Saturday, September 30, 2017

The emperor is displeased

Downtown San Juan at night, a week after the hurricane, photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Getty via CNBC.
On Wednesday September 20, Hurricane Maria, the tenth most intense Atlantic storm in history, the strongest to hit the US possession of Puerto Rico since 1928 and the second wettest, dumping almost 38 inches of water on the eastern mountain city of Caguas, began wiping out 100% of the power grid on the island, leaving 3.4 millions American citizens without electricity, and with no access to food and safe drinking water beyond what they'd managed to lay in getting ready for the storm, or gas.

On Thursday the 21st, President Trump headed off for a long weekend at his Bedminster golf club, interrupted only by a visit to Alabama (campaigning for Senator Luther Strange, who lost his primary on the 26th).

Trump did hold a meeting at his golf club that Friday with half a dozen Cabinet officials — including acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke, who oversees disaster response — but the gathering was to discuss his new travel ban, not the hurricane. Duke and Trump spoke briefly about Puerto Rico but did not talk again until Tuesday, an administration official said.
That's Travel Ban 3.0, adding North Koreans to the list of banned travelers, though their own government doesn't allow them to travel to the US already, and some Venezuelan officials, proving that it isn't a Muslim ban, as well as the citizens of Chad, for reasons nobody in the administration has yet been able to explain. By the 26th, seaports and airports had been reopened, and tons of food and water, tarps and roof sheeting had arrived, but only 4% of it had been delivered because of a shortage of drivers.

While some worried about the possibility of a cholera epidemic like the one that struck Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, the whole basic health care system was down, the hospitals non-functioning. Last Tuesday former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted her advice to the White House that they should deploy the Navy, including the hospital ship USNS Comfort, and by Thursday they had decided to do that; the Comfort should be arriving Tuesday or so, 13 days after the storm's landfall, and Tuesday is when President Trump is scheduled to arrive as well. He'll also be visiting the even worse ravaged but not starving US Virgin Islands.

Last night, San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz held a press conference, telling the world,
"We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy." .... She highlighted donations from companies and others, including 200,000 pounds of food donated by Goya, as a contrast to federal help.
"This is what we got last night: four pallets of water, three pallets of meals and 12 pallets of infant food — which I gave them to the people of Comerio, where people are drinking off a creek," she said. "So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell."
President Trump, back at Bedminster for another weekend, swung into action with his phone:

He just can't stand injustice.

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