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Archive for January, 2010

I ran across this little gem while searching for news about Hillary today.

Hillary Clinton – Gone Rogue on China?
Thursday, 28 January 2010 By Stephen K. Ryan

As has been widely reported, Hillary Clinton recently lectured the Chinese government in support of Google’s accusations that the Chinese Government had assisted in a “cyber attack” against Google that breached the company’s sophisticated firewalls and looted sensitive privacy data.

China has denied the charges but rather than quite diplomacy, Hillary Clinton has raised tensions between the two countries with her very public condemnation of that country.

Now, based on recent headlines, it seems that the China/Google dust up was just the beginning of Secretary Clinton’s bully pulpit campaign against many of China’s foreign policies.

The question is has she gone rogue?

President Obama in his “State of the Union” speech had little to say about the growing strain between the United States and China, yet right after the President’s speech, Hillary Clinton has unleashed a barrage of warnings, condemnations and threats against the Chinese Government.

Here are today’s headlines

“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned China on Friday that it faced international pressure and increasing isolation unless it joined other world powers in sanctioning Iran to try to halt Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.”

“On Saturday, Hillary Clinton defended the arms deal to Taiwan which angered the Chinese, saying, “such sales contribute to maintaining security and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

These are serious and complex foreign policy issues yet some are beginning to wonder if Ms. Clinton is shooting from the hip. Have Ms. Clinton’s recent incendiary comments against the Chinese government been carefully crafted in conjunction with policies supported by the White House national security team and the U.S. Treasury Department? Is the State Department unveiling a get tough approach against China long in the works or is Ms. Clinton engaged in a seat of the pantsuit diplomacy not coordinated with White House officials.

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Oh for pity’s sake! I remember that same question being asked between this night:

and this one when she called Netanyahu’s “restraint” on settlements “unprecedented.”  I hate the picture below because he looks like he just screwed her, and I like it even less that she looks like she enjoyed it.

That was when she went from this stance in late May: Clinton, Israel Must Halt West Bank Settlements to this in November: Unsettling Questions.  The question at the time was whether she had gone rogue over there in Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem.  Sources in the White House allowed, at the time, that this stance was one that had evolved in the Situation Room although a plan and timeline for unrolling it had not been formalized.  In other words, whether or not it was a policy shift (and I am still unclear on that), it was not Hillary going rogue, but rather her driving the bus on the route previously mapped.

So when I see the above question regarding China, I tend to think this is carefully crafted, planned, and not at all in conflict with anything the White House plans.  If there is one thing Hillary Clinton has been fastidiously careful about, it is to show no daylight between her State Department and the White House.  She  has shown loyalty almost to a fault many might say. Thus I find renewed speculation that she is going rogue still more of the same old song. Elements in the media would just love to see her in conflict with the White House. It appears to me that conflict is one thing Hillary Clinton dearly wants to avoid – even in cases where some would prefer to see her take a tougher stance.

I know this disappoints and hurts some Hillary loyalists. It is the ultimate irony that one of the characteristics of Hillary that we admire and love so dearly, her loyalty, is perhaps the quality that prevents her from stepping out onto the thin ice of her personal agenda more publicly. Of course, this was her motivation in campaigning so hard for her party’s ticket, to demonstrate her loyalty, to keep her word that however the nomination went, she would work hard for the ticket.    It was the opposition to her campaigning by some who had supported her so strongly that inspired this blog to begin with.  I was surprised and hurt to see those Hillaryites turn against her, and some of them turned viciously.

The truth is that we cannot know the truth. We do not know where Hillary actually stands while she represents the administration. As for me, I continue to have faith in her. She did not initially want this post, deliberated long and hard about taking it, but, once she accepted, she drew the parameters of the administration around her. I do not expect that she will be stepping beyond those boundaries while she is Secretary of State. That is the Hillary I know. For better or for worse, that is the Hillary Clinton I love and defend (even though I wish she would not let it look like Bibi is always screwing her over). Hillary Clinton is my Homegirl.

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One of my Homegirls at L_J brought this article to my attention, and I must protest!   Paul Reynolds,  World affairs correspondent BBC News website, are you for real?

It was never going to be easy to be secretary of state in the shadow of a president who won the Nobel Peace Prize within months of taking office.

And that is what Hillary Clinton has perhaps found. President Obama has made such an impact on the world, partly from not being George W Bush, that she is sometimes left as an also-ran. Just as she was in the presidential elections.

It is the president who has re-fashioned American foreign policy from one widely seen as confrontational, into one in which he says he seeks engagement.

1  That is the administration she, after much deliberation, chose to, decided to join. She knew the stakes.

He, not Hillary Clinton, has set the agenda for America.

It was he who insisted on taking time with his advisers to debate sending reinforcements to Afghanistan.

It was he who reached out to the Muslim world.

It was he who insisted to the Israelis that they had to freeze settlements if there were to be further Middle East peace talks.

It was he who held out his hand to Iran, hoping for an unclenched fist. It will be he who will determine whether at some stage to move from sanctions to military action.

It was he who led the US negotiations over global warming, an issue which has not enthused her much.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (as she prefers to be called, emphasising her own family name as well as that of her husband) is finding it a hard task to fashion a distinctive diplomatic role for herself.

2.  Of course she has “enthused” over global warming! Have you seen/ read/heard about her valiant attempts to save Copenhagen?

She has also had to accept that the infamous “0300 call” election advertisement was an empty, and unedifying, threat, which diminished her.

The ad was hardball stuff and attacked her election rival’s lack of foreign policy experience. Over pictures of sleeping children, the commentary said: “It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone ringing in the White House… who do you want to answer the phone?”
The ad was hardball stuff and attacked her election rival’s lack of foreign policy experience. Over pictures of sleeping children, the commentary said: “It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone ringing in the White House… who do you want to answer the phone?”

Hillary Rodham Clinton is now happy for Barack Obama to answer that phone.

3 . I cannot find the text reference, but in April, when Obama was storming Berlin and North Korea fired off their missiles, he DID contact the SOS in the middle of the night, and she DID respond much like the SNL predictive skit.

The administration is only a year old. Secretary Clinton will not be dissatisfied with her image. It is her achievements that remain in doubt.

4 . How about these?

SEWA


(From Secretary Clinton blog) Please go there and read about that visit.)

And then there is this.

In the “shadows”?  Hardly.  In charge of foreign policy, no.  Effective?  Where she can be –  pretty visible, I would say.   (And pretty – it gets us friends. )

In the “shadows?”  Can we put that one to rest?   I do have a silver cross. I also have garlic .  Who has a nice sharp stake?  (Refs for above are welcome.)

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Beautiful as she is, Hillary Clinton looked grim and distressed this morning at the White House.  She had flown for ten hours from Hawaii, after cutting her planned Pacific trip short, and gone straight to the White House to address the crisis in a place dear to her heart.  As I have mentioned here before,  Haiti was home to me for ten years during which I was happy, acculturated,  and completely embedded with the local population.  Just knowing how much Hillary cares about Haiti, it is written all over her pretty face, comforts me.  But,  of course, neither Hillary nor I,  as distraught as we are about this, are the ones the most in pain.  It is the people of Haiti, a people I love, that are suffering and in need of the help that Hillary is mobilizing.

Rarely, I have taken advantage of the State Department website function “text the Secretary,”  but last night I did because I watched that little girl Bea rescued on CNN.  She’s 13 and does not have parents anymore.  Suddenly the implication of the huge number of children orphaned by the earthquake hit me, and I realized that among all the enormous problems of every stripe that must be addressed to get Haiti on its feet, hiding under a banana leaf looms the threat, for these children, that is Haiti’s dirty little secret.

It is supremely ironic that in the First Black Republic, born of a slave revolt 206 years ago, a covert form of child slavery is practiced more-or-less in the open even in the 21st century.   Peasants (not a slur, in Haiti there is a rural peasant class, “paysannes”) with more children than they can care for routinely farm small children out to other families.   Sometimes godparents are chosen specifically to receive these children once they are four or five and can accomplish some chores.   In some cases,  the children are even installed with blood relatives of better means.  These children might be afforded a year or two of primary school, but the older and stronger they become, the less likely they are to continue in school and they end up stuck at home and working for their keep.  They do laundry by hand, sometimes at the river.  They iron with dangerous  charcoal irons.  The irons shoot sparks.  If you burn it, you pay to replace.   They carry water.  ALL of them carry water. It is hard work   They have no childhood.  They work – hard – and for no compensation.  They are little Haitian versions of Cinderella and Jane Eyre living with her aunt and cousins.  They are called “rests-avecs.”  It means “live with” or “stay with.”

We tend to have a negative concept of orphanges.  There are orphanages in Haiti.  Perhaps, today, we prefer to call them children’s homes.  Some people who run these homes have been interviewed over the past few days, and over the years some have received coverage by American media.  They are kind, happy places.  Some might think that putting a child in an orphanage is cruel when there are families willing to take them in.  In Haiti, I would exercise a great deal of caution placing an orphan of the earthquake in an unrelated, and perhaps even a related family.  There is a danger that an innocent child, who has been through the worst thing any of us have ever seen,  might be assigned, with all good intentions, to a childhood of servitude.  In planning the social-humanitarian steps for the future weeks and months, we need to ensure that these children-at-risk are not subject to further cruelty of fate.

SO!  Last night I texted my dear, beautiful, and distressed  Madame Secretary to remind her that we cannot let that happen.

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In case you have not visited my other blogs, I want to put a quick update here.  Hillary, Homegirl and Prioritress Extraordinaire,  announced earlier today that she was curtailing her travel to the South Pacific and heading back to D.C. in order to orchestrate State Department response to the catastrophe in Haiti.

For Hillary, it is always first things first.  Before diplomacy, a humanitartian response to this terrible and tragic situation requires her organized and able expertise. So, regardless of what people write in books or post on blogs,  our Head Homegirl is headed to where the work needs to be done, as is her habit.  This is why we love her!

Below is the text number and message released by the State Department today and other important information, links, phone numbers.

To donate: Text “HAITI” to 90999 and a $10 donation will be charged to your cell phone.  It’s easy.  It’s painless.  You can do with one or two fewer lattes, can’t you?  The people in Haiti have no food or water.  WE HAVE TO HELP!

Oh!  And just so it does not go unnoticed, Bill’s Clinton Foundation is working with the U.N. on this.  Well, you know how it goes with “The Clinton Machine”  – they are SO out for themselves. NOT!!!

CLINTON FOUNDATION/HAITI RELIEF

This is crucial to some:

The public number to call for questions or information is in the State Department and that number is 1-888-407-4747.

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How painfully ironic that when I wrote that last post I singled out Bill and Hillary’s love of Haiti and prodigious work there.  If the quake had already happened, but it had not, I probably would not have bothered with that post at all because, you see,  I used to live there.  The epicenter was my old neighborhood, Carrefour.  I lived there for ten years.   I taught at the Bi-National Center run by the State Department, the Haitian-American Institute.  I did graduate work at the University.  I love Haiti with all my heart which tonight is broken for the people suffering there.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,  how much can a country take?

Haiti Chérie is a song that, for Haitians, has the effect and significance that Cuando Sali de Cuba, or Guantanamera have for Cubans.  (That’s my dear Célia Cruz singing Guantanamera).   It is the longing of the expatriate, but you hear it played all the time when you are in Haiti as well.

Despite all of their hardships,  the Haitian people are the sunniest, most cheerful people you will ever meet on this earth.  Poor as so many of them are, they are among the most generous.  I hope we will all be generous in providing the assistance they need so very desperately tonight and in the coming days.  This was an unimaginably huge earthquake in a very fragile place.

It never fails to amaze me the things that people think are important and the priorities people set.  That anyone expects the Clintons to go on an offensive or have a meltdown because of a few supercilious people who write unsourced tomes that others go on to review or quote causes me to wonder whether people know where their real priorities lie. Well, they lie here.

Hillary on Haiti at the Haiti Donors Conference Today

and here

William J. Clinton Foundation

It would be nice if certain holders of ill-gotten goods would donate the proceeds of their sales to the work of two who are actually helping!



From the State Department.

Subject: Contact number for American citizens with family in Haiti

The State Department Operations Center has set up the following number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti:

1-888-407-4747

(due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording). Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American Citizens through our Warden Network. Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time.


Remarks on the Earthquake in Haiti


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Honolulu, Hawaii
January 12, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Before I begin with this critically important subject about our future in Asia, I want to just say a few words about developments in Haiti. We are still gathering information about this catastrophic earthquake, the point of impact, its effect on the people of Haiti. The United States is offering our full assistance to Haiti and to others in the region. We will be providing both civilian and military disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. And our prayers are with the people who have suffered, their families, and their loved ones.


Former President Clinton issues statement about Haiti
Posted: January 12th, 2010 07:30 PM ET

Washington (CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton, the U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti, issued the following statement Tuesday after a major earthquake struck southern Haiti:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

My U.N. office and the rest of the U.N. system are monitoring the situation, and we are committed to do whatever we can to assist the people of Haiti in their relief, rebuilding and recovery efforts.”

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Dear Readers,

Okay.  You have worn me down.  I shall comment this once about the book, the title of which will not appear here, as well as the article, published yesterday at Politico, and typed by a renowned fan of anything negative about the Clintons.  His name will not appear here either, but you all know who he is.

Back in July, when North Korea was doing a lot of sabre missile-rattling,  when Secretary Clinton was asked for her position visa-a-vis NK’s activities, she responded thus.

“What we’ve seen is this constant demand for attention,”

“And maybe it’s the mother in me or the experience that I’ve had with small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention — don’t give it to them, they don’t deserve it, they are acting out.”

Given:

  • The nature and breadth of the of the Clinton Derangement Sydrome (yes, as I reported at the beginning of the New Year, still alive and well) apparent in the article as well as the book (which I have no intention of reading much less PAYING for);
  • The fact that I did read Michiko Kakutani’s review of said unsourced book in the Sunday New York Times where she brought the review to a conclusion by noting that there are no endnotes;
  • The fact that the Clintons themselves are ignoring the book;

I stand by my decision not to battle hearsay nor to rebut the clearly deranged article at Politico.

If the best defense is a good offense, here is the type of information I find far more substantive than unsourced remarks lacking quotation marks and hyper-emotional ranting from unruly bloggers.

  • Poll: Americans most admire Obama, Clinton, Palin : Among women, Clinton continues an unprecedented 17-year run as the first or second most-admired woman. She first led the list in 1993 as first lady and has held the top spot for the past eight years as a New York senator and, now, the nation’s top diplomat. (This is from USA Today and is based on numbers)

‘Hillary effect’ cited for increase in female ambassadors to U.S.

There are 25 female ambassadors posted in Washington — the highest number ever, according to the State Department.

“This is breaking precedent,” said Selma “Lucky” Roosevelt, a former U.S. chief of protocol.

A key reason is the increase in the number of top U.S. diplomats who are women, what some call the “Hillary effect.”
“Hillary Clinton is so visible” as secretary of state, said Amelia Matos Sumbana, who just arrived as ambassador from Mozambique. “She makes it easier for presidents to pick a woman for Washington.”

To tell you the truth, I believe it is her unfalteringly rising star, her hard work, her successes, her cheerfulness in the face of adversity, and her unflagging popularity that precipitate these faceless, nameless attacks to begin with. The result of all of the above remains the best defense as well. I have no intention of arguing at nit-picky levels the many outtakes of memory by the jaundiced and disaffected. She is out there,  as I write this,  working on our behalf to keep us safe.    As for Bill Clinton, he has other fish to fry too,  starting with trying to get Haiti on its economic,  environmental,  and social  feet.

What is that? A fly buzzing around my head? Shoo!

(And that is all I shall have to say about that!)

Best regards,

Homegirl Still4Hill

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Yes, THAT list, the one that includes Dana Carvey (co-alum of SNL), Robin Williams, Bill Maher, and Keith Olbermann (among others) who had harsh words for or imitations of our intrepid Homegirl and Secretary of State.  In your slick “endorsement” of Sarah Palin on O’Reilly, you fired a shot across MY bow, and I am firing back right into your bulwarks because the entirely unnecessary comments about my Homegirl were out of line, mister! *In my best Sister Mary Ruler Bearer voice*

Here is what you plopped into the middle of your rather insubstantive endorsement for president of the woman who failed to complete more than two years in the post her constituents elected her to.

…as Dennis Miller says, there is probably a bit of a sympathy vote for Clinton, ‘She’s been cheated on more than a blind man playing scrabble with a bunch of gypsies’. Harsh (but undoubtedly true)!

Another point he makes is that Clinton has managed to give an aura of competence when lined up next to the other players in the democratic party right now. Of course, her tendency to laugh at enormously inappropriate times and during serious ceremonies is more than a little off-putting. Not to mention that she laughs The Laugh. That cackle she’s become known for. It’s very off-putting. But by staying a couple of steps away from the inner workings of the Obama Administration, she’s managed to avoid having the air of incompetence flow over her.

I have heard Miller defend and even praise Hillary. I never trusted him when he did that, and my instincts, it appears were good.  He turns on her with withered old broomstraws, exaggeration,  and personal criticism.   Wow!  What a manly man you are, Dennis!  And, like many (but not ALL, by any means) men you lodge this criticism as if the only judges on earth are men and the only contestants women.  As if measuring up to male standards is the only rule.

Tendency to laugh at enormously inappropriate times?   I spend a good deal of time following Hillary Clinton.  I challenge you to show me the videos!  There was one incident, early in her tenure as Secretary of State, I believe she was meeting with the Foreign Minister of Morocco at the time,  when she broke up inexplicably when discussing piracy at sea.  I will not pretend to know why that happened, but anything could have explained it, including fatigue.  It was not sustained.  She immediately brought it under control.   In the hours of footage of Hillary Clinton that I have followed in the past year, I have never seen her do that again.  That, Dennis, equals exaggeration.  Arguably, it might have occurred once.

Click on the image. The animation ia adorable!

Now THE laugh,  that you refer to as a cackle,  is her personal laugh and your characterization of it is your personal opinion and amounts to personal criticism.  For many reasons, not the least of which are attacks similar to yours,  Hillary’s admirers happen to love to see and hear her laugh.  In fact, if she does see the video of what you said,  I have a feeling (and hope) she will crack up and laugh long and loud because, as she says, “I’m used to that.”

I have no intention of addressing your thesis except to say that comparing a woman who resigned her elected post after a mere two years with a woman who bravely puts on the most cheerful of attitudes and faces while serving her country in dangerous places and in dangerous ways is a false analogy.  Excuse me, what is it?  Sarah vs. the mean media as opposed to Hillary vs. the terrorists who target her?   The analogy is ….what?

Hillary Clinton has faced down dangerous men and made explicit accusations and statements to their faces on their land.  She soldiers forth in regions where many are probably plotting against her, and may have (August, Nairobi – enough said).  The smile and the laugh are always there and they charm many.  She reaches out to populations wherever she goes (unlike her predecessor) putting herself at risk.   If you hear it as a cackle, well that is your own personal disorder.  We hear the bell of freedom ringing,  and we see populations responding.

Some of us, many, when we see and hear Hillary laugh, feel emboldened, braver,  as Americans, against the threats we face.  And MY opinion is that Hillary has a great sense of humor and a terrific laugh.  I love it when our Homegirl laughs!  She is beautiful, brave, and funny!  (You, on the other hand, are none of the above.)

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