Natural disaster has the potential to affect all on Earth, but those harmed the most are the most disadvantaged. Major news sites are paying close attention to the wildfires of Greece and the collapsed dam in Laos, which have harmed and killed hundreds. We all read these stories but fail to understand the immense damage and contribution of natural disaster on global poverty and instability.

According to a 2016 World Bank Study, disaster forces 26 million people into poverty each year. Those with limited resources to begin with do not have the ability to cope with the harms of the disaster, and global superpowers often are more inclined to help metropolitan areas and wealthier people following a crisis.

People are not pulling out their wallets to help those in need. Peter Singer, a philosopher and effective altruist, explores this phenomenon in his book “The Life You Can Save.” Singer argues that people are less inclined to give when they see the cause as statistical instead of helping individuals or if the problem is so great they believe their contribution is futile. No donation is futile. If we all give, even a small amount, we can make a difference. We must also remember the importance of urging our political leaders to support legislation to help the world’s poor following disaster. All it takes is a 30-second phone call or e-mail to make your voice heard.

Maija Olson, St. Paul


Who knew that farming was so complicated? Or tariffs?

Welcome, farmers! Join the list of those waiting for the Donald Trump magic (“Trump’s $12B farm aid gets skeptical response,” July 25).

Day 551 of this president’s term found the former television personality asking us to “just be a little patient” as he works to solve issues of America’s international trade tariffs and the many other gambits he has embarked on: health care, immigration, international relations, gun violence, foreign interference in elections et al. As we wait, crops ripen and could be lost, as well as the overseas markets for those crops.

To paraphrase an earlier Trumpism: “Who knew farming was so complicated?”

Paul Hager, Northfield

• • •

American business pays foreign governments new taxes in the form of retaliatory tariffs; the American taxpayer pays for new subsidies to affected businesses, which either increases the national debt or raises taxes. I just don’t get it.

Mark Eliason, Apple Valley

• • •

President Trump wants to give $12 billion of taxpayer money to farmers in relief for a problem he has created, then give their products to food banks. How will the food banks use raw soybeans, corn, hogs, etc.? Won’t these goods have to be processed first, then shipped to the food banks? Who will pay for this? If all of this is paid for by the government, gosh, wouldn’t that be close to “socialism,” a word that makes most Republicans ill to even say?

Richard Raser, Savage

• • •

Payoffs are Trump’s modus operandi. It’s clear to me that he thinks his money — or the country’s money, for that matter — can buy almost anything.

The $12 billion for farmers is blatantly obvious (pardon the redundancy, but sometimes extra emphasis is justified). Then there’s $150,000 for Karen McDougal. What’s almost comical about that payment is Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s attempted smoke screen. He said the president tried to do it “correctly” by wanting a check written instead of paying with cash. What matters is that he wanted to pay! Either he had the affair or he was accepting a bribe. His alleged history is consistent with the first option. And the timing right before the election reminds me of a decaying pile of dead fish rotting in the sun.

The fact that so many religious people are willing to accept this man’s behavior because they like his so-called policies merits criticism. I’m prolife and anti-abortion, too, but there’s more to “prolife” than opposing elective abortion. It also means genuinely and ethically caring about the value of all people — no matter where they are or where they’ve been, literally and figuratively. Occasionally, I need to remind myself that’s even true for the president.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park

• • •

On Tuesday, the president spoke at a gathering of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City and said the following while pointing to members of the press: “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.” The audience responded with jeers and boos. As a veteran, I’m somewhat embarrassed. Maybe I should send a copy of “1984” to each VFW Post.

Jim Wacek, Rogers

• • •

The Democratic Party and mainstream-media refrain: Russia, Russia, Russia, Stormy, Stormy, Stormy, Cohen, Cohen, Cohen, Anything, Anything, Anything!

Corby Pelto, Plymouth


‘Calculating the gap’: How much money does a man need?

As I read July 22 article “Calculating the gap,” about executive compensation in Minnesota, I asked myself: “How much money does a man need?” The top three earners have yearly amounts of $60 million, $47 million and $27 million next to their names. These obscene numbers exist at the same time that America’s workers are fighting to gain a minimum wage of $15 per hour, as many people hold two or three jobs so they can make ends meet, and as far too many Americans live their lives in poverty. I ask again: How much money does a man need?

George Larson, Brooklyn Park


Doing something right

In recent days I am once again struck by what a fine newspaper we have here in Minneapolis. Although I read the New York Times and other online papers daily, I am grateful to have an actual “paper” in my hands each morning, and as of late I am even more impressed than usual with the Strib. Here’s why, in list form (so as to be as succinct as possible): James Lileks’ columns — always, and I mean always, make me laugh; Laurie Hertzel’s chronicles concerning her new puppy, Angus, are so heartwarming and delightful that I want to buy a dog; the incredible reporting about not-so-happy topics like the devastating story this week concerning unsolved and uninvestigated rape cases (“Denied Justice,” July 22) — that truly stopped me in my tracks.

I could go on: We do the cryptograph every day in my house — love that; love the giant weather map and Paul Douglas’ column; the continuing story about a writer hiking the Superior Trail (and the photos to go with it), the editorial page — I read that first, and Wednesday’s editorial about the cute boy selling hot dogs and the city officials who helped him get a permit was a winner, too. Even the charming pics readers send in to the Outdoors section with their kid holding up a big fish they caught — I love it all. Thanks for a great paper. Now, if the weekday delivery person could only hit my front stoop the way the weekend person does, then my Strib-joy would be complete!

Eva Lockhart, Edina