of all worlds. The territory's fiscal crisis is illustrating the point. Puerto Rico and its subdivisions amassed a lot of debt over the years, partly because the federal government gives them special treatment: Interest paid on their bonds can't be taxed anywhere in the U.S. And while federal bankruptcy law allows municipalities in states to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, municipalities in Puerto Rico can't do the same, because it isn't a state. That makes lending to them more attractive. But once they've borrowed more than they can repay, it makes it harder to clean up the mess.
Obama Proposes US Bailout of Puerto Rico to Congress. This is being put forth at exactly the same time Hillary Clinton is testifying in front of the Benghazi Committee. This is happening a little later than I thought, but this is not surprising. Obama is telling Congress we must bail out Puerto Rico or we are all doomed!
The Bottomless Economic Ignorance of Bernie Sanders. If you've been following the news, you'll know that Puerto Rico is bidding to be the Greece of the western hemisphere, but since it is a U.S. territory it is Washington rather than the E.U. that is being looked to for a bailout. Naturally the Obama administration is working on a bailout plan.
Ben Carson Supports Puerto Rican Statehood — That Solidifies His Progressive Platform. 65% unemployment, a mountain of entitlement debt they cannot afford to pay back; 50%+ of Puerto Ricans on some form of government financial welfare; teetering on the verge of financial collapse; desperate for a bailout — and candidate Ben Carson wants to absorb Puerto Rico into the U.S.A as a state.
Puerto Rico Girds for Default. Puerto Rico is set to default on the first of several payments on December 1, which will end up totaling $1.5 billion through the end of January. Puerto Rico's finances have been deteriorating since as early as 2006, with the bulk of the debt burden currently facing the territory stemming from liabilities in pensions programs. As the Economist notes, the largest government pension program is only 0.7% funded at this point.
Puerto Rico's governor tells US Senate the island cannot repay debts. Puerto Rico's governor, Alejandro Garciía Padilla, told the US Senate on Tuesday [12/1/2015] that the troubled Caribbean island has "no cash left" and can no longer repay its $72bn debts. The territory announced it would honor a $354m debt payment due on 1 December as Padilla was testifying, but Padilla said austerity measures had not only eaten into essential services but caused tax revenues to crater. With more than $900m due in January, the governor said his options were restructuring or disaster.
Puerto Rico's population fell 9 percent since 2004 because of economic crisis. Puerto Rico has lost more than 9 percent of its population since 2004 due to the economic crisis and the lack of liquidity for paying back its $72 billion public debt, a situation that has creditors very nervous. University of Puerto Rico economic professor José Alameda told EFE that the emigration of more than 350,000 people over the last 11 years comes mainly in response to the economic crisis being suffered by the U.S. commonwealth, although other factors could also be at work.
Troubled Puerto Rican cop accused of killing fellow officers was shot by victim's husband. The policeman who allegedly shot three fellow officers to death at work underwent psychological treatment for a decade and had faced three separate investigations for insubordination and unexcused absences, a Puerto Rico police spokesman said Tuesday [12/29/2015].
Troubled Puerto Rican cop accused of killing fellow officers was shot by victim's husband. The policeman who allegedly shot three fellow officers to death at work underwent psychological treatment for a decade and had faced three separate investigations for insubordination and unexcused absences, a Puerto Rico police spokesman said Tuesday [12/29/2015].
Illegal Aliens Use Fake Puerto Rican Birth Certificates to Get U.S. Passports, Licenses. In recent years a record number of Puerto Ricans have left their troubled island for the U.S. and a big chunk has settled on Florida. A few months ago a study found that the island's ongoing economic recession has led to a mass exodus not seen in more than five decades. In 2014 alone 84,000 people left Puerto Rico for the U.S. mainland, the study found. One recent news report referred to the Puerto Rican crisis as an economic exodus that could push two-thirds of its population to live in the U.S. The island has an eye-popping $73 billion debt, a collapsing healthcare system and nearly half of its population living in poverty. It's fair to say that for years Uncle Sam has welcomed Puerto Ricans with open arms and that has created lots of opportunities for fraud. There has been a rise in the number of cases involving the use of false Puerto Rican birth certificates by illegal immigrants, according to a south Florida newspaper report that focuses on the specifics of a recent case.
Puerto Rico's Bankruptcy, Better Than a Bailout. Stop me if you've heard this one before: A government, run by a succession of politicians, spent frivolously for decades and repeatedly ignored all the warning signs of looming fiscal disaster, and now that it has arrived, is begging for a bailout. No, I'm not talking about Greece. This time, it's Puerto Rico. And the Republican-controlled Congress is seriously considering a bailout.
Puerto Rico Announces Plans to Default on Bond Payments. Lawmakers in Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States in the Caribbean Sea, announced in January their plans to partially default on $1 billion in monthly bond payments owed to investors in state-owned corporations, such as the territory's Public Finance Corporation and the Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financing Authority. The territory, which is currently led by Alejandro Garc'a-Padilla (Popular Democratic Party), is self-governed, but it is ultimately subject to legislation passed by the U.S. Congress.
Puerto Rico's Fiscal Crisis Has Been Brewing for 75 Years. The federal government reacted to the Great Depression by creating an alphabet soup of agencies and government-owned corporations to stimulate and organize economic activity. Although some of this political infrastructure remains, much of it was dismantled after the depression. For example, the Works Progress Administration and the Public Works Administration ended in the 1940s, while the Reconstruction Finance Corporation — created by Hoover but greatly expanded by FDR — was disbanded under Eisenhower. As the New Deal wound down in Washington, it was just getting started in Puerto Rico.
VA worker reinstated with back pay after missing time due to being in prison for armed robbery. The VA is a place where people tend to somehow magically fail upward. By that I simply mean that workers at all levels can be caught up in any sort of malfeasance or incompetence and not only retain their jobs, but apparently profit from their actions.
VA Worker Gets Job Back Despite Armed Robbery Charge. A Department of Veterans Affairs employee in Puerto Rico was fired after being arrested for armed robbery, but her union quickly got her reinstated — despite a guilty plea — by pointing out that management's labor relations negotiator is a registered sex offender, and the hospital's director was once arrested and found with painkiller drugs. The woman missed work while sitting in jail but was reinstated in March with back pay. The incident illustrates how union-backed civil service rules that rely on precedent combine with VA's past failures to discipline problem employees of all ranks to keep convicted criminals on its payroll.
Deadbeat Island. If you have a retirement fund or pension, or you're a taxpayer, get ready to have your pockets picked. The Obama administration wants Congress to enact a bankruptcy plan for Puerto Rico, forcing holders of Puerto Rican debt (including New York City pension funds) to settle for less than they're owed. Puerto Rico is over $70 billion in debt and already defaulting.
House Republicans Float Proposal to Fix Puerto Rico's Budget Mess. Released as a "discussion draft" by Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the bill addresses Puerto Rico's ballooning $70 billion debt. [...] Home for more than 3.5 million American citizens, Puerto Rico has been fiscally underwater since 2006. Today unemployment on the tropical island hovers around 12 percent, access to credit markets has dried up, and the island has a public pension liability of $46 billion. Bishop's rescue plan would appoint an independent oversight board to guide Puerto Rico out of that fiscal crisis. Made up of five members, the board would have broad power.
Puerto Rico Demands Federal Taxpayer Bailout. Over a dozen activists descended on a building where Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and her three living predecessors were speaking on Thursday to demand that the Fed bail out Puerto Rico's cash-strapped government. The demonstrators, who are affiliated with the progressive Fed Up coalition, distributed Puerto Rican flags and empanadas as Puerto Rican music played outside Manhattan's International House, a student residence.
The Proposed Puerto Rico Bailout is Good on Rhetoric But Bad in Reality. The big battle to date has been whether the federal government extends some version of Chapter 9 bankruptcy to the island. Chapter 9 allows the states to authorize the reorganization of the debt of their municipalities and government agencies, but it does not allow states themselves to restructure their own debts. The Treasury Department has agitated to not only allow Puerto Rico to avail itself of Chapter 9 protection but to expand the law so that it applies to the Commonwealth itself, essentially treating Puerto Rico like a municipality of the federal government.
Puerto Rico Needs Drastic Financial Reform, and Fast. Puerto Rico's financial calamity is very real, very large, and growing worse with each passing week. The debt has now reached more than $70 billion, or just more than 100% of the island's annual GDP, and Puerto Rico has already started to technically default on some of the scheduled bond repayments, with more defaults expected in the near future. The economy is in shambles, as the labor force participation rate is dipping well below 50% while growth rates have festered in negative numbers over the past decade. What's more, the island has lost 250,000 residents in the last decade, severely impeding the potential to rebound.
Ryan: Don't call Puerto Rico bill a 'bailout'. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) blasted Wall Street investors on Wednesday [4/13/2016] as he tried to tamp down conservative discontent with a bill to assist Puerto Rico. The GOP leader charged that "special money interest groups on Wall Street" are trying to sabotage the legislation by billing it as a "bailout. Ryan said that the government will be forced to actually bail out the island if Congress fails to act, predicting massive defaults on its bonds.
House Leaders Silence Opposition on Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Bill. In yet another display of misplaced priorities, House leadership plans to fast-track the new debt restructuring bill for Puerto Rico in light of their $70 billion debt crisis. But what happened last night [4/12/2016] at a meeting held in the Natural Resources Committee, demonstrates a new degree of desperation.
Puerto Rico's other crisis: impoverished pensions. When Puerto Rico attempted to shore up its chronically underfunded public-employee pensions in 2013, Francisco del Castillo "knew grown men and women who wept. Under the reform package, retirement ages rose. So did employee contributions. Current and future participants were transferred to less-generous defined-contribution accounts, similar to 401(k) retirement savings plans. Del Castillo, then the deputy chief of the island's largest government-employee pension system, said members of his own staff who were on the verge of retirement suddenly faced the prospect of working seven or eight more years for reduced benefits.
Puerto Rico Bailout Shows Corruption of Paul Ryan and GOPe Leadership. Speaker Paul Ryan and his establishment Republican "leadership" team have a problem; they want to bailout Puerto Rico's corrupt and inefficient Democrat-led government, but rank and file House Republicans want no part of a federal taxpayer-funded bailout. Ryan's answer to this natural outgrowth of conservative Members of Congress actually representing their constituents and the will of the people is not to withdraw the bill or put it up for a vote and let it fail, as it properly should.
Sanders' Workers' Paradise Moment of Truth In Collapse of Puerto Rico. If you want to see welfare-state socialism in action, go to bankrupt Puerto Rico. [...] Puerto Rico is a financial basket base with the island's $75 billion debt now eclipsing 100% of its output. The government is already in technical default, and San Juan says it may not be able to make its next $422 million payment on May 1 and then another $2 billion payment that comes due this summer. House Republicans are trying to rescue Puerto Rico from calamity. It is a territory of the United States and as such should not be abandoned by the feds — even though Puerto Rico is mostly a victim of its own financial and fiscal negligence and overspending.
Speaker Paul Ryan Pushes Puerto Rico Bondholder Cram Down on Conservatives. House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants Congress to pass a law that would cause Puerto Rico bondholders who own $73 billion in notes from the territory's government to be treated the same way the federal government treated Chrysler bondholders back in 2008 and 2009. Friday morning [4/15/2016], Ryan addressed a special meeting of the GOP caucus to attempt to persuade recalcitrant conservatives the cram down is a good idea.
Help for Puerto Rico unlikely to get consensus in Congress as default deadline nears. Congress seems increasingly unlikely to take action to help Puerto Rico ahead of a May 1 deadline for the commonwealth to default on a nearly half-billion-dollar debt payment.
What Puerto Rico Needs From Congress Ahead of May 1 Debt Deadline. Puerto Rico is facing its biggest debt deadline yet on May 1, but Congress, which experts say is the territory's only hope, likely won't be doing anything about it. "Congress holds keys to solving the situation," economist Aleksandar Tomic told ABC News about the territory's $73 billion debt crisis. On May 1, a $422 million payment is due to Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank, its biggest yet. Its upcoming deadline of $2 billion looms even more ominously. There is one immediate way that Congress could help, Tomic said, which is re-instating Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection afforded to mainland municipalities. That provision was stripped of Puerto Rico by Congress in 1984 and there is no real reason Congress could not re-instate it, according to Tomic.
Money Down a Hole. This week, Puerto Rico defaulted on $370 million worth of bonds. The territory's "generous" government squandered the island's resources. Decades of leftist governors hired their friends. In Puerto Rico and Greece, about one in four workers works for government, compared to 14.6 percent in the mainland U.S. Puerto Rico's current governor points out that Puerto Ricans enjoy 30 days of paid vacation every year, 18 sick days and 14 paid holidays. That's about two months paid leave every year. No wonder businesses wither. The government gives "free" energy to government-owned enterprises. This encouraged "investments" like the government-owned ice rink. Yes, ice skating was what bureaucrats thought the tropical island needed. [...] Puerto Rico's long reliance on handouts and welfare created a culture of helplessness and entitlement. A U.S. inspector general found that some Puerto Ricans got Social Security disability payments because of their "inability to communicate in English." Really. They live on a Spanish-speaking island.
The real cost of bailing out Puerto Rico. [Scroll down] Now, the fate of the 3.5 million U.S. citizens on the island territory of Puerto Rico is tied up in the bailout politics that have antagonized the electorate over the past eight years, as the exchange between [Antonio] Weiss and [Elizabeth] Warren demonstrated. On the one hand is the prospect of real human suffering on the island. On the other are fears that the country hasn't learned any lessons about rewarding bad behavior and that the cycle of bailouts isn't over.
U.S. Supreme Court finds Puerto Rico not sovereign. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Puerto Rico is not sovereign and not free to enforce its own criminal laws despite having its own constitution and elected leaders.
David Brat: The Paul Ryan Puerto Rico Rescue Bill "Turns People Into Subjects". Yesterday [6/9/2016] House Speaker Paul Ryan pushed through a Puerto Rico Rescue bill called PROMESA. The details of the bill are fundamentally challenging to understand in scope, however, the key aspect to remember is the underlying benefactor(s) — Wall Street. While Ryan is severely adverse to PROMESA being called a bailout, that's exactly what it is — only worse. The plan structurally changes the dynamics of how State debt is repaid, and the considerations for bondholders under the 5th amendment (seizure of private property w/out compensation); which will lead to a guaranteed bondholder bailout. However, beyond the 'bailout' aspect there is a framework to override state legislative authority and use unelected "control board" appointed by congress to subvert citizen voices and make independent decisions.
Ryan Pushes Passage of Puerto Rico (Bain Capital Bond Seller) "Rescue" Through House. Rat Fink Paul 'Omnibus' Ryan quickly scampers out of view after strategically timing the Puerto Rico Rescue bill to occur on a heavy news days containing White House endorsement and presidential election politics. Let there be no doubt the "rescue bill" vote was timed via scheduling coordination with Obama (heavily supports) and Pelosi (also heavily supports).
Why does Hillary Clinton keep terror-enabler Melissa Mark-Viverito on her team? Even as the victims were bleeding out in Orlando early Sunday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was tweeting her support for another terrorist, unrepentant bomber Oscar Lopez Rivera. Kudos to Seth Barron of City Council Watch for flagging her ill-timed obsession. The speaker is a fervent Puerto Rican nationalist, you see. And since that's Rivera's cause, too, she plainly doesn't care about his victims (not even the New Yorkers killed by his bombs), or the fact that he'd have won release from federal prison years ago — had he been willing to renounce violence. And so, hours before Sunday's National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Mark-Viverito tweeted out yet another call for the president to give Rivera an unconditional pardon.
Dodd Frank Is About To Be Thoroughly Hillaried. I can no longer sit quietly and watch this country implode from all of the Washington corruption. Today [6/24/2016] I watched Hillary Clintons speech and I was appalled. I watched her tell the audience how she would bring Wall Street to heel and hold them accountable. I listened to her say how she would use Dodd Frank legislation to manage that process. It is all complete BS. Hillary is fully aware of the large scale bond fraud uncovered in Puerto Rico. A criminal conspiracy so large that it calls into question all $70 billion dollars of Puerto Rican debt. Hillary is calling for a complete bailout and supports current legislation to do just that.
President Obama Signs Paul Ryan Bill and Immediately Suspends 5th Amendment. Today [6/30/2016] President Obama signed the PROMESA (Puerto Rico Bailout) bill created by representative Paul Ryan, and with it the immediate suspension of the Fifth Amendment which was supported by a Senate vote yesterday [6/29/2016]. The Fifth Amendment protects U.S. Citizens from federal seizure of property without compensation. It applies in this instance to Puerto Rico via the general obligation bonds (property) purchased by municipal bond holders (investing citizens), which were supposed to be repaid, and which congress has now determined can be frozen. In addition, PROMESA suspends legal redress, by blocking bond holders (property owners) from suing the debtor (PR) to recover their property. In essence the Fifth Amendment is suspended, and the rights of those whose property has been confiscated to use the courts has been preemptively denied.
Puerto Rico's municipal governments to start sharing services to cut costs. Puerto Rico's governor has signed a bill letting the island's 78 municipal governments share administrative services as a cost-saving measure amid a deep fiscal crisis.
Man Dies From Zika-Related Paralysis in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico reported its first death on Friday from a paralyzing condition that developed from a Zika infection as the U.S. territory fights an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus. The victim was a man between 35 and 45 years old from the San Juan metro area who died from Guillain-Barre syndrome, according to state epidemiologist Brenda Rivera. The condition can cause temporary paralysis and in rare instances, death.
Open Dumps Causing Disease in Puerto Rico; EPA Can't Be Bothered. In 1994, the EPA turned over enforcement of hazardous waste disposal to Puerto Rico's Environmental Quality Board. The Environmental Quality Board promptly rescinded the rules it had agreed with the EPA to enforce and turned a blind eye to violations of even its far more lax standards. It reduced its staff from 14 in 2000 to five in 2005 to one in 2010 to zero in 2012. The EPA threatened to revoke the island agency's permitting authority in 2002 but did not follow through. It pretty much has ignored the issue since. Privately owned landfills continued for the most part to meet the standards, but the publicly operated facilities did what unsupervised public agencies tend to do — failed on a massive scale.
Puerto Rico battling nearly 20,000 cases of Zika. The total includes 1,706 pregnant women, a growing concern because Zika can cause severe birth defects.
Puerto Rico Blackout Leaves More Than 1 Million without Power. A fire at a power plant in Puerto Rico on Wednesday has left an estimated 1.5 million people without electricity. The fire began at the Central Aguirre Power Authority in Salinas at 2:30 p.m. EST, according to Angel Figueroa Jaramillo, President of Utier, the Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union on the island. According to Telemundo, authorities have the fire under control and no injuries have been reported.
Clinton's Florida Secret Weapon: New Puerto Rican Arrivals. While in most states registration drives focus on college campuses and African-American neighborhoods — the standard marketplaces where canvassers find non-registrants who skew Democratic — Florida has presented a distinct demographic opportunity. The center of the state, across several counties sprawling outward from Orlando, has been a destination for one of the most significant domestic diasporas in recent American history. The debt crisis that has been roiling Puerto Rico for the last two years has forced residents to flee the island in droves, with many settling in Florida's Orange and Osceola counties.
Obama commutes 55-year sentence of controversial mastermind of '70s Puerto Rican terror group. The last imprisoned member of the Puerto Rican independence group that terrorized New York in the 1970s will be a free man in May — 20 years ahead of schedule. President Obama granted a commutation Tuesday to FALN mastermind Oscar López Rivera, who's served 35 years of his 55-year sentence. During the 1970s and 80s, López Rivera was part of FALN, or Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, a group seeking to liberate Puerto Rico from U.S. control.
Obama Tarnishes His Legacy By Letting A Terrorist Walk Free. We all know about President Obama's commutation of the 35-year sentence of traitor Chelsea Manning, nee Bradley, who handed U.S. secrets over to WikiLeaks, leading to the deaths of an untold number of people. That was bad enough. But even worse, but sadly less publicized, was Obama's decision to pardon Oscar Lopez Rivera, the terrorist whose FALN planted more than 130 bombs across America during the 1970s and 1980s, supposedly on behalf of Puerto Rican independence. Lopez Rivera was sentenced to 55 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and a number of weapons charges. He's served 35 years of that original sentence.
Colorado's Battered Spouse Syndrome. The secession-minded area includes some of the state's most fertile farmland as well as the heart of Colorado's oil and gas industry. It contains a small city or two, such as Greeley, home to University of Northern Colorado, but is mostly home to small towns and farms and ranches and related businesses without a lot of population. Indeed, the new state would be the least populous in the nation. Of the counties that are currently certain to have secession on the ballot, Weld County (which contains Greeley) has a population of about a quarter million people.
The Editor says...
Secessionist '51st state' movement gains steam in rural Colorado. Colorado's secessionist "51st state" movement gained steam Wednesday as commissioners in an eighth rural county agreed to add the question to their November ballot. The three-member Kit Carson County Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to place a referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot asking voters if they support joining other rural counties in splitting off to form a new state, tentatively called Northern Colorado.
Rural Coloradans to vote on breaking away as 51st state, angered by liberal policies on guns, energy. Voters in several rural Colorado counties will be asked whether they want to form a new state tentatively named Northern Colorado in the November election, a reaction to the Democrat-controlled state legislature's "war on rural Colorado." The Weld County Commissioners voted unanimously at Monday's meeting to place a measure on the Nov. 5 ballot asking voters whether they want the county to join other rural counties in forming another state.
Counties in Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas Consider Forming 51st State. Newton's Third Law of Motion is beginning to be realized in western states politics. For every action of gun control, big union power grab, and anti-fracking, there is an equal and opposite reaction from liberty. State legislators are being successfully recalled by their constituent voters. Citizens and parents are regaining control of their local school boards. And a large gathering of contiguous counties of Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas are exploring the idea of forming a 51st state.
North Colorado and 4 other places that won't be the 51st state. Politicians in ten northeastern Colorado counties are flirting with a proposal to break away and form their own state — North Colorado. [...] Unfortunately for North Colorado's would-be founding fathers, not enough people feel that way to give the scheme much of a chance. The plan would need the approval of voters, the state General Assembly, and the U.S. Congress, none of which would be expected to go along.
Rebellious Colorado counties move forward with plans to secede. Representatives of 10 rural Colorado counties met Monday in the sleepy plains town of Akron, about a half an hour from the Kansas border, to advance a plan that has been both hailed and ridiculed in recent weeks: A bid to split from Colorado and form the country's 51st state. Eye-rolling critics have dubbed the state-to-be "Weldistan," after the county leading the charge and alluding to the heavily conservative values of the northeast region considering secession. Proponents have called it an inevitable result of what they say is a loss of representation in Denver, where Democrats have controlled state government and, in the minds of many rural Coloradans, ignored them in favor of liberal, urban interests.
Northern Colorado trying to secede, form 51st state. One corner of rural Colorado is so fed up with the leftward lurch of our state that county leaders are talking secession by creating the 51st state. Weld County Commissioners say other leaders in northeastern Colorado are ready to go with them, citing concerns that they are being ignored on issues like energy and agriculture.
Eight Colorado counties want to leave the state. As a sign of just how divisive the recently ended Colorado legislative session has been, it may very well result in a literal division of the state. As many as eight counties composing the rural, oil and gas-rich northeast corner of the state are pursuing a plan to cut ties with a capital city they no longer feel represents their interests and come together as the 51st state in the country: North Colorado.
Two More Colorado Counties Will Vote on Whether to Secede From [the] State. A group of northern Colorado counties are taking more steps toward establishing the 51st state: Two more countries will ask residents if they want to secede the Centennial State on a ballot this fall. Phillips and Weld counties are the fourth and fifth counties to put the question for a vote, following Cheyenne, Sedgwick, and Yuma.
The District of Columbia
First the District of Columbia got a non-voting representative. Now there's a plan to give the District full representation in the House; that is, a genuine Congressman. Full statehood can't be far behind, and that would mean two permanently Democratic votes in the Senate as well.
Washington, D.C., may let 16-year-olds vote for president. Is that a good idea? High school students marched to protest for gun control after the Parkland shooting in Florida and soon they might be marching straight to the voting booth in the nation's capital. Washington is on track to become the first place in the country to allow people as young as 16 to vote in federal elections, including for president, as the nation glimpses the emerging political power of the generation that follows millennials. It's part of a burgeoning movement in the U.S. and abroad as a growing number of cities and states consider ways to expand voting rights to younger people.
The Editor says...
Fraud and Failure in D.C. Public Schools. Education reformers used to celebrate D.C.'s dramatic decline in school suspensions. Then a Washington Post investigation revealed that it was fake; administrators had merely taken suspensions off the books. The same reformers used to celebrate D.C.'s sharp increase in high-school graduations. Then an NPR investigation revealed that it, too, was fake; almost half of students who missed more than half the year graduated. For people who talk ceaselessly about "accountability," experts have been curiously silent in the face of these revelations. Worse yet, the top-down mandates they implemented in D.C., intended to hold principals and teachers "accountable" for improving "outcomes," have long since caught on across the country.
Is prostitution about to become honest business in the District? D.C. Councilmember David Grosso is behind a bill that would decriminalize prostitution, arguing it's in keeping with his advocacy for human rights and marginalized communities. "We basically criminalize too many activities," Grosso argued in a recent news conference. "It is time for the District of Columbia to reconsider the framework in which we handle commercial sex work, and move from one of criminalization to a focus on human rights, health and safety." Grosso says he worked with the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition, and followed recommendations from a variety of human rights organizations from around the world as he drafted the bill.
Judicial Watch representing Clarice Feldman in her lawsuit against DC Government. Federal law requires that DC's annual budget be approved by a majority or two-thirds vote of the DC Council and have affirmative appropriation passed by both Houses of Congress and presented to the president for signing. In 2013, DC passed the Budget Autonomy Act of 2012, which "purportedly grants the District authority to incur obligations and expend local tax and fee revenue without an appropriation passed by both Houses of Congress and presented to the President for signing." In other words, DC has sought to remove appropriation authority from Congress and grant it to itself. "This is quite simply a case of politicians gone wild. The DC government acts as if it can violate federal law and ignore the U.S. Constitution without repercussions," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "It is a federal crime to spend federal dollars without congressional authorization."
A homeless family needed shelter. D.C. gave them bus tickets to North Carolina. The nation's capital is one of the few places in the country that guarantee homeless families a right to shelter. So when Chanda Davis faced eviction last winter from the apartment in Southeast Washington she shared with her four children, she thought she could count on D.C.'s Department of Human Services for help. Davis got help she wasn't expecting. Instead of putting a roof over her family's head, the city put bus tickets in their hands — and sent them on a one-way trip to North Carolina.
Urban Leftists Can't Stop Violating the Constitution. Yesterday [1/18/2017], the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck down yet another series of Chicago laws that transparently and clumsily attempted to circumvent the Second Amendment and controlling legal precedent protecting the rights of Chicago citizens to own handguns for self-defense. It's a battle that's been raging for almost a decade. [...] When it comes to the Second Amendment, Chicago is hardly unique. The District of Columbia has waged its own long battle against Heller, and even after the Supreme Court's decision, it has remained extraordinarily difficult to legally possess a handgun in the city. The result is a citizenry that largely lacks the capacity to defend itself against a criminal class that is killing men and women by the hundreds.
D.C. Homelessness Doubles National Average as Living Costs Soar. In December, a devastating survey of 32 big cities prepared by the United States Conference of Mayors showed Washington with the highest rate of homelessness. There are 124 homeless people for every 10,000 residents here, more than twice the national average. Nationally, homelessness has shrunk 12.9 percent over the last seven years.
Census Bureau: 4 Richest Counties in U.S. Are Suburbs of D.C.. The four richest counties in the United States, when measured by median household income, are all suburbs of Washington, D.C., according to newly released data from the Census Bureau. They are Loudoun County, Va., where the median household income was $125,900 in 2015; Falls Church City, Va., where it was $122,092; Fairfax County, Va., where it was $112,844; and Howard County, Md., where it was $110,224. The Census Bureau treats independent cities such as Falls Church, Va., as the equivalent of a county when calculating its median household income statistics.
1 in 5 D.C. Killers Were Set Free by "Sentencing Reform". Sentencing reform, a euphemism that the pro-crime lobby uses to mean going soft on criminals, is championed by the left and by some elements on the right. [A recent] Washington Post story shows the terrible effects of sentencing reform on the victims of criminals freed to rape and kill. [...] The mythical "kid just locked up for smoking pot once" touted by sentencing reform advocates is just that. A myth. The system is full of repeat offenders who take advantage of every loophole thanks to their lawyers and then continue committing more crimes, going in and out of the system.
DC Council Says Immigration Laws Violate 'Privacy,' Defends Status As Sanctuary City. Lawmakers defended the status of Washington, D.C., as a sanctuary city at a public hearing Thursday discussing a bill that would ban immigration raids in the city. Council Member Brianne Nadeau, the representative for the District's Ward 1, introduced legislation in April banning immigration raids and other attempts in the city to enforce federal law. The bill would further solidify the District's status as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. Nadeau said federal immigration raids "jeopardize residents' privacy, safety, and security," according to WJLA. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a statement Monday [11/14/2016] reaffirming that the District is a sanctuary city, arguing it "makes our neighborhoods safer."
D.C. Statehood: A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Not Come. One of the stranger developments in politics, in recent months, has been the sudden resurgence of interest in statehood for Washington, D.C. Until Election Day, the mayor, Muriel Bowser, had made it a priority of her young administration — there had even been a mock constitutional convention to map the future — and the 2016 Democratic party platform declared that "restoring our democracy also means finally passing statehood for the District of Columbia." The problem is that the United States Constitution is fairly explicit about the status of what James Madison called the "federal district," separate from any state and subject to strict congressional supervision. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution advises that "Congress shall have Power to ... exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District ... as may, by Cession of particular states, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States."
DC City Council Votes to Allow Physician-Assisted Suicide. That'll Change Us All, for the Worse. Too many people view physician-assisted suicide as a purely private matter between an autonomous adult who desires to die, and another autonomous adult who can provide medical assistance in death. But no man is an island. Allowing doctors to prescribe deadly drugs to assist in the suicides of their patients is not simply a one-off interaction between two consenting adults. Changing the laws that govern how doctors operate will change the entire ecosystem of medicine. It'll change how doctors relate to their patients and how much patients can trust their doctors.
Spoiler alert: DC state name to be State of Washington, DC. For decades, statehood advocates have pushed for the state to be called New Columbia. But on Tuesday [10/18/2016], the D.C. Council voted unanimously for the new designation.
Nine Myths Of Gun Control. For over twenty years it has been illegal for teens to buy guns and, despite such gun control, the African American teenage male homicide rate in Washington, DC is 227 per 100,000 — 20 times the US average! The US group for whom legal gun ownership has the highest prevalence, middle-aged white men, has a homicide rate of less than 7 per 100,000 — about half of the US average. If the "guns-cause-violence" theory is correct why does Virginia, the alleged "easy purchase" source of all those illegal Washington, DC guns, have a murder rate of 9.3 per 100,000, one-ninth of DC's overall homicide rate of 80.6? Why are homicide rates lowest in states with loose gun control and highest in states and the district with draconian gun controls and bans?
Architect Of DC Election Fraud Hit With 3 Months In Jail. A judge sentenced the architect of an illegal, all-cash "shadow campaign" Monday [8/15/2016] to three months in prison for violating campaign finance laws in the 2010 mayoral election of Vincent Gray. Jeffrey Thompson, who alleges Gray knew about the illegal cash campaign, pleaded guilty to the campaign corruption in 2014 and cooperated with investigators. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly delivered the unexpected sentence, which exceeded the requests of prosecutors who asked only for six months of home confinement, reports WJLA.
Donald Trump's Name Finally Shows Up on The D.C. Presidential Ballot. Republican nominee Donald Trump was not on the presidential ballot in Washington, D.C. as of Thursday afternoon [8/11/2016]. The ballot included only Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson in the presidential race. The Trump-Pence ticket was finally added after insiders expressed concern about the situation to Breitbart News. The D.C. Republican Party blamed various paperwork-related complications that needed to be sorted out.
Family: Marion Christopher Barry Dies After Drug Overdose. Marion Christopher Barry, son of the late D.C. mayor, has died after a drug overdose, family members told News4's Tom Sherwood. Sherwood first reported the story on Twitter just before 6 a.m. Sunday. He said Barry had struggled with drug use and ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 8 Council seat in 2015 after his father, former Mayor Marion Barry, died.
Son of former D.C. mayor Marion Barry dead at 36. Marion "Christopher" Barry Jr., the son of the late Washington, D.C. mayor with the same name, has died at age 36, CBS affiliate WUSA reports. The only son of the former D.C. mayor was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead early Saturday morning [8/13/2016], WUSA reports.
Rash Of Overnight Shootings Across DC Leave Two Dead, Many Injured. Seven people were shot and two died in six different shootings in Washinton, D.C., in one of the most violent nights in recent memory. In the early hours of Saturday morning, the Metropolitan Police Department responded to reports of gunfire in northwest D.C. near Park View. Authorities found a man with multiple gunshot wounds and later pronounced him dead, reports WUSA9. Authorities closed parts of Suitland Parkway near Howard Road at roughly 2:35 a.m. after a shooting left two men wounded. The condition of the victims is currently unknown and police continue to investigate the incident.
DC Official Convicted Of Bribery Gets No Prison Time, $100 Fine. A former District of Columbia official convicted of felony bribery will spend no time behind bars and pay a fine of only $100, according to the D.C. Office of Inspector General (IG). U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Amit Mehta recently sentenced former D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs contact representative Lucretia B. Barksdale to just three years' probation — including 180 days home confinement — and 80 hours of community service.
You Need 4 Different Licenses to Shine Shoes in DC. Most agree that jobs that deal directly with public health and safety should require some sort of license to do. However, a 2015 study conducted by the White House Council of Economic Advisers found that the share of the U.S. workforce needing a license to work increased five-fold from 1950 to 2008. In the District of Columbia, for example, someone looking to work as a shoe shiner must attain four different licenses and pay at least $337 to get those licenses.
Washington, D.C. on track to make $148 million from traffic tickets this year. Washington, D.C., is on track to rake in $148 million from traffic tickets in 2016, a Tuesday report from AAA concluded. "Those drivers who were chanting 'Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead' a couple of years ago are probably regretting their words now. The speed camera program is back with a vengeance," John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of public and government affairs said in a statement. The District's speed cameras have issued more citations in the first four and a half months of fiscal 2016 than in all of 2014, AAA learned through a Freedom of Information Act request.
D.C. Has Highest Transgender Identification Rate in Nation. Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of transgender-identifying residents in the country, according to a recently released study by the The Williams Institute, which is associated with the University of California/Los Angeles School of Law. Of the estimated 1.4 million transgender-identifying individuals in the United States, about 14,550 — or 2.77 percent of the total — reside in D.C., according to the think tank, which specializes in "sexual orientation and gender identity law". The District of Columbia "had a notably high percentage of transgender-identified adults (2.8%) and is considered an outlier due to its unique geographic (urban) and demographic profile," according to the study findings' endnotes.
Hillary Clinton: Make D.C. the 51st state. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton called for Washington D.C. to be made the 51st state in America, pledging that she will be a "vocal champion for D.C. statehood" if elected. "In the case of our nation's capital, we have an entire populace that is routinely denied a voice in its own democracy," Clinton wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Informer, a weekly African-American newspaper, on Wednesday. "Washington, D.C., is home to nearly 700,000 Americans — more than the entire population of several states. Washingtonians serve in the military, serve on juries and pay taxes just like everyone else."
Draft constitution for 51st American state would let almost anyone be governor of D.C.. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser went to the spot where President Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and released a draft constitution for a 51st U.S. state on Friday [5/6/2016]. The event was part of Bowser's push for full statehood for the nation's capital, which is more populous than Vermont or Wyoming and contributes more in federal taxes than 22 states but lacks voting representation in Congress.
All fifty states were featured on U.S. 25-cent coins beginning in 1999, as the result of a law enacted in 1997. At the conclusion of that program, a section of the 2008 Appropriations Act authorized additional quarters to feature the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.* At a glance, the D.C. quarter looks just like the California quarter, or any other state's quarter. This could very well be a subliminal attempt to elevate the status of the District of Columbia in preparation for a push for statehood.
Is D.C. Statehood a Matter of Civil Rights? Last week, a Senate committee held a hearing on the unlikely possibility of D.C. statehood. [...] Currently, citizens of the nation's capital are denied voting equality at the congressional level and significant autonomy locally. This set-up makes D.C. an anomaly among American municipalities and arguably relegates its residents to second-class citizens.
Dems Hijack GOP's Frederick Douglass Party to Stump for D.C. Statehood. It should not, perhaps, have been much of a surprise that Democratic leaders seized on the dedication of the statue of one-time D.C. resident Frederick Douglass at the United States Capitol as a chance to speak up for D.C. statehood and home rule. The ceremony was on Juneteenth, a holiday marking the day the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in Texas that's celebrated in Washington, D.C., and 42 states as the formal end of slavery.
Obama to add 'taxation without representation' plates to limo this weekend. President Obama has agreed to a request from the D.C. Council to add the city's "taxation without representation" slogan to the license plates on his limousine. "President Obama has lived in the District now for four years and has seen firsthand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes without having a vote in Congress," the White House said in a statement.
The Editor says...
Obama to add 'taxation without representation' plates to limo this weekend. "President Obama has lived in the District now for four years and has seen firsthand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes without having a vote in Congress," the White House said in a statement. "Attaching these plates to the presidential vehicles demonstrates the president's commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia and his willingness to fight for voting rights, home rule and budget autonomy for the District."
The Editor says...
Obama agrees to 'taxation without representation' plates on presidential limo. President Obama, after a push by the D.C. Council, has agreed to affix license plates to his limo with the phrase "taxation without representation." The new plates will be in place beginning this weekend, during the inaugural parade and for the duration of the president's term.DC councilman wants to rename Pennsylvania Avenue. A D.C. Council member wants to highlight the city's lack of statehood and is asking residents to pick another name for Pennsylvania Avenue.
D.C. needs a crackdown. A Washington city leader wants to rename one of America's most famous streets to suit his personal political agenda. In an online poll, Councilman Michael A. Brown is asking participants to choose to rename Pennsylvania Ave. "Give DC Full Democracy & Statehood Way," "51st State Way" or "Give DC Full Democracy Way," among other obnoxious options.
DC optimistic about getting the vote. District of Columbia voting rights advocates say they are poised to win a crucial vote Tuesday in the Senate, following a day of last-minute lobbying for a bill that would provide the federal city with its first full seat in the House. "We're closer than we've ever been," Ilir Zherka, executive director of the advocacy group DC Vote, said ahead of a preliminary vote on legislation that would expand the 435-member House by two seats.
D.C. and the Constitution: The House of Representatives seems set to grow by two Members, to 437, after next year's election. Yesterday [2/24/2009] the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act passed a key procedural vote in the Senate, making passage of the legislation, which President Obama supports, all but certain. The only thing standing in the way may be the Constitution.
Misstating the Constitution. Legend has it that Abraham Lincoln once posed a riddle: How many legs does a dog have if you count his tail as a leg? Came the answer, "Five." Replied Lincoln, "No, four. Counting a tail as a leg doesn't make it a leg." Tell it to the sponsors of a bill to give the District of Columbia a full-fledged member of the House of Representatives. They resolutely dismiss the hurdle presented by the Constitution, which says, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states." Not "states and any other entities under federal control," but states, period.
DC on Verge of Getting a Vote in the US House. They live in the shadow of the Capitol dome, but District of Columbia residents have never had what Americans in all 50 states do: A voting member of Congress. Resentment over their long exclusion could soon fade as Congress moves closer to giving D.C. its first full seat in the House.
The Editor interjects...
A question for D.C. residents: If you find the current situation so objectionable, why do you continue to live there?
Senate votes to give DC citizens vote in Congress. The people of District of Columbia would get the vote in Congress the Founding Fathers denied them under legislation the Senate has approved. The Senate legislation would give the district a vote in the House of Representatives.
Senate Panel O.K.'s Bill to Give Washington a Voting Representative. This could be the year that Washington gets a voting member of Congress. "There is finally a light at the end of what has been a really long tunnel," said the city's nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton. On Wednesday [2/11/2009], a Senate committee approved a bill to give the city a voting member of the House of Representatives, clearing the way for the full chamber to take up the matter in the coming weeks.
Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2006:
Plan would give D.C. a House vote. For decades, efforts to give the District of Columbia a voting representative in Congress have run into a brick wall. Constitutional amendments failed to win the states' support. Ad campaigns about "taxation without representation" did not help the cause. Now, unexpected political forces are aligning behind a plan to give the district a House vote — along with a new seat in Congress for Utah — when lawmakers return for their lame-duck session in early December.
Washington Post, February 11, 2007:
Statehood for D.C.? The District [of Columbia] was allotted a delegate in 1970 precisely because the Constitution doesn't permit it to be given a representative. In 1978, Congress passed a constitutional amendment to grant the District a representative and senators because a statute couldn't grant the representation. The amendment failed when only 16 states ratified it within seven years.
Holder Politicizes Legal Decisions. The campaign for District of Columbia voting rights took an unexpected twist yesterday when it was revealed that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. brushed aside the opinion of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which had concluded that defending the District's right to vote was unrealistic. The Washington Post reports that Holder instead turned to the office of the solicitor general, which told him the legislation would be defensible.
Plan would give D.C. a House vote. For decades, efforts to give the District of Columbia a voting representative in Congress have run into a brick wall. Constitutional amendments failed to win the states' support. Ad campaigns about "taxation without representation" did not help the cause. Now, unexpected political forces are aligning behind a plan to give the district a House vote — along with a new seat in Congress for Utah — when lawmakers return for their lame-duck session in early December.
Ex-Cons to Get Special Rights in DC? The proposal adopted by the District of Columbia City Council to give rehabilitated ex-cons a special protected status under the law in DC strangely seems to be staying under the radar of most of our nation's talk hosts, bloggers and reporters. Fortunately, some are beginning to take notice.
D.C. residents may get vote in Congress. After more than 200 years of paying taxes, fighting in the nation's wars and abiding by sometimes arbitrary acts of Congress, Washington residents are close to getting a full-fledged representative in the House.
Democrats' Unconstitutional Plot to Invent New Congressmen. Right now, in the guise of a civil rights issue, the new Congress is attempting one of the most brazenly unconstitutional power grabs in our nation's history. The move aims to create a new class of congressman and simply add the first of these to the 435 existing members of the United States House of Representatives.
No vote on a vote for the District. Legislation to give the District a vote in the U.S. House stalled short of passage today [3/22/2007] when Republicans unexpectedly added the issue of gun control into the debate.
The 51st State? If majorities in both houses of today's Congress want the fewer than 600,000 residents of D.C. to be fully represented, they can accomplish that with legislation shrinking D.C. to the core containing the major federal buildings and monuments, and giving the rest back to Maryland. Democrats are uninterested in that because it would not serve their primary objective of increasing their Senate seats.
Senate Panel O.K.'s Bill to Give Washington a Voting Representative. This could be the year that Washington gets a voting member of Congress. "There is finally a light at the end of what has been a really long tunnel," said the city's nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton. On Wednesday [2/11/2009], a Senate committee approved a bill to give the city a voting member of the House of Representatives, clearing the way for the full chamber to take up the matter in the coming weeks.
His Honor the Mayor. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty publicly took office yesterday and pledged to fight for D.C. statehood, to increase police presence in city neighborhoods and to fix the struggling public school system. "Together we pledge steadfastly that our goal is to become the 51st state," Mr. Fenty said. "None of us can or should rest easy until we all have the opportunity to participate fully in our great democracy."
The Editor says...
If either the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico becomes a state, the other will not be far behind. And you can rest assured that all of the Senators and Representatives from (either or both of) these two places will be liberal Democrats.
Democrats Pull D.C. Voting Rights Act. The patently unconstitutional bill to give the District of Columbia a voting representative in the House of Representatives was pulled off the House calendar because — according to one House Republican leadership source — they feared that the so-called Blue Dog Democrats would not support it.
Firearm Provision Blows Up D.C. Voting Rights Bill. For the second time in as many weeks, the House has had to postpone action on a major bill important to Democratic leaders. The House Democratic leadership Tuesday [3/3/2009] decided to delay a plan to grant a seat in the House to the District of Columbia. Since it is not a state, Washington, D.C., does not get a vote in Congress.
D.C. Voting Rights Bill: A Raw Deal for Republicans. The District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 passed the Senate last Thursday [2/26/2009] by a vote of 61-37. The bill will add two seats to the House of Representatives. One will represent the District of Columbia and the other, at least initially, will represent a district in Utah. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican, co-sponsored the bill. The bill is a raw deal for the GOP.
No taxation without representation? I'll take no taxation. Last week the Senate passed legislation granting the District of Columbia full voting representation in the House of Representatives. As with several previous iterations of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act, the bill also adds a second new House seat and awards it to Utah, which narrowly missed out on a fourth representative after the last census. Thus, we have the ultimate logroll — one guaranteed Democratic seat in exchange for a very safe Republican one.
Voting Rights Gone Wrong: Last week, two days after the 44th anniversary of the Selma march that helped pass the 1965 [Voting Rights] act, the Supreme Court took a timid step toward limiting the perverse use of that act to create political set-asides — elective offices to which certain preferred minorities are entitled. Last week's ruling revisits the strange career of racial gerrymandering — how that practice went from execrable to virtuous to mandatory, and became yet another manifestation of the entitlement mentality.
Why the D.C. Voting Rights Act Is Wrong. The D.C. Voting Rights Act, which passed by a 61-37 vote in the Senate and is now being considered in the House of Representatives, would grant Washington, D.C., voting representation in that body. The District's current delegate to Congress would be transformed into an actual voting member of the House. ... The Constitution, however, limits representation in Congress to the people of the states. This requirement applies both to the Senate and the House.
And So Begins Another Week Of Malfeasance. [Congress] is voting to pretend that the District of Columbia is a state. Hence it supposedly can have a Democratic member of the House and, down the descending road, two Democratic senators. Congress rationalizes this anti-constitutional willfulness by citing the Constitution's language that each house shall be the judge of the "qualifications" of its members and Congress can "exercise exclusive legislation" over the District. What, then, prevents Congress from giving House and Senate seats to Yellowstone National Park, over which Congress exercises exclusive legislation? Only Congress' capacity for embarrassment. So, not much.
D.C. Voting Measure Could Be Added to Defense Spending Bill. House Democratic leaders are considering floor action on a proposal to give the District of Columbia a full voting member in the House of Representatives. The provision would be attached to the conference report on the fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, which is expected on the floor within the next few weeks.
Washington DC is a liberal utopia.
Washington, D.C., Wins V.D. Triple Crown. Washington, D.C., had the dubious distinction of beating all 50 states to post the highest rates in the nation for the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
Why D.C. Representation in Congress Is Unconstitutional. The Constitution explicitly declares that representation in Congress can be granted only to states. Article 1, Section 2 states that "Representatives ... shall be apportioned among the several states..." Accordingly, the District of Columbia is currently represented in the House of Representatives not by a member of Congress, but instead by an elected delegate who can participate in debate and vote in committee but cannot vote on the House floor. The same goes for other American non-state territories that are comprised of American citizens, including Puerto Rico and Guam.
'Price too high' for D.C. voting rights. Democrats withdrew a bill on Tuesday to give the District the voting rights it has long sought in the House of Representatives, saying the "price was too high" after learning of Republican plans to introduce an amendment that would eviscerate the city's gun laws. Buoyed by the support last week of President Obama, House Democrats seemed prepared to vote this week for a bill similar to one passed in the Senate last year, even though that measure contained an unpalatable amendment weakening local gun restrictions.
Constitution, anyone? The House of Representatives takes up legislation this week to grant voting rights to the residents of the District of Columbia, and among all the contentious voices there's none to speak up for the Constitution. ... The 23d Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1961, grants the vote to qualified District residents in presidential elections, but there's nothing in XXIII about congressional elections. The right to representation in Congress is reserved for "States," and the District of Columbia is not a "State." What could be plainer than that?
D.C. Mayor Cites 'Emergency' To Raise Fees, Fines. The cost of living, working and doing business in the District rose a little more Tuesday, after Mayor Adrian M. Fenty again reneged on his no-tax-increase pledge and implemented "emergency" executive orders that increase scores of fees for business permits and traffic fines to pay for his 2010 and 2011 spending plans.
3rd D.C. lawmaker faces debt problems. A D.C. Council member who serves on a powerful finance committee is facing a federal lien seeking more than $50,000 in unpaid income taxes — the third city lawmaker to face scrutiny over personal or tax debts in recent months. The Internal Revenue Service filed the lien against Michael A. Brown, at-large independent, in April citing debts on four years of income taxes dating back to 2004.
What is the D.C. Council hiding? District of Columbia Council members voted unanimously Dec. 21 to replace one of the nation's most toothless open-meeting laws with another similarly weak measure that fails to provide an acceptable level of government transparency to local residents in the nation's capital.
Washington DC is a police state.
Walled-Off Washington. It's hard to remember, but Washington wasn't always a city of walls. Thomas Jefferson held a public reception at the White House after his second inaugural, and citizens were able to freely wander through the building to personally ask presidents like Abraham Lincoln for jobs and other favors. Harry Truman took long walks around Washington each morning protected by just a handful of Secret Service agents. Capitol Hill had no roadblocks or barricades, and cars and trucks passed directly in front of the White House as they drove down Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the city's busiest thoroughfares.
'Fully loaded' SUV puts D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown on the spot. Several weeks after Kwame R. Brown was elected D.C. Council chairman in November, city officials were asked to order for him a "fully loaded" Lincoln Navigator L with a DVD entertainment system, power moonroof and polished aluminum wheels. It had to be black — all black, inside and out — and it had to arrive in time for his inauguration Jan. 2, never mind the District's projected $400 million budget shortfall.
"SUVgate" Latest Of Many D.C. Scandals. With a budget shortfall of $400 million, the city once led by a crack head mayor (who still sits on the council) is being run by unscrupulous officials that go on reckless spending sprees with taxpayer money. As local governments go, the District of Columbia has mastered the art of making national headlines for the many transgressions of its elected leaders.
D.C.'s small-timers. This is just one more in a series of unflattering revelation about [Mayor Vince] Gray's early hires and the pricey automobiles leased for Gray and his political ally, Council Chairman Kwame Brown.
Funds for D.C.'s needy go elsewhere. A D.C. Council member who represents some of the city's poorest households has spent less than 5 percent of the money she has raised since 2007 to help constituents with urgent needs, such as funeral expenses, rent and utilities, a review of campaign finance records shows.
Another example of Democrat civility and professionalism:
D.C. Delegate Tells Congress to Go 'Straight to Hell' Over Budget Battle. Lawmakers' tempers are flaring on Capitol Hill over the possibility of a government shutdown, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is no exception. The Democratic non-voting representative for the District of Columbia told MyFoxDC.com that Congress should go "straight to hell" for trying to meddle in D.C. affairs.
D.C. City Scandals Evoke Fears of Return to Marion Barry Era. With Washington, D.C.'s local government staggering under the weight of one scandal after the next, fears are growing that the nation's capital has returned to the politically embarrassing Marion Barry era that was marked by the former mayor being sent to prison for six months after getting caught smoking crack in a hotel room. Washington's new mayor, Vincent Gray, has been fighting allegations of corruption since he took office in January, including charges of nepotism and political payoffs.
Mouse droppings, roaches, chemicals hiding in school cafeterias. School cafeterias typically don't list mouse droppings, cockroach infestations or sneezed-on snacks among their lunch specials. But health inspectors are finding these undesirable ingredients — as well as 60-degree yogurt and other critical health code violations — in the kitchens of Washington-area schools. D.C. Public Schools racked up 296 violations in its elementary schools alone, and 124 more in its upper grades, for everything from blown light bulbs to dead rodents, as detailed in the most recent routine inspection reports.
Obama and the Second American Revolution. Our federal district is the practical home of almost everyone who is anyone in the federal government. It is dramatically more liberal than any state. While conservatives outnumber liberals in every state of the union, according to Gallup, only 18% of those in Washington are conservatives while 41% of Washingtonians are liberals. Survey USA reveals that in New York City, perhaps the heart of non-governmental liberalism, liberals outnumber conservatives by the relatively modest 25% to 20%. Our national capital is wildly farther to the left than anywhere else in the nation. Why?
Average Teen Unemployment Rate in D.C. is 50.1%, Analysis Shows. An analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) shows that the average unemployment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 in the District of Columbia was 50.1 percent as of June 2011. This corresponds with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that for D.C. the annual average unemployment rate for teens in 2010 was 49.8 percent.
D.C. Adults Top Alcohol Abusers in Country. A new report says that adults in Washington D.C. abuse alcohol more than anyone else in the country. According to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 8.1 percent of adults age 26 or older in D.C. are alcohol dependent. Looking at a long-term sampling, alcohol abuse rate is on the rise for the District, according to the survey.
Top 10 Scary Things About Living in Washington, D.C.. [#2] Crime threat: While the crime rate in Washington had fallen since it was dubbed the Murder Capital of America in the 1990s, there has always been something to worry about. There were the Martin Luther King riots that destroyed swaths of city commerce, then the destruction brought forth during the crack epidemic and its attendant gang wars. The "D.C. Sniper" terrorized the city for weeks, and now flash mobs of unruly youth are ransacking convenience stores.
The District's spy network. Washington's speed and red-light cameras, once ostensibly installed for safety, have a new purpose. They're watching you. ... While mobile photo-radar vans and intersection cameras are known for their blinding flash when issuing citations, the devices don't just take Polaroid-style snapshots. They're rolling digital video 24 hours a day.
At DC DMV: Driver's License, Tag Renewal, HIV Test. At one Department of Motor Vehicles' office in the nation's capital, motorists can get a driver's license, temporary tags and something wholly unrelated to the road: an HIV test for free.
D.C. may budge on gun ban. The spotlight on the District's effort to dissuade law-abiding residents from purchasing handguns is making some on the D.C. Council uncomfortable. Council member Phil Mendelson on Tuesday [12/6/2011] introduced legislation easing some of the most absurd hoops one must jump through in order to exercise the right to keep arms in the nation's capital.
Emily gets her gun, Part 2. Over the past couple months, I've been trying to get a legal gun in the District. I always knew this would be a challenge, but I had no idea how time-consuming it would be to complete all 17 steps the city requires. I'm not even halfway done.
Getting Rid of Rats in Washington! It seems Washington, D.C. has a rat problem. No, not that kind, the four-legged kind. Some of the rats are big as cats, so big that some homeowners are fearful of permitting their cats to confront the rats after dark. Traditionally, rats have always been fearful of cats, but not these super rats! Rats have infested some half-million-dollar homes and have been seen robbing bird feeders in daylight. Other homeowners have had rats come up in the commode from the sewer system. One family had that experience three times!
D.C. accuses 130 of its own workers of fraud. About 90 current District employees face dismissal and criminal prosecution after collecting unemployment benefits while on the government's payroll, the city announced Monday [2/6/2012]. An additional 40 former D.C. workers are also facing the possibility of a criminal probe for their role in the scheme that cost taxpayers up to $800,000.
Delegate for Life. Washington, D.C., city councilmember Marion Barry was elected Saturday to represent the city as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Barry and fellow Democratic Councilmember Jack Evans (D., Ward 2) were the top vote getters in D.C. District 1, trailing gay rights activist Gregory Cendana, the executive director of the Asian-Pacific American Labor Alliance, in total votes. Barry and Evans reportedly bused dozens of supporters to the polls at the University of District of Columbia to ensure that they would be elected as two of Washington's 15 delegates.
Radical Cronyism? Sit-In Leader Nominated as Judge by Pres. Obama. The leader of the occupation in the video — Robert L. Wilkins of the Harvard Black Law Students Association — was nominated by President Obama on May 20, 2010 to be considered for judge of the U.S. District Court, District of Columbia. He is now a sitting judge in that position. ... Not mentioned in the [White House] press release: that Wilkins once led an illegal occupation of a law school building to demand the school hire based on skin color, a protest primarily focused on supporting the actions of radical bigot Derrick Bell.
D.C.'s made-up gun laws. D.C. officials will do just about anything to keep law-abiding citizens from lawfully possessing a gun in the city. The Washington Times' Emily Miller has found in the "Emily Gets Her Gun" series that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has been spreading false information about firearms ownership. As a result, residents and nonresidents who have done nothing wrong risk false arrest and gun confiscation.
Marion Barry's racist remarks. Over the years, Marion Barry has said and done so many questionable things that the city whose politics he long dominated has become inured to his behavior. But his racist remarks this week about Asian Americans — and his oblivious response — are too ugly to ignore.
Marion Barry and the Left's Hatred of Asian Entrepreneurs. The disgraced former mayor of Washington, D.C., who was caught on tape in a 1987 crack cocaine sting, made an even bigger disgrace of himself and his city on Tuesday [4/3/2012]. Celebrating a Democratic primary victory, the city councilman attacked small businesses owned by "Asians" in his district.
The Democratic Party should shun the racist politics of DC crackpot Marion Barry. Former Washington DC Mayor, Marion Barry, is back in the news. He won a Democratic primary to seek re-election as a DC councilman last week and, in the middle of an incoherent victory speech, the 76-year old suddenly went a bit racist. "We've got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses — those dirty shops," he said. "They ought to go. I'll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too."
A streetcar named debt. The District [of Columbia] on Friday [4/6/2012] completed the first phase of testing for its $1.5 billion streetcar project. The nation's capital joins big cities like Los Angeles in advancing the revival of a transportation option that has been obsolete for more than half a century. The Obama administration is spearheading the effort to turn back the clock. If $1.5 billion seems like a lot — it's an entire year's income-tax revenue for the city — Washington bureaucrats have a ready answer.
Marion Barry criticizes hospitals for hiring Filipina nurses. Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry made comments Monday [4/23/2012] about Filipina nurses who work in District hospitals, just weeks after Barry told his supporters that Asian businesses "ought to go." At a hearing, Barry told the president and board members of the University of the District of Columbia that the school should be supplying D.C. residents to serve in the "lucrative" posts of nurses and teachers. But that was not the case, Barry said.
D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown is charged with bank fraud and is making plans to resign. D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) was charged Wednesday [6/6/2012] with bank fraud, according to documents released this afternoon, and he has told other council members he plans to resign. Brown has been the subject of a long-running corruption investigation.
D.C.'s Delinquents: Half the District's Leaders Have Been Federally Investigated. From drug possession to tax fraud, city officials in Washington, D.C. are notorious for being less than law abiding. In the past four years half of D.C.'s top government officials, including D.C. councilmembers and the mayor, have been under investigation by either federal authorities or the D.C. board of elections. Two have resigned and two have served prison time.
D.C. fire department going overboard on overtime. D.C. fire department officials deny accusations by the union that three fire trucks were placed out of service this weekend to trim overtime costs, but the department is on the verge of surpassing its overtime budget by about $2 million this fiscal year.
Third Gray aide charged in probe of campaign. A third aide to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign is expected to plead guilty Tuesday [7/10/2012] to felony charges amid an expanding probe that appears to be drawing closer to the mayor. Jeanne Clarke Harris, whose communications firm consulted for the Gray campaign, was charged with federal counts of conspiracy and making false statements. Authorities also charged her with a local conspiracy count.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's Days May Be Numbered. The latest scandal threatening to take down a major Washington political figure isn't emanating from Capitol Hill, or from the Obama administration. It's coming from the John A. Wilson Building — or, more accurately, from Mayor Vincent Gray's increasingly endangered inner circle. Now, after another close Gray associate pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations, strategists in the nation's capital are coming to the conclusion that the mayor himself won't survive the scandal.
DCPS forcing special needs kids into unfit public schools. Parents and attorneys of special education students in the District say DCPS is pushing children out of specialized private schools and back into their neighborhood schools in an effort to meet a directive from Mayor Vincent Gray to cut in half the number of special needs students in private placements by 2014 — moving 1,100 of them. In the process, the city is saving money and boosting the reputation of its public schools. But it's also shortchanging the system's most at-risk students by putting them in schools that can't handle them, parents and lawyers say.
Marion Barry Is D.C.'s Most-Popular Elected Official. Now a member of city council, Barry, 76, has been convicted of cocaine possession and served six months in federal prison. He was also found guilty of a misdemeanor for failure to pay his taxes, although marijuana-possession and stalking charges were dropped. But his approval rating is 52 percent, higher than Mayor Vincent Gray's and all his fellow council members, according to a Washington Post poll released this week.
Gallup: D.C. is the Only Place in the U.S. Where the Majority Believes the Economy is Getting Better. In a massive survey that Gallup conducted of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, it turned out that D.C., home of the federal government itself, was the only place where a majority of people said they believed the economy was getting better.
Barry: 'I am a jobs czar'. D.C. Councilman Marion Barry proclaimed himself a "jobs czar" in a statement he issued Thursday [8/23/2012] announcing a local hiring commitment he'd received from a major contractor on the city's St. Elizabeths redevelopment project. [...] In his statement Thursday, Barry — who also referred to himself by his popular nickname "Mayor-for-Life" — defended his methods.
90-plus arrests of D.C. cops in under 4 years. In the past three and a half years, more than 90 D.C. police officers — from detectives to captains to the rank-and-file cops on the street — have been arrested, a Washington Examiner analysis of police data has revealed. Metropolitan Police Department officers have been nabbed within the District and as far away as Florida. They've been arrested on charges ranging from to child pornography to murder. The majority are DUI and domestic violence arrests, though some cases stand out.
D.C. police seek robbery suspect '6-7 years of age'. D.C. police put out a lookout Sunday night [9/16/2012] for an unusual robbery suspect: a black male roughly 6 or 7 years old. [...] In a news release issued about two hours later, a spokeswoman said police were investigating a report that a group of boys between the ages of 7 and 14 approached a customer at a McDonald's in the 4300 block of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue in Northeast at approximately 6:30 p.m.
D.C. says more than 300 city workers involved in unemployment scandal. The District said Monday [11/19/2012] that hundreds of city workers took nearly $2 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits, a scandal that roiled the D.C. government earlier this year and prompted widespread firings and criminal charges. Lisa Mallory, the director of the D.C. Department of Employment Services, told the D.C. Council that her agency had detected $1.9 million in overpayments to District workers who collected unemployment benefits while on the city's payroll.
D.C.'s minimum wage folly. The nation's post-election leftward lurch is gaining momentum. Six states, including New York and California, are agitating for a boost in the minimum wage. Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, wants the federal government to set a nationwide wage floor that will automatically rise each year. Not to be left out, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on Tuesday circulated his proposal for a 55 percent increase in the minimum wage over the federal level, which he would only apply to employees of the "big box" retailers that liberals love to hate.
We, the Grand Jury. It is no secret that in the District of Columbia, as in most cities, crime is highest in neighborhoods also blighted with poverty, unemployment, drug use, poor schools, low levels of education, and a scarcity of children born to and reared by their married father and mother. People who can afford to live elsewhere very often do. Grand jury service cuts against this chosen separation.
The David Gregory police mystery. The District of Columbia seems not to want the public to know what it did — if anything — while investigating NBC News' David Gregory for possession of an illegal 30-round magazine. The police refuse to turn over the public documents in the case, and the city council is allowing them to stonewall.
46,609,072 People on Food Stamps in 2012; Record 47,791,996 in December. Washington, D.C., with an estimated population of 617,996, had an average of 141,147 participants. Meaning, roughly 23 percent of folks living in D.C. are on food stamps, according to the numbers provided by the federal government.
Minority contractors 'game the system,' find havens in D.C. homes. You wouldn't know it from the curb, but a three-bedroom Colonial on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast houses 12 businesses, all set up to receive contracts from Washington, D.C., under minority-contracting rules. The house at 3215 MLK Jr. Ave. is the site of Congress Heights Community Training & Development Corp., but it also serves as a haven for small businesses many of which appear to be based outside the District that have received $3.5 million from the D.C. government in the past three years alone.
D.C.-area disability rolls grow as more opt out of job market. The number of Washington-area residents turning to federal disability benefits is soaring as they seek to escape a weak job market in a region already dependent on government spending. The amount of money spent on disability benefits for the 4 million residents in the District and its neighboring counties has more than doubled in the past decade, from about $25.8 million in 2001 to more than $55.7 million in 2011, according to Social Security Administration data.
Michael Brown charged with bribery. Federal prosecutors on Friday [6/7/2013] charged former D.C. Councilman Michael Brown with one count of bribery, ending months of silence about long-running probes of corruption in District politics and triggering speculation about where the investigations will ultimately lead. U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr.'s prosecutors filed the felony charge in a criminal information, a type of court document that indicates the existence of a plea agreement.
D.C. Council poised to chase off 900 jobs because they don't like Wal-Mart. Businesses are not obligated to open in your city or your neighborhood, particularly when you incentivize them to locate elsewhere. Washington, D.C. is particularly susceptible to losing potential jobs (particularly in entry-level and working class retail positions, as opposed to lobbyist slots) to nearby jurisdictions because it doesn't take much to simply cross the bridge to friendlier climes in, say, Virginia.
Wal-Mart says it will pull out of D.C. plans should city mandate 'living wage'. The world's largest retailer delivered an ultimatum to District lawmakers Tuesday, telling them less than 24 hours before a decisive vote that at least three planned Wal-Marts will not open in the city if a super-minimum-wage proposal becomes law. [...] The D.C. Council bill would require retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger to pay their employees no less than $12.50 an hour. The city's minimum wage is $8.25.
DC City Council bullies Walmart to enrich unions. The city council of the nation's capital is engaged in a game of chicken with the nation's biggest private employer, Walmart. Legislation custom-designed to force the Arkansas retailer to employ unionized workers in its planned new stores in the District has been passed, and in response the company has threatened to stop construction on 3 stores underway, and cancel plans for 3 more.
D.C. Council approves 'living wage' bill over Wal-Mart ultimatum. D.C. lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a bill requiring some large retailers to pay their employees a 50 percent premium over the city's minimum wage, a day after Wal-Mart warned that the law would jeopardize its plans in the city. The retail giant had linked the future of at least three planned stores in the District to the proposal. But its ultimatum did not change any legislators' minds. The 8 to 5 roll call matched the outcome of an earlier vote on the matter, taken before Wal-Mart's warning.
Marion Barry censured, fined $13,600 for accepting gifts from contractors. D.C. Council member Marion Barry has agreed to be censured and fined $13,600 for accepting gifts from city contractors, the District's ethics board said Thursday [7/11/2013]. The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability voted unanimously to approve a settlement at its monthly meeting following a two-month investigation into gifts he listed in a financial disclosure report.
The Left, Wal-Mart, and the D.C. City Council Fiasco. Yesterday, the liberal majority of the D.C. City Council voted that if Wal-Mart opens three stores in the underserviced poor areas of the nation's capital — inhabited largely by African-Americans — it cannot do so unless the chain raises the minimum wage of its employees to $12.50 per hour. That action reflects how far removed from reality the council members are.
Thies: D.C. Government Doesn't Pay a "Living Wage". Last week, the Council approved a measure that would require Walmart and other large retailers doing business in the District to pay a "living wage" of $12.50 per hour. [...] District government pays less than $12.50 per hour. According to the D.C. Department of Human Resources, some full-time school maintenance workers and custodians make $11.75 per hour. The rate for a clerk at the University of the District of Columbia is $10.40.
DC Politicos Block Walmart, Help Special Interests, Hurt The Poor. Why, when there is no question that nothing has created more wealth and eradicated more poverty than capitalism, do left wing politicians hate it so much? After all, it's supposed to be the left that cares about the poor. The latest chapter in this ongoing saga of economic perversity is action being taken in Washington, DC, to prevent Walmart from opening stores there.
Walmart Shrugs: Pulls Plans to Build Stores in Washington, D.C.. Writing in the Washington Post on Tuesday [7/11/2013], Walmart's regional general manager Alex Barron told Washington, D.C.'s city council that if they voted to pass the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA), his company would "not pursue [building] stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway or New York Avenue" shopping centers, and they would "thoroughly review" their interest in completing three other stores near completion elsewhere in the district.
DC Transgender Law Allows Birth Certificate Revision. It's called the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act of 2013 and it repeals the old law that requires a surgical sex-change operation for an official gender switch on an individual's birth certificate. Now, people who want to change their assigned sex in the eyes of the state only need to provide a written request and a signed statement from a healthcare provider.
Another D.C. mayor campaign aide pleads guilty. The federal probe into the secret "shadow campaign" that helped clinch Mayor Vincent C. Gray's electoral victory in 2010 has reached the mayor's inner circle. One of his closest friends and longtime advisers, Vernon Hawkins, described as the field marshal who ran the lavishly funded, off-the-books parallel campaign, pleaded guilty Tuesday [8/13/2013] to misleading FBI investigators.
D.C. 'living wage' bill still in limbo. Legislation that would raise the minimum hourly wage at certain large retailers in the District — and could jeopardize Wal-Mart's development plans in the city — is in limbo more than a month after it passed. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who has yet to decide whether he will veto the bill or sign it into law, said Wednesday [8/21/2013] that he has not yet received the legislation from D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.
Dem Congresswoman: Only Reason I'd Vote for Syria Attack Is Loyalty to Obama. Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said Tuesday that at the current time, the only reason she would vote in favor of an attack on Syria was out of loyalty to Barack Obama. Appearing on radio's Bill Press Show, the non-voting delegate from the District of Columbia also said if the President actually gets the votes he needs, "it'll be because of loyalty of Democrats. They just don't want to see him shamed and humiliated on the national stage".
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D.C. Mayor Gray vetoes 'living wage' bill aimed at Wal-Mart, setting up decisive council vote. Mayor Vincent C. Gray vetoed legislation Thursday [9/12/2013] that would force the District's largest retailers to pay their workers significantly more, choosing the potential for jobs and development at home over joining a national fight against low-wage work. Gray's quandary is playing out in many U.S. cities, where local leaders who generally sympathize with worker causes are also eager to lure jobs and commerce for their constituents.
Jeffrey Thompson's Tentacles. National media tend to ignore the corruption that passes as local D.C. politics. As a consequence, it's missed a city scandal that is now cascading onto the national political scene, with potential fallout for the 2016 presidential election, federal and state politicians, and even the government.
Wal-Mart compared to Hitler at DC living wage rally. Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory compared Wal-Mart to the leader of Nazi Germany at a "living wage" rally in front of the D.C. City Council on Tuesday [9/17/2013]. "When you look at Hitler and those thugs, you can put Wal-Mart right next to them," Gregory said in his speech to the 150 or so people at the event. The crowd was gathered to protest D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's veto of a bill that would have singled out the retail giant and forced it pay its employees $12.50 an hour.
D.C. Council approves bill decriminalizing marijuana. Smoking marijuana in the home or possessing small amounts of the drug will no longer be a crime in the nation's capital under a bill passed Tuesday [3/4/2014] by the D.C. Council and expected to be signed into law by the mayor. The legislation, adopted on a 10-1 vote, makes possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $25 while preserving criminal penalties for smoking pot in public.
Spate of corruption stains otherwise thriving DC. Mayor Vincent Gray often calls the District of Columbia "the envy of the nation" for its robust economy and fast-growing population, but some say the local government he leads — plagued by corruption, pay-to-play politics and disengaged voters — is a stain on the city's progress.
In D.C. mayor's race, Vincent Gray has secret weapon: Support of growing ex-prisoner vote. Above an official portrait of Mayor Vincent C. Gray, crisp silver lettering spells out a welcome to one of the shiniest new places in D.C. government — the Office on Returning Citizen Affairs. [...] The bustling facility is designed solely for convicted criminals, a center for training, job placement, housing services and other programs for a slice of the population growing by thousands each year. Ex-offenders account for at least one in 10 D.C. residents and perhaps many more.
Scandal-Weary Voters Boot DC Mayor From Office. Reeling from allegations by federal prosecutors that he knew about the dirty tricks that helped him get elected four years ago, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray tried to rally his base. But his core supporters weren't nearly enough, as a scandal-weary electorate rallied behind a much-younger challenger who promised honest and ethical leadership.
[The] District of Columbia [is] the Nation's Most Expensive Place to Live. Elevated housing costs helped to make the District of Columbia more expensive to live in than any state in 2012, according to data released Thursday [4/24/2014] by the Commerce Department. Regional prices for goods and services in D.C. were 18% higher than the national average in 2012, Commerce said in a new report that compares income levels and costs of living across 50 states and the district. It also gives a breakdown for big cities. The metropolitan area with the highest cost of living in 2012 was Honolulu, followed by New York-Newark-Jersey City.
Will Dunbar Rise Again? Dunbar High School in Washington is becoming a controversial issue again — and the controversy that is beginning to develop has implications for American education well beyond the District of Columbia. There has not been much controversy about Dunbar High School for a long time. Since sometime in the late 1950s, it has been just one more ghetto school with an abysmal academic record — and that has been too common to be controversial. What is different about the history of Dunbar is that, from its founding in 1870 as the first public high school in the country for black students, until the mid 1950s, it was an outstanding academic success.
DC Statehood Advocates Propose New Address for White House. The Obamas might have to reprint a lot of expensive stationary if several members of the Washington, D.C., City Council get their way. The council, in an attention-getting effort to push the issue of D.C. statehood, is looking to rename 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and if the measure passes, the president's new address would be located on "D.C. Statehood Now Boulevard." But don't hold your breath.
'I'm for It': Obama Lends Support to DC Statehood Push. President Barack Obama said on Monday that he's in favor of Washington, D.C., gaining statehood. [...] D.C. is the most liberal city in the U.S., according to a poll released by Gallup in January.
Obama shares support for DC statehood. President Obama said Monday that as a Washington, D.C., resident he supported statehood for the District of Columbia's 650,000 inhabitants. "I'm in D.C., so I'm for it," Obama said Monday [7/21/2014] at a town-hall event to promote his "My Brother's Keeper" program.
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Eleanor Holmes Norton says 'you don't have a right to know' what's going on in government. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting congressional delegate for the District of Columbia, angrily sputtered during a congressional hearing Friday [7/25/2014] that the White House should not be held up to scrutiny, saying that there was no right to know what it was doing behind closed doors. "You don't have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government, my friend. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government," Norton said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. It was, to put mildly, a significant departure from the more traditional liberal stance that openness and transparency are must to prevent abuses of power by government officials.
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Democrat Rep: 'You Don't Have a Right to Know' What's Going on in Your Government. Remember when the Obama Administration was meant to serve as the model for how a transparent government is supposed to operate? That promise of "hope'n'change" has produced the most secretive government administrations in the history of this nation. [...] What Norton seems to have confused is that it is the very principle of scrutiny that defines a government that is equipped with a separation of powers. Each branch of government checks the power of the other branches of government. It's amazing that America possesses even one citizen who would believe such an obvious falsehood; it's even more outrageous that America has a representative in Congress who believes this.
IRS seizes records of D.C. housing complex and backer to Democratic mayoral nominee. The Internal Revenue Service has demanded and carted off boxes of financial documents and inspected computer records related to the president of a subsidized apartment complex in Southeast Washington, according to a criminal summons and the building's property manager. In the summons, the IRS sought records regarding Park Southern Apartments, a sprawling complex along the District's southern border. The complex became a focus of federal scrutiny after a Washington Post report detailed its dilapidated condition and the owner's default on a $3 million city-backed loan.
A 51st-state fantasy. Senate Democrats who are anxious about their re-election prospects in November are puzzled that Sen. Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, a Democrat, is pushing the fantasy of statehood for the District of Columbia so close to the November elections. [...] Mr. Carper's idea is to shrink the federal enclave envisioned by the Constitution to a small area surrounding the White House and the Capitol, and admitting the remainder of the District to the union as the 51st state. If enacted, the legislation would take effect immediately on ratification by a referendum of D.C. residents, and it would set up an expedited repeal of the 23rd Amendment, which gives the District three electoral votes in the presidential election, as if it were a state. This is transparently a power grab, and the Republicans, who maintain a firm grasp on the House, must not fall for it.
D.C. resumes push for statehood. The District's top elected officials will join legal scholars on Capitol Hill Monday [9/15/2014] for the first congressional hearing on D.C. statehood in 20 years. The "New Columbia Admission Act" would reduce the federal District of Columbia to an enclave of land including the National Mall and White House while the remainder of the city would become the country's 51st state.
'Commish' Eric Holder to make D.C. the 51st state? President Obama is being urged to make outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder the head of a commission to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state. "No one would be better suited to promote fresh thinking on how to give his fellow Washingtonians the rights to which they are entitled," cheered the Washington Post in a Tuesday [10/7/2014] editorial.
It's more expensive to live in D.C. than New York, study says. The Washington region ranks as the most expensive place to live in the country, ahead of the pricey markets of New York and San Francisco, according to a government study. The surprising statistic comes from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that shows that — on average — Washingtonians spend more on housing and related expenses (utilities, furnishings and equipment) than New Yorkers and San Franciscans.
The Breathtaking Inanity of DC's Next Mayor. Since being granted self-governance in the '70s, Washington, D.C. has largely been run by a comically corrupt and incompetent Democratic monopoly. The lone exception is Adrian Fenty, an ultra-smart former city councilmember who took over the mayorship in 2007. Fenty's outspoken disdain for the capital's sclerotic municipal bureaucracy inevitably backfired and he lost his 2010 reelection bid to Vincent Grey, a ghoulish government lifer who's now under investigation for running an illegal slush fund during that campaign. But back when he first became mayor, Fenty made the curious decision of hand-picking a little-known regional neighborhood official to take over his seat on the council: Muriel Bowser.
A D.C. Holiday: Shooting Spree, Slashing Rampage in the Land the 2nd Amendment Forgot. Over the past week, D.C. has seen 15 people shot in at least a dozen different incidents. More than half of them were killed. All of this is actually really odd, considering that guns are outlawed here. The only way to legally obtain a gun is to take courses that are not offered and submit to background checks that are not made. Then you can purchase a gun from a licensed D.C. gun dealer that does not exist. Then you have to go down to the police station to be fingerprinted like some kind of criminal.
D.C. Considers Allowing Non-Citizens to Vote. While many critics skewer President Obama's recent amnesty-granting executive action, D.C.'s municipal lawmakers have their own plans for the next battle on the immigration-citizenship front. Invoking considerations of fairness and justice against "anti-immigrant hysteria," D.C. council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) and several fellow councilmembers on Tuesday [1/20/2015] introduced the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015, a bill to grant non-American citizens residing in the D.C.-area the ability to vote in municipal elections.
DC Councilman Seeks To Name College After Marion Barry. A city councilman in Washington D.C. is pushing to have the city's only public university renamed after former mayor Marion Barry. Councilman Vincent Orange, a Democrat, argues that Barry is a worthy namesake for the University of the District of Columbia because he was the school's "biggest champion" during his life. "Marion Barry is an individual who should be properly honored, but also should be studied, should be researched, just like you would with Ronald Reagan or [George W.] Bush," Orange said on Tuesday [2/3/2015], according to The Washington Post.
Obama's Top DC Attorney Resigns Amid Flawed Database Revelations. Washington, D.C. U.S. Attorney Ron Machen announced Monday [3/16/2015] he will leave his job as D.C.'s top prosecutor at the end of the month, saying in a statement that he intends to return to private practice. On the same day, Machen sent a letter to top defense attorneys in the district outlining flaws in what he called an "imperfect" data management system used by the Metropolitan Police Department to provide police reports to prosecutors. Problems with the system, called I/LEADS, led to information from police reports being withheld from prosecutors, who in turn could not relay the information to defendants and their attorneys.
Sen. Rubio, Rep. Jordan propose repealing D.C. gun control laws. Two high-profile Republicans in Congress, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), have introduced legislation that would undo the District's gun laws, which are among the strictest in the nation. If embraced by Republican leaders of the House and Senate, the legislation could force a Second Amendment showdown with President Obama just two years after he failed an attempt to win stricter gun control laws nationwide. For the District, the legislation could amount to the most serious challenge to local governance in years.
Apparently, DC Insiders Can Legally Avoid Paying Taxes. You learn something new every day: did you know that government insiders can receive "certificates of divestiture" that allow them to "indefinitely defer" paying taxes on proceeds from stock sales?
DC Delegate Norton: 'Nothing Is More Under Attack Than Reproductive Choice in America Today'. [Delegate Eleanor Holmes] Norton and the other panelists complained of the 2011 ban on local abortion funding in the District of Columbia and legislation in Congress such as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks. "As I look at what's up in the Congress and the issues that are often discussed either among members or in the Congress or as I think about the states, I do not think I exaggerate when I say nothing is more under attack than reproductive choice in America today," Norton said in her opening remarks.
DC Rep Warns House GOP: Don't Mess With Local Laws. District of Columbia Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton told Republicans Thursday [5/7/2015] to back off D.C. laws and stop using them to further political agendas. [...] "Today we issue a warning to members of the House who oppose the District's right to democratic local self-government by trying to overturn our local laws," Norton said at a Thursday press conference. "I will force a roll call vote on each and every rider that targets a D.C. local law."
D.C. gun-banners foiled again. [Scroll down] Neither this ruling nor any of the others will significantly increase the number of guns in D.C., as any resident can attest that the capital's criminals have been well-armed for years. Based on per capita crime numbers, their reign of terror was worst during the period of the comprehensive gun ban. The District's murder and violent crime rates have fallen dramatically since the gun ban was officially scrapped in 2008. Even so, the violent crime rate in the nation's capital remains more than twice New York's, and murder rate four times as high.
Judge stops DC from enforcing part of 'good reason' gun law. People in the nation's capital no longer have to show a good reason to get a permit to carry concealed handguns outside their homes and businesses.
FBI: DC Officials Sentenced For Fraud — Stealing Money To Fund President Obama 2009 Inaugural Ball. Neil S. Rodgers, a former District of Columbia government official, was sentenced today [6/17/2015] to a period of incarceration and ordered to pay full restitution on a charge stemming from his role in channeling $110,000 in youth and drug prevention grant funds that were used to pay for an inaugural ball. [...] According to the government's evidence, Rodgers aided [Harry] Thomas in illegally securing funds for the 51st State Inaugural Ball, held on Jan. 20, 2009, at the Wilson Building.
D.C. Officials Stole $110K From Children's Program to Fund Obama Inaugural Ball. Neil S. Rodgers, a former D.C. government official, was sentenced Tuesday [6/16/2015] for his role in the misappropriation of $110,000 earmarked for D.C.'s Children at Risk and Drug Prevention Fund to cover a deficit for the 51st State Inaugural Ball for President Obama's inauguration in 2009. Rodgers, found guilty of fraud in March, was sentenced to 36 days (served on weekends) plus two years of probation. Rodgers must also repay the entire $110,000 as restitution for his crime.
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DC Wants To Give Non-Citizens The Right To Vote. District of Columbia council members voiced their support Wednesday [7/8/2015] for a new law that would allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. "These are residents who are well on their paths to citizenship," Councilman David Grosso said. "Unfortunately not all of our residents have a say in the politicians who are elected to represent them." The bill would allow permanent residents in the city who are not American citizens to vote in elections for mayor, city council, the attorney general and State Board of Education members, among other things.
The Horrifying Details Of The Independence Day Train Stabbing In DC. Two men among many got on a train heading for festivities in downtown D.C. on the Fourth of July, but only one of them got off alive. A police affidavit released Tuesday [7/7/2015] shows the gruesome details of a robbery attempt gone wrong.
Uptick in crime affects residents across the District. The gunman ran up Georgia Avenue, shooting along the way. Struck in the back, the 33-year-old victim collapsed in front of a Metrobus. A witness on the bus told police the assailant "stood over him and shot him two more times." This brazen killing last month in Northwest Washington's Park View neighborhood, described in a police report, underscores the renewed violence that is surging across the District. It occurred at 9:30 p.m. and was witnessed by a man looking out a nearby window. "Straight up execution," the man said in an interview. "Right in the middle of a main thoroughfare of Washington, D.C." The slaying remains unsolved.
White Manager Fired After Black Employees Refuse to Work for a Honkey. Christopher Lyons, a former Department of Public Works (DPW) supervisor, is suing the city of Washington, D.C. for racial discrimination after being fired because black employees didn't want to work for a white man. [...] Lyons was referred to as "white boy," "honkey," and "cracker" during meetings. Matters only got worse when he reported fraud and waste within the department. After nine months of employment, he was fired without reason, even after receiving stellar reviews for his work.
All Bow To Her Highness: DC Mayor's Staff Forced To Stand When She Enters The Room. Employees in District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser's Office of Community Affairs are apparently required to stand every time the mayor enters the room. Staff members in the office were ordered to stand up and greet Bowser when she entered the room for a meeting, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation via the D.C. government's Freedom of Information Act online reading room.
DC Senator Thinks City Is As Oppressed As Iranian Kurds. The shadow senator for Washington, D.C., who is less a senator and more a lobbyist to Congress, is in Europe this week trying to get the city added to a list of unrepresented nations. Paul Strauss, one of two D.C. shadow senators who are tasked with pushing the cause of D.C. statehood, left for Brussels on Wednesday, to petition The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) for inclusion in their group, The Washington Post reports.
Marauding Teenagers Attack Woman And Baby In DC's Poshest Neighborhood. Several black teenagers approached a woman in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington Monday [11/18/2015], shortly after she secured her baby in her car, and smashed out her windows with a large rock.
DC Police Chief who approves almost no concealed carry permits wants armed citizens to take action. Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier was on 60 Minutes this week talking about mass shootings, law enforcement response times and the duties or abilities of citizens in such scenarios. One of her comments caught a lot of attention from those familiar with her official office policies.
What Poorer Blacks In DC Think About Gun Control Might Surprise Liberals. One of the reasons poorer black residents likely oppose a gun ban more than affluent white liberals is the latter can afford better security and safer neighborhoods. Lower-income blacks tend to live in areas with predatory, fatherless young men.
Carrying a gun in D.C. is illegal, and yet...
Anti-Gun DC Police Chief Urges Public to 'Take Down' Active Gunman If Possible. "Your options are run, hide, or fight," she said. "If you're in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it's the best option for saving lives before police can get there." To anyone paying the slightest attention to the fight over gun laws in the District, Lanier's statement is curious, given that she's been an outspoken proponent of gun control in D.C., which already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
How D.C. spent $200 million over a decade on a streetcar you still can't ride. The District is spending three or four times what other cities have to build a maintenance facility for its fledging streetcar system, a reflection of the flawed planning and execution that have dragged down the transit start-up for more than a decade. The "Car Barn" project was originally designed as a simple garage and rail yard for light repairs and storage, with some offices for staff. But it has ballooned in ambition and nearly tripled in cost — to $48.8 million. It will now include a number of pricey and unusual features, including grass tracks for parking the fleet of six streetcars and a cistern for washing them with rainwater.
District leaders furious Walmart breaking promise to build stores in poor neighborhoods. Walmart abruptly announced Friday [1/15/2016] that it was abandoning a promise to build stores in Washington's poorest neighborhoods, an agreement that had been key to the deal allowing the retailer to begin operating in the nation's capital. The giant retailer cited increasing costs for the new projects and disappointing performance at the three D.C. stores it opened over the past several years. But news that Walmart would pull out of two supercenters planned for east of the Anacostia River, where its wares and jobs are wanted most, shocked D.C. leaders. In one case, the city had already committed $90 million to make a development surrounding one of the stores viable.
Lunch Money Surrendered. The Council of the District of Columbia approved legislation Tuesday [2/2/2016] that would pay residents in the nation's capital for not committing crimes. [...] The experiment in Richmond, on which the above is based, involved "sifting through police records to determine the 50 [or so] residents most likely to shoot someone." And then "approaching them and [offering] a stipend [of up to $1000 a month] to turn their lives around, and a mentor to help." After four years of being subsidised for not being caught committing any further violent crimes, 65 of the 68 "fellows" enrolled in the programme were "still alive," although "one had survived a shooting and three had died." This was deemed "promising."
Marine Allegedly Assaulted Mid-Burger At McDonald's, As Gang Yelled 'Do You Believe Black Lives Matter?'. A former Marine became the target of an alleged assault in a McDonald's Friday night [2/12/2016], as a crowd of youths cornered him and demanded he answer the question, "do you believe black lives matter?" Before knocking him unconscious and robbing him. Christopher Marquez, a veteran of Iraq and recipient of the Bronze Star for valor, said he was dining at a McDonald's in northwest D.C. when a group of black teenagers came up to him and allegedly began harassing him about the black lives matter movement. Marquez ignored them which prompted calls and shouts that he was a racist.
DC Residents In Revolt Over Mayor's Plan To Put Homeless In $100,000 Units Next Door. An initiative to open eight new homeless shelters in every area of Washington, D.C., is drawing intense backlash from angered citizens questioning the mayor's unilateral action on the planned reform. "Democracy is messy, but we decided on it for a reason and the Mayor is flouting the democratic process," Anita Crabtree, a corporate attorney and Ward 3 resident told The Daily Caller News Foundation. "It is up to the legislative branch — the Council — to hold her accountable and District residents are relying on the Council to do that."
D.C. mayor calls for citywide vote to make nation's capital the 51st state. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser on Friday [4/15/2016] called for a citywide vote in November on making the nation's capital the 51st state, resurrecting a decades-old plan to thrust the issue before Congress and raise awareness across the country about District residents' lack of full citizenship. [...] Statehood would give the District — which has never elected anyone other than a Democrat to citywide office in an open election — two Senate seats that could tip the balance of power in the chamber for years to come.
Former DC mayor returns to council after federal probes. Two years after he lost his bid for a second term as District of Columbia mayor amid a federal corruption probe, Vincent Gray has assured himself a return to elected office in the nation's capital.
Other candidates and schemes for statehood
Is California too much of a good thing? Cutting Texas down to size is always a good thing to do, and if we have to carve up California to do it, well, that's life. The current popular notion in California would divide the Golden State into three new states, something that could be no longer be called Golden but perhaps Plastic, Pewter and Brass. This is all very fanciful, as many things are in California, but Californians will vote in November whether to split in three. Some Californians, first among them Tim Draper, a billionaire high-tech venture capitalist, thinks it's a bully idea. If the referendum passes, unlikely as that may be, it likely would come to naught, anyway.
'Three Californias' plan would give Dems more seats. A proposal to split the nation's most populous state into three smaller states would give Democrats a huge boost in the perpetual battle for control of the United States Senate — likely dooming the plan even before voters have a chance to weigh in. California voters will vote this November on the ballot measure, backed by tech billionaire and venture capitalist Tim Draper. If the measure passes, Congress would have a year to allow the state to split up into three separate states — one centered around Los Angeles, another in Northern California that includes the Bay Area and Sacramento, and a third in Southern California that would include the Central Valley and San Diego.
Radical plan to split California into three states earns spot on November ballot. California's 168-year run as a single entity, hugging the continent's edge for hundreds of miles and sprawling east across mountains and desert, could come to an end next year — as a controversial plan to split the Golden State into three new jurisdictions qualified Tuesday for the Nov. 6 ballot. If a majority of voters who cast ballots agree, a long and contentious process would begin for three separate states to take the place of California, with one primarily centered around Los Angeles and the other two divvying up the counties to the north and south. Completion of the radical plan — far from certain, given its many hurdles at judicial, state and federal levels — would make history.
Turning California into three states won't solve its problems. For former Californians like me, our days consist of at least two head shakes whenever news of our former home state crawls across the transom. Almost every day, there's a report out of that beautiful state that generates pity and bemusement at the latest outlandish event. Last week we learned a billionaire venture capitalist finally accomplished a dream by getting enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot asking voters if they want to divide California into three states. Tim Draper, the iconoclast behind the plan, understands the state is a disaster, but only Californians would think that the solution lies in making more Californias.
Three Californias may be coming soon. When California was admitted to the Union in 1850, it had only 92,000 people, most of them scrambling for gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. That's why California's county lines are so screwy. Los Angeles County now has 10,000,000 people. Alpine County has 1,000. Cal 3 divides the state along lines that make geographic, cultural, and political sense. The population is divided roughly into thirds. North and South are still very large states, and what's left of California would be a medium-size state. In order for this to work, it will need to get a majority not just of the total vote. Majorities will be needed in all three prospective states. Looking at this map makes me think that could happen, for one important reason: partisan politics.
CA town wants to be exempt from state's sanctuary city policies. Not everyone in California is a liberal extremist or radical, open borders fanatic. In fact, there has been a movement around for years in Northern California to create a 51st state called "Jefferson." The area is far more conservative with traditional values and its economic interests — mining, timber, and fishing — is heavily regulated by the state. But the idea of a new state carved out of Northern California is probably a pipe dream at this point. So perhaps it's not surprising that there is pushback against the extremist tide of government elsewhere in the state.
Rural California wants a divorce from rich California. We're starting to hear more about secession. Not the perennial post-election calls of losing parties to secede from a nation controlled by the opposition, but a growing movement for secession from states, with the parts of states (sometimes geographically very large parts of states) wanting to separate from the population-dense urban areas that essentially control state decision-making. Feeling ignored, put-upon, and mistreated, state secessionists want to take their fate into their own hands. At present, there's little prospect of adding stars to the American flag, but these movements do indicate a widespread sense of dissatisfaction among (mostly rural) populations who feel that they are governed by people in distant urban centers who know little, and care less, about their way of life. Their complaints, in many ways, sound like the complaints of Americans circa 1775.
New California declares 'independence' from California in bid to become 51st state. The founders of New California took an early step toward statehood Monday with the reading of their own Declaration of Independence from California, a state they describe as "ungovernable." Their solution: Take over most of current-day California — including many rural counties — and leave the coastal urban areas to themselves. "The current state of California has become governed by a tyranny," the group, led in part by vice chairman Robert Paul Preston, declared in a document published online.
'New California' 'Secedes' from Liberal California, Declares 51st State. A group of activists declared "independence" for the state of "New California" on Monday [1/15/2018], in an attempt to leave California's liberal coastal enclaves and create a 51st U.S. state out of the remainder of the Golden State. "The current state of California has become governed by a tyranny," according to a document published by the group.
'New California' movement seeks to divide the Golden State in half. Two men have launched a campaign to divide rural California from the coastal cities, motivated by what they referred to as a "tyrannical form of government" that doesn't follow the U.S. Constitution or the state one, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Unlike the failed 2016 campaign to split California into six states, the "New California" movement, founded by Robert Paul Preston and Tom Reed, seeks to consolidate rural California into a distinct economy separate from the coast.
"New California" moves to split off from Golden State. Shortly after the New Year opened, I noted that President Donald Trump had begun mounting a #CounterResistance to California's political war against his administration. I recommended 5 strategies for continuing the battle, including assistance in helping the "State of Jefferson" break free to dilute the Golden State's electoral power. It appears that someone may have followed-up with this suggestion, as a group of unhappy state residents has launched a quite public declaration to create "New California".
New California Declares Independence From Rest Of State. With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood. To be clear, they don't want to leave the United States, just California. "Well, it's been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we're rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California," said founder Robert Paul Preston. The state of New California would incorporate most of the state's rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.
Plan to divide California into 3 new states clears first hurdle. A plan to split California into three separate states has cleared its first hurdle. Supporters are set to begin collecting signatures to qualify for next year's ballot. The plan is being funded by Bay Area tech billionaire Tim Draper, who previously funded a similar proposal back in 2014 to divide the state up into sections. That plan failed. Draper argues that citizens would be better served by three smaller state governments, rather than one large one.
State of Jefferson (CA) Amasses 21 Total Counties. Successfully amassing support in 21 California counties, proponents of the State of Jefferson movement took their petitions to the Secretary of State and the State Legislature Wednesday [1/6/2016]. [...] California's northern most counties are suffering from a lack of representation in the state Legislature. Twenty Northern California counties have 6 state level representatives, while the southern 38 counties have 114 state representatives.
Two Northern Counties Petition CA Legislature to Form State of 'Jefferson'. On Thursday, Modoc and Siskiyou counties in California, adjacent to Oregon, formally requested state officials to allow them to secede from the state and form a new state to be called Jefferson, according to the Sacramento Bee. The two counties' governments directly petitioned the secretaries of the state Assembly and Senate after they had already submitted a petition to the secretary of state asserting that they weren't represented strongly enough in the state.
Divided they stand? Billionaire in push to carve up California into six states. A billionaire tech investor says he has enough backing to put on the ballot a plan to split California into six states. Timothy Draper, a venture capitalist founder of a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has invested in such tech companies as Twitter, HotMail, Skype and Tesla, told Reuters he has the 808,000 signatures needed on a petition to force the measure onto a public referendum in November 2016.
Advocates of splitting California into six states gathering signatures. Advocates for Six Californias, a plan to split the Golden State into a half dozen separate states, are holding a petition drive this weekend to get their plan on the ballot in 2016. The idea is the brainchild of Timothy Draper, a venture capitalist from Menlo Park — or as he hopes to some day call it, the state of Silicon Valley. Draper has sunk $2 million into signature gathering for the proposal.
'Six Californias' Instead of One? Investor Tim Draper loves California so much that he thinks there should be six of them. Draper is one of Silicon Valley's superstar venture capitalists, an early funder of numerous high-tech enterprises, including, most famously, Skype and Hotmail. He is also the prime mover behind the "Six Californias" initiative, a proposal to partition the nation's most populous state into six smaller ones.
Venture capitalist wants to split California into six states. Venture capitalist Tim Draper is on a mission to collect 807,615 signatures to force a referendum on whether California should be carved up into six states. Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a statement posted on her official website Tuesday [2/18/2014] announcing Draper had been given the go-ahead for his petition drive.
Western Marylanders push to secede from state. A push by frustrated western Maryland residents to part ways with their state is gaining momentum as the initiative turns to social media to get its message out. Residents in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll County, for months have been pushing an initiative to secede from the state and form a new one, called Western Maryland. Among the biggest problems the group has with Maryland are new gun restrictions, tax increases and what they call unfair district lines the group claims unfairly favor Democrats.
Some Western Md. Residents Want To Form Their Own State. A tale of two Marylands: Western Maryland and the rest of the state. Fed up with high taxes and gun control, some people want to break away and go it alone.
Is Red State America Seceding? While many Red State Americans are moving away from Blue State America, seeking kindred souls among whom to live, those who love where they live but not those who rule them are seeking to secede. The five counties of Western Maryland — Garrett,Allegheny, Washington, Frederick and Carroll, which have more in common with West Virginia and wish to be rid of Baltimore and free of Annapolis, are talking secession. The issues driving secession in Maryland are gun control, high taxes, energy policy, homosexual marriage and immigration.
Modoc County Joins Siskiyou in State of Jefferson Bid For Secession. The Modoc County Board of Supervisors today voted to join neighboring Siskiyou County in its bid to secede from the State of California. Board Chairman Geri Byrne said a measure to join the push to form a State of Jefferson was approved by a vote of 4-0, with one supervisor absent.
Western Maryland secessionists seek to sever ties with the liberal Free State. The push by 50 western Virginia counties to secede in 1863, forming West Virginia at the height of the Civil War, was led by a charismatic store-clerk-turned-lawyer who famously urged his supporters: "Cut the knot now! Cut it now! Apply the knife." West Virginia was the last state to break off from another. Now, 150 years later, a 49-year-old information technology consultant wants to apply the knife to Maryland's five western counties.
Siskiyou County votes to pursue secession from California. Fed up by Sacramento's regulations and Southern California's political sway, residents in one rural Northern California county are taking steps to leave the state. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted, 4-1, on Tuesday [9/3/2013] to pursue seceding from California, the Redding Record Searchlight reported. Proponents say Siskiyou should form a new state — called Jefferson — with other counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon they believe share similar interests.The lawyers strike again.
Could Baja Arizona be 51st state in US? A political committee made up of attorneys, including the former chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, has been formed to try to get Southern Arizona to secede from the rest of the state. Start Our State, which is asking other like-minded counties to join the effort, hopes to put the question before Pima County voters in 2012.
The Editor says...
If a single county can secede and form a new state, a large can of worms will have been opened. Texas, with 254 counties, is in a good position to win that game.
E Pluribus Tucson: Uprising in Arizona. Baja Arizona (the working title) will almost certainly remain a dream, but it suggests the growing chasm between the state's Republican leaders and its frustrated liberal minority. For decades, there has been friction between Pima County and its more conservative northern neighbor, Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. Residents of Pima County (pop. 1 million) have often joked about forming their own state.
Liberals in southern Arizona seek to form new state. A group of lawyers from the Democratic stronghold of Tucson and surrounding Pima County have launched a petition drive seeking support for a November 2012 ballot question on whether the 48th state should be divided in two.
County Supervisor Proposes 51st State Cut Out of Southern California. A Riverside County, Calif., official is reportedly proposing cutting out 13 counties in Southern California and seceding from the rest of the state. Supervisor Jeff Stone is presenting his proposal to the county's Board of Supervisors on July 12, the Press Enterprise newspaper reports. He is arguing that the recent budget passed by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown is basically a raid on local budgets to cover profligate spending.
Official Calls For Riverside, 12 Other Counties To Secede From California. Is the state of California about to go "South"? Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone apparently thinks so, after proposing that the county lead a campaign for as many as 13 Southern California counties to secede from the state. Stone said in a statement late Thursday that Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties should form the new state of South California.
Small step forward for long-shot 'South California' plan. A Republican member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors wants his county and 12 others to secede from California and form the 51st state. His colleagues gave him an unenthusiastic go ahead Tuesday [7/12/2011] to explore the idea.
Victimhood has its privileges. The U.S. Justice Department is ever-vigilant against signs of "voter suppression" these days, most recently blocking — on the grounds that it would hurt blacks — a South Carolina law that would require voter identification. But the voting rights of some minorities, it appears, are more worth protecting than others. The territory of Guam, for instance, has called for a plebiscite on the territory's relationship with the United States that could provide momentum for an independence movement. But the only people allowed to vote will be citizens who were native inhabitants in the year 1950 and their descendants.
New Jim Crow in Guam: Where's Holder? The challenge to Guam's law was brought by Dave Davis, a retired Air Force major who has lived in Guam for 35 years. [...] Justice's indifference to his complaint is striking given that Guam's law is even worse than many of the odious Jim Crow statutes that limited voting in the South. "Even under Jim Crow, some blacks successfully registered to vote after they navigated the nasty maze of character exams and shifting office hours," says former DOJ civil-rights attorney Christian Adams, who is representing Major Davis. But under Eric Holder, the Justice Department has engaged in a pattern of selective enforcement of discrimination laws. [...] In Guam, the desire to bar non-Chamorro voters from participating in the referendum has a clear racial motive.
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Updated July 2, 2018.
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