Sunday, January 17, 2010

Racism and Haiti

The Haitian catastrophe has proven to me that American society is different from anything I ever imagined. Maybe I was blindered as a kid, but I can't imagine a disaster like this, with people suffering, starving, dying of thirst, victims trapped in debris, where any American would say, let's not help them.

It's one thing if it happens halfway around the world, say the tsunami in Indonesia, it might take twenty hours to get a plane there, never mind load it up, there are other major countries closer that can coordinate the response to the emergency. We might let Japan or China lead the effort, it doesn't mean we don't care. But this was 700 miles from Miami, and we have major American leaders saying that our government should just let the Haitians die.

The first shot over the bow came from evangelistic nutcase Pat Robertson, who asserted that the Haitians had a pact with the devil that had brought this disaster on them. He started his statement by suggesting that the earthquake, which has destroyed their capital city and killed perhaps a hundred thousand people -- maybe two hundred thousand, the fact that the estimate is that imprecise tells you something about the chaos there -- might end up being a good thing for them in the long run. Haiti may be one impoverished little third world hell-hole, but there is nothing good about killing a whole city full of people and knocking all their buildings down, silver linings are irrelevant in that situation. Maybe it will be better off in a hundred years, but, people, there are better ways to get there. We could have, say, not overthrown their government, and maybe invested in their commerce, if we wanted to see them thrive. You don't kill off the population to help them.

Even the Washington Post has a Page One story this morning about how this earthquake is an opportunity for Haiti to overcome its shortcomings. No! We could have helped them at any time, this is not an "opportunity," it is a horrible disaster.

A lot of Americans apparently did not want to see Haiti thrive, and there is one clear reason for that, and this is where it is hard to handle. If Haiti is anything, it is a country of black people. Nearly the entire population was descended from African slaves who rebelled against their brutal masters, they are black and their traditions come from Africa, hardly Westernized. Haiti is a country of poor black people, and the United States' response to their horrific disaster is an expression of our country's opinion of poor black folks. I don't see any other way to look at it. I am not mentioning Hurricane Katrina, but let's say there is more than one data point in this series.

And of course there are those who will point to our black President's statements as if he is only concerned because most Haitians are black, they will make this a political thing. Again, no: any human being should want to help those people, it is cynical to evaluate anybody's skin color in this kind of situation.

Pat Robertson says the earthquake is a consequence of the Haitians' pact with the devil. Rush Limbaugh has said we should not send anybody to help Haiti, we already have done our part, "it's called the US income tax." He said the disaster in Haiti is "made to order for" President Obama, he's one that has suggested that Obama's response to the rescue effort was motivated by racial and political desires.

And while they're saying this, children are crying out under collapsed buildings, families are dying for lack of water, people are fighting to the death over scraps of food, there are real people with real needs.

You probably saw the Media Matters report that showed that while MSNBC devoted entire prime-time shows to the tragedy in Haiti, Fox News barely mentioned it. Conservatives see the Haitian catastrophe as a political event, a chance to consolidate their white base, to capitalize on the latent racism in our country, and they see that if human beings in Haiti get too much publicity public opinion might turn against heartless conservatives as Americans sympathize with survivors.

I don't like to accuse people of being racists when they don't like something a black person has done, just like I doubt you will find many instances of my use of the word "homophobic" on this blog. You are allowed to dislike black individuals and gay individuals here, whatever, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a nasty agenda. But I do not see the sense in disliking someone because they're black, because they're gay, because their gender is not what you expected or hoped for. It seems reasonable to recognize that minority members are people, first and foremost, and then find out what kind of people they are. If they're decent folks then good, if they're not, if they have bad intentions then all right, respond to them on the basis of that. But when you look at a whole country of black people and say, let's let them die, I only see one way to look at that. I'm calling it racism.

I'll admit I don't understand racism. There are some nuts out there who consciously believe that their race is better than others, that evolution somehow tied virtue to pigmentation in a certain way. I can see the ordinary person having stereotypes about an outgroup, and I can see having negative stereotypes about members of an impoverished, disadvantaged outgroup, maybe people without a lot of education, people who have to hustle to live, but at some level it seems to me there is compassion, there is recognition that those outgroup members are people just like ourselves. We aren't talking about someone with an ideology we disapprove of here, or a business with corrupt practices, we are talking about human beings who are thirsty, who have broken bones and are in pain. It doesn't matter what religion they are, what language they speak, what they look like, somebody needs to help them, and as the Greatest Country on Earth it should be us.

A few years ago it would have been unthinkable to say, let those people die. I understand that Rush Limbaugh has the highest ratings in the radio world, more people listen to him than anybody, and maybe a million people a day watch Pat Robertson on TV. And these guys are saying the Haitians deserved what happened there, that our government should not help them. As Americans we need to put an end to this hardness, maybe you or I wouldn't want to vacation in Haiti but we can empathize with those poor suffering people as individuals, there should be no question about helping them.

41 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth is that they did make a pact with the devil.

Now the significance you put on that pact I guess has to do with whether you believe the devil is real or not.

But it is one of Haiti's founding myths.

http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/small_axe/v009/9.2laroche.html

According to Haitian national history, the revolutionary war was launched on the eve of a religious ceremony at a place in the north called Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman, in French). At that ceremony on August 14, 1791, an African slave named Boukman sacrificed a pig, and both Kongo and Creole spirits descended to possess the bodies of the participants, encouraging them and fortifying them for the upcoming revolutionary war. Despite deep ambivalence on the part of intellectuals, Catholics, and the moneyed classes, Vodou has always been linked with militarism and the war of independence and, through it, the pride of national sovereignty.

So, yeah if there is a devil, Haiti made a pact with it. Might explain why even though Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the same island, the Dominican Republic has been far more successful.

January 17, 2010 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,

Limbaugh said that if you're going to give to Haiti, then don't give to Haiti through our government -- do your giving to another, non-governmental organization.

(Sounds like good advice to me. If you give to our government, I've no doubt that Pelosi and Reid will somehow seize control of it and divert it to, say, Nebraska....)

Here's the quote from Rush:

"All I said was, if you paid your income taxes, that's how you donate to government for aid, and sure enough, here comes Obama announcing $100 million from the government for aid to Haiti, fine and dandy. But, you paid for it, it's your taxes. All I said was if you're going to donate do it outside the government, pure and simple."

January 17, 2010 5:43 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, a couple of things. The saying is that "Haiti is 80 percent Catholic and 100 percent voodoo." There is no question that the Haitian slaves and their descendants retained some of their African customs and religious beliefs. Worshiping and invoking their tribal deities is their custom and has nothing to do with the Christian devil.

Secondly, I would be quite certain that none of the people who were affected by this week's earthquake participated in the ritual held in 1792.

JimK

January 17, 2010 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you gone and lost your final marbles here, Jim

I don't usually watch 700 club but tuned in on Friday after reading the comments here

half the show was devoted to Haiti

the director of Robertson's relief group was on to discuss the effort to help the people there

I went to I-Tunes to buy a song and was greeted with a button to click to add a contribution for the relief effort to my bill

I was at the Wizards game Friday night watching repeated pleas for help on the Jumbotron

on Saturday Night Live, Seth Myers interrupted Weekend Update to ask viewers to send in money to help

on Sunday morning, the pastor announced that the church would be releasing funds to send and asked the congregation to write more checks that would be forwarded to relief groups

everywhere you turn, Americans were mobilizing to help

as with the tsunami, I'm sure most relief will come from America

the only outlier was Bill Clinton, who said he'd help and then took off for Boston to campaign for Coakley and then took part in the Obamacare negotiations in Washington (why?)

speaking of Coakley, Obama was in Boston yesterday and said he "needs" everyone there to get excited like they were in November 2008

if that's not the kiss of death for Coakley, I don't know what would be

thanks for reminding the true blue Dems how you duped them, Barry

in a lighter note, TTF's favorite evangelical Christian, T-Bone Burnett, won a Golden Globe award last night

to infinity and beyond, folks

January 18, 2010 8:27 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, in the America I grew up in, nobody would have suggested that we not help those people. Nobody would have said it was their own fault because of their religious practices. And now these things are being said by conservative leaders.

And I'm glad T-Bone Burnett won an award (taking your word for it). My feeling is that if somebody was making music for an audience of people like me, it would be T-Bone Burnett. That is obviously not a very big market! Besides his own albums, his production of other people's work is head and shoulders above the rest. I like his whole approach to making sound.

JimK

January 18, 2010 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Anon-

You continue to do what you do best: dehumanize those who are different from you so that you do not feel guilty about your comments or actions. It's disgraceful.

January 18, 2010 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Secondly, I would be quite certain that none of the people who were affected by this week's earthquake participated in the ritual held in 1792."

I'm certain of that too. But, no one said that. That ritual, however, set in motion events that Haitians still suffer from, whether they were complicit or not.

Which leads us to:

"Anon, in the America I grew up in, nobody would have suggested that we not help those people. Nobody would have said it was their own fault because of their religious practices. And now these things are being said by conservative leaders."

In Haiti, kids are taught about this ritual like kids here were once taught about the first Thanksgiving. And, unfortunately, what kids are taught affects the national moral fiber. All cultures are not equal and, as grown-ups, we need to recognize this.

Still, no one is saying we shouldn't help. Sounds like Limbaugh said to give to private groups rather than push for more governmental involvement.

At this point, both are really needed but his statement is irrelevant.

There is a misperception that if Christians think someone is serving the devil, they will try to destroy that person. Demonic possession is actually common in many areas of the world where there is no Christian influence. The Christian response is to send missionaries to deliver the people, not kill them off.

This is in following the example of Christ where he spend as much time releasing people from demons as healing the sick and feeding the hungry.

"And I'm glad T-Bone Burnett won an award"

He won for Best Orignal Song in a movie for a song he wrote for jeff Bridges's new movie, Crazy Heart.

Heard it's pretty good and plan to see it.

The Golden Globe often foreshadow the Academy Awards so maybe T-Bone has another Oscar in his future.

January 18, 2010 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

some interesting stuff being reported on AP this morning:

"PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Jan. 17) - Deeply religious Haitians see the hand of God in the destruction of biblical proportions visited on their benighted country. The quake, religious leaders said Sunday, is evidence that He wants change.

Exactly what change He wants depends on the faith: Some Christians say it's a sign that Haitians must deepen their faith, while some Voodoo followers see God's judgment on corruption among the country's mostly light-skinned elite.

As desperate believers gathered to pray Sunday across the shattered capital, the Rev. Eric Toussaint told a congregation gathered outside the ruined cathedral that the earthquake "is a sign from God, saying that we must recognize his power."

Haitians, he said, "need to reinvent themselves, to find a new path to God."

Some followers of Voodoo, practised alongside Roman Catholicism by the vast majority of Haitians, said the devastation of key symbols of power was punishment for corrupt leaders who have allowed the mostly light-skinned elite to enrich themselves while the black majority suffers.

"If all of a sudden, in 15 seconds, 20 seconds, all the physical representations of corruption are destroyed, it gives you pause for thought," said Richard Morse, a renowned Haitian-American musician whose mother was a singer and revered Voodoo priestess. "The Justice Ministry: down. The National Palace: down. The United Nations headquarters: down."

The destruction of every major Catholic church in the capital, including the 81-year-old cathedral, also was a sign, he said: "When there is all this corruption going on, whose role is it in society to speak out? Isn't the Church supposed to say something?"

Most Haitians are Christian - largely Catholic with a small but growing number of Protestants. But most also practice Voodoo, which along with Catholicism is an official state religion."

January 18, 2010 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

after Tuesday, will the other Dems in Congress continue to risk their careers on Obamacare:

"Candidates on both sides of the tight race have seen money and resources pouring in for their campaigns. Brown raised more than a million dollars online every day last week, according to a Republican source familiar with his fundraising. Bush administration official Karl Rove told his twitter followers to phone bank. Sen. John McCain called on to his supporters to back Brown.

On the other side, Democratic groups placed more than 500,000 calls on Saturday. Former president Bill Clinton appeared with Coakley at two campaign events, and Kennedy's widow, Vicki, appeared in a television ad to support the attorney general. Last week, Obama taped a robo-call in support of Coakley.

"In Washington, I'm fighting to curb the abuses of a health insurance industry that routinely denies care. I'm fighting for financial reforms to stop Wall Street from playing havoc with our economy. I'm fighting to create a new clean energy economy," the president said in the call.

"And it's clear now that the outcome of these and other fights will probably rest on one vote in the United States Senate," he said.

National Democrats are shocked that the race seems this close, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans in Massachusetts 3-1. Some say it is less about the president and more about a weak candidate.

But some Republicans say the mere closeness of the race spells troubles for Democrats.

"Whether Coakley wins or loses, the message is the same, health care. This health care package is death for candidates," said conservative commentator Tucker Carlson."

January 18, 2010 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(Jan. 17) -- Violence is increasing on the streets of Haiti in the wake of last week's devastating earthquake, as desperation gives way to looting and gang-related activity.

The United States planned to have 12,000 troops in the region by Monday to speed up relief efforts and quell the rising anger.

Looters armed with machetes and makeshift weapons were storming quake-ravaged storefronts and even ransacking coffins and piles of dead bodies in search of usable belongings. One man was killed Saturday when police opened fire on a mob at a Port-au-Prince market.

The near-complete breakdown of the Haitian government has resulted in a sense of lawlessness. Haiti's scant police presence is no match for the chaos -- one report said police looked on as a suspected looter was burned alive.

Much of the looting was occurring near Haiti's Civil Prison, where 4,000 inmates escaped after the structure collapsed.

"It is increasingly dangerous," said Leon Meleste, an Adventist relief worker. "The police do not exist. People are doing what they want."

Pockets of violence were impeding the relief efforts on the ground. Security concerns were halting deliveries of fresh water amid reports that armed gangs were demanding money and supplies at checkpoints. A Belgian medical team was even forced to abandon critically injured patients Friday night after local security officers deemed the area unsafe.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his staff remained at the field hospital overnight, forming what he called a "crack medical team."

"I've never been in a situation like this," Gupta said. "This is quite ridiculous."

Haitian hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean said a teenage boy volunteering with his Yele Haiti relief organization was shot and killed on the job.

CNN video showed hundreds stampeding a helicopter delivering supplies and the U.N. said hungry masses were storming food trucks, injuring children and the elderly in the fray. Reports even said relief workers were being stoned.

U.N. peacekeepers and international police were working to maintain a sense of security, but their forces are severely diminished, having lost staff members in the wreckage.

"We have never been confronted with such a disaster in the U.N. memory," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "It is like no other."


The U.S. military hopes to restore order with what TIME magazine called a "compassionate invasion." Army Lt. Gen. Ken Keen of the U.S. Southern Command said 12,000 troops would be in place in the region by Monday, including forces on the ground and others serving aboard ships.

"We are going to have to address the situation of security," Keen said. "We've had incidents of violence that impede our ability to support the government of Haiti and answer the challenges that this country faces."

Still, given the unrest, Keen said, "We are going to have to be prepared for the worst.""

January 18, 2010 12:12 PM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

This comin' from the same guy that didn't want to see us bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people.

.... how touching.

You were wanting to "let those people die"..... none of our business, as I recall.

Haiti sure looks like a quagmire to me.

What's the exit strategy?

After the rescue operations are over do we need to stay and help (ie: fund) rebuild? Rebuild back to what Standard?

Does our Constitution authorize our leaders to spend our tax dollars rebuilding a foreign country's infrastructure, while our's is crumbling?

Its funny how the same things that got you all bent out of shape a few years ago, are only uttered today by racists.

January 18, 2010 2:36 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

RT2, this is nothing like the invasion of Iraq. What was our objective there? It was obviously not to evict Saddam, because his capture and death didn't affect the war at all. It was obviously not because that country was a threat to us. It was pure imperialism.

You help a country like Haiti by doing business with them, investing in them, it doesn't mean giving them handouts. Instead of helping them, we undercut their legitimate government and let it collapse and have generally treated the country badly for two hundred years. And I'm realizing that it's because it is a country of black people whose great crime was to overthrow their slavemasters.

JimK

January 18, 2010 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did we treat them badly?

January 18, 2010 3:42 PM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

So when do we leave this time?

At what point is our Mission Accomplished?

Has making sure everyone there has a nice new shack before we leave become our problem?

Or do we redeploy over the horizon as soon as the rescue effort is complete?

Just asking ..... should we assume the burden of clearing the debri and rebuilding their infrastructure? .... or leave as soon as the rescue operation is over?

We've treated every nation in South and Central America just as badly ..... should we step in and finance every recovery from natural disasters in the hemisphere ..... are we setting precedence here.

..... or do you just hate the brown people?

If it had been the other side of the island would it have generated this much attention?

If this had been Cuba would we be sending troops in?

Where did all these available troops come from anyway? I thought our military was "broken" from being over-extended fighting Bush's Wars.

January 18, 2010 3:47 PM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

You help a country like Haiti by doing business with them, investing in them, it doesn't mean giving them handouts.

Invest in What?

They're they most corrupt people in the hemisphere.

Finish this sentence..... The Haitian people are good at _________.

Who would be stupid enough to invest in Haiti? ...... oh, thats right, your boy in the white house....... no, even he aint THAT stupid.

Why dont you invest in Haiti ..... let me know how that works out.

January 18, 2010 3:54 PM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

"RT2, this is nothing like the invasion of Iraq. What was our objective there?

It was, as I recall Bush saying, to establish a beacon of democracy in the Middle, that the people in other Islamic nations might wish to emulate.

.... oh btw, have you noticed anything going on in Iran lately? I wonder why the youngsters there are starting to stand up to the Mullahs?

Hmmm.

January 18, 2010 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SHOWTIME!! :

"A new InsiderAdvantage poll conducted exclusively for POLITICO shows Republican Scott Brown surging to a 9-point advantage over Martha Coakley a day before Massachusetts voters trek to the ballot box to choose a new senator.

According to the survey conducted Sunday evening, Brown leads the Democratic attorney general 52 percent to 43 percent.

"I actually think the bottom is falling out," said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery, referring to Coakley's fall in the polls over the last ten days. "I think that this candidate is in freefall. Clearly this race is imploding for her."

The numbers show males and independents overwhelmingly breaking for Brown, who has married his GQ looks with a populist tone in a pick-up truck on the campaign trail.

Brown holds a 15-point lead among males and crushes Coakley by 41 points among self-described independents, a group that's been steadily inching away from the Democratic party over the last year due to growing apprehension with government spending, bailouts and health care reform.

"Men are not going to vote for Coakley at all. You have a very angry male voter who's repudiating whatever is being said in Washington and they're taking it out on this woman. And independents are clearly going to the Republican in droves. What's left are the Democratic voters," said Towery.

And the survey shows almost a quarter of Democratic voters lining up with Brown.

"We're about to learn whether Obama can deliver electoral votes," wrote DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas on his Twitter page.

The InsiderAdvantage phone survey of 804 likely registered voters was completed Sunday night.

Towery noted his polling indicates President Barack Obama's Sunday visit to the Bay State for Coakley won't be enough to pull her over the finish line.

"When there's a nine-point difference, it's awfully hard to shave off enough to win," Towery said. "The older voters are even tied. And the youngest voters have turned against the Democrats," he said, pointing to Brown's 61 to 30 percent lead among voters 18 to 29 years old. (Voters 65 and older, typically a key Democratic constituency, are divided between the two contenders, 48 percent a piece).

InsiderAdvantage's polling pool was made up of 20 percent Republicans and 43 percent of Democrats, though estimates show that independents make up just over 50 percent of all Massachusetts voters. "It'd be even worse for (Coakley) if we weighed it towards more independents," Towery said.

Other election eve polling is also tracking towards Brown. The Republican pollster, American Research Group, pins Brown's lead at 7 points, 52 to 45 percent, in a three-day survey released Monday. And Suffolk University's polling of three bellwether counties had them all breaking towards Brown by double-digit margins. Public Policy Polling's final survey put Brown up 51 to 46 percent."

January 18, 2010 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monday, January 18
Race (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
Massachusetts Senate - Special Election Politico/InAdv Brown 52, Coakley 43 Brown +9
Massachusetts Senate - Special Election PJM/CrossTarget (R) Brown 52, Coakley 42 Brown +10
Massachusetts Senate - Special Election PPP (D) Brown 51, Coakley 46 Brown +5
Massachusetts Senate - Special Election ARG Brown 52, Coakley 45 Brown +7
Massachusetts Senate - Special Election Daily Kos/R2000 Brown 48, Coakley 48 Tie


all but one of the Monday polls has brown head by a significant margin... and the poll that doesn't have him head was daily kos ... and even they say a tie.

The massachusetts miracle ?
PRICELESS

January 18, 2010 8:36 PM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

My working theory is that the earthquake in Haiti was caused by Teddy Kennedy screaming in hell.

January 18, 2010 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT2

that's kind of tasteless

January 18, 2010 11:19 PM  
Blogger Emproph said...

“Finish this sentence..... The Haitian people are good at _________.”

Perhaps if you learned how to operate a search engine you could finish your own sentences.
---
JimK: "RT2, this is nothing like the invasion of Iraq. What was our objective there?”

RT2: “It was, as I recall Bush saying, to establish a beacon of democracy in the Middle, that the people in other Islamic nations might wish to emulate.

.... oh btw, have you noticed anything going on in Iran lately? I wonder why the youngsters there are starting to stand up to the Mullahs?”


4000+ Americans killed, tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed, the better part of a trillion dollars spent doing so, no WMD’s found, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Yes, I’m sure those Iranian youngsters are quite inspired by the “beacon of democracy” we’ve so successfully set up in Iraq.

Tell me, do you support all trillion dollar boondoggles?

January 19, 2010 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this should be entertaining:

"President Barack Obama plans a combative response if, as White House aides fear, Democrats lose Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts, close advisers say.

“This is not a moment that causes the president or anybody who works for him to express any doubt,” a senior administration official said. “It more reinforces the conviction to fight hard.”"

January 19, 2010 7:34 AM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

"Perhaps if you learned how to operate a search engine you could finish your own sentences."

I'm certain our gracious host here can certify <a href="http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHMA_enUS362US363&aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=haiti+corruption><b>my competency to operate a search engine.</b></a>

<i>Tell me, do you support all trillion dollar boondoggles?</i>

Depends on which one I guess.

Health Care Reform? No

Stimulus Waste? NO

..... but I guess your insinuating I supported Bush's plan to bring freedom and democracy to the middle east....... thats not exactly correct, I was just pointing out that its certainly a coincidence that after 30 years of oppression in Iran, the students there have suddenly decided that risking their necks for freedom is worth it. Why didn't they do this years ago?

I liked the part about "tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed" ..... I wanted it to me considerably higher, but I'll settle for whatever figure you want to make up.

I'm actually fairly consistent in my opposition to funding nation building efforts.

I dont like it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine .... or Haiti. But I'm only called a racist when I dont like it in Haiti.

..... I really am glad to see this site get away from the exclusive homosexual theme, and post more about international current event issues like this. I'd like it even better if it had like a javascript widget in the sidebar that tracked the President's popularity, or maybe a link or two to some self-hosted soft porn. ;-)

January 19, 2010 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Jim that Iraq and Haiti are not analagous situations but it's interesting to note that the president of France sees no difference, saying America is using the crisis in Haiti as an excuse to invade

January 19, 2010 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton's presidency ended in 1994 when America decided to endorse Newt Gingrich's Contract with America and Clinton was forced to spend the next six years enacting Newt's vision

wasn't a bad deal for Clinton because the average uninformed voter gives Clinton the credit and he did get to keep living in that nice house in Washington

today, voters in Massachuseets will decide whether to end the Obama presidency

if they do, Barry, we want you to drop the crap about health care and climate change and socializing the economy

we want to see you focused on putting more Americans back to work

it's not much to ask for

you're getting some decent perks

January 19, 2010 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to throw you guys a bone, John Zogby appeared on Sean Hannity yesterday and said he thought Coakley would win

granted he said she'd win by less than a point so he sounds likes he's hedging but it is at least a glimmer of hope for liberals that someone of intelligence still thinks she could pull it out

January 19, 2010 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BALTIMORE (Jan. 19) - Is this tradition "nevermore"?

A mysterious visitor who each year leaves roses and cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe on the writer's birthday failed to show early Tuesday, breaking with a ritual that began more than 60 years ago.

For the first time in more than 60 years, a mystery visitor failed to show up at the Edgar Allen Poe's grave before dawn on the writer's birthday.

The tradition dates back to at least 1949, according to newspaper accounts from the era. Since then, an unidentified person has come every year on Jan. 19 to leave three roses and a half-bottle of cognac at Poe's grave in a church cemetery in downtown Baltimore.

The event has become a pilgrimage for die-hard Poe fans, some of whom travel hundreds of miles. About three dozen stood huddled in blankets during the overnight cold Tuesday, peering through the churchyard's iron gates hoping to catch a glimpse of the figure known only as the "Poe toaster."

At 5:30 a.m., a representative emerged from inside the church, where he and a select group of Poe enthusiasts keep watch over the graveyard, and announced to the crowd that the visitor never arrived.

January 19, 2010 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the canary in the healthcare mine has died

everybody get out

the people of Massachusetts have spoken

their other senator, John Kerry, better not cooperate with any effort to delay seating their choice

January 19, 2010 11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, hey, hey,
GOODBYE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS.

If a republican can win in Mass, they can win ANYWHERE !!!!!!!

EVERYONE is fed up with obama.
except, of course, the left wing loons at TTF.

have a nice evening !

January 19, 2010 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always thought Zogby was biased left.
I only trust Rasmussen, who quite wisely, didn't comment.

January 20, 2010 12:58 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

For several years now I have followed the blog named "Vigilance", attempting to explain how at least one conservative thinks. I even have a close friend that also happens to be gay that follows what I write/contribute to this forum. I would like to think that I have represented the conservative POV so that some of you have a sense that we are real people, and as such not easy to pigeonhole.

I listen to my local NPR station, 91.5 FM, KUNC (and I am also a regular contributor) religiously - in fact, it is the number pre-set in the car I drive. I could not tell you, nor would I be at all interested in knowing where to find Rush or Glenn Beck on the radio dial. I read (online) the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, just to name a few newspapers (in addition, I receive our local excuse for a paper, the Fort Collins Coloradoan and the Denver Post - in fact, I just had a letter published yesterday, Monday, 1/18). I have read and/or subscribed to The Atlantic, The Nation, National Review, The New Republic, Commentary, In These Times, First Things, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, etc.

I would dare say that as a conservative I have a more well-rounded understanding of liberals than Jim Kennedy will ever have of conservatives, except as helpful caricatures to score political points. What I have to do as a conservative is not just mean well towards others, I must do well towards others, and in a way that respects their human dignity.

I gave during the 2nd collection at my parish this last Sunday. The money will all go to Catholic Relief Services, the social service arm of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and it will be used to help anyone in need...which in Haiti right now is everyone. Still, while I gave and prayed for the living and the dead, I felt a creeping dread that as much as we will try to help, the Haitian people in 10 years will be as poor as they are now, and that it has less to do with slave history, colonialism or any Yankee imperialist than with their own habits of the heart.

I came across this piece by Anne Applebaum (a writer for the Washington Post) on Slate,

Haiti Is a Man-Made Disaster
http://www.slate.com/id/2241861/

(she also provides a link to another piece by Roger Noriega), and I think Applebaum and Noriega sum up my fears rather accurately.
And I guess I would be guilty of at least some latent racism according to Jim's definition. Perhaps I am...though I strive to treat everyone with the respect I would like to receive.

And then Jim writes as crude and dehumanizing a comment as I think I have ever read,
You probably saw the Media Matters report that showed that while MSNBC devoted entire prime-time shows to the tragedy in Haiti, Fox News barely mentioned it. Conservatives see the Haitian catastrophe as a political event, a chance to consolidate their white base, to capitalize on the latent racism in our country, and they see that if human beings in Haiti get too much publicity public opinion might turn against heartless conservatives as Americans sympathize with survivors.

I know Jim fancies himself an intelligent, well educated sort of fellow, but after a comment like the one above I no longer see any value in anything he has to write, so I bid any and all who read/write on this forum farewell. If you have any replies you would like me to read you can send them to me at,

oryssman@gmail.com

I sincerely hope the Democratic Party takes tonite's rebuke of anti-Catholic bigotry and even bigger govt statism in Massachusetts US Senate race as a lesson learned, else they will find their historic victory of last year undone. Those the Democratic Party claim to represent deserve better.

January 20, 2010 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Orin. I had not read Jim's entire Haiti post, but what Jim wrote is absolutely twisted, disgusting and lying. What a filthy blog this has turned out to be.

January 20, 2010 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Wow Orin! Only share your comments with like-minded people, what a great idea!

In a few years when your gay friends down the street can finally tie the knot, you can keep your comments to yourself then too.

And Anone, if you didn't read all of Jim's post, then you can't judge it. But don't let that get in your way!

We sure will miss hearing how you accommodate yesterday's DC weather with its 60 degree high temperature with your global climate cooling theory.

January 20, 2010 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

their other senator, John Kerry, better not cooperate with any effort to delay seating their choice

Yeah, ask Senator Al Franken all about what it's like waiting to be seated.

January 20, 2010 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wow Orin! Only share your comments with like-minded people, what a great idea!"

actually, Orin has been here trading ideas with the unlike-minded for years

I think he was saying Jim's remarks were beyond the boundaries of civil discussion and he didn't want to be part of such a discussion

"In a few years when your gay friends down the street can finally tie the knot, you can keep your comments to yourself then too."

assuming they don't develop any complications of their unhealthy lifestyle

"And Anone, if you didn't read all of Jim's post, then you can't judge it. But don't let that get in your way!"

I think you usually call me anone and I didn't make that comment

Jim's accusations were pretty over-the-top but I wasn't surprised, as Orin apparently was

I think I can still bring myself to dissent the party line here

"We sure will miss hearing how you accommodate yesterday's DC weather with its 60 degree high temperature with your global climate cooling theory."

do I have a theory?

I'm kind of enjoying the moderate weather

brilliant anon: "their other senator, John Kerry, better not cooperate with any effort to delay seating their choice"

inane anon: "Yeah, ask Senator Al Franken all about what it's like waiting to be seated."

Why?

Scott Brown won a decisive election victory and his opponent conceded.

Al "I'm a combo pack of all three stooges" Franken had to wait until his lawyers secured a court victory for him in one of those elections that was so close that the true victor can never be clear.

Think about it.

Between therapy sessions.

January 20, 2010 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

assuming they don't develop any complications of their unhealthy lifestyle

What do you find "unhealthy" about their long-term monogamy that Orin has described here before?

I think you usually call me anone and I didn't make that comment

Everybody who uses the name "Anonymous" on Vigilance is called "Anone" by me. If you care to differentiate yourself from them, then pick a name and use it!

January 21, 2010 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What do you find "unhealthy" about their long-term monogamy that Orin has described here before?"

"monogamous gay" is an oxymoron

on "unhealthy", here's one from anon-B's Wall of Weird:

"experts recommend yearly anal Pap tests to screen for anal cancer in gay and bisexual men. This is because anal cancer is more common in those populations."

January 21, 2010 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No more than "Divorced Christian Family Values straight" is an oxymoron.

January 21, 2010 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here's an interesting view from the right. Ryan Messmore, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, offered this statement regarding some of the reactions to Robertson's "Haiti made a pact with the devil" comment:

"One dynamic that I've been tracking over the past year or two is the reaction by young evangelicals against a certain perception of their parents' Religious Right which they see summed up in and embodied by Robertson. Last year I sat down with different groups of college students and recent grads and listened to their thoughts about culture, politics, etc. Many of them seem to have intuitions that would align with some of Robertson's stances (for instance, they are very pro-life, perhaps even more so than their parents' generation). "

"However, they do not want to self-identify with Robertson or the larger 'Religious Right' movement that he represents. They are turned off by partisan political bickering, and they reject what they perceive as a narrow interest in only a couple moral issues -- namely abortion and gay marriage -- to the exclusion of issues like poverty, homelessness, human trafficking, etc. Comments by Robertson that seem morally judgmental and appear to lack compassion (although he did call for people to send aid to Haiti) only play into this perception."

January 22, 2010 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, I discussed with the other people at my Sunday School class last Sunday and they generally agree with point Messmore made

I myself find Robertson to be kind of irritating and he's a charismatic, which is not an orthodox branch of Christianity

still, I think his comments about Haiti were misinterpretted and he had a good point

at one point in their history, Haitians pointedly forsook God and formed an alliance with an evil band of men

these evil men, after securing freedom, murdered the entire class of business owners and this set up generations of poverty, with the social and infrastructure deficiencies, which has exacerbated the current crisis

furthemore, the ritual where this took place is a part of the national history/myth, taught and remembered, affecting the current character of the nation and also exacerbating the crisis, where instead of people helping one another out, we have dog-eat-dog murder in the streets

so, moral degradation and poverty, easily traceable to an event where the people made a pact with the devil cannot be ignored

facts are facts

January 22, 2010 12:39 PM  
Blogger Emproph said...

“I liked the part about "tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed" ..... I wanted it to me considerably higher”

Charming.

January 23, 2010 8:07 AM  

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