At Least Nero Fiddled

Source: The Hill.

From the Twitter feed of realDonaldTrump, commenting on the crisis in Puerto Rico this morning:

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.

Mr. Trump has suggested the difficulty in delivering assistance to the 3.4 million American citizens in Puerto Rico is due to geography.

“We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said at the White House. “But the difference is this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. It’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean. And we’re doing a really good job.”

Here is a relevant comparison, from WaPo:

After an earthquake shattered Haiti’s capital on Jan. 12, 2010, the U.S. military mobilized as if it were going to war.

Before dawn the next morning, an Army unit was airborne, on its way to seize control of the main airport in Port-au-Prince. Within two days, the Pentagon had 8,000 American troops en route. Within two weeks, 33 U.S. military ships and 22,000 troops had arrived. More than 300 military helicopters buzzed overhead, delivering millions of pounds of food and water.

No two disasters are alike. Each delivers customized violence that cannot be fully anticipated. But as criticism of the federal government’s initial response to the crisis in Puerto Rico continued to mount Thursday, the mission to Haiti — an island nation several hundred miles from the U.S. mainland — stands as an example of how quickly relief efforts can be mobilized.

By contrast, eight days after Hurricane Maria ripped across neighboring Puerto Rico, just 4,400 service members were participating in federal operations to assist the devastated island, an Army general told reporters Thursday. In addition, about 1,000 Coast Guard members were aiding the efforts. About 40 U.S. military helicopters were helping to deliver food and water to the 3.4 million residents of the U.S. territory, along with 10 Coast Guard helicopters.

Leaders of the humanitarian mission in Haiti said in interviews that they were dismayed by the relative lack of urgency and military muscle in the initial federal response to Puerto Rico’s catastrophe.

“I think it’s a fair ask why we’re not seeing a similar command and response,” said retired Lt. Gen. P.K. “Ken” Keen, the three-star general who commanded the U.S. military effort in Haiti, where 200,000 people died by some estimates. “The morning after, the president said we were going to respond in Port-au-Prince . . . robustly and immediately, and that gave the whole government clarity of purpose.”

Rajiv J. Shah, who led the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Haiti response, said he, too, was struggling to “understand the delays.”

“We were able to move more quickly in a foreign country, and with no warning because it was an earthquake, than a better-equipped agency was able to do in a domestic territory,” he said.

Source: The Independent.

57 thoughts on “At Least Nero Fiddled

  1. pgl

    A big ocean? Puerto Rico is only 1000 miles from Florida. Like our planes and ships could not be there the day after the hurricane? Governor Cuomo was and he brought a lot of the police and fire department experts from New York with him.

    Trump’s pathetic excuses are bad enough but his Twitter tantrum today was the most insulting and racist thing I have heard in a long time.

    The White House has failed our citizens. And now he is simply putting them down as they suffer.

  2. PeakTrader

    The Governor Puerto Rico, a Democrat, and the Governor of the Virgin Islands, an Independent, both say the Administration is responsive to their needs. The Mayor of San Juan wants Trump to deal with Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. That’s not a priority at this time.

    1. baffling

      “The Mayor of San Juan wants Trump to deal with Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.”
      they would settle for some water, food and fuel. cash and electricity would also be helpful. it takes a very cruel hack (peak and trump) to take this opportunity to politically attack anybody in puerto rico at this time. when puerto rico is struggling, it takes a very weak man to say anything negative about the people at this point in time. very weak. they are not “those people”. they are us citizens. being treated like illegal immigrants. pathetic. general honore was spot on in his description. general sylveria just provided a splendid lesson in leadership. perhaps trump and his alcolytes should pay attention to that man.

      1. PeakTrader

        “She (the Mayor of San Juan) has been invited to FEMA command center several times to see operations and be part of efforts but so far has refused to come, maybe too busy doing TV?” the White House official told ABC News.”

        Some people are just too sensitive – like everything is racist – and there are too many political hounds trying to make mountains out of molehills – Trump is right – it should be a community effort – but let’s make it a political effort instead.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          PeakTrader: Would you say that one is unjustified in thinking Mr. Trump more highly values people of the non-minority persuasion, in the wake of Charlottesville, comments about Mexican rapists, Shisir Khan, etc.? Or do you think am I just being overly sensitive?

          1. PeakTrader

            I think, Trump relates better with white people, like most white people, and black people relate better with black people, etc.. That doesn’t make him racist, sexist, or whatever. And, Trump doesn’t relate well to non traditional or anti Americans, particularly those who seem to need a father figure to straighten them out instead of a mother.

          2. randomworker

            Omg you are such a brown-nosing little sycophant. This latest series of comments from you show us exactly what kind of hack you are. It’s startling, really. Wow.

          3. PeakTrader

            Randomworker, you’re so out in left field, you’re not even in the ballpark. So, I don’t expect you to even begin understanding Trump. Just say racist and sexist and everything will be alright.

          4. mike v

            “he’s just manly”


            What a weird, pathetic statement.

        2. baffling

          “Some people are just too sensitive”
          peak, that is a perfect description of trump in responding to puerto rico. it was not a “manly” response. you and trump could both learn lessons from general sylveria.

          1. PeakTrader

            The anti-Trump description of Trump is when he counterpunches white males, it’s acceptable, and when he counterpunches minorities and females, he’s racist and sexist.

          2. baffling

            no peak, he is pretty much racist and sexist all of the time. you seem to be showing the same traits. not unusual, most people with poor social behavior tend to group together and try to normalize their behavior. but it is not normal. your adamant defense of trump stems from the fact you know you have racist and sexist tendencies as well, and view trump as a means to excuse and normalize your own behavior and beliefs. then you do not have to own up to being a racist or sexist.

        3. 2slugbaits

          “She (the Mayor of San Juan) has been invited to FEMA command center several times to see operations and be part of efforts but so far has refused to come, maybe too busy doing TV?” the White House official told ABC News.”

          Tour the FEMA command center?!?!?! That’s your idea of being helpful??? The mayor was wading through floodwater rescuing people who were trapped. She was too busy doing actual work. That takes some physical courage as well. Meanwhile, our dumpster fire President was taking yet another Mulligan on his gold course. The mayor was dripping in sweat and working hard. Meanwhile, the Donald had to use a golf cart because he’s too fat and lazy to walk a golf course that he owns.

          1. Sherparick

            She also did her job, because she got the Trumpen Fuhrer’s attention away from tweeting about Black NFL players taking a knee to the disaster in Puerto Rico. She got the full right wing pile on her as a result, which took guts (and which explains why Governor Rosello took a step back, profile in courage that one).

            Peak, I have really come to hate people like you, determined to destroy the Greatest Country in the world and its Democracy in service of a selfish, racist, ideology of white supremacy and oligarchic feudalism.

  3. 2slugbaits

    I can only imagine what our Trump defender friends on this blog would say if a President Hillary Clinton had mishandled the Hurricane Maria disaster as clumsily as President Trump. They’d be all over like stink on a turd.

    The WaPo didn’t mention that back in Jan 2010 the US military’s logistics pipeline was a good deal more strained than it is today. There’s a lot more spare logistics capacity today than we had seven or eight years ago. I plan on kneeling in front of the TV tomorrow during the anthem. Trump is a disgrace. Anyone who voted for this clown owes the country an apology.

  4. joseph

    “Trump’s pathetic excuses are bad enough but his Twitter tantrum today was the most insulting and racist thing I have heard in a long time.”

    This should be no surprise. Remember during the debates, the last time a Hispanic woman dared to criticize him? Trump smeared her with scurrilous lies, called her disgusting and falsely accused her of making sex tapes.

    Trump does not respond well to criticism — especially from a non-white person and a woman.

    Everyone knew he was a racist, sexist psychopath before the election. No one should be surprised now. Republicans simply don’t care as long as they get their precious tax cuts.

  5. Anonymous

    This is the silliest and tritest type of criticism. Same sort of President can’t vacation remarks were made against Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Really second rate stuff.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Anonymous: Thank you for your carefully reasoned and intricately argued comment.

      The issue is what Mr. Trump was doing in the days immediately after the hurricane hit Puerto Rico. Oh, he was tweeting about the NFL. As far as I can tell, the military (including the hospital ship) was only really activated after criticism. Or do you have a different time-line.

  6. joseph

    Recall that PeakTrader was the one who argued that healthcare in the U.S. is great as long as you don’t count black people. Like his Dear Leader Trump, he thinks people of color just don’t count as real Americans.

    1. PeakTrader

      Joseph, that’s fake news. I said when you adjust health care taking into account the black population in the U.S., which is a larger proportion compared to other countries, adjust for murders, auto deaths, etc., U.S. life expectancy is one of the highest in the world.

      1. PeakTrader

        Also, there’s a difference how the U.S. counts infant mortality compared to other countries, which understates U.S. life expectancy compared to other countries.

      2. 2slugbaits

        PeakTrader You do know that auto fatality rates have been going down, right? You do know that murder and violent crime rates haven’t been this low since the 1950s, right? You have read the Angus Deaton study that found increasing mortality rates for downscale white males and decreasing mortality rates for blacks, right? You do know that US life expectancy ranks 31st in the world, in between Costa Rica and Cuba, right? Is 31st your idea of “one of the highest in the world”?

        1. PeakTrader

          2slugbaits. Cuba has a small population. What’s life expectancy in Chicago? And, cities that can afford health care, even after government made it a luxury good, although U.S. health care is ranked #1 in the world by the same organization that ranks it below Cuba, what’s the life expectancy there?

          1. 2slugbaits

            PeakTrader Cuba has a small population.

            How is this relevant? We’re talking about rates not levels.

            What’s life expectancy in Chicago?

            I dunno. But somehow I grew up there and managed to survive. And that was back when crime in Chicago was a lot higher than it is today. In any event, it’s rural America that has the murder rate according to FBI statistics. In large urban counties the murder rate is 3.6 per 100K. In small rural counties it’s 5.0.

            although U.S. health care is ranked #1 in the world by the same organization that ranks it below Cuba, what’s the life expectancy there?

            According to the WHO (2015 data), the US (life expectancy at 79.3 yrs) ranks between Costa Rica (79.6 yrs) and Cuba (79.1 yrs). If it’s government making health care a luxury good, then why are all those so-called socialist countries like France and Sweden and Norway and the Netherlands ahead of us? And why is the UK with its NHS ahead of us at 81.2 yrs? Even hapless Greece beats us.

          2. PeakTrader

            Here’s what an MD stated:

            “Here are two situations to discuss with social medicine lovers:

            You are walking in a big city and are half a mile from a large hospital. You suddently have a massive myocardial infarction. In which country will you have the greatest chance of surviving? (Hint: It’s got the initials USA.)

            You’re a middle-aged person with a bizarre set of symptoms that don’t fit any common disease. (You have widespread tuberculosis with no lung involvement.) In which country will you most likely receive the correct diagnosis quickly enough so that your kidneys and adrenal glands survive? (Hint: Those USA initials again.)

            When trying to compare medical systems using life expectancies, inclusion of accidental and homicide deaths is inappropriate. If we remove those and correct for variations in how premature baby deaths are counted, then our life expectancies exceed those of most social medicine developed nations.”

  7. joseph

    PeakTrader: “The U.S. would be #1 in the world in life expectancy if we didn’t define infant mortality rates much stricter than other countries, excluded the black population, and adjusted for auto accidents and murder rates.”

    Those are your words: The U.S. would be #1 if, among other things, you “excluded the black population”.

    I don’t know how it gets any plainer than that — exclude the black population from U.S. statistics — because it is inconvenient for your premise. They just don’t count.

    Trump’s response to hurricanes might also be considered adequate — if you excluded all the Hispanics.

    1. PeakTrader

      So, true statements are racist to you.

      Excluding the white or Asian population reduces U.S. life expectancy – is that better?

        1. Sherparick

          And it was racist the first time you made it. By the way, why do so many middle age white guys become mass killers, from Andrew Kehoe to Stephen Paddock. As a white middle age white guy, I accept that I share guilt with the fact that so many of us turn into homicidal maniacs. What about you Peak, since you share the anger of Trumpen Fuhrer, your beau ideal of a “real man,” do you accept your common identity with Stephen Paddock?

  8. pgl

    People are dying in Puerto Rico and PeakTrader thinks any criticism of dear leader are us being too sensitive?

    1. PeakTrader

      It’s much more than criticism. It’s the mainstream media that’s grossly unfair, liberal, and manipulative – to an extent Americans never imagined before Trump won.

      1. baffling

        cry me a river peak. when trump wants to dog whistle to the racists, or as lately simply act the part, he deserves the “grossly unfair” treatment. the bully does not like when somebody stands up to him-wow what a revelation. i know trump prefers to listen to the mainstream fox news kissups, to boost his fragile ego. but for being such a manly man, he is rather sensitive. those who support him unconditionally, such as yourself, are rather weak minded as well. quit your complaining peak.

        1. PeakTrader

          Baffling, I predicted Trump wouldn’t back down from the mainstream media and reveal the truth.

          More Americans are tired of people like you crying wolf about racism.

          You should’ve learn by now, Trump won’t put up with crap.

          You’re too feeble minded to understand even that.

        2. PeakTrader

          The Harvard study showed Fox News was 52% negative to 48% positive in news reports on Trump. CNN, NBC, and CBS were over 90% negative to less than 10% positive reporting on Trump, and the mainstream media as a whole was 80% negative on Trump.

          Trump has said he can take criticism, but not unfair criticism. I don’t blame Trump. And, most Americans believe in fairness.

  9. CoRev

    Joseph, you are confirming Peak’s remark re:sensitivity. Even though he defined his meaning for the black population’s effect on the overall mortality numbers, you persist in adding your personal interpretation.

    Identity politics has created this sensitivity to any passing reference to your target group(s) allowing for an open season of misinterpretation on the commenter.

    1. pgl

      “TH: What has been the most impressive crisis response/disaster relief operation undertaken by the Pentagon in recent decades? The tidal wave and nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan? The Indian Ocean typhoon?

      JH: Without a doubt the Joint Force response to the 2004-05 earthquake and tsunami was the most massive and well-executed relief operation of my professional career. ”

      JH continues with this success story. The efforts in Puerto Rico pale in comparison.

  10. joseph

    PeakTrader: “So, true statements are racist to you. Excluding the white or Asian population reduces U.S. life expectancy – is that better?”

    Oh, I understand you perfectly. Excluding the black population makes the U.S. look better. Excluding the white or Asian population makes the U.S. look worse.

    Yes, you have made yourself very clear. Crystal. Now, why you might make those distinctions, I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.

    As an exercise for you, perhaps you might think about how you can claim that America has such a great healthcare system if your claim depends on your leaving out a large segment of the population who are just as American as you.

    As a corollary you might consider the origin of disparities in American healthcare that continue today (and I shudder to think what your answer would be — perhaps better you keep such thoughts to yourself).

    1. PeakTrader

      So, stating the fact Asians live longer, regardless how good the health care system, is racist.

      Racist-racist-racist. It all has to be racist.

      1. baffling

        it does not all have to be racist peak. but you spew plenty of racist commentary. then you use the common alt-right argument that everybody simply throws out the race card-simply to cover your racist comments.

  11. Manfred

    Obama fiddled when an ambassador of his was murdered by an Islamic mob in a far away country. He went to a fund raiser in Las Vegas the next day, without caring a poppycock.
    Obama fiddled when the IRS discriminated against conservative groups.
    Obama fiddled in Fast and Furious.
    Obama fiddled when members of his team were unmasking private American citizens.
    Obama fiddled when big floods hit the Midwest.
    And you Menzie, were silent then. Perhaps Trump messed up the Puerto Rico aid, could be, we will see in the next several days and weeks – but I expect much more from a School of Public Policy Full Professor with a degree from one of the best universities in the country, than just being a political hack for the Democrats.

    1. baffling

      manfred, why is it necessary to map an obama failure to a trump failure. obama did not cause any trump failure. trump wants to boast about his achievements, constantly. should he not be responsible for his failures as well? trumps view of media fairness is to boast his achievements and ignore his failures. anything short of this is considered fake news.

  12. Tom

    200,000 people died in Haiti. That was 2% of the 2010 population of 10 million.
    16 people died in Puerto Rico. That was 0.0004 % of the 2016 population of 3.4 million.

    The scale of destruction and death isn’t even comparable. I’m confused why you (or the Washington Post) would even make the comparison, or not understand why one would mobilize a larger response.

    Also, what are the rules for going into US Territories? The domestic mobilization was national guard, not regular armed forces. State sovereignty limits what the US military can do on US soil (i.e. posse comitatus act). I genuinely have no idea what are the rules, but this criticism seems overly simplistic. A more valid criticism would be on waiving the Jones Act.

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