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Puerto Rico Is Rapidly Becoming a Humanitarian Disaster – and They’re Not Getting Enough Help From the Federal Government

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Power Could Be Out for Months

The governor of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, told reporters Monday that the aftermath of back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria, with a direct hit on the island Commonwealth by Maria, has created a dire situation. “This is an unprecedented disaster here in Puerto Rico… The devastation is vast,” Rossello said. “One of our priorities is to reestablish power and supplies to hospitals. We are already working to that end,” he added.

Rosselló also cautioned that his administration needs much broader assistance from the federal government, calling on the Defense Department to provide more aid for law enforcement and transportation. Rosselló, who has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, told reporters that he’s also worried that Congress will shortchange his island once the initial wave of emergency relief is gone.

“We still need some more help. This is clearly a critical disaster in Puerto Rico,” he said Sunday night. “It can’t be minimized and we can’t start overlooking us now that the storm passed, because the danger lurks.”

The entire electrical power grid and infrastructure was destroyed with officials telling NCRM that it may be up to six months before repairs are completed and power is completely restored. To add to the chaos and misery, the island is also suffering under a sweltering heat wave which increases the likelihood of deaths of elderly and infirm Puerto Rican residents by heatstroke or heat aggravated medical conditions.

Power is not the only complication, as noted by The Washington Post.

“Four days after a major hurricane battered Puerto Rico, leaving the entire island in a communications and power blackout, regions outside San Juan remained disconnected from the rest of the island,” and the world. Juncos, in a mountainous region southeast of the capital that was slammed with Maria’s most powerful winds, remains isolated, alone, afraid.

“Communications has greatly hindered the relief effort according to the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, a fact borne out by the staff of the Commonwealth’s lone at-large congressional representative, GOP Congresswoman Jenniffer González. Her Washington, D.C. office said that it is maintaining “sporadic” communications.

Officials for various federal agencies told NCRM Monday that recovery efforts are underway with search and rescue operations being a priority in the more remote areas of the island. But as noted by the Post, for federal agencies trying to respond to Maria, the situation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is inescapably more challenging than the situations in Texas and Florida after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It’s difficult to get onto the islands.

The airports and harbors here were severely damaged. That means the islands are more isolated than ever, even as the humanitarian crisis has worsened by the day.

A spokesperson for the U. S. Coast Guard’s 7th District Office in Miami, PA3 Eric Woodall said that Coast Guard assets were unaffected by the hurricane as ships were ordered to sea and aircraft were dispatched to CG air stations in Florida. However, he noted, physical damages did occur to outbuildings at USCG Air Station Borinquen, PR, but Woodall said that the runway was rapidly reopened and air operations resumed. There was also some damage to USCG Sector San Juan he said but not enough to hinder CG missions.Â

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has also been fully engaged in the ongoing search and rescue efforts, according to a spokesperson, flying numerous search and rescue sorties and coordinating its efforts with the Coast Guard.

Food delivery has also become an issue as many of the major highways on the island remain blocked or heavily damage by the storm.Â

The Post noted that although massive amounts of food, water, fuel and other supplies have been dispatched by federal agencies and private organizations, with more resources on the way, this has been an obstacle-filled process.

Federal agencies have succeeded in clearing the use of the Port of San Juan for daytime operations, but other ports remain closed pending inspections. Many roads are blocked, inhibiting relief convoys. The Transportation Department has opened five airports in Puerto Rico and two in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but only for military and relief efforts.

Abner Gomez, the executive director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, (PREMA) told reporters Friday in a press gaggle and again this morning that a ruptured dam that has been barely holding back the waters of Lake Guajataca is in imminent danger of collapse, which would cause massive amounts of water to flow unabated through coastal communities causing even more destruction.

As the scramble continues to provide relief, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration is asking that concerned citizens and others who would like to assist in the efforts pleae call (202) 800-3133 or email maria1@prfaa.pr.govÂ

The Senate has not scheduled an aide package for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. You can call your Senator to demand action: (202) 224- 3121.

Those who wish to donate through a charity or non-profit can take a look at these organizations.

UPDATE:

Reporting by Brody Levesque for NCRM, the Washington Post, & Agency France Presse 

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

Image by U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr and a CC licenseÂ

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Nikki Haley Continues Her IVF Evolution With Yet Another Policy Position 

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Nikki Haley is now on her fourth in-vitro fertilization (IVF) policy position. In a period of less than two weeks the trailing Republican presidential candidate has gone from saying embryos are “babies,” to distancing herself from the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that claims embryos are “children,” to saying she supports IVF but it’s an issue for the states, to calling for federal protections for IVF.

After the extreme Alabama Supreme Court ruling that declared human embryos to be “children,” the former Trump UN Ambassador quickly announced she agreed that embryos are “babies.”

“When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that,” Haley had said.

But public sentiment runs strongly against the Alabama Court’s February 16 ruling and Haley’s concurrence February 21.

Haley, who is trailing Trump in the polls by strong double digits, pulled back from aligning herself with the toxic Alabama decision.

RELATED: Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

“Well first off all, this is, again, I didn’t say that I agreed with the Alabama ruling. The question that I was asked is, ‘Do I believe an embryo is a baby?’” Haley told CNN, as The New Republic reported. “I do think that if you look in the definition, an embryo is considered an unborn baby. And so yes, I believe, from my stance, that that is.”

That appears to not have been sufficient, because she quickly switched her stance yet again.

“We don’t want fertility treatment to shut down, we don’t want them to stop doing IVF treatment, we don’t want them to stop doing artificial insemination,” said Haley, again to CNN, on February 22. “But I think this needs to be decided by the people in every state. Don’t take away the rights of these physicians and these parents to have these conversations.”

And now, another switch.

“We don’t need government getting involved in an issue where we don’t have a problem,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash on Friday. “We don’t have a problem with IVF facilities. If you have a certain case, let that case play out the way it’s supposed to but don’t create issues and that’s what I feel like it’s happened with this.”

READ MORE: ‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

But there is a problem, and it was caused by Republicans. Specifically, by the Dobbs case and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Alabama Supreme Court majority opinion mentioned Dobbs over a dozen times.

“I think we want IVF to be as accessible as possible to parents who are wanting those blessings of having a baby,” she also said Friday, adding a religious element to her remarks. “I don’t know the details of any of the bills, so I can’t weigh to that. But what I can tell you is, we don’t want to take that away from parents who desperately want to have a child.”

“Michael and I got our children from fertility processes. We need to make sure that those are available, that they’re protected, that it’s personal, and that the whole situation is dealt with respect,” she added, echoing pro-choice concepts while applying them to IVF.

Asked, “should there be a federal protection” for IVF, “or do you think it should be left to the states?” Haley replied: “Well, I think there should be federal protection that we allow for IVF places to be able to function.”

She added, “I think that the people need to decide if they want to get into the details of it or not. It’s the same thing of, do they want to decide, you know, exactly how many embryos or anything like that. I hope they don’t get into that. I want to see that decision between the parents and the doctors. But I think the only thing that the federal government should do is make sure that IVF places are protected and available.”

Professor of law Joyce Vance said recently, “It’s pretty simple. If life begins at conception, IVF is off the table. If you make an exception for IVF then we’re just having a conversation about who you’re willing to make exceptions for.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

READ MORE: Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

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Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Donald Trump in the Espionage Act case, which will be tried in Florida, will not be stalled by the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s policy on not taking certain actions 60 days before an election. The case, often referred to as the classified documents case, includes 31 charges under the Espionage Act.

MSNBC legal analyst and contributor Katie Phang Friday afternoon reports on the “BIG news out of Ft. Pierce.”

“The DOJ advises Judge Cannon that the ’60-day rule’ does NOT apply in Trump’s case as he has already been indicted & the case is already being litigated,” Phang writes. “So, no reason to delay taking him to trial, even with elections in November.”

Phang notes professor of law and her fellow MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance has been making that point.

“Read the policy for yourself,” Vance added Friday. “it doesn’t apply after a case is indicted, when the judge, not DOJ, is in charge of the schedule. Trump’s lawyers got it dead wrong.”

Vance points to her own Substack newsletter’s commentary, where she explains: “At the start of his filing, Trump tries to invoke DOJ policy as a justification for not having a trial this year. But he gets the analysis dead wrong. Trump tries to claim the protection of a DOJ policy against interfering in elections—a huge irony in light of Trump’s efforts to corrupt DOJ after the 2020 election and get the Justice Department to legitimize his false election fraud claims.”

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

“Trump argues that ‘Given President Trump’s status as the presumptive Republican nominee and President Biden’s chief political rival, a trial this year would also violate Justice Manual § 9-85.500, which applies to the Special Counsel’s Office, and prohibits ‘Actions that May Have an Impact on an Election.’ ‘”

“The provision Trump references reads as follows: ‘Federal prosecutors and agents may never select the timing of any action, including investigative steps, criminal charges, or statements, for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party,'” Vance notes.

She adds that the timing of a trial is controlled by a judge, not the DOJ.

READ MORE: ‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville says America must put God back into the country and the government, and right now the government isn’t honoring our “Judo” Christian values. The Alabama freshman Republican, a Christian nationalist, also says God cannot be put back into this nation currently because immigrants, who “know nothing about God,” are crossing the southern border illegally.

Sen. Tuberville is also calling for massive cuts to the federal government, saying only the “mentally unhealthy,” “elderly,” “veterans,” and “farmers” should be eligible for financial support from the government.

Tuberville told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that “the federal government is not here to take care of every person in this country. We have to take care of the mentally healthy, mentally – mentally unhealthy. We have to take care of our elderly, our veterans. Everybody else needs to go get a job. They need to get off that couch. We’re paying so many people. Maria, we have turned into so much of a socialist country headed to communism.”

He insisted there is no “free speech” in America. “They’re taking all of our rights away.”

READ MORE: Bartiromo Blasts Biden Administration for Encouraging Americans to Register to Vote

“We need to ask God for help, our country needs help,” Tuberville said in a separate interview. “We’re in a tough situation right now. I’m right here in the middle of it. I get to see it every day.”

“We live in a constitutional republic that’s trying to do things without our Judo-Christian [sic] values. And that’s how this country was built. And we got to get back to that. If we don’t, we won’t make it,” Tuberville claimed.

“The biggest thing right now I will tell you is what’s going on at our southern border. When you’ve got a country without borders, you don’t have a country. And it goes back to one thing: God is not in this building. We’ve got to get God back in this building and we’re gonna get God back in our country. We’ve got to get the God back in the nuclear family. We have to get moral values back into our country. And you can’t do that when you have a million people every couple of months come into this country that know nothing about God, that know nothing about our laws and constitution.”

Back in October, Tuberville said European countries have been “lost” to “immigration” as he praised Christian nationalist authoritarian Viktor Orbán of Hungary. Tuberville has a history of promoting white nationalism and has said he sees a white nationalist as a “Trump Republican.” The Senator also declared immigrants “don’t assimilate,” and are “globalists” who “don’t go by the laws.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’

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