Haiti Helped… a little

Finally some good news for Haitians.

A reprieve also arrived from President Barack Obama, who on Friday approved Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, which will allow them to stay and work in the U.S., and send money home to their loved ones.

This is not going to improve the lot of many, but it is a good preliminary measure.

As I’ve argued before what Haitians need long term is a withdrawal of outside interference, a cancellation of its debt and a little more policy space so it’s people can drag themselves out of poverty.

I’ll blog on this more later, but the IMF are pretty much doing the opposite. Anyone surprised?

To great fanfare, the IMF announced a new $100 million loan to Haiti on Thursday. In one crucial way, the loan is a good thing; Haiti is in dire straits and needs a massive cash infusion. But the new loan was made through the IMF’s extended credit facility, to which Haiti already has $165 million in debt. Debt relief activists tell me that these loans came with conditions, including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage and keeping inflation low. They say that the new loans would impose these same conditions. In other words, in the face of this latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to compel neoliberal reforms.

Insufferable Bastards

Ars Technica: The most egregious case [of the media intentionally misreporting scientists' conclusions] seems to have happened at the UK’s Daily Mail, which ran an article in the Science and Technology section of its website entitled “The mini ice age starts here.” In it, the author argues that we’re due for decades of global cooling, driven by ocean currents that the article claims produced the last century’s warming—not greenhouse gasses. These facts are ascribed to impeccable scientific sources: the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, and Mojib Latif, a prominent climatologist based in Germany. A substantially similar story, with precisely the same attributions, later appeared on the Fox News site.

There was small problem here, though: Mojib Latif is still alive, and was easy to get a hold of. When contacted, he pointed out that large portions of the report were inaccurate. A prominent climate blogger contacted both Latif and the NSIDC; he quotes Latif as saying, “I don’t know what to do. They just make these things up.” Referring to “facts” attributed to it by the article, The NSIDC’s director said, “This is completely false. NSIDC has never made such a statement and we were never contacted by anyone from the Daily Mail. “