President George W. Bush is warning Americans not to fall for scams trying to raise money off the disaster in Haiti.
“I need to put a pitch in for the clintonbushhaitifund.org,” Bush told NBC’s David Gregory. “One of my concerns around any crisis is that shysters show up and take advantage of people’s good will and generosity. So for people who want to help, one avenue besides the established NGO’s would be to tap on that website and we’ll help make sure your money is spent in a transparent accountable way,” he said.
Celebrity foundations, credit card companies and Twitter hoaxes have drawn attention away from the efforts of reliable groups like Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health, the Dalembert Foundation or Doctors Without Borders whose cargo plane was not allowed to land in Port-au-Prince around the same time Bush was being interviewed this morning.
Ansel Herz, an American journalist on the ground in Haiti says that in the hours and days immediately following Tuesday’s tragic earthquake, Haitians could only count on themselves. He writes:
“In the absence of any visible relief effort in the city, the help came from small groups of Haitians working together. Citizens turned into aid workers and rescuers. Lone doctors roamed the streets, offering assistance.”
While the criticism that The Red Cross spends too much money on overhead is nothing new, reports about musician Wyclef Jean’s popular Yele Haiti Foundation have been startling. The Smoking Gun reports the organization has “repeatedly had its corporate status dissolved for failing to file required state disclosure reports” and in August 2009 the group “filed overdue tax returns for 2005, 2006, and 2007, documents showing that Jean paid himself at least $410,000 for services provided to the foundation.”
The New York Times reported Friday that the nation’s largest credit card companies — Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover — announced that they would waive fees for some Haiti contributions, after being criticized for siphoning off up to 3 percent of charitable donations for transaction fees.
Twitter hoaxes spread news of free flights to Haiti provided by American Airlines and free packages shipped to Haiti by UPS. CNN debunked both Thursday.
Meanwhile, the IMF has typical neo-liberal conditions attached to its $100 million dollar loan, and TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson told Democracy Now! that Bush himself was responsible for “destroying Haitian democracy” when he backed the violent coup to overthrow President Aristide in 2004.
This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Jan. 17, 2010.
Donald Trump’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department banned from the building: report
The Associated Press reported Thursday that President Donald Trump’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department was barred from entering the building.
The report revealed that Heidi Stirrup, "an ally of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller," was pressuring Justice Department staff to hand over sensitive documents and information about alleged "election fraud" and other issues that are important to Trump.
Attorney General Bill Barr told the AP on Tuesday that there was no widespread election fraud or voter fraud, as Trump has claimed for the past several weeks since losing the 2020 election. Trump alleged that Barr “hasn’t looked very hard."
Obama says some Black men are persuaded by Trump’s ‘macho’ bravado bragging about women and money
In part two of the SnapChat interview with President Barack Obama, Peter Hamby asked how President Donald Trump was able to persuade so many Black men to support him over President-elect Joe Biden.
When Obama was elected he got about 95 percent of the Black vote, where Biden got about 80 percent.
"Well, look, I think men, generally, are more susceptible to public figures who act tough, sort of the stereotypical macho style," Obama said, while videos of Trump showing off his flabby muscles appeared. "I don't think Black men are immune to that any more than White or Hispanic men are. A lot of the values of pop culture are extolling wealth, power, frankly, greed, not thinking about other people because you're so ruthless you're just looking out for yourself."
Vision-restoring brain implants spell breakthrough
Scientists are a step closer to restoring vision for the blind, after building an implant that bypasses the eyes and allows monkeys to perceive artificially induced patterns in their brains.
The technology, developed by a team at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN), was described in the journal Science on Thursday.
It builds on an idea first conceived decades ago: electrically stimulating the brain so it "sees" lighted dots known as phosphenes, which can also be thought of as artificial pixels.
But the concept had never realized its full potential because of technical limitations.