Puerto Rico didn't suffer a "natural disaster": it was looted and starved long before the hurricanes

Hurricanes Irma and Maria left Puerto Rico in tatters, but it would be a mistake to blame the weather for Puerto Rico's suffering; Puerto Rico was put in harm's way by corrupt governments doing the work of a corrupt finance sector, then abandoned by FEMA, and is now being left to rot without any real effort to rebuild its public services so that they can be privatized and used to extract rent from the island's residents. Read the rest

Puerto Rico is a tax-haven for rich mainlanders and is also too broke to survive hurricanes: are these facts possibly related, somehow?

Since the US conquered Puerto Rico in the Spanish-American war, it has treated the island as a playground for the rich, with all kinds of sweetheart tax-deals and regulatory exemptions that lured some industry and some rich people to the island, but which kept it from ever developing its economy and infrastructure to American mainland standards. Read the rest

How anarchist organizers in rural Puerto Rico rebooted their power grid after the privatized power company abandoned them

After being hammered by hurricane Maria, the residents of the rural Puerto Rican mountain town of Mariana got tired of waiting for the bumbling, privatized, cash-starved power authority to reconnect them to the grid, so the anarchist organizer Christine Nieves founded Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo, one of a dozen-odd cooperatives across the island to create their own solar grid; by the time the The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority finally put in an appearance, Mariana had had power for two whole months. Read the rest

Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria death toll is 70 times higher than the official count

According to the Trump administration, Hurricane Maria killed 64 people; according to a careful, peer-reviewed study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the death toll was 4645. Read the rest

All of Puerto Rico loses power

1.4 million people in Puerto Rico lost power yesterday in an outage that lasted for a day and left part of the island without power even after service was mainly restored. Read the rest

Seasteading meets the shock doctrine in Puerto Rico, where ethnic cleansing precedes Going Galt

Naomi Klein's l(ooooo)ongread in The Intercept about the state of play in Puerto Rico is the comprehensive summary of the post-Maria fuckery and hope that has gripped America's colonial laboratory, the place where taxation without representation, austerity, chemical weapons, new drugs, and new agribusiness techniques get trialed before the rest of America are subjected to them. Read the rest

$300,000,000,000+: 2017's American "natural disaster" bill was by far the highest in history

Until 2017, the biggest bill Americans ever paid for a year's worth of "natural disasters" was $214.8B, back in 2005: in 2017, it was at least $300B, not counting much of the damage to Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. Read the rest

The 2-person Montana company Whitefish Energy just lost its $300M contract to fix Puerto Rico's grid

Whitefish Energy is the 2-person Montana company from Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown of Whitefish, Montana that was awarded a $300M contract to help remediate Puerto Rico's shattered electrical grid, billing its subcontractors at $462/hour for supervisors and $319.04/hour for linesmen in a sweetheart deal that banned Puerto Rico from auditing the company's expense reports, or penalizing it for nonperformance. Read the rest

San Juan mayor barred from speaking on Trump's Puerto Rico relief conference call

Carmen Yulin Cruz is the outspoken mayor of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, who was publicly denounced by Donald Trump for pointing out the federal government's inaction during the worst humanitarian disaster in modern US history. Trump went on to characterize Puerto Ricans -- chest deep in sewage raw sewage with no fresh water, no homes, no power and no gasoline -- as "wanting everything done for them." Read the rest

Addressing Donald Trump, Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks for the nation

After history's worst president briefly paused his golf game to go on record to blame Puerto Ricans for failing to bootstrap themselves out of the aftermath of a devastating hurricane, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda took to Twitter to speak for America: Read the rest

Hurricane Maria started in 1898: how America spent more than a century brutalizing Puerto Rico

Nelson A Denis is the author of War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America's Colony, a highly regarded, bestselling 2016 history of the injustices perpetrated against Puerto Rico by successive American governments starting in 1898 and continuing literally to this present day. Read the rest

Hurricane Relief Bookstore: DRM-free science fiction ebooks to benefit Houston, the Caribbean, and Florida

Pablo Defendini writes, "Fireside Fiction Company has set up the Hurricane Relief Bookstore as a mechanism for all of us to funnel money over to people who need it. 100% of the profits from sales of ebooks on the store will go to three organizations: one for the Caribbean, one for Houston, and one for Florida. The store features DRM-free ebooks from Fireside Magazine, as well as Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, Mothership Zeta, Angry Robot Books, Apex Books, and many more individual authors who have contributed independently. Read the rest