Mr. Coburn Goes to Haiti

“ . . . the end result will be a lower standard of
living for the United States . . .”

–Tom Coburn in explaining his hold on S3317, Haiti Rebuilding Act

Jonathan Katz of the AP lit up news organizations and the internet on September 29 when he reported that Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was preventing $1.15 billion in new reconstruction funds to Haiti. Predictably, the one state newspaper in Oklahoma, The Oklahoman, has not reported on Katz’ article or Coburn’s tyranny.

Coburn has been a senator from Oklahoma since 2004, after three terms as a Representative in the 90s. The Okie from Muskogee is running for reelection and is expected to win easily on November 2. He has no worry that his withholding aid from Haiti will have any effect on his constituency and re-election.

Coburn, a Southern Baptist deacon, weakly attempted to defend his despotism by manipulating the truth, i.e. lying, in his various explanations. On his Senate website, Coburn puts up a smokescreen by referencing the $1.14 billion that USAID, the DoD and other agencies spent in the immediate days and weeks after the disaster as evidence that U.S. aid to Haiti has been provided. Coburn has yanked a separate form of funding, S3317, which was intended “to provide assistance in support of the reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti.”

Just this past week Bill Quigley, writing from Haiti, describes the reconstruction and rebuilding in Haiti nine months after the earthquake:

There are an estimated 1300 ‘camps’ of homeless people in Haiti.
Homeless people live literally everywhere. People are camped in the
middle of many streets. Shanty structures are built right up to the edge of streets. Every park, every school yard, every parking lot appear to have people living under sheets or lean-to tents.

The most fortunate families live in modest plastic tents. The newest
tents are royal blue with red flags with yellow stars on them – donated in the last week from China. Less fortunate families, and there are many of them, live under faded sheets stretched between wooden poles made from tree branches. Within the camps there are dirt paths – some only inches wide. Tents and sheet shelters are side
by side – inches apart.

In a blundering statement on his website, Coburn continues to confuse: “The State Department is expediting the aid to Haiti but that (sic) the lack of this authorization bill is not holding up their delivery of relief funding to Haiti.”

Since Katz’ article, the State Department has attempted to circumvent Congress, specifically Coburn, and release the funds. Asked when that might occur, State Department spokesman Charles Luoma-Overstreet could only reply “in the coming weeks and months.”

Coburn’s sole verbal comment on his withholding funds from Haiti came this past week at a speech he gave to the Republican Women’s Club of Tulsa County. He again denied placing a hold on aid to Haiti, though he admitted he had placed a hold “on a different bill,” moving from telling no truth to at least a half-truth. And he came up with yet another fabrication, “The real problem is the inability of the U.S. State Department to spend $1.1 billion to improve the lives of the Haitian people.”

In his current visit to Haiti, Quiqley documented, ” . . . a million other Haitians are slowly dying from starvation, illness, lack of security and neglect.” It seems that Coburn, a physician, applies his Hippocratic oath conditionally.

Dr. TRUDY BOND is a psychologist and native of Oklahoma. She can be reached at drtrudybond@gmail.com.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
H. Bruce Franklin
August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
David Yearsley
Bringing Landscapes to Life: the Music of Johann Christian Bach