Saturday, January 30, 2010

Random Crap

Here's a truly astounding article from the Wall Street Journal denouncing the Obama Administration's conduct in Haiti, astounding because most criticism of the occupation has been levied by the left, and the WSJ is of course anything but. And with 15,000 troops in Haiti by now, that it is an occupation is a fact that takes real talent to miss.

Speaking of which:

Here's another astounding article, but for different reasons. USA Today notes the history of Marine involvement in Haiti and manages not to recoil in horror. According to them, "The Corps governed Haiti from 1915 to 1934 after an invasion force was sent to prevent an anti-American dictator from assuming power. Young, non-commissioned officers governed Haiti with little supervision." Marines built "roads, bridges and schools," but "many" of the ungrateful Haitians viewed it as "imperialism." They also note the role the Marines played in the 2004 coup that overthrew the popular Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, except they describe their role with the Orwellian term "to prevent massacres." Of particular interest is this little nugget from one Lt. Col. Gary Keim: "We were required to reread [the 1915 Marine occupation] ... We've been here before. We've been successful before." It does not bode well for the "relief effort" if the US military is preparing for it by revisiting one of the more shameful chapters of American history.


Here's something that makes my blood boil. The Federal government has awarded the state of Louisiana 474 million dollars for damages to Charity Hospital during Hurricane Katrina. This means that the state now has enough money to renovate Charity and build a state-of-the-art facility within the old shell. Instead, they are going to sit on the money for years, trying to float hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds that nobody will go for, to finance the brand spanking new LSU/VA hospital, to be built for 300 million more than the cost of renovating Charity, be completed 4 and a half years later, and built upon land currently occupied by 200 mid-city houses to boot.

I know people who know people who think that the levees were deliberately dynamited to push the working poor of New Orleans off of their land. This is a grandiose, yet entirely understandable misconception, considering the net effect of the recovery has been to push thousands of lower and lower-middle class residents off their land and out of the city altogether. This is all done in the name of "cleaning up the city," and is received with much applause by the New Orleanian middle and upper classes. The irony is, of course, that one could make a far more convincing argument that it is the New Orleanian middle and upper classes that should be kicked out in the name of "cleaning up the city," seeing as the degeneration of New Orleans into an economic and cultural backwater is entirely their fault. It isn't as though the poor visit these problems upon themselves. The extensive, miserable poverty in New Orleans is due to centuries of mismanagement of the city's resources by the local elite. As late as the mid 19th century many New Orleans streets were still paved with wood.

The middle class would counter this argument by saying that everything was fine until them uppity niggers started voting in people like Nagin and Dutch Morial, but this is an absurd mischaracterization of the way that American elections work. Candidates for offices of any consequence must first be vetted by moneyed interests before they can run a successful campaign. Therefore, the ruling elites in America essentially hold veto power over candidates' campaigns. Besides, in the case of Nagin, it was the conservative white vote, which was encouraged to vote for Nagin by the Louisiana GOP, which proved the crucial swing factor in the election. The New Orleanian elites are deluded to the extreme if they think they have earned the hegemonic right to shape the future of the city.

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