Wednesday, July 6, 2016

THE FORCES BEHIND THE SCENES AGAINST PROMESA

Thank You NATIONAL JOURNAL for this Article I posted below!!
THIS CONFIRMS OUR ALLEGATIONS OF THE FORCES BEHIND THE SCENES AGAINST PROMESA!

This confirms our insistence and allegations of  defining the forces behind the scenes who make the decisions that impact the lives of the US Citizens in Puerto Rico. 

These are the same forces who lobby against Statehood, who bad mouth our island and it's people; and make extraordinary amounts of money to serve those who are the true culprits of our crisis and severe economic disaster. 

There are no scruples or lack of funds available to spend on media, lobbyists, whatever needed to oppress and discredit Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans, as you can easily see excellently described in this article in the National Journal. 

Why do they do this..... because  Puerto Rico is under Code 933 (For sure placed there by the efforts of IRS tax evaders and their lobbyists) so we don't pay Federal Taxes. 

But the average Puerto Rican does not benefit from this.  The ones that do are part of the Corporate Welfare Scam that has scammed  the US Taxpayers and the US citizens in Puerto Rico by using our island as a laundry for big Corporations, Millionaires, Local Wealthy Elite,  so as not have to pay the IRS billions of dollars a year. 

Only middle class Puerto Rican residents pay taxes in PR. Our local governments, in cohorts with the Corporate Welfare Corporations, the filthy rich local elite, and due to a recent Law passed by the last Administration,  also millionaires who move to the Island, do not have to pay Federal or State taxes.

Then, is it hard for anyone to understand  why the island is in such a mess, and the ones who are to blame, still want to hold on to their control??? Does Washington realize why these forces are now using the same economic power to get their henchmen as members of the BOARD ??!!!! 

All this, while the US Citizens of Puerto Rico live under severe hardship with high unemployment, low per capita. low salaries, high cost of electricity, VERY HIGH STATE TAXES, AND where the less affluent are the only who pay taxes in the island. 

Now more than ever.... we need Congress and the President to listen to the people of Puerto Rico who know about the people who are being mentioned as candidates and what their roles have been during the last 40 years to create the economic disaster we have today. 

We recommend that Speaker Ryan and Senator MConnell circulate the list of candidates, and request that those who might have information on them please to submit it to Congress.

As Sen Hatch said on the Senate floor, 
Senator Orrin Hatch:
Well, Mr. President, i have made clear all along that my main objective has been to serve the interests of the people of Puerto Rico, not the politicians on the island who are here in Washington, D.C.

MJ

NATIONAL JOURNAL

How Puerto Rico Bill Foes’ Hardball Tactics Backfired



Pressure from lobbyists representing hedge funds angered the lawmakers and aides who crafted the compromise package.

The day after Rep. Sean Duffy in­tro­duced the bill to help Pu­erto Rico con­front its his­tor­ic debt crisis, a prom­in­ent lob­by­ist op­pos­ing the le­gis­la­tion threatened a top GOP staffer in­volved in ad­van­cing the ef­fort.

The text came in on April 13, the day of a six-hour ne­go­ti­ation between cred­it­or rep­res­ent­at­ives and Re­pub­lic­an staffers in­volved in try­ing to turn around the poverty-stricken is­land.

“We need to talk ASAP. If not I will have to as­sume that you all don’t want my in­put and I will have no choices,” wrote Con­nie Mack, the former con­gress­man who lob­bied for a ma­jor bond­hold­er, ac­cord­ing to the con­gres­sion­al aide.

The mes­sage was sent as an out­side dark-money group spent hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars on ads in Wash­ing­ton D.C. and else­where call­ing the plan a “bail­out.” Days later, a Politico head­line blared that the bill was on “life sup­port,” as some House Re­pub­lic­ans mim­icked the mes­sage. By the fol­low­ing Fri­day, that group, the Cen­ter for In­di­vidu­al Free­dom, had launched a ra­dio ad dir­ectly tar­get­ing Duffy.

Now, in the days after Con­gress signed the ul­ti­mate le­gis­la­tion in­to law, those in­volved in craft­ing the bill say that the hard­ball tac­tics hardened their re­solve in even­tu­ally dis­miss­ing the op­pos­i­tion’s ar­gu­ments.

“What the f— does that mean?” said the aide in a re­cent in­ter­view. “No oth­er choices?”

Mack had a clear fin­an­cial in­cent­ive in the down­fall of the bill. He billed at least $180,000 from Janu­ary 2015 through March 2016 in lob­by­ing ser­vices to the DCI group, a pub­lic re­la­tions firm, on be­half of groups that hold a sub­stan­tial amount of Pu­erto Rico debt.

While the op­pos­i­tion’s tac­tics may have in­ad­vert­ently spurred the Pu­erto Rico bill’s pro­ponents, a great­er, un­der­ly­ing factor in the pas­sage of the bill was the al­li­ance formed between House Speak­er Paul Ry­an, Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, who were able to pre­vent a cata­stroph­ic up­ris­ing on both the Left and the Right that would have drowned the bill.

“I didn’t know that I had to be in the trenches tak­ing on Nancy Pelosi, [coun­selor to the Treas­ury sec­ret­ary] Ant­o­nio Weiss, and the Demo­crat­ic lead­er­ship—and Paul Ry­an,” said one source fa­mil­i­ar with cred­it­ors’ think­ing. “Who’da thought!”

Mack, for his part, was dis­missive of the idea that his lob­by­ing tac­tics hurt his cause.

“At the end of the day the nat­ur­al re­sources com­mit­tee and the speak­er’s of­fice did what I wanted them to do,” Mack wrote in an email to Na­tion­al Journ­al Tues­day night. “The bill that passed the House and Sen­ate was drastic­ally im­proved from the first two draft. Sadly, they were fight­ing against their own shad­ows and in their at­tempt to pun­ish me they helped me.”

This year, Con­gress fi­nally turned its sights to Pu­erto Rico, which has a poverty level around 45 per­cent and is more than $70 bil­lion in debt after about a dec­ade in re­ces­sion. Des­pite its eco­nom­ic tur­moil, the ter­rit­ory drew some in­vestors be­cause its bonds can­not be taxed by fed­er­al, state, or loc­al gov­ern­ments—and the is­land is con­sti­tu­tion­ally bound to pri­or­it­ize the pay­ment of some bonds. That helped drive its pub­lic debt high­er and high­er. So in 2016, Con­gress ac­know­ledged that Pu­erto Rico, without the bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tions of a state, needed help.

A vari­ety of gov­ern­ment play­ers with com­pet­ing agen­das were left with the task of re­struc­tur­ing the debt. Along with the Treas­ury De­part­ment, Ry­an, and Pelosi, Pu­erto Rico Res­id­ent Com­mis­sion­er Pedro Pier­lu­isi and Reps. Duffy, Rob Bish­op, Raul Gri­jalva, Nydia Velazquez, and Raul Lab­rador were among those ma­jor fig­ures in­volved in get­ting the bill across the fin­ish line.

Pro­ponents of the bill ap­plaud Velazquez, the first Pu­erto Ric­an wo­man elec­ted to the House, for get­ting a com­mit­ment from Ry­an last year to deal with the is­sue in 2016, and Ry­an for put­ting the task in­to the hands of Bish­op, who heads up the Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee, rather than the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, whose chair­man ul­ti­mately voted against the bill. Lab­rador, a Pu­erto Ric­an-born con­gress­man who once called the pre­vi­ous speak­er (from his own party) the “worst” in his­tory, ul­ti­mately gave the bill con­ser­vat­ive cov­er.

Amid fits and starts and missed dead­lines—and Pu­erto Rico’s third de­fault on debt pay­ments—pro­ponents found a way to gain enough polit­ic­al sup­port in the House through a del­ic­ate bal­ance, pair­ing a broad debt re­struc­tur­ing with a power­ful, sev­en-per­son over­sight board in which the ma­jor­ity of mem­bers are ef­fect­ively chosen by Re­pub­lic­an con­gres­sion­al lead­ers. Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell was deeply in­volved in de­term­in­ing the way the board mem­bers would be ap­poin­ted.

There is something in it for every­body to tout—and hate. Demo­crats widely ob­jec­ted to lower­ing the min­im­um wage for young work­ers and weak­en­ing over­time-pay rules. Some Re­pub­lic­ans, spurred on by op­pon­ents like Mack rep­res­ent­ing hedge funds or mu­tu­al-fund com­pan­ies, called the bill, known as Promesa—Span­ish for “prom­ise”—a bail­out even though it doesn’t rely on re­dir­ect­ing tax­pay­er funds.

But Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats could also point to vic­tor­ies through the horse-trad­ing. En­vir­on­ment­al groups and Gri­jalva, Bish­op’s Demo­crat­ic coun­ter­part, deeply op­posed a pro­vi­sion that would have trans­ferred thou­sands of acres on the is­land of Vieques to Pu­erto Rico, which could have sold off an area used for con­ser­va­tion to private in­terests. In ex­change for drop­ping that meas­ure, Re­pub­lic­ans got great­er ap­point­ment powers, ac­cord­ing to one con­gres­sion­al aide with know­ledge of the dis­cus­sions.

“We were not try­ing to sell it off to Don­ald Trump—that was an an­cil­lary is­sue,” said an­oth­er con­gres­sion­al aide in ex­plain­ing why Re­pub­lic­ans dropped the Vieques land pro­vi­sion. “But it was dis­tract­ing every­body.”

Those who op­posed the le­gis­la­tion didn’t stop in April. On May 10, Mack emailed mem­bers’ of­fices link­ing to a post writ­ten by Main Street Bond­hold­ers, which is re­portedly backed by the same pub­lic re­la­tions firm that hired him, warn­ing that the bill “would pri­or­it­ize pen­sions over cred­it­ors.” Mack signed off, “Mic drop.”

About a week later, Mack sent around a list to put more pres­sure on con­ser­vat­ives. On one side he iden­ti­fied sup­port­ers of the bill, in­clud­ing Sen. Eliza­beth War­ren and George Sor­os, and op­pon­ents, in­clud­ing the Her­it­age Found­a­tion and its polit­ic­al arm. Mack signed off, “The truth shall set you free.”

While 103 Re­pub­lic­an House mem­bers and 18 Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors voted against the bill, it achieved ma­jor­it­ies in both parties in both cham­bers—and those be­hind the op­pos­i­tion’s “bail­out” mes­sage have left some top Re­pub­lic­ans miffed.

“They ought to be sued for de­fam­a­tion,” said Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an, in an in­ter­view.

But don’t count out the op­pos­i­tion yet. While they may not have stopped the bill, Demo­crats are par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about how they’ll look to con­trol the over­sight board.

“With four Re­pub­lic­an ap­pointees, that is our fear,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, the Demo­crat­ic Whip, in an in­ter­view. “That they’ll load it with people more sens­it­ive to Wall Street hedge funds and bond­hold­ers than to the people of Pu­erto Rico.”

The source fa­mil­i­ar with cred­it­ors’ think­ing said the next steps are clearly to sway who is se­lec­ted for the board and what they do once the board starts work­ing.

“Those names are go­ing to be the ones who have all the power to cre­ate a res­ult, which will or will not cre­ate an eco­nom­ic growth en­gine for Pu­erto Rico,” said the source. “A well con­struc­ted board can de­mand fisc­al dis­cip­line, co­oper­ate with the new gov­ern­ment that’s com­ing in, and re­struc­ture debt as re­quired in or­der to get a glide path to go for­ward.

“I have a list of 50 names in front of me,” ad­ded the source. “My in­put is be­ing offered in­dir­ectly and through third parties. And you won’t see my fin­ger­prints on it.”

MORE: https://www.nationaljournal.com/s/638468