Sure, President Trump, Fix Homelessness!

Frankfurt         This is so rich!  President Trump and the gang that can’t shoot straight in their supreme arrogance are now shoo-shooing about the White House thinking that it might be a good idea if they fix homelessness in large American cities.  Wow!  What is the saying, “pride cometh before the fall?”

Is this the same guy who didn’t de-nuke North Korea exactly, but at least he made a friend, huh?  Heck he was in Asia and dropped by at the price of a couple of million so they could walk, hold hands, and marvel at the DMZ.  Did anything come of that?  Hmmm?  No.

Is this the guy who just invited the Taliban to pop over for some R&R at his Camp David retreat outside Washington?  Maybe they will talk peace?  Maybe they’ll eat peas?  Whoops!  They killed an American solider in a random bombing, like they have been doing for the last umpteen twenty years.  There goes their invitation to dinner.  There go the peace talks.

Reportedly he sent a crack team to California to suss out the situation.  His yahoo lawyer-press spokesman, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who certainly knows something about failing to solve homelessness is egging him on.  Somehow, they think there is political hay to be made here.  How did that work for you in New York, Rudy?  Not so well really.  The Times says Rudy wants a carrot-and-stick approach.  What does that even possibly mean?  Maybe they can eat the carrots and make a cooking fire with the sticks?  At least that has some value.

In their weird calculations, these are liberal cities and middle-class and other folks are disturbed by homelessness, so let’s stir the pot.  Los Angeles passed initiatives to spend hundreds of millions in shelters and other responses.  Are they willing to come up with that many carrots?

According to the Times:

An estimated 59,000 homeless people live in Los Angeles County, according to a count conducted this year by the county, about a 12 percent increase over 2018. Of those, an estimated 44,000, or 75 percent, were unsheltered. Within the city of Los Angeles, which is distinct from the county, there were 36,000 homeless, including 27,000 who were unsheltered, according to that same count.

Actually, this might be something that Trump and his team DO know something about.  They are specializing at leaving families “unsheltered” and in horrid conditions and virtual prison camps including children on the border.  Maybe his plan for the homeless will be like that disaster, and he’ll move money from the military and FEMA budget to try to solve it.

It just gets better:

The administration has discussed refurbishing homeless facilities or building new ones, The Washington Post reported. An administration official said that while those ideas have been discussed, nothing has been settled.

They’ve got time on their hands, now that they couldn’t buy Greenland.  They have money to burn now that debt is going past one-trillion dollars.

This is what happens when the address of the White House is no longer Pennsylvania Avenue, but Crazy-ville!


Please enjoy Father of All… by Green Day.

Thanks to KABF.


Pope Francis Forces a Rethinking on Panhandlers and Homeless

Pope Francis with homeless Jesus statue. (Vatican Photo)

New Orleans   Living and working in urban areas around the world, whether we admit it or not, we all adopt highly individualized personal policies about how to deal with personal interactions with panhandlers and the homeless, whether we admit it or not.

Pope Francis speaking to a homeless zine in Italy sort of shamed almost all those urban survival strategies with some very simple statements that serve as a reminder that a basic moral code and compass still deserves a central place in modern life. The Pope stated plainly that it was always the right thing to do to give to the homeless. Period. When asked if that was true even if you thought it was just going for the next bottle of wine, he replied that if that was the only joy being felt in their lives, then, essentially, who are we to begrudge or judge. And, that’s not all, he argued when you loosen the grip on those small pieces of change or that crumpled loose dollar, don’t just toss it over. He counsels that we at least look the person in the eyes or, if close enough, touch their arm or hands, so that we provide some basic dignity to the exchange.

I can guarantee you that none of that has been my policy. Around the world, where poverty is epidemic, I have specialized in avoided eyes, straight back, and unbroken stride in Latin America, India, and Africa. I’ve never wanted to be stereotyped as a rich America, rather than an organizer. I’ve rationalized that I’ve given my life at the office and in the streets, so to speak, so I’ve essentially punched my own ticket for a free pass. Even at home in the US, I’ve simply nodded or dismissed direct requests with a sorry and a quick slip. On drive-by requests at stoplights, I’ve just averted my eyes and kept driving. My general policy has been never to really start, because where will it stop.

Contrary to what believers might still hold, the Pope is not perfect and neither is the Church, but that doesn’t assuage my feeling that my position has to change. Next to the Pope’s advice it seems small, cold, and, worse, inhumane. His position confronts my own view of myself. I love people and am dedicated to my work with and for them and their inalienable rights to dignity and respect, yet the Pope has called to question my position as a casual callousness that denies not only dignity and respect, but basic humanity, which would seem the least we have to offer our fellow travelers in this world.

So what’s to be done? I’m not suddenly, Mr. Moneybags or Daddy Warbucks, and I still want to believe my life’s work is still my real contribution, but my rationality for not engaging and doing my small part has been punctured. We have an often neglected family plan we picked up from a friend of saving every five dollar bill for whatever. Looks like I’ll me putting all my change into a special Pope Francis pile for the homeless and panhandlers trying to make it the best way they can, just as the rest of us are doing.

And, rather than a handout, which I hate, I can certainly give a handshake, which speaks more loudly than my little money to our universal condition, sharing not just the street but as fellow members of the teeming humanity of the world. It seems the least any of us can do.