financial oversight

#SpeakUpForPuertoRico

We need your voice! The current economic and political situation in Puerto Rico needs to be heard on American and international forums.

1. Take a picture of yourself with a sign saying “NO FISCAL CONTROL BOARD FOR PUERTO RICO”

2. Upload your picture with this message and the hashtag “#SpeakUpForPuertoRico” inviting all your friends to join.

Puerto Rico is currently run by an imposed, non-elected fiscal control board with the goal of paying the island’s debt of over $70billion without audit, revision or restructure, putting the interests of vulture fund managers and their possibly illegal transactions with the Puerto Rican government over the needs of its people.
The Financial Oversight and Management Board put in place by the #PROMESA bill, runs on a budget of at least $370million dollars paid by Puerto Rican taxpayers, and some of its members have been tied to the same corporations responsible for the crisis.
With cuts in funding to public education and pensions, changes to health care, and government right-sizing, the board’s determinations are seemingly non-negotiable and exempt from local law.

The fiscal control board and its austerity measures are not the solution. Speak up for Puerto Rico!

A Message from GeekGirlCon

Dear GeekGirlCon community,

You may have received a message today from GeekGirlCon regarding the resignation of some members of the Convention Operations team.

We apologize for any confusion and hurt this has caused. As a community, we are hurt as well. These messages do not reflect the organization’s position and were distributed on behalf of GeekGirlCon without our approval or notice. To clarify, GeekGirlCon ‘17 will take place on September 30 and October 1. The convention will go on as planned.

It is important to note that the Convention Operations team represents just a fraction of the many passionate staff members working to ensure a wonderful and inclusive con. Despite the resignation of 5 team members, we remain an organization of over 50 people, including many who have been with us from the inception of the organization.

As a volunteer-powered non-profit organization putting on our seventh con, we recognize that progress and change often come with conflict and differing visions for the organization. It is inevitable to run into disagreement. Despite these growing pains, we are committed to continuing our central mission of supporting women geeks, geeks of other underrepresented backgrounds and identities, and their allies. It is also important to understand that GeekGirlCon is still a very young organization, and over the last year we have made major strides in expanding our mission. Growth is necessary, and unfortunately not everyone will be in agreement on how that growth is implemented.

The accusations brought forth by the five individuals before their resignation were addressed by our Board of Directors. After these accusations were brought to the attention of the Board, the Board took steps to interview staff members, but were not provided any supporting documentation nor corroboration for the claims. In addition, the Board and our Executive Director have implemented steps to improve communication, transparency, and financial oversight. These improvements are ongoing as we continually seek to improve how we can best serve our community.

Our organization is led by Michele Carrico Domingo, a woman of color who has made it her mission to demonstrate transparency, integrity, and inclusivity. Her background working with both non-profits and corporations has made her exceptionally qualified to lead GeekGirlCon. The entirety of the GeekGirlCon staff supports Michele, and we are honored to be led by her.

We would like to reaffirm the guiding values and beliefs that unite us and act as a manifesto for our organization:

We are Geeks.

We savor the scientific, the logical, and the precise. We revel in the unknown, the fantastic, and the unimaginable. We exist in the-between, where ingenuity stretches possibility and transformation is born. We code, concoct, create and cosplay.

The imagination is our only limit and ours is limitless.

We are Girls.

And we are women, and femmes, and non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals, and we are allies. Our personalities are as diverse as our backgrounds and bodies. We are many voices and countless tales.

We are diversity and we defy expectations.

We are a community.

We break barriers and democratize opportunity. We provide safe spaces to do what we love: learn, connect, invent and challenge.

We are here to fearlessly and fiercely celebrate one another.

Again, we apologize for the confusion this has caused. We want to assure you all that we are committed to ensuring that this year’s Con will be as exciting, inclusive, and geeky as ever!

GeekGirlCon

nytimes.com
Opinion | Strangling Puerto Rico in Order to Save It
A congressional board’s remedy for Puerto Rico’s financial ills will only deepen the island’s impoverishment for decades.
By Mark Weisbrot

Just a few months after gaining citizenship, Puerto Ricans were made subject to a United States military draft. But they have never gotten to elect a voting member of Congress, despite being governed by United States law. The island is officially an “unincorporated territory” of the United States, but since the 1950s, it has preferred to call itself an “estado libre asociado” — free associated state — or a “commonwealth.” If the word “colony” was once judged too harsh, at this moment in Puerto Rico’s history, it looks like an understatement…

In June 2016 Congress passed the terribly misnamed Promesa act (it means “promise” in Spanish), which created a financial oversight and management board to direct Puerto Rico’s finances. This board, to which President Barack Obama appointed four Democrats and four Republicans, has now approved an austerity regimen that, if things go according to plan, envisions a second lost decade — in other words, no economic growth from 2005 through 2024. But the plan doesn’t take into account the impact of such austerity, which would add more years of decline. And there’s more: All the budget tightening over the second decade, including cuts to health care and education, would pay only about $7.9 billion of Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt…

There is a strong case to be made for serious debt relief and a plan that will allow for an economic recovery. Most of the economic decline that led to the debt crisis resulted from decisions made by the federal government or international treaties that it signed. Among these were the rules of the World Trade Organization and China’s accession to it in 2000, which set off an out-migration of pharmaceutical production — a mainstay of the island’s economy — and other manufacturing. Employment in manufacturing, which was a much bigger percentage of jobs in Puerto Rico than in most of the rest of the Americas, fell by more than half from 1995 to 2016. The repeal of a special tax break for American corporations that operated in Puerto Rico helped drive down investment and employment. Between 1999 and last year, investment fell from a peak of 20.7 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product to 7.9 percent.

Puerto Rico’s international commerce also suffers from a federal law that significantly raises the cost of traded goods and the cost of living there by preventing foreign ships from stopping first at the island before proceeding to a mainland port. Reduced funding for Medicaid and Medicare in Puerto Rico, when compared with that for states of comparable per capita income levels, also accounts for billions of dollars of Puerto Rico’s debt.

For all of these reasons and more, the United States government has a responsibility to contribute to Puerto Rico’s economic recovery. In doing so, it should ensure that the creditors who made foolish loans or bought Puerto Rico’s bonds at a steep discount do not profit from those decisions.

There is a huge number of Americans who simply don’t realize that they’ve been victimized by Wall Street – that they’ve paid inflated commodity prices due to irresponsible speculation and manipulation, seen their home values depressed thanks to corruption in the mortgage markets, subsidized banker bonuses with their tax dollars and/or been forced to pay usurious interest rates for consumer credit, among other things.