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Warning: sensitive photo below.

Perhaps someone has already asked this question, but, in my hours of reading and watching videos about the Mandalay Bay massacre, it seems that only one website — Fellowship of the Minds — has pointed out the discrepancy of the photos of the shooter.

I’ve borrowed the first and third photos from them below.

This is the 64-year-old we were told shot 58 people on Sunday, October 1, 2017:

How, then, did he end up looking much younger? If the photo below is an old one, at least someone could have said so. Not so long ago, reporters would have done so.

As Fellowship of the Minds asked:

Does the dead man look like 64-year-old Stephen Paddock to you?

Who can say either way?

Back to my original thought, though. Why aren’t more people questioning the discrepancy in the photos?

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On October 4 , 2017, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump paid a visit to the Las Vegas University Medical Center to visit injured survivors of the Mandalay Bay massacre of October 1.

While I do not have an update on the people featured in that post, there is other news related to that horrible incident which continues to raise more questions by the day, such as these:

Reports indicated FBI agents seized cellphones from Harvest Music Festival workers after the October 1 incident. Reportedly all messages and videos from the weekend were wiped clean before returning them.

Vendors reported the same thing happened to them. Laptops at the scene were seized and wiped clean …

Why? Was it to prevent eyewitness evidence from getting out – contradicting the official story? There’s plenty to contradict.

Was the FBI complicit in what happened? The initial narrative changed, Stephen Paddock still accused of being a lone gunman in all official reports.

No witnesses were interviewed suggesting multiple shooters, including at least one on the ground, according to [Kymberley] Suchomel.

She’s dead and can’t elaborate further. So is Paddock, a millionaire. Did he take his own life as reported or was it taken from him?

Why would a man of his means conduct mass shootings and commit suicide when he had everything to live for?

How could anyone bring an arsenal of weapons into a Las Vegas hotel and casino unnoticed with security cameras everywhere? …

From what’s known, Paddock was used as a convenient patsy, a similar scenario playing out in all these type false flags, media scoundrels reporting official accounts, never challenging them.

The single gunman claim lacks credibility. It’s unclear if Paddock had anything to do with what happened – likely not, his explanation unable to be heard.

The shooter’s autopsy

The autopsy of Stephen Paddock was done last week. Other than saying his brain was ‘normal’, no further details have been released.

This was the story on October 13:

A few days later and still no update:

We have no information about the ballistics:

Mandalay Bay could be facing massive lawsuits:

Around this time, someone tweeted — complete with film — his findings at Mandalay Bay. Click on the tweet below to see the brief videos and comments:. UPDATE: Unfortunately, this person has now had to protect his tweets:

A number of survivors remain in hospital:

There is some good news, however. One lady, Tina Frost, is out of her coma:

Fox reported:

According to a GoFundMe page set up for Tina Frost, the 27-year-old took three steps to a chair and three steps back to her hospital bed Friday. Mary Watson Moreland, Tina’s mother, wrote on the page that Frost was also able to breathe on her own for six hours.

Frost was attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival with her boyfriend when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay. Frost was shot in the head and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Moreland said doctors removed her daughter’s right eye, where the bullet was lodged. Doctors also removed a bone in Frost’s forehead to relive brain swelling.

As of Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $529,000 to cover Frost’s medical expenses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Even though the lazy media have moved on to other news topics, people still care about what happened. A group of Hawaiians created a two-mile-long lei made completely out of tea leaves and sent it to Las Vegas:

The lei rests on top of the 58 memorial crosses — one for each victim — which are near the crime scene. The crosses will be moved to nearby Henderson, Nevada, where they will be on permanent display:

I pray for everyone affected by this tragedy.

I also pray that the full truth comes out about what actually happened behind the scenes.

Last week, I posted the first video of the ‘American Pravda’ series made by James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas team.

The second video, again about the New York Times but also YouTube came out on October 11, 2017:

The YouTube chap — Earnest Pettie, Brand and Diversity Curation Lead — says that his team provides ‘human inputs’ into YouTube. That means that they sometimes intervene to cause certain videos to trend, running a script (computer program) to bypass or manipulate YouTube’s algorithms.

Pettie was also full of praise for the subject of the first American Pravda video, Nick Dudich, who is no longer a New York Times employee, thanks to what the short film revealed.

Strangely, afterward — my first post on this series has more on Dudich’s dismissal — Dean Baquet, the NYT’s executive editor — accused James O’Keefe of lying:

I agree with O’Keefe. Surely Baquet should have thanked him for revealing the truth. Dudich was disingenuous in the video. O’Keefe never interviewed him, other Project Veritas team members did.

Project Veritas will be releasing more American Pravda videos in due course. Stay tuned.

James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas team have done it again!

The following video is the first in a series called ‘American Pravda’ which exposes the media:

This video came out on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. It centres on Nicholas Dudich, the New York Times’s Audience Strategy Editor. Dudich makes some remarkable claims: that James Comey is his godfather (he later says he lied but it was ‘a good story’) and that he was part of Antifa working undercover for the FBI.

Dudich says he worked on both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and on Hillary Clinton’s in 2016.

Whatever the truth of the matter, he is very much on the Left and says he wants to ‘make a diference’ by influencing opinion, not present objective fact. PJ Media provides a snippet of what Dudich said about President Donald Trump (emphases mine):

I’d target his businesses, his dumb f*** of a son, Donald Jr., and Eric, so they’re running Trump, like, the Trump business. … And you put pressure on his business and you start investigating his business and you start shutting it down. … He cares about his business more than he cares about being President. … He would resign.

That segment ended with this:

Or he’d lash out and do something incredibly illegal, which he would have to.

Yeah, sure, buddy.

The video infuriated Esquire:

There’s no reason to trust anything O’Keefe says or any BOMBSHELL RECORDING (!) he produces. The presumption must always be that the recordings are edited with a meat-ax to produce something that will get TDMOTI and his audience of slavering shut-ins moist with anticipation for the first time since V-E Day.

Oh, yeah — and there’s Dudich saying that he wants to influence opinion on every NYT video he posts online.

The following is from the NYT‘s ethical guidelines:

The NYT was quick to take action. Clifford Levy is the paper’s deputy managing editor. Note that Levy says Dudich ‘was’ responsible only for posting videos, not creating or editing them:

Earlier, in August, Levy issued the following statement to staff. The video has dialogue with Dudich which confirms that the interview did take place that month:

O’Keefe tweeted:

I look forward to it but hope that O’Keefe will vary from his usual practice of issuing two meaty videos then a series of minute-long anti-climactic ones.

Someone posted this picture in a discussion about the Project Veritas video. Have a look. I’m not posting it here because of the image credit.

One America News (OAN) is doing a three-part series with O’Keefe on how he and his team work. It’s dangerous business, so if these become available on YouTube, I shall post them. In the meantime, this is OAN’s trailer (preview):

We need the truth to come out about the big, bad media. Thank goodness James O’Keefe and Project Veritas are doing their best to help. Kudos to OAN for broadcasting it.

See comments below for an update. More to follow after the weekend.

One day after their visit to Puerto Rico to meet people affected by and working on rebuilding after Hurricane Maria, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump flew to Las Vegas to meet with victims of and first responders to the Mandalay Bay massacre on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

The flag at the White House was at half mast on Tuesday, October 3:

On Wednesday, October 4, the Trumps flew to Las Vegas with this objective:

The Trumps’ first stop was the University Medical Center, which received over 100 patients on the evening of October 1.

This is a composite video (no dialogue, only music; another copy here):

Four people in particular stood out during this visit.

The first was Thomas Gunderson, who insisted on standing to meet the president. The first lady and a man in the room helped him up:

This is the sign outside of his hospital room:

The second person is this teenager:

After the Trumps left, she gave a brief interview:

The Trumps also met with the family of Rose-Marie Melanson, who is in hospital. The Daily Caller recapped the story:

A family who survived the Las Vegas massacre spoke highly of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, calling the Trumps real human beings who are sympathetic and caring.

Steve Melanson was at the concert with his daughters Stephanie and Paige along with their mother Rose-Marie, who was shot and is currently recovering.

“They’re real people. He’s a real human. She’s a real human,” Stephanie praised the Trumps on CNN’s “New Day” Friday.”They had a heart. They were caring. They were sympathetic. They had a listening ear. He sends his condolences.”

Melania ran over to hug the daughter and reassured her that her mother would pull through.

“Before he [Trump] could finish talking, she [Melania] got up and just b-lined over to us, and just hugged me and told me: Your mom is strong. She’s a fighter. She’ll be okay. She’s going to make it,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie began to tear up before calling her mother a “warrior.”

The Trumps also met with a Las Vegas policeman, Officer Cook, who had been in the job for only two days:

Upon leaving, President Trump expressed his gratitude to the doctors and nurses attending the patients. He refused to discuss the shooting but said that in the weeks to come we would find out what a ‘sick’ individual the shooter was. Later on, the president said he had extended an open invitation to the White House for everyone they met and said he would be there for them:

The Trumps’ next stop was to police headquarters. The president praised the response and efforts of the police, sheriff — and the taxi drivers — that night:

Afterwards, he gave a brief address:

President Ronald Reagan’s elder son Michael had high praise for the Trumps:

I’ll close with this:

Anyone not writing about what happened is correct in so doing. Many of us are gathering data from what has appeared in the media, especially social media.

I pray that the truth comes out about this horrific incident. It is unlikely to be what it appears. May God shine a blinding light on it in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, prayers for those who are recovering and for the families of the deceased.

When President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Puerto Rico on October 3, 2017, they also met with Governor Kenneth Mapp of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) on board the USS Kearsarge that afternoon.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have received Big Media hysteria about Puerto Rico for two weeks now but hear and read next to nothing about the USVI.

That is because Governor Mapp is grateful for the help and wants to work with the president on recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Therefore, Mapp cannot aid and abet the media’s diabolical agenda. So, no coverage for him.

Here is a video of the meeting:

This is a transcript of the public remarks of the meeting, excerpts of which follow:

THE PRESIDENT: … we were so nicely treated by the U.S. Virgin Islands, frankly, over the years. They’re great people, and were helping out.

And we have with us Governor Kenneth Mapp, who has been very generous with what he said about Brock, about everybody at FEMA, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the whole thing. And Kenneth, we very much appreciate your remarks, and I appreciate it very much …

And your people have been very resilient, and they have done a great job. They[‘]re already starting the rebuilding process. And you got hit twice. You were hit very hard.

GOVERNOR MAPP: In 12 days.

THE PRESIDENT: In 12 days, you got hit twice. And Puerto Rico got hit twice. They had a grazing one that actually the United States took a lot of brunt from, and then they got hit by Maria, and that was dead center.

So Kenneth, thank you very much. I very appreciate it. Would you like to say something?

GOVERNOR MAPP: Yes, I would, Mr. President. I want to, on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, first, thank you and your entire federal family and federal team of FEMA, of DOD, for all the help that you[‘]ve been providing to the people of the Virgin Islands. The people of the Virgin Islands asked me to extend the gratitude and appreciation to you. It has hastened our rebuilding.

We want to let our folks and our friends and brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico know that we stand with them. We extend our condolences to the folks in Las Vegas for the tragedy that occurred. But because of your commitment, Mr. President, and the work and the calls that you have made with us and with me, from Irma to now, were now talking about opening schools and cruise ships returning.

We’ve got a lot of work yet to do. We’ve still got roofless homes, and were working with Brock and FEMA to make sure that we take care of those issues. But we have advanced beyond where we were in any of the hurricanes that we’ve experienced. And I just want to really express my gratitude on behalf of the wonderful people of the Virgin Islands to you and your team.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. They are wonderful people too, and I really appreciate that. I feel that we[‘]re old friends, you know, because we[‘]ve spoken so many times over the last month. And you are — you have done a terrific job.

GOVERNOR MAPP: Thank you …

Read this tweet thread, which has no positive comments at all but, interestingly, goes back to the Russian collusion:

I am personally grateful to see such level-headedness from the governor, which is in stark contrast to the hysteria coming from the mayor of San Juan, who cannot bring herself to work with FEMA.

Caribbean News Now! provided an update on Wednesday, October 4, excerpted below (emphases mine):

Updating reporters at Government House, St Croix, on Tuesday, Governor Mapp described his meeting with the US president, aboard the USS Kearsarge as “very productive,” adding he did not know of “any country on the planet … today that can respond to a disaster like … the United States of America.”

Reacting and responding to a disaster is no easy task, the governor observed, adding: “We as Americans, we’re getting better at this process. It’s not perfect, but we’re getting better at it.”

Mona Barnes, director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), said what stood out for her was Trump and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator William “Brock” Long saying they were with the US Virgin Islands for the long haul.

“I took that and I saw the sincerity in which it was said, and so I say to the people of the Virgin Islands, truly, I am proud to be an American and you should, too,” she said.

Their positive outlook and remarks do not mean that everything is restored. Much work remains to be done, with preliminary cost estimates between $500 million and $750 million.

Governor Mapp said the islands have lost two hospitals, four schools, several government buildings as well as infrastructure.

Mapp’s immediate concern is the progress of the Blue Roof Program, which he says is going slower than anticipated. That said, he was scheduled to discuss the matter with Lieutenant General Todd Semonite from the US Army Corps of Engineers last Friday.

Although the islanders have been hard hit, Mapp and his administration remain positive:

We’ve made this progress because we can say from a real perspective, all hands are on deck. We’re all working towards a common goal of the recovery of the territory,” the governor said, noting that US Virgin Islanders’ “fortitude” and “ability to stay the course” have been the keys to the territory’s recovery.

“I’ve been in four or five hurricanes, and in less than a month, I think we’ve made very good progress,” Mapp said, adding that he was looking forward to the next 30 days.

Mapp thanked the people of the US Virgin Islands for their productive criticism and ideas to improve the recovery process, and commended them for their sense of community and kindness, highlighting those who have taken in others in need, giving them clothes, and cooking hot meals for the community.

“At the end of the day, the Virgin Islands, and the people of the Virgin Islands, are going to be a lot better off than before Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria came to our shores,” he said.

What a great outlook. Rather than moan or exaggerate, Governor Mapp has a practical, yet grateful and hopeful, perspective.

It’s sad that men and women like Governor Mapp and his team do not receive a greater share of the media limelight.

Thank you, Governor Mapp. May God richly bless you and the people of the US Virgin Islands in your recovery from Hurricane Maria.

On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Puerto Rico, several days after Hurricane Maria struck the island.

The Trumps landed in the morning at Luis Muñiz Air National Guard Base, where Governor Ricardo Rosselló welcomed them:

The Trumps went immediately to a progress meeting involving the governor and his wife, FEMA, the military, other first responders and various mayors of cities in Puerto Rico. Here, President Trump greeted Carmen Yulín Cruz, the outspoken mayor of San Juan. Trump held his ground at the weekend with several tweets about her, including this:

She is the only mayor out of 78 to refuse to attend FEMA meetings. This was her first one. Governor Rosselló is on the right in the photo:

She wore stilettos. A comment on the First Lady, perhaps? Mrs Trump wore work boots in Puerto Rico — and flats on the flight — by the way:

Although Mayor Yulín was at the head table, she sat far away from the president, on the right:

The following clip does not show Mayor Yulín scowling, but features President Trump praising Governor Rosselló as a man who ‘doesn’t play games’. One can imagine that she did scowl at that:

She was upset that Trump said Puerto Rico had thrown off the national budget. He said it in a tongue-in-cheek way, but Yulín thought differently. Of course, she and CNN had to get together once again. Did you know that CNN brought her the ‘we are dying’ shirt?

The next day, she appeared on television in a new tee shirt:

I do not recall in my many hours of reading that Trump called Yulín either of those things.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders discussed Mayor Yulín in her Press Briefing on Thursday, October 5 (emphases mine):

MS. SANDERS: The mayor of San Juan had that shirt saying “NASTY.” What does this White House believe? The President went there; it was very controversial, his appearance there.

MS. SANDERS: Actually, it wasn’t controversial.

Q Well, some people —

MS. SANDERS: It was actually widely praised, even by a Democrat governor. I think that it is sad that the mayor of San Juan chose to make that a political statement instead of a time of focusing on the relief efforts.

The President invited her to be part of that conversation. He specifically asked in the meeting where many were present, including a couple dozen other mayors who were very happy with the recovery efforts — the governor, the congresswoman. He opened the floor up for discussion, and she actually made zero comments. To me, that would have been the time and the place that she should have weighed in and asked for what she needed, and laid out what she was asking for for San Juan. She didn’t.

Instead she chose to wait until the President left and then criticize him on TV, which I think is the wrong thing for her to do for her constituents. And I hope next time she’s given the opportunity to help her constituents, she’ll take it.

Geraldo Rivera of Fox News met up with President Trump later:

Trump spoke with him, mentioning that, coming from New York, he cares a great deal for Puerto Rico. He also thanked the federal agencies, military and first responders for the progress they have made in challenging conditions:

Afterwards, the Trumps toured the area around San Juan and spoke with the people they met.

They saw this supporter along the way:

Governor Rosselló took the Trumps to the Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, not far from San Juan:

There, the president handed out supplies, including paper towels:

The president also talked with residents of Guaynabo:

The mayor expressed his gratitude:

Trump also spoke with residents of San Juan, who requested photo ops:

Unrelated to anything in particular, how did everyone end up with the same facial expression?

On another stop, President Trump comforted a serviceman:

The day concluded with a visit aboard the USS Kearsarge, where Trump received a further briefing — and met with Governor Kenneth Mapp of the Virgin Islands, whom I will cover in a separate post.

This was the first time Marine One has landed on the Kearsarge:

The Trumps also met with the Navy personnel and Marines aboard the ship:

The president pledged his continued support:

USNS Comfort arrived that day:

FEMA continued to hand out supplies:

Customs and Border Patrol were hard at work:

As a thank you for her support, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico got to board Air Force One:

In closing, difficult recovery situations remain — click on the man cleaning his kitchen (top left):

New communications lines are being stolen (why??):

People are leaving the island:

Difficult questions also remain:

Even so, it seems as if many Puerto Ricans appreciate the president. This man says he is doing ‘an awesome job’:

This lady thanks God for President Trump and Vice President Pence:

Amen!

Next stop, Las Vegas in the aftermath of the Mandalay Bay massacre:

I will cover that next week.

Just two posts to go on Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria now.

This one has no hurricane news, but it relates to political parties and nationality, two topics that have arisen elsewhere online over the past fortnight.

Politics

Hurricane Maria has brought out the political spectrum in Puerto Rico. More of us now understand the island’s politics, from conservative to leftist.

New Progressive Party — NPP

Although there is a Puerto Rico Republican Party, it functions as the conservative wing of the New Progressive Party, or NPPPartido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) — which has two camps. One aligns with America’s Republican Party and the other with the Democratic Party.

The NPP is the majority party on the island to the extent that, with a two-thirds legislative majority in both Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives and Senate, it faces no real political opposition.

Both the governor and the resident commissioner are from the NPP.

Jenniffer Aydin González Colón, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, has been doing a lot of liaison work in Washington DC in Maria’s aftermath. González, an NPP member, aligns herself with the Republican Party in the United States.  In June 2017, The Hill included her in its list of Latina Leaders to Watch and describes her as a pro-statehood, small government, pro-business conservative.

Governor Ricardo Antonio Rosselló Nevares is also a member of the NPP. However, he aligns himself with the Democratic Party. He would also like to see Puerto Rico become the 51st state and is certain that it will:

Colonialism is not an option …. It’s a civil rights issue … The time will come in which the United States has to respond to the demands of 3.5 million citizens seeking an absolute democracy.

Although 97% of voters agreed with him in a June 2017 plebiscite on statehood, because they represented only 23% of voters, the result was nullified. This is not the first time Puerto Ricans have voted on the issue. No doubt there will be another plebiscite, although Rosselló would like create a commission which would ensure the island’s legislature would honour the result. Ultimately, the US Congress would have the final say on statehood.

Rosselló’s social views are mixed. On cannabis, he favours legalisation of medical marijuana but opposes legalising recreational marijuana. He supports LGBT rights but opposes same-sex marriage.

Financially, he is grappling with the island’s crippling debt — upwards of $70 million — and has implemented austerity measures on the island.

Popular Democratic Party — PDP

The Popular Democratic Party, or PDP — Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) — wants Puerto Rico to maintain its current status as an unincorporated territory of the United States with self-government.

That might sound like a conservative stance to those who do not live on the island, but the PDP was born out of the Puerto Rico Liberal Party and the Unionist Party in 1938. It, too, is divided into ‘populars’ and ‘conservatives’, and its slogan is ‘Bread, Land, Freedom’.

In 2007, the PDP moved leftward with a new set of party policies:

The new philosophy commits the party to defending a political status for the island that is based in the irrevocable right of the people of Puerto Rico to form a sovereign country.

The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, is a PDP member and aligns herself with the Democratic Party. She has been President Donald Trump’s biggest and most vocal critic in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. She was also the only mayor out of 78 who refused to work with FEMA. She would not be out of place with her American counterparts.

Puerto Rican Independence Party

The Puerto Rican Independence Party Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño, PIP — is far-left and gets around 2.5% of the vote. The FBI has even had cause to investigate it over the years.

Nationality

Concerning nationality, Puerto Ricans are blessed.

They are blessed from the point of view of automatically belonging to the United States and, potentially, Spain, and, by extension, the European Union.

How much good fortune could a person on an impoverished island want?

Wikipedia‘s article on Puerto Rican citizenship tells us that anyone who is born in Puerto Rico is born as a) a citizen of Puerto Rico (former Spanish possession until 1898) and b) the United States.

Just as good, since 2007, anyone with Puerto Rican nationality can live in Spain for two years and acquire not only Spanish nationality but also (by virtue of the passport) EU nationality, giving them the freedom to live and work anywhere within the EU.

Therefore, native-born Puerto Ricans are in the rare position of potentially holding four citizenships, should will and circumstance permit: Puerto Rico, United States, Spain and the EU.

Who could ask for anything more?? If I were a teacher in Puerto Rico, I would be encouraging all my students to work their proverbial off so that they could go to the US or Spain and Europe.

Puerto Ricans have multiple exit doors that most people in the world don’t have. They need only to harness their energy, whether in the professions or trades.

All Puerto Rican teachers should be telling their students that the world is their oyster — and to prepare themselves for a bright future.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.

I will cover their visit in a separate post, but one thing President Trump said upon his return to the White House that day was that truckers must start work again (see at 55-second mark):

Part of the reason supplies are not reaching Puerto Ricans is because some of the truckers will not drive.

On October 2, my post included a piece on transport on the island. I stated that I needed more research to complete the picture.

In summary, the Teamsters there are part of Local 901, based in San Juan. Alexis Rodriguez is the Secretary-Treasurer of Local 901.

There is another trucking organisation called Frente Amplio de Camioneros (FAC). It is led by Victor Rodriguez.

These are two different organisations led by two different people.

The Teamsters have asked for volunteers from the United States to help their Alexis Rodriguez and his members in Puerto Rico. The response has been favourable:

Victor Rodriguez established FAC in 2003.

Over the past few days, Victor — known as ‘the toothless guy’ — has been giving inflammatory interviews to Puerto Rican television and radio. He wants the island’s governor to give in to their demands before his drivers get behind the wheel again. He also has blamed FEMA, as I wrote the other day, citing a Hollywood LA News which has a video of him from last week (emphases mine below):

it’s the diesel supply of which FEMA is in charge that’s the problem and that their truck drivers have been ready to drive all along. One can discern the skepticism on the face of the interviewer, who then brings up the fact that authorities have put out a call for independent non-union drivers to volunteer because of a lack of people willing to do the work.

That’s the point in the video after which Mr. Rodriguez bombastically started spouting curse words urging the people to pressure FEMA to release fuel and other supplies. By his side is the president of UTRA (Unión de Transporte y Ramas Anexas).

Puerto Ricans on social media are very critical. The top comment for this particular video is from a woman who says that no one is so ignorant to believe that FEMA is to blame for the mess. Others point out that the truckers are refusing to get in line for gasoline and are thus putting lives at risk.

Here is another video of Victor threatening strike action unless FAC’s demands are met. These are the drivers who are not behind the wheel:

Hollywood LA News had a helpful follow-up article on October 2, ‘How You Can Help Puerto Rico (Frente Amplio Edition)’.

The article began with a post of October 1 from FAC’s Facebook page. The second demand has already been answered. President Trump waived the Jones Act at the weekend:

Many friends abroad ask me what they can do to help Puerto Rico. This is what matters the most is to advocate for: 1. a moratorium or an amnesty on Puerto Rico’s national debt. 2. the repeal of the Jones Act or a permanent exemption for Puerto Rico. 3. the repeal of the PROMESA law and the Fiscal Control Board. Now more than ever, we need the removal of these three colonial fetters. The island is completely destroyed. Only if we are free from these three yokes will we be able to begin reconstruction in a just manner.

Esto es de Mara Pastor y yo suscribo para quienes estamos en USA:
Muchas amigas y amigos en el extranjero me preguntan qué pueden hacer para ayudarnos. Lo más importante: abogar por la moratoria o amnistía de la deuda billonaria que nos quieren cobrar, por la eliminación de las leyes de cabotaje o exencion permanente para Puerto Rico de esas leyes, por la eliminación de la ley Promesa y de la Junta de Control Fiscal. Ahora más que nunca, necesitamos que se eliminen estos tres grilletes coloniales. La isla está completamente destruída. Sólo liberándonos de estos tres yugos comenzaremos a reconstruirnos de manera justa.

First, dealing with the debt will take time and negotiation. Secondly, there needs to be some control in place until then, hence PROMESA.

I highlighted the text so that you can see what a lefty Victor is.

Hollywood LA News tells us (emphases in the original):

Victor Rodriguez has been the most visible and vocal leader of professional truck drivers in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, appearing in many media interviews to denounce the governor.

The Facebook page of the “Frente Amplio de Puerto Rico” mentioned first on this page has this in their About section:

The Frente Amplio de Puerto Rico was founded on February 8, 2012 as a political coalition with the purpose of uniting the parties, groups, political causes leftist, sovereign and independence under a single political movement. We seek the union between leftist / pro-independence parties and groups like MAS, MINH, MST, PPT, MUS, Nationalist, Socialist and Communist Party, OSI, FUPI, UJS, PIP, sovereignty within the PPD, recruit independents & leftists who do not vote, recruit those who vote in mixed fashion, those who have no political affiliation among others.

That page also has emblems from various left-wing Puerto Rican independence groups, including one which has a hammer and sickle.

Again, it’s important not to confuse Alexis Rodriguez’s Local 901 with Victor Rodriguez’s Frente Amplio de Camioneros. The first is on the roads; the second is at home.

It is unimaginable that drivers would allow politics to get in the way of delivering life-saving supplies to their fellow countrymen. But that’s the way the radical Left rolls.

Hollywood LA News continues to investigate the transport situation and posted another article on October 2, ‘Puerto Rico Teamsters’. Excerpts follow, emphases in the original.

First, we discover a bit more about Victor:

Those who doubt that Victor M. Rodriguez is the leader speaking for the truck drivers are very out of the loop. Anyone who has even heard of a transport strike on the island in the last two decades knows who he is.

The old man was listed as far back as 2009 in Wikipedia as a notable homeboy of the town of Trujillo Alto. He’s a leftist hero who’s a product of the University of Puerto Rico and he had the cachet to negotiate with the government until he met his match this year with the new governor taking office.

Secondly, we learn that Local 901 are blaming transport delays on paperwork clearance at the port:

The Local 901 affiliated with Joint Council 16 of New York represents a little over 2,000 workers (not just drivers) in the entire island, which has a population of 3.4 million.

The Teamsters of Puerto Rico have argued that the reported non-movement of relief goods from the shipping terminals / ports is actually due to paperwork issues pertaining to the cargo’s release to business owners on the island.

How then will bringing in more volunteer Teamsters from New York speed up the clearing of paperwork?

The Teamsters have not replied to this particular review.

I have looked for an update on the containers still in port but have not been able to find anything, including on El Nuevo Día. To be continued.

There was much to read at the weekend from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Therefore, this is a continuation of yesterday’s post.

As I write on Tuesday afternoon (UK time), October 3, 2017, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are on their way to Puerto Rico. A meeting with San Juan’s mayor is on the agenda. The governor of the US Virgin Islands will be flying into Puerto Rico to meet with the president.

Media gaslighting

The American media will continue to gaslight:

Canadian media were at it, too:

But good things continue to happen

Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló has had high praise for the Trump administration’s relief and rescue efforts.

On September 27, Breitbart posted a good article on the interviews he has given to American media.

This is worth noting (emphases mine):

the Associated Press reported on more praise and appreciation from Puerto Rico’s governor. What especially stands out is Rosselló’s praise for the administration’s pro-active pre-planning, and the island’s Resident Commission informing us that Puerto Rico has never received this kind of coordination before:

Rosselló and other officials praised the federal government for planning its response in detail before the storm hit, a contrast with what Puerto Rico has long seen as the neglect of 3.4 million Americans living in a territory without a vote in Congress or the electoral college.

“This is the first time we get this type of federal coordination,” said Resident Commission Jenniffer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Washington.

Pajamas Media has so much more, including a breakdown of the massive amount of supplies and resources already delivered.

Democrats are whistling in the wind

Yesterday’s post showed a letter from Democrat legislators requesting an investigation into the Trump administration’s handling of Maria in Puerto Rico.

Democrats are whistling in the wind with that one.

Because communications were down, photos from Puerto Rico started emerging only on Monday, September 25, five days after Maria struck. However, FEMA, the Coast Guard, the military were already there and/or in Washington, such as the Federal Communications Commission working with counterparts in Puerto Rico on communications issues:

Communications have been gradually coming back. With regard to mobile phones:

Florida takes in Puerto Ricans

On Wednesday, September 27, Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Día reported that Florida has been taking in tens of thousands — possibly up to 100,000 — of the island’s residents:

“Everyone here in Florida has family in Puerto Rico, and every Puerto Rican has lost something on the Island, those Puerto Ricans are going to come and take refuge with their relatives. Personally, I have seven relatives who are coming to my house,” said Florida State Representative Bob Cortés, who estimated a potential influx of 100,000 Puerto Ricans.

Among the measures being taken, Cortés mentioned that students arriving from Puerto Rico will not have to submit documents such as birth certificates, vaccination or credit transcripts in the 67 Florida school districts that agreed to offer such exemption.

In addition, they are coordinating efforts for the Florida Department of Health state to offer services to those who arrive without health coverage. Likewise, agreements were reached with firms such as Disney and Walmart to provide jobs to those migrating.

No information was given on where the arrivals would live. The three comments in Spanish following the article — likely to be from people on the mainland — were far from positive about this development.

A local television station from Jacksonville had an article on the subject, which stated that Florida’s governor, Rick Scott:

has also called on Florida colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition for Puerto Rican students. Florida International University said Friday that it would do so for students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also announced that Puerto Rican students displaced by the hurricane can get free school meals through the National School Lunch Program.

“To any families fleeing Puerto Rico and coming to Florida, you will not have to worry about how you’re going to pay for your child’s school meals,” Putnam said in a prepared statement.

Some see a cynical political opportunity here:

Life-saving drug supply appears good

One of Puerto Rico’s main industries is pharmaceuticals, many of which are exported to the United States and other parts of the world. On Tuesday, September 26, Fortune reported:

The drug industry has a large presence in Puerto Rico with dozens of drug and device manufacturers operating on the island, including Abbott, Baxter, Merck, Novartis, and Pfizer thanks to a now expired federal tax incentive Section 936 that encouraged drug companies to move there.

The industry is critically important to Puerto Rico’s economic recovery; it’s responsible for nearly 90,000 jobs on the island. About a quarter of all pharmaceutical drugs exported from the U.S. are made in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s drug manufacturing industry is also an essential supplier of pharmaceuticals and medical devices that thousands of U.S. hospitals and outpatient clinics use daily, including cancer drugs, immunosuppressants used by transplant patients, and devices needed for people with diabetes.

On Friday, September 29, Fox Business had this update:

While many residents of Puerto Rico continue to hang on without shelter, power, food and clean drinking water after being slammed by two massive hurricanes in less than a month, a lot of big pharmaceutical companies – who manufacture critical life-saving drugs on the island – are scrambling to ensure that drug shortages around the world don’t happen as a result.

Earlier this week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement saying the agency is “very concerned” about the possibility of a drug shortage.

“Since Friday, we have undertaken swift and extensive efforts to prevent or limit the loss or shortage of multiple drugs critical to American patients due to the challenges related to refrigeration, storage and transportation. The agency has been working closely – throughout the weekend and into [Monday] – to relocate products in coordination with our federal and local government colleagues and pharmaceutical companies,” Gottlieb said.

Fortunately, the recovery time could be quicker than anticipated:

FOX Business reached out to some of the top drug makers who manufacture on the island to see if shortages are imminent and what drugs are at risk.

Pfizer Inc. (PFE), one of the world’s largest drug makers in oncology and cardiology, told FOX Business it has completed a preliminary assessment of its properties and only one of its three sites experienced minimal to moderate damage …

Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY), whose top drugs treat oncology, cardiovascular and diabetes, told FOX Business that its two manufacturing sites in Puerto Rico also suffered minimal damage, but it’s not expected to hinder operations as infrastructure begins to recover.

“Our inventory strategy for products is designed to protect against this type of event and we see no product supply risk to global markets at this time,” Tammy Hull, a spokesperson for Eli Lilly and Co., said.

Instead, the company said it’s using its facilities as temporary shelter for some of its more than 1,100 employees on the island …

Novartis (NVS) said while it does not have manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico, it is working closely with its partners, distributors and the government to maintain business and supply continuity.

Baxter (BAX), who markets and distributes more than 84 drugs in the U.S., said it’s still in the process of trying to connect with its employees in Puerto Rico who work at the company’s facility. But as it relates to product supply, the company made preparations in advance to ensure products wouldn’t be affected …

That is good news, indeed.

Arecibo Observatory damage not as bad as thought

Hurricane Maria severely damaged the world’s second-largest radio telescope, located at Arecibo Observatory:

On September 22, Space.com reported:

While the overall structure of the telescope is still standing, it sustained some pretty serious damage from Hurricane Maria, according to an update from the Universities Space Research Organization (USRA), which helps to operate the Arecibo Observatory.

One telescope operator at Arecibo managed to contact USRA officials Thursday (Sept. 21) via a short-wave radio transmission. National Geographic’s Nadia Drake reports that Pennsylvania State University professor Jim Breakall spoke with the telescope operator, who was identified as Ángel Vazquez, and said staff members and their families were safe after sheltering at the facility. Vazquez also detailed some of the damage done to the iconic telescope. 

The article has technical details of the radio telescope.

On September 26, National Geographic reported that, while the telescope is inoperative, Arecibo Observatory is routinely stocked with food and running water, making it useful for local relief efforts:

More importantly, the observatory’s staff sheltering on-site are safe, and the facility is in good enough condition to potentially serve as a local center for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, reports Arecibo deputy director Joan Schmelz.

Because of its deep water well and generator, the observatory has been a place for those in nearby towns to gather, shower, and cook after past hurricanes. It also has an on-site helicopter landing pad, so making sure the facility is safe in general is not just of scientific importance, but is also relevant for local relief efforts.

Better news emerged on September 29, when Science News reported that the iconic observatory might not be as badly damaged as first thought:

The observatory is conserving fuel, but plans to resume limited astronomy observations September 29, deputy director Joan Schmelz tweeted earlier that day. “#AreciboScience is coming back after #MariaPR.”

But the direct whack still raises the issue of when – and even whether – to repair the observatory: Funding for it has repeatedly been on the chopping block despite its historic contributions to astronomy.

Let’s hope it can be fully restored. The observatory has played a big role in research on gravitational waves and fast radio bursts of energy. More notably, in 1992, Arecibo identified the first planets outside the solar system.

Trump ‘didn’t botch’ Maria response

Former US Navy Captain Jerry Hendrix gave an interview to Bloomberg on September 30.

Captain Hendrix said that Trump’s White House and the Pentagon made ‘smart preparations’.

Excerpts follow:

Now a senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security, Hendrix served for decades both on the high seas and in high-level staff jobs, including with the Chief of Naval Operations’ Executive Panel and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy’s Irregular Warfare Quadrennial Defense Review. Few people know more about military history than Hendrix, who has degrees from Purdue, Harvard, the Naval Postgraduate School and a Ph.D. from Kings College in London. Little wonder that in 2012 was named the service’s director of naval history.

Here is a lightly edited transcript of our discussion: 

TH: So, it seems like everybody has blasted Trump administration’s response to the Puerto Rico crisis. Has that criticism been fair?

JH: No, I don’t think so. First of all, there was a fair amount of anticipatory action that is not being recognized. Amphibious ships including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the amphibious landing ship dock Oak Hill were at sea and dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of the hurricane’s impact.

These are large ships that have large flight decks to land and dispatch heavy-lift CH-53 helicopters to and from disaster sites. They also have big well-decks — exposed surfaces that are lower than the fore and aft of the ship — from which large landing craft can be dispatched to shore carrying over 150 tons of water, food and other supplies on each trip. These are actually the ideal platforms for relief operations owing to their range of assets. The ships, due to their designs to support Marine amphibious landings in war zones, also have hospitals onboard to provide medical treatment on a large scale. That these ships were in the area should be viewed as a huge positive for the administration and the Department of Defense

TH: Many critics feel that Florida and Houston had much better preparation before their storms hit this month. What could have been done better in advance in Puerto Rico, and what can be done in the rebuilding process to help minimize damage next time around?

JH: Puerto Rico is an island that suffers from its position in the middle of the Caribbean and its physical separation from the U.S. Its roads were in disrepair and its electrical grid was antiquated prior to the hurricane. The island has also suffered for years from ineffective local government and rising local territorial debt …

I will have a post on Trump’s trip to Puerto Rico soon.

In the meantime, English speakers can follow local Puerto Rican news at the English version of El Nuevo Día.

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