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Archive for the ‘US Department of State’ Category

A biopic about J.D. Salinger debuted at Sundance and is likely and given the writer-director’s creds is a hit in the making and is likely to spur a revival of The Catcher in the Rye this year.

MAKE AMERICA PHONY AGAIN

J.D. Salinger in the Age of Donald Trump: ‘The Rebel in the Rye’ Debuts at Sundance

Writer-director Danny Strong (Empire, The Butler, Game Change) on why his J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which just premiered at Sundance, is so timely.

Kevin Fallon

Kevin Fallon

01.28.17

“What makes you think that you have anything to say to people?”

It’s a crushing line, delivered from father to son, in writer-director Danny Strong’s new J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which chronicles how Salinger’s time fighting in World War II and ensuing PTSD played backdrop to his writing one of the last century’s most popular and important novels, and eventually played a part in the writer spending the last decades of his life a recluse in New Hampshire.

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George Orwell’s 1984 is at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, again. It is unlikely that this is because every English teacher in America is assigning it as required reading this semester. Many probably are, and if I were back in my English teaching days, I probably would. In fact I probably would add Animal Farm, which I did use with freshman English classes once upon a time.  Two articles published today cite both books as worthy of a second read.  It may be the year of the rooster, but the pigs are in control.

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Prescient

How George Orwell Predicted Donald Trump

The White House’s embrace of ‘alternative facts’ evokes the managed truth Orwell described in 1984 and Animal Farm—a perfect example of the Big Lie backed by Big Power.

John Sutherland

01.28.17

Oh Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour. In fact, every hour since that dark night in January 1950 when you died, alone, in a hospital. Perhaps, web paranoia speculates, your truth-telling got too dangerous for the powers that be and you were terminated with extreme prejudice. It makes a crazy kind of sense.

The recent furor about “alternative facts,” in a culture polluting its thought processes with post-truth license and fake news, suggests that George Orwell’s dire predictions about double-think and thought-crime are with us—albeit 33 years late.

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In our Orwellian reality, reach for ‘Animal Farm’ with your ‘1984’

After Trump took office, on Saturday he sent his press secretary out to berate and lie to the press. On Sunday, his senior adviser called the lies “alternative facts.” The Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan declared we’ve gone “full Orwell.”

Sales of Orwell’s anti-totalitarian classic “1984” skyrocketed after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tried to justify the government’s over-exaggerated inaugural turnout claim as ” alternative facts.”

But Stanford University literature professor Alex Woloch, who penned ” Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism,” says another book by the late British author might provide better insight for what’s happening to America today: “Animal Farm.”

“In ‘1984,’ however we’ve gotten into that situation has already occurred,” Woloch says. “But in ‘Animal Farm,’ [Orwell is] really tracing that sense of a ‘slippery slope.’”

Woloch is referring to the “slippery slope” scholars on authoritarian regimes call the transition from democracy to totalitarianism.

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Meanwhile, the benevolent dictator wannabe’s executive order banning immigrants from seven countries has, today, left hundreds stranded in no man’s land. He sat with ABC’s David Muir, this week,  and in the kindliest of tones described how Christian immigrants would be given priority standing.

Your first reaction might be that this is unAmerican.  That is correct. But it also is untrue.

VIENNA (AP) — Austria has shut its door to about 300 non-Muslim Iranians hoping to use the country as a way station before establishing new homes in the United States, The Associated Press has learned. The action is an early ripple effect of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to clamp down on refugee admissions.

Under a 27-year-old program originally approved by Congress to help Jews in the former Soviet Union, Austria had been serving until recently as a conduit for Iranian Jews, Christians and Baha’i, who were at risk in their home country and eligible to resettle in the United States. Iran has banned the Baha’i religion, which was founded in 1844 by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers.

U.S. officials had been interviewing the candidates in Austria because they cannot do so in Iran. But the United States suspended the so-called “Iranian Lautenberg Program” in recent days, according to Austrian officials, who in turn stopped Iranians from reaching their territory. It’s unclear when the program might restart.

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Not only are these folks marooned, green card holders are included in the ban.

People holding so-called green cards, making them legal permanent U.S. residents, are included in President Donald Trump’s executive action temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, a Department of Homeland security spokeswoman said on Saturday.

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So it is not English teachers and their students alone who likely are boning up on their Orwellian glossaries. Newspeak is with us. As for how this particular transition works, Animal Farm is a great source. You might even want to pair it up with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. My long-ago ninth graders were adept at finding parallels in the politics of subjugation.

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Ironic that late Friday night I was watching Richard Lester’s “Cuba” with Sean Connery on MGM HD when the news of Castro’s death came through. Right after that, on the same channel, I watched Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” – partly about the Carter-Reagan transition and including the murders of the nuns and Archbishop Romero. Today, this article.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

License to Kill

The Nun Murders and the Presidential Transition Team

During the transition from Carter to Reagan, the Salvadoran death squads started targeting Americans. A cautionary tale about signals sent and messages received.
Christopher Dickey

Christopher Dickey

11.27.16

PARIS — A new president had just been elected in the United States — a hard line president, who, it was said, had no patience with the vacillating, moralizing policies of his predecessor. Around the world thugs who would spit when they heard the phrase “human rights” suddenly took heart. With such a man in the White House, they thought, they had a license to kill. 

This was November 1980, when the confused transition from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan opened the door to a bloodbath in the little Central American country of El Salvador; when, suddenly, anyone the military suspected of aiding the subversivos was liable to be tortured to death, and even Americans—even American nuns—were fair game.

Now 36 years later, we will soon mark the anniversary of the death of four American churchwomen kidnapped, raped and murdered in El Salvador on the night of December 2, 1980. 

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Secretary Kerry released the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report today.  Coinciding with the release came this story.

‘Sea Slaves’: Forced Labor for Cheap Fish

By IAN URBINA
  • Cambodian migrants hauled in the nets on a fishing boat in the South China Sea. A labor shortage in the Thai fishing industry is primarily filled by using migrants, mostly from Cambodia and Myanmar.
  • The living quarters on the fishing boats are typically cramped and the men sleep for short periods between hours of work.
  • San Oo, 35, was trafficked into Thailand from Myanmar and sold to a fishing boat. He was forced to work at sea for two and a half years.
  • Migrant workers unloaded barrels of fish at the docks in Songkhla. "Motherships" bring the catch to shore so that the trawlers can stay at sea.The crew on the Thai fishing boat included two dozen Cambodian boys, some as young as 15.

SONGKHLA, Thailand — Lang Long’s ordeal began in the back of a truck. After watching his younger siblings go hungry because their family’s rice patch in Cambodia could not provide for everyone, he accepted a trafficker’s offer to travel across the Thai border for a construction job.It was his chance to start over. But when he arrived, Mr. Long was kept for days by armed men in a room near the port at Samut Prakan, more than a dozen miles southeast of Bangkok. He was then herded with six other migrants up a gangway onto a shoddy wooden ship. It was the start of three brutal years in captivity at sea.

“I cried,” said Mr. Long, 30, recounting how he was resold twice between fishing boats. After repeated escape attempts, one captain shackled him by the neck whenever other boats neared.

Mr. Long’s crews trawled primarily for forage fish, which are small and cheaply priced. Much of this catch comes from the waters off Thailand, where Mr. Long was held, and is sold to the United States, typically for canned cat and dog food or feed for poultry, pigs and farm-raised fish that Americans consume.

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The political division at the New York Times has come under scrutiny and criticism in the past several days for faulty and inaccurate reporting about disagreement between the intelligence community and the State Department on classification guidelines.  This particular story, from a different division, seems pretty well documented.

We are accustomed to stories of women, especially young women and girls, being sold or kidnapped and held in sex trade bondage, but we hear precious little about other forms of modern human trafficking and slavery.

Clearly we need to feed our pets and livestock.  We do not need to do so on the backs of unpaid hostages in an unregulated industry.  It remains a mystery to me why some (men), when Hillary Clinton raised this banner,  called it a “soft” issue.  There is nothing soft about slavery.

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If there were a reality show called “Who’s the REAL Feminist?” Andrew Sullivan evidently considers himself a candidate for judge.  He, predictably,  had the unmitigated gall to assume the role of “feminist maven”on an “Overtime” segment of HBO’s Bill Maher Show.  How appropriate!

He debated the issue with Wendy Schiller, associate professor at Brown University on the segment.  Talk about picking your opponent!  Sullivan, once again, has shown himself to be the good old misogynist we have all come to know and despise.  There is a video in the article. WordPress would not accept the code, so I could not post it here.  You can watch it when you click into The Daily Caller article.

Andrew Sullivan slams Hillary Clinton: ‘Not a feminist’

Published: 6:26 PM 03/24/2012

On Friday’s “Overtime” segment of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Newsweek columnist and The Daily Beast’s “The Dish” blogger Andrew Sullivan made a comparison between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

According to Sullivan, Thatcher’s legacy was “amazing” because she never played the sex card.

“Thatcher was amazing to me because … she never allowed another woman in her own cabinet, by the way, ever, in 11 years,” Sullivan said. “She’s also a woman in the 50s, got educated in chemistry and had a family and ran as a single woman, and never once in her entire life played the sex card. Never, never played it.”

“… she never allowed another woman in her own cabinet.”  What a testament!  These women would probably disagree with Judge Sullivan.

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There are many, many more like them.  Hillary Clinton has worked for 40 years for women, children, and families.  As Secretary of State,  her signature issue has been the empowerment of women and girls.   Meryl Streep stated,  introducing this amazing woman,  a hero to so many of us,  at the Women in the World Summit this month, that there are women in the world who are still alive today only because they had their pictures taken with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Comparing her unfavorably with the woman who showed not an ounce of empathy with the mothers of the Long Kesh hunger strikers, defies reason and serves to disqualify Sullivan as any kind of judge of feminism.

How dare you, Andrew Sullivan!  You crossed the line, and we are watching you!

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What a great way to kick off Women’s History Month!  If you possess the required skills set and the time, you can help change the world by helping another women who has  a good idea!

We all know that improving conditions, power, and representation for women and girls is the signature issue of our Homegirl-in-Chief.  So if you can qualify, go for it!  You just might make a few new friends and even learn some interesting things yourself!

U.S. Department of State’s TechWomen Initiative Now Accepting Applications for American Mentors

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 1, 2012

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that TechWomen – an international exchange that uses technology as a means to empower women and girls worldwide – is now accepting applications from American women in the technology sector to serve as professional and cultural mentors. Candidates may apply at http://www.techwomen.org/get-involved/ beginning today.

In September 2012, these American “TechWomen” will mentor 42 women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen during a five-week program at U.S.-based technology companies in Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Click here to learn more about serving as a TechWomen mentor.

Following the U.S. portion of the exchange, U.S. mentors will travel to Jordan and Tunisia to conduct workshops and follow-on training for women in the technology sector and young girls who have expressed an interest in pursuing a tech-based career.

Launched by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2011, TechWomen builds on her vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the full range of diplomatic tools, in this case technology, to bring people together for greater understanding and empower women and girls worldwide.

The U.S. Department of State partners with the Institute of International Education and the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. It is a public-private partnership in which more than 20 leading U.S. companies participated by hosting international TechWomen during the 2011 inaugural program.

Stay tuned for updates on Twitter @TechWomen.

Media contact: Talley Sergent U.S. Department of State at SergentRT@state.gov.

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I guess this comes under the heading: Sh*t happens. Obama’s campaign sent this to the blogger known as “Still4Hill.” How presumptive can they be?

2012
Friend —

I’m James Kvaal, the new policy director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. You’ll be hearing from me occasionally about the President’s policies and those of our opponents, and how we can all help bring about change for our country.Yesterday, we accomplished one major change when President Obama announced that all American troops in Iraq will be home before the holidays.With that action, the Iraq war will end. And one of the President’s central promises will have been kept.Both as Americans and as supporters of President Obama, this is something for us to reflect on, and be proud of.

Watch the video of the President’s announcement — then please pass this on:

The war in Iraq was a divisive, defining issue in our country for nearly nine years, and was the catalyst for many Americans to get involved in politics for the first time.

Now, thanks to the actions of this President, we can say that conflict is coming to a close.

The end of this war reflects a larger transition in our foreign policy as, in the President’s words, “the tide of war is receding.” The drawdown in Iraq has allowed us to refocus on the fight against al Qaeda, even as we begin to bring troops home from Afghanistan. And of course, this week also marked the definitive end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya.

These outcomes are an example of what happens when a leader sets a plan and sees it through. In the last campaign, the President committed to getting American troops home while leaving behind a stable and secure Iraq. You rallied around that vision, and now that promise has been fulfilled.

On behalf of this campaign and supporters of the President across the country, I want to thank the more than 1 million Americans who have served in Iraq, and all those who worked to make this possible.

Thanks,

James

James Kvaal
Policy Director
Obama for America

Paid for by Obama for America

Here is my reply.

James –

I am a blogger associated with Team Hillary Clinton. My first question is why you would send a Barack Obama campaign email to somebody named “Still4Hill.” It seems that ought to imply who my 2012 candidate is. Were that not the case I might have changed my name to “Was4Hill” or something like that. But this is beside the point.

Seriously, James. The war is over? But not quite yet, not until December 31. The transparency promised by the Obama team in 2008 has been as clear as mud until recently. “Ending” the war in Iraq is as obviously political as are all the public appearances exhorting the public to contact representatives to tell them to support the jobs bills. There is one job that is meant to protect and preserve – Mr. Obama’s.

What strategic or tactical event precipitates this mighty finish to our long slog through Iraq? Nothing! Most tellingly, it is evidently not that “over” since the official end does not take place until the end of the year. This is misleading, purely political nonsense. It obscures the truth: that the American presence remains at great expense to Americans. This is a chess move.

Declaring the war over, Obama shifted operations in Iraq from the Pentagon to the poorly funded State Department. Protection of civilian State Department and USAID staff now falls to extremely expensive and poorly regulated contractors. If this declaration of peace were anything other than political, a wise president would have made sure that the State Department had a fully funded and trained civil security arm. There is such a body, but it is miniscule in contrast to the numbers of troops being pulled out. A responsible president would have bulked it up first, before declaring “peace.”

Now it is up to our diligent and assiduous Secretary of State to manage an almost impossible post-war program for which Congress is certain to cut rather than improve funding. Nice move.

Obama is the most disastrous president I have witnessed in my life. Worse than Nixon. This move by him is real clear politics. It reminds me of this and is about as true.

Good luck in your new position,

Still4Hill

Team Hillary Clinton

HillaryHood

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The above having been established, the Department of Homegirl Security takes enormous umbrage at  the remarks of Tim Gunn, purported fashionista, on George Lopez’s talk show.  Any woman who must stand, sit, walk in front of cameras, sometimes in the wind, who is  past mini-skirt age (an age self-determined by the individual woman) can understand why our turbo-SOS opts for pantsuits. On these pages and elsewhere, Hillary Clinton has, in fact,  been dubbed “The Secretary of Style” and not only by older women.  Younger women like her fashion sense as well.  She is a role model for them.

Confused about her gender?  That coming from a fashion maven of the male sex is ironic indeed.  Her spring into summer fashions,  pictured above are delightfully feminine,  breezy, and even a little tease-y!   She looks lovely, comfortable in her body (very feminine and curvy) and her clothes.

To do the diligent job that she does and look so exquisite  while doing it is spectacular, in our book, and deserves a better review from someone who actually deals with similar work situations (me).  I love the look!  I have acquired nine ruffled tops, some chiffon like hers, to combine with my pantsuits as a result. .  Yes, I also wear pantsuits.  I love them!   I wear necklaces as well.   None of the above make me feel like a boy.  I feel deliciously feminine dressed almost exactly the way the SOS is dressed – different suits, different blouses.

So back off Tim Gunn!  As for George Lopez, you should be fired.  I am boycotting TBS!  Does the name Robyn Givhan* mean anything to you?  Where is she now, anyway?   Anywhere?  Seriously.  If there is a person on earth who is NOT confused about her gender identity, it is Hillary Clinton.  She knows  exactly who she is and uses it brilliantly to our advantage.  You should be thankful!   So back off!   Quit your treacherous flaming.  She’s our SOS and doing a stupendous job while looking sublime!

I am linking to Jezebel’s report of this idiocy because I love the retort at the end.

Tim Gunn: Hillary Clinton Dresses Like “She’s Confused About Her Gender”

*Givhan remarked about Head  Homegirl Hillary showing a tensy bit of cleavage on the Senate floorand caused a huge dust-up. No longer fashion editor at the Washington Post.

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