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Politicizing Hurricane Harvey Helps No One

Politicizing Hurricane Harvey Helps No One

Turning the tragedy of others into a means of scoring cheap points is about as low as it gets

https://twitter.com/weatheroptics/status/901096926296371202

Blogging from Houston where we’ve received 25 inches of rain these last 48 hours. Meteorologists are predicting we’ll receive another 15-25 inches in the next three days, and that’s before Harvey meanders back into the gulf, swings back around and hits us once more as a parting gift.

My brother-in-law’s family is still waiting to see if they have a home to return to in Rockport, my in-law’s were flooded out of their home, and for the first time in my entire life, I’m sitting here, like millions of others, contemplating the very real possibility that we could lose everything before this storm is through. Thousands already have.

So then I open social media to give my mind a chance to wander away from the weightiness only to find all kinds of helpful pontification, written by members of the national press corps, or other coastal elites, deigning to explain “what went wrong.” What went wrong was that the Gulf Coast was hit by a Category 4 hurricane. That’s what went wrong.

And if they’re not criticizing the decision not execute a mandatory evacuation of Houston (an entirely impossible task in the time frame given, see also: Hurricane Rita), they’re calling our Senators hypocrites for requesting federal aide when they voted against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill, a bill that was nothing more than a giant chunk of pork with very little relief.

When our entire community is in the most literal sense, drowning, no one gives a damn about a political hot take. No one cares who could’ve done what differently, or who voted or didn’t vote for a garbage piece of legislation — we’re just hoping and praying we have a home tomorrow morning and for those who’ve lost, how to rebuild.

I’ve weathered many storms and hurricanes in Houston and Harvey is by far the worst, not just in damage or rainfall. Dealing with a ceaseless, increasingly destructive storm is exhausting, not knowing when or how this will end. It will be several weeks, even months before Houston finds any normality after this.

I’ve never been more thankful for my family, who are really all that matter. At the same time, I’m deeply heartbroken. While we sit in the comfort of our dry home, thousands have lost everything and at this moment, I’m powerless to help.

Texans are resilient. Watching reports and videos of neighbors helping neighbors has been a bright spot and only confirms that we are in fact the best Republic in the union. Our first responders have been nothing short of incredible. But turning the tragedy of others into a means of scoring cheap points is about as low as it gets.

Love, compassion, and help are what Texans need. Can we at least hold the criticism until after the flood waters have receded?

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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Comments

“Love, compassion, and help are what Texans need. Can we at least hold the criticism until after the flood waters have receded?”

Can a tiger change its stripes? It is in the DNA of the left to see only the flaws in others. They also have a remarkable ability to see none in themselves.

    coolway in reply to inspectorudy. | August 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    And knee-jerkers on the right are doing it as well. Don’t make it right. Like Kimberlee said (I’m paraphrashing) Shut up and get a mop. There’s work to be done.

    YellowSnake in reply to inspectorudy. | August 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Why don’t you look in a mirror? You are doing exactly what you accuse them of doing.

Good to know you are okay so far, Kemberlee. And good to know that your relatives who have perhaps lost their homes and possessions yet have the greatest gift, their lives.

At this point, until the rain stops, there is little those of us not in the area can do for Texans. I’ve seen many pictures of people helping others, and I understand the Cajun navy from Baton Rouge is headed over — although from the looks of the radar, they may need help, too, soon.

I’ll be donating to helping organizations as soon as the situation clears a bit, and I know many other Americans will do the same, because that’s the kind of nation we are.

Trying to score political points over a natural disaster is disgusting.

Pelosi Schmelosi | August 28, 2017 at 10:40 am

“Turning the tragedy of others into a means of scoring cheap points is about as low as it gets”

The Left have no moral compass, so they have no conception about what “low” means. You cannot shame people who lack morality; the only option is to treat them as the dirtbags they really are.

    The same crap is coming from the right. And no, I’m not a lefty. I’m a Texan.

      inspectorudy in reply to coolway. | August 28, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      How about pointing out some of the “Same crap from the right” for us. It seems to be your big meme of the day.

        coolway in reply to inspectorudy. | August 28, 2017 at 9:24 pm

        As one example, I would simply refer you to the very first comment in this thread.

        YellowSnake in reply to inspectorudy. | August 29, 2017 at 12:31 am

        Schmelosi’s generalization of leftists is so stupid that the only thing it indicates is that he is a rabid partisan who doesn’t understand that honest people can disagree and that honest people can have a different point of view and different experience and understanding. He doesn’t want to understand that some leftists have rock solid character. He doesn’t want to believe in honest disagreement because it would put a huge dent in his own psyche; which is held together by being a member of a team rather than a true understanding of even the side he roots for.

        As for whether leftists have a moral compass, Pete Seeger was a card carrying communist and I doubt you could find any person on any side who had the moral integrity of him. I picked him because it is indisputable. But I could pick others – even politicians who had the courage of their convictions. A few of them exist.

        Do you want to claim with a straight face that Donald J. Trump has a moral compass? That Trump is capable of shame? Trump can’t admit error even when the error is obvious. He is defensive – not a sign of good character. He is a flat out liar who lies even when the truth would work as well.

        Let’s face it. You guys don’t like Trump. He is a despicable human being He is using you and you are using him. He can appoint judges and administrators that will do what you want. But you can’t trust him. He is not one of you. He is a textbook narcissist. He doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself.

          Milhouse in reply to YellowSnake. | August 29, 2017 at 10:47 am

          As for whether leftists have a moral compass, Pete Seeger was a card carrying communist and I doubt you could find any person on any side who had the moral integrity of him. I picked him because it is indisputable.

          It is to laugh. This is what Yellowsnake seriously believes, and he’s unfortunately very far from alone.

          YellowSnake in reply to YellowSnake. | August 30, 2017 at 12:32 pm

          I didn’t say he was perfect, but “This Just In: Pete Seeger Denounced Stalin Over a Decade Ago” http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/01/arts/music/01seeg.html?mcubz=1

          He, at least, admitted his mistake. I guess MLK is disqualified ,too, because he was a womanizer.

          Any such generalization is ridiculous. I guess Cesar Chavez is disqualified, too, because late in life he wasn’t perfect.

          Before you answer, I posit that no righty has a moral compass – please supply a perfect right-wing human being.

We all know what is coming………………

It’s Trump’s fault!

The people in and around Texas/Houston will need all the help they can get. Especially after and the news folks go home. This will be a years long effort to rebuild. To all who are helping you are doing god’s work! Thanks

Houston will be the end of the Trump Administration if the Dems can swing it. Right now their people are licking their chops at the prospect of finally bringing him down. I put nothing past them in their efforts since they have used illegal spying and lying to bring him down in the past. I expect arson and lawlessness to spread in Houston with ever growing cries from the usual grievance crowd to stop the racial injustices(while they loot and burn). Trump will be hung on Houston if he and the Gov can’t quickly establish a firm security presence street by street.

    coolway in reply to richardb. | August 28, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    We don’t need no steenking ‘firm security presence’. Especially not in the form of feds going street to street. We can provide our own security, thank you very much.

    You seemed to have confused Texas with California.

      inspectorudy in reply to coolway. | August 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Is your real name Nagin? Is that you Ray? “We don’t need no stinkin federal help” “We gots lots of school buses that we gonna use.”

        coolway in reply to inspectorudy. | August 28, 2017 at 9:31 pm

        No, I am not a Nagin. I am a Texan however, and fail to see why any person claiming to be of a conservative persuasion or having even the most basic understanding of Texas values would be calling for the Feds to institute security on a street by street basis.

        Sheesh. See them guys in the bass boats pulling their neighbors out of the water? They’re probably packing and would be a more formidable first response to looting than any fed force you might deploy.

        You can take your federal security force and put it where the sun don’t shine.

          YellowSnake in reply to coolway. | August 29, 2017 at 12:51 am

          They’re probably packing and would be a more formidable first response to looting than any fed force you might deploy

          Sounds good in theory, but more often than not, civilians are useless. It takes training and practice to be good at anything. How often to amateurs outwit professionals? In a couple of incidents that come to mind, the amateurs ducked for cover and later said that they didn’t act for fear of hitting innocents or for some other reason.

          I am not saying it never happens. But there is a reason why they make a movie or write a book when it does.

          The Texas Tower massacre was an example of a civilian and a policeman joining forces. Certainly there have been civilian heroes. But when push comes to shove do you want an amateur or a professional when you are in dire straights?

          Then there is this ambiguous example: http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2013/05/clackamas_town_center_shooting_84.html

    YellowSnake in reply to richardb. | August 28, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Treatment for a movie? – needs work.

Humphrey's Executor | August 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

As long as we promote the idea that government can prevent or cure all human suffering we a bound to be disappointed. True charity comes from each of us to our neighbors in need, not from a government program.

    You kinda need both. In the bible, Joseph advises the Pharaoh to put aside the surplus for 7 years so that it will be available for the 7 lean years he prophesies. I am not a believer, but stories like that make sense.

    In case you don’t get the point, the Pharaoh was the government. Anyone who bases his thinking on ideology is not really thinking – just regurgitating. It takes government, large charities, local organizations and personal responsibility. “No man is an island.”

Everything is politics, at the moment. Humanity, while individuals can rise to divine heights of selflessness, is, basically, selfish. It wants what it wants when it wants it. And, most individuals view themselves as the important center of the universe. Right now, Houston is the center of universal suffering, for the media. But the events there are only the latest in a nearly infinite string of such incidents stretching back to the birth of the planet.

Houston will recover. It will be years before it is cleaned up and it will never be the same, but it will recover. People may lose their possessions, but if they are still alive and reasonably healthy, they can recover as well. Houses can be rebuilt. Ordinary possessions replaced. People can relocate. Jobs will still exist and be waiting to be filled. Life will go on. It just takes time to recover. And, possibly, other disasters will be waiting down the road. Such is life.

But, enough philosophy of life. This storm will change the lives of some 7-10 million people, to one extent or another. The remaining 320 million people in this country have their own lives to get on with. Texas, unlike Louisiana following Katrina in 2005 and Florida in 1002, following Andrew, declared the proper emergencies and coordinated with the federal authorities BEFORE the storm hit. Federal aid is already on the way. Part of III Corps is right up the road at Fort Hood [Killeen Tx], and elements of that command can be mobilized for emergency relief.

As to the question of why Houston was not evacuated, the answer has already been given. There was simply no way to do it, either efficiently or effectively. No one can be blamed for that. Where the blame lies is in the fact that Houston, the counties which surround it and, to some degree, the State of Texas did not have a effective plan to deal with extensive flash flooding in the area or ignored it. FEMA produces very accurate flood zone maps. The insurance industry uses them to set flood insurance rates. Low lying areas could and should have been evacuated. They apparently weren’t. Texas National Guard units should have been activated and positioned in Houston, before the event. We should have seen Guard units making these rising water extractions, not civilians with john boats. And, being state assets, the Guard can also assist local LE with enforcement action or do so independently. While the problems in Houston were ultimately the result of natural forces, failure to follow the 5 Ps has exacerbated them.

Well, things will get better. Hang in there, y’all.

    Liz in reply to Mac45. | August 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Based on what I have seen on TV, National Guard was stationed and ready to help. There was a call from the local government for help from the “local navy” since the flash flooding hit a very large area all at once.

    Houston is flat and has lots of concrete. There was a picture somewhere showing the change in paved over areas from the 1950s to now.

    inspectorudy in reply to Mac45. | August 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    The idea to deploy the NG BEFORE the storm has hit and the damage area is known is weak. What if it had hit Galveston instead? What if the NG personnel are trapped in a flooded area and cannot help anyone? Wouldn’t you think the NG would have to know what roads are open and how to evacuate the people they rescue? The NG are people just like us and they have no secret powers. They are a recovery and rescue unit not a prevention unit. You are right about the evacuation of Huston. There was simply no way to evacuate it safely or timely. This is an issue that almost ALL big cities face and there is no quick or easy answer. But as to your philosophy of life, I’ll bet you that Trump will be blamed in as many ways as possible by the leaft. Some things ion life never change.

Kemberlee,

1st my best wishes. I live by the sea and watch for cyclonic clouds anytime a storm is foretasted for our general area. I have been in the eye of the storm. So best wishes.

Try NPR – They have not politicized this event. I did listen to the Mayor of Houston this morning and he made a comment about not having enough time to formulate a plan. That is different from not having enough time to execute a plan. Shouldn’t the plan be in a file or computer file and regularly updated?

Hurricane Sandy was more than a giant chunk of pork with very little relief. I know that from personal experience. But let me pose 2 questions:

1. If Sandy was a waste, are you so sure that the Harvey package will not be? Has Trump shown the slightest sign of rolling up his sleeves for anything? Is Texas, renowned for minimalist government, going to have the managers for this? If they hire a bunch of contractors, who is going to manage them? Do you really think that politicians of either party are immune from pork or cronyism?

2. If you bemoan politicizing this event, why did you fan the flames? I don’t follow that much social media. But I am not totally removed. The threads I follow have politicize nothing. My friend is a regular poster and has a wide network. Her home was at the heart of Andrew. Being older, it survived. But during the storm she was doing things like plugging outlets. She had nothing but kind words for those in the path of Harvey; as did others.

One last thing: I have heard talk of Houston and the surrounding areas building flood controls and other protective infrastructure. They have started talks with experts in the Netherlands. The Netherlands became experts after devastating floods in 1953. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sea_flood_of_1953 That seems like a good use of capital. I am all in favor of it, if the NY-NJ tunnel is fully funded and the Wall is not

    coolway in reply to YellowSnake. | August 28, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    The systems being looked at and debated (for years) involve building barriers to protect the city from the gulf. Various forms of dikes and seawalls and gates to close the bay area off from the Gulf of Mexico.

    These systems, each of which might easily cost half a trillion dollars, are intended to protect against storm surge. They would have no effect on the flooding caused by three feet of rain falling in a short time.

      YellowSnake in reply to coolway. | August 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      I understand that, but the barriers are being discussed none the less. How else would I know about it?

      Where I live, long before I lived in threa, they channelized all the rivers and added culverts for streams. I had no idea where a beautiful river went because it was buried. Recently they decided to reverse the process. They uncovered and restored the river and opened up a beautiful park. Go figure.

      Where I grew up there was lot of marsh land. We played in it, fished in it, and swam in it. The area is unrecognizable, now.

      BTW, I have spent considerable time in the Netherlands and they seem to have figured out how to do it decently – I won’t say great. They reclaimed all the land from the Zuiderzee. They built moveable barriers at the mouth of major ports. I was less fond of the great dike. It has a bland, straight highway on top and was boring. Interesting that they used those iconic windmills to drain the water. I know that west Texas has lots on high tech windmills, but most Texans would prefer a nice nuclear plant or a bunch of coal fire ones.

It is so interesting to listen to the coverage of this disaster and A/B roll it against the Katrina coverage, particularly since some of the left-wing press is so nice as to archive all their broadcasts (Like NPR).

With Katrina, the press was relentless in pressing the “There should be” button. There should have been Federal aid pre-positioned where it would have been underwater afterward. There should have been a federal disaster declaration *before* the Governor of LA requested it. The military should have been deployed to assist in the flood recovery (when they were on a large scale, just being ignored by the press).

Lesson learned. All of the interviews I’ve heard so far with disaster preparedness officials have pushback, i.e. they don’t just curl up in a ball when the reporter pokes them. They push back with how much is being done and how much rain has fallen. And they very specifically do not mention Trump’s name.

Good.

    YellowSnake in reply to georgfelis. | August 28, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Reporters should push, although should not have an agenda.

    But it also seems that we hear what we want; not necessarily what the say (myself included).

Just stay safe Kemberlee. Most things can be replaced. Lives are precious and not replaceable.

Prayers for all of those who are suffering.And for all those who are worried and wondering if those they love are safe.

Hiss – boo – to all who try to make points from other people’s misery.

Many will denigrate the actions of others from afar and across a keyboard without having any idea of what they’re talking about. Such is life in the “information” age. Sadly.

2nd Ammendment Mother | August 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

The private and State level response is already first class and will be the real story…. which of course, the MSM will avoid at all costs.

    Why don’t you wait and find out? Will you even notice if they report it well or will you notice the nit that you didn’t like. You seem prejudiced.

    They could even report it as a good result, but point out that we learned from Katrina and Sandy. Would that be OK with you? It does seem like we have learned form those events.

      2nd Ammendment Mother in reply to YellowSnake. | August 28, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      hmmmm….. don’t need to “wait on it to be reported” since it’s my friends, neighbors and relatives out there volunteering on the ground and passing word back home on what’s being done and what is still needed.

      One group of first responders were heading down from Abilene when they got word of a nursing home needing assistance. They didn’t wait for permission from anyone – they turned their convoy and headed straight for them and got them evacuated.

      Yesterday, I watched a small town of less than 500 souls put together 15 men (all 1st responders), 5 boats, life jackets, first aid supplies, water and enough food for them to shelter and take care of themselves along with sufficient cash and a fuel trailer. They did that and had it ready to depart in just about an hour. All of these men are down there on their own dime with their own equipment. That’s just one small little story…. now multiply that across what the whole of the State is already putting on the ground in support.

      Nearly every fire department has men and equipment on site or on the way. Every utility had linemen and trucks staged. HEB has it’s portable food kitchens on site which will deliver 2500 meals per hour and a complete portable pharmacy, Walmart has already shipped in over 800 truckloads of supplies…. Texas A&M has a complete emergency vet clinic set up on site. Buc-ees is using it’s supply chain to keep fuel moving in. Hospitals are moving mountains bringing in extra staff.

      I’m just throwing up random bits different friends and relatives have shared – SINCE LAST THURSDAY…. so while CNN is sitting around whining…. we’re busy.

        Congratulations! I guess FEMA and federal aid won’t be needed. Glad to hear.

        I don’t know if CNN is whining, but how would you know since you are so busy? You also seem to have electricity. It gets a lot worse when you don’t.

        But you could have written your post before the storm. Of course the gallant Texans did what New Orleans and NY-NJ couldn’t. Personally, I will wait a few days until we find out how the less advantaged are fairing. Is that a whine?

          inspectorudy in reply to YellowSnake. | August 28, 2017 at 3:19 pm

          I don’t know anything about you but your avatar speaks volumes!

          YellowSnake in reply to YellowSnake. | August 28, 2017 at 3:54 pm

          What do you need to know about me personally? When it is relevant, I include such info. This comment didn’t.

          What I know about you is that you attacked me personally (ad hominem). That means you don’t actually have a point. You are just a follower; a member of a team. You can’t think for yourself.

Just a small up-date…

It stopped raining sometime in the small hours last night. It is raining again now, but it’s very light here NW of Houston. No danger of flooding in my case, but I am isolated by creeks all around me that are impassable. Grocery stores in the area are closed at any rate. Just experienced the first transient power outages, but power remains up now.

    inspectorudy in reply to Ragspierre. | August 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Good luck to you and yours Rags.

      Ragspierre in reply to inspectorudy. | August 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you very kindly. I’m in really great shape, with stored water and food for many days. Just got a boiled water alert from the utility, really as a precaution.

      In a few days, I’ll be able to come out of the woods!

      (Note to self: put aside more booze in future.)

      As I say, I have nothing to complain about. My Golden and I have it much better than others. Best wishes to all!

    kenoshamarge in reply to Ragspierre. | August 28, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Just stay safe Rags. Everything else can be dealt with.

      Ragspierre in reply to kenoshamarge. | August 28, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Again, thanks for the kind thought. About my only concern at this point is losing some trees. When the soil is this saturated and a hard wind blows, oaks especially (surface root character and big sail area) drop by the thousands. I lost several in Ike.

        kenoshamarge in reply to Ragspierre. | August 28, 2017 at 6:18 pm

        Always a shame to lose trees. One of the last big blows here took down a large maple on the lot line. Bugs had got to the crotch and 1/2 went in their yard and the other half in ours. Fortunately no major damage done but that big old tree sure provided a lot of shade for both yards. We miss it.

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