My 2012 votes in Puerto Rico

As readers of this blog may know, in October, 2009, I moved my residence from Key West, Florida to Catano (suburb of San Juan), Puerto Rico.

At nearly 82 years of age, I’m still not very fluent in Spanish which is OK in everyday life in Puerto Rico where many Puerto Ricans are quite fluent in English but, as explained below, does impair my active election participation even though I’ve been a lifelong member of the Democratic Party.

To be sure, the Democratic and Republican parties do exist as such in Puerto Rico BUT neither appear in most Puerto Rican election ballots or contests.

The two major political parties appearing on the ballot in Puerto Rico for more than the last half century are the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) and the New Progressive Party (PNP), neither of which are directly affiliated with the island’s Democratic and/or Republican Parties.

The PPD, created in 1938, is generally described as economically and socially liberal and more philosophically akin to the Democratic Party and (but) it is a current proponent of increased sovereignity for the island although still associated in some form with the United States. The PPD is also said to support island elimination of federal limits on food stamps, expansion of SSI for the elderly and the handicapped, and removal of recent changes in Federal Tax Law 936 which had previously lowered by 60% the exemptions that corporations could claim from taxes on profits and urged that the old law be restored to its original form (giving corporations the 60% tax exemption on proftis).… Read the rest

Post-2012 election thoughts re Gerrymqndering

Updating my blog about gerrymadering, I really want to vomit when I hear Boehner and pundits talk about the new Republican “majority” in the US House of Representatives.

In the 2012 election, with results that will last until 2023 (after the next dicennial census), Democrats got a majority of the votes for House of Representatives, i.e. 53,952,240 to 53,402,643, or a Democratic majority of more than half a million.

These figures disregard the number of voters who may have been discouraged by gerrymandered districts that gave Republicans a virtually guaranteed 55% + of the vote and Democrats a packed 65% + of the vote, or a half million plurality in an election won by 3 million votes + by President Obama.

As of this writing, out of a total of 435 House seats, Republicans have “won” 234 to 194 seats with 7 seats “undecided”. (See the 94-page en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_ Representatives_elections_2012.)

Republican state legislatures (themselves gerrymandered) have “gerrymander” congressional seats “within an inch of their lives”. “President Obama won Pennsylvania by more than 5 points but Democrats carried only 5 of the state’s 18 congressional seats.” (See thinkprogress.org/justice/2012.)

Michigan, which President Obama won by nearly 10% of the vote, “elected” 10 Republicans and 4 Democratic congresspersons; in Ohio, Republicans “won” 12 of the state’s 16 seats.… Read the rest

2012 Election

Obama/Romney
The main subject of this, my second blog, is jobs and the economy. However, a few remarks on other subjects.

First, I’ve resided here in Puerto Rico for nearly 3 years now and, thus, like all Puerto Ricans, will not be able to cast a vote for the Presidency. (Don’t be naive; if Puerto Ricans were to vote overwhelmingly in favor of statehood, it is highly unlikely that Congress would grant same and give Puerto Ricans two voting US Senators and four House Representatives.) I’m not too disappointed. There’s no question in my mind that Obama, based on what he has done and will likely do, is far superior to Romney, but even so he has been a major disappointment.

On the issue of health care, because of massive political money contributions by lobbyists to Republicans and Democratic politicians alike, we are now saddled with largely unfunded federal subsidies to private sector for-profit pharmaceutical companies (the second highest profit making industry in America) as a result of GW Bush’s Medicare Part D program (at a federal dollar cost of upwards of half a trillion dollars each year).

As a result of Obama Care (the mal-named Affordable Care Act) and GW Bush’s earlier Medicare “Advantage” program, we are now saddled with unfunded federal half a trillion dollars + per year for private sector for-profit health insurers who, per the law, are allowed to have 20% in administrative costs and whatever profit distribution to exhorbitantly paid employed executives, even though we know that administrative costs for single-payer Medicare are only 1 or 2% per year in a program that is pretty much fully funded by a 1.45% flat tax on every American from persons who earn as little as $1.00 per year up to an historic cap for all wealthy Americans who make millions of dollars per year and have that low cap on their annual earnings because of a flat, unprogressive tax.… Read the rest