24 January 2010


What’s Wrong?

After decades of international effort and billions of dollars from the US and around the world, Haiti remains a starving, diseased, corrupt, ignorant, impoverished semi-nation, perhaps the worst place in the western hemisphere before the earthquake.

It is said that more faith-based organizations operate there than any place on earth, except India. It is often repeated that the average Haitian survives on 2 dollars per day. I’m unable to confirm if that is accurate, but according to the CIA World Fact Book, Haiti as a French colony was once the wealthiest nation in the Caribbean. Independent since 1804, it has been plagued by lawlessness, disease, corruption and political violence for most of its history, finally inaugurating a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.

Its population is 9,035,536, and its area is 27,750 sq km, ranking 153rd, about the size of Massachusetts. Its literacy rate is 52.9% of age 15 and over that can read and write in any language. Its ethnic makeup is 95%, black, 5% mulatto and white. Claimed religions - Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3%, but roughly half of the population practices voodoo. The official languages are French and Creole. People living with aids - 120,000 (2007 est.), 43rd in the world. With1.4% of GDP (1991) spent on education, its 175th in the world.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and are vulnerable to frequent natural disasters, made worse by the country's widespread deforestation. While the economy has recovered in recent years, registering positive growth since 2005, four tropical storms in 2008 severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector. US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted apparel exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to US markets. HOPE II, passed in October 2008, further improved the apparel export sector extending preferences to 2018; the apparel sector accounts for two-thirds of Haitian exports and barely one-tenth of GDP. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly a quarter of GDP and more than twice the earnings from exports. Haiti suffers from high inflation, a lack of investment, and a severe trade deficit.

Since 2004, about 8,000 peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) maintain civil order; despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians cross into the Dominican Republic and sail to neighboring countries. Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island. Haiti is a primary Caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe, and a center for substantial bulk cash smuggling activity. Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions, pervasive corruption and significant cannabis use.

There have been frequent unofficial and official US interventions in Haiti for over the past 200 years. Below are a few examples.

Haiti Show of Force 1888

On 20 December 1888 a display of force persuaded the Haitian Government to give up an American steamer which had been seized. Rebellion, intrigue, and conspiracy continued to be commonplace.

Navassa Island Incident 1889-1891

Uninhabited Navassa Island was claimed by the US in 1857 for its guano (organic phosphate fertilizer), and mining took place between 1865 and 1898. In 1889 the island's operation passed to the Navassa Phosphate Company of Baltimore, Maryland which mined with African-American laborers

Abusive conditions soon provoked a race riot and the workers hacked off the arms, legs and heads of some of the whites. At the end of the battle five white supervisors were dead and others injured. US warships gathered up the people and bodies and took them to Baltimore. October 1889 the USS Galena took nine ring-leaders to the United States Marshal on 25 October 1889. A total of eighteen of the workers were returned to Baltimore for trials.

Intervention in Haiti (1914)

The country's most productive president, Cincinnatus Leconte, had died in a freak explosion in the National Palace in August 1912. Five contenders claimed the country's leadership over the next three years.

During 1914, US naval forces intermittently protected American nationals from rioting and revolution in Haiti. The United States periodically considered annexing the whole Island of Hispaniola, but the divisive issue of slavery kept the nation from acting. Until 1862 the United States refused to recognize Haiti's independence because the free, black, island nation symbolized opposition to slavery.

Occupation of Haiti (1915-34)

Civil disturbances and lack of a friendly stable government caused the United States to occupy and rule Haiti by military government between 1915 and 1934. During the occupation infrastructure development made material improvements to the country and the peoples lives. Port-au-Prince as the major city and trading center is largely the result of the changes made during the occupation. Resentment of the foreign occupation led to protests and several notorious episodes in which many Haitian civilians were killed by the US Army and Marines. When U.S. service members left in 1934, Haiti reverted to their typical dictatorial style.

A former governor general of the Philippines, W. Cameron Forbes, headed the Forbes Commission that praised improvements made by United States, but criticized the exclusion of Haitians from positions of real authority in the government or constabulary. The commission further asserted that "the social forces that created [instability] still remain--poverty, ignorance, and the lack of a tradition or desire for orderly free government."

Operation Uphold Democracy

In December 1990 Jean-Bertrand Aristide won 67% of the vote in an election deemed free and fair by international observers. He was overthrown by elements of the army and forced to leave the country in September 1991.

From October 1991 to June 1992, President Joseph Nerette led an unconstitutional de facto regime and governed with a parliamentary majority and the armed forces. In June 1992, he resigned and Parliament approved Marc Bazin as prime minister with no president. In June 1993, Bazin resigned and the UN imposed an oil and arms embargo, bringing the Haitian military to the negotiating table.

President Aristide and Gen. Raoul Cedras, head of the Haitian armed forces, signed the UN-brokered Governors Island Agreement on July 3, 1993, establishing a 10-step process to restore constitutional government and return President Aristide by October 30, 1993. The military derailed the process and the UN re-imposed economic sanctions. The military and the de facto government sanctioned repression, assassination, torture, and rape in open defiance of the international community's condemnation.

In May 1994, the military selected Supreme Court Justice Emile Jonassaint to be provisional president of its third de facto regime. The UN and the U.S. reacted by tightening economic sanctions. On July 31, 1994, UN Resolution 940 authorized member states “to use all necessary means” to facilitate the departure of Haiti's military leadership and restore constitutional rule and Aristide's presidency.

The United States formed a multinational force (MNF) to carry out the UN's mandate by military intervention. US objectives were foster democratic institutions and reduce the flow of illegal immigrants. The Military-backed regime did not relinquish authority becoming increasingly repressive. Deteriorating conditions resulted in tens of thousands of impoverished Haitians fleeing the country, many attempting to enter the United States.

Operation Secure Tomorrow.

After President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party swept legislative elections in 2000 they were widely dismissed as flawed and international donors froze millions of dollars in aid. Unfortunately, there were irregularities that occurred in the election and the vote count. Aristide's party claimed an overall victory in disputed legislative and municipal elections. In November 2000, the opposition boycotted the presidential election and Aristide won unopposed.

By 2001, external support for Aristide had receded. President Clinton had restored Aristide to power, an action that Republicans opposed.

On 04 February 2004 the international community, made up of United States, Canada, France, the OAS, CARICOM, and the United Nations, presented a tough peace plan. The plan called for three persons from the international community to select a council of seven wise persons, who would then choose who would end up being a prime minister. The President accepted, but the opposition rejected the peace plan, and the rebels could not be controlled.

On 29 February 2004 Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled the country, and the country's Supreme Court chief justice assumed leadership as hundreds of loyal armed militants protested outside the national palace. In the neighborhood surrounding the national palace, gangs loyal to the president patrolled the streets cars and shot randomly at local residents. Elsewhere in Haiti rebels took over Haiti's third largest city, Les Cayes and controlled much of northern Haiti advancing to within 60 kilometers of the capital.

Immediately after his departure President Aristide said he had been "kidnapped" and taken by force to the Central African Republic.” Congress member Maxine Waters said Aristide told her that he had been threatened by US diplomats, who told him that if he did not leave Haiti, that they would withdraw Aristide's security and would allow paramilitary leader Guy Philippe to storm the palace and kill him. Randall Robinson, founder of TransAfrica said that Aristide emphatically denied that he had resigned, and said "He was abducted by the United States in the commission of a coup."

On Sunday 29 February 2004, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1529 endorsing the deployment of a Multinational Interim Force to Haiti.

Operation New Horizons.

In a region of scarce resources, New Horizons engineering and medical exercises have significantly benefited the people of the Caribbean, while enhancing the capabilities of US Armed Forces to deploy and train in foreign environments. During 2001, Southern Command conducted three New Horizons exercises in the Caribbean area -- Bahamas, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia. Fiscal year 2002 saw three more New Horizons exercises in Barbados, Dominica, and Jamaica.

Operation Unified Response.

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday 12 January 2010 collapsed the presidential palace, monuments, and the city's largest hospital. Shoddily built schools and houses lay in ruins across the densely populated city. Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told (CNN) Wednesday, he believes more than 100,000 people may be dead. Working hospitals were overflowing, and bodies lined the roadways. The International Red Cross said up to 3 million people have been affected. Development efforts have suffered severe setbacks because of political violence, lawlessness, corruption and natural disasters.

President Barack Obama directed a swift, coordinated effort from the U.S., saying "the people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief of food, water and medicine that Haitians will need in the coming days." The United States has launched a major civilian and military response led by U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, who says the immediate objective is to save lives.

Here’s what I Think.

Aid, not money, should be sent to help the Haitian people recover, to the extent their corrupt repressive government will allow from this current disaster.

I will not be voluntarily contributing any more money to Haiti or Haitians. Our voluntary tax-exempt donations and involuntary redirected tax payments and Federal aid contributions over our working lives appears to total about $15,000 dollars in today’s money, and I believe that’s much more than our fair share.

It will be a shame if any more of my hard earned overly taxed, money finds its way to Haiti, especially after the injuries, suffering, and disease from this terrible disaster have been relieved.

It is a mistake to keep giving the repressive government and wealthy elites of Haiti more money and resources to continue pillaging and abusing the ignorant people of Haiti.

If we keep shielding them from the penalties for their mistakes, or allowing them to escape their poor decisions, they will continue to make those same mistakes. If they are to improve themselves they must be allowed to understand the true and complete costs of their ignorant, destructive behaviors.

Ignorance, poverty, corruption, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and crime is what we have encouraged, and it’s what we tolerated, so that is what we have taught them that we will allow. And no matter how badly they act, the well-meaning will always shield them from their fate.

Let them suffer the pain and penalty of their bad choices and foolish behavior; perhaps they will eventually learn to save themselves, if not, they should never again be aided.

15 January 2010

Laws for All,

No Exemptions, No Exceptions, No Subsidies

No bills should be allowed to come to the floor in the House or Senate that excludes any citizen in good standing from any obligation, requirement or privilege granted in the language of the law.

A bill whose merit depends on or requires exemptions, exclusions, exceptions, subsidies or tariffs, or any form of special protection, is not equitable, and on its face unjust if it must penalize or subsidize other citizens in good standing to achieve its objectives or make compliance possible.

It is a poorly crafted bill if it depends upon pages and pages of explanation to justify disadvantaging someone who has done nothing improper and advantaging someone else who has done nothing exemplary, except for only existing.

The same would be true for righting a wrong, by wronging others. Reparations cannot depend upon disadvantaging someone new or more. If you cannot repair someone without doing others more harm, then don’t make the whole of the human condition worse.

Good laws should be simply stated, and the condition requiring a remedy easily understood, and affecting all citizens (not interlopers) in some way.

09 January 2010


Misunderstand America

The socialist, communist, fascist, progressive movement (a few more Democrats than Republicans) has once again misunderstood American values.

Their formula of preying upon the most ignorant lowest motives of those they have traditionally manipulated has backfired on them.

The practice of naming a tax increase something that sounds good and valuable, like Health Care reform, is just impoverishing and dehumanizing more and more of the vulnerable ignorant and is readily apparent to even the most naïve non-citizen newcomers.

Stop trying to pass the massive Health Tax and Penalty Bill. No one wants to pay for more and get less, especially to give others something they won’t pay for, that many don’t want or need, and most haven’t earned.

The people have become even more cynical about government, the Presidency, and Congresses corruption and incompetence; their poll ratings are at all time lows because they don’t understand long held carefully distilled American values.

These people apparently only talk or listen to like-minded ideologues that clog the area around the beltway and overpopulated, big city, cosmopolitan, cocktail parties telling each other what the media elitists, academic snobs, and the politically correct think will gain them acceptance with their shallow companions.

It’s like expecting a talking parrot to think before it speaks, it won't.

Stop trying to block the First Amendment rights of others. Not just because you look stupid, but because it harms your corrupt cause and feels tyrannical to most Americans.

Stop demonizing those who disagree with you. It makes you look childish and weak.

All Americans citizens are entitled to freedom of speech. Your objectives and viewpoints are anti-American and in the distinct minority. If you don’t like being disregarded, reevaluate your radical beliefs and adjust them to something more rational with fewer unintended circumstances that most of us find objectionable. If you do, the majority may give them a moment’s consideration.

Progressive elitist principles and policies constantly repackaged and exhibited since the 1900’s are unworthy of consideration.

Stop trying to impose your ideology; if your ideas are worthy, many more people will choose them freely.

You might try presenting updated, carefully thought out, rational improvements to those tired, old, repeatedly discarded progressive ideas from the waste heap of history; maybe someone naïve will buy it; I’m not.

This nation can no longer afford to indulge your ignorant whimsy to avoid hurting your delicate feelings.

Update your argument or find a better cause.

03 January 2010

Good Things

About Global Warming

With all the exaggerated claims of impending doom from global warming, I thought I might mention a few good things likely to occur if the planet warms noticeably.

Incidentally, wouldn’t it be interesting to discover that increased atmospheric greenhouse gases are caused by global warming from solar and geothermal sources; instead of greenhouse gases causing global warming

First, cold weather winter mortality rates are much higher than summer, so something about cold weather is more stressful to humans than hot. Make plans and provisions for both cooling and warming. One thing is obvious from earth’s history, climate changes will occur.

More atmospheric heat should accelerate the hydrologic cycle increasing potential rainfall everywhere, noticeably in arid and desert areas, increasing crop variety and yields worldwide. Increased rainfall will bring more abundant fresh water to all locations, oddly meaningful to arid polar regions that receive little annual precipitation. It will also speed up icecap melt contributing to coastal flooding, but much of it will evaporate increasing worldwide relative humidity, rainfall, and eventually fuller and new terrestrial rivers and lakes, and more abundant hydro-electric power.

During earths ancient history the atmosphere has had many times the current levels of green house gases. During the Jurassic period about eight times current levels, with planet wide temperatures perhaps 50 F degrees higher than today, with prolific plant, insect and animal life, although long before humans.

Increased carbon dioxide will fertilize rapid plant and crop growth feeding many more of the worlds starving people and covering barren landscapes helping to moderate higher temperatures. Increased insects will pollinate many more plants; bees should thrive and animals that eat insects will do well. Larger populations of self pollinating plants will thrive and evolve quickly; bad for the allergic, but, good for the hungry.

A greater variety of plant nutrition will be more widely available in larger quantity with less distribution cost with many plants, animals and insects ranging much farther and migrating much closer to the poles than anytime in recorded human history.

Human activity in colder climates is less economically efficient and infrastructure construction and maintenance are more costly. Clothing, food, housing and transportation are all more expensive in colder climates. Cooling occupyied spaces and pest control will be more expensive, as will the control of warm weather parasites and diseases.

So what is so bad about moderate global warming?

Mostly, businesses and governments can’t control it and therefore will find it more difficult to adopt quickly to tax and profit from it. The kinds of power and oppression that use the artificial scarcity of food, clothing, housing, health and security will be lost to dictators and despots, and they will have to resort to more outright violence and vulgar manipulations in plain view.

A person will be able to accumulate resources and wealth, replace ignorance, clamor toward freedom, and throw off the yoke of oppression and excessive taxation once again.