At the time of this writing, Hurricane Matthew and its aftereffects have left 18 people dead in the U.S., and nearly 900 dead in Haiti. Guess which one the corporate media is focusing on.
Well, horrifically impoverished brown people are probably going to be less likely to ask their doctor if Zoloft is right for them, so it’s kind of understandable. Especially when you remember that the darling of those same corporate media outlets, Hillary Clinton, is responsible for some of their destitution.
Eww, yucky. Democrats don’t like thinking about the actual things their leaders do. Can’t we just send Haiti our thoughts and prayers and go back to talking about how rapey Donald Trump is?
Nah, c’mon. Compartmentalization is overrated. Let’s look at this thing head-on.
In 2011, transparency-advocacy group WikiLeaks shared 1,918 documents ranging in classification from “unclassified” to “secret” with the Haitian weekly paper Haïti Liberté. In an English language collaboration with that paper, The Nation reports that among these documents is a 2009 correspondence between members of Hillary Clinton’s State Department, who collaborated with sweatshop owners from U.S. companies Hanes, Levi Strauss and Fruit of the Loom to thwart a minimum wage increase from 31 cents an hour to 62 cents an hour.
That’s right, the department run by former Wal-Mart director Hillary Clinton helped inflict a much more soul-crushing version abroad of the same soul-crushing corporatist democide that’s choking Americans to death at home for the benefit of companies like Wal-Mart. Incidentally, Alternet reports that the Walton family, owners of Wal-Mart, donated huge sums of money to help Clinton defeat her anti-corporatist rival Bernie Sanders, and according to the Washington Examiner, they’re still financially bolstering her campaign against Republican rival Donald Trump.
While we’re on the subject, Hillary Clinton still hasn’t uttered a peep about TiSA, a gargantuan trade deal designed to legally globalize the Wal-Mart economy by (among other things) forbidding the governments of participating nations from preferring local businesses over foreign ones, and making it nearly impossible to stop those businesses from predatory pricing practices. Massive corporations can just buy up shops on any corner of any town in any participating country, undercut the competition, shut them down and take total control of that commerce and employment sector, just like they do in America.
Can some of you “we’ll hold Hillary’s feet to the fire” Democrats get on this now, please? You’ve got one job for crying out loud.
The incident in Haiti happened the year before the devastating 7.0 earthquake that claimed the lives of some 200,000 human beings. The poorest country in this hemisphere, Haiti needed massive humanitarian aid from abroad in order to begin to rebuild and stem the lethal aftereffects of the disaster from which it still hasn’t recovered. Slate reports that the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, which was under the umbrella of Clinton’s State department, ignored recommendations to hire Haitian contractors, bringing in American firms to do the rebuilding instead and more than quadrupling the price per house from $8,000 to $33,000. The preceding sentence was the most American thing that I have ever written.
Five years later in 2015, Haitian protesters surrounded the New York offices of the scandal-ridden Clinton Foundation calling out, “Clinton, where’s the money?” “In whose pockets?” and “We are telling the world of the crimes that Bill and Hillary Clinton are responsible for in Haiti.”
According to the National Review, the Haitians had noticed that the firms which secured contracts to construct these overpriced buildings happened to have also made large donations to the Clinton Foundation philanthropy/tax haven/scandal factory. They decried the way Haiti relief funds were used to construct “posh hotels” and industrial parks, which provided little aid to the suffering people of Haiti who needed it most. Botched buildings, unfulfilled contracts, defaulted loans, and expensive roads nobody needed were the norm. Schools went unbuilt and promises unfulfilled. Thousands remain homeless to this day as a result.
Six years on and Haiti never got its legs underneath it between the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew last week. Natural disasters always hurt the poor first and hardest (one of the reasons taking drastic action on climate change is so essential), but what is it that keeps them poor? We absolutely have the ability to move into a collaborative relationship with one another as a species; renowned futurist Buckminster Fuller once said, “It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. It is a matter of converting our high technology from weaponry to livingry.”
What’s stopping us? The same money-hoarding greed that leads politicians to leverage their immense power to gain favor from their unfathomably wealthy friends at the expense of one of the poorest nations on earth, that’s what. We have the power to shrug off these old chains of corporatist oppression and plutocratic manipulations, and we can be absolutely certain that people like Bill and Hillary Clinton will do everything they can to keep pulling the wool over our eyes and stop that from happening.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery]