On Haïti


Bay kou bliye pote mak sonje
He who strikes the blow forgets, he who bears the bruises remembers.
— Haitian Proverb


The libertarian economist Tyler Cowen who blogs at Marginal Revolution asks why is Haiti so poor and posits a few hypotheses:

1. Haiti cut its colonial ties too early, rebelling against the French in the early 19th century and achieving complete independence. Guadaloupe and Martinique are still riding the gravy train and French aid is a huge chunk of their gdps.

2. Haiti was a French colony in the first place and French colonies do less well.

3. Sugar cane gave Haiti some early characteristics of "the resource curse," dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

4. Haiti was doing OK until the Duvaliers destroyed civil society, thus putting the country on a path toward destruction. It is a more or less random one-time event which wrecked the place.

5. Hegel was correct that the "voodoo religion," with its intransitive power relations among the gods, was prone to producing political intransitivity as well. (Isn't that a startling insight for a guy who didn't travel the broader world much?)

6. For reasons peculiar to the history of the slave trade, Haitian slaves came from many different parts of Africa and thus Haitian internal culture has long had lower levels of cohesion and cooperation. (The former point about the mix is true, but the cultural point is speculation.)

7. Haiti has higher than average levels of polygamy (but is this cause or effect?)

8. In the early to mid twentieth century, Haiti was poorly situated to attract Chines e and other immigrants, unlike say Jamaica or Trinidad. It is interesting that many of the wealthiest families in Haiti are Lebanese, such as the Naders.


Leaving aside the absurd suggestion that Haiti is somehow to blame for casting off slavery too early, some of these hypotheses are plausible if incomplete explanations for the enduring poverty of Haiti. Still and not surprisingly Dr. Cowen leaves out one of the more recent ones - the failure of free markets - and a more traditional one - an enduring racism that has pervaded the world's relationship with the world's first black republic. Dr. Cowen can blame voodoo culture but voodoo economics is the greater problem.

I hope world attention on Haiti will bring a renewed focus on a failed and abandoned state. Haiti is rather unique among failed states in that it has not caused wider repercussions to its neighbors. The US and the Dominican Republic have been impacted in terms of Haitian immigration but that’s pretty much it. Haiti remains much as it has been for two centuries - a land forgotten and ignored. 

The thing is that Haiti is a solvable problem (unlike Afghanistan or Yemen). Not to minimize the problems that confront Haiti because seventy-six percent of its population lives below the poverty line and 54 percent in abject poverty (defined as $2 dollar a day or less). There is of course a deep societal cleavage in Haiti with a few families controlling the vast majority of wealth. The GINI is .65 which is one of the worst in the world. But here’s the thing in 1988, only 65 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. So Haiti is going backwards and it’s a country that can’t afford to go backwards. Nor is that 1988 date insignificant because it was then that Washington imposed conditions on Port au Prince for continued aid and the results speak for themselves. Haiti continues to go backwards.

Haiti is not just a failed state but it is a collapsing society. And that’s really more the issue. I’m hard pressed to think of a country that confronts as great an ecological challenge as Haiti perhaps parts of Kazakhstan, Russia, China are worse but that parts. The whole of Haiti is an ecological disaster. Maybe North Korea is worse or as bad but we don’t have the clarity (at least I don’t) that we have with Haiti. One can see Haiti’s problem from the air.

The border between the Dominican Republic (the DR) and Haiti is visible from the air. It’s the only world border that is so visible that is not a river or mountain range. That’s because the DR is forested and Haiti is not. The DR is green and Haiti a mauve brown. No country on Earth has been as rapidly deforested as Haiti has been over the past 80 years. Sixty percent of the country was forested in the late 1920s. Today only 1.5 percent of Haiti is forested. So when all those hurricanes passed over Hispaniola, the DR was scarcely touched while Haiti was ravaged.

So why is Haiti so deforested? Well, ultimately it does come down to governance and free markets. The DR had somewhat enlightened if despotic rulers (Joaquín Balaguer had a fondness for parks and he managed to save the DR’s watershed) while Haiti suffered the Duvaliers and perhaps worse a series of inept corrupt kleptocratic governments. But that’s just the overlay.

Here’s the nut of the problem. There is no infrastructure in Haiti. The electrical grid serves perhaps a quarter of the population. Haitians have no fuel with which to cook their meals and thus they took to cutting down their forests to make charcoal. It's the result of the libertarianism that men like Tyler Cowen worship. Haiti is 9 million individuals left to their own devices and the barbarism of free markets and free trade.

From a Slave Society to a Black Republic
The sugar slave society in Santo Domingue was particulary brutal compared to other slave societies. There were higher rates of mortality compared to other slave plantation societies and society developed along highly stratified lines. The average life expectancy for an African slave born in Santo Domingue at the close of the 18th century was just 21 years of age. 

The Haitian revolt was also a 13 year struggle begun in 1791. The struggle for independence was particularly bloody. Les blans, the small class of mostly French plantation owners, either fled or were massacred over the course of a very violent war that also destroyed the economic base of the country. Haiti's slave population was also hit hard. About of fifth of the population of half a million black slaves died during the course of the revolt. The Haitian revolt, the only successful slave revolt in world history, wasn't just a political revolution but a social one. Its success threatened to upset established social orders across the breadth of the world.

The American and Latin American revolutions were far different in character and less far-reaching in consequences. Take suffrage, in the US even by 1830 male suffrage still differed from state to state and was far from universal. In Latin America only Colombia and Uruguay broadened their suffrage measurably in the 19th century. In Haiti, in part due to the influence of the French Revolution, Haiti adopted universal suffrage though in the post independence period the country descended into civil war. By 1807, the country had split in two. Haiti was born in blood and that character remained well into the post-independent period. A mostly dark-skinned north and a mostly mulatto south. That pattern still exists today. 

A Sabine Rape of a Land and a People
Haiti after independence was isolated. No one wanted to recognize a black republic whose freedom was the product of a slave revolt. In the 1820s, South Carolina Senator Robert V. Hayne made the US position absolutely clear when he stated: "Our policy with regard to Haiti is plain. We never can acknowledge her independence." The United States finally recognized Haiti in 1862 when the South no longer held sway of the direction of US foreign policy.

France recognized Haiti in 1825 but only after Haiti agreed to pay reparations of some 150 million francs. Like many deals in the 19th century, it was negotiated at the barrel of a gun. Haiti was forced into an an arrangement that bankrupted the country though in 1838 the annuity was reduced. Still Haiti would spend the next 109 years paying off that indemnity spending as much as 80 percent of its annual budget to pay off heirs of colonial slaveholders. The last installment was finally paid in 1947. All told Haiti spent 122 years paying off a debt for its freedom from slavery. The promised trade was negligible. France had other colonies from which to import sugar, coffee, cotton and bananas - the main Haitian exports. The country was effectively cut off from world trade well into the 19th century. Thomas Jefferson barred Haitian ships by law from calling on American ports. Racism cannot be discounted as a cause of the treatment that Haiti received upon independence. Haiti as the first black republic and the product of a slave revolt was ignored by the United States and raped by France.

Political Instability
Haiti's problems began almost immediately. The first President General Dessalines declared himself Emperor in 1807. The army played a determinant role in politics. The Constitution existed only on paper. Of the 22 heads of state between 1843 and 1915, only one served out his prescribed term of office. Three were killed in palace revolts, a rarity in Latin America. Coups elsewhere were generally the bloodless kind. In 1915, President Wilson invaded the country and the US would effectively rule the country until 1934. The mulatto class took economic power running the country as if it were an estate. The political power for the mulatto class came once the US left. The Duvaliers, pere et fils, ruled the country with US backing from 1957 until 1986. Internal rule was enforced through use of militias, again a Latin American rarity.

How brutal was the US-backed Duvalier regime? Historian Alex von Tunzelman provides a glimpse of a second Sabine rape:


The country’s problems were only exacerbated when, in 1957, François Duvalier became president. Exploiting Haitian beliefs in the traditions of voodoo (most Haitians still practise it today), he established a personal militia, the Tonton Macoutes, rumoured to be zombies he had raised from the dead, who soon gained a chilling reputation for rape and torture.


Papa Doc himself affected the style of Baron Samedi, the spirit of the dead, appearing in a black top hat and pinstriped suit. Reports from Haiti brought forth disgust from the developed world, but the protests did not turn into action. Instead of moving to condemn and remove these dictators, the world’s richest countries opened their chequebooks. In 1967, American-owned plantations in the Dominican Republic paid Papa Doc directly for rounding up 20,000 Haitians to work on their lands. In 1972, his son and heir, Baby Doc’s minister of the interior, was exposed for literally selling Haitian blood to private American hospitals: $3 a litre, no questions asked. During the Duvaliers’ combined 28 years in power, up to 60,000 Haitians were “disappeared” by the regime. The Duvaliers swindled international creditors and aid agencies for enormous sums. The American government, via various agencies and banks, lent millions to both dictators.

Though there was anger in Washington about the Duvaliers and their 80% rate of aid embezzlement, no action was taken to remove them until 1986. The Duvaliers were always happy to sign up to new loans, and to give lucrative contracts to American corporations. Most of the projects went nowhere. Haiti is littered with half-built and abandoned schools, hospitals, bridges and roads.

Most of the money lent to the Duvaliers found its way into private bank accounts. When Baby Doc fled, he took millions with him: estimates go as high as $900m. The debts incurred by the Duvaliers make up 45% of Haiti’s total current debt. None of the creditors finds the fact of their complicity a compelling argument for cancellation. Those creditors include the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the IMF and the governments of the US and France.


Polygamy & Culture
Haiti isn't really polygamous like say the Mormons or Africans back in the Sahel. Few Haitian males can afford one wife let alone multiple ones. Common law marriages is the main cultural practice in the countryside. But Haitian cultural practices in the countryside did have polygamous aspects. There is a strong preference for male children. If a woman only bore girls, the male would sire with other women to produce a male. While polygamy has faded in practice over time, the preference for male children has not. This has led to a population explosion. The country is now the most densely populated in the Americas having overtaken El Salvador in the last decade. The population density in 2002 was 254 people per square km (659 per square mile).

Haiti and the Dominican Republic are almost identical in size population wise (the DR has 9.5 while Haiti has 9.0 million) but Haiti has been growing faster. Thirty-eight percent of Haitians are under the age 14 compared to just thirty percent of Dominicans. 

To tackle overpopulation, the solution remains female empowerment. 

Poor Governance
Another big culprit of Haiti's poor performance in the 20th century is the poor governance that has plagued the country. Both the DR and Haiti have had brutal dictatorships. But Haiti's Duvaliers were kleptocracy while Balaguer in the DR was more enlightened. No where did policy make a difference more than in the approach to the environment. Balaguer created national parks and preserved the watershed. So today, the DR is forested while Haiti is an ecological disaster. In 1925, sixty percent of Haiti was covered by forest, today only 1.5 percent is.

While the DR developed a rural infrastructure (roads and electricity), Haiti did not. Electricity in Haiti is basically found in Port au Prince. At least 75 percent of the population is dependent on charcoal for cooking. That has spelled disaster ecologically. In the post Duvalier era, the corruption from the drug trade has played an increasing role in Haiti's political life. Corruption is not amendable to progress.

Size and Composition of Elites
Very small in Haiti compared to the rest of Latin America. And very racially stratified. The light-skinned mulattos and the small immigrant population, largely Lebanese, have controlled both politics and the economy.

Free Trade & Neoliberalism
Haiti's local agriculture has been destroyed by an American-imposed free trade liberalization regime. Haitian farmers simply cannot compete with American produced agricultural products. Haiti would be better served to protect its domestic agricultural market and restrict foreign imports. If you want to talk about free market failure, Haiti is a case in point.

Haitian rice which is most likely of West African origin has been cultivated in Haiti for over 200 years. Rice is the staple food of Haiti and up until the 1980s Haiti was self-sufficient in its production. In the mid-1980s Haiti's domestic rice production decreased rapidly. By the1990s rice imports outpaced domestic rice production. This displaced many Haitian farmers, traders, and millers whose employment opportunities are extremely limited. Two factors are identified as being the most significant causes for the decline in Haitian rice production: the adoption of trade liberalization policies and environmental degradation.The trade liberalization policies at their center have involved the lowering Haiti's lowest tariffs on rice imports. Currently the rice import tariff is 3%, which is much lower than rice import tariffs of all other nations in the Caribbean Community. The Haitian market is now flooded with US rice imports ("Miami rice") and some have accused the US of dumping its rice in Haiti. The impact of the decline of rice production in Haiti has been devastating to its rural population which is already desperately poor.

In 1994 pushed by the Clinton Administration, the Haitian government entered into a new agreement with the IMF that contained a "medium-term structural adjustment strategy" which "included sweeping trade liberalization measures." In 1995 when this agreement went into affect, Haiti's tariffs on rice imports were cut dramatically from 35 percent to the current level of 3 percent. Haiti today has the most liberalized trade regime in the Caribbean and it has paid the price. The country that was 20 years self-sufficient in its basic goods is now dependent on foreign aid for survival. Such trade policies have devastated the rural sector in the country. 

That Haitian proverb I quoted at the start of this post is all too fitting. Haiti remembers all too vividly every blow laid upon it by France, the United States and a world built on racism and free trade. Haiti's problems are vast but to pin them exclusively on Haiti is to willfully ignore the historical record.

Tags: Haiti, US-Latin American Relations, US-Haitian Relations, neoliberalism (all tags)



Setting aside the critique of libertarianism for a moment

Setting aside the critique of Libertarianism for a moment - some of my best friends are libertarians (real libertarians, not just republicans in disguise)  - I would like to add the following :


Haiti has also brought out the absurdity of our healthcare situation and why a national health service is so vital.


First, the way our healthcare system operates now - is a pay for play system. At times of dire need, we are often unable to pay for such services + therefore we buy insurance. However, the insurance companies have been uprating and monkeying with the system for years - so much so that we now have a massive system of what amounts to legalized grey market transactions (mark up 40 percent here, mark down 60 percent there - nobody knows the price - psst.. over here.. hey pal, wanna buy a medical procedure?)


Now, free markets are not bad things + its nice to have one in America - esp. where medical innovation is concerned.  That said, the question arises as to what exactly are we doing, helping Haiti?

72% of the American public want a National Health Service, and when disaster strikes as it has in our neighbor to the south - we simply come to their aid.


I just wanted to bring this out - it seems as though no one has figured out how completely ridiculous it would be for us to be down in Haiti saying to them - "We can treat you but only if you are in an in-network hospital"... or "You will have to pay your deductible and co-pay".


Or worse still. To be denied care because of the pre-existing conditions...

I think we can safely say based on what you've written, Charles. That this is a country that had them.



by Trey Rentz 2010-01-14 07:30AM | 0 recs
Thanks for this overview and history of Haiti.

It explains why Haiti is a economic basket case today and why, after this horrendous earthquake, life will probably get even worse for the Haitians. Sorrowful situation with no immediate solutions.

by MainStreet 2010-01-14 09:09AM | 0 recs
Glad to see you back.

Hope you had a good time away.

by Jeff Wegerson 2010-01-14 12:03PM | 0 recs
What does it take to turn Haiti around?

I'd like to see more analysis of why the Dominican Republican does so much better than Haiti (or, if you prefer, why Haiti does so much worse than the Dominican Republic). 

by jcullen 2010-01-14 01:23PM | 0 recs
RE: What does it take to turn Haiti around?

" Why the Dominican Republican does so much better than Haiti "



- Tourism. Also the center-left PLD government (in power since the mid 90's) has overseen a lot of the recent growth.


But mere GDP numbers and relative prosperity. don't say anything about this tragedy. Had the earthquake hit DR rather than Haiti the devastation and loss of life would be just as great.

by vecky 2010-01-14 01:50PM | 0 recs

How ridiculous it is for you to blame bill Clinton as a being responsible for the problems of modern Haiti, when he has been the ONLY western leader to show any concern for that Country and its people.

This is possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever read on the blogs.

Clinton stood alone in DC and he risked his Presidency by sending troops to Haiti to bring back Democracy after our latest US backed coup.

The MSM, the Democratic leadership joined the GOP in attacking the president on this action. (And our "liberal" media heroes and in 2004 the Democratic leadership under president Obama's best friend Tom Daschles said nothing when the Bush administration pushed Aristead out again)

Id write more, but it seems that your Clinton hatred is so deep that you cant even see how incredibly off the mark you are, so what would be the point?

by 2010-01-14 02:46PM | 1 recs
RE: what?
Read up on Haiti, go to Haiti. Whatever Clinton's accomplishments in the US, Bill Clinton was a disaster for Haiti. The US destroyed Haiti's rice market. Destroyed it. Clinton took a country that was self-succient in agricultural and turned it into a aid-dependent basket casket in 15 years. Clinton restored Aristide on the condition that he sign an economic liberalization pact. Clinton didn't act in Haiti for some altruistic reason, he did so to advance the cause of American imperialism and prevent a social revolution. Get a clue. Who do you think has benefitted from Clinton's forced liberalization of Haiti's rice market that tumbled tariffs from 30% to 3%? Follow the money. Arkansas and Louisiana rice farmers who are often millionaires. Another beneficiary of Clinton's forced liberalization was Tyson Foods who sells to Haiti what it can't sell in the United States. Your ignorance is unreal. What was been done to Haiti is unconsciable. For what it's worth here's a piece from Democracy Now on Clinton's role in destroying Haiti's rice market. Even if you don't question his motives, the outcome has been an unmitigated disaster. I've been to Haiti, have you? I have seen with my own eyes what has been done to this poor country by neoliberals like Bill Clinton. May he and you rot in hell.
by Charles Lemos 2010-01-14 04:22PM | 0 recs
So Clinton risked his Presidency forArkansas rice farmers?

Are you insane?

Its Interesting how you are so very opinionated and yet so uninformed.

How good of you to know better than the people of Haiti themselves, they LOVE Bill Clinton, but being wiser and wealthier, you feel its your right to deny their opinion - correct?

I have been to Haiti twice. I was there for the first time on the day that Aristede was returned in 1994. At that time, I had long conversations with those pushed out of power and chased by the violent killers that Clinton's action had thrown out of office. They believed that Bill Clinton not only saved their Country - but also saved their lives.

The American Haitian American community (who I have worked with in FL, NY and PA) believes the same thing.

You simply dont know what you are talking about as regards to Clinton's roll in supporting Haiti.  

So Clinton is the IMF now huh?

Where did you get the RIDICULOUS idea that Clinton only restored Aristede if he signed some paper? 

If Clinton risked the lives of the thousands of us soldiers expected to die, for imperialism as you say,

why then did the GOP, the Dem leadership and the corporate media ALL oppose the invasion?  Are they altruistic spirits? 


Worthless Clinton hating drivel, nothing more.


by 2010-01-14 05:19PM | 1 recs
RE: So Clinton risked his Presidency forArkansas rice farmers?

Yes, Clinton did the bidding of the IMF and World Bank. Not my opinion, people from Jeffrey Sachs to Noam Chomsky have written extensively on the Washington Consensus and Clinton's foreign policy towards Latin America.

The US establishment opposed Aristide (the fact that you can't spell his name correctly is telling) because Aristide was seen as a Marxist with pro-Cuban sympathies. Aristide had, for instance, written a treatise entitled Capitalism is a Mortal Sin.

Clinton hit upon the formula of using trade liberalization regimes (NAFTA was another vehicle to destroy Mexico's domestic corn market) to open Latin America's protected agricultural markets and he convinced elites here and there that such agreements would be good for them. Perhaps Clinton honestly believed that such policies would be good for the poor but it hasn't turned out that way.

Haiti is the most open trade regime in the Western Hemisphere. And it was the Clinton Administration that forced that upon the hapless Aristide as a condition for political power. You can blame Aristide for accepting such an agreement if holding Bill Clinton accountable is a bridge too far for you.
I don't worship politicians, I hold them accountable for their failures.

An academic paper on <a href="http://www1.american.edu/TED/haitirice.htm"&gt; Trade and Disappearance of Haitian Rice</a> from American University.

by Charles Lemos 2010-01-14 08:02PM | 0 recs


I know hes fun and all - but if hes your source on this fantasy pledge pro quo....well...I guess it shows youre not interested in a reality based disagreement.

So why again did the GOP and the corporate imperialist machine (that you happily supported by working for it) oppose the Clinton invasion to restore Democracy?

Dont they love Arkansas Rice barons too?

Oh and that Tysons food comment was beautifully paranoiac and crazy at the same time.

But you know better than reality right

As you know better than the people of Haiti it seems too - who do love Clinton.

And what about Obama - hes been President for a year now and still keeping Aristide in a US backed exile - guess thats Clintons fault too huh? (On this you have the two Clintons you hate to choose from)

Im not pro IMF normally, and i understand the effect on markets you speak of - but your trite attacks and accusations are so ridiculous as to be daft.

 Clinton risked his young Presidency in Haiti (they were talking about thousands of US troops possibly being killed) - on a ideal - to help these people out - but you ACTUALLY  believe that it was about selling surplus chicken parts and long grain rice to an economy that had no money, well "daft" - would be the word to describe such 'thinking".

Now THATS  daft.

by 2010-01-14 08:30PM | 0 recs
Clinton is NOT popular in Haiti

From Salena Tramel writing in The Huffington Post in July 2009:

The majority of Haitians are not impressed with Clinton, despite his philanthropic endeavors. Many see the Clinton name as a "business name" -- further reinforced by his recent call for more free trade zones for the communication sector where he has devoted much of his personal wealth. Since the present U.S. administration has failed to change course in Haiti, Haitians such as Chalmers are also concerned with Clinton's obvious ties to the State Department. They remember his role in the destabilization of their country and think that it is scandalous to now have him in charge of stabilizing it. Haiti has real problems created by years of outside intervention in all its forms. "Haiti is being used as a lab for this third generation of intervention and occupation," Chalmers said. The international community has a responsibility to help clean up the mess they created. It's time to stop digging the hole deeper and rebuild Haiti with Haitian solutions that benefit their own population -- from the bottom up.


Your cult worship of Clinton is touchingly naive, it really is.

by Charles Lemos 2010-01-14 08:17PM | 0 recs
RE: Clinton is NOT popular in Haiti

seems another of your NGO faux effective - living off the tit - gimee - gimme -"non profit" development folk - agrees with your attacks.

whoop de do!

i have spoken to thousands of Haitian people - both here and in country - and they ALL  love Bill Clinton for bringing Democracy back to the island.

Not some, ALL.

Guess I should have asked some poseurs or others who wanted A.I.D. money going to them instead of somewhere else - huh?

by 2010-01-14 09:02PM | 0 recs
cult worship?

people like you who read Chomsky and Klein and think youve found out some dark hidden reality behind the big story are laughably simplistic.

the historical reality of the rich stand on the bodies of the poor arent hidden, except it seems to you and deluded Naderish people like you.

but that you are one that also chose to work for one of the worse companies in human history is - well, thats taking hypocrisy to a whole new level.

either you understood what you were doing or you didnt.  

its YOUR  judgement I question - not Clintons.

your the one who bought into the big money lie pal, its you that chose the dark side - not me.

how can a wall street rich guy wannabe hypocrite like you actually pull off such a divided divided life?

oh I remember - by being in complete denial!!

oh yeah - by pointing fingers and blaming others for their"corruption' while never even looking at your own.

by 2010-01-14 09:57PM | 0 recs
one more piece of advice

stop believing your own government's propaganda.

Clinton's neoliberal Washington Consensus was a disaster for Latin America. 

by Charles Lemos 2010-01-14 04:30PM | 0 recs

and btw, which international Wall Street Bank was it that your bio says you worked for?


Was that career choice motivated by your altruism too?

by 2010-01-14 05:23PM | 1 recs

Ad hominem.

by Charles Lemos 2010-01-14 08:04PM | 0 recs

Like any good and actual populist, i just dont respect people who go into wall street banking.

How is someone who made that choice fit to judge someone who actually has worked to help millions of others.

Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

by 2010-01-14 08:12PM | 0 recs
Last time I checked Clinton has lots of friends at Wall Street
...so you don't like him either, right?
by louisprandtl 2010-01-15 12:12AM | 0 recs
I dont respect the job choice

and if he goes to work there Id be critical, but I dont expect he will.

by 2010-01-15 06:59AM | 0 recs
RE: Ad hominem

"May he and you rot in hell" is ad hominem too.

I'm not familiar with Aaron Burr but I was suprised to see you referring to another poster with this tone. You usually write in a calm voice.

I think both of you are going way overboard in attacking each other. Each of you has presented some personal knowledge and some historical facts about Haiti and Clinton, none of which is really in dispute here - particularly you Aaron really have chosen not to examine fact-by-fact Charles's argument; you've simply said, essentially, "We'll here's what *I* know about Haiti, and therefore you're an ignoramus.  And you worked in finance once, therefore you have no standing to write on social/economic justice issues."  You talk about what it means to be a true progressive. It would seem to me that among the traits progressives should possess is the ability to calmly converse and keep an open mind to each other's perspectives and experiences and knowledge base - and therefore maybe learn something from the other person - even if you don't arrive at the same conclusion on every aspect of a subject.  

by Rob in Vermont 2010-01-15 09:03AM | 0 recs
yeah,"May he and you rot in hell ...nice...

Isnt it nice to see that said about a 2 term Democratic President at a Democratic blog?

My overall point was that it took great courage and a sincere concern and commitment for Clinton to risk his presidency in 94 by imvading haiti to overthrow a violent government that had taken power during a US backed coup.

If he really was ab"imperialist" as this Goldman Sach's alumni said he was - why didnt he leave that pro US govt in place (y'know the pro USA one we put there by helping overthrow their government to begin with) and why would he risk the expected thousands of dead GIs - when the entire DC establishment was very vocally opposed?

Im not getting into debates over bs rice harvesting statistics, I only want this hypocritical wall streeter to get off his fantasy high horse and acknowledge that it was Clinton - going against the DC power structure -that brought Democracy back to Haiti.

His idea that this was done to benefit Tyson foods and unnamed Arkansas rice barons is both insulting and beyond delusional in its Clinton hating absurdity.

But of course, this fellow believes I should "rot in hell" for saying so.

by 2010-01-15 10:40AM | 0 recs
RE: Ad hominem

Because he's not a new user, he's the reincarnation of a previously banned user. 

But MyDD5 isn't fully functional right now so what I used to be able to do, I can't do right now. None of us have full powers of moderation.

I suspected this that this idiot was previously banned because he once made a very disparaging comment about Alexander Hamilton and now all of sudden a pseudonym called Aaron Burr shows up. A few other clues so tipped his hand. Aaron Burr is just here to cause a ruckus. He's not here for discussion. Witness his diary. The typos, the sentence structure, the personal attacks, the childlike taunts, the verbiage, all of it matches a previously banned user.




by Charles Lemos 2010-01-17 07:37AM | 0 recs


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