WSJ faults FEMA’s P.R. planning, wants full Jones Act repeal
Today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal faults FEMA’s Puerto Rican planning and wants full repeal of the Jones Act. Mary Anastasia O’Grady, the Journal‘s distinguished Latin American columnist, writes that
Ahead of the Category 4 storm that hit with 155 mile-an-hour winds on Sept. 20, the FEMA team in Puerto Rico said it was ready. But a week later much of the island was still in dire need of food, water and fuel—the basics of humanitarian relief.
…About 97% of the island lost electricity in the storm. Diesel-run generators were supposed to fill the void in hospitals and dialysis centers and provide refrigeration for medicines like insulin. But the diesel fuel did not arrive, and by midweek family members began to panic….
The only thing more certain than Maria’s devastation has been the rush to politicize it…. Donald Trump’s adversaries and their media cheerleaders painted the president a heartless Anglo snob.
Yet the failures in Puerto Rico have not been due to a lack of federal attention. Rather the local FEMA team failed to execute fundamental aspects of emergency operations….[E]fforts to chalk up the crisis to mainlander disregard for life are dishonest.
Mr. Trump’s big mistake has been his handling of the Jones Act, which mandates that shipping from the mainland to the island use only American-built-and-crewed vessels….
Under pressure, he finally said he would suspend the Jones Act for Puerto Rico—but only for 10 days, a meaningless gesture….
If the president and Congress are serious about their concern for the territory, they will stand up to the shipping lobby and end once and for all what has been an injustice to Puerto Rico for nearly 100 years….
Emergency management is all about anticipating disruptions and establishing contingencies. The failure of the local FEMA office to do so is organizational negligence, not a mainland plot against our Spanish-speaking brethren.
Some blame may also lie with the local teamsters union, many of whose drivers are refusing to show up at the port to deliver containers piled up there. They are reportedly doing this to get back at a governor they don’t like.
Judicial picks praised
An editorial in the same WSJ edition praises Trump’s judicial picks:
The speed of the nominations and the quality of the nominees is a result of the close ties between White House judicial vetters and the Federalist Society that is a national clearinghouse for conservative legal talent. Judicial nominations are arguably the most successful part of the Trump Presidency.
NFL National Anthem protests apparently waning
Football fans have made clear their displeasure at football players’ demonstrations in favor of Black Lives Matter and related causes. The foundation set up by Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who initiated the protests, gave $25,000 to a Chicago organization named in honor of convicted cop killer Assata Shakur.
The “Ferguson Effect” is real
Cities that had anti-police riots or ongoing demonstrations have seen an astonishing rise in murders, the “Ferguson effect.” Police in these cities, lacking community support, stopped patrolling aggressively.
Kasich may leave Republican Party
Prima donna Ohio governor John Kasich is threatening to leave the Republican Party.
Kasich acted as a spoiler in the Republican Party primary by remaining in the race as a candidate when he had no chance of winning. By not withdrawing, Kasich spoiled the primary chances of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Then, after being a main factor in Trump’s primary victory but not being nominated as vice-president, the self-important governor became a prominent anti-Trumper.
Multiple U.S. foreign policy crises
While in Peking for talks with the Chinese leadership, Secretary of State Tillerson said that the U.S. was pursuing direct talks with the North Koreans but that so far the North Koreans weren’t responding. The next day President Trump publicly undercut his Secretary by tweeting that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
While Trump is certainly right that negotiating with Kim Jong-un is a waste of time, it’s not clear that Trump is aggressively pursuing the one option short of war that could work: Chinese agreement to the unification and neutralization of the Korean peninsula under the present South Korean government.
Furthermore, the Trump administration has been sleeping while China makes major gains in its South China Sea imperialism.
U.S. foreign policy slumber is also evident south of the border, where what the Washington Times calls a “socialist-Islamist-narco-terrorist alliance” is not getting the attention it deserves.
Conservative Rajoy blunders in Catalonia
Spain’s conservative Popular Party-led government of Mariano Rajoy has made a major blunder in authorizing the use of physical violence against a Catalan independence referendum held yesterday. In earlier polls, less than half of the Catalan population supported independence, and less than half the population voted. No matter. The Rajoy administration’s use of physical force against Catalan voters left hundreds bloody and wounded and will have succeeded in converting to the independence cause tens of thousands of Catalans who before had been opposed.
Other news, briefly
The Latin Mass is thriving in Nigeria, where traditional Catholicism seems to be taken more seriously than in its original European home.
Chicago’s Lyric Opera and Joffrey Ballet are merging.
Over 50 killed, 400 wounded in Las Vegas shooting
All the above news has been temporarily eclipsed by a horrific mass murder of country music attendees in Las Vegas.