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Puerto Rico isn’t about Trump or tweets, it’s about despair and desperation

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Donald Trump sent the worst possible message to the people of Puerto Rico when he criticized the mayor of San Juan, tweeting, “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has not been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. 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.”

After that, Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz stepped in front of the cameras and literally groveled.

“I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” she said.

One of these officials is concerned with the people on the island, and the other is concerned with being criticized. I will leave you to deduce which is which.

“Workers” are not chess pieces or pawns to be moved around at will. This is not Venezuela, which is actually half the distance to the U.S. island territory than the American mainland. Our country–America–does not believe in dictator-like control of “workers.” The “workers” are at home, trying not to die, with no access to food, potable water, electricity, communications, or health care services. How, pray tell, does Trump expect them to participate in a “community effort?”

As Aaron Blake wrote in the Washington Post, Trump “doesn’t quite get it.” Maybe the president will get it when he visits the ravaged island. Maybe seeing the faces of suffering people will open up a light in his heart and distract him from being so defensive and thin-skinned.

Listen, 10,000 federal workers anywhere “doing a fantastic job” is not a bad thing, but I can also imagine it’s a nightmare of red tape, inefficiency, and crossed signals. FEMA is pretty stretched these day, with Houston, all of Florida, and now Puerto Rico on its plate–adding the military is certainly a good thing.

Perspectives

Trump slams Puerto Rico: ‘They want everything to be done for them’ | TheHill

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/353216-trump-criticizes-san-juan-mayors-poor-leadership-during-puerto-rico“Actually, I was asking for help. I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the president,” Cruz said on MSNBC following the tweets. “It’s not about politics, it’s not about petty comments, it’s about moving forward, putting boots on the ground and saving lives.”

Democrats slammed Trump’s response to Cruz and Puerto Rico’s relief efforts.

“Is your ego so fragile & your heart so cold that you’d attack a leader in the midst of a humanitarian crisis because she needs your help?” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) tweeted at Trump on Saturday.

Trump’s Twitter Rant Against Puerto Rico Hits All the Wrong Notes | The Resurgent

http://theresurgent.com/trumps-twitter-rant-against-puerto-rico-hits-all-the-wrong-notes/“Maybe from where she’s standing, it’s a good news story,” Cruz said. “When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story.”

“Damnit, this is not a good news story,” she continued. “This is a people-are-dying story.”

“We have done an incredible job, considering there’s absolutely nothing to work with,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“They’re taking care of their families and largely unable to get involved, largely unable to help,” he said. “Therefore, we’re forced to bring in truck drivers, security and many, many other personnel by the thousands. And we’re bringing them onto the island as we speak. We’ve never seen a situation like this.”

Trump doesn’t get it on Puerto Rico. He just proved it by lashing out at San Juan’s mayor. – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/30/trump-doesnt-get-it-on-puerto-rico-he-just-proved-it-by-lashing-out-at-san-juans-mayor/?utm_term=.a2010685c6b6There has been anecdotal evidence that Trump doesn’t quite get it. He has repeatedly misstated the size of the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico. He has repeatedly talked about what a tough state the island was in to begin with — as if to shift blame. He has talked repeatedly about how Puerto Rico is an island “in the middle of the ocean” — as if to temper expectations. He has even talked about how Puerto Rico might be made to repay the cost of its recovery. And he’s decided to take a weekend at his golf club in New Jersey right now, even as the scope of the problems in Puerto Rico is growing.

Why Puerto Rico Is Not Trump’s Katrina – The future of business

https://www.fastcompany.com/40474782/why-puerto-rico-is-not-trumps-katrinaHurricane Maria’s destruction of Puerto Rico on September 20 was an entirely predictable crisis. For a week, meteorologists charted the path of Maria as it moved through the northeastern Caribbean and devastated Dominica before smashing into Puerto Rico, which had been hit hard by Hurricane Irma two weeks before.

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Final Thoughts

It’s not about tweets, or Trump. It’s about saving lives. The death toll of Maria on this small island will end up largely in Trump’s hands, for good or for ill, just like Katrina did for Bush. Trying to duck responsibility by lashing out at those closest to the disaster is counterproductive. It’s like a surgeon blaming the anesthesiologist while the patient dies.

The people of Puerto Rico need to hear a message of hope, of love, and of care. They don’t need to hear their president tell them everything is hunky dory because 10,000 FEMA workers are on the island of over 3 million people, then level blame at the residents for not doing enough.

It’s precisely the wrong, and cruelest possible, message.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Eileen

    September 30, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    I don’t think he should have tweeted that, but seriously, did they have a plan? How can Fema do everything for them? The mayor can make a custom t-shirt (we’re dying) but can’t unload food shooting at the dock? Seriously? So every state doesn’t plan and just waits for the federal govt to step in?

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Guns and Crime

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

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France shooting 2 dead several wounded in Strasbourg

PARIS (AP) — A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed two people and wounded up to eight others, officials said, sparking a major security operation around a world-famous Christmas market on Tuesday. Authorities said the shooter remains at large.

The motive for the shooting is unclear. It wasn’t immediately clear if the market was the target of the attack or if there was any link to terrorism.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters that the gunman has been identified, and had a police record for common crimes. He several of the wounded were in critical condition and that he was heading to Strasbourg.

The French Interior Ministry called on the public to remain indoors.

“Our security and rescue services are mobilized,” Castaner said.

Local authorities tweeted for the public to “avoid the area of the police station,” which is close to the city’s Christmas market. Strasbourg’s well-known market is set up around the city’s cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market.

The European Parliament, which is based in Strasbourg, was on lockdown. Spokesman Jaume Duch said that “the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice.” It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were inside.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that “my thoughts are with the victims of the shooting …. Strasbourg is like no other a city which is a symbol of peace and European democracy.”

France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.

Some Strasbourg residents have reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city center.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that “the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers.”

President Emmanuel Macron has adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said.

Strasbourg, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Paris, is on the border with Germany.

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Democrats

Trump to meet with Democrats about border wall, shutdown

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Trump to meet with Democrats about border wall shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders are seeking to avert a partial government shutdown amid a sharp dispute over Trump’s border wall and a lengthy to-do list that includes a major farm bill and a formal rebuke of Saudi Arabia for the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump is set to confer Tuesday at the White House with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer ahead of a Dec. 21 deadline to shut down a range of government agencies.

“Republicans still control the House, the Senate and the White House, and they have the power to keep government open,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Monday.

“Our country cannot afford a Trump Shutdown,” the Democrats said, adding that Trump “knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate and should not be an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement.”

Republican congressional leaders have repeatedly said it’s up to Trump to cut a deal with Democrats, an acknowledgement of their own inability to produce spending bills with Republican votes alone.

That gives Democrats some momentum heading into the closed-door talks, which also could veer into Trump’s request for emergency funding for deadly wildfires in California and a Republican-sponsored bill to extend expiring tax breaks and delay some health care taxes.

Before lawmakers adjourn for the year they also may consider a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller and a plan to overhaul the system for handling sexual harassment complaints on Capitol Hill.

By far the biggest unresolved issue is the border wall. Trump wants the next funding package to include at least $5 billion for it, an idea Democrats have flatly rejected.

Pelosi and Schumer have urged Trump to support a bill that includes a half-dozen government funding bills largely agreed upon by lawmakers, along with a separate measure that funds the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Sept. 30. The homeland bill includes about $1.3 billion for fencing and other security measures at the border.

If Trump does not agree to that, Democrats will likely urge a continuing resolution that funds all the remaining appropriations bills at current levels through Sept. 30, an aide said. The aide was not authorized to discuss strategy by name and requested anonymity.

Trump said Friday that Congress should provide all the money he wants for the wall and called illegal immigration a “threat to the well-being of every American community.”

At an appearance in Kansas City, Missouri, Trump accused Democrats of playing a political game and said it was one he ultimately would win.

“I actually think the politics of what they’re doing is very bad for them,” Trump said of Democrats. “We’re going to very soon find out. Maybe I’m not right. But usually I’m right.”

Pelosi, who is seeking to become House speaker in January, said she and many other Democrats consider the wall “immoral, ineffective and expensive” and noted that Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, an idea Mexico has repeatedly rejected.

Protecting borders “is a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values as well,” Pelosi said last week.

Schumer said Democrats want to work with Trump to avert a shutdown, but said money for border security should not include the concrete wall Trump has envisioned. Instead, the money should be used for fencing and technology that experts say is appropriate, Schumer said.

“We do not want to let a Trump temper tantrum govern our policies or cause the shutdown of a government, which everyone on both sides of the aisle knows is the wrong idea,” Schumer said. If Trump “wants to shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that’s his decision,” he said.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Trump was all that stands between fully funding the government and a shutdown.

“Time and again, President Trump has used the government of the American people as a bargaining chip for his fabricated solution to his manufactured crisis,” Leahy said Monday in a Senate speech.

Trump “wants to score a made-for-reality-TV moment and he doesn’t care how many hardworking Americans will suffer for it,” Leahy said. “This is not about border security. This is about politics, pure and simple.”

But House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Democrats were the ones playing politics.

Trump “wants to secure the border. He got elected president on that platform,” Scalise told Fox News Channel.

If there’s a better way to secure the border than the $5 billion plan Trump has laid out, Democrats “need to come with an alternative,” Scalise said Monday. “They can’t come and say they want to shut the government down for no reason because they don’t want border security. They’ll lose that argument with the American people.”

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Monday he does not believe Trump or Democrats want to shut the government down.

“When I was with him the indication was he didn’t want to shut the government down, but he did want his wall,” Shelby said.

___

AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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Conspiracy Theory

NIAC report shows America is insanely ill-prepared for a catastrophic power outage

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NIAC report shows America is insanely ill-prepared for a catastrophic power outage

In the United States, many citizens take the power grid for granted. There has never been a nationwide catastrophic power outage in our history. While localized events like Hurricane Katrina exposed our inability to handle smaller scale long-term outages, an alarming report by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) says we’re still not ready for a wide-scale outage.

While our preparedness remains insufficient, the ways in which a catastrophic power outage could occur have increased dramatically. Between higher potency of natural disasters, the rise of cyberterrorism, electromagnetic events from space, and a high risk of electromagnetic attacks, the potential for such an event are higher than ever before. At this point, such events would cripple the nation, perhaps irreversibly.

The 94-page report is loaded with things one might think came from The Onion. It warns that since the council was formed in 2001, the threat risks have outpaced improvements in countermeasures. Perhaps the most alarming takeaway is that there is currently no established protocol to follow from top to bottom in case of such an event.

At this point, we’re still at the recommendation stage of determining who would be in charge of efforts to stabilize the power grid in case of catastrophic failure. While the report recommends the Secretary of Homeland Security would be in charge over both the Department of Energy and Department of Defense, that designation has not been officially made. It’s hard to imagine DHS taking command of the military in any circumstance, but that’s essentially what the report recommends.

As the Washington Examiner says, it may be time for preppers to ramp up their efforts while non-preppers should reconsider their stance.

Start prepping! Electric grid ‘prime target’ of terrorists, ‘profound threat,’ says DHS

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/start-prepping-electric-grid-prime-target-of-terrorists-profound-threat-says-dhsThe report is an urgent call to action to organize a uniform reaction to a grid attack, harden it from attack, warn of the threats and push regular Americans into preparing for the worst.

It also calls for federal spending instead of a reliance on rate hikes by individual utilities to fix their systems and said that $1 spent to protect the grid will save $6 in the case of recovery.

“The power grid is a prime target for attack by nation states, and it is not fair for ratepayers to bear the full burden for this national security function,” said the report, which looked at the potential of a “catastrophic” half-year blackout that could impact 75 million.

My Take

Yes, it’s time to prepare. The threats are so numerous and some of them are so easily achievable through terrorism, it’s hard to believe we haven’t been hit yet.

As noted earlier, it’s very discouraging that in the event of a nationwide catastrophic power outage, nobody in DC knows exactly what to do. Keep in mind, this isn’t the type of report where they would hold back information for the sake of lulling our enemies into a state of complacency. We would want them to think we had a clear handle on any situation they could dream up. If anything, this report increases the chances that someone would make an attempt.

What’s worse is that the report recommends essentially handing over control of recovery efforts to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Currently, that person is Kirstjen Nielsen. While she seems competent enough to handle her duties, there have been questions about her job security. Her biggest defender has been Chief of Staff John Kelly and he’s on his way out this month. Will Nielson be next? If so, would an attack on our power grid be timed by our enemies during a transition period? Scary thought.

It isn’t just the government who seems completely unprepared based on the report. Most Americans are scarcely able to survive a week without a trip to the grocery store. Alarmists have been screaming for years. Today, it may be time to start listening.

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