The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Puerto Rico

First came the massive flooding of Hurricane Hugo. The response in Houston was organized, rapid and competent. Then came the massive category 4 storm, Irma, in South Florida. The federal response was, once again, organized, rapid and competent. I suspect that Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media quietly wanted either of both storms to be Donald Trump's "Katrina," but the facts on the ground simply wouldn't support that argument.

The Category 5 hurricane, Maria, that hit Puerto Rico gave those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome one last chance. The Democrat mayor of San Juan, who criticized the federal response, gave them the opening they needed to begin the drum beat. Of course, the fact that the Mayor was a rabid Clinton supporter, that she had eschewed the appropriate planning that was required to prepare for the storm before it hit and the necessary logistics in the aftermath were of little consequence. In the words of far too many of the trained hamsters, this was just another example of Trump's "racism" and "misogyny." All of that, of course, is fantasy, but no matter, the trained hamsters are running with it.

The reality is far different. Assets were put into place before the storm hit. Planning did occur and resources were moved to the Island immediately after the storm abated. Things are very bad, but Category 5 hurricanes tend to have that result.

But for Dems, their trained hamsters in the media, and #Nevertrumpers, it's all about allocating blame and name calling. Here's the reality as described by Glen Reynolds:
... Puerto Rico is an island. The long lines of utility trucks and semi-trailers full of supplies that streamed into the areas of Texas and Florida hit by hurricanes Harvey and Irma can’t drive to Puerto Rico. Everything that gets there has to come in by air and sea, and couldn’t even do that until airports and seaports, damaged by the storm, were up and running, which took a while. Plus, as Hendrix notes, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and government are nowhere near as robust and effective as is the case in Texas and Florida.

Worse yet, Maria was the second hurricane to hit Puerto Rico, and the third to hit the United States in the space of a few weeks, and many U.S. government assets were already committed elsewhere.

That means recovery is going to be slower no matter what. Relief officials on the island say that aid is getting to the ports now, but the problem is distribution, with most truck drivers unable to get to work because of the destruction.

“It’s a lack of drivers for the transport trucks, the 18-wheelers," Col. Michael Valle, who is in charge of the Hurricane Maria relief efforts, told The Huffington Post. "There are ships full of supplies, backed up in the ports, waiting to have a vehicle to unload into. However, only 20% of the truck drivers show up to work. These are private citizens in Puerto Rico, paid by companies that are contracted by the government.”
There will be lessons learned from each of the storms, but overall, the response by the feds has been commendable. Sure, there are problems, some significant, but that doesn't mean that the current president has somehow dropped the ball.

Those who have decided to criticize the federal response on partisan grounds or suggest that somehow "racism" has played a role in Puerto Rico are playing a despicable game. Then again, that's par for the course in this roiled political environment.


One of the important lessons of Puerto Rico is the importance of a "robust" infrastructure. We, as a country, need to improve infrastructure across the board. If that takes the commitment of $1 trillion or more, so be it. The price of not doing so could be far, far greater.

I'm a strong advocate of smaller government. But one of the important roles of the federal government is to support, enhance and build national infrastructure. For decades, we've spent far too much growing government rather than improving infrastucture. That has to change.

We also need to harden critical elements of our infrastructure—our electric grid, our ports, our rail network, our critical private sector computer networks—against EMP attacks. And if you don't know what EMP is, it's time to learn. The previous administration had an opportunity to do just that with a $800 billion "stimulus." They frittered the money away. Now it's Trump's turn. He's a builder. It's time to build.