Why the 25th Amendment Won’t Save Us

by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed –

Well I don’t know, but I been told
If the horse don’t pull you got to carry the load
I don’t know who’s back’s that strong
Maybe find out before too long

One way or another
One way or another
One way or another
This darkness got to give …

— Robert Hunter

This may only be a minor accent in the vast symphony of outrage we are confronted with on a daily basis, but it is worthy of note. You are aware, I’m sure, of the ongoing shouting match Donald Trump is having with the NFL over players standing for the national anthem. Well, Trump found himself last week at the Air National Guard Base in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with Fox fiend Sean Hannity. By tradition, “Retreat” was bugled on the base as the flag was lowered for the day.

The same tradition requires all military personnel and civilian leadership to stand at attention out of respect for the flag. Neither Trump nor Hannity stood, flouting that tradition. Laughing as the bugle call filled the air, Trump asked Hannity, “Are they playing that for you or for me?” Referring to Hannity’s show, Trump then addressed the crowd with, “They’re playing that in honor of his ratings.”

Remember when President Obama once saluted a member of his Marine guard with a coffee cup in his hand, and people like Sean Hannity reacted as if Obama had just offered the Sixth Fleet to Kim Jong-un as a birthday present? I do, and once upon a time, such brazen, televised hypocrisy would have captured my full attention. You’re going on and on about the football players and the flag but just insulted your own armed forces, and on a base no less?

Once upon a time, yeah.

Those days are over. When the president of the United States of America tells all the residents of Puerto Rico he’s basically sick of hearing about them being wet, hungry and in the dark all the time, when he threatens to cut them off completely despite the fact that the island was thoroughly scourged by a massive hurricane, and oh, by the way, they are also US citizens, it’s hard to get worked up over “Retreat-gate” in the proper fashion.

This is what he said in a string of tweets before dawn on Thursday morning:

“Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.” says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!

Got that, everyone? The storm was Puerto Rico’s fault. This US territory with no voting power in Congress seems to have quite the influence over earth, wind and fire these days, not to mention infrastructure and debt. The president sure thinks so, anyway.

This from the guy who was throwing rolls of paper towels at storm victims last week while lowballing the death toll as he talked about “a real disaster like Katrina.” For the record, the current official number stands at 36, but the people running Puerto Rico’s funeral homes know different. The people who buried their parents days after the storm passed because there was no power for their life support machines know different. The uncounted dead know different.

From the Guardian last Wednesday: “Officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) say that the government and its partners are only providing 200,000 meals a day to meet the needs of more than 2 million people. That is a daily shortfall of between 1.8 million and 5.8 million meals. ‘We are 1.8 million meals short,’ said one senior FEMA official. ‘That is why we need the urgency. And it’s not going away. We’re doing this much today, but it has to be sustained over several months.'”

Not if the president has his way about it. Sure, the US government enjoys Puerto Rico when the Navy needs to test its ship-to-shore firepower and showers Vieques with artillery, the remnants of which are likely to blame for the region having the highest disease rates in the Caribbean. What’s a little depleted uranium, cardiovascular disease and cancer between fellow citizens, right?

But, you see, Puerto Rico has debt. A “financial crisis looms largely of their own making,” Trump said. He is so adamant about Puerto Rico’s debt that Congress, at his request, has made $5 billion of the aid package it’s crafting a loan to Puerto Rico, which will also have to be paid back. Why? Because Puerto Rico’s debt is owned by Wall Street, and Wall Street is Trump’s people.

Sarah Jaffe recently spoke with Jonathan Westin, director of New York Communities for Change, who provided some truly revelatory information on who actually owns Puerto Rico’s debt:

read more…..   http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/42268-why-the-25th-amendment-won-t-save-us

 

Reprinted with permission from Truthout