Richard Eyer Smith's Excellent Adventures in Paradise

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I've been looking into Americans Elect, a digitally inspired take on the democratic process, and, so far I'm intrigued.

Here's the situation: American politics has become polarized and the result is politicians fiddeling while the US burns. At a time in our history when able leadership is required, we get a slew of hack politicians pandering to special interest groups. It's true, we also get a spate of brilliant officials, but some of these fail to take hold as able leaders.

A possible solution might be the addition of more political parties, but won't that just create another target for lobbyists' dollars, idealogues' crusades and crazies' rants?

The links below will shed light on the Americans Elect "virtual" political party. Take a few minutes to examine this new idea and post your thoughts to the Comment section.

Americans Elect

John Avlon

Thomas L. Friedman

Micah L. Sifry

Monday, June 6, 2011


I've lived in Puerto Rico off-and-on since 1988.

I absolutely love the place!

One of the favorite pastimes of locals is politics, and no topic garners more discussion than "status": whether Puerto Rico should become a state, seek independence or stay a territorial Commonwealth.

I believe that most Americans are oblivious to the situation in Puerto Rico - many don't even know where it is.

Furthermore, if you did realize how much of America's wealth is transferred here with little or no gain to the U.S., I believe you'd want to consider setting Puerto Rico on the path to freedom.

Here's a post I wrote for another blog. What do you think?


Puerto Rico is America's reluctant colony. For over 100 years the United States has granted the "Shing Star of the Caribbean" rights and privileges unique in all the world.

Now, we must ask ourselves: How's it working?

I recall a discussion I had with a Puerto Rican friend. Why, I asked, is your beautiful island plagued with so many problems? Why is your economy in tatters? Why are your lovely mountains, rivers and beaches so unkempt? Why is your crime rate so terrible? Why do the people, who clearly love this place and their fellow citizens, do so little to make it better?

My friend thought for a while, then said: We act this way because we are a subjugated, colonized people. The island we love - its mountains, rivers, beaches and even its people - all belong to someone else. America is the father of this place. We Puerto Ricans live here as America's children.

I get it.

As long as another country is seen to act as their father, Puerto Rico will fail to achieve. Like children of a wealthy and powerful family, Puerto Ricans have everything, and yet they have nothing to claim for their own.

Puerto Ricans are wealthier than any of their neighbors. They have better health care, better housing, better transportation, better educational opportunity and better access to goods and services.

But like the rich child, Puerto Ricans are held back by a lack of motivation and the ambition to succeed. Their wealth and comfort, mostly earned by previous generations, have become their trap.

Now, I believe, is the time for "tough love" for our colonized Puerto Rican friends. We need to liberate them from the dependence that weighs them down. We need to set them free.

And what about us? Does America gain by showing Puerto Rico the path to freedom?

We certainly do!

Financially and politically, Puerto Rico is an anchor on the American ship of state. We send boatloads of dollars - approaching $25 billion per year ... that’s $250 Billion in just the past decade - into a Bermuda Triangle of corruption and crime. Crooked politicians, absurd tax breaks to Big Business, Big Cartels and Big Alcohol sap American financial strength. We pay huge sums to keep this tiny island afloat in dollars, while our own economy is sinking.

If we liberate the island, we can hold our heads high in the international community as a nation that leads, not by preaching Democracy, but by practicing it. Our moral authority will no longer be undermined by our blind adherence to unjust past practice.

By setting Puerto Rico free, America becomes free.

This site can be America's place to examine the important issue of our role as "parents" to the people of Puerto Rico. It is a place for both noteamericanos and boriquas to share their ideas and make suggestions for the betterment of both. Take part in the debate!