The Secretary of Homeland Security, and the FEMA Administrator have been to Puerto Rico, and Donald Trump is scheduled to go next Tuesday. House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he is waiting for information from the White House. Even our Cuban-American GOP Senator Marco Rubio, who has spent most of his life in flood-prone Miami-Dade County, wanted to wait 48-to-72 hours. Rubio represents one million Puerto Ricans in Florida and, no doubt, many more will be coming soon. So, what is everyone waiting for?
Puerto Rico, and let’s not forget the U. S. Virgin Islands, are both fully part of America. Hillary Clinton pled with Trump to send the Hospital Ship Comfort to provide necessary medical care, and yet it still sits in Norfolk, VA. The Comfort and one aircraft carrier would be a good initial start. The carrier could bring tons of supplies, thousands of sailors and Marines to assist with the clean-up, and desalinate tens of thousands of gallons of drinking water each day.
One of our major Military Commands, SOUTHCOM, is located near Miami International Airport. Surely, it could deploy a division (20,000 men and women) to provide manpower. A general or admiral could be assigned to command the troops on the ground, and coordinate with the Governor, local governments and FEMA. Navy SeaBees and Army combat engineers could help with the Infrastructure. Provide military transport for civilian doctors, nurses and engineers who wish to volunteer!
Several years ago, a monster Category 5 cyclone (hurricane) devastated an impoverished island, with 100,000 residents, in the Philippines. The situation was similar, and that nation lacks the infrastructure that the U. S. has. Within a couple of days, a U. S. Hospital Ship and an aircraft carrier were already beginning to provide the supplies and assistance noted above. A number of ships from other nations were there too, delivering aid in any way possible. This is what I find so incredulous that America cannot provide aid and assistance to American Citizens, located just 1,000 miles from Miami.
The 1920 Jones Act, which requires that goods can only be shipped to Puerto Rico on U. S. vessels is an anachronism, reminiscent of the days of Colonialism. When Trump was asked why he hasn’t rescinded it, he said that the shipping industry wouldn’t like it. So, when do the shippers—who profit from this obscene act—make laws in America? Sure, other nations might wish to send help as well!
I can’t imagine that Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio haven’t seen the horror and devastation of hurricanes, and other natural disasters before. Don’t they ever watch the coverage on TV? What does any human being need, for starters: How about: clean water; food; shelter; medical assistance, etc. Then, these many, many homeless people will need help in rebuilding their lives; although it might be hard to get over being ignored by their country in this, their time of need. Let me compare a few states that have met with significant disasters over the past twelve years:
Consider how the Republican majority Congress has played politics with tragedy:
- There have been several deadly AmTrak wrecks near Philadelphia, possibly due to Congress’ failure to fund required safety updates. Then in 2012, Congress was slow in appropriating emergency funding for the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy, since most of the states in the Region vote Democratic.
- Following massive hurricanes in Louisiana (Katrina), Texas (Harvey) and Florida (Irma), all states that tend to vote Republican, emergency appropriations were accelerated through congress. The Democrats joined in the appropriation.
- Perhaps the fact that Puerto Rico tends to vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, just might be behind all of the GOP foot-dragging.
Our Republican President and GOP majority Congress have been telling us about what they are going to do for our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, while the Democrats are pleading for action. Does it take a rocket scientists to understand what their basic needs are, especially the large proportion of senior citizens and children? Send the basic necessities, plus manpower NOW; and then you can go back and do all the talking that you want!
THE CAVALRY HAS BEGUN TO ARIVE! As reported in the linked article from The Daily Beast, the U. S. Army has sent an advanced contingent, a General will command the effort, and up to 20,000 Active, and 40,000 National Guard will eventually be in place.
NOTE: On Sunday, October 8, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced that only six percent of Puerto Ricans now have electric power. Also today, the Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it has filtered-out the Mayor of San Juan.
How can that be, when she is the only Leader with a microphone who is calling Trump and his Regime out for what they truly are–incompetent, uncaring and totally delusional, except when it’s in Donald Trump’s best interest! Apparently, the Daily Beast story, about the Cavalry arriving, was just more of Donald Trump’s Fake News!