Monthly Archives: September 2017

Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria

Our president is completely incapable of the most basic functions, as this tick-tock of his response to Puerto Rico shows.

REQUEST: do you know anyone with a private plane? My organization, the Center for Popular Democracy, is trying to get supplies to Puerto Rico. Please see below for a link to donate and comment if you have a lead on a plane!

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Opinion | The sad suspicion about Trump’s shameful treatment of Puerto Rico

“Suppose that the entire San Diego metropolitan area had lost electrical power, and it wouldn’t be restored for months.

Or, suppose that most of the ports, roads and cellular towers in the Seattle metropolitan area had been destroyed, and a major dam had failed.

Or, that most of the homes in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota were either damaged or destroyed in one day.

Or, that the combined populations of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont had seen much of their forests and agricultural land wiped out.

Or, that the residents of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — combined — had lost access to food and clean water, leaving them vulnerable to cholera. And imagine that overflowing hospitals, without power, had no capacity to deal with an outbreak.

Now, imagine that in response to any of these scenarios, the president of the United States variously ignored the plight of the affected Americans (in all of the above cases about 3.4 million people, give or take), blamed them for their own troubles and provided inadequate help. This is precisely what is happening right now to the 3.4 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, an island territory more populous than about 20 states. Hurricane Maria essentially wiped out these Americans’ ports, roads, electricity, communications, water supply and crops and many homes. Yet, a week after the storm, the response from the American mainland has been paltry.”
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Goodbye everyone. I’ve found a new family and I’m staying with them forever.

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Driving down PCH at sunset.

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Puerto Rican Debt Holders Respond to Catastrophic Hurricane by Offering Puerto Rico More Debt

Remember these names: the people who drove Puerto Rico into debt, now that people don’t have water, food, or fuel, aren’t offering debt relief or even donations — they’re only offering more debt.
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Opinion | The Law Strangling Puerto Rico

“A 2012 report by two University of Puerto Rico economists found that the Jones Act caused a $17 billion loss to the island’s economy from 1990 through 2010. Other studies have estimated the Jones Act’s damage to Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Alaska to be $2.8 billion to $9.8 billion per year. According to all these reports, if the Jones Act did not exist, then neither would the public debt of Puerto Rico.
Three American territories are exempt from the Jones Act, including the United States Virgin Islands. Outright repeal of the law has already been backed by the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Manhattan Institute and several major publications. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that the Jones Act hurts the Puerto Rican economy, and two Republicans, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Representative Gary Palmer of Alabama, have submitted bills to repeal or suspend the law. (The shipbuilding industry supports the law.)
The U-boats are gone and a protectionist law has been exposed. The crony capitalism of the Jones Act does not “protect” anyone and it is choking the economy of Puerto Rico. If the United States has any interest in the hurricane-battered people of Puerto Rico, it needs to take the law off their necks — and now.
Recovering from the disaster will be difficult no matter what, but the Jones Act will make it that much harder.”

h/t Tahira Pratt
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U.S. denies request for Puerto Rico shipping waiver

The depth of Trump’s unnecessary cruelty to people of color knows no limits. The Jones Act limits shipping between the coasts to US flagged vessels — which limits the ships that can deliver aid, which is massively more expensive, and causes Puerto Rico to pay twice as much for imports — which is important because Puerto Rico imports 80% of its food and all of its fuel.

The Jones Act makes the provision of life-saving supplies more expensive at best and impossible at worst. That’s why the government waived the Jones Act for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma for Houston. But Trump won’t waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico, when 3.4 million Americans are stranded without power, food, and fuel.

There is no justification to making the provision of disaster relief more difficult and more expensive.

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