Puerto Rico: The Quandary
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2017-09-27 07:00 by Karl Denninger
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Puerto Rico: The Quandary
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The screaming coming from Puerto Rico is deafening.....

SAN JUAN, P.R. — Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico said on Monday that the island was on the brink of a “humanitarian crisis” nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out its power and most of its water, and left residents waiting in excruciating lines for fuel. He called on Congress to prevent a deepening disaster.

How does Congress "prevent a deepening disaster"?

It cannot.  You cannot change the laws of physics nor magically make things that are broken become not-broken.  There is no issue with funding in the current paradigm; the problems are logistical.

Those issues arose because of decades of intentional mismanagement, grift and fraud including by the Governor himself and the rest of the Puerto Rican government, which has taken on debt over and over while squandering it on social programs instead of taking care of critical infrastructure needs -- like basic maintenance to the electrical grid.

Hurricanes are natural disasters.  The storm that hit Puerto Rico was not a "global-warming enhanced" event, or anything that was the fault of anyone in DC, the mainland, or elsewhere.  It was a natural event that occurs from time to time.  Puerto Rico, like most other places, hasn't been hit "in the face" in a long time.  This doesn't change the fact that it is always a risk in such a place, that prudence demands that reserves must be maintained as part of ordinary practice and infrastructure hardening implemented, so that when such disasters occur their impact is blunted.

The island's government refused to do that. Wall Street banks and "investors" didn't care that the island government refused to do that, and bought the debt anyway, smug in the belief that the US taxpayer would bail them out if something bad happened.

Well, something bad happened.

We must not bail any of them out.

Yes, we must help Puerto Rico to the extent we can, and we are.  However, those who lent the island money must remain fully exposed to the risk of loss; that's why they got the coupon they negotiated for, it's why there's an interest payment on borrowed money and especially over the last few years it's why their debt had traded at a high discount -- the risk of non-payment.

Now that risk must become realized.

No bailouts for the Wall Street -- and main street -- folks who bought that garbage paper on the back of a natural disaster.  Uh uh.  There has to be a price for this sort of stupidity, and that's the price, for it is the only check and balance on them doing it again.

The lesson here is that if your government is squandering basic infrastructure maintenance and repairs so as to hand out cash to various people and favored groups, pretending the bill will never come due, yes it will, yes it does, and yes you will get hosed when it does.

In addition people should carefully consider the realistic carrying capacity of a given landmass in a given state of infrastructure development and maintenance.  Those who live in Puerto Rico currently did not, and sadly they are paying for that decision now.

We cannot perform magic in this instance.  It will take months to rebuild the infrastructure on the island if not years.  It will take money too, but what we must not allow is for the banksters and politicians who made bad bets and engaged in fraudulent and outrageous conduct to be bailed out by the rest of America.  No, no and no.  Those who made those bad bets must eat them and Puerto Rico, while it should and will receive assistance, must operate on a fiscally sound basis.

These are adult politicians and banksters who decided to screw the people and they must not be allowed to get away with it.

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Bagbalm
Posts: 5290
Incept: 2009-03-19

Just North of Detroit
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Too many people on an island that can't support them. It doesn't matter that their 'ecology' is more artificial than say beavers. If you over-populate for the area and climate with any organism then you will have a population crash at the first burp like a hurricane. Beaver dams may be sturdier than an electric grid, but shame on the politicians for not planning better than an aquatic rodent.
Maynard
Posts: 393
Incept: 2007-11-27

on the move
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I have a friend that is from PR. A while ago he said people liked it when they would get raked a little because they would put their entire families in line for free stuff (ice, water, food). This is an entirely different situation.

I traveled all over PR and liked it. Reminded me of Hawaii in the Caribbean. Most gas stations would only take cash. There are some people that were somewhat prepared. Lots of small concrete block houses. I commented to the owner of one LARGE compound we stayed in that it must have taken a ton of block for his place. Response, "This is not block, its poured reinforced concrete. Its not going anywhere."

Anyway, I really hope the bond holders get screwed and the territory can start fresh. I fear this will not be the case. Going bankrupt and then trying to raise funds for all new infrastructure is not a good place to be.
Aquapura
Posts: 663
Incept: 2012-04-19

South of Canada
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There are still Purto Rican's in Puerto Rico??? Could've fooled me. Last time I was in NYC I would swear they were all there...
smiley
Max_planck
Posts: 37
Incept: 2017-01-09

Southern Arizona
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I have been puzzled as to why the US Navy hasn't responded more aggressively. An aircraft carrier can distill 100,000 gallons or so of sea water in a few days. Amphibious ships have decks full of choppers and V-22s that are able to support 1,000s of Marines with inland supply drops. There are reports of hospitals running out of diesel for generators. We have used big fuel bladders delivered inland for US Forces routinely. There must be US Navy assets within a few days steaming that could have been there by now.
Themortgagedude
Posts: 10327
Incept: 2007-12-17

saint louis
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They have to bail out Puerto Rico. Failure to do so would force investors to take a look a the quality of the paper the United States issues on it's own behalf. So they will bail them out.

It's wrong in so many ways to do this. But bail them out they will.


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I think its time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that our founding fathers intended for us. Ronald Reagan 1964
Spanktron9
Posts: 4150
Incept: 2009-03-13

Reality.
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Max_Planck wrote:
Quote:
I have been puzzled as to why the US Navy hasn't responded more aggressively. An aircraft carrier can distill 100,000 gallons or so of sea water in a few days. Amphibious ships have decks full of choppers and V-22s that are able to support 1,000s of Marines with inland supply drops. There are reports of hospitals running out of diesel for generators. We have used big fuel bladders delivered inland for US Forces routinely. There must be US Navy assets within a few days steaming that could have been there by now.


Carriers are designed to support crews of 5-10,000. The amounts you mention sound large until you remember that the crew must still be maintained while "supplying" PR. And PR is reporting that "millions" are without essentials. 100,000 gallons of water doesn't go very far with even 1,000,000 people needing drinking water.

Better to get engineers and repair teams and heavy equipment in place to rebuild or construct new infrastructure.

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"Winter is coming." -Motto of House Stark
"Don't coast through life. Grab it by the hair and **** it half to death." - Jotapay
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Max_planck
Posts: 37
Incept: 2017-01-09

Southern Arizona
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Also, they are having issues with air traffic control due to the main radar being down. US military sets up ATC operations in forward operating areas regularly.
Ckaminski
Posts: 4243
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Mass-Hole!
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Closest CBGs are probably in VA. A days trip at least, maybe 2, more if they have to take on supplies First
Maxblockm
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When's your presidential campaign Karl?
Tickerguy
Posts: 150075
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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smiley

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Winding it down.
Themortgagedude
Posts: 10327
Incept: 2007-12-17

saint louis
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I think you should just run. Announce right now and put forth your opinions. Have some fun with it and then tell them to go to hell. Give em the old Lyndon Johnson speech at that point.

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I think its time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that our founding fathers intended for us. Ronald Reagan 1964
Rickyd
Posts: 703
Incept: 2009-07-07

Ontario, Canada
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How hey handle Puerto Rico will give us an idea on how they will handle the US when the US can no longer make "the payments". To me, it would logically happen when the US cannot make it's interest payments...but that is pure speculation on my part...and probably way too simplistic.

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"That day is coming again, for the same reason -- willful and intentional blindness toward a grossly over-extended economic picture fueled by debt accumulation that cannot permanently continue as a simple function of arithmetic."

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Maynard
Posts: 393
Incept: 2007-11-27

on the move
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"they" is the US. There is no other "they" when the US can't make payments.
smiley
Lobo
Posts: 396
Incept: 2013-12-25

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You also see this **** with universities. They get money from the state to build new buildings, don't plan for maintenance and spend a crap-load on social justice programs. Years later they start bleating about mechanical systems and safety upgrades. For the chiiiillldddrrren, you know.

Homeowners can't do with a water heater, furnace or roof. Infrastructures are durable goods, but they need maintenance and replacement at some point.

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Village Idiot
Mangymutt
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Incept: 2015-05-03

Vancouver WA
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Maxblockm = When's your presidential campaign Karl?


Karl = smiley


MangyMutt = FREE FOOD!!!!!!!! You got my vote
Fedwatcher
Posts: 1957
Incept: 2009-04-07

Southern California
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If we look at recent weather predictions, it was possible for Puerto Rico to be hit by as many as five hurricanes in less than two weeks.

No matter what the cause, this possibility has risen in the last decade and politicians are well aware of it but do nothing to prepare. When they say anything else, they are LYING!

These politicians continue to send young people to die in the Middle East and vote to enrich weapons makers, but do nothing to protect their voters because they believe their voters are SHEEP while weapons makers help to fund their campaigns.

To these politicians supplying Natural Gas to Europe is more important than sending food to U.S. Citizens.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. Commonwealth where the people are U.S. Citizens.
Delphis
Posts: 1409
Incept: 2009-06-04

Washington
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@max_planck...

The Pri-Fly as an atc for a larger airport is a great idea practically but spacing issues for heavy aircraft need a much wider area than the tower can handle. A land ATC op demands a good deal of power and though the pri-fly and air boss could be utilized to bring in heavies in theory, the needed proximity to the field that they have the privilege of getting a front row seat for the a/c on the carrier is in short supply a , they would have draft and multiple issues not being able to see the a/c in the actual pattern.

My $.02

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"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."....Albert Einstein
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Max_planck
Posts: 37
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Southern Arizona
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@ Delhpis -

I was thinking more of the land based ATCs that are regularly established by the USAF in forward areas. Self sufficient with generators, handle C-130s, C-17s, etc. I worked with a babe some years ago who was a former AF controller. They would practice at the old WW2 strips around here in the desert.

My $.03
Asimov
Posts: 109514
Incept: 2007-08-26

East Tennessee Eastern Time
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I can't help but think that now is the time for some large scale land purchases to "inject" money into the island.

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Supertruckertom
Posts: 1464
Incept: 2010-11-07

USA
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I can see that Asimov.
Move the natives to the mainland and set up a new tax haven for Wall Street tycoons.

Similar things happened in the South during Reconstruction.

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Preparing to go Hunting.
Zappafan
Posts: 2984
Incept: 2007-11-30

Atlanta
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I listened to some of the interview from the mayor of San Juan on the radio this morning.

What I heard was pretty sad, and somewhat of an indictment of the level of dependency and lack of resourcefulness our fellow man has fallen to.

She was pleading for aid from the Feds, and while I get it that this is her job, and the US government should play a role, I have to ask - where are the men?

It's a man's responsibility to provide and plan for the essentials of life and safety. I heard the mayor state that people are washing their clothes in rivers and drinking out of them (a quick way to get a parasite.) I remember our host talking about water filtration units. I have one myself. Is it so crazy to think that maybe you ought to have one of these in your house if you live on an island in a hurricane alley?

I understand that there are elderly and these days many have households with no man (or lady) capable of taking charge around. But what about the others? Do we now expect the government to save our asses in any situation?

It's a real world experiment on what happens when your power goes out for over a few days and the ATM's don't work. And so far it ain't lookin' good.


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Ich bin der Tankendau!
Tickerguy
Posts: 150075
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Yep.

And no, basic filtration for drinking water isn't expensive. Nor are AquaMira drops. Both together will make any non-salty, non-chemically-contaminated water biologically safe and fit to drink.

No drinkable water = death. The only thing that will kill you faster is hypothermia, which means having the capacity to deal with that need had ******n well better be taken care of, and in an island environment where you CAN get cut off you had ****ing well better have it in your residence ALL THE ******N TIME.

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Winding it down.
Maynard
Posts: 393
Incept: 2007-11-27

on the move
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I have a lifestraw in my car and pretty much have one on hand whenever I travel. As well as protection items. In Central America I traveled with a machete next to me. I called it my Hispanic CWP. It remains next to me now back in the states.
People have been nannied to the point they can't take care of themselves. (This is not limited to the US or its territories)
Punch_rockgroin
Posts: 2317
Incept: 2008-12-31

Pacific NW USA
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Filtration doesn't have to be fancy. Look up what is needed to build a slow sand filter: a barrel, some pipe, rocks, gravel and sand.

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Put the boots to him. Medium style.
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