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51st State: Which will it be? New Columbia or Puerto Rico

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51st State of America

Alaska may always be the known as “The Last Frontier” but if Senator Joe Lieberman’s newest bill gets passed, it will no longer be the last state. On December 19th, Senator Lieberman introduced a bill to give residents of the District of Columbia, better known as Washington D.C., a chance to vote for statehood.

“It is long past time to give those American citizens who have chosen the District of Columbia as their home the voice they deserve in our democracy,” Lieberman said in a statement. “The United States is the only democracy in the world that denies voting representation to the people who live in its capital city. As I retire from the Senate after having had the great privilege of serving here for 24 years, securing full voting rights for the 600,000 disenfranchised people who live in the District is unfinished business, not just for me, but for the United States of America.”

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) joined the retiring Lieberman in introducing the bill that would allow the D.C. voters to “endorse” statehood. It is the first D.C. autonomy bill introduced in the Senate since 1991 and the first bill for D.C. statehood since 1993.

Since its foundation in 1790, residents of Washington D.C. have found themselves in an unusual limbo. The 68 square mile district isn’t part of a state, so they have no voting representative in the House of Representatives or the Senate.  However, unlike the residents of U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and Guam who also don’t have congressional representation, residents of Washington D.C. are subject to all federal taxes. In an attempt to bring awareness to their situation, the license plates in the District of Columbia have the motto “Taxation without Representation” on them.

The introduced bill would create a state called “New Columbia”. The proposed state wouldn’t include the areas where federal buildings and monuments are located or the National Mall, these would still be part of an area that will still be called the “District of Columbia.”

With only two weeks remaining in the 112th Congress, much of which will be spent dealing with the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, it is unlikely that Senator Lieberman will get a chance to vote for his bill. However, when asked by the Washington Post, a spokesperson for Senator Durbin indicated the Senate majority whip would reintroduce the bill next year.

“Senator Durbin has supported statehood for Washington, DC for over 20 years,” she said, according to a quote from the spokeswoman on a Washington Post blog. “He will support this bill’s introduction next Congress.”

Some polls have indicated that a majority of Americans believe that D.C. residents should have a vote in Congress. Opponents argue that statehood was not the Founding Fathers’ intent for the area and that it would unfairly give Senate representation to a single city.

Washington D.C. isn’t alone in the talk of future states. Earlier in the month, the White House called on Congress to respond to the recent vote in Puerto Rico, where more than 800,000 Puerto Rico voters said they wanted the island to move commonwealth to state in a referendum on their November ballots.

“Congress should now study the results closely, and provide the people of Puerto Rico with a clear path forward that lays out the means by which Puerto Ricans themselves can determine their own status,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on December 5th.

51st State Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico voters call for statehood. Will it come to pass?

Environmentalist. Consumer Tech Journalist. Science Explorer. And, a dreamer. I've been contributing informative news content since 2010. Follow me on all socials!

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  1. Jose

    December 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Joe Bereta did a half @$$ job, or someone else did a half @$$ job, gave it to Bereta and he just read it regardless of accuracy. The recently held referendum in Puerto Rico di NOT result in 61% of the electorate voting for statehood. That is what the statehooders are saying, but what they don’t say is that 27% of the electorate left the ballots blank in repudiation to statehooders for undemocratically excluding the opition of Commonwealth in the ballot. If you exclude the protested votes, statehood got the supposedly 61%, but if you count them, statehood reaped the usual 45% of the vote. If there is ONE thing y’all should learn about all this is that Statehooders are to Puerto Rico what the Republicans are to the United States.

    • RMD

      January 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Many Statehooders left the ballot blank because they would rather go Statehood over Colony (Commonwealth) where there is not a completed democracy. People have to go all the U.S. Wars but yet they can’t vote for the commander in chief. Statehood was shown a vast majority due to over 50 percent of those that left a blank ballot voice their opinion favoring statehood. No you can’t compare republicans to statehooders, there are many that are affiliated to the Democratic Party including our congress member Pedro Pierluisi. Becoming a state will take P.R. of been a Colony which is condemned internationally. Those who want to keep the Colony want to live off the government. Is time to have Puerto Rico incorporated as a State. Would be beneficial to both U.S. and Puerto Rico.

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Politics

House Passes Raising Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour

Democratic-led House approves raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour but will have to face more opposition from Senate and White House.

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Nancy Pelosi | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

The long-sought $15 minimum wage to American workers finally passed approval from the US House Committee Thursday through the Raise the Wage Act.

The Act came to fruition in a 231-199 vote, where only six Democrats opposed it, while three Republicans supported it.

“This is about workers, it’s about their economic and financial security, and today is a bright day because it affects so many people in our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday at a press conference flanked by fast-food workers, activists and lawmakers ahead of the scheduled vote.

Notably, the Raise the Minimum Wage Act took some time in revisions from the Democratic-led chamber with considerations to smaller businesses and for some states that could absorb more significant impact as compared to other major states.

The legislation was instead amended earlier this week, where the initial five-year plan was revised to a more gradual six-year phase-in.

In a nutshell, the Act would gradually hike the US pay floor to $15 an hour by 2025, to let businesses and economy adjust with the change. Then, index future increase to median wage gains.

Throughout the next six years, the minimum wage hikes would take effect on the following schedule: $8.40 in 2019, $9.50 in 2020, $10.60 in 2021, $11.70 in 2022, $12.80 in 2023, $13.90 in 2024 and $15 in 2025.

Furthermore, it would also eventually abolish the lower minimum wage for tipped workers, where businesses reason American “tipping culture” as to why people like waitresses and bartenders are paid below the current minimum wage.

The bill would eliminate a seldom-used pay floor for teen workers that pays them less than the minimum wage and abolish subminimum wages for workers with disabilities.

“I commend my colleagues for taking this important step towards creating an economy that works for everyone,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat who introduced the legislation, in a statement. “Now, Senate Republicans must decide to either stand with American workers or turn their backs on hardworking people across the country.”

However, the legislation has yet to gain approval from the Senate and the President to receive implementation. The problem is that both are mostly Democratic-leaning—where they contend that raising the minimum wage would drastically affect the US economy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed that he has no plans to bring the legislation up in his chamber. On Thursday, he told Fox Business Network that the Act would “depress the economy at a time of economic boom,” adding, “we’re not going to be doing that in the Senate.”

The White House also warned this week that Trump would veto the measure if it came to his desk. The Trump administration argued its policies are “driving economic growth and increasing workers’ take-home pay far more effectively and efficiently” than the Democratic plan. The White House contended it would “eliminate jobs and reduce total wages for American workers.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would give 17 million U.S. workers a raise — and could lift wages for millions more. It would also boost the annual income of 1.3 million people above the poverty level, CNBC reported.

However, it would also “eviscerate millions of American jobs,” citing a July report from the Congressional Budget Office that said 3.7 million Americans would lose their jobs if the measure is adopted, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said

Related: It’s Time To Raise The ‘Federal Minimum Wage’

The last increase to the US federal minimum wage was July 2009 — which is almost a decade ago. The federal minimum wage was raised from $6.55 an hour to the current $7.25 an hour.

One of the major problems activists cite with the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage is that it can barely cover basic expenses, with prices for healthcare, oil, and commodities had gone up within the past decade. The $7.25 rate in 2009 is valued at only about $6 in 2019. The cost of living has soared 18% since the last increase.

In line with the report, states have passed bills that raise state minimum wages higher than the federal baseline. As of June this year, 21 states have passed minimum wage hikes—some even at the $15 an hour threshold.

However, the state minimum wage varies. In Florida, the minimum wage stands at $8.46 an hour; in Hawaii, it’s $10.10 an hour; in California, the minimum wage goes up to $12 an hour. Meanwhile, in states like New York and Seattle, the minimum wage reaches $15 an hour and even $16 an hour, respectively.

Companies like Amazon and Walmart have raised their minimum wage to $15 and $14.26 an hour, respectively. The move has prompted government states to follow suit.

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[Breaking] Donald Trump Said His Admin Will Investigate Google For Treason

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Photo: Gage Skidmore | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Following the call of Presidential adviser, Peter Thiel, for the National Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to investigate Google’s “treasonous” behavior, President Donald Trump responded with affirmation saying “the Trump Administration will investigate.”

In a tweet today, Trump called Peter Thiel a “great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone,” and said that his administration is ready to investigate the involvement of Google with the Chinese military if Peter Thiel believes so.

Peter Thiel, one of Facebook’s Board Members and a close consultant for President Donald Trump, has called for the FBI and the CIA to launch an investigation against Google after the San Francisco-based tech giant withdrawn from a high-value project with the military.

Google has a “treasonous” relationship with the Chinese military

Trump’s adviser also questions the relationship between Google and the Chinese military, calling it “treasonous,” a new report from Axios last Sunday revealed.

In 2018, Google decided to withdraw from a contract between the tech superpower and the U.S. Department of Defense for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, citing that the projects have certain ethical issues that they cannot be involved in.

Speaking at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, D.C. The crowd-packed lecture was entitled “The Star Trek Computer Is Not Enough,” Peter Thiel, who is also a board member on Facebook, wants the FBI and CIA to investigate how Google is used by foreign intelligence. He wants the government agencies to ask the company “how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?”

According to Axios’ report, there are no public documents that stipulate any infiltration by foreign intelligence of Google. However, they said that Thiel owns a company called Palantir, which works with the Trump Administration and has access to millions worth of government data, including American private information. Nonetheless, it is still unclear if Thiel’s assertions are motivated by any personal and classified knowledge he drew from his relationship with the White House.

“Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?” Thiel continued.

“Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the U.S. military… because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn’t go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?”

Aside from targeting Google’s integrity, some attendees to Sunday’s lecture said that Thiel also attacked Americans saying that they were too fat and addicted to drugs, adding that, “the biggest problem in our society is the problem of political correctness.”

“American exceptionalism has led us to a country that is exceptionally overweight, exceptionally addicted to opioids, exceptionally unaware and exceptionally un-self-reflective,” Thiel said as transcribed by Keith Urban who attended the conference and previously worked for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Other reports said that Thiel also made comments on how American Ivy Leagues and top universities are losing their non-profit status. He also said that any links between Google and China, “need to be asked by the FBI, by the CIA, and I’m not sure quite how to put this; I would like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”

Trump also calls out double standards in favor of Democrat Congresswomen

Meanwhile, in an unrelated tweet, President Trump questioned the double standards in favor of Democratic congresswomen. He said that these women talk about the most “vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate” but they are given a free pass by the media and the people.

“The Democrat Congresswomen have been spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate, & yet they get a free pass and a big embrace from the Democrat Party. Horrible anti-Israel, anti-USA, pro-terrorist & public shouting of the F…word, among many other terrible things, and the petrified Dems run for the hills. Why isn’t the House voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said? Because they are the Radical Left, and the Democrats are afraid to take them on. Sad!” the President wrote.

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Trump Adviser Peter Thiel Wants FBI And CIA To Investigate Google’s ‘Treasonous’ Behavior

He asked: “How many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?”

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Photo: JD Lasica | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Peter Thiel, one of Facebook’s Board Members and a close consultant for President Donald Trump, has called for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency to launch an investigation against Google after the San Francisco-based tech giant withdrawn from a high-value project with the military.

Trump’s adviser also questions the relationship between Google and the Chinese military, calling it “treasonous,” a new report from Axios last Sunday revealed.

In 2018, Google decided to withdraw from a contract between the tech superpower and the U.S. Department of Defense for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology citing that the projects have certain ethical issues that they cannot be involved in.

Thiel, who is also a board member on Facebook, wants the FBI and CIA to investigate how Google is used by foreign intelligence. He wants the government agencies to ask the company “how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?”

According to Axios’ report, there are no public documents that stipulate any infiltration by foreign intelligence of Google. However, they said that Thiel owns a company called Palantir, which works with the Trump Administration and has access to millions worth of government data, including American private information. Nonetheless, it is still unclear if Thiel’s assertions are motivated by any personal and classified knowledge he drew from his relationship with the White House.

“Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?” Thiel continued.

“Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the U.S. military… because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn’t go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?”

Peter Thiel raised the said statements (or rather questions) during his talk at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, D.C. The crowd-packed lecture was entitled “The Star Trek Computer Is Not Enough,” according to a schedule posted to the conference website.

If Thiel is indeed referring to Google’s 2018 decision, he is not the first person to question the company regarding its refusal to work with the US military. Earlier this year, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed similar sentiments as that of Thiel but did not specify the term “treason.”

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, Dunford said, “We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing there is that indirect benefit, and frankly ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is. It’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”

Aside from targeting Google’s integrity, some attendees to Sunday’s lecture said that Thiel also attacked Americans saying that they were too fat and addicted to drugs, adding that, “the biggest problem in our society is the problem of political correctness.”

“American exceptionalism has led us to a country that is exceptionally overweight, exceptionally addicted to opioids, exceptionally unaware and exceptionally un-self-reflective,” Thiel said as transcribed by Keith Urban who attended the conference and previously worked for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Other reports said that Thiel also made comments on how American Ivy Leagues and top universities are losing their non-profit status. He also said that any links between Google and China, “need to be asked by the FBI, by the CIA, and I’m not sure quite how to put this, I would like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”

When asked for certain clarification, neither Google nor the team of Peter Thiel has responded to Z6Mag’s request for comments yet.

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