Trump’s Hurt Feelings over Puerto Rico

President Trump bristled at criticism of his administration’s slow response to the disaster that Hurricane Maria inflicted on Puerto Rico, lashing out on Twitter against San Juan’s frontline mayor, report Dennis J Bernstein and Randy Credico.

By Dennis J Bernstein and Randy Credico

The federal response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico has come under harsh criticism, including President Trump’s delay in even recognizing the extent of the catastrophe and then his foisting blame on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, who literally has been waist-deep in working against the flood.

Flood waters in Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2017, after Hurricane Maria slammed the island. (Puerto Rico National Guard photo by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos)

“We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy,” Mayor Cruz said Friday at a news conference, directed at Trump. As a contrast to the undelivered promise of federal aid, she lauded the donations from major corporations, including 200,000 pounds of food donated by Goya.

In response, Trump angrily blamed the Mayor for the failure to organize and activate a clean-up on the local level. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They … want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job. … The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.”

The Trump administration’s slow response to the Puerto Rico clean-up is being compared to the breakdown in President George W. Bush’s response after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans in 2005.

Meanwhile, the island is still struggling to meet even basic needs, with the electric grid for the entire island hobbled and cell phone service barely operating, leaving many residents unable to reach emergency workers.

“This is what we got last night,” Mayor Cruz said on Friday at the press conference: “four pallets of water, three pallets of meals and 12 pallets of infant food — which I gave to the people. … I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles,” she said.

“If we don’t get the food and the water into people’s hands, we are going to see something close to a genocide. … I am asking the president of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives,” Cruz said. Trump announced that he plans to visit Puerto Rico this week.

I spoke late Friday with Puerto Rican-born New York State Assemblyman Jose Rivera. Rivera, 80, is deeply engaged in seeing that the rescue and clean up in the wake of Maria picks up speed. Rivera is outraged at Trump’s lack of action and his attack on those at ground zero trying to save lives. I also reached frontline independent rescue worker, Ronald Rosario, in San Juan. Rosario said the situation is “absolutely dire.”

Dennis Bernstein: Welcome Assemblyman Jose Rivera, joining us from the State Capitol in Albany New York, and Ronald Rosario, who joins us live from a very flooded San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let me begin with you Ronald Rosario. Tell us about the situation there on the ground in Puerto Rico.

Ronald Rosario: The situation here is absolutely dire. People are dying in the streets. The response by the federal government to our situation here has been completely negligent, to the point of being almost criminal. More than 9,000 freight containers are being held in port by FEMA. There are towns that are completely unable to communicate with the outside world. People are dying due to lack of fuel to power their generators.

The average person has to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to stand in a line to get $20 worth of gas so they can drive and wait in another line for food. Just to withdraw some money from an ATM can take five or six hours. This is in the capital of San Juan. But in the center of the island you don’t even have that benefit.

People have no water and no food. The whole country is paralyzed. There is no power. Only 40% of water sources are available, mostly in the big cities. A sense of desperation has spread throughout the island.

It took nine days for the military to finally step in. So on top of everything we now have a militarized situation as well. A curfew is in place from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am. It makes no sense because, as I said, you have to get in line earlier than that in the morning to get gas and eventually food.

Dennis Bernstein: Assemblyman Jose Rivera represents the Bronx in the New York state legislature. I know this isn’t the first report like this you have heard. What have you been able to find out in terms of what is going on and how that might change?

Jose Rivera: Back on September 22 of 1989, when Hugo hit the island of Puerto Rico, we were able to get two airplanes to land there. It doesn’t surprise me that FEMA has not acted yet because they didn’t act in 1989. It took weeks before they acted. But the state of New York under Governor Cuomo took charge on our request and sent a National Guard aircraft there. But only two planes landed in Puerto Rico. FEMA did not react until a couple weeks later.

Their behavior now is criminal. It is an attempt to force people to leave the island in order to eliminate us as a people on our own island. They are trying to do what they did to Hawaii, when they reduced the native population to one percent so that they could do what they wanted with the islands.

We met with Governor Andrew Cuomo and within a couple days he mobilized the National Guard and we sent two aircraft to Puerto Rico. We were the first responders. But the aid we took there has not been distributed. The mayor of San Juan has taken issue with the governor, who is a puppet and goes along with everything Trump is saying.

Three days ago I received a very desperate call from the island of Culebra, which, like Vieques, was used by the navy for target practice. Former SEIU president Dennis Rivera called me to say that they have no drinking water because a purification plant there has been destroyed. Puerto Rico desperately needs the help of the American federal government.

Dennis Bernstein: Ronald Rosario, say a little more about your concerns if you don’t get the kind of help you need soon.

Ronald Rosario: The number of deaths reported so far is only sixteen but we all know that in fact the number is much larger. We know that people are dying in hospitals because they don’t have the diesel needed to fuel their generators. Some hospitals and elderly homes don’t have water or power. This instability has already created a social tension which has given rise to an increase in crime. People are stealing diesel from hospitals.

Dennis Bernstein: Do you agree with the assemblyman that part of this is an attempt to cleanse the island and turn it into a vacation paradise?

Ronald Rosario: Absolutely. Puerto Rico is a very important colony within the American empire. The United States waits eight days to respond to an emergency on one of its colonies. Three days before Trump is scheduled to come here, the Marines show up and say they are going to make sure the supply lines are restored.

Dennis Bernstein: Vieques was extensively used as a bombing range. Is there a chance that some of the pollutants that haven’t been cleaned up are going to present another kind of problem?

Ronald Rosario: The people of Puerto have had a long struggle with a company that is producing electricity with coal in the south of the island. They are depositing huge piles of toxic ash there. In the case of a large hurricane, those ashes are spread all over the place. Actually, there are many forms of toxic waste that we have not accounted for. At this point we are just working on getting water and food to people in dire need. The next step will be to take account of what is left.

Randy Credico: What is preventing these containers from being distributed?

A map with the continental USA and Puerto Rico highlighted red. (Wikipedia)

Ronald Rosario: Of course, they are blaming the truck drivers. However, we know that a number of freight companies have presented themselves to the main government command center, telling them that they are willing to deliver this freight free of charge, and they have been turned away. Puerto Rico is without communication. You can only receive a phone call in San Juan. There is no internet because the power is down.

This crisis is manufactured. True, the island suffered an immense blow, but the response has made the crisis worse.

Randy Credico: Have any other Caribbean nations offered help?

Robert Rosario: Yes, they have, as they always do. Cuba offered to send four brigades of electricians and one brigade of medics with a mobile hospital. Unfortunately, the Jones Act of 1917 forbids Puerto Rico from receiving freight from any ship that does not fly a US flag. This means that all freight must come from the US, at a cost of three times the international market cost. We are demanding that the US free us from this restriction.

Dennis Bernstein: I guess they have lifted it now for ten days.

Ronald Rosario: But do you know how long it takes for any vessel to come from any part of the Caribbean at this point? At least six days. It is just cynicism.

Randy Credico: Have the Cuban medics been deployed at this point?

Ronald Rosario: No, they have been refused.

Randy Credico: It seems that the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, is not as tied to the US establishment.

Ronald Rosario: No, we have a progressive mayor who believes in Puerto Rican sovereignty and the right of self-determination. She is the only one at this point who is advocating for the truth, for uncovering the lies of the colonial and federal governments.

Randy Credico: How has Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) been received by the average Puerto Rican?

Ronald Rosario: Half of Puerto Ricans reside in the United States. This is the only real political power we have. We see them as our allies, we are all Puerto Ricans. We count on them to advocate for us. They are the only ones who can.

We want all our friends in the United States to understand that we are experiencing a huge humanitarian crisis. This is not a crisis to come, it is already happening. We need people to mobilize and to demand that the United States take responsibility for its colony.

We did not ask the US to invade us in 1898, we did not ask the US to force citizenship on us in 1917. This was US imperial policy. Today we demand that the United States government take responsibility, not because we are US citizens but because we are human beings.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

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72 comments for “Trump’s Hurt Feelings over Puerto Rico

  1. Zachary Smith
    October 4, 2017 at 00:30

    WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday suggested that the government debt accumulated by bankrupt Puerto Rico would need to be wiped clean to help the island recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

    “We are going to work something out. We have to look at their whole debt structure,” Trump said during an interview on Fox News. “You know they owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street. We’re gonna have to wipe that out. That’s gonna have to be — you know, you can say goodbye to that. I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that.”

    It’s hard for me to believe he is serious. And even harder to imagine this is something the neoliberal Congress would accept.

    h**ps://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/10/03/president-trump-suggests-puerto-rico-massive-debt-may-need-wiped-out/d5jSYb7koF5Jm4lQmh1yVN/story.html

  2. October 3, 2017 at 20:31

    Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico this afternoon shows what a psychopath he is!

  3. John
    October 3, 2017 at 17:04

    Yes, it is just another kakistrocracy genocide implementation program. “Don’t let a crisis go to waste”-Rham Emanuel quote. These are the people( I use that term loosely) that have thought up and implemented Agendas 21, 30, and 50. Why care if some hundreds or thousands of darkies die if there is profits in any form to be made and to continue the Agenda depopulation and hierarchical plan? Disgusting, but what can one expect from psychopaths? I hope these people of Puerto Rico get everything they need yesterday, empathy, humanity, and conscience dictates it so.

  4. Zachary Smith
    October 3, 2017 at 12:27

    “Two Storms Hit Puerto Rico: Maria and Colonialism”

    The U. S. government quickly provided disaster relief funds for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, respectively. But more than a week after Maria hit Puerto Rico no extra emergency funds were heading for the island. President Trump reminded Puerto Ricans of their debt obligations. News reports mentioned Puerto Rico’s chronic infrastructure deficiencies, but didn’t offer much explanation.

    Indeed, Puerto Ricans were facing great difficulties prior to the hurricanes. Almost half of all Puerto Ricans live in poverty, including 60 percent of the island’s children. Almost 200 schools closed in the months before the hurricanes. The University of Puerto Rico was on the way to losing an estimated $300 million in funds. Public funding for healthcare was being reduced. Blame for these problems falls on the U. S. government.

    Can’t say if it’s true or not, but I’ve read that the “Jones Act” is, by itself, the main reason for Puerto Rico’s debt. From what little I know about Imperial Behavior, Puerto Rico does seem to be a textbook case of milking a colony for fun and profit.

  5. Zachary Smith
    October 3, 2017 at 12:18

    “The Military Was Ready in Texas and Florida. What Went Wrong in Puerto Rico?”

    Over the past few years, the military has conducted textbook operations in Pakistan, Japan, Thailand and Haiti—pumping in massive amounts of aid after devastating earthquakes and hurricanes in those countries, no matter how rough or isolated the conditions. Just weeks ago, the military response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas was rapid and powerful. In preparation for Hurricane Irma, the Trump administration again ordered up an extensive military relief operation.

    But when Hurricane Maria struck at full strength several days later—precisely as advertised, and similar in scale to Harvey—the U.S. military simply called off the huge resources it had mustered for Hurricane Irma. An inadequately small military contingent was left on its own for nearly two weeks to help with the damage. If there was a plan for disaster relief it was not publicly apparent. And on-scene commander—crucial in crises this large—was not appointed until nearly 10 days after landfall.

  6. Zachary Smith
    October 3, 2017 at 12:11

    There is significant evidence that suggests Mayor Cruz and other Dems have in fwct hindered some aid deliveries for political (anti-Trump) reasons.

    I notice you forgot to provide any links to this amazing claim.

  7. snedly arkus
    October 3, 2017 at 03:39

    Former Puerto Rico Attorney General Jose Fuentes was on and CNN was cut off when he said the Mayor of San Juan praised Trump initially but changed her tune when her political advisor arrived and advised her to criticize Trump as it would be good for her on a run for governor. There are pictures of her criticizing Trump while standing in front of stacks of relief supplies. The military man in command of the relief effort says the docks are full of needed aid with many ships waiting to unload but only 20% of the truck drivers showed up. The rest were playing politics due to past political decisions. The mayor was many times invited to the FEMA command center to give input and receive updates but has never done so. Too busy stumping with the press in tow to make a name for herself. Here we have 3 people, the relief officer the former AG and the governor, involved in the relief efforts saying the response has been great are insinuated to be liars, if they get any press at all, yet one person in a small corner of the island with political ambitions gets non stop press because the Trump hating press loves it and the penchant of the media to highlight the negative while burying the positive.

    Like most Americans people criticizing Trump, FEMA, or other relief agencies have no concept of the time and logistics involved. The American attitude is everything should magically appear at the snap of ones fingers. Typical American press, and typical Americans, cherry picking the bad news and burying anything positive. Downed trees and power poles and other debris blocking the roads. Bridges washed out. Yet things should magically appear. In Florida and Texas electrical workers came from all over the country to get electricity back up and running in lousy conditions with debris all over and all they get is criticized because everything wasn’t back up instantly. Kudos to the residents TX and FL who instead of whining immediately went to work cleaning up and rebuilding. After Katina huge blather about where’s the rescue as they ignored the miles upon miles of trees and debris that had to be cut through to get there. I saw videos taken by residents of St Thomas after the hurricane that showed plenty of people driving around and I didn’t see one person clearing debris. The liquor store was very busy though. The government contracts with private firms to get and deliver the relief except for some of the stuff supplied by the military. Americans seem to think there are thousands of shiploads and truckloads of relief supplies just sitting there 24/7 365 waiting for when the next disaster strikes. Procuring this stuff and getting it to where it’s needed takes huge efforts on the part of a lot of people who only seem to get criticized by ignorant know it all armchair experts who expect the stuff to appear out of thin air. Instead of playing politics like the Dems and Trump hating press educate yourself on what it takes to manufacture or procure stuff and get it to where it belongs.

    • Realist
      October 3, 2017 at 06:49

      And you are a typical jerk who thinks he knows what everybody else believes to be true. I have personally lived through Hurricanes Andrew, Wilma, Matthew and Irma, so I know a little bit about response time and sweating in the dark and eating cold beans for days on end. Forgive me for being an American, but not clueless about the subject. What I think I know, but can’t be sure about, is that most of the rest of the country forgets about your plight as soon as the big story disappears from the media. People are still cleaning up and making repairs in here South Florida nearly a month after Irma blew through. It’s why I didn’t post here for a couple of weeks, being preoccupied with preparation, then survival and finally repairs. You get to pontificate about the political fallout cost-free to yourself.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 3, 2017 at 08:22

        I agree with you Realist. The opinion of snedly makes a good case for a Puerto Rican independence. Joe

      • October 3, 2017 at 12:04

        Joe, Realist,…yes, it’s a good argument for independence if congress won’t grant statehood. The commonwealth status has only benefited wealthy speculators.

        http://www.snopes.com/trump-puerto-rico-golf-course/

  8. Realist
    October 3, 2017 at 02:26

    Donald needs to learn that not every critic needs to be hammered down with his rhetoric. Every issue is not a zero sum game involving his ego. Sometimes you lose by being defensive, especially when obnoxious about it, and can win by acquiescing to your perceived opponents.

    Why not project strength by sending a carrier group with hospital ships, emergency supplies, and regiments of seabees to help rebuild the island’s infrastructure ASAP. You know, like the nations we rebuild after demolishing them in war. Even your hard right base should respect that, no?

    • snedly arkus
      October 3, 2017 at 03:59

      Typical American thinking. All these assets and people are just laying around and will instantly appear when called. Those nations we supposedly rebuilt were done so mainly by their own citizens and it took years. The Marshall Plan for Europe came about 3 years after the war ended. Do we recall the carriers that are on station in the ME and North Korea? If they are thousands of miles away it would take weeks to get there. The carriers may be nukes but the rest need to be refueled many times. Carriers don’t have much to offer as they are warships with only enough supplies to take care of themselves.This is far different than ordering a piece of junk online and having FED X deliver it the next day.

      • Realist
        October 3, 2017 at 05:54

        I was not implying anything that you just said. But it is certainly true that if any entity within the country has the materiel with which to BEGIN a rapid response it is the U.S. military, as they are given priority on such resources as there are. The US military consumes more fossil fuel than any other sector in the American economy and more in a day than most countries on the planet. You’re an idiot if you think I was suggesting an instant fix for the reconstruction of Puerto Rico. I was mainly suggesting a way for Mr. Trump to ameliorate the optics of the situation for himself. Stop deluding yourself into thinking that only you are not a fool.

  9. Mild-ly Facetious
    October 2, 2017 at 21:29

    Fickle reality strikes, displays awesome power,
    and uncovers the utter bankruptcy of partisanship.

    50+ killed and 500 hundred variously wounded
    how can we not see the dreadful future ahead?

    Partisans with MAGA are as those who
    support the Spain that Resists Catalonia.

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      October 2, 2017 at 21:40

      Partisan
      [pahr-tuh-zuh n, -suh n; British pahr-tuh-zan]

      1. – – an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance

  10. Zachary Smith
    October 2, 2017 at 21:22

    With hospitals running on generators that are low on diesel fuel, the approximately 5,000 people in Puerto Rico that suffer from kidney disease are in critical need of dialysis, a machine process that removes toxins from the blood when the kidneys have lost their ability to perform such functions themselves. Without dialysis multiple times a week for several hours at a time, patients with kidney disease could die.

    This is one of the uglier consequences of Trump & Company sitting on their fat asses. There aren’t all that many hospitals in Puerto Rico, and any part of the island is not very far from the ocean. Why helicopter carriers weren’t instantly dispatched there is beyond my understanding. Even small copters can carry fuel bladders for refilling generators. Or they could carry some 3500 watt generators from Home Depot which sip gasoline. Dialysis machines don’t require very much electricity to operate.

    V-22 planes could do the same thing. Hell, even Piper Cubs could airdrop medicines and water purification pills if necessary.

    • Sam F
      October 2, 2017 at 21:58

      The only positive result would be the scandal against oligarchy. They probably would be happy if PR voted for independence, but not if it threatened to join a federation with Cuba, Haiti, and DR. Or they could simply renounce commonwealth status upon accepting redevelopment aid from BRICS.

  11. October 2, 2017 at 20:22

    There is no reason to care about Trump’s hurt feelings; he doesn’t care about feelings of anyone else he insults, a daily activity of his. After hearing his callous comments in a Howard Stern video, obviously years ago, about an 80 year old man who fell at one of the Mar-a-Lago balls and “there was blood everywhere, I can’t stand blood” but “he was all right”, all I can say is, Trump is callous, crass, uncompassionate, and probably sociopathic. How about the people he’s authorizing to kill? Sick man.

    It does look like Puerto Rico, already in financial trouble before the hurricane, is getting the Katrina treatment or the Hawaii treatment. That Jones Act really screws them, thanks to the arrogant imperialism of the US, ever present. So Cuba can’t assist. More sickness…

    One reason I reduced posting on CN was that I noticed it seemed there was some breakdown of amity among some, or sometimes creeping snarkiness in posting opinions, when there was refutation or disagreement of opinion. I just finished reading Coretta Scott King’s “My Life, My Love, My Legacy”. MLK always said, “We must learn to disagree without being disagreeable.” The country is really in crisis mode with serious community breakdown, and healing is becoming crucial despite the corruption of Washington DC.

    “Corporate Conspiracies” by Richard Belzer and Wayne David came out recently, and the details of the corruption in this government are disgusting. This government is completely owned by moneyed interests, a fact known to CN readers, but some of the very specific details outlined by the writers are worth reading. Unless morality and ethics, including ecology concerns, rather than concern only for money and profits are resurrected, the picture looks bleak to me. We need a whole new civil rights movement, and focused on real issues, not just image.

    • Sam F
      October 2, 2017 at 21:49

      Your comments have been worthwhile, Jessica. I too wish that differences could be respectful. There has been an increase in troll comments, usually pro-zionist or anti-CN, that annoy some readers and get sharp replies. Also an increase in very-long quotations of articles that disrupts the flow of comments.

      Sometimes a remark urging moderation has a positive effect.

    • October 2, 2017 at 22:10

      “It does look like Puerto Rico, already in financial trouble before the hurricane”

      Jessica,.. federal law prohibits Puerto Rico from declaring bankruptcy( unlike states or American corporations). This allows creditors to continue to bleed the island of revenues. Unlike you or I the banks don’t lose when they make a bad loan, especially to a territory that has been denied bankruptcy protection. The objective is to reduce public spending and cannibalize the assets as with most privatizations.P.R. recently voted for statehood(which would have given them limited protection) but the present congress would never admit it.

    • October 2, 2017 at 22:45

      “One reason I reduced posting on CN was that I noticed it seemed there was some breakdown of amity among some, or sometimes creeping snarkiness in posting opinions, when there was refutation or disagreement of opinion.”

      Jessica,…as you might have observed Abe and I have had disagreements, but one thing we do agree on is the use of certain inflammatory language i.e. “zio-nazis” which I see far too often on this website. Whether it be Hasbara “inverted zionists”or not I have no idea, but I well can see that is could be offensive. Anyway, I’m glad you’re back. i’ve always enjoyed your constructive comments.

      • October 3, 2017 at 10:40

        should read …”but I well can see that it could be offensive and interpreted by zionists as hate speech and thus used as “evidence” to censor websites critical of Israeli policy by lobbying for “anti-hate speech” legislation.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 3, 2017 at 08:14

      Jessica good to hear from you, and you should know you have a fan base here at consortiumnews, so hang in there with us. I personally am trying to build up my tolerance for the occasional ‘troll’. In fact by debating trolls one can build up his or her talking points. I’m not saying you should force yourself to write comments, I’m just speaking about myself. So again welcome back. Joe

  12. Annie
    October 2, 2017 at 19:58

    Here is a more well rounded assessment of what is going on in Puerto Rico from Juan Gonzales on Democracy now.

    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/2/juan_gonzalez_puerto_ricos_financial_control

  13. October 2, 2017 at 19:04

    “They are trying to do what they did to Hawaii, when they reduced the native population to one percent so that they could do what they wanted with the islands.”

    Dennis Bernstein’s point is well taken…this is very likely what “they” have in mind…and “they” are the ones with all the money to buy real estate on the cheap.

  14. Zachary Smith
    October 2, 2017 at 18:04

    It’s not too late for Trump to salvage something from his mucked-up reactions. A good start would be to promise Federal Grants to do the rebuilding of Puerto Rico correctly. Robust concrete power poles like I’ve seen in Florida. Construct local schools to resist 200 mph winds. They could serve as secure shelters in the future. Within them would be a small room with short-wave radios, satellite phones, and the most powerful citizens band radios available to communicate with other such centers. I’m quite sure an expert would have more and better ideas.

    In the meantime, why not helicopter loads of cash for the banks and water purification pills to hand out to everybody?

    • Annie
      October 2, 2017 at 19:09

      That would be nice Zachary, but you do know that’s a pipe dream. We can’t even take care of those in need of health care in this country, and half of the American population barely can take care of themselves, thanks to a government who cares little about them in my opinion. I don’t only mean Trump, it’s the lot of them. And, according to an article I just read by Chris Hedges the US is screwed, and he see’s the end of us by 2030.

      Here’s a quote from his article, and although I see him as a total pessimist I can’t say I disagree, and it isn’t Trump who brought us so close to the edge.

      This certainly sounds like us.

      “Empires in decay embrace an almost willful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateral threats and the blunt instrument of war.”

  15. hatedbyu
    October 2, 2017 at 16:48

    gee, ya think this article might be a bit biased?

    so the politicization of any thing and everything makes it a fact. i dunno what’s happening in terms of the “government” response to the storm. but i do know that the mayor of san juan was quoted on the front page of the nytimes . i know that she did not have praise for the president. i also know she is a democrat.

    i just saw a picture of her in the back of a truck in floodwaters. the rest of the truck was not filled with food and water but with reporters.
    the assemblyman in the article seems to share her progressive views. how does one automatically give credence to such a report.

    since all reports i have seen regarding the response efforts by the government seem to be tainted by partisan slant, i will reserve judgement. and speak to a friend who has a house there.

    this is the problem with journalsim today.

    • Annie
      October 2, 2017 at 17:42

      Good points! It’s all politics, and bias.

  16. Annie
    October 2, 2017 at 16:25

    My comments were not directed at any comments posted, but the article itself.

  17. Annie
    October 2, 2017 at 16:23

    Every time I listen to the news, whether it be radio, TV, or the net, Trump is to blame for just about everything. Easy to see things as all Trump’s fault. Easy to have a fall guy for everything that goes wrong. Certainly easier then looking at the picture as a whole. He doesn’t operate alone, there is the American government, with all it’s senators, and congress people who play a role in what goes on, as well as agencies like FEMA, and the government of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was hit by two hurricanes, and has a poorly developed infrastructure and is surrounded by water, and as a result horrendous damage took place. This is not the first time catastrophes have happened, both in the US and abroad and people have complained about the lack of caring and inefficiency, but the lack of efficiency no doubt has many causes.

    “CBS has fired the network’s legal executive who wrote in a social media that she is “not even sympathetic” to victims of Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting, referring to country music fans as “Republican gun toters.” I think we ought to really stop Trump bashing because we are turning into a country of crazies.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 2, 2017 at 16:49

      I believe you will be comforted by what Puerto Rico’s “pretty boy” governor had to say about the situation.

      “Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Praises Trump’s Swift Hurricane Response”

      I think we ought to really stop Trump bashing because we are turning into a country of crazies.

      From that I will deduce you think I ought to start praising my Democratic Senator Donnelly for voting for the unspeakable Neil Gorsuch.

      Trump is working very hard to complete the Republican Agenda of destroying government. Not all of us approve of that agenda.

    • Sam F
      October 2, 2017 at 22:35

      It is remarkable that US disaster planning and relief have been so poor, a result of our exploitative culture born of oligarchy control of mass media and government. See my comment above about FEMA actually denying relief to charities because they were not trying to make a profit. We can hope that this incident is long remembered in PR and elsewhere, and leads them to renounce commonwealth status and seek development aid from BRICS or even join a federation with Cuba, Haiti, and DR.

  18. Susan Sunflower
    October 2, 2017 at 15:31

    yes, Trump managed to disavow his campaign promise that America needed to take care of its own … Postponing his trip to Puerto Rico because of the Las Vegas shooting calls to him is beyond tone-deaf, since there is NOTHING he can do in Las Vegas, there is nothing that they need from him — he made a presidential statement and can make another from anywhere in the world — just another American asshole with 10 guns, believed to be modified semi-automatics, and ton of ammo.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 2, 2017 at 16:00

      …there is NOTHING he can do in Las Vegas…

      I’m afraid you’re mistaken with that assessment, for Las Vegas is a wonderful distraction from the news of Trump screwing up so badly in Puerto Rico. Anything which diverts attention is “good news” for him.

      Here is something the NRA is doing in response:

      NRA delays political ads after Las Vegas shooting

      The delay is about 8 days, which is probably enough, considering the microscopic attention span of the US public.

      As for the Las Vegas tragedy itself, the White House has adopted the standard rightwingnut language.

      White House says too soon to talk gun limits or other policy responses to Las Vegas shooting

      After a suitable delay of a week or two, it’ll be back to Business As Usual – Trump can continue braying about how he remains the NRA’s best friend.

      • Susan Sunflower
        October 2, 2017 at 16:28

        I can only echo what others have said — if Sandy Hook did not change attitudes, we’re stuck … since Sandy Hook (as Thom Hartmann mentioned earlier today) Obama (timidly) pressed and passed legislation to place disabled-because-of-mental illness Medicare recipients on a no-buy/no-sale list … it passed and was reversed even though — like so many of Obama’s accomplishments — it merely denied access to a paltry 75,000 potential gun buyers nationwide.

        Others — rightly complained that Obama’s law was flawed (stigmatizing and making presumptions about crippling mental illness and “safety”) — but the revocation was also hardly high-priority … February 2017 (who knows how many wannabe-gun-buyers were actually among those 75,000)

        Obama could certainly be clumsy and clueless wrt many of his celebrated achievements … see also how Melania’s turn the white house pink for breast cancer just seemed pandering … to me anyway …

        Unfortunately, mass killings amount to a tiny percentage of yearly deaths … Lois Beckett (now of the Guardian) did fantastic work on effective measures to reduce gun violence (which weren’t about “gun laws”) over at Propublica.

        Gun laws, as has been seen in the past, merely fuels the black market and the desire for the now-contraband …

      • Zachary Smith
        October 2, 2017 at 16:44

        Gun laws, as has been seen in the past, merely fuels the black market and the desire for the now-contraband …

        That’s an interesting claim I’ve never heard before.

      • Susan Sunflower
        October 2, 2017 at 17:05

        after the assault weapons ban the market increased, and since the expiration of same, every proposal of legislation as I recall fuels sales …
        There’s also the massive problem there are so many of these high-power automatic weapons squirreled away in private arsenals and such a massive and lawless re-sale business most “bans” would just jack up the prices, but not necessarily reduce availability …

        Note: I support the idea of bans and reduced access, however, at this point, particularly after reading Beckett, I think energy is better directed at the vast majority of gun violence which is committed with routine everyday handguns — which our country is also awash in … so bans won’t be effective for some very-very long time (see also the existent black market eager to profit off a ban) …

      • Zachary Smith
        October 2, 2017 at 17:10

        I looked up “Lois Beckett” and wasn’t terribly impressed with her remarks.

        h**ps://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/23/gun-control-violence-what-works-what-doesnt

        In my opinion the lady would do well to read the work of another author at the same newspaper.

        h**ps://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/23/australias-gun-laws-stopped-mass-shootings-and-reduced-homicides-study-finds

        Australia did something which has actually worked in the Real World. Theoretical solutions look good on paper, but proven solutions look better to me.

        Drastically reducing the number of guns, and making the penalties for misusing the surviving ones truly horrendous appeals to me. If a “gang member” was merely found with an illegal gun, an automatic sentence of 5 years ought to get the attention of others tempted to do the same thing.

        The NRA guys live in a dream world where they’ll be ready to fight the Zombies or damned Commies (Red Dawn). Even as I type this, I understand gun sales are spiking. As if buying their 22nd pistol or rifle would protect them against the Las Vegas guy or someone like him.

      • Susan Sunflower
        October 3, 2017 at 00:34

        talk to you on this subject in another decade …or whenever the next mass shooting occurs.

        I think “gun control” is as much a no-brainer as evern more people think an “assault weapon ban” is a no-brainer … talk to me when it’s reinstated … or, as Chris Rock suggested bullets cost $1000 each … even $100 … even $50 … hell, even $10.

  19. Zachary Smith
    October 2, 2017 at 15:21

    THE CATASTROPHE in Puerto Rico has brought out probably the most despicable behavior we’ve seen yet from Donald Trump–and that’s obviously saying something.

    For four long days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Trump went on a long weekend to his New Jersey golf club and didn’t say anything about the crisis.

    He tore himself away from the putting greens to escalate his terrifying pissing match with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on Twitter, and even flew to Alabama to start a war with the National Football League.

    “Adding ignorant insult to Puerto Rico’s injuries”

  20. Ian
    October 2, 2017 at 14:46

    No point criticizing Trump here. He lost what little backbone he had the second he was elected. He is nothing more than an shell of a puppet whose strings are being pulled by a puppet master. The question is, who is the puppet master? The deep state or Rothschild and company. My opinion is it is the latter.

    The US has gone from an abomination of a country to something close to sheer evil. It’s foreign policies are designed to bring death and suffering to hundreds of millions, if not billons, of people. Control of major aspects of it’s economy (e.g. finance, media, education, health care) has been lost to foreigners and one need only observe how every one of it’s senators prostrates themselves to Israel. Only a revolution which seeks to destroys parasitic and foreign controlled businesses such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and imprisons their CEOs and executives for treason will cleanse the US.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 2, 2017 at 14:55

      I blame the people who forced a choice between Trump and Hillary. Two absolute losers – and one of them was definitely going to become President.

      • mike k
        October 2, 2017 at 15:14

        US elections are a fraud plain and simple. Voting is there for suckers – the American public. Participating in these flawed control mechanisms is abetting a felony.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 2, 2017 at 16:26

        Every American should just not vote. This would void the election results, and make the election illegitimate in the eyes of all the world’s governments. ref; South Africa, Cuba.

        I also like the idea that Realist had on another posting, where from the baker to the candle stick maker, we would all just go on strike. Wow, imagine one whole day of no plane flights, or no cars on the highway. It would be a message well sent.

  21. Zachary Smith
    October 2, 2017 at 14:42

    Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism reminds us that Trump inherited an ugly situation in Puerto Rico.

    “The Situation in Puerto Rico: Power, Water, and PROMESA”

    Yes, the Great Black Hero put the entire Island under “austerity” to punish them for not being a more profitable Imperial Colony.

    Conclusion: Trump remains an asshole deserving of any and all kicking around he gets, but he isn’t the only one responsible for the current mess in Puerto Rico.

    Link is in a follow-up post. It looks as if the site managers expect this to be a “hot” topic and have tightened the “moderation” screws. In the meantime, google the article title.

  22. mike k
    October 2, 2017 at 14:24

    Our vicious, racist billionaire president does not care about the people of Puerto Rica. All he cares about is maintaining his giant ego.

    • John
      October 3, 2017 at 17:09

      I like that mike k, a bulls eye I do believe.

  23. Joe Tedesky
    October 2, 2017 at 14:15

    While the U.S. creates more havoc around the world in order to dominate it, the U.S. can’t even take care of one of its own colonial territories. This is what conquered nations have to look forward too, if the U.S. should be able to take them over.

    One other thing, there are reports out there that claim Donald Trump owes Puerto Rico 32 million dollars in back taxes, for a golf resort of his that went bankrupt. The reports are a little confusing considering Trump had business partners, but if true this would lift the height of Trump’s hypocrisy to new all time highs.

    Also, as the article said, why not allow Cuba to help out in Puerto Rico?

    • Sam F
      October 2, 2017 at 19:11

      Good point about the prospects of US protectorates: give everything and expect nothing.

  24. Virginia
    October 2, 2017 at 14:11

    Heartbreaking article. Andrew Cuomo stepped up to the plate, but the very restrictive monopoly supporting Jones Act got in the way. With so many resources, where is our love and humanitarian spirit? It’s not lacking among Americans, but from our government — especially with Trump. (How can Puerto Rico organize and restore everything from such a state of chaos? How could Trump say or expect such a thing? Cold and callous he!)

    I pray for Puerto Rico and for immediate aid. Show our love.

    • John
      October 3, 2017 at 17:08

      That is because all governments are inherently corrupt. Most governments operate as kakistocracy, i.e.: The worst elements of a society being in charge. I agree with you on this matter.

  25. Zachary Smith
    October 2, 2017 at 14:05

    “So mad I could spit”: a former disaster relief official on Trump’s response to Puerto Rico

    I found this at Naked Capitalism, and reading it made me mad enough to spit, too.

    Trump is both ignorant and lazy. The man is simply too incompetent to manage a national government. Puerto Rico is paying the price.

    In short, the Trump administration squandered the early days of the response — and has done little to rectify the situation in the aftermath. That’s led to a truly catastrophic humanitarian crisis that one official at the Army Corps of Engineers said is comparable to the Iraq War in 2003.

    Meanwhile, Trump has responded to the negative reviews by starting a Twitter feud with San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 2, 2017 at 14:06

      Why has Consortium News put “nanny” software into place? When I tried to add this link, I got a red pop-up accusing me of posting too fast!

      https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/9/30/16389640/puerto-rico-disaster-relief

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 2, 2017 at 14:19

      Yeah, but this past Sunday almost all the players in the NFL stood proud and tall for the Star Spangled Banner, as it so gallantly waved. Let’s get our priorities straight Zachary (sarcasm my friend). Joe

      • John
        October 3, 2017 at 17:07

        Right on Joe Tedesky. I might be patriotic as well if I was paid as much as pro players are. *wink*.

      • Peter Loeb
        October 5, 2017 at 07:13

        FLEEING THE UNITED STATES

        That marvelous anthem! Forgotten so easily is the fact that
        fugitive slaves wanted to go to England. Now they not only
        “take a knee” (eg in NFL-speak).Once they tried to escape
        from their owners, their US oppressors.

        The newspaper of Frederick Douglass (in Rochester?)
        was called “THE NORTH STAR”.(Leading out of
        the hell of the us to Canada as the UK had abolished
        slavery…as Russia had —more if not less—
        abolished serfdom (1863) though its spirit did not
        leave then).

        Now the black entertainers of American society
        are supposed to act “nice”. . “Respect”. Don’t
        mention those of your color (not all) who are getting
        blown to bits by so-called “authorities. See no evil..
        Those “authorities” ie “thugs” support this President..

        Well those NFL entertainers are well-paid for
        their obedience,

        —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  26. SteveK9
    October 2, 2017 at 13:37

    We’re not able to do much of anything well these days, except bomb somebody on the other side of the World. Trump promised to stop wasting money on war and spend it at home … not much hope of that now days.

    • Virginia
      October 2, 2017 at 13:53

      “…not much hope of that now a days,” SteveK9, nor past days because nothing ever changes politically no matter who’s elected. I love this line from Neil Clark’s op-edge piece on rt.com, “If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it. That might sound a bit glib but consider these recent events.” See https://www.rt.com/op-edge/405229-trump-syriza-brexit-corbyn/

    • Sam F
      October 2, 2017 at 19:06

      Yes, it s astonishing that FEMA not only had no standards for planning local disaster relief, and no plan of their own, but actually blocked transport of relief. FEMA once sent a representative to my charity school to assess major storm damage to a building, who whistled with dismay at the damaged section, and then informed us that, as a nonprofit, we did not have any damage “because you are not trying to make a profit.” We got nothing at all, while dozens of others, who were trying to make a profit, had their roof repairs paid for.

      In Puerto Rico we have an opportunity to show good faith to the people, and instead get into a blame contest over who didn’t bother to plan or even respond efficiently after the disaster. The failure to admit supplies and medical staff from Cuba is the apex of hypocrisy, hiding the proof that the US economy fails to meet the needs of the people.

      But then we had to pivot to Asia and to the Mideast and to Ukraine, to help our military suppliers seek profits and feed back campaign bribes regardless of the casualties and disasters caused, so we wouldn’t have time for Americans in need.

    • John
      October 3, 2017 at 17:05

      No, not at all. It was pure rhetoric by a planted puppet.

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