Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

KOREA-NORTH/CLINTONWhen, about a week and a half ago,  the story of a possible foiled attempt on our beloved Homegirl arose, many of us knew, but somehow, in the shock of the moment, perhaps forgot that active role the U.S. has played in combating terrorism in that region over a period of many years.   When this story broke on Monday,  US kills al-Qaida target in Somalia helicopter assault. it brought home dramatically the true situation that exists between our country and Somalia, with its fragile new government and terrorist strongholds hosting  modern-day pirates.

Today, among the press releases from Secretary Clinton’s State Department, was this:  Key Outcomes of 4th Plenary of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia/  Hillary Clinton has done some tough talking about terrorism in Somalia and about the piracy that is home-based there.  She is not a neutral character to the terrorists.  She is part of the war – and a war is exactly what this is.

So IF there was an attempt on Hillary in Nairobi, in the context of the larger picture, it does not take a diploma from War College to know that, as in all wartime situations, discretion must be used by both the government and the press with regard to reportage.  Yes, yes, we embed press in combat, and they show you some amazing images of what happens on the battlefield.   My throat caught as I wrote that, remembering David Bloom.  But we never know the story that is withheld.  Routinely, sensitive stories are withheld by the press under military protocols in combat areas and war zones.

Given the nature of our involvement in Somalia, the possbility is that whether or not that story is true, releasing the story in some way interferes with special ops on a broader scope in Somalia.

At that, I will drop this issue.  We may never know the truth.  For me, under these circumstances, it is enough that our dear SOS came home healthy, happy, in one piece, and triumphant in her endeavors.  Knowing will not make me happier.  It could make me sadder.  I will not address this again unless the story receives official attention.

For me, for now, we have Hillary and she is superb.  I shall let the military do their job, and I’ll do mine, here: defending her against the lies.

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[September 14, 2009: This post has been redacted to remove speculative editorial material contained in the original post on September 13. The material removed was pure opinion, not fact, and not, I might add the opinion of this blogger. Because that opinion led to further, dangerous, unfounded speculation, it has been removed.
When Hillary and I were in our teens, the Beatles sang this:

I shoulda known better with a girl like you.

Well, I shoulda known better with a girl like Hillary! She is so passionate and inspires such passion that anything said about her has the potential of setting off a firestorm of speculation and rumors – exactly what I was attempting to combat in the first part of this post. The second part, however, while totally unconnected, seems to have engendered ideas of a nefarious scheme from quarters that are completely unrelated to the parties that have been arrested, and never were said to be related in any way.

Mea culpa! I have removed the offending passages and have learned: proximity breeds connection, contempt, and even more toxicity than that which I was trying to fend off!]

September 14, 2009: REVISED

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, (L) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands kick-off festivities celebrating the NY400 Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on September 8, 2009 in New York City. NY400 Week, which runs from September 8-13 marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson�s arrival on a Dutch ship to New York harbor in 1609. New York will celebrate the event with Dutch festivals, boat races, dance parties, museum exhibitions and more.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, (L) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands kick-off festivities celebrating the NY400 Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on September 8, 2009 in New York City. NY400 Week, which runs from September 8-13 marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson�s arrival on a Dutch ship to New York harbor in 1609. New York will celebrate the event with Dutch festivals, boat races, dance parties, museum exhibitions and more.

A week containing September 11 is bound to provoke emotions.  When it begins joyously, with our own Hillary Clinton home in New York to co-host the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York Harbor and to visit a charter school for an educational event, and ends on September 11 with our girl home yet again for both a 9/11 event and to pick up still another award, this time the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award, all seems perfect with the world on a sunny Sunday.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attends a My Education, My Future� event with students at the Manhattan Charter School September 8, 2009 in New York City. Students watched the National Address to Students on Educational Success by U.S. President Barack Obama at the event.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attends a 'My Education, My Future�' event with students at the Manhattan Charter School September 8, 2009 in New York City. Students watched the National Address to Students on Educational Success by U.S. President Barack Obama at the event.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Commemoration and Tribute at the Beacon Theatre in New York, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Commemoration and Tribute at the Beacon Theatre in New York, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009.

And all would be perfect had not yet another noxious meme arisen over the past week. We posted earlier about this, but since Stacy has taken this on at Blog Critics/Politics, we thought it might be a good idea, before the work week begins to reinforce the denial, from Hillary’s own spokesman, that she is unhappy at State and planning to run for Governor of New York. When I first saw that story, it was so far off that it was risible, but not everyone thought so. So, one more time I will say, please stop it! She lives here, true, and was here on Tuesday as well as Friday in her capacity as Secretary of State (hosting Dutch royalty, inaugurating the Day of Service and Remembrance) -she is not running for Governor OR for her old Senate seat. What an idea! I encourage you to read Stacy’s excellent article: The Fictional Rift Between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

While the toxic memes are annoying and obviously are getting under the skin of Hillary’s staff, far more disturbing is the story that will not quite show its face here in the U.S. but persists on the internet and in the foreign press:  the distressing report that a Somalian terrorist group tied to Al Quaeda came alarmingly close to an assassination attempt on  our Secretary of State in Nairobi last month.

The Homegirls pray and light candles.  Kenya was Hillary’s first stop on that two-week tour.  If this did happen, she soldiered on through the rest of the trip talking tough to perpetrators of ungodly deeds, hearing the stories of victims in dangerous locations, and reaching out to communities all over the continent with a dazzling smile and not a few tears, and she did so knowing what had nearly happened.  I tremble when I think about this – with rage and something that is close to, but thankfully not grief.

I want to stress a few things here:

1. This blog is, and always has been dedicated to Hillary Clinton and the issues and messages she puts forward.  It is not dedicated to, affiliated with, or in formal agreement with any political party or movement.

2. As a Hillary Clinton loyalist, this blogger countenances no positions that Hillary herself expressly rejects.  Should statements here conflict with opinions Hillary subsequently expresses, updates will reflect editorial corrections as is necessary and appropriate.

3. While readers are free to interpret and comment according to the tradition of a free internet and press, I respectfully request civility and a restraint from unnecessary accusations and from name-calling.

These rules will be permanently posted as such, and are subject to revision as required.

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Two days ago,  many of us encountered this story at Secretary Clinton blog.  I hesitated to post about it here because I wanted to see it from more than the original Kenyan source, The Daily Nation, How plot to bomb Clinton in Kenya was foiled.  Well, this evening it popped up on my Love Hillary feed, and the source is Newsmax citing another Australian source, Islamists Plotted to Kill Hillary Clinton in NairobiThe Copenhagen Post also carried the story, Dane linked to terror plot against Clinton,  since one of the plotters carried Danish papers.

Although I DON’T work for Ben Bradlee, I really did want to have three sources on this before putting it up.  It is deeply disturbing, horrid!  Thank heavens the Kenyan anti-terrorist security and intel forces uncovered this plot which was foiled,  according to Newsmax, the last minute.

From the time she left for Africa, we have been saying on this blog that it was a very dangerous trip -in many, many ways, and it was frustrating that the American media chose to pay more attention to her dancing and the outburst in the Congo than to the hard messages she was delivering both vocally and with her presence in very hard, dangerous places.  This was no holiday cruise.  (It was even more frustrating that, with little information coming through the MSM, this blog went down due to internet problems during the last leg of that trip).

We have, in Hillary Clinton, an intrepid Secretary of State who serves selflessly (she really does not HAVE to work, you know).  She wants to make her contribution and is doing so with dedication and courage.  If there is one thing I never want to see, it is this wonderful woman who does so much for so many, stricken in any way that is preventable.  So I am thankful that the Kenyans foiled this plot.  I hope in her future travels, other countries are just as assiduous in protecting this very precious visitor.  She means the world to her Homegirls.

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If there remains a soul in the cyberworld who, despite all the blogging and tweeting of the Homegirls and other Hillary Clinton loyalists, continues to labor under the delusion that all she did in Africa was dance and explode momentarily at a Congolese student, this letter, published in The Guardian today, should put to rest that misconception. We have said, in many blog posts at several blogs that our Homegirl, the top U.S. diplomat, made courageous statements about corrupt and malicious governments in the presence of, indeed to the faces of some very “bad and evil men.” Some of us remember how she dealt (adorably) with that question on the primary campaign trail.

In Africa, we had the opportunity to see how she deals with the men themselves in real life – a missed opportunity, since this was not reported here.

This letter, written by Chris Agbiti, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria tells the story of how Hillary spoke at a Town Hall in Abuja. It not only defends her remarks (which evidently were not well taken by the men she was addressing), but it does so splendidly. It is a most enjoyable read due to the writer’s obvious literary gifts.

A few salient excerpts are here along with a link to the entire beautifully-wrought letter. Agbiti begins thus:

SIR: The ripples caused by the outburst of the U.S. Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, in the course of her recent visit to Nigeria a few weeks ago will for long continue to reverberate and touch raw nerves both in and outside the government. The event was a Town Hall meeting in Abuja (not in the hallowed Chambers of the National Assembly or Aso Rock). The audience, a select group of individuals, drawn mainly from the media, the opposition political parties, professional associations and coalitions of Human Rights organisations (not top ranking government officials and party leaders). The only television outfit accredited to cover the event was AIT (not the 30 million-viewers acclaimed NTA).

So it was when Mrs. Clinton visited. The usual diplomatese and protocols associated with such event were radically modified to suit the motive of the visit: to drum into the ears of our leaders this time round with no-holds barred, a few home truths. As she mounted the podium, Mrs. Clinton began to fire right away on all cylinders, administering not the usual diplomatese of go-to-hell-and-you-look-forward-to-it approach, but the untempered bitter pills of home truths on the state of the nation, Nigeria. Not done, she took a swipe at the Nigerian government for its lack of transparency and accountability to the people and went further to lambaste the country’s anti-corruption agency, the EFFC for losing its vigour in the last one year of its operation.https://departmentofhomegirlsecurity.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

So, evidently there was another, more sustained, more serious Hillary-bomb with regard to issues far graver and broader than whose opinion she was being asked to express. This was Hillary saying where we stand on these issues, and the Nigerian government did not like it!

Predictably, the Nigerian government not one to take such swipes without a fight, lampooned Mrs. Clinton through its coterie of sycophants and beneficiaries of the existing order in what may qualify for all decades a most infamous descent from the sublime to the ridiculous: that she was obviously misinformed! One of them who was so angry with Mrs. Clinton and would have petitioned against her to President Obama but for the cold realisation that Obama himself was even the worse critic of the system, wrote: “she … uttered what has turned a faux pas, an unguarded, misguided, misinformed statement, something not worthy of her position as American number one diplomat.”

Agbiti poses some weighty questions toward the end of his missive. They are questions for Nigeria and Nigerians, but the language betrays the way Hillary Rodham Clinton is viewed abroad, and most particularly in Africa where she broke some very hard ground with this voyage. Emphasis below is mine, the words are Africa’s.

Pray, if not for such constructive diplomatic radicalism (I will not use “madness”) employed by Mrs. Clinton, how could a visionless leadership made up of mediocre sycophants and leeches be jolted out of its reverie amidst the imminent danger of nation failure that stares us in the face?

Who else, whose word could have had that piercing power on the hearts of the leaders and cause such cataclysm both at home and abroad if not that of the number one world diplomat? Would it have been expedient to sacrifice the language effect of her very weighty message to the nation on the altar of diplomatic correctness?

While the American press busies itself with fiction presented as truth about our very savvy, outspoken, and brave Secretary of State, a voice from Nigeria courageously defends her words against the thugs who run the country, and, in doing so throws a spotlight on her assiduous work and methods. They see Hillary pretty clearly in Nigeria (and the rest of the world). It’s a shame Americans did not know about this Town Hall, what she did, and how she spoke. They might have come to a better appreciation of this mighty warrior in pantsuits.

I encourage you to read the letter in its entirety since it is a work of literary art.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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 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!

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