Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The U.S. Proves It is Callous To Haitian People and Sovereignty, Including and Despite Bill Clinton's Efforts to Re-Colonize the Country

Catholics pray in the rubble of the Notre Dame cathedral in 
Ramon Espinosa / AP
Antoine Fesnell, right, prays as his daughters Nicole, 9, center, and Antoine, 6, look on during mass in the rubble of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sunday. Fesnell's wife died in the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12 and killed a government-estimated 300,000 people and left millions homeless.

What follows and what is above is from *here* at

Haitians suffer as U.S. aid is stuck in red tape

Not a cent of $1.15 billion promised for rebuilding has arrived

The Associated Press
updated 9/28/2010 6:25:48 PM ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived.

The money was pledged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March for use this year in rebuilding. The U.S. has already spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funds, the reconstruction of the wrecked capital cannot begin.

With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington. At fault: bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, The Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful.

Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting, as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food.
'Lives at stake'

"There are truly lives at stake, and the idea that folks are spending more time finger-pointing than getting this solved is almost unbelievable," said John Simon, a former U.S. ambassador to the African Union who is now with the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.

Nor is Haiti getting much from other donors. Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far — less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11.

The lack of funds has all but halted reconstruction work by CHF International, the primary U.S.-funded group assigned to remove rubble and build temporary shelters. Just 2 percent of rubble has been cleared and 13,000 temporary shelters have been built — less than 10 percent of the number planned.

The Maryland-based agency is asking the U.S. government for $16.5 million to remove more than 21 million cubic feet of additional rubble and build 4,000 more temporary houses out of wood and metal.

"It's just a matter of one phone call and the trucks are out again. We have contractors ready to continue removing rubble. ... We have local suppliers and international suppliers ready to ship the amount of wood and construction materials we need," said CHF country director Alberto Wilde. "It's just a matter of money."

Last week the inaction bore tragic results. On Friday an isolated storm destroyed an estimated 8,000 tarps, tents and shacks in the capital and killed at least six people, including two children. And the threat of violence looms as landowners threaten entire camps with forced eviction.

In Washington there is confusion about the money. At a July hearing, Ravij Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, thanked members of Congress for approving the funds, saying, "The resources are flowing and are being spent in country."

It wasn't true then, and still hasn't happened.

When the earthquake hit, U.S. agencies sent troops, rescuers, aid workers and supplies to the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince. On March 24, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $2.8 billion in emergency aid to Haiti — about half to pay back money already spent by USAID, the Defense Department and others. An additional $212 million was to write off debt.

The heart of the request was $1.15 billion in new reconstruction funds.

A week later, Clinton touted that figure in front of representatives of 50 nations at the U.N. secretariat, the president of Haiti at her side.

"If the effort to rebuild is slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences," Clinton said.

That was nearly six months ago. It took until May for the Senate to pass a supplemental request for the Haiti funds and until July for the House to do the same. The votes made $917 million available but did not dictate how or when to spend it. Without that final step, the money remains in the U.S. Treasury.

Then came summer recess, emergencies in Pakistan and elsewhere, and the distractions of election politics.

Now the authorization bill that would direct how the aid is delivered remains sidelined by a senator who anonymously pulled it for further study. Through calls to dozens of senators' offices, the AP learned it was Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma.

Bill on hold

"He is holding the bill because it includes an unnecessary senior Haiti coordinator when we already have one" in U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten, Coburn spokeswoman Becky Bernhardt said.

The bill proposes a new coordinator in Washington who would not oversee U.S. aid but would work with the USAID administrator in Washington to develop a rebuilding strategy. The position would cost $1 million a year for five years, including salaries and expenses for a staff of up to seven people.

With the bill on hold, the State Department is trying to move the money along by avoiding Congress as much as possible. It sent lawmakers a "spending plan" on Sept. 20 and gave legislators 15 days to review it. If they fail to act on the plan, the money could be released as soon as specific projects get the OK.

"We need to make sure that the needs of the Haitian people are not sacrificed to procedural and bureaucratic impediments," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry told the AP by e-mail. "As we approach nine months since the earthquake, further delays on any side are unacceptable."

Asked when the money will actually come, State Department spokesman Charles Luoma-Overstreet said the department expects to start spending in the coming weeks and months. He added that $275 million in "bridge" funds were released in March and have gone toward agriculture, work, health and shelter programs — not long-term reconstruction.

Haitian advocates say that is not enough.

Jean-Claude Bajeuax of the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights in Port-au-Prince said this phase was supposed to be about building semi-permanent houses.

Promised houses: 'Where are they'

"Where are they? We haven't seen them," he said. "There is not much money that is being used. There is not much work that has actually been done."

Of course there is no guarantee that the money would lead to the successful rebuilding of Haiti. Many past U.S. aid efforts have fallen short. "I don't think (the money) will make any difference," said Haitian human rights advocate Pierre Esperance.

"Haitian people are not really involved in this process."

But officials agree the funds could pay for new approaches to make Haiti more sustainable, and rebuilding projects could improve millions of lives.

The AP found that $874 million of the funds pledged by other countries at the donors conference was money already promised to Haiti for work or aid before the quake. An additional $1.13 million wasn't ever going to be sent; it was debt relief. And $184 million was in loans to Haiti's government, not aid.

The Office of the Special Envoy has been tracking the money delivered so far but does not know who got it. The envoy himself, former President Bill Clinton, told the AP in July and again in August that he was putting pressure on donors to meet their pledges.

On the streets of Haiti, many simply feel abandoned. Mishna Gregoire, 22, said she was happy when she heard about the donors conference. But six months later she is still in a tarp city with 5,000 other people, on a foul-smelling plaza in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville. "I thought it was something serious they were really going to do," Gregoire said, standing amid tarps torn apart by the sudden storm. "But nothing has been done. And I don't think anything will be done."

"In America They Call Us Dykes: Lesbian Lives in the 70s". An October 8 - 10, 2010 Conference

The conference embraces a variety of topics and formats, from intimate conversations to more formal presentations of original research, from roundtables to workshops to reminiscences.

What is above and below is from *here*. I am posting the information here to promote the event.

Welcome to the Official Homepage for 
In Amerika They Call Us Dykes: 
Lesbian Lives in the 70s 
Fall Festival 
October 8th 2010 - October 10th 2010

Fall Festival Official Website
Fall Festival Schedule
Spring 2010 Series
The 1970s was a period of intense excitement, change, activism, and activity for lesbians. As lesbian feminism redefined what qualified as a "political issue" and challenged every assumption about gender, race, class, ability, sexuality, and any other social category, lesbians of all kinds created cultural, social, political, economic, and regional organizations and networks.

Lesbians created businesses; lesbians made and marketed music; lesbians played on softball teams; lesbians engaged in struggles for racial, social, and economic justice; lesbians made films; lesbians created womyn's land. Inspired by the massive social changes that were taking place, lesbians made new worlds for themselves and others.

In recognition of this momentous decade, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) will be holding a weekend long event/conference/ festival of lesbian history, culture, arts, scholarship, discussion, and performance from Friday, October 8 to Sunday, October 10th. The event will call upon experience, memory, and scholarship to represent as fully as possible the broad and wide experience of lesbians during the 1970s.

Check out the Official Website for 
In Amerika They Call Us Dykes:

CLAGS Lesbians in the 70s Series will:
  • Introduce and educate a broader audience about a crucial aspect of post-war American history.
  • Commemorate and illuminate the contributions of lesbians in the 1970s whose work was instrumental in the development of a modern feminist and LGBT identity.
  • Nurture current historical research on women and Lesbianism during this particular era.
  • Engage current multidisciplinary scholars of the 1970s, lesbianism, and feminism.
  • Create an original anthology of older work and new scholarly and creative work on lesbian lives in the 1970s and now.

***For more, please see *here* at Gay City News.***

CNN Anchor Don Lemon reveals he's a survivor of child sexual abuse, to make a point about perpetrators that needs to be heard

(For more on that interview on CNN, see this article at

There are three main points I'd like to highlight here, regarding the video above.

1. It is really glaring to me how and to what degree whites with class-privilege don't get how much more difficult it is for African Americans to publicly address the issue of sexual abuse in African American communities. If your sexuality and your personhood are both demonised by whites, then to discuss how some people in your community abuse people sexually is usually not going to be discussed in a public that has a white audience, if at all. Across race, the same phenomenon exists in identifying adult gay perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Because gay men are pre-stigmatised as "child molesters" those of us who are gay are often unwilling to discuss the issue of predation by gay adults in heterosexual, heterosexist, and homophobic environments. So, imagine being Black and gay in the U.S. and how different that is than being white and a heterosexual male, in terms of how much stigma there is on you, the survivor, and on the perpetrator as well.

2. It's sad that the reason people need to disclose on air, live, that they have survived an atrocity is because too many of us would prefer to be in denial about predators and perpetrators in our communities. Let's be clear here: predators, perpetrators, rapists, and child molesters are not "them". They are us. They look like "us" not like a "them". They behave like "us" not like "them".

If perpetrators and predators were only a "them" then "we" could spot 'em a mile away. We can't. They live with us and therefore are us. They are our doctors, priests, and fathers. They are, in some cases, our mothers. They are our step-dads, our grandfathers, our uncles, our older siblings. They are, usually, men known by us and trusted by us because they are known.

What most predators and perpetrators are NOT is "strange". What they are not are "strangers" most of the time. That's why the abuse happens so much: because the abusers are trusted and well-known adults who victims care for and, often, don't know how to say "NO" to.

That was the case with me. I didn't know how to say no to someone who was an adult who I was supposed to show regard and respect for. No one taught me it would be okay for me to fight back, to scream, to yell, to kick the perp in the nuts, to do whatever it took to get away. No one told me. What I was told instead was "always respect your elders".

Fuck that CRAP. Adults deserve no more respect than children, and no less. But when an adult violates another human being in atrocious ways, their "right to privacy" and their right to be held in high regard goes right out the door, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not at all in support of demonising abusers. But nor am I supportive of protecting them from consequences that they might avoid as long as their crimes are kept hidden.

3. If a Christian priest sexually abuses a child, they are a Christian terrorist. Plain and simple. If you don't get that, you don't get much.