Archive for November, 2010

I have been avoiding, and will probably continue to avoid, addressing specific documents in the Wikileaks document-dump. For one thing, I prefer to read and post Secretary Clinton’s own words in context rather than some news org’s interpretation of them. For another, Mme. Secretary is doing a fine job, diplomat that she is, of addressing the situation on her own, and I have posted her remarks at Still4Hill.

This aspect of the story, however, does deserve attention from the Department of Homegirl Security.  If you go back in the archives here to June, 2009, you will see a post where yours truly mentions a number of  Tweeters expressing undying love for Hillary Clinton based on her extension of benefits to domestic partners of State Department employees.  In that post, and in the ensuing comments, Homegirls and Homeboys discussed the obvious: The true champion of the LGBT community in the Obama administration is clearly Hillary Clinton.

If you do a search on this blog for LGBT, you will find posts citing Secretary Clinton’s outreaches and inclusions of this community both within her department and globally.  That it was a member of this community, disgruntled perhaps for having been passed over, who targeted our Homegirl, a vocal supporter of LGBT rights and repeal of  DADT is the unkindest irony of this situation.  He wanted to give her a heart attack.  Really?  Sad.  Very sad.

Man behind the bombshell: A disgruntled US soldier

WASHINGTON:Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,”Bradley Manning is said to have boasted once. “Everywhere there’s a US post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed.”


What caused a young man from Oklahoma to undertake a feat of betrayal or whistleblowing that has convulsed the world? One report attributed it to a troubled youth and army service where he was shunned for being gay although he was politically aware and smart. When his career was going nowhere he is said to have become radicalized and anti-government .

Read more: Man behind the bombshell: A disgruntled US soldier – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Man-behind-the-bombshell-A-disgruntled-US-soldier/articleshow/7013059.cms#ixzz16jX6wBpI

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I imagine I was not the only Hillary follower who was taken aback to see the very business-like woman pictured here in Lisbon last week with our Mme. Secretary identified as France’s Foreign Minister.   It came as a surprise that Bernard Kouchner no longer occupied that post.  He had developed a cozy enough relationship with Mme. Secretary as to have wormed his way into my heart. So my first reaction was, I have to admit, disappointment that I would no longer be seeing him in bilaterals with Mme. Secretary.

Every once in awhile, instead of having to call somebody on a slight or attack on Hillary or one of her constitutent populations, we have something pleasant to cheer about or some kind of milestone to celebrate here at DeHoS.  So, after I recovered from my initial shock and nostalgia for Bernard, I came to realize that with the face of European diplomacy suddenly including more lipstick ,  the nature of Mme. Secretary’s diplomacy undergoes an interesting shift from the flirtatious smart power we have seen with the men, to the power of sisterhood we now see with France, Spain, Denmark, and South Africa among others.  (Now do not all go jumping all over me for saying she flirts, because she does.  It is an established fact, and I find nothing whatsoever wrong with it.)

This morning’s briefs from Foreign Policy Magazine include an interesting profile of France’s new FM Michèle Alliot-Marie,  affectionately known as MAM.   There appear to be a number of similarities with our Homegirl-in-Chief.  She has a rugby background.  Hillary’s background is baseball.  She plays on her President’s team rather than forging policy herself.  And she is the kind of powerhouse who can and has headed up other ministries, as FP puts it, a “ministerial grand slam,”  a talent HRC possesses even if it has never been tested.  Bill Clinton has been quoted as remarking that she could fill any cabinet post when he first entered the White House, and Bob Gates attested recently that of course she could run the Pentagon, but he likes the way she uses her diplomatic skills.

So, thanks to Foreign Policy, meet HRC’s new French counterpart, MAM,  Sarkozy’s Iron Lady!

Update: February 27, 2011: She lasted three months. She resigned this morning. Evidently, only a month or so at this post and she caused a scandal by suggesting the French send riot police while she was vacationing in Tunisia during the revolution there.    No,  she was not a Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Not at all!

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In the jargon of their profession, I suppose news anchors have a name for the last question in an interview. I do not know what they call it, but it appears to be a kind of “free” question off-topic from the boilerplate nature of the body of the interview. If you watched Secretary Clinton on the Sunday talk show circuit this past weekend, you saw her answering pretty much the same questions on the same subjects on all three shows, but at the end, each interviewer threw in a “free” question. Schieffer asked her about airport pat downs (a coup for him, I thought – the cable and network news are still looping that clip). Wallace, lamely I thought, asked her about running for president, and Gregory asked her about Sarah Palin. Here is how it went.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, before I let you go, I have to ask you this just as a political observer. What do you make of what happened on election day? And all this talk about Sarah Palin – when I interviewed you a while back, you said you’d be willing to sit down and have coffee with her. She may be someone who is in a position to try to equal what you accomplished in the political arena. What advice might you give her and what do you make of what’s happened politically?

SECRETARY CLINTON: You know, David, the best thing about being of Secretary of State is representing the United States around the world, but the second best thing is I’m out of politics. So with all due respect, I am not going to comment on the political scene right now other than to say that I’m focused on making the case to 67-plus senators in the Senate to pass the START treaty because that, to me, is the most important task facing the Senate and it goes way beyond politics.

QUESTION: And here I thought I’d lulled you into a moment of candor. (Laughter.) Secretary Clinton, thank you very much, as always.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, David.

Given an opportunity to remark about Palin, Hillary Clinton gracefully danced around the question, and put her agenda out in front instead, refocusing the moment, and the end of an interview is a powerful moment, on New START, a formidable product of her tenure at State.

I have seen Hillary do this before.   Remember back in 2008?  She was asked about a “lipstick” comment that had been made about Palin and responded, “I like lipstick.  I use it, but let’s fix our financial institutions.”  (Something like that – probably not her exact words.)

So I was befuddled as to why someone whom Hillary Clinton has taken pains NOT to attack has chosen to launch an unprovoked attack  on her.  With the release of Palin’s book today came some excerpts, and this one, for me, is the final straw.

[Palin] says she admires Hillary Clinton, but that her “baking cookies” remarks sounded like “someone frozen in an attitude of 1960s-era, bra-burning militancy.”

You can see more about this section at this Huffpo page>>>>

It is more than harsh. It is an unwarranted, gratuitous, unilateral attack.   Unlike many of us in her generation, Hillary Clinton did not choose the militant route.  While we were shouting at demonstrations, she was studying law.  She was a singularly focused young individual who saw some things that needed to be changed and pursued a route that would equip her to address them.  She was and still is a very disciplined person who found her time better spent in the library than carrying a poster.

I am not disparaging what the rest of us did.  Ultimately, we did, I believe, make America aware of the reasons why we needed to withdraw fron Viet Nam and of the inequities in the culture.  We were noisy while Hillary was quietly studying in the library.

So to brand her with a descriptor like “bra-burning militancy”  is not only inaccurate,  but completely uncalled for since Hillary has not said anything unkind or untoward about Palin.

She has called Hillary a whiner when she herself has whined about her treatment.  Now she brands her unfairly as something she never was.

More than so many of my generation, Hillary Clinton has always been goal-oriented and on-task.  For someone who was not even there to witness the era to brand her this way over a remark she made to explain her personal choice is unacceptable and mean.

This is it, Sarah.  You have crossed the line with me.  I will never defend you again.  The next time I go to B.J.’s I will be turning your pile of books face down and putting a few copies of James Patterson on top so no one will know your book is there.

I dare anyone to tell me I am unfair in calling Sarah Palin on this base and baseless shot at my Homegirl.  She had no reason to talk about Hillary at all.  Hillary does not talk about her.

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Wednesday is the heaviest day of the year for air travel in the U.S.   With TSA pat downs dominating the news cycle for days now,  travelers have been alerted to possible screening slowdowns as passengers are encouraged to opt out of the body scanners in favor of more time-consuming pat downs.  This is the  last thing Thanksgiving travelers want to encounter, the worst nightmare at the start of, for many, a four-day weekend:  The dreaded Delay.

Americans despise delays.  We devote hours of early morning air time and untold gallons of copter fuel to inform our morning commutes in order to conserve,  as best we can, our personal fuel purchased at prices we perceive as exorbitant no matter what that price might be. as well as to conserve our precious time.  “Time is money,” we say, and it is true!  Late arrival at work might get your pay or vacation time docked.   Too many late arrivals can get you fired.  Not good news in a bad economy.

Of course  it is unlikely that your family will dock or fire you for a late arrival at Thanksgiving, unless you make them wait to cut the turkey.  But Americans are among the hardest and longest working people on earth. So when we hit the roads and air routes on “getaway day,” we do so with the same obsession to “make good time” as we do when commuting to work. Clearly the “opt out” movement is going to be disconcerting to many travelers this holiday by delaying the screening process and, as a result, possibly departure times.

No we do not like to lose or waste time.   Who does?  This predilection is reflected in our language. When was the last time a native speaker of American English told you s/he had influenza, rode the omnibus to work, had to have laboratory work done, proclaimed him/herself to be a Giants fanatic? (I could go on. You get my point.) We clip these words because we do not have time to say all those syllables. Time is money!  We clip our words, and the clippings rise in currency, sometimes to the extent that we cannot immediately remember the original form,  if we ever knew it – an experience I had last night when I really had the think about  where “diss” comes from.

I was explaining the behavior of a character in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” at the time. The episode was compelling because we saw women get the vote last night, (YAY!) and we began to see Irish immigrant and widow Margaret Schroeder commence what may become a political career. (Parenthetically: I hope HBO allows her character to develop along these lines rather than cut her off at the knees the way Showtime did Princess Mary in “The Tudors, who began showing signs of a hard, cruel edge in the final two episodes ever. I would have liked to have seen how she became who she was.) But I digress.

In another scene, “Nukie” Thompson’s manservant/bodyguard, as one of Nukie’s rivals enters the room, asks if he should frisk the visitor. What? Oh! WAIT!   We HAVE a perfectly good, one-syllable word that we American time-freaks are eschewing in favor of a longer two-syllable compound?   It is downright Un-American!  “Pat down” in favor of the more efficient “frisk?” WTF?  It is so short, I actually had to check the etymology.  It has that Anglo-Saxon ring to it.

frisk Look up frisk at Dictionary.com
1510s, “to dance, frolic,” from M.Fr. frisque “lively, brisk,” possibly from a Germanic source (cf. M.Du. vrisch “fresh”). Sense of “pat down in a search” first recorded 1781. Related: Frisked; frisking.

(Aha!  “pat down” is in there!  And it is fresh!)

Obviously it has to do with framing, a component of metaphor development brilliantly analyzed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Metaphors We Live By (University of Chicago Press, 1980) a skill long ago mastered by Republicans and traditionally elusive to Democrats until now perhaps.  The impact of “pat down” is related to other collocations of the word “pat.”  A pat on the back, a love pat, a pat on the cheek or head, whether metaphorical or physical, are all perceived with positive connotations.  So how can a pat down be negative?

“Frisking,” on the other hand, is done by mobsters like Nukie Thompson’s henchmen or the police upon  executing an arrest.  Goodness gracious, we would never be frisking tiny children, grandmothers, nuns, and sundry other solid citizens unlikely to be threatening their fellow humans, of course not!  No, we simply “pat them down.”  It sounds so gentle and affectionate, contrary to the description by some who have experienced it.

Thus we are lulled into a sense of the pat down being a loving gesture performed for the sake of everyone’s well-being.  Nice metaphor!  Not everyone is mollified, however, by our current, culturally discordant propensity for the longer, more awkward term rather than the less time consuming “frisk.”   This little video clip from yesterday is apparently on an endless loop at some news channels.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

No, our lovely, and for so many reasons, eminently “pattable”  Head Homegirl would not like to be patted down if she could avoid it.  Hmmmmmmm.  The Democrats finally succeed in framing something, and the most prominent female Democrat (non-political though she may have to be as SOS) slices right through the comfort zone.  “Who would?”  Indeed! She does not want anybody getting fresh with her! No, neither do we.

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I cannot let the day pass with out addressing this Forbes article:  The Presidency Is “Too Big For One Man”

I have no argument with the header as I have two corollaries:

  • It is too big for one man, the man who currently occupies the post.  It is clearly too big for Baby Bear.  (Sorry, I just cannot resist incorporating Hillary’s “Goldilocks” analogy.)
  • It is not too big for one woman.   I think we all know who that particular woman is.

I do, however, have a huge problem with the conclusion.

Electing someone else to sit in the White House isn’t necessarily going to bring about a federal government that functions better. For that to happen, we need to give our presidents fewer tasks to perform well….

Wait a minute!  Because this president cannot handle the whole job we should water it down?  Farm out the duties?  (He does have a cabinet, after all.)  That is the job.  It is what it is.  We should, because of his incompetence,  initiate what a community college or university would call a “Developmental Presidency?”   Really?

While I agree that  “electing someone else to sit in the White House isn’t necessarily going to bring about a federal government that functions better,” it certainly can meet that objective.   I direct your attention to the newly unveiled QDDR draft here:   Hillary Clinton’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) **Consultation Draft**

I have said it before (some will *sigh*  – yes, endlessly), but I will say it again.  Hillary Rodham Clinton will (I am so finished with the subjunctive on this subject)  order reviews like this in every department and overhaul the Executive Branch in doing so.  SHE will bring the government into the 21st century.

So, yes, it is clearly too much for one man, but not for one woman.  This one. 

Of course, as my header points out, it appears she was not on the radar of Professor Glenn Reynolds nor his Forbes “refudiator”  (Ha! still underlined in red) at Forbes.   The preponderance of masculine markers in the article speaks for itself.

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I like to think that it is Hillary Clinton’s high international profile and close work with the U.N. and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that has heralded the body’s recent strong focus on living conditions of women and children.   Whether that is the case or not, women and children are in the spotlight.  A tweet from the U.N. this morning introduced me to this newly launched website.

Here is Mme. Secretary’s inaugural comment on their homepage.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State “The Obama Administration has put women and children at the heart of our development efforts, including our Global Health Initiative. This is a day that we have long waited for. I thank the Secretary-General for his leadership and congratulations on this remarkable effort.”

Check it out!

Every Woman Every Child

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Early in her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton made it clear that an important component in foreign policy as she intended to fashion it would be issues and challenges facing women and girls the world over.  In her 21+ months as SOS she has deepened, broadened, and elevated that commitment to a cause, a signature issue the likes of which has not been seen on the global stage and so unusual that for a very long time some thought incorrectly that she had no signature issue at all.

Well it is eminently clear now.  So powerful is her message that  this article by AFP’s Madeleine Coorey implies that it may be the primary item on Hillary’s agenda when she visits Papua-New Guinea later this week.

It comes as no surprise to the Homegirls and Homeboys here, but it is gratifying to see Hillary’s Secretarial Crest rise from the waters of Oceania as a target issue.

Here she is this week with residents of the Siem Reap Rehabilitation Shelter for victims of human trafficking.  These young women understand her dedication.


Here is the article by Coorey.

Clinton visit raises hopes for embattled Pacific women

By Madeleine Coorey (AFP)

SYDNEY — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit this week to impoverished Papua New Guinea has raised hopes of a greater focus on tackling shocking levels of violence against women in the Pacific nation.

In a flying visit to Port Moresby on Wednesday, Clinton will “stress the importance of empowering women” in a country rights group Amnesty says suffers from extremely high rates of abuse and discrimination towards females.

“If you are born a woman in PNG you are already at a disadvantage,” University of Papua New Guinea law lecturer Tapora Isorua told AFP.

“The fact that someone of Hillary Clinton’s status is coming to PNG and addressing that issue could… bring the message across to parliamentarians.”

Read more>>>>

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