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Timex's Journal: Is HR 2499 fair to Puerto Rico? 53

Journal by Timex
Under HR 2499, Puerto Ricans would vote on the issue of statehood for the fourth time since 1967. The last three times, they preferred their present status as an independent commonwealth in association with the U.S. over becoming a state.

The last statehood vote, held on Dec. 13, 1998, failed to yield an acceptible majority vote on any of the five options:
  • Enhanced commonwealth (0.29 percent)
  • Statehood (46.4 percent)
  • Independence (2.5 percent)
  • Free association (0.06 percent)
  • None of the above (50.3 percent)

According to the rules set up by HR2499, the people of Puerto Rico would be looking at a two-step vote. The first step would ask voters to choose between two options: Staying where they are or changing Puerto Rico's terms of affiliation with the United States. The second vote, if it goes that far, would give voters only three choices: Independence from the United States, Sovereignty in Association with the United States (Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution), and Statehood.

Congress is taking a huge gamble here. They're counting on the people of PR to be fed up with the failing of their local government (they recently had to furlough 30,000 government workers), hoping the people there will choose statehood.

Let's assume that's what happens. What then?

It's important to realize that voting on statehood is a right that the people of Puerto Rico certainly do have, and they should utilize it. Whether or not the people of PR would benefit from statehood is something only they can decide.

It is also important to realize that something like this (that is, of Democrats attempting to rig something like this in this sort of economic climate) can hardly be a surprise. This has been in the planning stages for quite some time, certainly long enough where members of Congress voting on the health care bill were aware of HR 2499 being in the works.

If Puerto Rico chooses to become a state at this time, with the economic problems that the mainland and the island are having, what effect would PR statehood have on the spending forecasts that Obama quoted so enthusiastically? (I'll ignore the fact that the "numbers" changed almost daily, even when Obama was quoting them.)

I think we can chalk this up under "lack of planning" on the part of Congress.

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Is HR 2499 fair to Puerto Rico?

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  • ... to just have a series of votes, and each time, remove the least popular option?

    This way, it's the voters who decide what the final 2 choices will be.

    After all, control the question, and you control the vote ...

    Also, this brings up another question ...

    From the previous list:

    • Enhanced commonwealth (0.29 percent)
    • Statehood (46.4 percent)
    • Independence (2.5 percent)
    • Free association (0.06 percent)
    • None of the above (50.3 percent)

    Couldn't other states argue that this changes composition of the Uni

    • Are you friggin kidding me? First past the post voting is a crucial component to maintaining oligarchies. Even in Europe, where it enjoys its best support, it's still taken decades to make minimal inroads. Don't fuck with the golden rule.
      • by tomhudson (43916)
        The story of mouseland. The mice keep electing cats, because if they don't vote for one cat, the other cat, who is even worse, might get in. Then a few years later, they vote for the other cat to get rid of the first cat. But eventually, they get fed up with the first cat again, and vote the second cat back in.

        "Why don't you vote for someone other than a cat? You're mice!" "Because if we don't vote for a cat, the other cat might get in."

        2-party systems suck the life out of countries.

    • by Timex (11710)

      Couldn't other states argue that this changes composition of the United States

      I'm sure that someone WILL bring that up, but I (thankfully) don't think there are any issues going on in the United States that would compare to the level of requiring another Missouri Compromise [ourdocuments.gov].

      • by snowgirl (978879)

        Couldn't other states argue that this changes composition of the United States

        I'm sure that someone WILL bring that up, but I (thankfully) don't think there are any issues going on in the United States that would compare to the level of requiring another Missouri Compromise [ourdocuments.gov].

        The states are represented by the Congress, and according to the Constitution (Article IV) statehood requires consent of Congress and each state which has jurisdiction over at least part of the territory involved. (West Virginia had to obtain consent of Congress, and Virginia to become an independent state.)

        As no part of the proposed State of Puerto Rico is subject to any existing state, they only need consent of Congress. Statehood process typically holds producing a list of rules and provisions that the

        • by Timex (11710)

          The states are represented by the Congress, and according to the Constitution (Article IV) statehood requires consent of Congress and each state which has jurisdiction over at least part of the territory involved. (West Virginia had to obtain consent of Congress, and Virginia to become an independent state.)

          As no part of the proposed State of Puerto Rico is subject to any existing state, they only need consent of Congress. Statehood process typically holds producing a list of rules and provisions that the states must comply with. Typically, this involves drafting a constitution which meets certain guidelines. (New Mexico was forced to draft their constitution in English, and draft all laws in English.)

          Ah, but the reference to the Missouri Compromise was because at the time, there was a big concern over equal power in Congress as it pertained to the slave trade. Because of that, members of Congress allowed for the creation of Missouri from the Missouri Territory [wikipedia.org] if, and only if, a "free state" were created. Maine was somehow selected, possibly because of its physical separation from Massachusetts proper.

          Since we don't have any similarly-divisive issues today (Democrat-vs-Republican doesn't count), I ser

          • by snowgirl (978879)

            I'd love to see how you managed to jump to the conclusion that admitting Puerto Rico as the 51st state would result in states threatening secession from the Union.

            It's not my opinion, it was an option given by the OP:

            "a right to hold a vote with the same options for THEIR state, so they can decide if they want to be part of a USofA that includes Puerto Rico as a state?"

            • by Timex (11710)

              It's not my opinion, it was an option given by the OP:

              "a right to hold a vote with the same options for THEIR state, so they can decide if they want to be part of a USofA that includes Puerto Rico as a state?"

              Ah. Gotcha. Remember, Hudson is (proudly, if you ask) a Canadian. :) Hudson was asking IF other states could change their respective constitutions to include such language. I suppose they COULD, but I seriously doubt they would. To do so would require time (which they wouldn't have a lot of, as far as state constitutional amendments go) and a reason. "Because we don't like Puerto Rico" is a pretty foolish reason, if you ask me.

              • by snowgirl (978879)

                It's not my opinion, it was an option given by the OP:

                "a right to hold a vote with the same options for THEIR state, so they can decide if they want to be part of a USofA that includes Puerto Rico as a state?"

                Ah. Gotcha. Remember, Hudson is (proudly, if you ask) a Canadian. :) Hudson was asking IF other states could change their respective constitutions to include such language. I suppose they COULD, but I seriously doubt they would. To do so would require time (which they wouldn't have a lot of, as far as state constitutional amendments go) and a reason. "Because we don't like Puerto Rico" is a pretty foolish reason, if you ask me.

                Well, not just time. The Supreme Court has established that it would require a successful rebellion.

                • by Timex (11710)

                  The Supreme Court has established that it would require a successful rebellion.

                  Of course. What sort of government would it be, if a condition of joining was "Oh, if you don't like it here, you are welcome to leave when you decide to"?

                  The Feds get some of their power by limiting the options available to those they govern. Sometimes (as in states joining the Union) that can be a Good Thing(tm), other times (like mandated heath care with non-governmental agencies) it can be a Bad Thing(tm). It's a situational thing.

                  • by snowgirl (978879)

                    The Supreme Court has established that it would require a successful rebellion.

                    Of course. What sort of government would it be, if a condition of joining was "Oh, if you don't like it here, you are welcome to leave when you decide to"?

                    The Feds get some of their power by limiting the options available to those they govern. Sometimes (as in states joining the Union) that can be a Good Thing(tm), other times (like mandated heath care with non-governmental agencies) it can be a Bad Thing(tm). It's a situational thing.

                    Meh... if you want to drive a car, you're mandated to purchase car insurance, and since no state offers a state-run car insurance system, it's forcing you to buy something from the private sector.

                    The argument from the right should never have been that it is a mandate policy, but rather their argument should be that it's outside of the bounds of the Federal government... each state still is allowed to establish the exact same mandates.

                    For instance, Massachusetts has a mandate to purchase healthcare as well,

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      Meh... if you want to drive a car, you're mandated to purchase car insurance, and since no state offers a state-run car insurance system, it's forcing you to buy something from the private sector.

                      This is not entirely correct. With car insurance, you still have the option making use of public transportation, walking, or something along that line. You're not required to buy car insurance unless you intend to make use of the public roadways with a private or commercial vehicle. Even then, state minimums generally protect victims of an accident, not the operator of the vehicle responsible.

                      If you do not have car insurance (because you only operate a car on your own property or do not have a car at all

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      Mandating health insurance is intended to protect the interests of society at large, and healthcare providers more specifically, more so than the individual themselves. There are already laws the require medical intervention be given regardless of ability to pay, if the individual's life is in danger.

                      Forcing them to have health insurance insures that should they incur medical debt, that the creditor can collect... the same reason for car insurance.

                      it will likely be tagged a "felony" due to its hook to the IRS.

                      WHAT? ... Shut up and talk to a lawyer about this... you're

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      Mandating health insurance is intended to protect the interests of society at large, and healthcare providers more specifically, more so than the individual themselves. There are already laws the require medical intervention be given regardless of ability to pay, if the individual's life is in danger.

                      Forcing them to have health insurance insures that should they incur medical debt, that the creditor can collect... the same reason for car insurance.

                      Sigh. Stop comparing this to car insurance. The two are very different, in scope and magnitude.

                      some lawyers trying to prove a point at all costs will cite technicalities and shit.

                      ...because, after all, technicalities don't mean anything, right?

                      the likelihood that any judge would uphold any particular technicality is pretty damn low.

                      You can't know that until it's been tried. There are some things that are written off as "technicalities" by proponents just because they are trying to gloss-over what would otherwise be a "show stopper".

                      So, unless you're committing fraud by under reporting your income in an attempt to avoid the mandate, there is nothing about this mandate that will cause you to face criminal charges.

                      Refusing terms of the mandate means you are breaking the law, and that you are then subject to penalties. I don't know how that escapes being co

                    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                      by snowgirl (978879)

                      Sigh. Stop comparing this to car insurance. The two are very different, in scope and magnitude.

                      When you make the argument against a "de novo" creation of a "mandate policy", it is fair to look at legal constructions that are in some ways similar.

                      States obviously might have their right to produce a mandate policy, just like car insurance, and just like health insurance in Massachusetts.

                      Again, the argument here shouldn't be "zomg, mandate policy!" but rather the limitations of federal government.

                      When people on the same side of the argument as you sit there and say "this is the first time government is

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      While informed, this is still just my opinion. I am not perfect, and some of this may be wrong.

                      You might care to remember this tagline of yours...

                      When you make the argument against a "de novo" creation of a "mandate policy", it is fair to look at legal constructions that are in some ways similar.

                      I'm not a lawyer, but I'm not some ignorant turd on the side of the street either. Are you a lawyer, Ms Snowgirl?

                      When people on the same side of the argument as you sit there and say "this is the first time government is forcing you to buy something from the public sector", it is actually outright wrong.

                      Prove it. Show me where the Federal government has previously required all citizens to enter into a contract with a non-governmental agency, with no options to refuse to enter into said contract.

                      If you don't want to pay this tax, then get health insurance.

                      I see. It's not a mandate after all: It's extortion!

                      Arguing that it is wrong simply because it creates an individual mandate is an "wrong" argument, because that alone cannot succeed. (Massachusetts's law holds that an individual mandate might be legal.)

                      You might like to remember a couple things: The United States of America and the Commonwealth of M

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      You might care to remember this tagline of yours...

                      I do... you may remember my previous tagline: "I'm not a lawyer, I'm just that pedantic."

                      I'm not a lawyer, but I'm not some ignorant turd on the side of the street either. Are you a lawyer, Ms Snowgirl?

                      No, but I'm read under the law, and I try very hard to not make assertions about law that are beyond my understanding.

                      When people on the same side of the argument as you sit there and say "this is the first time government is forcing you to buy something from the public sector", it is actually outright wrong.

                      Prove it. Show me where the Federal government has previously required all citizens to enter into a contract with a non-governmental agency, with no options to refuse to enter into said contract.

                      Please read my statement again. I did not say "Federal government", I said "government".

                      I thought the example of Massachusetts would be so well established that I wouldn't need to point it out to you, because, I don't think you're stupid.

                      Also, there are the Slaughterhouse cases, which establish that the

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      No, but I'm read under the law, and I try very hard to not make assertions about law that are beyond my understanding.

                      • I am a firm believer that words have meaning. I was one of those "geeks" growing up who read the dictionary and encyclopedias for fun.
                      • The laws of the land are written in English, and I'm armed with dictionaries (online and dead tree editions) to work out what is said.
                      • I know there is a difference in the legal uses of "shall" and "will".
                      • Legalese is subtle. I won't pretend to understand it all, but I understand enough.
                      • It is important to know what words mean(t) when a law is written. Meanings change ove
                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      I'm glad that you have the basic competencies to understand legal English. However, as mentioned, in a Common Law system reading what the law says only tells you part of the story. The "Case Law" surrounding that law is also fundamentally necessary to a proper understand of the law.

                      I'm going to answer some stuff out of order, because some points are more quickly dealt with than others.

                      In past posts, you said it wasn't a "mandate" and now you say it is. Which side are you on? :D

                      None of my posts stated that it was not a mandate. Rather, my posts stated stop complaining that it is a mandate, and sta

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      I'm glad that you have the basic competencies to understand legal English. However, as mentioned, in a Common Law system reading what the law says only tells you part of the story. The "Case Law" surrounding that law is also fundamentally necessary to a proper understand of the law.

                      Congratulations. In one simple statement, you've managed to put all Law outside the realm of the common man, who (without the immediate aid of a lawyer) is doomed to getting screwed by The Man.

                      Case law is useful so far as it seeks to have a unified interpretation of law by the court system. How one district reacts to a law may be influenced by how other districts have decided, but it is by no means a guarantee.

                      As much as the courts like to go on "precedent", there are occasions when a court rules in a way

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      Congratulations. In one simple statement, you've managed to put all Law outside the realm of the common man, who (without the immediate aid of a lawyer) is doomed to getting screwed by The Man.

                      No, I didn't do it. It's how the law is designed in this country. I'm entirely serious, go ask a lawyer.

                      Because precedent can be broken, (or even conflicting) is the reason why not even lawyers are perfect at law.

                      The Common Law system is built upon tradition, and not strictly codified laws.

                      Any law that requires a lawyer to properly understand it should be scrapped and/or rewritten.

                      If you want to be able to be able to read a law and know exactly what it means, move to a place where the Civil Law system is practiced.

                      In France (a nation with a Civil Law system) their supreme court cannot hand down l

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      No, I didn't do it. It's how the law is designed in this country. I'm entirely serious, go ask a lawyer.

                      That's like asking children if they should be allowed to operate a candy store.

                      In France (a nation with a Civil Law system) their supreme court cannot hand down legally binding precedents. The opinions returned by their highest court are very short, brief and say "of the two laws presented, law XY prevails in this particular instance."

                      This is however, unlikely to occur in the USA, because lawyers are in power, and they will use the legal mechanics to stay there.

                      ...and why Tort Reform gets talked about but never actually done.

                      The importance of words (what they mean, why they're chosen, etc) is because there are always going to be gits like Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge Margaret Marshall [mass.gov], who make judgments that include South African law. If it were impossible to properly understand law, then sites like GrokLaw [groklaw.net] are wasting their time. Fortunately, I vehemently disagree with you.

                      "Rights" as a legal term does not meet your definition. As an example, if someone has standing to sue, then they are said to have a "right of action".

                      Do y

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      Do you have a "right" to a driver's license? If you were to drive in a manner that led to your license being revoked, do you still have that right, or is it a "privilege"? Last time I heard the difference explained, a judge explained it. Maybe he was just off his rocker and you're right after all? Nah.

                      No, one does not have a right to a driver's license.

                      Do you understand that law can grant privileges and rights?

                      Again, you cannot argue that if I have a standing to sue someone that I have a "right to action", because that's what the definition of "right to action" means.

                      If it were impossible to properly understand law, then sites like GrokLaw [groklaw.net] are wasting their time. Fortunately, I vehemently disagree with you.

                      It's not impossible to properly understand law, but it can be hard. The reason Groklaw exists is to explain the law that has been going on with SCO (and some other cases) to lay people.

                      Why does it have to be only for religious reasons?

                      Because "I don't want to" is not a valid legal defense

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      No, one does not have a right to a driver's license.

                      Do you understand that law can grant privileges and rights?

                      The distinction between the two is often overlooked by many who treat a driver's license as a "right". There are too many on the roads of this nation that really shouldn't be, because of that.

                      Again, you cannot argue that if I have a standing to sue someone that I have a "right to action", because that's what the definition of "right to action" means.

                      There's no "again": I never said that one did not have a "right" to sue. It is considered part of "due process".

                      It's not impossible to properly understand law, but it can be hard.

                      I know this. I never said I had an easy time of it. I simply stated that I find it reasonable to expect people to be able to understand law, even if they aren't lawyers.

                      The reason Groklaw exists is to explain the law that has been going on with SCO (and some other cases) to lay people.

                      I know this, too. I've been follow

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      I hear what you're saying, but I seriously disagree with you. You aren't listening to me. Your mind is rusted shut to the idea that you might be mistaken, no matter what.

                      Please see my communication with a lawyer regarding copyright.

                      I do change my mind, and alter my conceptions. I simply fail to do so without a compelling argument.

                      Your argument that AZ can do SB 1070 because it is not restricted by Article I, Section 10 fails, because it fails to account for all the other ways that federal government may restrict state jurisdiction.

                      Hehehe... You didn't take very long to blow your vocabulary into the gutter, eh?

                      It's because I'm fucking annoyed at trying to explain a bunch of this stuff, and you blowing me off. You're arguing with me seemingly just to s

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      I do change my mind, and alter my conceptions. I simply fail to do so without a compelling argument.

                      That's within your right to do so.

                      It's because I'm fucking annoyed at trying to explain a bunch of this stuff, and you blowing me off. You're arguing with me seemingly just to spite me.

                      This is MY JE. It's about MY OPINION(S), whether they are correct or mistaken.

                      I'm not "blowing you off" as much as you might think. Your points regarding the law itself is a Good Thing(tm), but I simply refuse to put lawyers on some sort of pedestal on your say-so or anyone else's. If lawyers are making laws so complicated that they cannot be understood, then the lawyers need to be removed from the law-making process, and leave it to people that intend laws to be underst

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      This is MY JE. It's about MY OPINION(S), whether they are correct or mistaken.

                      You're entitled to your own opinions. You are, however, not entitled to your own facts.

                      but I simply refuse to put lawyers on some sort of pedestal on your say-so or anyone else's.

                      I don't call for putting them on some sort of pedestal. However, if you're trying to figure out why a building fell down, you don't go to a layperson, you go to an engineer. Sure, I and you are capable of understanding the simple ideas, but we simply do not have the training that an engineer would to properly evaluate the event.

                      Legalese exists because the English necessary in laws and contracts must be as exact, and as

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      Ah, but claiming that only a lawyer could "properly interpret a law" is essentially saying that there's no point in reading so much as a driver's handbook without a lawyer present to hold our hands through the "learning process".

                      What I am saying is that laws, in and of themselves, are not difficult for anyone to understand, and that things only get overly complicated within the confines of a courtroom, where plaintiffs and defendants are bucking for position over loopholes and such things as "what the framers of the law really meant". If you are smart enough to know how to use a dictionary, a thesaurus, and maybe even Google to pick at legal definitions, it is not hard to follow and you needn't be a lawyer to do it.

                      Yeah, you can totally pick up a law, and read it, and understand it. But that doesn't mean that you should rely upon that reading. You haven't accounted for all the other laws, legal history, nor case law.

                      There are lots of laypersons who knuckle down and defeat lawyers in court. However, this is not the common case.

                      Ah. You admit to plagiarism then? This is the first time I recall you giving credit to a legal position.

                      At least my opinions are drawn on my understanding of things, whether they are right or wrong. :\

                      Maybe you totally neglected my Journal Entry that covers this topic.

                      It is not plagiarism to state 2+2=4.

                      This legal argument is a matter of public record, and my JE has a link to the actual tex

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      Yeah, you can totally pick up a law, and read it, and understand it. But that doesn't mean that you should rely upon that reading. You haven't accounted for all the other laws, legal history, nor case law.

                      I seriously doubt that there's a lawmaker in the history of this nation that does his (or her) job with the mindset of "We'll just write this and let the courts work out the exact meaning of what this is supposed to be about." To do so would be a complete and utter FAIL of epic proportions. I believe that lawmakers write the laws within their understanding of English, including any "legal nuance" that is necessary to close foreseen and unintended loopholes. It doesn't mean they get all the loopholes, and

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      I seriously doubt that there's a lawmaker in the history of this nation that does his (or her) job with the mindset of "We'll just write this and let the courts work out the exact meaning of what this is supposed to be about." To do so would be a complete and utter FAIL of epic proportions. I believe that lawmakers write the laws within their understanding of English, including any "legal nuance" that is necessary to close foreseen and unintended loopholes. It doesn't mean they get all the loopholes, and that's where the courts come in.

                      A law that is properly written is easy enough to understand by anyone with the time to parse it, and will be obvious to a vast majority of the cases that it might cover. There will always be the occasional situation that might "skirt around the issue", but generally speaking, they should be few and far between.

                      This entire block fails to recognize the Common Law traditions of the United States. Judges do use legislative intent to figure out what a law was intended to mean. However, as they apply their readings, those readings and rulings build upon each other building CASE LAW.

                      How are you so fucking retarded as to ignore CASE LAW... it's like the biggest part of why being a lawyer is hard, and it's all over tons of everything, laws are annotated with CASE LAW, entire books are published with CASE LAW, and court

                    • by Timex (11710)

                      How are you so fucking retarded...

                      ...and with this, this conversation is ended. You have gone over the edge.

                    • by snowgirl (978879)

                      How are you so fucking retarded...

                      ...and with this, this conversation is ended. You have gone over the edge.

                      CASE LAW YOU FUCKING RETARD.

  • You went so far as to pin this as some sort of Obama-Democrat conspiracy - even tagging your JE under "democrats" - but you didn't complete the story. What are you proposing that the democrats have to gain by adopting Puerto Rico as a state? Are you suggesting that PR is solidly democratic enough to be a substantial addition to the democratic voter total? Or are you trying to get to something else altogether?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RailGunner (554645) *
      What are you proposing that the democrats have to gain by adopting Puerto Rico as a state?

      5 to 7 representatives, 2 senators, and some electoral votes, obviously.
      • Greetings friend, great to see you're back! I haven't seen you around here for a while, I thought you had given up on us. We should work together on tossing up big softball journal entries [slashdot.org] more often - did you see that one pulled in 142 comments? We even got Pudge to come out of the woodwork for that one.

        We shouldn't have too much difficulty finding other undefined conservative word-bites for discussion. Maybe you should offer up something about the financial bill, and see if we can make the conservat
      • by Timex (11710)

        5 to 7 representatives, 2 senators, and some electoral votes, obviously.

        Yeah, pretty much.

        Of course, the pendulum could swing in PR as much as as it has in Massachusetts. The Liberal Congress seems to be doing whatever it thinks it can get away with to keep things leaning in their favor.

        I wonder if it will be settled in time for them to keep momentum? Nah...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by snowgirl (978879)

        What are you proposing that the democrats have to gain by adopting Puerto Rico as a state?

        5 to 7 representatives, 2 senators, and some electoral votes, obviously.

        But the 5 to 7 representatives would actually come from some other states. The number of members of the House of Representatives has been fixed for quite a while now. The low population rural states tend to be more conservative, and would be the least likely to have a significant change in population...

        I'd have to do some math to look at it, and without the 2010 Census Data, I can't really say what it would be... why I don't get back to this with the 2000 Census Data in a bit.

        • by Timex (11710)

          But the 5 to 7 representatives would actually come from some other states. The number of members of the House of Representatives has been fixed for quite a while now.

          No, each state is guaranteed a certain number of Representatives in the House, based on the population of the state. Each state is also guaranteed two Senators. This guarantee comes from the Constitution, which trumps most everything else.

          These numbers wouldn't "come from some other states", unless those states no longer counted their Puerto Rican residents as "theirs". Fat chance on that one.

          • by snowgirl (978879)

            But the 5 to 7 representatives would actually come from some other states. The number of members of the House of Representatives has been fixed for quite a while now.

            No, each state is guaranteed a certain number of Representatives in the House, based on the population of the state. Each state is also guaranteed two Senators. This guarantee comes from the Constitution, which trumps most everything else.

            These numbers wouldn't "come from some other states", unless those states no longer counted their Puerto Rican residents as "theirs". Fat chance on that one.

            No, it's not. Each state is guaranteed at least one representative, and each representative is apportioned by relative population of each state, however the total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at no more than 435.*

            Yeah, I know that this appears to directly violate the terms of the constitution, however no one has challenged this in court, and it has been that way for over one hundred years now.

            Perhaps I recommend returning to GOVT 101?

            *: See Public Law 62-5 of 1911, though Congress has t

            • by Timex (11710)

              No, it's not. Each state is guaranteed at least one representative, and each representative is apportioned by relative population of each state, however the total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at no more than 435.*

              Yeah, I know that this appears to directly violate the terms of the constitution, however no one has challenged this in court, and it has been that way for over one hundred years now. ...
              *: See Public Law 62-5 of 1911, though Congress has the authority to change that number. The Reapportionment Act of 1929 capped the size of the House at 435.

              There are a few things that could affect this, including (but certainly not limited to):

              • Alteration of the law by Congress. It wouldn't be the first time, it wouldn't be the last...
              • Reapportionment of the size of a Representative's constituency
              • Constitutional amendment

              I would think that either of the first two (or even a combination of the two) are most likely.

              Perhaps I recommend returning to GOVT 101?

              You will recall that I said that the Constitution trumps most everything else. If push comes to shove, this would be one of the times the Constitut

              • by snowgirl (978879)

                True, the Congress could add more representatives to the house in response to a new state. However, due to Apportionment paradoxes, it's possible that a state could still lose representatives, or could even gain some.

                As for the content of a GOVT 101 class, no, I don't expect that a Government class would go into the rat's nest of Congressional law, however I'm certain that it covers the fact of the number of congressional members being limited.

    • by Timex (11710)

      You went so far as to pin this as some sort of Obama-Democrat conspiracy - even tagging your JE under "democrats" - but you didn't complete the story.

      Sorry. I keep assuming that readers of my JE can figure out that connection for themselves.

      I'll make a better effort to leave nothing to chance next time. Maybe. ;)

      • Sorry. I keep assuming that readers of my JE can figure out that connection for themselves.

        I didn't want to make assumptions when you did not specify the basis of your opinion. However others are suggesting that the conservative viewpoint is that democrats want Puerto Rico as a state to gain votes.

        If that is what you are implying, then I have a follow-up question for you. Why can't the republicans gain votes there? Why can't they compete? Aren't most Puerto Ricans Catholic? [wikipedia.org] That should be a pretty easy win on the anti-abortion/anti-gay-rights motion right there, right? So why then would

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          That should be a pretty easy win on the anti-abortion/anti-gay-rights motion right there, right? So why then would the republicans automatically assume Puerto Rico to be a loss?

          A racist assumption that Latinos are statistically democrats? Actually, New Mexico, with the highest percentage of Hispanics, and as a result, Catholics. Yet Hispanics still generally vote more towards Democrats than Republicans.

          The problem is that while a lot of individual beliefs align, Republicans tend to push what can be perceived as racist ideas, such as English-only ideas.

          The idea of "English only" will fail even worse once we have a state where 90% are Spanish-only speakers.

        • by Timex (11710)

          I didn't want to make assumptions when you did not specify the basis of your opinion. However others are suggesting that the conservative viewpoint is that democrats want Puerto Rico as a state to gain votes.

          The articles I read on the matter implied that the Democrats had the most to gain, yes.

          If that is what you are implying, then I have a follow-up question for you. Why can't the republicans gain votes there? Why can't they compete?

          I think what my sources were going on is the fact that statistically, given certain economic conditions, people tend to vote Democratic, though it is certainly no guarantee.

          Aren't most Puerto Ricans Catholic? That should be a pretty easy win on the anti-abortion/anti-gay-rights motion right there, right?

          Apples and Oranges. You've apparently not been paying attention to how Massachusetts votes, especially during the Kennedy reign.

          So why then would the republicans automatically assume Puerto Rico to be a loss?

          Shy of doing a study on the current political climate in Puerto Rico, I couldn't begin to tell you.

    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      Are you suggesting that PR is solidly democratic enough to be a substantial addition to the democratic voter total?

      Yes. And a Dem-controlled congress wouldn't be looking for ways to finagle PR into becoming a state if they didn't think so as well. See also: The District of Columbia.

  • No federal income tax.

    Voting for statehood changes that. I don't expect that the Puerto Ricans will want to change that, regardless of the perceived benefit to Democrats to add them as a state.

    • by Timex (11710)

      No federal income tax.

      As I understand it, PR residents do not pay federal income tax earned from island-based income (or something like that), though they do pay into medicare and social security.

      Voting for statehood changes that. I don't expect that the Puerto Ricans will want to change that, regardless of the perceived benefit to Democrats to add them as a state.

      It would depend heavily, I would imagine, on what spin is applied by the pro-statehood faction. I'm more worried that they'll go to "step two", then go with Independence, and summarily get invaded by Cuba or something.

      At this point in the conversation, I'm sure some idiot will accuse me of being one of those "imperial Americans". The

      • by snowgirl (978879)

        If it is true that they must pay into Medicare and Social Security, then this is because these are not defined as "taxes". In fact, I believe all my W-2s report income tax withholdings in different boxes from Social Security and Medicare payments.

        This isn't a bunch of legal footwork either... For instance, they no doubt still must pay for stamps.

        I highly doubt that Puerto Rico would be invaded by Cuba, and likely they would have a defense agreement with the USA (such as what Japan has.)

        "to some extent Port

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach

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