H.R. 2499’s opponents’ plan for Puerto Rico is nonviable

Under this straightforward bill, H.R. 2499, the territorial government could conduct periodic referenda asking voters if they wish to maintain or change the islands’ political status. If at some point a majority of voters want a change, a referendum could be held to ask their preference among the three constitutionally viable options: independence, national sovereignty in association with the United States, and statehood.

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The commonwealth party’s real complaint about this bill is that it does not include that party’s proposal to empower Puerto Rico to nullify federal laws and court jurisdiction, and to enter into international arrangements as if it were a sovereign nation — with the United States permanently bound to grant more benefits financed by U.S. taxpayers than at present. That proposal fails the tests of both the U.S. Constitution and common sense, and has been judged impossible by the congressional committees of jurisdiction, the Congressional Research Service, the Justice and State departments, and a presidential task force.

H.R. 2499 does not favor any status option, and is only a first step in resolving the question of Puerto Rico’s ultimate status. The bill is nonbinding, meaning that any result in favor of a specific change in status would require future debate and action in the U.S. Congress.

A main premise of the bill is that Congress will be better able to decide what action, if any, is appropriate on the issue once it knows if Puerto Ricans want the current status or one of the possible alternatives. It is at the very heart of our democratic process in this country to ask the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico these basic and fundamental questions about their governance.

San Juan, Puerto Rico


Obama’s inconsistency on Ft. Hood, Cambridge


From Serafin Quintanar

President Barack Obama quickly leapt to the defense of Islam by saying that people should not jump to conclusions about the Fort Hood terrorist. However, Obama himself was very quick to conclude that the police acted “stupidly” in the Cambridge, Mass., episode.

Fresno, Calif.


A challenge for Veterans Day


From Air Force Chief Master Sgt. William Clare

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After the Fort Hood shootings, the most recent attack on our freedom, and for those who sacrifice their freedom so that all Americans may continue to be free, it is particularly important to recognize our veterans this Nov. 11.

As a proud Afghanistan veteran who is preparing for Veterans Day, I find it tragic that so many of my fellow Americans view Nov. 11 as just another day off work. I have lost brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq; I made a promise to their families that they would never, ever be forgotten.

This Nov. 11, I challenge all Americans to take a moment to contact your federal and/or local government officials and remind them that we should be doing everything we can to take care of our veterans and their families. It could be as simple as waiving licensing fees at the DMV, refunding state income tax of military wages, or increasing funds for the care and support of veterans and their families.

As we near the holidays, please keep our deployed troops and their families in your prayers. Send a care package or donate to a program that supports our troops and veterans, such as VFW Operation Uplink, www.operationuplink.org.

I hope everyone in our area will remember what Veterans Day is meant to remember and recognize our veterans who sacrificed their freedom so that you may keep yours!

Manassas, Va.