Archive for August, 2009

Notes from the War Zone

US JordanOn yet another Hillary-News-Blackout day and the end of a long Hillary-News-Blackout week,  this breaking story just came through from Yahoo: APNewsBreak: NJ mayor in court to keep Gadhafi out.  And here I sit smack in the middle of all the controversy a stone’s throw from both Englewood and the Court House.

Aside from the Mayor of Englewood,  Michael Wildes, other main players are Rep. Steve Rothman, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez, and Governor Jon Corzine (up for re-election and reportedly not doing all that well in the polls, if you are to believe polls).   We hear this from Rothman at the end of the article:

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, whose district includes Englewood, has promised there will be “hell to pay” if the U.S. State Department lets Gadhafi stay in Englewood.


In an AP article dated Tuesday, August 25, US working with Libya on Gadhafi visit to UN,

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said U.S. officials will keep in mind the “very raw sensibilities” of the families as it works to find a residence for Gadhafi, who is set to address the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23.

Those of us who follow Homegirl Hillary are familiar with Ian Kelly, and we are also, of course, familiar with Hillary and her reactions to things. Kelly’s words are very surely hers. And, while she may not be in D.C., she once again is working while not having “public appointments” which was supposed to mean that she was on vacation this week.

Every news article I find refers to a statute within the U.S.-U.N. Host-Nation Agreement that places a travel restriction of a 25-mile radius from U.N. Headquarters upon visiting officials and heads-of-state. This restriction sometimes is not invoked, but can be. The problem for Englewood is that it is only 12 miles from Headquarters (one of its attractions – many missions/foreign governments own land in that neighborhood). I sympathize with the families, of course, but Englewood needs to examine its own methods and madness as well. When Englewood land is sold to Libya, and taxes are collected for a pretty penny (since the mission is a mansion), you HAVE let the camel into the tent. Legally, he can pitch his tent there unless there is a local ordinance against that, which I doubt since it is the land of tented parties when the weather is mild.

Personally, I hope that right now Hillary is soaking in her hot tub in Chappaqua, maybe even drinking an early afternoon cocktail, and not worrying too much about this. She has met with Libya’s Foreign Minister (son of Gadhafi), and I am certain this can be worked out.

I am a little more concerned about Rothman’s tone and the anger of fellow Democrats at this Secretary of State’s Department. (Stay in the hot tub, Hillary. I’ll take care of this). This is nothing but blowhard posturing – they need to appear angry because sooner or later everyone is up for reelection, but guys! Pick your targets more astutely. Why attack your own State Department when the real villain is the guy who threw the party for Al Megrahi? Hillary and State have consistently condemned the release and the reception. As Dick Cheney famously demonstrated, shooting the gun is never the problem. It’s all in the aim.

(I’ve added a picture of Hillary just because we’re all lonesome for her this week. I can’t get enough of that green jacket.)

Read Full Post »

Pop quiz!  Be sure to state your response in the form of a question.

1. Elizabeth Dole, Diane Feinstein, Claire McCaskill, Hillary Clinton.

2. Madeleine Albright, Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Clinton.

3. Patricia Schroeder, Cynthia McKinney, Hillary Clinton.

4. Laura Bush, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton.

Are any of these women celebrities?   Are all of them?   Homegirl Stacyx of Secretary Clinton blog sent me this WaPo article by David Rothkopf:   It’s 3 a.m. Do You Know Where Hillary Clinton Is? It is satisfying to see a major news source print a confirmation of what all of the Homegirl Security team was saying during the dark weeks of the “Hillary in the Shadows” meme.  Yes, Hillary is transforming the Department and foreign policy.   It is a massive undertaking being led by the most organized person in government.  It is edifying to see two major Sunday papers (this along with the New  York Times Magazine interview also published today) shine a positive spotlight on the hard work Hillary has been doing non-stop since she was sworn in.   So DeHoS tips its cap to WaPo, NYT, Mark Landler, and David Rothkopf.

But now a question:  Rothkopf’s article is the third or fourth in the past few weeks to refer to Hillary as a celebrity.  Dictionary.com defines the word this way:


1. a famous or well-known person.
2. fame; renown
distinction, note, eminence, stardom.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

So with regard to the pop quiz above, are all of those women celebrities?  Is Hillary somehow different from others in any of those groups?  Is she different in a way that involves greater renown?  A higher public profile?  Is she different because she is the only one who fits into every one of those groups?  Why are commentators and writers referring to her as a celebrity, and why so suddenly?

Is there something about Hillary?

Read Full Post »

The recent implosion of websites, forums, and groups that bear Hillary’s name, originally supported her candidacy and agenda, organized as a result of her campaign, and/or followed her progress as Secretary of State has occurred in such a way as to appear, even to the casual observer, coordinated. As a former resident of the now defunct Hillary’s Village, I am familiar with how that particular forum went down. Weeks later, having read the stories in emails, on Facebook, on blogs, I have seen that other sites experienced similar difficulties or transformations. Here’s what happened at Hillary’s Village and why I think it continues to be important for true Hillary loyalists to guard against influences that come from quarters that hold none of Hillary’s values, principles, or plans.

At HV there probably always was a strong, powerful Republican presence. I will say it here: I suspect administrators (perhaps not all) and super mods (some) were dyed in the wool Republicans. The Village might even have been started by Republicans for all I know. As a former mod there myself, I can say that there was special attention paid to infiltration by and banning of Obots. No equivalent attention was paid to Republicans or neo-cons.

Sarah Palin announced her resignation on July 3, a Friday. I was asked that day by a BTR radio host to call in with my reaction during that evening’s show. When I did, I gave my opinion as a voter. I said that this does nothing to inspire in a voter faith that she would ever again fulfill a term in public office. I called her a quitter,  and I was royally attacked in the chat room. I invited those folks to call in and refute what I had said. None did.

The following Sunday I went to HV, clicked on “new posts” and was amazed to see a long string of threads about Sarah Palin and NOTHING ABOUT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, the Village chief! When this phenomenon persisted through the day of July 5, I went back over there and cross-posted something from this blog wherein I had also referred to Palin as a quitter. Again I was attacked. Further, I could see in other threads that there was pressure being exerted on Villagers to support Palin. (It was not made clear how exactly one supports someone who is leaving office and has not declared candidacy for any other). Essentially the message was : If you supported Hillary, you MUST support Sarah.

Now I will defend women of any political stripe against sexist attacks, and I had defended Palin there and on my own blogs. I draw the line, though, at crossing political philosophies just because a politician is a woman. Maggie Thatcher was never my girl. Sarah Palin is not.

I stepped back from HV that day. I reentered occasionally to check, but the Palin threads were overwhelming. A week later there was an odd and disturbing message sent to some Villagers from a known source directing us to a different forum where screen-shots of private chats from HV had been posted. The remarks indicated some personal conflicts had arisen in the high administration, but there were also clear labels – political ones – attached to administrators and super mods. I decided to remain away from HV until the dust settled. Within days it was gone.

Prior to that, Together4Us had sustained attacks so terrible, it seems, that posting there has become more tedious than watching paint dry. Pantsuit Politics had some kind of trouble. Since then odd things have occurred at Hillbuzz – in fact it apparently is now a Sarah Palin site.

Many sites originally associated with Hillary and named for her now boast testimonials to Palin, and members are exposed to Palin propaganda. This indicates Republican infiltration and extends as well to “feminist” sites that claim to be non-partisan. I view it as typical bait-and-switch. You do a search, think you have found a Hillary site, link in and find a Sarah site.

I lay the death (as well as the birth) of HV squarely on the shoulders of Republicans and neo-cons who disguised themselves as PUMAs and Ultra-Militant Feminists who pretended that discussing anything other than Hillary’s policies and deeds was sexist. We were told more than once, no matter what challenge Hillary faced that this woman-of-steel could weather anything so -NO SYMPATHY, PLEASE! Even when she broke her elbow, I saw: “She’ll be back tomorrow.” (Well, essentially, she WAS, but she should not have been). No sympathy for the pain! We were told it was sexist to talk about her wardrobe, hair, looks. Now I know that these were foxes in the henhouse trying to intimidate Hillary’s loyalists and push them toward the Republican party using Palin as their tool.

Unfortunately, over the past year I have seen former Democrats become Republicans – manipulated by Republicans, not simply on the Palin issue, but also by using scare tactics re: things the Obama administration will do. Well, I am no fan of that administration, but some of what I am seeing makes no sense. Just one: Flu vaccine will be mandatory and you will be forced to get it. Hello? There is not even ENOUGH vaccine!

I bring all of this up in the run-up to the appearance in tomorrow’s New York Times of an interview with Hillary wherein she makes her agenda for women very clear along with her reasons for doing so: A New Gender Agenda. When I read what Hillary has to say, I see nothing that I have not always known about her since she surfaced on my periscope. But there is a resounding LACK of attention to these issues mounted by Palin supporters and by Pailn herself.

Hillary explains the relationship between the political, social, and economic well-being of women and a healthy and free society. I have never heard any of these notes sung by Palin, have you? If you are a woman, staying with Hillary and her objectives is the only option that makes any sense. If you are a man, and you read her words, you will see that supporting her goals makes the most sense for any society. If you are a Palin supporter, you should read this. If you were a Hillary supporter and now support Palin, what on earth are you thinking?

Read the interview.

Read Full Post »

When I first went to Haiti in the early 1970s, American Airlines pilots routinely welcomed visitors to “Haiti, 95% Catholic and 100% Voudou.” In the interim between then and now, I am certain that Catholic percentage has dropped due to Protestant Evangelical work by American and European missionaries. I am just as certain that the Voudou percentage has not changed since even back then, the Protestants I knew feared Voudou and its practitioners. Fear is the surest sign of faith.

In addition, between the time I left and now, some breakthroughs have been made permitting insight into the dark and secret world of zombification – a practice associated with Voudou. A professor of mine, Lamarque Douyon, found and managed to revive a zombie, and just before I left, Wade Davis showed up and began his research into the substances used to zombify people.

All of this is interesting in itself, but I bring it up here for several reasons:
1. Zombification tends to occur in outlying rural areas where there is little governmental representation.
2. It has been found to be used as a social control against those who repeatedly violate social rules (some of them laws).
3. The social rules in rural areas of Haiti can differ broadly from the law as it is written and followed in culturally westernized urban areas.
4. Rural areas of Haiti – even some aspects of urban areas – are recognized to be the closest replication of African culture this side of the Atlantic. (This is due to the early revolution – 1804 – and the closeness of many of the slaves who revolted to their African roots).

For my Master’s thesis, I chose to follow the model provided by Phyllis Chesler in Women and Madness to discover whether in rural culture, which represented at the time 85% of the population, women tended to exhibit a high incidence of the psychopathologies associated with men in the urban culture. (They did not). The reason I was curious was because of the structure of the rural, peasant-class family which is very different from the urban nuclear model.

A rural farmer in Haiti might own several parcels of land that are not necessarily contiguous or even in the same Department (state/province). Since one man cannot occupy all of these parcels at once, it is an accepted practice for the man to have as many wives (and families) as he owns parcels of land and to travel from farm to farm as an itinerant husband/dad. The wives are the ones responsible for raising the families, livestock, and crops, transporting the produce to the market, and selling it – all of this is usually done with the help of the children who might enjoy two or three years of school – if any – tops. In other words, the rural culture in Haiti is essentially matriarchal. When you converse with rural women in Haiti, you are very aware that these women are the ones in charge.

This cultural pattern is likely closely related to rural practices in some parts of Africa, particularly tribal areas closely associated with the origins of the Haitian people. One of these areas would be the Congo. Another, Nigeria. Because of time and distance, the two variables we must take into account when performing research in the human sciences, practices may have evolved differently on both sides of the ocean, but the phenomenon of strong matriarchal tendencies in central west Africa and in Haiti are recognizable.

Matriarchy is not legislated. It is a by-product of the larger culture, but it poses a problem for, and is at odds with the patriarchal tribal structure and with, in Haiti, the authority of the husband in the home. When we see, on the African continent, brutal crimes against women, I believe we are looking at something larger than the damage collateral to wars among men. I believe we are witnessing a larger war against women – against the bossy, creative, enterprising, self-sufficient women who hold the fabric of the family together while men are off fighting their wars. It is a war against women as leaders.

A friend (and Hillary loyalist) sent me this article written by our Homegirl Hillary. I think Hillary knows that these crimes against women will not necessarily abate with a ceasefire among the men. This is a separate war, this war against women. It requires its own separate set of negotiations, and its own separate peace.

Hillary Clinton Pledges to ‘Banish Sexual Violence’

From People.com
Originally posted Friday August 21, 2009 12:30 PM EDT

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be taking some well-earned R&R in Bermuda this week, but last week, the former First Lady and U.S. Senator wrapped up a grueling seven-nation diplomatic mission to Africa.

While much was made back home about her snapping at a Congolese student who asked her about Bill Clinton’s thoughts on a trade issue (“My husband is not the secretary of state, I am,” she retorted), the emotional heart of her tour was also her most dangerous stop – in Goma, inside the war zone in eastern Congo, where she tearfully met rape victims on Aug. 11.

In this exclusive Op-Ed piece for PEOPLE.com, Secretary Clinton shares what she learned on her visit – and what she will do about it.

Read her words.

Read Full Post »

Markedness is a linguistic concept that developed out of the Prague School. A marked form is a non-basic or less natural form. An unmarked form is a basic, default form. For example, lion is the unmarked choice in English — it could refer to a male or female lion. But lioness is marked because it can only refer to females. The unmarked forms serve as general terms: e.g. brotherhood of man is sometimes used to refer to all people, both men and women, while sisterhood refers only to women. The form of a word that is conventionally chosen to be the lemma form is typically the form that is the least marked.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the wake of the Forbes Magazine publication of its list of the 100 most powerful women, story after story today noted Hillary’s position on the list (36 this year), compared that position with her spot last year (28), and noted the positions of other American women in and out of politics and government, e.g. Nancy Pelosi (35), Kathleen Sibelius (51), Janet Napolitano (56), Michelle Obama (40) and Oprah (41), Wait a minute! What kind of list IS this? Are they serious? Michelle Obama does not have a job for Pete’s sake! She’s more powerful than the Secretary of Homeland Security? I don’t think so!

It is possible that the toxic meme of Hillary in the Shadows has taken some kind of toll on Hillary’s position on this list, but even if it has, a linguistic analysis of recent headlines cannot help but betray the truth about the media’s perception of Hillary no matter how hard they slam her or what other toxic memes her opposition might frame. Let’s take a look at a few from the past few days.

US can benefit from India’s economic progress: Clinton

Clinton seeks to reassure on US-Colombia agreement

Clinton Puts Spotlight On Women’s Issues

Releasing Lockerbie bomber is wrong: Clinton

Clinton: Insurgents seek to intimidate Afghans

Clinton Says Defense Deal Would Not Create U.S. Bases in Colombia

I could go on, but that might be enough to get my message across when compared to these:
Obama talks to Bill Clinton about NKorean mission

Clinton (Bill, That Is) Meets Obama on N. Korea

I bring these up not to insert this blog into the completely inappropriate discussion of competition in this marriage. Personally, I hope they are making mad, hot, passionate love in Bermuda as I plug on pushing Hillary’s agenda and giving her the publicity she deserves. I post these to provide evidence, and the way we use language never lies. that Hillary has become the unmarked Clinton.

If you were to go back several years and see the name Clinton in a headline, assuredly it would be Bill the header referred to. Even as recently as last year, they were differentiated by her first name. He was Clinton, and she was Hillary. She does remain a woman whose identity is recognized by her first name alone. If you say Hillary – she IS THE Hillary.

But recently, very recently, in the past few weeks, the unmarked name means Hillary. Bill is the marked Clinton now. This is a very informative phenomenon. It betrays a recognition of her power even while the media might play into the marginalization meme. A marginalized, shrouded, weakened figure does not rise to the level of unmarked.

Hillary is now the default Clinton. When references are to Bill, his first name is used – that is marking.

Language never lies. Hillary is doing what we all, at this time last year, chanted, blogged, tweeted, and prayed: Rise, Hillary, Rise! She’s doing it. Hillary is rising. And Forbes be damned!

Read Full Post »

We are often reminded that European countries are so much older than we are, and sometimes that much more gorwn-up.  Last week, the story of Vera Lengsfeld’s campaign poster, seen below, showing her side by side with Chancellor Angela Merkel both displaying a generous dose of cleavage,  zipped around the internet at lightning speed.   The slogan at the bottom of the poster translates to a good-natured “We have more to offer.”

Homegirls here cannot help but remember the onslaught of mainstream media a little over two years ago when our Homegirl appeared on the Senate floor showing the tennsiest hint of cleavage.  That, too, in video form as well as print, zipped around the internet and MSM like there was no tomorrow – also like the subject of her speech was of no importance.  I take this opportunity to hit the refresh button:  She spoke for approximately 30 minutes on the need to provide new ways for students to finance higher education.  It was an impressive presentation that got NO press because everyone was more concerned about the cleavage than the content.  Here’s how she looked.  I actually thought she looked tired, as if she had been working way too much that day.

Well the media eruption was raucous enough that our Homegirl appeared to have been concerned enough to have made a change in her wardrobe that went across the boards.  All necklines were raised – some high enough to touch the signature choker necklaces with which we are so familiar.  Since that July, 2007 incident, we have become used to seeing our girl in necklines raised modestly to above the collarbone.  Here is a typical example.

Thailand Clinton Now I think she looks lovely in this pantsuit, but I have regretted for years that stupid attack on her wardrobe and on her since it gave the impression that the media had succeeded in doing what it never should have done: make a lovely woman self-conscious about her body – a body, I might add, that a good many American women would trade their own for in a NY minute.  I have said in comments at other blogs and forums, and perhaps even here, (I have said it too many times to remember) that Hillary should not be so shy about showing a little skin.  One of the things we love about Hillary, whether as a Senator, a candidate , or as our top diplomat, is that she is a woman.  She’s our Homegirl  – out there showing us that women can do it.  I just resented that she felt she needed to cover up some of the evidence .  Well, I don’t know if  Hillary even has a spare minute to occupy my concerns about such things, but I did mention that an inch off the necklines would not be a scandal.  She has beautiful skin.

Well, lo and behold, it has happened as the recent photos below attest!  Yes! lower necklines, very pretty, and still modest – but not a suit of armor against media criticism – something a little more, well, revealing?   No – just a little LESS careful.  I think she looks beautiful.

I put this on this blog because it seems standards for women’s clothing in American politics and government remain puritannical compared to the decidedly more relaxed European standards.   I think women in government, in business, in a wide variety of venues should feel comfortable within their own skin .  I applaud these German leaders as well as their supporters and constituents for being at ease with the facts of life.  I applaud Hillary for showing a little more skin.  I expect no further negative attention from the media to Hillary’s style or body parts.  She is flaunting nothing but a nice clear complexion (and, as always, pretty curves).    You look gorgeous, Hillary.  We love it!


US Jordan

Colombia Bases

Read Full Post »

The story that came in my morning email alert from the NY Times, of all the anti-Hillary junk I have read, is the one most deserving of attention from Homegirl Security today. Other stories swirl around Hillary’s auto-umbrella (the one that keeps her “in the shadows” dontcha know), her media-manufactured envy of Bill’s suddenly “overwhelming” presence in the media for his heroic action in single-handedly retrieving the imprisoned female journalists from North Kores – you know – the release negotiated by Hillary and the State Department, her impatience at an inappropriate question at a Town Hall meeting in DRC last week (hmmmmm – seems to indicate that questions to her at Town Halls are not “cleared” first as they are for SOME people), and her dancing, always her dancing which I still contend she has every right to enjoy after a hard day of work and which she does very well. (I say this as a long-time student of Afro-Caribbean dance. She HAS GOT the moves!)

But THIS story is the one in my cross-hairs today, and I am super-steamed: Hillary Clinton’s Folksy Diplomacy . Why? Because of the many things Hillary is trying to accomplish at the State Department, and the list is ambitious, her signature as SOS is that of the Diplomat of the People. From the outset she said that she would be reaching out to the people in the countries she visits and moving outside of the ministerial halls. This IS her style, and it always has been. It does make for a packed schedule on a trip abroad since she must still hold her bilaterals, visit landmarks, shrines, memorials, meet with high officials, as well as find time to eat a bit and sleep a little.

I have to wonder how someone like Jeffrey Gettleman gets to follow the SOS on this trip (other than his single claim-to-fame that he lives in Kenya) while so ignorant of State Department practices under this SOS while many unpaid bloggers would have given their (our) eyeteeth to have been along with Hillary. Hillary does not travel to a country without being completely briefed. In fact, and I have no direct knowledge of this except what I and many others know about Hillary, she goes beyond the typical briefings of her predecessors. She studies the history of U.S. relations with the country and finds an unusual aspect within the relationship – which she mentions. She is fully knowledgeable of treaties, charters, and agreements between the U.S. and that country, and she makes it her business to know something about the local economy especially as it pertains to women and children. This background about the host country is what forms her agenda and itinerary. I would have been mollified if Mr. Gettleman had taken the same trouble with regard to the State Department as it runs under Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Had he done so, Mr. Gettleman would have gone into this assignment knowing what bilaterals, camera sprays, meet-and-greets, and townterviews are by visiting the State Department website, and blogs (the way so many of us know without ever setting foot inside Foggy Bottom). As for being ushered around by 20-somethings, well, Mr. Gettleman, get to the theater much? There, one is frequently ushered by the young. Get over that.

Here are some portions of this story that I find particularly irksome. They are by no means the only ones.

“Condi would never do this,” whispered one of Mrs. Clinton’s aides during yet another sweaty town hall meeting. Neither, probably, would Colin Powell. Or Madeleine Albright. Or Henry Kissinger. Or just about any other secretary of state, a job that in the past seemed to go to people who didn’t like to smile much.

But Mrs. Clinton is different. She’s a recovering politician, with First Lady tendencies. And a celebrity in her own right. She can’t resist the rope line even when it’s in a South African housing project teaming with glassy-eyed men and her secret service agents are practically shouting into their cufflinks. Her style is to go heavy on the politics, heavy on the policy, but mix in some real people as well.

“Diplomacy is not just carried out by diplomats,” she said in her farewell-for-now speech from Cape Verde.

A recovering politician? With First Lady tendencies? Excuse me? Hillary appears to have made the most seamless transition from politics to statesmanship of all the politicians in the new administration. She immediately dove in and began her listening tour among her new colleagues to see how the department’s functions worked and might possibly be made more efficient and/or FAIR (N.B. bennies for domestic partners). As for the First Lady tendencies – I am not even going to honor that with a comment. When people who get paid to write have nothing else to say about Hillary, they start talking about her “tendencies.” That part was a waste of ink and paper, Mr. Gettleman. All of New York State and 18 million voters know better. Of course one who never bothered to find out how the State Department works under Hillary’s auspices could not be expected to know that among her most important messages since she arrived at State has been that every citizen has the capacity to reach out and be a citizen-diplomat. And what is this new meme that she’s a celebrity? That is the second time I have seen that over perhaps a four-day period. Exactly what is it that makes her a “celebrity”? If anything, perhaps the fact that she is not your grandfather’s SOS – she’s actually beautiful enough to be a movie star (so beautiful that it’s hard for Hollywood to cast actresses to play her), other than that, this “celebrity” meme has as much reality as all the other toxic memes discussed here previously.

He goes on to revisit the little flare-up in the DRC:

Ironically, it was one of these softer, Oprah-style moments that did her in. “My husband is not the secretary of state, I am,” Mrs. Clinton snapped, after a Congolese student at a town hall meeting (also sometimes called a “townterview”) asked what Mr. Clinton thought about an issue. That snippy — but totally inconsequential — comment grabbed more attention that anything else she said or did in Africa. Congo may be burning. Trouble may be brewing in Kenya. Liberia may be heroically emerging from gruesome circus to model democracy. But in the end, Africa isn’t so interesting to most Americans. Hillary Clinton still is.

I will attempt to prevent steam from coming out of my ears at the Oprah comparison. PLEASE! The hallmark of a Hillary interview (or debate, for that matter) – maybe I should call it a “Hillmark” – is that she actually can take a question no one has pre-screened and answer it – often in great, organized detail, i.e. she is capable of thinking on her feet. That it was unfortunate for this incident to overshadow the very important work Hillary was doing in Africa, yes I agree, but Gettleman does nothing to right the course of the ship. She stood up in front of likely perpetrators of horrendous violence and called for tribunals. I trembled for her. She stood stock still. She insisted upon flying to an immensely dangerous place, Goma, in order to make contact with refugees in one of the scariest places on earth.

As for that last sentence, well it seems to me that among Hillary’s reasons for this trip was to make Africa visible to Americans. In Angola she said she hoped Americans would have a chance to see that country via television coverage of her trip. Well, THAT didn’t happen! Yes, Hillary is very interesting to Americans. It would be nice if the media would feed that interest with truth and balance about her plans and activities. They are monumental.

Read Full Post »

Well, I am about to snap that anybody would write an article like this about this pantsuit or any of Hillary’s pantsuits, or about Hillary’s signature style. This article by Anne Bratskeir appeared in an online Newsday blog today: Hillary Clinton pantsuit saga continues .

First and foremost let me make it clear that pantsuits should be the least of our issues when Hillary is on her longest trip, has visited incredibly dangerous places, made audacious and courageous statements, and signed agreements of great importance for development in Africa and the evolution of democracy there. Having said that, I must object strongly to this uninformed article by someone who has not bothered to investigate what Hillary is doing and prefers to critique her attire.

07-28-09-3_cropHillary prefers pants for the same reason many women who are photographed seated at times or must sit in front of people do. She often does wear separates, your novel suggestion – or that of one of your consultants. But she goes monochromatic often because it lengthens her appearance. I, personally think she looks smashing in her pantsuits. She is gorgeous in this.

Apparently lost on you is the fact that Hillary often USES the “jelly bean” colors you refer to as a code. This is something SHE can do that men cannot, and it is VERY effective diplomatically. THE WHOLE COUNTRY OF EL SALVADOR loved this:

ALL OF CANADA celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of the Border Waters Treaty (um, with the United States – Oh right! You would never know since she was shown talking about North Korea and Iran that Saturday, but the TV news never SAID she was in Canada or why). When she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Canadians tweeted joyfully, “Here’s HRC in red for Canada!”
US Iran

At the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue July 28, 2009, her red pantsuit was not lost on THE ENTIRE CHINESE DELEGATION. chinese conference

In short, Anne, the color-coded pantsuits are more than her signature item, they speak a language of foreign relations that is very powerful to the people in countries she visits. They may not understand English, and she may not speak their tongue, but people are always impressed when a diplomat wears their national colors. Hillary knows this. It is a very powerful image. Hillary knows the significance of color, and, in fact, she looks beautiful in these colors – why do you want to drab her up? She sparkles, and the world LOVES it!

Thailand Clinton
As for the suit you refer to as “mango,” that one, too, has some special significance to the Homegirls here. I don’t expect you to know that, but please respect it and do not criticize a pantsuit that we hold dear for many reasons that would be lost on you. Leave THIS one alone, Anne. Step AWAY FROM THE PANTSUIT! The Homegirls love it!
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ar

Homegirls wishing to voice their opinions directly to Anne can email her here: anne.bratskeir@newsday.com

Edited to added the flag diplomacy pantsuit collection.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jose Mujica,

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jose Mujica

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Celso Amorim

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Celso Amorim

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Celso Amorim

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Celso Amorim

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton an

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton an

Hillary Rodham Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gr

Hillary Rodham Clinton


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton arrives at a military airport in Seongnam

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton is greeted by Han, South Korean ambassador to the U.S., upon her arrival at a military airport in Seongnam

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sp

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sp

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sp

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sp

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sh

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton welcomes Argentina's Foreign Minister Timerman in Washington

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomes Argentina's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman to the U.S. State Department in Washington


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R

Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez (L) a

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Yousuf Raza Gilani

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gi

Pakistan's Prime Minister Gilani shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Clinton at his residence in Islamabad

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R



US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  l

Clinton arrives for a news conference with Westerwelle at the State Department in Washington

U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul

Hillary Clinton Gives Press Conference In Kabul

U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton listens during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul

U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul

U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul



400,http _d.yimg.com_a_p_afp_20090220_capt.photo_1235101121003-6-0

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton is welcomed  by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Verhagen as she arrives at the World Furum Conference Centre in the Hague


















Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton Gives Press Conference In Kabul



Hillary Clinton, Lawrence Cannon

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton


chinese conference


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with El Salvador's President Elias Antonio Saca during a private meeting in a hotel in San Salvador


Hillary Clinton, Luis Lopez Brito



Read Full Post »

CONGO-DEMOCRATIC/CLINTON-OUTBURSTGiven the pitiful coverage Hillary’s trip to Africa is receiving from the MSM, bloggers are on the alert for updates from the Dipnote Travel Diary blog, tweets from Dipnote, and from americagov on Twitter, entries on the State Department Facebook site, and tweets from Shaun Tandon, AFP Correspondent traveling with Hillary (who has been told several times, just by me, that he should appreciate how lucky he is). Yesterday and Sunday were particularly “slow news days” from this African journey. Hillary was in Angola on Sunday, and very little news came out except for some rather disconcerting tweets from Shaun about the amount of camo and ammo he was seeing on the street. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad the soldiers were there protecting our Homegirl, but just how dangerous WAS Angola? Perhaps very. Hillary has insisted on visiting some places she had been advised not to.

Yesterday morning, I knew that Hillary was already out of Angola and on the ground in The DRC. I was hoping that would be a more open visit than the rather shrouded operation in Angola. At some point in the day, Shaun tweeted about Hillary’s now famous but brief (and mild) “outburst” at a mistranslated question from a student at a Town Hall in Kinshasa, DRC. Well, knowing that the very expensive traveling press presence was being represented here only when Hillary danced (so far), I was pretty sure that she would be on the news again last night for her short rant since that, too, was “girly” behavior, and if there’s any message we are getting about how the press likes to portray our Homegirl SOS, it centers around her girliness. Her broken “ladybones,” her dainty dancing, and, now, her temper display (the old “everybody’s ex-wife” meme).

What I did NOT expect to see, and was not covered on the evening news, was the Facebook link to this story by Nicholas Kristof (NYT): Update on Paul Farmer and USAID saying that Paul Farmer would not be heading up USAID. Dr. Farmer, long a practicing physician in rural Haiti, was Hillary’s candidate for the position of Director.

There was not a word about that on the TV news last night, but there was plenty of Hillary erupting. To tell the truth, I have been the object of many explosions so much worse from men: boyfriends, an ex-husband, a former boss and from men who worked for me, that if Hillary wanted to “explode” like that at me on a daily basis and it would relieve some stress, I would gladly volunteer.

Now I am sure that the White House decision had a lot to do with any “touchiness” she displayed yesterday. But there was more to the story, and I am sure that Hillary knew it all. Late this afternoon, at about the same time I saw Kristof’s story yesterday, this story came through on Facebook from the U.N. News Centre: Haiti: UN envoy Bill Clinton appoints prominent US doctor as deputy. Yup! That would be the one and the same Dr. Paul Farmer.

So while today’s NY Post dwelt on the past in looking for reasons why Hillary might have been a bit raw yesterday, they missed the real story which happened in the present right under their noses. The White House subjected Hillary’s candidate to a vetting so frustrating that she mentioned her exasperation when she spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations in mid-July. Hillary, and Bill for that matter, are not strangers to this super-vetting process. USAID operates under the Department of State and also has a heavy presence in Haiti (as I know from having lived there a good long time). Whether Bill’s offer was on the table prior to the White House decision, I do not pretend to know, but I am sure Hillary knew that if the White house said no, Bill planned to bring Farmer aboard with him in the country Farmer knows so well. All three probably conferred about this.

So Hillary’s little display yesterday probably had a lot less to do with the past and with Bill than with the White House super-vetters who lost her the Director she wanted and handed him off to Bill as she knew would happen.

Neither was the “outburst” about Bill “overshadowing” her with his rescue trip to North Korea which she negotiated. If his shadow (there’s that word again, thank you NY Post) bothered her at all it would have been for the Breaking News that Bill stole Paul Farmer from Hillary (he did not). But, of course, like Kristof’s story last night, that story is flying under the radar of the TV news tonight.

Was Hillary a little beaten and wary yesterday? Yes! After many months of trying to fill that position with the best man she could find for the job, the White House smashed her, while she was in the middle of an extended trip on another continent, leaving Bill to pick up Farmer’s option for his (Bill’s) one dollar a year job as U.N. Envoy to Haiti (the envoy position another gift from the White House super-vetters who keep on giving). Since Bill must curtail his work with his Foundation, well, a guy’s got to do SOMETHING!

Read Full Post »

 Reuters Pictures  2 days ago  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins Kenyan dancers during a dinner party in Nairobi August 5, 2009. Picture taken August 5, 2009.

Reuters Pictures 2 days ago U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins Kenyan dancers during a dinner party in Nairobi August 5, 2009. Picture taken August 5, 2009.

It mystifies me how a person as vibrant, active, and  photogenic as our Secretary of State manages to elude the cameras of MSM despite the news orgs spending  royally on sending correspondents to travel along with her. Well OK, fair’s fair – Campbell Brown and Brian Williams showed lengthy (for them) clips of Hillary dancing in Nairobi (in which, incidentally,  she looked adorable and she does know how to move those hips).  But watching their reports (and others) gives the vewer the impression that all Hillary did in Kenya was party.  Hillary does know how to knock back a drink, and “get down” at the appropriate moment, but the reports arrive far short of covering what Hillary actually did over the past few days in Kenya.  Here are a few things the American people should know about the nature our lovely top diplomat and her activities in Kenya.

From left to right Kenyan Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, during the official opening the 8th Africa Growth Opportunity Act Conference(AGOA) in Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009.

From left to right Kenyan Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, during the official opening the 8th Africa Growth Opportunity Act Conference(AGOA) in Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009.

To appreciate these activities you need to know a little about a few folks with whom Hillary and her entourage rubbed shoulders.  She was in meetings with and made remarks in the presence of  William Ruto, Kenyan Minister of Agriculture, and Raila Odinga,  Prime Minister.  In the wake of the December 2007 election, vicious violence broke out in Kenya.  Both Ruto and Odinga are widely suspected of having heavy hands in fomenting that violence which lasted for several months before President Mwai Kibaki agreed to the formation of a coalition government by reviving the post Prime Minister for Mr. Odinga to occupy.

On two occasions, once in the presence of one of these men, Hillary spoke of justice for the violence committed in January and February 2008.  In front of Ruto, Hillary made remarks like these:

…the United States Government has delivered a very clear message to the Government of Kenya. Our Ambassador, our Assistant Secretary of State for Africa have both spoken out about our belief that it is in Kenya’s interest to pursue a path toward justice of those who acted in a violent manner and supported violence following the last election.

We also, of course, believe that this is an issue that is better handled by Kenyans themselves. And we urge the government, including the parliament, to act expeditiously to set up a means, whether it’s in the existing system or a special system. And I don’t think anyone will believe it’s real unless there’s actual court proceedings and prosecution. That doesn’t mean people are guilty. They’re innocent until proven so.

In a joint press conference with Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula, our intrepid Secretary of State said:

The United States and Kenya share a long and deep history of friendship and cooperation. We consider Kenya a key strategic partner, a regional leader, and a nation of almost boundless potential. I have just come from a candid and wide-ranging conversation with the president, the prime minister, the vice president, and other ministers of the government where we discussed, in depth, the steps that are needed to realize that potential and to seize the opportunities that I discussed in my speech earlier.

The United States worked hard last year with Kofi Annan and the team of African Eminent Persons to support the Kenyan people to resolve the crisis that afflicted this country. Unfortunately, resolving that crisis has not yet translated into the kind of political progress that the Kenyan people deserve. Instead, the absence of strong and effective democratic institutions has permitted ongoing corruption, impunity, politically motivated violence, human rights abuses, and a lack of respect for the rule of law.

These conditions helped fuel the post-election violence, and they are continuing to hold Kenya back. The reform agenda agreed to by the coalition government and discussed in the speech that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga gave this morning must be fully implemented not just to avoid a repeat of the previous crisis or worse, but more importantly, to set the stage for a better future, a future worthy of the dynamic people of this country, a future of economic growth, democratic development, social justice, and the opportunity for every Kenyan child to live up to his or her God-given potential. I wanted the leaders to know that we respect greatly the way that the Kenyan people pulled their country back from the brink of disaster once, and the ongoing connection between the private sector, civil society, and the government that is the key to resolving these issues.

…the United States and other friends of Kenya are encouraging Kenya to handle this internally is so that it is not sent to the ICC. The ICC won’t act if a country is dealing with internal problems on its own.

And with respect to your first question, the ministers explained to me that there is a constitutional impediment to creating a local tribunal outside the ordinary judicial system, and that there is required to be a constitutional amendment in order to create a local tribunal, which has not passed the Kenyan parliament. I think that is regrettable because, obviously, the government has come up with this constitutional amendment, and there are reasons why it is preferable to the Truth and Justice and Reconciliation Commission because it would have the ability to actually prosecute perpetrators.

We have made our views known. As you referenced, a statement from our ambassador summarized those views. I know this is not easy. I understand how complicated this is. It’s complicated, in part, because politically how do you go about prosecuting the perpetrators without engendering more violence from those who are supportive of the positions or the affiliations of the perpetrators. So it does take a lot of political will and leadership.

And we continue to believe that a special local tribunal is in the best interest of Kenya, so as to avoid having outsiders determine the outcome here. But as you know, Kofi Annan and the people working with him have handed a sealed envelope of ten names to the ICC, which has a lot on its plate. It’s not acting immediately, of course, because I think there is still the hope that Kenya will resolve this matter on its own, and that is certainly the American hope as well.

If Hillary had made statements like these, been whisked off to HillForce One and flown away, that would have been one thing. But she did not leave. She made these statements, and THEN she went out to the party, and remained in the country for a good long time before late last night (our time) she flew to South Africa.

Hillary has manifested in Kenya , as she did in 1995 in Beijing, a brand of courage and fortitude at least equivalent to standing in the line of fire on a battlefield. When she did go out dancing, it was as a dedicated and courageous public servant having done a hard day’s work, and certainly she deserved the fun she had. She was alone out there, really, despite her traveling party, saying things that few others in the administration would be brave enough to say.

In yesterday’s NYT, this article appeared under the unfortunate header Kenya’s Volatile Politics Shadow Clinton. At a later time I will address here the ever-redundant Hillary::Shadow collocation. Channeling my Irish grandmother as I pinch (hard) the author of the header, I applaud the NYT for telling the real story about why Hillary is in Africa. She did not go over there to party and dance, cute as she looks doing it!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »