The Haiti Disaster Brings Out Teh Stupid

Filed in National by on January 14, 2010

We’ve already heard about the disgusting statements of Pat Robertson about the Haiti earthquake disaster. Rush Limbaugh also couldn’t help making an ass of himself about the Haiti crisis.

On his radio show yesterday Limbaugh said the earthquake in Haiti will play right into Obama’s hands by allowing him to play up his “compassionate” and “humanitarian” credentials, and that the President will use this crisis to “boost his credibility with the black community.”

As if that weren’t enough, Limbaugh also pivoted off a caller who complained about Obama directing the public to the White House website to find charitable organizations operating in Haiti to promote a conspiracy theory that finding these charities via the White House website puts your money at risk of not reaching Haitians.

Limbaugh also seems to feel we’ve done enough already for Haiti: “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”

The U.S. gives 0.9% of our budget to foreign aid. The biggest recipients are in the Middle East: Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan. The GDP of Haiti (2008) is $6.95B, the GDP of the U.S. is $14.2T. Haiti has a per capita income of $400/year. It’s desperately poor, but Limbaugh resents the pennies we send there, I guess.

Fox News followed Limbaugh’s lead in turning this into some kind of political issue. Faux News ran the president’s statement on Haiti word-for-word with this headline “Pres. Obama Reacts to Haiti Earthquake Faster Than Christmas Bomber.”

They do realize that no one died in the attempted Christmas underpants bomber attack, right?

The mainstream media, like the good little sheep they are followed right in Limbaugh’s footsteps.

Elected in part out of revulsion at the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Obama now finds himself confronting an even more devastating and complex humanitarian crisis.

And, adding irony upon irony, the racial context of New Orleans is writ large in Port-au-Prince. Katrina cost George W. Bush what little standing he had among moderates in his own party in part because the shocking images of suffering in New Orleans were so racially imbalanced.

Now the Obama administration’s competence and compassion will be tested in a similar racial context—and with a much worse infrastructure. Obama and his aides understand all of this. The president was out early today with a strong statement about American efforts to deal with the aftermath of the devastating Haitian earthquake.

Shorter Newsweek: Obama has to respond because the victims are black. They are just saying it in a nicer way than Limbaugh did.

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Comments (126)

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  1. anonone says:

    Obomba: $33 Billion for war in Afghanistan; $100 million for Haiti. Callousness of Bushian magnitude.

  2. Yes, Haiti has been ignored for a long time.

  3. JMH says:

    Get your facts straight. Haiti has never been ignored. The billions they’ve received went into the pockets of the corrupt and largely hereditary dictatorships they’ve had for generations.

  4. aprice says:

    anonLEFTEABAG is also ignoring the money comming from private citizens in the U.S and around the world as well as help from other governments. Any excuse right dude?

  5. anonone says:

    Obomba: $663.8 Billion for defense – a 4% increase from 2009.
    For Haiti: $100 Million or 0.015% of the 2010 defense budget.

    But since he is a Democrat, this must be Okay, right?

  6. V says:

    anon, i agree that that sucks. but i don’t see how he can win with that one. remember all those stories from the beginning of the war when soldiers were asking their families for body armor because we weren’t paying for it?

    still not ok, but i’m not sure if it’s avoidable without you know, pulling out (which he clearly isn’t doing. i’m not particularly fond of that either).

  7. anonone says:

    $100 million dollars is the size of a single bonus paid to some of the bank executives the taxpayers bailed out last year.

    The HCR bill alone will force Americans to put $billions of their hard-earned money into the pockets of private insurance executives – those are dollars that should be going toward the general welfare of the public or stay in the pockets of the citizens who earned them.

    Obomba has sold out the liberals and progressives to the insurance, healthcare, Wall Street, and war industries. This is just another example.

  8. a.price says:

    a1, what percentage of YOUR income has gone to disaster relief so far?

  9. anonone says:

    Less than 100%.

  10. nemski says:

    a1, how much money should the US give right now? how much would make you happy?

  11. Delaware Dem says:

    I think A1 is just a pacifist opposed to all defense spending.

  12. nemski says:

    Oh, I thought he just had a bug up his ass.

  13. liberalgeek says:

    A1 is just moving the Overton window. It’s OK.

  14. a.price says:

    this thought may make A1’a head explode. If we sent our military to haiti to aid in humanitarian relief, care for the injured, clear rubble and keep the peace…. (i really mean it a1, the port au prince prison wall collapsed freeing all the prisoners) does it count as money sent to Haiti? or does it not count because the evil US military got the money first?

  15. The U.S. is very stingy with foreign aid, I agree. We haven’t done much for Haiti, where people are so desperately poor that they literally eat cakes made from dirt. I think we should be ashamed of that.

  16. anonone says:

    Considering that damage estimates are in the hundreds of millions of dollars and it is an extremely impoverished country, I’d say at least $500 million for immediate aid and rebuilding, which is still less than a tenth of a percent of the total 2010 defense budget and about 0.5% of what Obomba wants to spend to support the Afghanistan dictatorship.

  17. anonone says:

    Exactly, U.I. And money for killing always gets priority over money for peace. War has more and better paid lobbyists.

    And using the military to help provide security in Haiti would be money for peace, a.price.

  18. nemski says:

    Obama is sending ships, helicopters and warm bodies. The $100 million, the gov’t says is just the beginning.

    It appears you are complaining just to complain.

  19. a.price says:

    I know we as a nation can do more, but what has the rest of the world done for Haiti. They are the way they are because of FRANCE. other nations in Africa and South America are so poor because their resources and society was raped by Europeans. I’m not saying we should do less, or it “isnt our problem” but the rest of the Western Industrialized world really needs to step up. America will not be THE superpower, or even A super power for much longer. I give us 50 years at most until we HOPEFULLY decline like UK and not collapse the USSR. but my question remains. What is the developing world going to do when we are struggling to take care of ourselves. id CHINA gonna help?

  20. nemski says:

    a1 and ui, foreign aid has always been pitiful. Though not much of a news flash. Another item regarding foreign aid is that most of it only goes to the rich of the countries and not to the poor, but really foreign aid is a whole other discussion.

  21. anonone says:

    Nemski, I am so glad that you’re happy with Obomba. Some of us happen to be angry that he lied and sold us out.

  22. a.price says:

    plus he declines to mention individual help coming from his countrymen. A1 really has a negative view of this country.

  23. nemski says:

    Boo-freaking-hoo, A1, boo-freaking-hoo.

  24. nemski says:

    Soon, A1 will be asking to see Obama’s birth certificate.

  25. anonone says:

    You can’t look at any of this without seeing it in the context of the big picture. When a single trader gets a bonus from his taxpayer bailed-out bank that is bigger than the entire amount being spent on helping Haiti, you can see that the whole system is rigged.

  26. a.price says:

    you DO realize in order for obama to do what you want him to do, he has to act like a tyrant the way bush did right?

  27. a.price says:

    of course it is rigged. rigged and totally legal. you have to stop that with legislation. legislation that currently cant happen because of out system of checks and balances. I KNOW!!!! Obama should declare himself king of America. THAT way he doesn’t have to worry about that pesky congress, or SCOTUS, or due process or anything like that. He can just do whatever A1 wants.

  28. nemski says:

    See the system being rigged isn’t news to me. Sorry, your political-naïveté cherry got popped this year.

  29. anonone says:

    Take your “boo-freaking-hoo’s” to Haiti, Nemski, and see how it plays there.

    a.price the Red Cross has raised $4 million. Damage estimates are in the $100s of millions.

  30. nemski says:

    I’m saying boo-freaking-hoo to you because you didn’t get a pony. It has nothing to do with Haiti.

  31. anonone says:

    Obomba has shown he is a liar and a tool, a.price. He is getting what he wants for the people who own this country; you just don’t want to believe that or fight for something better. They’re feeding you crumbs and telling you it’s cake and you’re happy.

    I’m not.

  32. nemski says:

    Really, A1, we get it, we really get it. Saying that a. price doesn’t want something better just shows your immaturity. Who are you to know?

  33. anonone says:

    The “pony” I wanted is more aid to Haiti. So you can send them your “boo-freaking-hoos” instead.

  34. anonone says:

    Who am I to know? Because most of the writers here are about defending Obomba, no matter what. Never mind that he flat-out lies to you. Never mind that he’s in the pocket of the lobbyists. It is CONGRESS’ fault.


  35. nemski says:

    UI sure did title this post correctly, because you brought it.

    Right now, in Haiti, they didn’t have the infrastructure to receive massive amounts of aid and with the earthquake, what infrastructure they had is gone.

    Once again, ships, helicopters and personnel are being sent by the US gov’t. Forget about the money for now, that will always increase. But the situation there needs to be stabilized. Shit, they can’t even have planes fly into Haiti now because there is not fuel for the planes to fly out on. I even remember reading that the control tower is down.

  36. anonone says:

    “Forget about the money for now, that will always increase.”

    And you think I “brought it?”

  37. I agree that’s throwing money at a failed state will not work very well, mostly because the money goes to line the bad guy’s pockets instead of to the needy. I would like to see us do a little nation building in a place we’re not at war with for once.

  38. A. price says:

    a1 doesnt know what he is talking about. he hates Obama regardless of reality and nothing will change his mind. i have a legitamate question. What can we as a Liberal community do to help? another Drinking Liberally food drive?

  39. Brooke says:

    30 years ago, we thought one of the risk factors for getting “thatmysterydisease” was being Haitian. No lie. It contributed to very stringent controls on Haitian boat people.

    Of course, what no one had the labia to say was that the reason the Haitian people were representing so nicely was that Haiti was a target of sex tourism in the Caribbean.

    It’ll take “a long pull, and a strong pull, and a pull all together” to make a difference in that country. Maybe this will be the event that enables it to happen.

    mysterious ways, friends…

  40. A. price says:

    brooke, i really hope you didnt just insinuate they had it coming. because that would make you the same kind of slime that Pat Robertson is. you dont usually say horrible things like that, so i’ll let you explain.

  41. Brooke says:

    LOL, not at all. 😀 I’m saying that the problems in Haiti are wide and systemic, and the result (largely) of abusive practices from wealthier nations. No one wanted to admit that the reason they had a disproportionate amount of AIDS was that American and European tourists exploited the poverty there and spread disease, just as if we’d given them blankets full of smallpox.

    To complain that the amount we’ve budgeted so far is small misses the point. It’s very difficult to fundraise without an “event”. I saw today, on someone’s facebook, after she asked for links to donate, an ordinary american mommy said, “Never mind Haiti, what about poor people in AMERICA?” You’re always up against that.

    If this horrific natural disaster can create an opening, a way that the world can commit to long-term building of infrastructure there, it will be a blessing, albeit a hard one. That’s what I’m hoping for.

    But it can’t be just the US. That exposes the Haitian people to the hate people feel for us. It needs to be NGO’s with support.

  42. A. price says:

    ok good. sorry for the potential venom. i jsut cant stand people who suggest that God punishes poor people. i understand what you are saying, and i really hope Haiti can recover and hopefully the attention will make it a better place….. cant get much worse

  43. anonone says:

    a.price wrote “i jsut cant stand people who suggest that God punishes poor people.”

    I guess you don’t read the Bible, then, do you? Do you remember a story about Noah and an Ark and a flood?

    I don’t hate Obomba. I see him for what he is – another bought and paid for lying opportunist. And being “better” than Bush or McInsane doesn’t make him good.

  44. A. price says:

    i guess you dont read my earlier comments where i say a lot in the bible is wrong. get a clue man. People who suggest god punishes poor people are vile. including the MEN who wrote the bible in order to control the masses. READ MY DAMN POSTS BEFORE YOU REACT TO THEM! you wont look so insane. you react to all of them but seem to read them through Beckian eyes

  45. John Manifold says:

    I don’t hate Obomba.

    Rosenbaum: “One kind of blog-comment abuser I’m sick of is the infantile right-wing commenter types who think they’re being incredibly clever by making fun of Obama’s name.”

  46. anonone says:

    Like that infantile Molly Ivins calling Bush “Shrub.” Oh, how horrible!

    Molly also said, “What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.”


  47. John Manifold says:

    To borrow a phrase from Sparky Anderson, don’t embarrass yourself by comparing yourself to Molly Ivins.

  48. anonone says:

    Thanks for that advice, John. I’ll remember that if I ever think of trying to.

  49. xstryker says:

    Hold the phone. Damages are in the hundreds of millions, and A1 wants the US to supply $500 million? The United States is a rich country, but we are not 50% of the world economy, or even 25%. Before we demand the US front all the cash, I’d like to see what France, China, Japan, and the EU put up (France gets listed separately from the EU for colonial/political ties), and then decide proportionally how much more needs to be raised. It will take months (years really) to repair the damage. I know A1 hates it when people suggest that we wait and see before we issue snap denunciations, because acting like an adult is much harder then getting everything you want immediately.

  50. A. price says:

    exactly! Haiti is france’s fault. Many problems in the world are thanks to US imperialism, but Haiti was destroyed by the french. America, as the world’s shining beacon… and i really mean that dispite my usual sarcasm… should lead the way, but the European countries should step up and do their part to fix their sins

  51. anonone says:

    xstryker, funny how we always have big dollars for killing and destruction but only a few pennies to save and improve lives. Nary a peep against the wars around here any more, but spending a few extra million to help save and rebuild people’s lives is controversial.

    Don’t worry, though. In a few days the press will go home and Haiti will be forgotten.

  52. A. price says:

    you hope. then you can keep up your arguments. Gosh, i sure hope this country in no way contributes to any kind of significant recovery. Then a1 would have nothing to bitch about.

  53. pandora says:

    What’s difficult for me is that while I mostly agree with A1’s points he offers no solutions beyond everybody sucks. What I’d like to see from him is concrete steps to enact what he wants – how to achieve his goals in our reality.

    Bitching is easy, and I can be very good at it! But there really does come a point when you’re bitching for bitching’s sake. In fact, it’s the entire Republican platform right now.

    Take HCR. My biggest problem with those stating we should kill the bill was that seemed to be their entire offering on the subject. Oh, there were noises made about starting again, but never how this end goal would actually be achieved. And that’s what’s missing.

    Digby has an excellent post up that’s worth a read, but this line caught my attention because, well, we seem to be living it.

    For the less pithily inclined, I must recommend this wonderful piece by Chris Hayes, which I will discuss in greater depth over the next few days. I will just excerpt this little bit right now for those of you who are inclined to spend hours in my comment section throwing around snotty remarks drenched in puerile cynicism about how it is silly to even bother, when everything and everyone is hopelessly corrupt:

    Sound familiar?

  54. A. price says:

    Look at some of A1’s former posts. He talks about Obama “tricking” us. A secret military industrial complex run by banking kabals.
    People who think like that ascribe to those conspiracies most likely as a cop out so they explain why they never try to change the world. Powerful people in dark rooms control everything so why bother? RIght now, Haiti needs infrastructure. Planes FILLED with food,water, and medicine are gridlocked at their only airport. so many roads are gone the trucks can eve get around. The type of help they really need… before the other help they really need can be effected is they type of assistance that can be provided by the US military A1 hates so much.

  55. nemski says:

    Though A1 has legitimate complaints about Afghanistan and I understand his frustration regarding HCR, I believe A1 has jumped the proverbial shark with his stance on Obama and Haiti.

  56. I think Obama’s response to Haiti so far has been outstanding, actually. We’ll have to wait and see what the long-term commitment to rebuilding the country will be.

  57. anonone says:

    Solutions, pandora? Here’s where to start:

    1) Liberals need to recognize that the person we voted for is a skilled and consummate liar. People who get to positions of power by lying don’t stop once they get into power. Obomba is no exception.

    2) When you get past Step 1, you’ll see start to see Obomba’s true agenda: serving the powerful and wealthy at the expense of the everybody else. Then you won’t be fooled by the crumbs wrapped in pretty rhetoric that he throws to try and pacify progressives and distract from his actual agenda.

    3) To use Molly Ivins terms, start to practice “sustained outrage” with relentless political pressure. Call out the lies, over and over. Don’t succumb to “unthinking respect for authority” just because Obomba is a Democrat. He is much more a Lieberman-Carper democrat than he is a Wellstone or Feingold Democrat.

    4) Take the good when you can’t get the perfect, but don’t take the bad when you can’t get the good or the perfect. Demand more and demand better. Keep fighting, speaking out, and organizing. People who accept that “this is the best we’re going to get” aren’t going to drive progress.

    5) Don’t argue for the status quo. Ignore the Obomba booble-heads telling you to just be happy, it will be better, just wait, we can “fix it” later, he can’t do it all, it’s all the Senate’s fault, he’s better than McCain/Palin, etc. etc. That’s just what those who hold the power and the wealth want you to believe.

    I’d write more, but it is going to take a while for people here to get past Step 1.

  58. anonone says:

    Pandora wrote “My biggest problem with those stating we should kill the bill was that seemed to be their entire offering on the subject.”

    Sorry, but that simply isn’t true. People who want to kill this bill offered many many options. You know it and I know it.

  59. anonone says:

    Airports clogged? The President has the authority to commandeer cruise ships, which could be used for shelters and hospitals, so why hasn’t he?

  60. There is a hospital ship either there or on the way right now. You do know the ports were also destroyed, right?

  61. anonone says:

    “a hospital ship?” You mean as in a “single” ship? BTW, you don’t need to get right up to the port, you can shuttle people back and forth using smaller boats. But I guess we don’t want to interrupt people’s vacations.

  62. aprice says:

    a1, your entire belief is based on the theory that “they are out to get you”

    “he’s better than McCain/Palin, etc. etc. That’s just what those who hold the power and the wealth want you to believe.”

    so you, someone who CLAIMS to be a liberal actually thinks we’d have been better off with McCain (who would die before the end of his first term) and then President Sarah Palin. if McCain had won, we would have gone to war with Iran during their election crisis, let the country sink in to depression out of a cult-like adherence to the Free Market and a flawed health care bill would instead be NO health care bill. you know nothing about the situation in Haiti other than the fact you have decided to follow the Beckian principle of “Obama can do no right” the ports are DESTROYED. they can only get one ship in. the air strips are DESTROYED they cant land the planes full of food and medicine. This is a disaster that will take years to fix and to understand and you want to just start throwing solutions at it before they can work.

    Right now it is TOO FUCKED UP to simply “fix” they need to do massive amounts of work just to get it to the point where it can begin to be rebuild. But of course non of that matters. you are just using this to advance your anti obama agenda. It doesnt really matter what his response is, you will spew your insane “the world is against me” conspiracies no matter what.

  63. V says:


    Step 1: be mad
    Step 2: be mad with clarity
    Step 3: whine about how mad you are on the internet by using silly names
    Step 4: whine about being mad to strangers, maybe organize, kind of an afterthought
    Step 5: whine to your friends

    I hate the war too. I know. Just write a check to the Red Cross for Haiti and shut up already.

  64. aprice says:

    step 6: profit!
    Dont stop at donating. Organize a charity drive. Tell ya what here’s a good start. Tell everyone you know to put the following in a bag or box
    Case of bottled water
    canned food that doesn’t need to be cooked
    any other first aid materials that can legally be sent overseas.
    send these to the relief groups… they are basic needs. Oh btw part of asking presidential is calling on all Americans to step up and help individually. Obama has done that. Something Bush never did (other than telling us to shop after 9/11) This is a participatory nation. But you can’t be bothered with that right? you’re FAR to busy looking over your shoulder and pointing out what an evil evil man our president is.

  65. anonone says:

    Wall Street’s payout for 2009: $145 billion

    “an 18 percent increase over 2008 and ‘slightly more [6%] than in the record year of 2007′”

    “Contrast this with the state of affairs on Main Street, where average earnings increased 2.2 percent in 2009 — and that number excludes the 7 million jobs lost since the recession began.”

    Obomba’s mission accomplished. I can’t wait to see what the insurance company payout is if so-called “HCR” is passed.

  66. aprice says:

    and of course. like any good wing-nut when beaten and out of arguments, he changes the subject.

  67. anonone says:

    Hey V, as the bumper sticker says “If you’re not mad, you’re not paying attention.”

    Like I said, it is difficult for people to get past Step 1.

  68. aprice says:

    maybe because it takes a willingness to assume everyone is out to get you and a lot of self deception that the only reason you think that way is to justify being too lazy to try and make a difference. “as long as know the system is rigged, why bother doing anything but complain”

  69. V says:

    just an fyi to everyone, and to bring it back to what’s IMPORTANT. In opposition to aprice (sorry) I’ve been reading that it’s best for Haiti to send MONEY. Not stuff.
    Daily Beast compiled a list of the most effective charities at the moment

  70. anonone says:

    $145 billion for Wall Street -$100 million for Haiti. And a hospital ship that is supposed to get there next Thursday.

    “Gates said the U.S. believes the security situation in Haiti “is pretty good,” other than some scavenging for food and water.”

    “pretty good”

    Heck of a job, Barack.

  71. V says:

    sorry, but i enjoy happiness in my life on occaision. I was pissed for 8 years, give me like 6 months off before I get pissed again.

    Some people always need to be angry, and with Bush you could be angry. With the system we have in place 100% of what you want with Obama is never going to be possible, so you will always be angry. I’m glad you have what you need.

  72. nemski says:

    A1 wrote “a hospital ship?” You mean as in a “single” ship? BTW, you don’t need to get right up to the port, you can shuttle people back and forth using smaller boats. But I guess we don’t want to interrupt people’s vacations.

    Good god man, you’re delusional.

  73. cassandra m says:

    If A1 has a way to get the USNS Comfort from Baltimore to Haiti in an hour or two he ought to be on the phone to the Pentagon and not just bitching about it here.

  74. pandora says:

    1) Liberals need to recognize that the person we voted for is a skilled and consummate liar. People who get to positions of power by lying don’t stop once they get into power. Obomba is no exception.

    I can’t even take this statement seriously. Why not just say everyone who doesn’t agree with your character description is a poopy-head. Your statement is all so “good and evil” and “you’re either with us or against us.” No shades of gray. No I like this, but have a problem with that. Just more of Obama sucks.

    2) When you get past Step 1, you’ll see start to see Obomba’s true agenda: serving the powerful and wealthy at the expense of the everybody else. Then you won’t be fooled by the crumbs wrapped in pretty rhetoric that he throws to try and pacify progressives and distract from his actual agenda.

    Obama’s true agenda? I’m sorry, but unless you can prove this conspiracy theory with specifics that also take into account the reality of the problems we are dealing with, it’s just another conspiracy theory. From where I’m standing the powerful and wealthy have always been served, and always will… unless you have a solution for that. Perhaps, a revolution?

    3) To use Molly Ivins terms, start to practice “sustained outrage” with relentless political pressure. Call out the lies, over and over. Don’t succumb to “unthinking respect for authority” just because Obomba is a Democrat. He is much more a Lieberman-Carper democrat than he is a Wellstone or Feingold Democrat.

    Where did you ever get the idea that Obama would be like Wellstone and Feingold? This is a really big point. I have always known he was a centrist, which probably explains why, even though I’m not happy with everything he’s done, I’m not hyperventilating.

    4) Take the good when you can’t get the perfect, but don’t take the bad when you can’t get the good or the perfect. Demand more and demand better. Keep fighting, speaking out, and organizing. People who accept that “this is the best we’re going to get” aren’t going to drive progress.

    What’s missing here, again, is the “how.” Demand? How? Seriously, this statement sounds like a fortune cookie.

    5) Don’t argue for the status quo. Ignore the Obomba booble-heads telling you to just be happy, it will be better, just wait, we can “fix it” later, he can’t do it all, it’s all the Senate’s fault, he’s better than McCain/Palin, etc. etc. That’s just what those who hold the power and the wealth want you to believe.

    I am not arguing for the status quo, and there’s plenty of blame to go around. Neither am I happy, but I accept that in your world everyone who doesn’t hate Obama and his policies is a silly little fool. And this is where you always lose me, unless you see some advantage in insulting everyone who doesn’t 100% agree with you. Because, where I’m coming from, killing the bill means keeping the status quo, and that will be my position until you are able to lay out – in a concrete way – how I’m wrong and how what your advocating actually happens.

  75. anonone says:

    There are commercial cruise ships fully-stocked with food and water and shuttle boats less than 24 hours away from Haiti. What is delusional about sending them over NOW? Or yesterday?

    But if you believe that security is “pretty good” then why bother?

  76. V says:

    I hate to sound like a republican, but since when did the president have the ability to tell a (usually) foreign owned company what to do with their property? It’s my understanding most cruise companies are not American (to get around using U.S. law, I think they’re often a nordic country). That’s like france calling up mcdonalds and saying they’re commandeering a restaurant. That being said I think the cruise ships SHOULD donate their vessels, like i think uhaul did during katrina (that might be wrong, i know some company did something similar).

  77. From what I’ve heard Haiti is a logistical nightmare. They really don’t have a way to distribute right now. V is also right, I think sending goods right now is not the right thing. It’s sending money to relief organizations on the ground.

  78. nemski says:

    A1, what about the people on the boats right now. What, drop them off in Caracas?

  79. nemski says:

    A1, you’re right, if we all lived on Pandora (the planet from Avatar, not the blogger), the world would be a better place.

    I’m done (for today) arguing with a delusional commentator.

  80. anonone says:

    pandora, I didn’t think you’d be able to get past Step 1. You can’t take it seriously because you don’t want to face the truth, which is in black-and-white not shades of gray. Obama lies. Obama lies about important things. He lies repeatedly. You can read what he has said in his own words and then look at what he has done.

    Once you can admit that fact, then you stop making excuses for him and you can start to understand who you’re dealing with. Calling him a “centrist” is no excuse for his lying. He is governing as a ‘corporatist” almost as much as Bush did. The Wall Street profits tell that story. Want more? Read this:

    and this:

    It’s no conspiracy theory. Follow the money. Look at his contributors. Look at his economic advisors. Look at the results. Look at the legislation. No conspiracy theory; just follow the facts. It is all there to see.

    “Demand more and demand better” is not a fortune cookie. If you don’t know how, you might read up on different types of political actions, ranging from organizing to contributing dollars to writing letters.

    But just sitting back and thinking you’re being told the truth and that Obama is a centrist is going to get the progressive movement no where.

  81. anonone says:

    It can be done. Even Bush used cruise ships for housing after Katrina. As far as being a logistical nightmare, moving slowly isn’t going to make it any better, unless the strategy is that it is easier to dig up dead people than rescue living ones.

    But, Secretary Gates said security is “pretty good,” so what do I know?

  82. liberalgeek says:

    It seems that A1 doesn’t understand that the sea port and the airport suffer the same issue. You can’t get to them. I grant you that you may be able to launch dinghy’s from some accessible piece of shore, but the logistics are a huge hinderance. For example, how does one fuel these dinghys? How do you load them when the deck levels are 60 feet apart? How do you ensure that the person you are loading up with food and water are distributing them to other citizens, rather than hording them?

    And when the general says that the security situation is pretty good, he means that violence is not breaking out over scarcity, frustration or power vacuums. It has nothing to do with the logistics.

  83. anonone says:

    LG, Cruise ships have large shuttle boats that they use for transporting passengers to shore when they are unable to dock. The decks aren’t 60 feet apart; they have launch areas near sea level in the ship. Some ships also have helicopter landing areas.

    It can and could and should have been done. Maybe no one thought of it; I don’t know.

    From press reports, it sounds to me like the security situation is bad and about to explode.

  84. V says:

    EVERY politician lies. Every single one. That is an accepted truth (a sad one, but accepted). To get to that level. You have to lie. You have to take money. You have to “settle”. It really sucks that our system has become that.

    So now what? No one will ever be able to live up to your standard.

  85. cassandra m says:

    I think that if A1 was such a superior logistician, he would be volunteering to make everything work perfectly instead of sitting here on this blog whinging about how badly everyone else is managing.

  86. anonone says:

    V wrote: “No one will ever be able to live up to your standard.”

    So, we should stop trying?

  87. anonone says:

    You’re too funny, cassandra_m.

  88. V says:

    A1, I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for better people to represent us. Unfortunately in the real world elections are often a choice between they guy I dislike more and the guy I dislike less because for some reason they’re able to work the system and win. It’s a noble cause, but saying you want a politician that doesn’t lie is like asking for a president who is also unicorn. I thought we were the naive ones?

    Also are there candidates you DO support? I’d be interested.

  89. All the more reason to stay involved in politics, so you can hold their feet to the fire. In fact, nothing will change if we keep the same people. I want “better Democrats.”

  90. anonone says:

    Agreed, V. My point is that you don’t just roll over and ignore it or act like it isn’t happening or that this is the best that we can get. Just because politicians, unfortunately, are expected to lie, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held accountable for those lies.

    Obama tells lie after lie about important stuff, and many dems and liberals just deny or accept it when they would have been screaming bloody murder if it were Bush telling the same lies and doing the same things.

    I really like Howard Dean, Russ Feingold, and the late Paul Wellstone. And, no they’re not perfect or unicorns, either.

  91. anonone says:

    Which is a goal that we share, U.I. I’m just very disappointed that Obama wasn’t one of the “better Democrats.”

  92. liberalgeek says:

    A1 – I guess that the deck differentials are a good point, but I have no idea whether those shuttle boats are able to land (literally land) when there is no dock or where the dock is inaccessible by land. We can certainly look to bring these cruise ship in for providing services and supplies, but unless those ships are equipped with bulldozers, dump trucks and recovery equipment, their impact is going to be negligible.

    Many of the roads are actually not blocked by debris, either. They are blocked by dead bodies. Bodies laid out there because there is no way to transport them. Frankly, making this out to be a failure of logistics is insulting to the people that are working 24 hours a day to get resources to the victims.

  93. anonone says:

    LG, I am not making this out to be a failure of logistics. I simply think that it is a less than full commitment by the U.S. government to do everything that they can, and I don’t think that there will be much help at all once it leaves the headlines.

    Meanwhile, the wars continue to get tens of billions with no real ends in sight, Wall Street keeps picking our pockets, and the insurance industry is about to extort billions from us.

  94. Brooke says:

    And when I want logistics, I want the armed forces. My twitter is full of complaints about “We need doctors, not armed services people.” No. If I need bridges built, tents erected and food distributed I want people who do that for a living, under all conditions, not volunteers in a miscellaneous collection of boats.

  95. liberalgeek says:

    You do realize that even the wars took MONTHS to ramp up and down logistically. You also realize that there wasn’t 5 days of predictions leading up to the disaster to give anyone a chance to ramp up? Katrina wasn’t just a failure because it took so long to respond, it is because we had time to mobilize, and didn’t. And I would like to know upon what you base your idea that we will just let Haiti rot in a few weeks? The support after the tsunami was kept up for a long time, and they were on the other side of the world. Haiti is in our backyard. They are in need. And the US Government has developed the political will (in the wake of the disaster) to help them out.

    I do not recall you ever, in all of your criticism of Barack Obama, suggesting that he was ignoring Haiti. I can’t even remember you complaining about foriegn aid. To now complain that he has been ignoring Haiti is disingenuous and spiteful. How much have we given to Paraguay? Sri Lanka? Ghana?

    Should we start a discussion about foreign aid? Sure. But to bitch and moan that Haiti is a failure because we are still engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq is a bitch response. Which do you want foreign aid increase or single-payer? Both, right? It isn’t a binary choice, and to say we aren’t helping Haiti because we are at war misses the point by so much that I can only assume that you are trying to be obtuse.

  96. a.price says:

    seriously, why even bother with this wingnut anymore. He isn’t interested in any real solutions to the problems that the Evil one (Barack) and his secret conspiracy buddies (everyone else on the planet) have created with A1 in mind. Brook, they need EVERYTHING in Haiti. Doctors, engineers, police forces, rescue dog… the place has been obliterated. There are people who build bridges and tents, but many of them are injured, dead, or their resources have been destroyed.
    We ought not argue WHAT they need… although thank you V for your research you weren’t in opposition to me, just correcting. (a1, YOUR paranoid rants dont count as correcting, as they are insane) It would be nice for the owners of cruise lines to alter their plans to donate their ships for the cause, but how the hell is it Obama’s job to do that? Seriously A1 if he moved every dollar we spend on everything to Haiti TODAY, you would say “WHY HASN’T HE RAISED TAXES TO GET MORE MONEY” and if he did that you would say “OH, HOW INTERESTING! HE GIVES HAITI ALL THIS MONEY BUT WHY NOT THE REST OF THE WORLD?”

  97. a.price says:

    and i think if we all lived on pandora the world would be better too 😉

  98. Yes, foreign aid is subject to our political process and that’s why if often takes a disaster before we seriously look at our commitments to other countries.

    We definitely need our military in Haiti because they have experience with refugees, and aid workers need protection.

    I think people are doing the best they can in a terrible situation. I really haven’t heard many complaints about a slow response. The world’s response was pretty quick. The problems are that their infrastructure was fairly poor to begin with and we have to work with what they have.

    I’m glad the first troops sent are the search and rescue, followed by medical because that is urgent right now. Time is running out for any trapped survivors.

  99. liberalgeek says:

    If we all lived on Pandora, I bet she wouldn’t let us use cellphones.

  100. a.price says:

    ui, the world is biased toward Obama and his Banksters. OF COURSE they are going to praise his response. wouldn’t want to upset THE DARK ONE. (i mean evil, not black… although he IS black… but that is not why he is evil.. it is a figure of speech… probably too violent for SOME people.)

    lg, we could use em… just no texting

  101. pandora says:

    Don’t make me put you boys in a time-out! And see if I ever share again.

  102. a.price says:

    awwwww c’mon we were just joshin’.

  103. anonone says:

    Hey LG, Haiti was never a topic on DL before, was it? Or I would have complained. My comment was regarding aid after the quake, not before.

    I understand your points about logistics. I just pointed out why I don’t think that everything that could be done by the U.S. is being done. I also think that Gates statement about security was cavalier.

    And I would like to know upon what you base your idea that we will just let Haiti rot in a few weeks?

    Well, that is what usually happens, isn’t it? Are the suicide bombings and killings of civilians in Iraq still making the front pages? What’s happened to the Palestinians? Somalia? Africa? Heard about them on the front pages lately? But you do know that McGuire did steroids, Palin joined Fox news, and Tiger Woods has affairs.

    to say we aren’t helping Haiti because we are at war misses the point by so much that I can only assume that you are trying to be obtuse.

    I am not trying to be obtuse. My point is that where the money flows and how much reflects the priorities of this administration. You can look at the numbers and draw your own conclusions.

  104. anonone says:

    LG read this:

    Here is a quote:

    “We’re talking about providing forces in the short term, and funding and training forces in the long term, to provide security in a state that has not functioned in a generation. This will require a willingness to exercise force, and yes, a willingness to accept casualties. We’re talking about an ongoing presence measured not in months, but in years. We’re talking about a commitment of funds and resources that makes the initial figure of $100 million seem trivial. We’re talking about the longterm resettlement of population, reconstruction of institutions and infrastructure, and rethinking of the basic fabric of a state. We’ve just seen how difficult and costly it can be to build a state in Iraq and in Afghanistan – I don’t see how to avoid the conclusion that we have just found ourselves again committed to reconstructing a state.

    Even if we do not accept the moral burden, even if we hew closely to the cold calculus of realism, we are obliged to act. It is difficult to imagine that desperation will not force thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, to take to the ocean on anything that will float. Many will drown, but many will reach our shores. If we are too callous to provide aid where it is needed, the disaster will wash up on our shores where we cannot avoid it. …”

  105. a.price says:

    yeah and who wants all those dirty refugees here anyway… CERTAINLY not the Statue of Liberty. what does it say? “all you poor tired and weak… go home”?

  106. liberalgeek says:

    And where in that “article” does it say a goddamned thing about what Obama is going to do? It is an “analysis” by an anonymous reader. It could even be you for all I know, save for the fact that your spelling and grammar are better.

    The link is talking about a commitment that we are now on the hook for. Great. I got news for you. We aren’t in for a shooting war in Haiti. We aren’t going to be using bunker busters. We aren’t going to have to haul men and equipment 7,000 miles to a land-locked country. We aren’t going to be seen as plunderers of natural resources.

    We will likely quell riots. We will likely help establish order in a disorderly situation. We may become embroiled in a power struggle. We will cross those bridges when we come to them, but to take a reader submitted anonymous email and extrapolate it to a bigger commitment than Iraq or Afghanistan is preposterous.

  107. liberalgeek says:

    a.price – I think Lou Reed had it right in the song “Dirty Blvd.”:

    Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on ’em. That’s what the statue of bigotry says. Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death.

  108. anonone says:

    I didn’t call it an “article.” I just said read it. Why are you so pissed off?

    It doesn’t “say a goddamned thing about what Obama is going to do.” What is does say, and I agree with, is that “We’re talking about a commitment of funds and resources that makes the initial figure of $100 million seem trivial.”

    Which is what I have been saying since the beginning of this thread. $100 million is a trifle compared to Billions and Billions for war, Billions and Billions for Wall Street, and Billions and Billions for insurance executives.

    $100 million for Haiti.

    How long do you think it will take to rebuild Haiti? How much do you think it will cost?

  109. a.price says:

    you “read it somewhere”?!?

    are you sure it was a book? are you sure it wasn’t, NOTHING??

    How much of rebuilding Haiti should the government of THIS country take responsibility for? what about other European nations that are responsible for their awful condition? That is like saying France is responsible for re building Iraq. It is wonderful that our government and even more importantly, OUR CITIZENRY is helping. But dont try and make this also Obama’s total responsibility. remember? he cant do anything good or right. He is all Evil.

  110. a.price says:

    and btw, what happened to all your altruism and humanity with your “that disaster (referring to human life i suppose) will wash up on our shore” comment?… isolationist Lou Dobbsiscan

  111. Is this the thread that never dies?

  112. a.price says:

    its only been a day. that super delegate hillary/obama battle thread in 08 went on for like 2 months (i remember cause it was my first hehe)

  113. liberalgeek says:

    A1 – the entirety of your contributions to this thread have been criticism of Obama’s handling of the situation (much of it anticipatory). I suppose what really set me off is your insinuation that Obama has not brought all of his available resources to bear on the issue, going so far as to suggest that he commandeer a ship full of merry passengers.

    While I am sure that it would have the requisite effect of shaming of these passengers, I am not sure that it would serve the people of Haiti better than a hospital ship. These hospital ships are floating 1000 bed hospitals with 12 fully functional operating rooms. If a cruise ship showed up, we’d be hoping that the doctor from Love Boat was up to speed on the best ways to treat crush victims so that their lungs don’t collapse.

    To have you take this disaster and turn it into a soapbox for grandstanding on how much money Wall St. has stolen and how much Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us. We get it. Your sustained outrage will have a place when all of the screams of the trapped are silenced. You can bitch about the evils of politics when we have the roads opened for supplies and people in Haiti can take a drink and have a small meal. You may go back to fighting against a war that all of us want to be over when we have stabilized the children that have their legs amputated because 4 tons of rebar fell on their apartment.

    But seriously, do you need to take shots like “Liberals need to recognize that the person we voted for is a skilled and consummate liar. People who get to positions of power by lying don’t stop once they get into power. Obomba is no exception”. Your outrage is getting on my last nerve.

    Yesterday, a co-worker suggested that he didn’t want us to send anything to Haiti until we fixed up New Orleans. I snapped and said that if we still had people dying in their attics because they forgot their ax, fine. But we have people trapped in collapsed buildings, down streets strewn with wreckage and bodies, and transportation in and out is flat busted. We have to save those people and give them the basics before we can do anything else.

    I guess I’m frustrated and I would rather let the experts (and this is one thing that the military are experts in) do what they do. We can Monday morning quarterback in a week, but only shitty owners call down to the field during the game to complain about the playcalling.

  114. Delaware Dem says:

    Hear fucking hear, Geek.

  115. cassandra m says:

    You go, LG! Well said.

  116. anonone says:

    I was serious about the cruise ships. It wasn’t a question of “shaming passengers” at all. My understanding is that in times of national emergencies, the government can commandeer cruise ships for things like troop transport. Even Bush used Carnival cruise ships as temporary housing after Katrina. They can house hundreds maybe thousands of people – you could use them for housing aid workers or doctors, if necessary.

    To your broader point – this thread meandered all over the place. I did not expect it to go on this long, but the contrast between the Wall Street, war budget, and HCR headlines juxtaposed with the Haiti headlines and pictures seemed worthy to comment on. I also feel like there is a double-standard here – one for Bush and one for Obama.

    If I had written during Katrina “Conservatives need to recognize that the person they voted for is a skilled and consummate liar. People who get to positions of power by lying don’t stop once they get into power. Shrub is no exception” nobody would have raised an eyebrow. But, the despite clear evidence of Obama’s lies, I get eviscerated for pointing them out and the vast differences between what he says and what he does. I don’t trust he is going to do the right thing for Haiti in the long run, but if we don’t put political pressure on (starting now), it is more likely that he’ll capitulate to the right, who are already complaining about too much aid too fast.

    Yes, I understand that we share many of the same goals. But there seems to be an unearned blind trust in Obama here at DL such that there is rarely, if any, criticism by any of the current DL staff in blog posts or comments, and criticism by other liberals is more likely to be dismissed or ridiculed than taken seriously.

    Nobody here seemed to be afraid to “call down to the field during the game to complain about the playcalling” when Bush was the president. I don’t know why people seem to be unwilling to now.

    Maybe an echo chamber is what you want here after all.

  117. A. price says:

    again, a1, what capacity does the president have to take over cruise ships? maybe your qualm is with private sector ceos….. who the president of the united states does not command. maybe they should make the moral decision to lend their ships to this crisis. But blmaing the president for not exercising powers he does not have is moronic and makes you look foolish. I THINK obama should step in and make the guy at the ACME give me free food.

  118. cassandra m says:

    Cruise ships used for Katrina response were chartered by the government — not commandeered.

  119. A. price says:

    why hasnt obama ordered doctors to cure all illness?!

  120. The idea with cruise ships is just an idea someone is kicking around on a blog. I’ll trust the experts to know what is needed in Haiti. I know one thing they don’t need is a lot of amateurs running around there. I have no doubt that if cruise ships are needed, Obama will reach out to the cruise lines. Until then, we should chill out. There’s not much we can do here except give money to groups working on the ground. I actually don’t have any skills that would help the people of Haiti right now. I doubt they’re in desperate need of a chemist.

  121. anonone says:

    I have no doubt that if cruise ships are needed, Obama will reach out to the cruise lines.

    “No doubt” is blind faith, by definition.

  122. anonone says:

    “Cruise ship sails into Haiti bringing aid for quake victims”

    It seems like the Brits are actually doing something that U.I. thinks is “just an idea someone is kicking around on a blog.” Maybe in a few days, someone in the Obama administration will think of it.

  123. cassandra_m says:

    Calling out people for any kind of blindness is really rich, A1. You — who have been often proved wrong and never admit that; or who have been called out on detail that you never come back and rethink; or who have specifically run right by conversation and evidence that contradicts your POV in order to make sure you can hang on to that POV come hell or high water — are quite out of line here. You are being eviscerated for being an absolutist, for never doing the work to even understand the arguments of the people you are talking to here, for looking for unicorns and expecting the President of the United States to be both your perfect father and make sure you get this week’s winning Powerball numbers too. As long as you are looking for perfections, you will always be disappointed and — really — you get a kick out of being the holier-than-thou guy anyway.

    You aren’t victimized here and once you resort to that poor, pitiful, more superior than you stance, we are more than clear that you’ve run out of anything to contribute.

    Every mass rescue effort has multiple phases and this one is constrained by an inadequate airport and by port infrastructure that is quite damaged. In spite of that, rescue teams are getting in as are medical people and supplies. Including people from all over the world. Food, water, shelter coming is shortly after. Clearing equipment and emergency engineering shortly after that. There is never enough right after a disaster on this scale. But faulting people for not performing miracles doesn’t say much for how well you’ve kept up your end here.

  124. anonone says:

    “Often been proved wrong…?” Like when? Like about cruise ships?

    I am “rethinking” all the time. I study all the arguments – from the left and the right. And I read carefully everything that is written in the threads that I am involved in. I also know the rhetorical tricks that you personally like to use like “tell me EXACTLY how Obama can…” as if you aren’t smart enough to understand how. And then you say nonsensical junk like “But faulting people for not performing miracles…” as if I have ever faulted people for not performing miracles.

    You, cassandra_m, who called me a “heartless immoral bastard” for having the same position on the Senate HCR bill as Howard Dean had, have no room to accuse me or others of “never doing the work to even understand the arguments of the people you are talking to.” I have never seen you change your POV on anything, regardless of the facts presented in a thread. Instead you resort to name calling and haughtiness.

    I don’t think that there is really any significant difference of opinion at all any more between the DL writers, and when you write things like “WE are more than clear that you’ve run out of anything to contribute,” it pretty much confirms it. I can’t recall that there has been a single disagreement among you on any significant issue since DV and Jason left. It’s like you’ve become an inbred blog of national democratic party talking points – rarely do you deviate from or disagree with Obama and the White House talking points.

    As a result, DL has lost its edge. I am sure that you can see your readership is falling; certainly, many of the old commenters have gone or surface only rarely. What’s the point anymore? All your strong left writers have gone so all that remain are the centerists who seem perfectly happy defending or making excuses for Obama no matter how much he sells out the progressive movement and goals. If you want more of your commenters to continue to disappear, keep telling them that you collectively think they have “run out of anything to contribute.”

    Nevertheless, I am still thankful for writers like LG, UI, pandora, nemski, and even DD who have thoughtfully engaged in threads with me where we have disagreed without being dismissive or calling me a “heartless immoral bastard.”

    And I plead guilty to being an absolutist about a lot of things, and I don’t apologize for that.

    It has been a long day. I am going to bed. Good night.