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Priceless detail in today’s Wyclef Jean article from New York Times
08.18.2010
09:05 am

Topics:
Current Events
Politics

Tags:
Haiti
Wyclef Jean

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Priceless detail from NYT article on Wyclef Jean’s political ambitions that I wanted to call your attention to:

But Yéle [Jean’s charity] needed a way to account for $250,000 that Mr. Jean, through the check to Telemax, had used to help cover the costs of a carnival float, Mr. Rawal said.

The float featured Mr. Jean in a frilly blouse and gilded epaulettes as Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the Haitian revolutionary hero. Mr. Jean also imported a lion for the spectacle, keeping it in the parking lot of the Montana Hotel, now destroyed, where the kitchen crew fed the beast sirloin steaks. (Emphasis added).

If this guy is elected president of Hati, something that seems highly likely to happen, the inevitable next chapters will include all kinds of financial malfeasance, rampant cronyism and who knows what other fuckery? But what will happen after a year or two of President Fugee spending relief money to glorify himself is easier to predict: International relief organizations and nations will simply refuse to deal with Haiti and the people will rot.

What’s good for Wyclef Jean is not synonymous with what is best for the people of Haiti.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the spectacle of seeing an egomaniacal pop star trying to get into politics as much as the next guy (I can’t wait for Sting to decide that he should be the UK prime minister, for instance), but this isn’t about the schadenfreude, it’s about how poorly Haiti will fare should this moron get elected.

Thank you Chris Campion!

Star’s Candidacy in Haiti Puts Focus on Charity (New York Times)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
A stumble is not a fall: Rapper Immortal Technique returns from Haiti

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Media assassin Harry Allen has Twittered attention to the observations of Harlem-based Peruvian-American activist-rapper Immortal Technique upon his return from his recent visit to Haiti on the indomitable Davy D’s Hip Hop Corner.

I may not agree with all of Tech’s positions in general, but I do admire him as one of the few politically minded rappers who walks the walk. Dude built a damn orphanage in Afghanistan with no external or corporate funding, so he gets my salute.

Here are a few excerpts from his compelling Haiti look…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Scientologists heal injured in Haiti using touch
01.24.2010
08:52 pm

Topics:
Belief
Current Events

Tags:
Scientology
Haiti

 
A wealthy donor has sent a group of 50 Haitian-American doctors and volunteers from the Church of Scientology to Haiti at the cost of $400,000. The church members are using a controversial healing technique to help relief efforts:

“We’re trained as volunteer ministers, we use a process called ‘assist’ to follow the nervous system to reconnect the main points, to bring back communication,” she said.

“When you get a sudden shock to a part of your body the energy gets stuck, so we re-establish communication within the body by touching people through their clothes, and asking people to feel the touch.”

Okay. Let’s accept this at face value. If this works, why doesn’t medical science know about it?

“One hour ago he had no sensation in his left leg, so I explained the method to him, I touched him and after a while he said ‘now I feel everything’,” said Sylvie.“Otherwise they might have had to amputate his other leg. Now his sister knows the method and she can do it.”

Asked about the method being used on him, a smiling Elweels described it as “a sort of harmony between the nerves, a kind of exercise. I couldn’t feel at all, but then I could.” Does he know Scientology? “Yes, it’s a French organization,” he said.

“All the patients are happy with the technique,” said Sylvie. “But some doctors don’t like the yellow T-shirts. It’s a color thing,” she insisted. Another group of Scientologists distributed antibiotic pills. “The doctors said give everyone with wounds antibiotics,” said Italian volunteer Marina.

Some doctors at the hospital are skeptical. One US doctor, who asked not to be named, snorted: “I didn’t know touching could heal gangrene.”

When asked what the Scientologists are doing here, another doctor said: “I don’t know.”

Do you care? “Not really,” she said, wheeling an unconscious patient out of the operating room to join hundreds of others in the hospital’s sunny courtyard.

 
Scientologists ‘heal’ Haiti quake victims using touch

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Welcome to Hexayurt Country
01.22.2010
04:59 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Haiti
Hexayurt
Disaster Housing

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We can finance stable housing for Haiti for the same money that would otherwise be wasted on disposable relief tents. Check out this document proposing the use of Hexayurts in Haiti I just helped Hexayurt inventor and disaster housing specialist Vinay Gupta put together to see how.

The Hexayurt is a tent for the real world. Relief tents are a lie: they last for a year. By the time the tent has rotted and the people are homeless again, the eyes of the media have moved on to some other disaster, and everybody says the situation is fine. “Transitional sheltering” is supposed to take over from the tents, but it’s always, always, always too little too late. Nobody can afford a thousand bucks a family anyway. Not for all of them. NGOs, being fairly small compared to the size of the problem, generally count the successes rather than the failures anyway.

In Hexayurt Country, we count the dead, and we ask their names, even if all we have left at the end is a picture.

If you put half a million to a million Haitians in tents, a year from now, when all the tents have rotted, how many do you think will have permanent homes again?

A million homeless people. Five people a house. Two hundred thousand homes. Let’s say $1000 each for a transitional shelter. That’s two hundred million dollars - the lion’s share of the pledged support - and that’s on top of $400 per family for the initial tent - another eighty million dollars per million people.

Do we have two hundred and eighty million dollars for rehousing in Haiti before we start taking infrastructure (water, sanitiation etc.) costs into account?

There is not enough money on the table to take care of Haiti. And everybody in the industry knows this

Nobody will tell Joe Donor that they’re sticking a bandaid on a gunshot wound, because then he stops sending money and things get even worse. Lose-lose.

A hexayurt is a hundred bucks of plywood and some screws. Even really poor people can afford that, and you can buy four of them - 12 years of decent shelter, maybe - for the price of a sodding relief tent.

(Vinay Gupta: Hexayurt Country)

(Specs on the Hexayurt)

(Previously on Dangerous Minds: Hexayurts for Haiti)

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Building Tough Solar Cities in Haiti
01.21.2010
06:29 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Haiti
Solar
Infrastructure

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Worldchanging reports on efforts to establish solar powered cities in Haiti. Self-sufficiency seems a key idea here instead of dependence on Shock Doctrine-style foreign loans for energy.

Last week’s quake cut electricity to most of Haiti’s capital. Without power, residents and aid workers are struggling to maintain basic communication, lighting and water purification systems.

CBC News had reports of officials queuing to recharge their mobile phones. What power there is comes from gas powered generators, but diesel is running low.

In the aftermath of the quake, Reuters reported that at night the only lights visible over the city came from solar powered traffic signals. Now there is a push to roll out more solar. But beyond the emergency, renewables are key to making cities more resilient to natural disasters.

(WorldChanging: Solar Recovery for Haiti)

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Ann Coulter Chimes In On Haiti And, More Crucially, Herself
01.18.2010
12:07 pm

Topics:
Media

Tags:
Haiti
Ann Coulter
Offensive Clods

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As if the self-serving clod-isms of Limbaugh and Robertson weren’t offensive enough, now Ann Coulter‘s waxing wise on the Haitian tragedy:

Ann Coulter is jealous of the attention Rush Limbaugh has been getting since making his comment about the Obama administration wanting to exploit the Haitian tragedy to “burnish” his credentials with the black community.  So she’s making a conscious effort to out-controversy the controversial radio host, and on Fox News on Sunday, she didn’t make much effort to keep that a secret.

“Stop asking about Rush’s statement. I made some controversial statements this week too,” Coulter said on Geraldo at Large.  Then she went on to prove it. Discussing the bi-partisan humanitarian effort by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Coulter said Clinton is a “national embarrassment” and Bush shouldn’t be “forced” to partner with him.

“To force poor ex-President Bush—like he hasn’t suffered enough—to be hanging around with Bill Clinton, who’s leaving his essence on Kleenex in the White House…”

 
Coulter Does Her Best To Out-Limbaugh Rush

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment
Pat Robertson Voodoo Doll: Proceeds go to Haiti relief
01.17.2010
06:44 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Pat Robertson
Haiti

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Dangerous Minds pal Matt Dunnerstick sent word of this wonderfully appropriate way to raise money for the people of Haiti: a voodoo doll of none other than bigoted, senile, Christian right-wing fucktard Pat Robertson. A man so stupid he blames natural disasters and terrorism on “deals with the devil” and people’s sexual orientation! You can bid for the voodoo doll on Ebay and 100% of the money raised will go to the Red Cross.

Ever wanted to cause Pat Robertson a massive headache?  Give him back pain?  Jab him in the crotch?   Of course you have!  Well then BID NOW to own your very own physical representation of the dark, dark soul of Pat Robertson.

Accessories included with the doll are Pat’s very own “HOLY” BIBLE and BAG OF MONEY taken from real Americans!  WOW!

BID NOW!!!!

(When we first saw this Ebay listing, there were 51 bids and the price was $500. A few hours later, it’s up to 58 bids and $750)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hexayurts for Haiti
01.17.2010
04:20 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Haiti
Hexayurt

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Vinay Gupta’s Hexayurt, a semi-permanent structure that can be built to house a family of eight from about $100’s worth of cheap material, is a critical solution for the mess in Haiti. If implemented in the current situation, hexayurts can house the brunt of displaced survivors until more permanent aid is forthcoming. Ask your local government and NGO bodies to consider using the hexayurt as part of their relief effort.

The Hexayurt is a new kind of sheltering solution. To make the simplest hexayurt, make a wall by putting six sheets of plywood on their sides in a hexagon. Cut six more sheets in half diagonally, and screw them together into a shallow cone. Lift with a large group on to the wall, and fasten with more screws. This shelter will last for several years and costs less than $100. It may be ideal for a variety of disaster relief situations.

Here are the key points.

?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Naomi Klein: Stop Them Before They Shock Again
01.17.2010
04:08 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Haiti
Naomi Klein
Shock Doctrine

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Last night Naomi Klein, author of “No Logo” and “The Shock Doctrine,” spoke on how Haiti is being handled. Click the link below for her speech. She makes one incredibly crucial point: Aid sent to Haiti needs to be in the form of a grant, not a loan. Loans to the third world from the first are the primary way in which these countries are kept under thumb. The payback becomes impossible and the country on the receiving end of such “charity” becomes a debt slave to the policies and decisions of the one doing the loaning. This is a crucially important meme to spread: Grants, not Loans.

Journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke in New York last night and addressed the crisis in Haiti: ?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
How the U.S. Broke Haiti
01.17.2010
01:52 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Disney
Haiti
American Imperialism

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Here’s Bill Quigley on the history of American intervention in Haiti. One of the ugliest stories never told. (Note that Haiti has essentially become a plantation for Disney.)

Why does the US owe Haiti Billions? Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, stated his foreign policy view as the “Pottery Barn rule.” That is - “if you break it, you own it.”

The US has worked to break Haiti for over 200 years. We owe Haiti. Not charity. We owe Haiti as a matter of justice. Reparations. And not the $100 million promised by President Obama either - that is Powerball money. The US owes Haiti Billions - with a big B.

The US has worked for centuries to break Haiti. The US has used Haiti like a plantation. The US helped bleed the country economically since it freed itself, repeatedly invaded the country militarily, supported dictators who abused the people, used the country as a dumping ground for our own economic advantage, ruined their roads and agriculture, and toppled popularly elected officials. The US has even used Haiti like the old plantation owner and slipped over there repeatedly for sexual recreation.

Here is the briefest history of some of the major US efforts to break Haiti.

Full story here.

Related links:

Ted Rall: Haitian Earthquake: Made in the USA

The Post: Haiti?

Requiem for Port-au-Prince
01.17.2010
01:46 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
Haiti
Langston Hughes
Port-au-Prince

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Haitian writers remember the island country as it was. Here’s Langston Hughes, from Autobiography: I Wonder as I Wander, 1956

Haiti, land of blue sea and green hills, white fishing boats on the sea, and the hidden huts of peasants in the tall mountains. People strong, midnight black. Proud women whose arms bear burdens, whose backs are very straight. Children naked as nature. Nights full of stars, throbbing with Congo drums. At the capital lovely ladies ambergold, mulatto politicians, warehouses full of champagne, banks full of money. A surge of black peasants who live on the land, and the foam of the cultured elite in Port-au-Prince who live on the peasants.

Port-au-Prince, city of squalid huts, unattractive sheds and shops near the water front, but charming villas on the slopes that rise behind the port. A presidential palace gleaming white among palm trees with the green hills for a backdrop. A park where bands play at night. An enormous open-air market.

“Ba moi cinq cob,” children beg of tourists in the street. Cinq cob means a nickel. They speak a patois French. The upper classes, educated abroad, speak the language of Paris. But I met none of the upper-class Haitians.

(Foreign Policy: Requiem for Port-au-Prince)

(Via William Gibson)

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Progressive Links on Haitian Earthquake
01.17.2010
01:37 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Haiti
Link Roundup

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Good roundup of information on Haiti, how to best help, who’s not helping, who broke it, and who might continue to break it. List’s been going around on Facebook?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Tips on Making Sure Your Donation Goes to Haiti
01.17.2010
01:11 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Haiti
Donations

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Here’s a good article (from the Republican American, of all places) on making sure your donation money makes it to Haiti. Good information; apparently people are getting scammed left and right on their donations.

If you plan to donate to relief organizations working to help the victims of last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, certified public accountants have some suggestions.

Susan Howe, a CPA and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s National Financial Literacy Commission, offers these tips to ensure your donation will actually be used toward helping victims:

Donate to established organizations: Reputable nonprofit organizations are providing relief in Haiti, such as the International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, and The Salvation Army. All have experience in dealing with these types of disasters and are well-established, with a solid reputation of monetary and volunteer relief that will go directly to Haiti.

Research other organizations before you give: Many credible charities were operating in Haiti before the quake hit and are now in desperate need of financial aid. Check the Better Business Bureau Web site, at www.bbb.org/us/charity, for information about a charity’s mission, compensation, expenses, and rating. You also can check to see whether the charity is a 501(c)(3) organization by visiting this link: www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96136,00.html. The designation means the organization has been set up under federal tax rules for charitable purposes.

You also can visit Guidestar.org and type in the charity name, which will allow you to read about the charity and confirm your donation will go to the right place. It’s also a good idea to search the Internet for a charity’s name to see what news articles have been published and what the public is saying about them.

Be an educated donor: Do not give out personal or financial information freely. If you give a credit card number, address, or birth date, you can easily become a victim of identity theft. Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, since they could be a scam or contain a virus. The safest way to give is to call an organization and ask for the best way to donate.

(Not sure I would trust the Red Cross or Salvation Army, though. Do some research, see “progressive links” provided above.)

(Republican American: Tips to make sure your donation actually helps victims in Haiti)

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Pat Robertson Blames The Haitian Tragedy On A “Devil Pact”

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Last time it was Halloween candy, now it’s earthquakes.  Is there ANYTHING shameful opportunist Pat Robertson can’t link to some infernal cause?!

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,” he said.  “They were under the heel of the French…and they got together and swore a pact to the devil.  They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’  “True story.  And the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal,’” Robertson said. “Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another.”

 
The full, Christian Broadcasting Network take on the tragedy can be found here.

(via Politico)

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment