Haiti needs electricity. Hillary gives them a sweatshop (and her foundation gets a new donor)

Commentary by Marita Noon

Until Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti nearly a month ago, on October 4, the impoverished island country was out of the headlines – pushed aside by election news. But new emails which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Republican National Committee and then shared with ABC News, made public on October 11, make Haiti part of the U.S. election news, as they highlight the cozy connections between the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton’s cronies. The corruption that has been brought to light is nothing short of scandalous – though, since it’s merely one more such story, few are probably following it.

I’m aware of this new information due to my multi-year collaboration with Christine Lakatos and her Green Corruption Files. She alerted me to the “bombshell new evidence” and she now has a full 26-page report available.

Hurricane Matthew made clear that the billions of dollars that poured into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake did little to help the 1.5 million people who were displaced when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed their homes in 2010. According to the New York Times, 55,000 people were still living in shelters when Matthew hit. However, earlier this year, HBO’s VICE newsmagazine series did a segment titled: The Haitian Moneypit. In it, Vikram Gandhi takes viewers through the deplorable conditions found in the refugee camps that have no electricity, fresh water, or functioning toilets. He claims: “hundreds of thousands of survivors are still displaced.”

Gandhi says that despite the $10 billion in relief that came into Haiti after the earthquake, “many parts of Port-au-Prince still look like the earthquake struck just yesterday.” He addresses the Zoranje model home project – described as a $2.4 million dollar showroom and the first approved reconstruction project headed by Bill Clinton and the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. However, Gandhi reports, the homes were unsuited to Haiti. Once the expo was over, zero homes were built for Haitians. Today the model homes are occupied by squatters who live in the makeshift village without plumbing or electricity.

Perhaps the homes were never built because the companies didn’t donate, or didn’t donate enough, to the Clinton Foundation. In his film Clinton Cash, Peter Schweizer relays a story about a Florida firm with extensive disaster relief experience. The company spent $100 million getting equipment into Haiti, but only made a small contribution to the Clinton Foundation. The company didn’t get any relief contracts. Many contracts went to relief organizations that were also involved in the Clinton Foundation – which brags about its role in Haiti.

Lakatos explains: “In digging through over 1000 emails from Hillary’s State Department related to Haiti, I discovered additional damning proof that the Haiti ‘reconstruction plan’ was a huge pay-to-play scheme for filling the coffers of the Clintons and their cronies.” She continues: “We now have an ocean of evidence confirming that our former president Bill Clinton and his wife, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, exploited the poor Haitian people in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.”

In 2015, in an article titled The King and Queen of Haiti, Politico summarizes: “The amounts of money over which the Clintons and their foundation had direct control paled beside the $16.3 billion that donors pledged in all.”

While Lakatos’ complete report provides details with links to the supporting documentation, due to space here I am jumping to what I believe is the most dramatic example: The Caracol Industrial Park (CIP) – a $300 million project that was planned before the 2010 earthquake and was built in a part of Haiti that was not impacted by the earthquake (therefore not helping the victims.) The CIP was originally lauded by Secretary Clinton as creating 100,000 new jobs in Haiti, but got revised down and down – with current jobs at a dim 8000-9000.

The comingling of players, companies and organizations is overwhelming – but one of Hillary Clinton’s closest confidants, Cheryl Mills, is at the center of it. Addressing the project and the Clintons’ “public-private web,” the New York Times (NYT) states: “Cheryl D. Mills worked ceaselessly to help a South Korean garment maker open a factory in Haiti, the centerpiece of United States government’s efforts to jump-start the island nation’s economy after the 2010 earthquake.”

In short, “Sea-A Trading secured millions of dollars in incentives to make its Haiti investment more attractive,” writes NYT. Sea-A Trading’s chairman Woong-ki Kim became a Clinton Foundation donor after his firm secured the lucrative contract in Haiti. NYT calls Kim: “the sort of enlightened global capitalist the Clintons favor.” Adding to the intrigue, when Mills left the state department, she started a company called BlackIvy Group – for which Kim is a financial backer. NYT describes the relationship this way: “The partnership with Mr. Kim sheds light on the business activities of Ms. Mills – a longtime Clinton loyalist who is likely to play a significant role in any future Clinton White House – as well as the interlocking public and private relationships that have long characterized the Clintons’ inner circle.”

The company makes clothes using Haiti’s cheap labor (roughly $6.85 a day – though reports claim the factory doesn’t pay that much and accuse the factory of sexual harassment, bullying and humiliation.) Workers complain that after they pay for lunch and transportation, they don’t have enough money left to feed their families. Many feel that they were better off farming the land they were thrown off of to make room for CIP.

The primarily female workforce makes clothes for large American retailers, including Walmart and Gap Inc., which get special tax breaks for importing the clothes made in Haiti.  Both companies are Clinton Foundation donors: Walmart has given $1 million to $5 million and Gap has given between $250,000 and $500,000 to the foundation.

Part of the $124 million in “incentives” the U.S. government provided (an unwitting donation from taxpayers) for CIP was to build a power plant to run the factory. While I have been unable to ascertain what fuels the plant, video makes it clear it is not wind or solar that Clinton touts. My research revealed: “Haiti is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels for electric generation.” It is most likely oil-fueled.

The electricity provided by the Caracol Electrification Project also powers some of the surrounding communities. The USAID site features stories of people living with electricity for the first time and elaborates on the dramatic improvement in health and quality of life since the area has reliable power. Many other similar reports exist.

A few months ago, Lakatos and I wrote about Hillary’s clean cookstove initiative: The developing world wants natural gas and electricity, Hillary Clinton sends cookstoves. This story is similar. Haiti needs electricity and Hillary gives them a sweatshop.

Considering the conditions in the Sea-A Trading factory and the hundreds of thousands of people throughout Haiti living in plastic tents and without electricity and the benefits it provides – one must wonder if the hundreds of millions of dollars that went to enriching Clinton Foundation donors, like Kim, wouldn’t have been better spent providing reliable fossil-fuel power to the people of Haiti. Doing so would have boosted the economy and helped families improve their lives. But that’s not how the Clintons operate and their fingerprints are all over the Haiti recovery efforts. Obviously, they have hurt the Haitian people, while helping themselves and their friends.

On November 8, America will decide if this is the kind of leadership we want.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc., and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy – which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

Friday night videos episode 24

After a week off to recharge the batteries, FNV is back with a good mix of politics and music once again.

Health care continues to be a sore subject in Congress. But while Democrats used the sob story to make their point yesterday, our side adds some facts to the emotion. This comes from the fine folks of Americans for Prosperity:

As I often ask, which Americans are against prosperity?

The health-care summit yesterday was a dud; then again that was the expectation from Republicans like Rep. Michele Bachmann. From the Washington News-Observer:

And the National Republican Congressional Committee added a dash of humor to the “Blair House Project”:

Yet there is other news on the conservative front as well. Last week over 70 conservative leaders got together to sign the Mount Vernon Statement. Here’s what I thought of it
but the players had their say as well. Again from WNO:

Nor have they forgotten foreign policy. Our best UN Ambassador in recent times spoke to WNO about his thoughts on the Obama relationship with the world.

If you follow me on Facebook you know what I’m usually doing Sunday nights at 9:00 – listening to Local Produce on the radio. This remake of “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” (originally done by the Charlie Daniels Band) is done by one of the co-hosts, Bob Daigle, and a couple of his friends. He definitely has an interesting YouTube channel!

The second of two music videos tonight is fresh stuff I recorded last Saturday at the Brumbley Haiti benefit. The sound quality is markedly better, and not just because Not My Own played well. Maybe I’m finally getting this video recording stuff!

That’s a wrap for another version of Friday night videos – hope you enjoyed it!

Benefits with friends

This is a tale of two (actually, three) good events in one weekend – if circumstances permit I plan on being at two. Let’s start with next Saturday, February 20th:

You actually have two chances to attend, one during the afternoon and one during the evening. My guess is that the six bands (in alphabetical order they are Bluelight Special, Corey Franklin, Not My Own, Proof Of Love, Reconcile520, and The Permilla Project – someone who reads this may let me know the actual lineup order) will play about a half-hour set apiece with a few minutes set aside for setup, then do it over for show #2. It promises to be a long day for the performers but an entertaining day for the patrons.

One thing this doesn’t tell me, though, is a cost – apparently there is a freewill donation but there are special deals available, at least according to Reconcile520’s Facebook page.

However, you might need to be a little extra generous with your donations on this one. This is a comment from Progressive Delmarva, where “Reconciled1” is one of the contributors:

By the time the civic center added all their extra fees.. the room is costing us roughly 1800 bucks. We were originally told $758 then you add a 10% building improvement fee, .25 a chair rental and set up fee, security, event staff, stage manager, paramedic on site, etc… the room was waaaaayyyy more then first quoted. We had volunteers to do all of this but they refused and said it had to be through them. Our stage manager had an inside track in there and it was taken in front of the board to see if they would donate the room but the board turned it down.. The reason we aren’t selling tickets before the concert at the box office is because there is another added cost to do that. With all things considered, we have roughly $5,000 into the operating cost when you add in the sound and light company and the use of a back room for the bands to hang out during the concert.

We have a restuarant that is feeding us all but we have to use another building for that because the Civic Center wouldn’t allow them to cater in. We would have to us their catering if we want to eat. Live and learn…….. The next concert will most likely be held somewhere else.

This got me thinking back to the first Salisbury Skatepark fundraiser, which was also held at the Civic Center – but subsequent ones were held in other locations. Maybe that’s why.

As far as the bands go, the two I’m most familiar with are The Permilla Project (I’ve seen them at the Salisbury Festival) and Not My Own, which has been featured occasionally on 93.5 the Beach’s “Local Produce” show. So the show should have a fair dose of original music along with some cover stuff too.

Then Sunday brings another benefit show – this one benefitting a different cause.

We all know about the tragic death of Sarah Haley Foxwell late last year, and the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center is using her name (presumably with the permission of her family) to raise money and awareness for their cause. It’s a little different fundraiser for them than I am used to, since the last couple years they have auctioned off special gameworn items from the Shorebirds. Last year’s auction was a bit of a downer because of all the rainouts the team suffered, so this is a different opportunity to contribute to the cause and hear more local music.

(There’s also free food, a silent auction, and 50/50 raffle to help raise money beyond the $20 admission price.)

In this case the bands will be Wes Davis, Agent 99, and Vivid Season. (Yep, this is why I included the Vivid Season video last night.)

I’m more familiar with these bands, although I’ve yet to see Vivid Season live. Wes Davis is a frequent player at Salisbury area events, including the Salisbury Festival, and has performed a number of times on Ocean 98’s “Live Lixx at Six.” And many of the events featured in my Weekend of Local Rock series have been graced by the sounds of the ladies of Agent 99, so I’ve seen them at least a half-dozen times. With the possible exception of Wes Davis throwing in an original composition or two, expect to hear a wide range of classic and modern rock standards remade in each band’s image.

If you haven’t been able to get out this weekend to cure your cabin fever, next weekend may present an opportune time to do so.