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Thursday, January 14, 2010


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Done! Thanks for the link, John.

Thanks. Reading some liberal blogs for the past days, I can't say what has been worse. The right, who are still upset that Haiti rid itself of French slavery and established a black republic, or the liberals, who cry crocodile tears for Haiti and wonder, "why is Haiti so poor?", as though it is such a great mystery.


This link is to Partners in Health, which is looking for medical workers of all kinds. Also, of course, funds.

Re the Red Cross: please remember that the RC has a very spotty history. They have been racist in other catastrophes, refused to enter New Orleans after Katrina because "it wasn't safe." (Hello, that's what the Red Cross does - goes into places that aren't safe.) Also, Wyclef Jean's org is said by many to be misusing the funds and serving as an ego-trip for the singer. Partners has almost thirty years of on-the-ground commitment to Haiti, as well as other sites of health care crises.

Thanks for the link. I'll have to decide between that and Partners in Health.

Thanks for the link.

By the way, I take back what I said about Digby not being as bad re: third party-bashing.

Yeah, I saw that last night and noted the irony that just a week ago we were giving her credit for being fair-minded. Pathetic. It may still end up as a posting, even though you beat me to the punch.

I donated to Partners In Health; not sure why that organization in particular, I just stumbled on it. When I can give more, will target HERF. Incidentally, for a cmparison between what O. has earmarked for Haitian relief and the U.S. "defense" budget, please see the end of my blog entry today: http://mimi249.blogspot.com/.

And Obama wants another $33 billion for war as well (on top of the military budget request). At least there's no ambiguity about what really matters to him.

Rosemary, some info on PIH.

They've been working in Haiti for almost thirty years; they combine progressive politics with free health care; they provide regular checkups by health care workers to people with AIDS living out in the boonies, as well as food; they have a preferential option for the poor (PIH's motto).

Read "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder to learn more.

Gotta share this too, John. First, though, make sure you've got both hands under your jaw to keep it from bouncing off your desk. Ready? Okay. This is Digby again, justifying her earlier post:

For all of you who wrote emails to excoriate me for my earlier post about the endless whining over the broken system, I really, really need for you all to read Noam Chomsky and then come back and we'll talk.

I don't get what's wrong with what digby said. Seriously. I read Gnome's link and didn't see third party bashing and then I read the followup, which contained this--

"And if you don't like reform, which is very tedious, there's always revolution. Go out and start a third party, create a movement, invent a better system, whatever --- "Pick up a musket." The point of the Hayes piece is that there are paths to change and that there is value in democratic involvement for its own sake even if the immediate results are frustrating and unsatisfying. It tills the soil of democracy. Unless you are a total nihilist, that's really the least you can do.

I'm open to any methods (except actual violence) that will fix this system and if people have bright ideas, I'm all ears"

What's wrong with that? It sounds like she's open to third parties or anything people want to try short of violence.

If you didn't see third-party bashing in the first link, you must not have read the posting she lovingly endorsed as the jumping off point for her tantrum. It looks like her rage has driven her to incoherence, given the hilarious contradiction between what she's citing and what she's saying (and you're focusing on one coherent piece in isolation, which I'd agree might be reasonable if that's all she'd said). But I'll save further discussion for another posting.

I hadn't clicked on the Tbogg post, which was moronic. But her own words don't really focus on Nader-bashing. I think she's angry at people like IOZ and his fan club (I read him with enjoyment myself), not the Naderites as such--otherwise her later post endorsing political activity,specifically including third party building, wouldn't make sense. As for the Tbogg post, I think she just transferred his dismissal of Naderites to the "cynics" and "nihilists", which as she defines them are the people who've totally given up.

Also, I don't know how much Chomsky she's read, but in fact he has endorsed voting for Democrats as the lesser of two evils--I remember in 2000 he hated being asked how to vote, but I do recall once that he suggested Nader in states where it was certain Bush or Gore would win, but to think hard about what you're doing if it was close. (I also think I read he ended up voting for Nader, which is consistent with his own advice). He was never one of those Tbogg-style Democratic fanatics, of course, blaming Nader for all the sins of the world (his pal Mike Albert was pro-Nader), but he is definitely in the lesser of two evils camp--he often says that though Democrats and Republicans are fundamentally similar, even small differences can mean the difference between life and death for some people. So digby can read the Chris Hayes article (which was the main focus of her post) and read Chomsky and think with some justice that she is in agreement with him.

Anyway, I'll wait for your post.

I hadn't clicked on the Tbogg post, which was moronic.

Yes, and enthusiastically embraced and expanded upon by her. That certainly explains your initial response. And I agree with you that she's transferring the message somewhat, but even so I think you're misunderestimating the level of incoherence in her petulant little tirade.

I agree on the incoherence, but I think there are good intentions behind what she's saying (especially in the second part), so I'm more charitable.

I don't like the Naderphobia much more than you. I think there's an underlying moral position which is defensible, which is the one I attributed to Chomsky. But this should make people feel anger and frustration at the Democrats because it's essentially a form of blackmail--vote for us or the even worse Republicans will step in and harm more people than we will. Instead, the Tboggs of the world turn around and lash out at the Naderites.

Don't waste too many responses on me--save it for your post, if you decide to do one on this. But I'm lobbying for a bit more charity to digby if you do it.

You lose the expectation of charity with me when you order people who disagree with you to shut the fuck up. And though I get and agree with much of what you're saying, I think you'd have been much less likely to defend her if you'd noticed the first time through (as we did) just what she's adopted as her core premise.

If you are "medical personnnel", of almost any kind, the Nurses Union (former Calif. Nurses Union) is looking for people, and, funds:http://www.sendanurse.org/

Incoherence can sometimes be a symptom of tectonic worldview change, as can irritability. It's a well-established principle that telling commenters of any stripe to STFU is counterproductive as well as over-the-line rude, so Digby indulging herself in such an outburst may be a sign of a bothersome internal seed of doubt.

In any case, it's worth noting that last night she devoted an entire post to recommending the same Chomsky account of Haitian history John linked in this post. She may have come across it as a result of my comments to a recent Haiti post pointing her here, by vanity googling, or by some other route entirely. But there it is, one hell of a big step forward from the approving cites of imperial whore Mark Leon Goldberg days ago.

That encourages me to hope for more along these lines, and not to spend too much time or energy bemoaning the inconsistencies. I'd like to see a lot more liberals openly struggling with these issues.

...a sign of a bothersome internal seed of doubt.

I'd say that's exactly it, Nell. In fact that was what I was going to say in the posting I may never get around to writing (which is related to at least one other post I may never get around to writing).

Though I did discover yesterday that STFU is a favorite phrase of hers; the irony award goes to "So a word to the wise to all the people who are telling liberals to STFU --- STFU." Incoherence is definitely the right word.

Yeah, I'd agree too. I think Donald is right that she's probably more irritated at the IOZ-types for constantly razzing her than at Greens, Nader supporters, etc. But you'd expect a big-time blogger to have tougher skin than that, so it made me think that she probably knows her critics are more right than not, but the strain of trying to avoid admitting that makes her lash out like this.

I mean, she often says things that none of us here would disagree with at all. Then she abruptly turns around and indulges in some absurd misty water-colored memories of a time when the US didn't torture, only acted for good in the world, everybody loved us, yada yada. Oh well. I'll just try to be glad that she's even at a point where she's citing Chomsky at all, when like I said, several years ago, she didn't even know who he was.

Now, if someone like Atrios starts favorably mentioning him, I'll know the world has gone cuckoo bananas.

Anyway, sorry, John, didn't mean to hijack the Haiti thread, I just had to bring that up since we had just discussed that here so recently (and unless it's hiding in plain sight, I didn't see an email address to contact you at).

"I think you'd have been much less likely to defend her if you'd noticed the first time through (as we did) just what she's adopted as her core premise."


I'd defend her because in her second post she explicitly allowed that third party work was legitimate, and the only people she really criticizes are those who do nothing. I think she wrote the first post out of annoyance at people like IOZ and it was confused--she then thought more carefully about what she wished she had said when she wrote the followup. Good for her.

No problem, Gnome—as you say, we were just discussing it. In fact before Digby vomited up the left-bashing/STFU posting I was going to add an update here mentioning that she'd said Bill Clinton was the "best possible person" to be the special envoy for the Haiti relief effort. Yes, in much the same way John Bolton was such an appropriate choice to be the US ambassador to the UN. The mind boggles. Just more of those misty water-colored memories you were talking about.

Like Erik said, it's hard to know what's worse—the outright cretinism of the right, or the blissful party-centric historical blindness of so many liberals.

I don't get what's wrong with what digby said. Seriously. di mi

The Clinton statement and the liberal romanticism about US history isn't defensible--hopefully it's like Nell guesses and she's in a confused transitional state.

Clinton, btw, is friends with Dubya, which ought to cause some liberal heads to explode.

Catherine - thanks for the PIH link. That looks to be exactly the kind of organization that I want to support. I've set-up a monthly donation to their general fund. Again - thanks Catherine. And John - thanks for such a great site where I can get the kind of information I need.

On the digby thing, and for anyone still reading this thread, this seems to be digby's thought-out attitude towards third party types--

1. She won't judge you if you go the third party route (seems equivalent to a disavowal of bashing Nader supporters to me)
2. But she thinks that path will only lead to crazed Republicans taking office, who are worse than corrupt Democrats
3. So support primary challengers among the Democrats instead.

This is causing my own head to explode, but maybe Digby is partly right about Clinton and Haiti. I'm not going to argue with Paul Farmer on this--


On the subject of third parties and Digby, I just learned Chomsky is against BDS:


I'm probably the only Distant Ocean reader who will ever need this information, but what the hell:

BDS = boycott, divestment, and sanctions directed at Israel in support of Palestine (info on the movement/campaign here).

It's clear why BDS is such a useful acronym, but I'd encourage anyone writing something longer than a blog comment to either spell it out on first occurrence or at least use the word 'boycott' or 'sanctions' early on. Phil Weiss didn't use anything but the acronym in his entire post, and I wasn't absolutely sure I had the right idea until well into the comments.

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