On Sun, 04 Apr 1999 12:00:18 -0400, you wrote:
[big time snip]
>Unincorporated US territories are completely under federal law, as they
>are federal trust territories. PR gets tax preferences as a bribe to
>stay in association with us and for no other reason. They also have a
>special 'commonwealth' status that our other territories do not enjoy.
>If they had to pay taxes to the gringos they would have been gone a long
Ah, Mr. Lorrey, we could amicably debate this one for a while.
Not every US constitutional provision applies to Puerto Rico. Specifically (though not exclusively), the Second Amendment has been found not to apply to Puerto Rico. Any provisions regarding "states" are likewise inapplicable. Openly espousing and laboring for the local equivalent of "secession" isn't a crime in that island, a very different story from incorporated states. And not all block grant funds are available to their government.
Puerto Rico was never a trust territory: it's spoils from the Spanish-American War.
The Northern Marianas now enjoy a commonwealth status similar to Puerto Rico's.
Puerto Rican statehooders are seeking full admission into the Union. However, leaders have historically told their followers that they would be exempt from paying taxes (Can you believe the gall of the leaders... and the gumption of the followers?) They've been told recently that, since Puerto Rico's tax rates are IDENTICAL to federal ones, they'd simply deduct their taxes, add the Earned Income Credit and come out clean.
Conversely, they could simply deduct their federal taxes from the state taxes and spare themselves the double whammy. I gather in this setup San Juan would simply mooch every last penny of its bloated wastrel budget from Washington. Obviously, a pipe dream.
The point is that they're used to paying the same ridiculous federal rates we suffer on the mainland, although they enjoy a few more deductions.
Most Puerto Ricans are too fond of their US citizenship to let go. The independentists stand for assorted flavors of socialism, something that sits ill in light of Cuba's experience. But most of them are also too fond of their own culture, which many of them feel would be jeopardized under statehood (funny, it hasn't vanished in the last 100 years of American sovereignty). Add that to a corrupt pro-statehood government and breakaway defeatism among the independentist ranks, plus generalized outrage at the format of the last referendum, and you can see why commonwealthers were successful in garnering a majority vote under the "none of the above" option last Xmas and once again dodged the status issue.
>From what I've observed, our concepts of transhumanism and extropy
would meet with some stunned minds over there: technological change is readily embraced by highly educated postwar generations in the island; but the notion of self-rule in all aspects of life would simply meet some resistance and take a long time to register. Government looms much larger in that island than stateside: their atrocious economy makes over 30% of their workforce dependent on goverment jobs.
And so, we will keep looking for a viable and affordable earthbound site for this vessel... Perhaps it will require nothing else than "sovereignty" for this vessel to succeed, by which I mean either an existing sponsor country (as mentioned by the originator of this thread) or creating a new "country" to be acknowledged internationally adn help stave off destructive raids.