Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bill Moyers Response To Pat Robertson and David Brooks' Attacks On The People of Haiti:The Disastrous Effects of Colonialism & US Interferrence

UPDATE: 1:10 PM Jan. 26,2010

Today's Topics

Racism still alive and well in Mainstream Media

*Video: Bill Moyers Responds to the idiocy of Pat Robertson and David Brooks' Blaming the Haitians for their predicament
* Haiti:Looting is a racist code word
* Haiti: Exaggerated Security Concerns still preventing aid distribution
* Video: Comparing Haiti disaster to Katrina Grit TV

David Brooks in a recent article sounds a bit racist. He argues that the people of Haiti are all corrupt , shiftless lazy , backward and lacking in family or community values. But Moyers points out Haitian seem far from lazy when they work they are paid a dollar a day or 11 cents an hour and work 18 hours a day.

Journalist Bill Moyers at PBS comments on the Haiti earthquake disaster and Responds to the idiocy of pat Robertson and David Brooks.

Moyers criticizes the idiotic conclusions of many conservatives who in one way or another blame the Haitian people for the mess their country was in before the Earthquake. Pat Robertson concludes Haiti's problems date back to the Slave Revolt when Haitians made a pact with the devil which he believes led to the Slaves defeating three major colonial powers and winning for themselves independence as a sovereign nation. But because of this pact the Haitian people have been punished by the Christian God and so their suffering has continued.

Next Bill Moyers targets David Brooks' article in The New York Times and his condemnation of the Haitian people as being backward and in his view"progress resistance". This is just old fashioned colonial racism and the notion of "The White Man's Burden". Brooks calls Haitians lazy, lacking in initiative and lacking in positive community or family values. Brooks ignores the fact that other nations such as the United States , France , Britain etc. have oppressed in one way or another for the last 200 years or so. France for instance insisted on reparations for their financial loses when the slaves freed themselves. Even the Americans did all that it could to slow any real progress down in Haiti especially on issues of Haiti's sovereignty and human rights and reforms that would help the poor in Haiti. All America wanted was to use Haiti for its cheap labor to benefit the American corporations and their Haitian business counterparts who had no interest in human rights or for reforms.

So the corporate media circle their wagons smugly blaming the victims in Haiti for not being grateful to America for the US supported Haitian dictators and their thugs and "death Squads'. Ah well America was happy to support Saddam for over a decade and ignore his crimes against humanity. As we know now The US government that is the lobbyists, Wall Street the Pentagon and the CIA sometimes use these crimes against humanity as an excuse for invading a country but otherwise couldn't care less. If they did care they would have insisted on Saddam being arrested and incarcerated for the crimes he committed before he attacked Kuwait. To put it another way if these things such as torture, humiliation, inhumane treatment including rape and sodomy were matters of sincere concern the CIA and the Blackwater and average soldiers would not be told that in Iraq it was free fire zone and they could do to the Iraqis as they pleased. Of course it also helps that the US military has and is still actively recruiting inner city gang members, racist, white supremacists, hardened criminals or those who are mentally unfit for duty or religious fanatics who want to kill as many Muslims as they can.

In his article at the New York Times "The Underlying Tragedy" Jan. 14,

David Brooks proclaims " Haitians are not like us" (Americans) You know they are like the Iraqis and Afghans and the majority of people in Africa and the Middle East who are corrupt, lazy , lacking in initiative unlike those like David Brooks who are of European Aryan Extraction .

At times like these we see the racists come out of the closet and make what appear to be cultivated civilized logical arguments which are really a cover for their racist beliefs. All those who have run Empires have had to develop and promulgate the notion that they are superior to other peoples and that what they are trying to do is give them more freedom and a better life even though it never works out that way.

We could push this further as an attack on the Obama administration which Brooks is concerned will develop policies towards Haiti which are altruistic and in his view naive. For him what matters is not whether 200,000 Haitians are dead but what's the bottom line -that is can America profit by helping out the Haitians as they have been able to do over the last century or more. Anyway what is sad is that this sort of rant is seen as a rational response to a natural disaster but we have seen this sort of indifference to human suffering on the part of people like David Brooks when it comes to suffering of the Iraqi people- 650,000 dead means nothing to those who believe Iraqis are backward, stupid, lazy and ungrateful to the Americans who finished off what Saddam had started by reducing much of Iraq and its cities to rubble.

Odd how conservatives regard the New York Times as liberal. There is nothing liberal about David Brooks racist pro-colonialism screed- claiming some races are it appears to be inferior to others or some cultures and religions are inferior. What he means is that America and American values and the American culture is superior to all other nations. Brings to mind the recent movie Pandora where we see the likes of David Brooks as the Ugly American who believes that a corporations profits outweigh the rights of other people whether they are the fictional Navi or Haitians or African Americans or Hispanic Americans etc. who don't according to his view do well in America because of their lack of initiative or a "good Work Ethic" or family values and indifference to education . The poor in America or Haiti are depicted as inferior and lacking in pride and so are content with handouts while living in substandard housing unable to feed or clothe themselves properly because of their low wages or the insufficient funds given to them by government run welfare.

note the concluding part of David Brooks so called argument:

"It’s time to take that approach abroad, too. It’s time to find self-confident local leaders who will create No Excuses countercultures in places like Haiti, surrounding people — maybe just in a neighborhood or a school — with middle-class assumptions, an achievement ethos and tough, measurable demands.

The late political scientist Samuel P. Huntington used to acknowledge that cultural change is hard, but cultures do change after major traumas. This earthquake is certainly a trauma. The only question is whether the outside world continues with the same old, same old. "

Oh yes that's the solution surround the poor in their Ghettos and shanty towns with well off middle class people in their oversize houses in their gated communities who spend their lives sucking the energy and sweat out of their fellow though inferior citizens. As long as the likes of David Brooks believes that the poor are undeserving and the rich are deserving of whatever wealth they can amass even if it means bending the rules, or breaking the law or even better putting people in power who will favor the hard done by wealthy members of Western Society-imagine daring to tax the rich when only the lower classes need pay taxes and work at jobs with little or no benefits . You see in the Western civilization during the last century the improvements for a time of the lot of the working class was brought about not because of the kindness of the wealthy but because workers organized into Unions. Unfortunately David Brooks has no time for Unions since it is up to the market place to decide what the going wage should be and if necessary a company goes to a country run by a dictator or Oligarthy where human rights don't exist for a large part of the public.

David Brooks sounds like many conservatives that he would be happier in an earlier time when people had a good work ethic as in the 19th century-are there no work houses are the tred mill laws still in effect. To encourage the poor who were incarcerated for their debts they were placed on a big wheel called the tred mill it had no function other than to keep prisoners busy to help them get used to hard work and develop a better work ethic. Unlike of course the corrupt greedy opportunists on Wall Street who are are forced to pay for their crimes so what the ultraconservative says if these financial investors lie and cheat average people out of their life savings . They are the modern day pirates but instead of being incarcerated or flogged for their wrong doing they are held up as the paragons of the American Dream.

As for "the same old same old" well if he means that the US and other nations shouldn't defend brutal dictators in Haiti or elsewhere then that one could support. But he sees nothing wrong with a small elite taking advantage of the general population. Brooks sounds also like another member of fanatical fascist religious organization for the rich and successful and powerful "The Family" who support any dictator even if they commit genocide that's fine as long as they are pro-unfettered capitalism and free trade and have friendly relation with American business' interests. To these ultraconservatives Generalissimo Pinochet, and Franco , and Papa Doc and other dictators are fine . Besides as Hillary Clinton and other members of "The Family" believe that one has only to reach out to Jesus and whatever one does is alright because as a rich and powerful person one has already been blessed and chosen by their pro-capitalist GOD.

Blaming the victims while refusing to seriously study the history of Haiti. All that matters to Mr. Brooks and like-minded Americans and those in Canada and Britain etc. is to use the latest disaster in Haiti to blame the Haitian people for their predicament without considering the role played by the United States, Britain , France and other countries and the IMF and their policies which keep Haiti poor. David Brooks is indifferent to defending the human rights of Haitians or that Haitian workers should be paid decent wages or that any wealth produced in Haiti should benefit the Haitian people in general and not just a few who constitute an elite which is friendly with America's government and its elite. David Brooks having no soul doesn't see why he should care about the people of Haiti. He sounds like a student of Leo Strauss who was against any form altruism. Strauss preached that a nation ie America helps out another nation ie Haiti only if its in that nations( America's) interest and will lead to more profits.

Looting versus survival

"Hey Corporate Media, "Looting" Is a Racist Code Word "by Chloe Cockburn, Blog of Rights January 25, 2010.

When the news camera captures footage of a Haitian man taking rice, what does it show? Theft? Survival? What if that man is white? AlterNet

In the aftermath of the earthquake, there have been numerous reports of dangerous looting in the capital. (See examples here, here, and here). The Washington Post has a video showing people "looting" a shop, as stated in the caption. The items taken appear to be food and supplies. There is no violence on the camera. But the violent connotation of the word remains.

In contrast to international news of looting in Haiti, local reports indicate that in reality, there is not massive violence or unrest. Partners in Health recently stated that "Our team on the ground reaffirms that the reports of violence on the streets of Port-au-Prince have been grossly exaggerated and have become a major obstacle to mounting the response needed to save tens of thousands of lives each day.” United Nations officials in Haiti have criticized reporters for sensationalizing the earthquake aftermath, exaggerating looting reports, noting that the situation among civilians was calm. In a New York Times op-ed, Haitian novelist and Port-au-Prince resident Evelyne Trouillot wrote, "Many of us Haitians are offended by the coverage of the earthquake. Once more, a natural disaster serves as an occasion to showcase the impoverishment, to exaggerate the scenes of violence that are common to any catastrophe of this type."

January 23, 2010 by GRITtv Is It Fair to Compare Haiti to New Orleans? common Dreams

The comparisons between the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans have come fast and furious, but often from people who've watched both disasters through the clean-cut white lens of Anderson Cooper broadcasts. Meanwhile, people in Haiti-and those in the Gulf Coast still struggling four years later-need more than blame and comparisons. They need real solutions.

To offer some, we ask Monika Kalra Varma, director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Princeton professor, Nation contributor, and author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought and James Perry, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and candidate for mayor of New Orleans

and so it goes,

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