The Jones Act was passed 97 years ago to protect US shipping within the US from foreign-made ships. I doubt I ever would have supported such an act, but at least back then there were plenty of US-made ships to fulfill the demand. Despite the Jones Act, the US shipping industry has collapsed in the last century so that the number of such ships is far below demand in normal circumstances, so that intra-US shipping costs are far higher than those outside the US. Puerto Rico was covered by he Jones Act and remains so.
After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma the Jones Act was temporarily suspended for Texas, Louisiana, and Florida on orders of President Trump, going through the Department of Homeland Security. The Jones Act is not being suspended for Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurrican Maria, although damage to PR seems to be far greater than what happened on the mainland during Harvey and Irma (with those areas also accessible to supplies and aid by ground transportation, not relying nearly as much on ocean shipping). The supposed reason is that PR’s ports are damaged, which is certainly the case, but even if suspending the Jones Act will only slightly speed up deliveries, it will certainly reduce the costs of supplies, allowing cheaper natural gas from Pennsylvania in place of more expensive oil from Venezuela, for example.
Which brings us to the worse then usual hypocrisy on the part of our president. While he has been all worked up over football players kneeling and moved to get aid to Texas and Florida as rapidly as possible while expressing lots of sympathetic sentiments for the victims in those states, his initial reaction to Hurricane Maria, after several days delay, was to talk about how bad their infrastructure was before the hurricane and how they have a massive debt situation. Of course, if he were really concerned about helping them, he could suspend their debt, but at a minimum, given that he is aware that they are poor and debt ridden, on top of having 80% of their crops destroyed and all their power out among other problems, he is insisting that they pay top dollar on supplies brought in by water, where almost all supplies will come. His refusal to suspend the Jones Act for Puerto Rico after having done so for mainland US territories is far worse than the usual hypocrisy from any president, even this far more hypocritical than pretty much all others one.
Puerto Rico isn’t a political entity as far as the U.S. gov’t is concerned since, even though Puerto Ricans are American Citizens —- a fact that ~ 1/2 the rest of the nation isn’t aware— and can vote their vote only counts IF they reside in any one of the 50 US States.
But since Puerto Rico can by US law have no voting members in the House or Senate, then they also have no Presidential Electors, so those Puerto Rican’s who reside in Puerto Rico can vote but their votes are for show only.. they don’t count in US politics. They might as well be citizens of any other nation but the US as far as US political interests and decisions are concerned.
The U.S. originally invaded and took over Puerto Rico in 1898 because it was a strategic defense position to garner the Caribbean as a US ocean based navel buffer zone. e.g. it’s value is as a defensive & offensive outpost and for US business’s to use it’s low labor rates to profit (like the US advantage of exporting jobs to China, but on a much smaller scale),. it’s also used as a reservoir for supply of lower cost labor to the mainland, since Puerto Rican residents can travel freely in the U.S. without obstruction among the US state (and hold US passports).
It’s a virtual colony.
Puerto Rico is another testament to US racism.
The US was competitive in ship building into the 19th century, but when maritime trade turned to metal ships and steam propulsion, the US fell way behind. The nation famed for its China clippers could barely field a navy, let alone a merchant marine.
Trump had a golf resort that went bankrupt in Puerto Rico, so he doesn’t like Puerto Ricans.
Puerto Ricans are swarthy people and they speak Spanish, like those Mexicans. That’s all the Dotard-In-Chief and the Trumpenproletariat need to know.
Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble.
The poor always suffer in natural disasters like this, un-insurred properties lost, seriosuly Puerto Ricans need serious help now, we all should do whatever we can do and also put them in our prayers, this could happen to anybody
I heard supplies had arrived but because phone communications are down they can’t reach drivers to deliver. I think it’s time to send in the Army and the National Guard and take care of these people.
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Last night NBC had a long story re PR. The report was that there were 1,000s of containers filled will emergency supplies at the ports in PR waiting for distribution. The problem is that PR’s infrastructure is so devastated that the thousands of containers could not get where they were needed. This was never a story about the Jones Act.
The NBC link:
Probably would have made sense to bring in a Helicopter carrier with a bunch of Chinooks which have a payload of 25,000 lbs.