Puerto Rico in US National Politics

Puerto Rico admits Hurricane Maria's death toll may be 1,427

The Story:

In four hours over two nights last week, twenty Democratic candidates for President and five moderators discussed a wide range of issues facing the US, foreign and domestic. They hardly mentioned Puerto Rico at all. And this week, that omission has received a fair amount of attention.

Background:

There are a lot of Puerto Rico related topics to which the candidates might have spoken. For example: the Commonwealth faces a huge debt crisis and a consequent need for financial restructuring. The island’s power grid needs a lot of rebuilding, and this might well provide a test case of both political parties’ professed commitment to infrastructure as an issue. And the island is regularly in the path of hurricanes, so it is an inkblot in which a candidate can see his/her own ideas about climate change.

The Thing to Know:

Although Puerto Rico is not a state and does not cast electoral votes in Presidential elections, that would a short-sighted rationale for ignoring its concerns. After all, transplanted Puerto Ricans are a significant voting bloc in several states, most of all in the paradigm of swing states, Florida.

 

The “Drunk Pelosi” Smear

White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi After White House Meeting: ‘I Pray For The President’ | MSNBC

The Story: 

A video that purported to show the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, slurring her words in a manner that suggested she was under the influence of alcohol, ricocheted around social media, with help from the President and from his personal attorney, beginning on May 22. The video was a fake, and this fakery has enhanced the already considerable polarization of politics in the United States.

The Fakery:

After President Trump walked out of a scheduled meeting about infrastructure initiatives with the Democratic leadership, Speaker Pelosi gave a statement saying that “we” (that leadership) “want to give this President the opportunity to do something historic for this country,” that is, rebuild roads and bridges to last.

A part-time sports blogger in the Bronx, who also appears to be a deep-dyed Trump admirer, slowed down the audio of Pelosi making that “we want to give …” statement, and altered her voice tone, producing the impression of drunkenness.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who now serves as the President’s private lawyer, posted the doctored footage on his twitter feed with the comment, “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

The Thing to Know: 

The facts that (1) the fraud spread as quickly as it did, and (2) it then unravelled as completely as it did, suggests both reasons for pessimism and for optimism with regard to the world’s plague of fake news in general.

Chuck Schumer: Donald Trump Bailed On Meeting To Throw Rose Garden Tantrum | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Chuck Schumer: Donald Trump Bailed On Meeting To Throw Rose Garden Tantrum | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer talks with Rachel Maddow about how Donald Trump tried to cover for being ill prepared for an infrastructure meeting with Democratic leaders by putting on a temper tantrum spectacle for the media.
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Chuck Schumer: Donald Trump Bailed On Meeting To Throw Rose Garden Tantrum | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Putin would’ve been better off with Hillary as president: Trump

Putin would've been better off with Hillary as president: Trump

Steve Hilton talks to President Trump about a potential infrastructure plan, health care and tax reform.

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Trump meets with Pelosi, Schumer at White House

Trump meets with Pelosi, Schumer at White House

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi speak to press after a White House meeting. The top two Democrats in Congress are meeting with President Trump for the first time in months to discuss improvements to U.S. infrastructure.

FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News Headlines 24/7, FOXNews.com and the direct-to-consumer streaming service, FOX Nation. FOX News also produces FOX News Sunday on FOX Broadcasting Company and FOX News Edge. A top five-cable network, FNC has been the most watched news channel in the country for 17 consecutive years. According to a 2018 Research Intelligencer study by Brand Keys, FOX News ranks as the second most trusted television brand in the country. Additionally, a Suffolk University/USA Today survey states Fox News is the most trusted source for television news or commentary in the country, while a 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation survey found that among Americans who could name an objective news source, FOX News is the top-cited outlet. FNC is available in nearly 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape while routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.

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Be Forewarned!: President Donald Trump Preps Return Of Infrastructure Week | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Be Forewarned!: President Donald Trump Preps Return Of Infrastructure Week | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow warns viewers that Donald Trump is looking to revive Infrastructure Week, and reminds them of the major Trump scandals that broke in previous iterations of the event.
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Be Forewarned!: President Donald Trump Preps Return Of Infrastructure Week | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Infrastructure populism: on the politics of building big, or failing to

When it comes to infrastructure, they’re all all talk. Image: Getty.

It is famously said of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini that at least while he was dragging his country into a war in which over half a million of his citizens died, he was also making sure the trains ran on time. The murdering fascist wasn’t all bad: he did sort out Italy’s railways.

Now, shockingly, it turns out this is all complete claptrap and Mussolini actually did very little to improve the rail system. Popular beliefs to the contrary are all just part of the fascist myth that he built up around himself to validate his governance.

It’s fake news, but the widely believed claim strikes to the core of a bigger issue: politicians hijacking transport as an easy way to connect with voters. Because, despite Chris Grayling’s best efforts, getting from A to B is an aspect of modern life that can hardly be ignored; effective roads are required to keep the population fed and public transport needed to get people to work.

Like Mussolini before him, this is something Donald Trump has recognised. Among the cries of “lock her up” and “bad hombres”, a key part of his presidential election campaign was a promise to ramp up infrastructure investment. Trump was fed up that other countries “look at our infrastructure as being sad”. As someone who has tried to use Amtrak, the US domestic rail service, I’ve got to say I agree with him.

But it’s easy to complain; it’s following through with a solution that’s the real problem. Only 13 per cent of the $1.5trn Trump hopes to raise is…

Almost 1 Out Of Every 10 U.S. Bridges Need Repairing | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Almost 1 Out Of Every 10 U.S. Bridges Need Repairing | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Following the horrific bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle take a look at the bridges here in the United States. According to the latest numbers, almost one out of every ten bridges is in dire need of repair. Where is President Trump’s infrastructure plan?
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Almost 1 Out Of Every 10 U.S. Bridges Need Repairing | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Death Toll Of Italy Bridge Collapse Expected To Rise Dramatically | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Death Toll Of Italy Bridge Collapse Expected To Rise Dramatically | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

The death toll of the highway bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy is expected to rise dramatically. NBC News’ Matt Bradley joins Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle to explain.
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About: MSNBC is the premier destination for in-depth analysis of daily headlines, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives. Reaching more than 95 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers a full schedule of live news coverage, political opinions and award-winning documentary programming — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Death Toll Of Italy Bridge Collapse Expected To Rise Dramatically | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Doctor Who Sounded Alarm Keeps Spotlight On Flint With New Book | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Doctor Who Sounded Alarm Keeps Spotlight On Flint With New Book | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of the newly released “What the Eyes Don’t See,” talks with Rachel Maddow about her role in exposing the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the fact that she’s a first generation immigrant from Iraq whose contributions to the United States would likely not have been realized under Donald Trump’s policies.
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About: MSNBC is the premier destination for in-depth analysis of daily headlines, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives. Reaching more than 95 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers a full schedule of live news coverage, political opinions and award-winning documentary programming — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Doctor Who Sounded Alarm Keeps Spotlight On Flint With New Book | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC