Monday, January 18, 2010

Haitian History and a Couple ATOWs

(Update below)

Before I begin with the bluntness that is my hallmark, it is my hope that everyone has kept the Haitian people in their thoughts and their prayers, and have donated where they can.

So if you haven't done so, the Red Cross is accepting donations.  Click here for their site, or if you just want to donate $10.00 from your phone, text "Haiti" to 90999.

I've been following the Haiti situation peripherally, as my knowledge of the conditions in the country before the earthquake is of a land of destitution, violence, lawlessness, and misery.  So add a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and the suffering is damn near unimaginable.  So if I skip going into details, it's because we're going to see waves of human misery for at least the next month, until the media finds a newer disaster or the notoriously short attention span of Americans takes over.  And the misery will continue.

And I'm not going to really get into the political sniping going on in this country, because it's the same old shit. So this is a caution that I will be deleting if you just want to rant about Rush or Obama.  I don't really care. We're not talking about either of the bastards.

The fact is that Haiti has been a disaster area for a long time, and recovery for them will be a return to a destitute status.

So let's look at their history and the state of their county (as condensed as I can make it) before the quake:

The population has shifted over centuries from native tribes to a large number of descendants of slaves from Africa.  The island (shared with the more prosperous Dominican Republic) was first visited, explored, and used up by the Spanish.  then the French settled and established colonies.  Haiti first achieved independence in the wake of the French Revolution.  Between shifting powers and various incursions by various other countries, including the United States, and issues with the Dominican Republic, the country has changed its border, populations, and government regularly, usually with bodies stacked to the ceiling.

From 1957-1986, Haiti was ruled by the corrupt Duvaier family.  They were overthrown by the corrupt military.  More slaughter ensued. They have tried to have some elections in the 90's, but any corrupt elected government failed without support from us.  Politically, corruption is standard procedure for Haiti.  And *raucous laughter* the (also inherently corrupt) UN is there to help stabilize the country.

The country suffers from disastrous infrastructure (imagine the tangle under your computer desk times a gazillion) and massive deforestation as wood was cut for fires, which has led to mudslides, killing thousands.

Their health care makes our horror stories look good by comparison.  40% of the population has NO access to health care in any way.  Sadly, that's probably improved as a result of the earthquake.

Poverty and instability in the country (the worst on this side of the world).  It was so bad that in 1992, when then-candidate Bill Clinton indicated he would not turn Haitians away, and was then elected, the people tore the roofs off their shacks and tried to sail here.  President Clinton was then forced to change direction lest the island empty, thousands more die, and illiterate people with no marketable skills flood into a country where their standard of living would be improved by raiding our garbage.

I hear enough talk from people about people in this country who don't have hope.  Bullshit.  Even with every real and/or imagined disadvantage still affords the most desperate in this country massive opportunity compared to Haiti.  Their government's budget is 30-40% foreign welfare.

And remember, this is before the earthquake.

So while we are in the process of helping Haiti recover (more or less (mostly less) from the latest and worst disaster to hit them in recent times, we must consider what we can (and cannot) do to help them in the long term.  I'll be honest when I say I don't have any answers.  But beyond the needed humanitarian aid that is rushing into the country now, we must consider whether or not anything further we do will help, or just be a part of our need to throw money at problems.

At least I didn't say anything really stupid, unlike our the following asshats:

Pat Robertson and Danny Glover are Asshats of the Week!

I don't know which of these bastards is stupider, so I'll lay it out and let you all decide.

Pitiful Pat sees the Devil in the details again (a recurring motif). Strangely, his assessment is that the Haitians have had disaster after disaster (including the quake) because they made a deal with the Devil:

The best response was a letter to the editor at the Minneapolis-St Paul Star-Tribune, from "Satan" that read, in part:
I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake.... If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.
Of course, the ill-named Mr Robertson (drop my sacred name mothafucka!!!) has made a career out of discovering the Devil / blathering this shite.  He has a clarifying statement on his site, but compare it with the clip.  Even sending money and prayers doesn't override asshattery.

Dumbass Danny, showing his grasp of global climatology, meteorology, geology, and PLATE TECTONICS, was able to surmise, in his near-infinite wisdom *cough, bullshit, cough*, that global warming was responsible for the earthquake (his blather begins at around 9:00):

Hell, even MMGWH devotees like fellow blogger Satyavati are calling him out on his rank asshattery!  There's more stupid shit he said in the preceding clip, but I'm not even going to waste my time on his rantings further.

So who's the bigger asshat, Robertson or Glover?  And how stupid a buddy movie would they make?


I'm giving Rush an "honorable" mention this week, because while he is trying to make a valid point about the tendency of government aid to get wasted like a Limbaugh on an Oxy farm, he keeps going back to the website.  Last week, it was linking to the Red Cross and giving out their donation text number (which is where I've been linking to).  Now it's linking to But either way, it's not donating to the federal government.

Rush, read the actual fucking site!  You keep repeating it and are now sounding like an asshat!


Shaw Kenawe said...

Robertson is the bigger asshat, since he blamed the victims for the misery the earthquake brought them.

Robertson does this sort of thing on a regular basis. He did it on 9/11, after Katrina, and the Haitian earthquake. He's 3 for 3 in asshattery.

Glover is just uninformed. He didn't blame the Haitians for making a deal with the Devil, thereby causing the earthquake.

dmarks said...

Glover's just as bad as Robertson on this. Glover has made a name for himself recently with stunts such as going down to Venezuela and praising the fascist dictator there.

Glover did not blame the Haitians, but he blamed a third party for offending his deity. Either way, the Haitians get the brunt of the punishment in both Robertson's and Glover's proclamation.

"The population has shifted over centuries from native tribes to a large number of descendants of slaves from Africa"

The "shift" was really Columbus exterminating the Tainu population if of the island in a very short time after 1492. A population estimated as high as one million by some.

That started the real miserable history of the place. After Columbus' completely successful ethnic cleansing (yes, there were none left at the end of it), the island was uninhabited. A lawless place that some pirates used as a base. The "buccaneers" were from here, a word referring to how they cooked their meat on the island. Then along came the French....

rockync said...

I agree with your asshats AND your assessment of the past and present of Haiti!
OMG! Either I'm becoming more centrist or you're becoming more liberal...;)
This is a great big honkin' carnival of horrors that isn't likely to end soon.
But if one good thing can come out of this, perhaps it will be bringing the continued abject destitution and political corruption that keeps it that way into the limelight.
Although Haiti's numbers are small in comparison to other countries that are suffering, their's is perhaps one of the most persistent examples of governmental inhumanity to its own people.
If they accept global support then the world has the right to demand a humane standard of living for its inhabitants.

Z-man said...

First off a 2-fer!! I agree totally with your choices. Now if I were Robertson my thinking would go like this: "I have this reputation for being some sort of right-wing nut. Now I'm not going to go out of my way to liberalize myself, to soften my positions, that's not the way to go but at a bare minimum I'm not gonna make any further political/religious points when disaster strikes. Looking back on some of his past statements -- when he said God gave us Katrina because we're an aborting country, now that don't make sense because if that were the case why didn't He punish the whole country instead of just little old New Orleans?

It's neck and neck but I'm gonna toss the bigger asshat award to Robertson. BTW honorable mention goes to Savage whose first thoughts after the catastrophe seemed to be all these Haitians are gonna embark on a massive voyage somehow or other to Florida just for the welfare (I still think Savage is a left-wing plant to make us look bad).

Patrick M said...

First of all, I have now added Rush as an "honorable" mention, because he's still on his riff about the White House links. It's one thing to say shit that'll stir the pot. It's another to get your facts mixed up. His opening monologue today finally did me in

Shaw: I know if you had commented before my update (where I add Rush), you would have said Rush was the biggest. So consider it said.

Dmarks: Like I said, I was kind of getting over the facts as quickly as possible. You are correct on the Spanish doing what they did.

Rocky: I'll assume it's because you're getting more centrist.

But this is not about political leanings here. It's about facts, and the facts are that Haiti was a disaster before the quake, and more than likely will be so after we get done helping them rebuild. And because a change of political philosophy won't help, I come up short on answers for once.

Z-Man: What you heard emanating from Savage and the Wiener Nation was something that crossed my mind as well, except for the welfare part, because I believe that if they had a chance to work for a living, many Haitians would work their asses off. Real deprivation (much worse than the Great Depression) has that effect on people .

On the plus, they won't have to rip the roofs off their shacks to build the ramshackle vessels....

Pamela D. Hart said...

I'm wondering HOW Pat Robertson KNOWS so much about Satan. Does Pat have a direct link to him or something? Or maybe Satan IS Pat's alter-ego!

He's the ATOW in MY book.

Good post, Patrick. And kudos for mentioning Rush. Lately I'm beginning to think he fell off the deep end with Savage.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Rush, read the actual fucking site! You keep repeating it and are now sounding like an asshat!

Oh was I happy to see that.

I had to read it like ten times just to make sure I wasn't having one of those pesky hallucinations.

That was a great way to end a hectic day.

Patrick M said...

Pam: I wouldn't say Rush has gotten the way of the Antichrist (Savage). But he's gotten a little tiring with the constant Obama paranoia to the point that he won't concede his mistakes anymore. Ultimately, that ain't good. The words "I was wrong" work wonders for credibility.

Also, I finally got you on the blogroll.

Saty: Yeah, I did it because you've mind numbed me and shit. Shit.

Didn't you get all attacked and shit for shit you said and shit?

Shit, I love typing the word shit. Especially when God and shit are in the same sentence.

Anonymous said...

Nice brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

Patrick M said...

Anon: No problem. Just remember, like with any site, do your homework. I try to be accurate, but even I make factual mistakes. Philosophically, I am perfection, though.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And you know, Patrick, there's nothing to say that Rush doesn't know EXACTLY what he's doing by continually repeating this false information. This was the point I tried to put across to you the other night: that I believe he DOES know what he's doing, and that's why he does it.

Patrick M said...

Saty: Well, we'e going to have to disagree on this one, because from my experience listening to Rush (and I've listened to him on and off since 1990 or so), he usually doesn't make such glaring errors. Whether it's pressure to perform, a personal issue, or just that he's lost his edge, he's been slipping from his best years.