Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chopsticks, a Film Recommendation, a Quote, News for Writers and Thoughts on Republican Anarchy


Film Recommendation for Bob Mueller

Saw an interesting film the other evening.  “The International” (2009) is about a corrupt bank involved in international arms dealing.   

There’s the usual intrigue, car chases and violence, but the thing that sticks in my mind is one scene where an Italian politician, talking to an Interpol agent, explains that the key factor in world politics is “debt.”  Shortly before he is gunned down, he points out that whoever controls debt controls “everything.”  In the film, he was referring the corrupt bank’s power over its international debtors, including countries and those that rule them.  By tracing the trail of “debt,” Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may come up with some very interesting information in his investigation of Russian involvement in our election process.
Jack Lippman



Pass the Chopsticks

More and more, I like to eat in Asian restaurants.  It used to just be Chinese restaurants (that was part of my heritage, being brought up in North Jersey) but now it also includes Japanese restaurants, Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants and those that are a combination of all the above.  I believe that’s called “Asian Fusion.”




How did this every happen?  I suppose it is natural since I drive a car made in Japan, wear underwear made in Indonesia, wear shorts from Sri Lanka and am currently wearing a tennis shirt that comes from Vietnam.  I think there is something in these products that infiltrates my system and directs me to Asian restaurants.  Incidentally, my favorite “Asian Fusion” restaurant down here in Florida is “Sweet Ginger” (it has Vietnamese roots) near City Place in West Palm Beach, close to the Kravis Center.  For sushi, I like a place called Sushi Simon in Boynton.  If I am going for authentic Thai, I prefer the “House of Siam” in downtown Delray Beach.
JL


Wanna Be Published?

Received an interesting email the other day from a lady up in suburban Detroit.  I pass it on to you and suggest you check out her website, particularly if you like to write.

"Dear Jack,

I was sent your blog and found it interesting. I publish soft cover books, including anthologies of other people’s writings in a series called VOICES. This is a hobby, not a business. Can you post in your blog a call for stories to be included in the up-coming VOICES?  

Currently I am collecting manuscripts from three audiences; 1) TEEN WRITERS - which will be all genres, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essay and up to 10 pages in length; COMING TO AMERICA stories and poems for any immigrant or family member, up to 20 pages; and writings of any kind from DACA.  They can just email me their manuscript. THERE IS NO COST, NO COMPENSATION, and they can keep all rights to their own work.  All material has to be original and not plagiarized. Books usually take 3-6 months to be in print.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Faye Menczer Ascher

Check out my NEW website BY CLICKING HERE!  If you like what you see, become a subscriber and get the latest updates.  And if the link doesn't work, just visit http://www.bubbiepublishing.com/ "
JL



Republicans, Anarchists and Democrats

Over the years, Republicans have been very difficult to understand.  They have always been known for being champions of free enterprise, lower taxes and an economic policy which favors businesses and wealthy investors which they seriously believe will result in business growth benefiting all Americans regardless of where they are on the economic ladder.  They believe in accomplishing this with as little government involvement and regulation as possible.  Whether or not you agree with this is not important.  What is important is that this kind of thinking on the part of Republicans has always been part of an intellectually legitimate approach to government.

Unfortunately, this approach does not work and sooner or later, the people get wise to this fact and stop voting for Republicans, leaving the G.O.P. with a big problem.  How can they get enough votes to get their candidates elected? 

There has always been a wing of the Republican Party which is composed of crypto-anarchists.  They do not believe in government.  They know that in socialist countries, where the government owns the means of production, everything is subject to some degree of government control.  In a communist state, where not only is the means of production owned by the government, but mostly everything else is as well, personal liberties, which can remain under socialism, disappear.  Ostensibly, the nation’s wealth is shared among the people, but this never really happens.  Thinking simplistically, this anarchist wing of the Republican Party, afraid of this happening here, considers any degree of government involvement, however innocuous, to be a step on the road to totalitarian Communism.  Hence, they oppose government. Sounds dumb, but to them those holding government jobs are "bureaucrats" whom they are sure are lazy, inefficient and overpaid and to be scorned.  This is what motivates them to want to "Drain the Swamp."
                                                                       
                                                                  
                                                                    




The libertarian doctrines espoused by
Ayn Rand
in her books (Atlas Shrugged, the Fountainhead) glorified this denigration of government.  This is the basis of what many Republicans believe today.  Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is even named after her. 




Steve Bannon, former advisor to the President, set about “deconstructing government” the day he showed up in the White House.  He has since been fired, but his spirit leads the anarchist wing of the Party today.  This is offensive to more traditional Republicans who still believe in the necessity of having a government which does more for its citizens than just defending our borders with a military force. 

To get elected, Republicans have accepted the support of the anarchists, including the NRA, the White Supremacists, and other groups with right wing agendas which they legitimatize by wrapping themselves in the American Flag, or even evangelical Christianity.  The Republicans have now reached the point where these nut-jobs whose votes they needed now control their party.  That is how we ended up with Donald Trump in the White House.  A saner Republican could not win their nomination! The election in Alabama of right wing nut job Roy Moore over a more traditional Republican (who even had the President Trump’s endorsement) to the Senate is proof of this.  The inmates are running the G.O.P. asylum.

The remaining Republicans have nowhere to go.  Their Congressional leadership started falling apart because of the anarchists when Speaker John Boehner, who could not work with them, resigned in 2015.  Other Republicans will follow, probably either forming their own party rather than remain part of the Right Wing Nut Job Anarchist Republican Party.  Some may even become Democrats.  For all intents and purposes, the Republican Party as we have known it has died.  The autopsy will conclude that it committed suicide.

In 2018, I urge Democratic candidates to ask their Republican opponents where they stand in regard to the things for which President Trump stands, some of which echo the position of the anarchists.  Some candidates will support him.  Some candidates will not.  Depends on what kind of Republican they are.  Either way, there will be some disenchanted Republicans who will be provided with a reason not to support their candidates.  Democrats must exploit this schism in the G.O.P.  That is how the Democrats will win in 2018.

JL

I Occasionally Post this on the Blog with Good Reason

While H.L Mencken, during his lifetime, said and wrote many things which were reprehensible, he also possessed the wisdom to have written a wonderful quote which I have posted several times on the blog.  Here it is again, but this time accompanied by a clever photograph provided by the "Occupy - Democrats" folks.




We have reached that day.  
JL


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Jack Lippman 



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trump's Success, The Running Back and a Paul Krugman Column


The Running Back   (a new short story)

The Opossums had a pretty good record in the small-time, rinky-dink, professional football league in which they competed.  The NFL gets most of its players from colleges but there are always some pretty good football players out there who never get to college and NFL scouts never even hear about.  Many of them drift to teams like the Opossums who play in a small industrial city in Minnesota where the locals are glad to be able to see a pro football game for ten bucks.  The players get paid about $250 for each game and show up for practice a few times a week for which they don’t get paid.  Of course, most have other jobs in things like construction to supplement what the Opossums pay them, but really, all the players live for is the day when perhaps they would be noticed by a scout from one of the NFL teams.  Occasionally, one might be passing through and might just be among the six or seven thousand fans who come out to sit in the wooden bleachers at Opossum Park on Wednesday evenings, when there was no football on TV, watching them play teams like the Fargo Bears or the Duluth Red Reindeer. These fans just don’t have the money to go to Minneapolis to see the Vikings, or to Chicago or to Green Bay.  They have to be content with their Opossums who along with teams from seven other rust-belt towns in the upper Midwest comprised the Northland Professional Football League.

“Men,” Coach Lindquist called out.  “I wanna introduce you to the new owner of the Opossums. He just bought the team from Jim Nelson’s estate, and he wants to have a few words with you.  I’d like you all to meet Rocco Fields.”

“Call me Rocky,” an overweight muscular man in his fifties spoke out. 

“I always wanted to own a football team, and when I heard the Opossums were up for sale, I grabbed them.  I played two years for the New York Jets a while back and I think I know a little about the game.  But I’ll still let Coach Lindquist run the team.  He’s a good coach.  But I do want to have some input into what goes on around here.  That’s the fun of owning a team.”

Flash Watson was the best player on the Opossums.  Twenty-nine years old, he had been playing football at this level for ten years.  His education, somewhere in the deep south, ended in the third grade. 

But he could run faster than anyone on the team, and maybe in the league.  All he needed was a small opening to scamper through and he would be off to the races.  But running backs were a dime a dozen and just as water reaches its level, Flash had reached his with the Opossums.  When he wasn’t playing football, he did day work for a roofing company and lived with his girlfriend and her four-year old.  He was a happy guy, content to hammer shingles and play football.  Oh, yes, in case I didn’t mention it, Flash was Afro-American, wore dreadlocks and had a wiry beard reaching about four inches below his chin.

“Men,” Rocky continued.  “Like I said, Joe will continue running the team, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be involved.  You guys ever hear of George Steinbrenner?  Used to own the New York Yankees baseball team. Loved that man!  Would’ve paid to work for him!  Knew what he was about!  And one thing he insisted on with the Yankees was that they be clean shaven.  No beards, no hair hanging below the neck, just a clean-cut American look!  That’s the one thing I’m going to insist on for you Opossums.”

Coach Lindquist interrupted, “George did allow mustaches, I recall.  That okay with you, Rocky?”

“Sure.  Mustaches are okay, even sideburns, but let’s get on with today’s practice, Coach!”

After an hour of sweaty practice, Flash hung back and cornered the coach in the locker room. 

“Does what that man said mean I gotta get rid of my beard and locks, Coach?”

“That’s what the man said.  You heard him.  He’s the one that pays us so I recommend you stop off at the barber shop pretty damn soon.”

“And what if I don’t,” Flash answered.  What he gonna do to me?” 

 “Flash, baby,” Lindquist cautioned.  “Just do what the man said to do.  Cut your hair! You know you put your ‘X’ on a two-year contract with us a couple of months ago, and we even are paying you an extra $50 a game, but believe me, I don’t think he’ll waste a minute getting rid of you if you keep the hair and the beard.  He could sell your contract.”

“What’ya mean?  Sell me, like he own me?”

“Yup.  So far as playing football for pay, he owns you.  In fact, a few of the other teams in the league have been calling.  They like the way you run.  I can tell you that if the beard and hair stay, you’ll probably be playing for Duluth by next Wednesday.  Flash, the one thing that happens in this world all the time is change, and you gotta learn to live with it.”

“Duluth?  The Red Reindeer?  Where it 10 below all winter long?  Shit, no.  Not me.”

Watson stalked out of the locker room, a very angry man, mumbling to himself.  “Fuckin’ Duluth. I’ll show them.”

That week’s game was with the league-leading Kalamazoo Knights.  They were the only team in the league which had what amounted to a loose agreement with an NFL team.  A few years earlier, the Detroit Lions had drafted a bunch of linemen and defensive backs who, it turned out, they had no need for.  They traded most of them away for future draft picks but were stuck with three or four that they had to get off their roster.  Quietly, they worked out a deal with Kalamazoo to warehouse them, and that was the primary reason the Knights were in first place in the Northland League.

Kalamazoo’s defense, which had been iron-clad up until their game with the Opossums, was no match for Flash Watson.  He ran for three touchdowns in the first half and was back on the bench after running back the third quarter kickoff for another.  He also scored all their extra points running through the Kalamazoo defense like a hot knife through butter.  When the game ended, the score was 61 to 14, and Flash was responsible for 46 of the Opossum’s points.  But he still hadn’t gone to the barber shop.

Next morning in his office, Coach Lindquist pulled Flash aside.

“Pal, I got some news for you!  Pack your stuff and get yourself on a bus for Duluth. I warned you and you didn’t listen. Rocky has traded you.”

“Even after the big game I played last night, Coach?  Why would he do dat?”

“Rocky was very happy with your game.  In fact, you were so good that Duluth tripled the amount of money they were willing to pay for your contract after they heard about what you did last night.  Really, I think he would have liked it better if you would have stayed with the Opossums but with your beard and locks, he wasn’t going to back down.  You know, that Steinbrenner thing.  Flash, it’s all your fault that you’re going to Duluth.  Change happens and you refused to change.”

Flash was about to curse at the coach when the door swung open and a tall black man came in.

“Sorry to interrupt you guys, but my time is limited, really.  Gotta get to the airport and catch a plane and my ride is waiting outside.”  Looking at Flash, he continued.

“I’m Ned Smith.  Work for the Detroit Lions.  I showed up last night to look at some of our people playing with Kalamazoo.  Injuries are killing us this season.  We need a couple of linebackers fast, so I was looking at the two All-American losers you played against last night.  Recognized them, Mr. Watson?”

Flash shook his head.

“One of the guys you ran over last night was a runner-up for the Heisman trophy three years ago.  One disappointing All-American from TCU.  And the other guy, the one wearing number 88, was All-Conference in the PAC-12.  We’re bringing them both up to the Lions this week; they both looked pretty good last night, except for not being able to stop you, and frankly, we’d like to bring you along with them, Flash.”

With that he pulled out a piece of paper and shoved it, along with a pen, in front of Flash Watson.

“Already spoke to Rocky.  Known him for years.  It’s all okay with him and he’s making a nice buck out of the deal, too.  Just sign this, Flash, so I can get outta here.  It’s a temporary agreement until you sit down with the team in Detroit next week.  We’ll work something out then.  And you can see clipped to it, there’s a check for $25,000 just to show you that we’re serious and acting in good faith.  Do we have a deal?”

“We sure do,” a smiling Flash answered.  Turning to Coach Lindquist, he continued, “Man, change sure do happen.  Lotta change since what you wuz tellin’ me a few minutes back, right, Coach?”

Lindquist smiled and lit a cigar.  “Keep in touch, Flash.”

Jack Lippman


A Fine Column by Paul Krugman

A few weeks ago, Paul Krugman wrote an interesting column in the New York Times about the Republicans.  They’re at it again, trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and conceivably, they might succeed this time around.  Otherwise, the Republican party is a bankrupt institution.  To get elected, they have chosen to cater to the lowest common denominator on the political spectrum, the bigots, the gullible and the ignorant.   To fund their lies, and Krugman points out how lies have been an integral part of their campaigns, used for the sake of “expediency,” they are funded by the very wealthy who expect the G.O.P. to put a lot of money back in their pockets through tax reform.  The party has no concern for the working person, minorities, the environment, the infrastructure, health care nor the overall health of the economy, once it has been milked by the wealthy.

The continued existence of a political party in our country is not guaranteed.  The Federalists, the Democratic-Republicans and the Whigs, all of whom elected Presidents, are no more, just pages in history books.  The Republicans will join them.  It is only a matter of time.  But I am getting away from Krugman’s brilliant column.  PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ IT . 
JL

The Secret of Trump's Success

One thing that continues to puzzle me about Donald Trump is how he managed to be successful in the business world.  He seems to lack real communication and business skills and seems to depend on bullying and making vague half-promises in trying to get things done.  It hasn’t worked in government and I am puzzled as to how it worked in the business world where millions of dollars hinge on making a “deal,” as he puts it.  There are a lot of very smart people in the real estate business and the companies which provide the financing necessary for its operation.  How was someone with the limited skills the President seems to have been able to succeed in that very tough arena, where campaign rally tactics just won’t work? 

Originally, I believe that the stake his father started him off with was enough to give him initial momentum on the road to success.  I also believe that his subsequent moves were orchestrated by a cadre of lawyers, accountants, politicians and even bankers who were on the family’s, and eventually his, payroll.  Without them, I doubt that he could have ever succeeded.  I also suspect that he grew to believe, erroneously, that he himself was the reason for his success and started to do things on his own.
  
Once doing that, he repeatedly failed.  Trump University, the Atlantic City casinos, the resorts that never got built all are evidences of this.  Finally, it seems he settled on putting up sufficient money to be able to associate himself with the projects of others, including hotels, golf courses, his winery, his TV show, his beauty pageants, his clothing and food ventures and so forth, getting paid up front, or getting a piece of the action, in exchange for the use of his name, which from his earlier successes still possessed a cachet of sorts.  It seems to have worked for him, but it doesn’t come close to working in government, at which Trump is barely an apprentice.  And after he leaves office, the value of his name will become a highly questionable commodity.
JL


                                       



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Jack Lippman 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Texas Disaster, Labor Day Thoughts, a Brooks Column Not to be Missed, More Advice to Democrats and Questioning Trump's Racism




Labor Day Thoughts

Labor Day honors those who work.  It originated late in the Nineteenth century when the labor movement in the United States fought pitched battles against not only employers but government forces called in to help companies break their strikes.  There is a sort of nobility in doing a job well, with dignity, and the labor movement recognizes this and on Labor Day, the nation honors it.  Some employers, 140 years ago, thought otherwise, treating the worker as no more than just another resource.  Even today, Personnel Departments have become Human Resource Departments, subtracting some of the dignity the worker deserves, eliminating his “personhood.”  Rabbi Marc Gellman (his syndicated column, the God Squad, appears in many newspapers) points out in a recent column that the Hebrew word for “labor” is “avodah” which is also a word for “prayer.”  There’s a connection between the two and Labor Day celebrates it.

Democrats:  Are You Listening?
This continues my advice to the Democratic Party posted last week (Aug. 28) which may or may not be included at the conclusion of this posting.  If it isn’t, go back and read it by clicking on the appropriate link off to the right (not available on our mobile app)! 

When a Democratic candidate is speaking at a gathering in which he or she is really, in effect, “preaching to the choir,” and does not have a Republican on the platform to directly challenge in regard to support of the President, he should still voice that challenge and demand that his opponent respond!  A Democratic audience need not be told that Democrats are better for Women, Blacks, Latinos, the LGBT community, labor, working people, health care, public education, the environment, the infrastructure, the economic “safety net,” etc.  They already know that!  Their votes are assured.  But remember, these votes were not enough in 2014, 2016 and in State elections for governors and legislatures throughout the nation

The schism in the Republican Party between those who are Trump loyalists and traditional Republicans who oppose Trump must be exploited. 
It is a gift to the Democratic Party. When a Republican is forced to say where he stands in regard to Trump, he automatically loses some of the votes from Republicans who think the other way. Let me repeat that: When a Republican is forced to say where he stands in regard to Trump, he automatically loses some of the votes from Republicans who think the other way.  And any loss in the number of Republican votes benefits the Democratic candidate.

We all know where the Democratic Party stands in regard to the issues named above, particularly the first four: Women, Blacks, Latinos and the LGBT community.  Strongly advocating positions to benefit these groups, which I would call “identity politics,” while consistently part of a Democratic platform, unfortunately will provide ammunition for the Republican Party and the extremists within it to use against Democrats.  It will energize them, as it did in 2016. “See, they’re playing the race card, or the sexist card, or the gay card,” they’ll gloat.  And the gullible, America's covert bigots, will fall for this, as they did in 2016.

Steve Bannon, now back at Breitbart, said that the best thing for the Republicans would be for the Democrats to include “racial” issues in their campaigning.  For example, Democrats know that voter suppression is wrong.  Many Republicans, however, claim that what Democrats see as voter suppression measures are merely attempts to curtail “voter fraud” (which we know is practically non-existent). They take Democratic opposition to such “voter fraud” measures as Democratic efforts to turn it into a “racial” issue.” This strengthens their resolve to fight for measures to curtail “voter fraud,” and brings out the bigots among them to rallies and to the polls. Bannon is correct.  He knows his customers. That’s why Democrats should soft-pedal such issues, even though their position on them is crystal clear.  They energize the Republican base, which we know is contaminated with bigotry and hatred.

Democrats should strongly focus on the one issue which will win for them in 2018 and 2020 and that is Donald J. Trump.  That bears repeating.  Democrats should strongly focus on the one issue which will win for them in 2018 and 2020 and that is Donald J. Trump.  One more time!   Democrats should strongly focus on the one issue which will win for them in 2018 and 2020 and that is Donald J. Trump.

The other issues are important, but demanding that Republicans state their position, either for or against the President, is the one strategy that will make Democrats all over the country winners again.  One more time:  Democrats should strongly focus on the one issue which will win for them in 2018 and 2020 and that is Donald J. Trump!  

Once rid of a Republican-controlled Congress (2018) and rid of a Republican White House (2020), Democrats will be able to roll up their sleeves and get what has to be done, done!   And America will end its flirtation with authoritarianism!
Jack Lippman

A David Brooks Column

Conservative columnist David Brooks recently concluded that "as long as he (Trump) is in power, the G.O.P. is a house viciously divided against itself, and cannot stand." Read his entire New York Times column leading to this conclusion BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE. (This is why I've taken the position stated directly above.)
JL


To Be or Not to Be a Racist?

Could it be that Donald Trump is not a racist?  After all, his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish.  And how could anyone growing up in New York, where Jews and Blacks and every other minority are part of the daily scene be a racist?  Not Donald. 

True, his father was careful as to whom he rented his apartments … but that wasn’t because Fred Trump was a racist.  It was because a lot of his tenants were racists, some openly, some covertly, and he didn’t want to offend them.  That would cost him money in his pocket, so his racial renting practices were only in place to keep tenants he believed to be racists happy. Did that make him a racist? 

Donald and Fred Trump
When Donald Trump says there were a “many fine people” among the racist Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, and when he pardons racist ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, it isn’t because he himself is a racist. Ask him.  No way.  But a lot of his supporters are indeed racists, some openly, some covertly, and he doesn’t want to offend them.  That would cost him supporters and votes, should he run again, so what he says and does are only spoken and done to keep his racist supporters happy.  Just like his dad.  But does that make him a racist?  Does catering to the prejudices of racists because they serve one’s personal needs make one a racist? When does expediency "trump" morality?

Before you start to make up your mind, dwell on this thought. When someone moves to a place with “better” schools, or chooses to make sacrifices to send their children to a private school, it sometimes is because the school their children would normally attend is “under-achieving,” usually because of a student body which is racially mixed, drawing from a wide range of socio-economic populations.  Does doing that make a parent a racist, at least covertly?  Before we go too far in calling Donald Trump a racist, we should remember that people in glass houses should not throw stones. 
JL

Texas Flooding

In referring the the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said the other day that “This is going to be an incredibly large disaster.  We’re not going to know the true cost for years to come … but it‘s going to be huge.”  

I couldn’t agree more, and parenthetically note that Long’s use of the word “huge” is accurate and not the usually meaningless exaggeration which the President imparts to that word.

On TV, we’ve all seen the number of homes which have been inundated with water in southeast Texas.  If any of you have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, water damage in their home from a broken pipe, you know that it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to make such homes habitable again.  Using a minimal cost of $100,000 (and that is a low-ball number) to rehabilitate at least 100,000 such damaged homes across Texas and parts of Louisiana, I come up with a figure of at least ten billion dollars.



And from what I’ve seen on TV, this number may be understated, including those which are beyond repair and which will have to be razed.  They spread eastward from Corpus Christi, Texas, all the way into neighboring Louisiana. The damage goes far beyond what you've seen on TV in Houston.

These numbers do not include personal property which has been lost nor the economic cost of businesses and jobs which have been temporarily, or possibly permanently, affected.   Hurricane Katrina’s total cost back in 2005, and the bills are still being paid, was about 190 billion!  The current flooding seems to me to be much worse and more extensive so I sense that the damage from Harvey and the resulting flooding will ultimately exceed the cost of Katrina.  Brock Long might have tacked on an adverb and predicted that the cost will be “unbelievably huge.”

Who pays for this?  As wonderful as volunteers have been, after the waters recede their role in restoring what has been lost due to flooding is minimal.  Other than continuing to arrange for temporary shelters, this is not the job for the Red Cross nor similar groups.  Insurance policies almost always exclude damage from “rising waters” and limit “hurricane damage” as well.  Unless required by a mortgage lender, most homes do not have government subsidized flood insurance to fill this gap, particularly those in areas not usually considered flood prone.  And for the one in eight homeowners who do have flood insurance, that coverage’s maximum is $250,000.  Of course, those people who rent the places where they live face a more difficult problem since the restroration of their homes is their landlord's problem, over which they have little control.  And these are the kind of people with more limited financial resources upon which to draw to get their lives back in order.

So, beyond what insurance payments there will be, the rest of the cost will have to be covered by people reaching into their family savings planned for college expenses and retirement, or government loans or grants, the nature of which it will be up to Congress to determine.  There is certain to be some squabbling over this as some in Congress try, as they unsuccessfully did with aid for New York and New Jersey when Sandy struck a few years back, to include other items in the legislation.  While I doubt that the President will attempt to tie his "Mexican Wall" fantasy to relief legislation, others are already lining up to combine it with an increase in the debt ceiling, something that will draw the ire of some conservative Republicans, and perhaps delay passage of legislation dealing with this crisis.  I feel that ultimately, Congress will appropriate just what is needed, and not much more.  (Over the years, however, continuing appropriations will multiply the amount which Congress initially comes up with at least tenfold, using Katrina as a benchmark.)

The President, along with making requests for prayer, has supported efforts to aid victims of Harvey and the resulting flooding. 


He even has visited areas in Texas on more than one occasion.  But along with doing this, he found time to make a political speech (at a tax-payer paid event) in Springfield, Missouri, at a time when, at least in my opinion, he should have been devoting himself more wholeheartedly to the disaster in Texas.  What he has failed to transmit was the perception of a daily, continuing, “hands-on” involvement on his part, something which might have done his image more good than his two visits to Texas did. 

Several years after Hurricane Katrina, it was determined that the population of New Orleans has decreased about 25%, particularly in Afro-American neighborhoods.  I anticipate a similar decrease in Houston and the other flood-damaged areas in Texas as some people decide to emigrate to other areas of the country where they might find temporary housing with relatives, and seek out a fresh start in life.

As FEMA Administrator Brock Long says, the aftermath of Harvey and its resulting flooding will remain a huge problem for years.  I do anticipate, however, that it will not affect the voting habits of Texans who for years have voted against government involvement in their lives, including protective zoning and building codes which just might have mitigated some of the damage done by Harvey.  They will, however, be glad to accept whatever succor the Federal government provides, avoiding acknowledging its source, and continue to vote Republican, go to football games and pray a lot.
Jack Lippman

Flood Relief Donation Center

From a New York Times article published last week, here is a list of national organizations to which you can donate to help provide disaster relief in Texas. Remember, there are crooks and scammers already trying to turn this disaster to their advantage.  They are no better than the criminal looters who appear in situations such as this. Rather than respond to social media or email requests to donate, you should initiate your making a contribution by directly accessing one of these groups yourself.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations on its website. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.
AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors.
Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.
Direct Relief is shipping medicine and medical supplies to Texas, and has made its entire medical inventory of more than $100 million available for the Harvey relief effort.
Matthew 25: Ministries is distributing personal care kits, cleaning products, first aid and safety kits, diapers, paper products and tarps.
Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or texting STORM to 51555.
Save the Children is delivering baby supplies, including cribs and strollers, and setting up child-friendly spaces in shelters.
AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a call on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations:
• AABB: 301-907-6977• America’s Blood Centers • American Red Cross: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)• Armed Services Blood Program: 703-681-5979
Online-only organizations
Airbnb is waiving service fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in between Aug. 23 and Sept. 25, and can guide users in creating a listing where their home is offered to victims free.
GoFundMe has created a page with all of its Harvey-related campaigns, including one started by the country singer Chris Young, who donated $100,000, and another created by the president and chief executive of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
YouCaring has a fund-raising page set up by J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans with a goal of $10 million. By 9:30 p.m. Wednesday it had raised more than $7 million.

GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping to “meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter.” It will also assist with longer-term recovery efforts.
JL


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