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Posts Tagged ‘Secretary of State’

As the Secretary of State has, after a serious series of health issues culminating an a disturbing blood clot in her head,   returned to D.C. to oversee the State Department transition,  there are articles floating around the interwebs that take a decidedly nasty position vis á vis her performance as Secretary of State, her recent health scare, and her return to work.  I have ignored them until today when I read one that was so reprehensibly acidic as to completely dissolve all of my self-restraint.

The Seattle Times ran an op-ed by syndicated columnist Froma Harrop that made my blood boil.

Can Hillary Clinton pace herself?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton works hard, writes Froma Harrop, but doesn’t working smart mean pacing oneself so that you don’t fall apart in the last mile of the marathon? Clinton was asking for it.

OK, let’s start there.  What originally felled the Secretary of State was a norovirus, very contagious, and no amount of “pacing” guards one against it.   She was “asking for it?”  Really?  Yes, let’s blame the victim.  For Ms. Harrop’s information there is a serious outbreak of norovirus in the northeast right now competing with the near-epidemic flu outbreak that is filling hospitals in 47 states.  Were these victims asking for it?

During one famous 48-hour period, she met with Palestinian officials in Abu Dhabi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and, after doing an all-nighter in Morocco, a group of Arab leaders.

Of course, she got sick. Who wouldn’t?

Completely ignoring the fact that she did not fall ill on the heels of this particular trip,  Ms. Harrop also betrays her ignorance of the effect of the all-nighter which resulted in a brilliant speech delivered the next day to Arab elders that foreshadowed events that began unfolding in Tunisia a year later.  In her Forum for the Future speech on November 3, 2009, Secretary Clinton demonstrated a familiarity with Arab populations, borne of her insistence on meeting with civil society at every stop in her travels.  She conveyed to the elders the need for changes,  economic, political, and even cultural, which she outlined, without which regimes would fall.  Indeed, her message unheeded (perhaps resented), in December 2010 the dominoes began to topple.

Lots of otherwise healthy Americans come down with a nasty bug after just one transatlantic fight to London. Add to that constant time-zone changes, rich banquets, minimal exercise, lack of sleep and stress-filled meetings. Clinton wasn’t there to stroll around museums. What’s not cute about all this is the underlying — shall we say? — irresponsibility of so overstuffing the agenda.

Yes, as I said above, the overstuffing, which typically consisted of Town Halls, “Townterviews,” meetings with civil and business groups, opposition parties,  women’s organizations, in addition to the routine formalities in the ministerial halls, that “irresponsible” packing of her schedule is how she knew what those Arab elders did not – the grievances among their own populations – the young, the women.   Very irresponsible, Mme. Secretary.  For shame!  Sacrificing yourself for the voiceless that way!  Tsk – tsk – tsk!

All that racing around Mideast capitals sometimes took on the air of a personal endurance test rather than effective management of foreign policy. (You’ll note that the Arab-Israeli conflict remains unresolved.)

Why this charge is leveled mystifies me, and it is not Harrop alone who has brought it up.  Every Secretary of State since the creation of the State of Israel has been called upon to deal with this conflict.  It is part of the job.

Make no mistake: Clinton has been a fine secretary of state. Few would argue otherwise. Still, we’re kind of lucky there wasn’t a major new international crisis in December.

Telegram: She was working from home the whole time. She was on the phone with her counterparts in other countries, with her staff, and she both read the ARB Report and wrote an extensive cover letter to accompany the report to Congress while she was home.  The letter is unmistakeably Hillary Clinton’s work – if you know her work.  It is not clear that Ms. Harrop knows anything much about her at all.

It pains me to bring up the woman angle here, but you wonder whether a man would have overscheduled to the point of collapse.

Yes, well, it pains me that you brought this up, too, Ms. Harrop.  The collapse was due to dehydration from a virus that is attacking many right now and against which there is no defense.  You make it sound like she collapsed from exhaustion.  Not the case. As to men performing in this role, your chance is coming up! I trust you will be observing Secretary Kerry with the same care and detail  you have afforded Secretary Clinton (my tongue deeply in my cheek).

It’s no small irony that Clinton’s recent illness has led some Democrats eager for a strong female presidential candidate in 2016 to start looking beyond Hillary.

*Sigh* As if she owes this country or the Democratic Party another minute of service.  The irony is that so many of those calling her name are the Super Delegates from 2008 that either supported Obama over her or, worse, switched allegiances early in the 2008 primaries.   What, exactly, does Hillary Clinton owe any of them?

While she will never embody the cool and outward serenity of Barack Obama, Clinton didn’t have to become the spinning top that put her in a sick bed.  Even there, she noted — not without pride — her difficulty in becoming a “compliant patient.” If Clinton does run for president, she must show more dedication to self-preservation. Martyrs don’t necessarily make great managers.

This is way outside the foul line.  Hillary’s work ethic was one of the reasons  President Obama cited for nominating her in the first place.  Hillary Clinton has given many brilliant speeches as Secretary of State, but what her loyalists know about her is that she is a supremely well-organized woman of action.  “Spinning top” indeed!  And “martyr?”  Seriously?  Last I saw she was back on the job with her bright, sunny smile.

As for great management, she has completely transformed the State Department, streamlined operations among agencies,  and brought it into the 21st century with her QDDR and 21st Century Statecraft, but then I would not expect such a dabbler in things Hillary Clinton to be aware of that.

Finally, the hideous sketch that accompanies the op-ed, gaunt, wrinkled,  exhausted,  bears no resemblance to the actual Hillary Clinton who returned to her office this week looking like this.

01-09-13-Z-04a

She looks lovely.  We’ve got your back, Hillary, and we always will.

Cross-posted at Still 4 Hill.

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Cross-posted at Still4Hill.

Offline most of the day, I was unaware that Charles Krauthammer’s nasty and misleading attack on Hillary Clinton had buzzed around the interwebs all morning.   You would think, from reading his words, that Hillary Clinton blamed the video for the attack on the Benghazi consulate that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.  That was his implication. That was not the case.  She did make a reference to that video in the context of demonstrations at several U.S. Embassies in the region.  She did not, however,  tie that video to the attack on the consulate as she spoke at Andrews AFB beside the caskets on September 14.  In fact, quoting Mahmoud Abbas,  she referred to it as an act of terror.   I hope that before people believe a misrepresentation of what she said, they will read her words and/or watch the video.

Hillary Clinton at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, Libya

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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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This was the statement.

U.S. Position on the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands

Taken Question

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 20, 2012

QUESTION: Does the U.S. take a position on the recent posturing between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falklands?

ANSWER: This is a bilateral issue that needs to be worked out directly between the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom. We encourage both parties to resolve their differences through dialogue in normal diplomatic channels.

We recognize de facto United Kingdom administration of the islands but take no position regarding sovereignty.

I was impressed that both the U.K. and the Argentine appellations were used , and I thought the final sentence stated a very clear position given that both countries are allies of ours.  We do not have a dog in this fight (or should I say “show?”).

Today I came upon this commentary on Commentary:

Obama Sending Wrong Message on the Falklands.

Robert C. O’Brien, a former American representative to the UN, argues today in The Diplomat that the Obama administration has again turned its back on the United Kingdom in its dispute with Argentina over the Falklands. This is a rather easy call–British sovereignty there is lawful and the clear choice of Falklands residents. But Argentina is stirring up trouble there once again, and O’Brien suggests Obama’s behavior is indefensible and will have consequences:

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What got Seth Mandel all fired up was this lengthy diatribe by Robert C. O’Brien in  The Diplomat.

The Diplomat Blogs

Obama’s Falklands Failure

With the world’s attention focused on Bashar al-Assad’s violent suppression of the Syrian civilian uprising, and with the increasing likelihood of a strike by Israel to thwart Iran’s relentless drive to obtain nuclear weapons, perhaps the most underreported international story is the increasingly heated dispute between Britain and Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is an unfolding issue that could say much about the way the U.S. handles its alliances, including those in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Both Mandel, and O’Brien cite O’Brien as a former representative to the U.N., neither specifies which administration he represented.  I might have guessed.

Robert C. O’Brien is an American attorney who was nominated[1] by President George W. Bush on November 10, 2005 and confirmed by the US Senate as the US Alternate Representative to the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which met in New York

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Clearly I was not following our foreign policy at the time with anything like the devotion I have accorded it since a certain brilliant, hard-working charmer took over as our top diplomat.

What advantage would be gained by U.S. interference in this disagreement is no clearer today than it was in 1982.  Of course the British subjects who are residents going back 175 years want to remain under what we term de facto U.K. administration in much the same way that the Protestants in Northern Ireland want to remain part of the Commonwealth.

Naturally, the Argentines feel that their Malvinas are an occupied territory colonized by the British.  Is there some other way of explaining how these islands came to be under British rule?

All who visit these pages know that I am not one to defend President Obama easily, and I certainly see the fingerprints of his Secretary of State, whom I admire (to put it very mildly), all over our policy on the issue.

While Mandel and O’Brien rant over our unwillingness to intrude,  I happen to like our clear, concise position as stated in the January 19 press briefing.   We have no reasons to stick our nose where it does not belong.

You know me well enough by now to be certain that I will not be ending a post like this  – especially since I am defending President Obama (!) without something from the awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton  – a picture, a quote – something!  Here is a video of her remarks on the matter during her visit to the Casa Rosada on March 2, 2010 as they were published here.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the Falklands/Malvinas

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This came up in one of my news feeds.

Obama’s Hillary card

By Brent Budowsky – 11/30/11 05:51 PM ET

President Obama has the extraordinary option of rekindling the historic spirit of his presidency and riding the sweeping tides of history for the advancement of women by naming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate in 2012.

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The title is a molotov cocktail.  We all have seen “The Hillary Factor” and “The Hillary Effect.”  Recently, we were heartened to see “The Hillary Moment.”  So what’s the big deal?  What’s the difference?  What is wrong with “The Hillary card?” 

From Dictionary.com:

fac·tor

[fak-ter] Show IPA

noun

1. one of the elements contributing to a particular result or situation: Poverty is only one of the factors in crime.

2. Mathematics . one of two or more numbers, algebraic expressions, or the like, that when multiplied together produce a given product; a divisor: 6 and 3 are factors of 18.

3.  Biochemistry . any of certain substances necessary to a biochemical or physiological process, especially those whose exact nature and function are unknown.

4. a business organization that lends money on accounts receivable or buys and collects accounts receivable.

5. a person who acts or transacts business for another; an agent.

ef·fect

[ih-fekt] Show IPA

noun

1.  something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence: Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening his skin.
2. power to produce results; efficacy; force; validity; influence: His protest had no effect.

3. the state of being effective  or operative; operation or execution; accomplishment or fulfillment: to bring a plan into effect.

4.  a mental or emotional impression produced, as by a painting or a speech.

5.  meaning or sense; purpose or intention: She disapproved of the proposal and wrote to that effect.

mo·ment

[moh-muhnt] Show IPA

noun

1.  an indefinitely short period of time; instant: I’ll be with you in a moment.

2.  the present time or any other particular time (usually preceded by the ): He is busy at the moment.

3.  a definite period or stage, as in a course of events; juncture: at this moment in history.

4.  importance or consequence: a decision of great moment.

5.  a particular time or period of success, excellence, fame, etc.: His big moment came in the final game.

card

1    [kahrd] Show IPA

noun

1.  a usually rectangular piece of stiff paper, thin pasteboard, or plastic for various uses, as to write information on or printed as a means of identifying the holder: a 3″ × 5″ file card; a membership card.

2. one of a set of thin pieces of cardboard with spots, figures, etc., used in playing various games; playing card.

3. cards, ( usually used with a singular verb )

a. a game or games played with such a set.

b. the playing of such a game: to win at cards.

c. Casino . the winning of 27 cards  or more.

d. Whist . tricks won in excess of six.

4. Also called greeting card. a piece of paper or thin cardboard, usually folded, printed with a message of holiday greeting, congratulations, or other sentiment, often with an illustration or decorations, for mailing to a person on an appropriate occasion.

5. something useful in attaining an objective, as a course of action or position of strength, comparable to a high card held in a game: If negotiation fails, we still have another card to play

I have emphasized the definitions I consider most relevant.  Most of these nouns name a person or intangibles: an element, a state, a period.    Card   is different.  It is a thing, a piece of paper, or worse  a tool (#5).  To couple this word with the name Hillary (and everyone knows which Hillary), is demeaning, insulting objectification of  the most powerful, recognizable, effective, and altruistic human being on earth who happens to live in a female body.

What is the implication?  A president who inspired hope in so many and then let them down would use the one gem he managed to acquire for his measly crown to retain his position.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a world hero.  She reaches out to the poorest, the mutest, the most downtrodden, the disenfranchised, the ignored… yes, the invisible … because they/we are not invisible to her.  She told us that in 2008,  and we have seen her act upon that statement as Secretary of State.

To suggest that this awesome woman is an object, a card to be played in a political game,  is deepest insult.  For shame!  Shame on those who suggest it!

If this is indeed from the Obama campaign playbook, shame on them!   She has gone above and beyond.  The Homegirls and Homeboys of HillaryHood excoriate this cheap political move.

Here is our hero with another hero from today – a day of history.

Do not try to cheapen her.  Do not objectify her.  She is not an object or a card to be played.  She is a hero.  She is precious.  Treat her respectfully.  We will NOT tolerate objectification of this icon of human rights.

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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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