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Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

They call Margaret Thatcher the “Iron Lady,” but did you know there was a Labour Party lady who, as Secretary of State for Employment under Harold Wilson,  mid-wifed equal pay legislation in the United Kingdom?

Her name was Barbara Castle, and she was a force to be reckoned with.  A Baroness raised as a socialist, she was fiery and firmly on the side of the working class.  Barbara was as steely as they come.

In 1968, the machinists in the U.K. Ford factory at Dagenham went on strike. All were women.  All worked at sewing machines making seat covers.  All were paid much less than men at the factory because their jobs were listed as unskilled.  The strike closed down production of Ford Escorts because no seats were available to install.

The women worked at the Dagenham factory in terrible conditions.  In the heat, they shed their clothes and worked in their underwear.  They considered it normal.  The roof leaked so badly that they rigged umbrellas over their stations to shield them and their sewing machines from the rain.   Paid 15% less than men, they struck  on June 7, 1968.

Union officials from Michigan contended that corporations would never survive if they paid women equally to men.  Honchos from Ford tried to pressure Castle saying they would move their operations if she did not cooperate.  Instead, she met with the striking women, managed a compromise for the moment (pay at 92% of what men received), and finally got an equal pay act in 1970.

We are not there yet in this country although industrialized nations followed the U.K. lead more than 40 years ago.  Amazing!

Equal pay for equal work! Why are we so far behind?

There is a movie about this that I just watched.  I strongly recommend you find a way to see it.  I saw it on Starz.

Made in Dagenham

Brava, Barbara and the lady machinists of Dagenham!   Real-life s/heroes!

Bonus:  There is a bit about bullying in this movie.  By teachers.  It has been known to happen.

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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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Well, clearly I am going to have to address headers and stories like these:

Hillary Invades Canada!
Canadians hosted hundreds of American air passengers whose planes were grounded on 9/11. They opened their hearts and their homes to us. During the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-81, fearless Canadian diplomats in Tehran helped smuggle out of that maddened country endangered Americans.

None of that seemed to matter this week. Not content with putting an end to America’s historic “special relationship” with Britain, nor with bullying the U.S.’ only reliable ally in the Mideast, Israel, the Obama administration has launched an attack on our Northern neighbor, Canada. Their unguided missile landed squarely on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was Hillary.

Hillary reprises `Ugly American’ at G8 summit
What the heck is with the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton? Meetings of the type she stormed out of are scheduled months in advance and a list of attendees is available to all.


Well, yes Canada, we do remember all that as well as the hoards of young Americans who rushed to join the RCAF long before Pearl Harbor, and we do appreciate, although it is not mentioned, your harboring of young guys who fled to you when they objected to the war in Viet Nam. The fact that we are friends does not imply total agreement. That is a message we have been hearing consistently throughout the first year and a quarter of this administration, most recently in the wake of the stand-off on the continued building in East Jerusalem. For what it is worth, consistency and even-handedness appear to be an important stanchion in the building code of the Obama administration. All of the stakeholders shou ld have been represented. Anyway, I, personally, am still upset that you guys let the baby seal hunt commence on the day our SOS arrived.

Now as for the “storming out” story. This is the first story I have encountered saying she stormed out. The story does not specify which meeting she “stormed out of” – I doubt it was G8 as the header implies. Sorry about that, guys. She tends to get impassioned – some of us actually LIKE that about her – voted for her because of that. If you do not find her fire for the disenfranchised particularly endearing, well, all I can say is that I am glad she is ours and not yours. We like it and are more than happy to keep her!

I am not pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice and pro-planning. Hillary Clinton is not pro-abortion when unwanted pregnancy can be prevented. She is talking about access to preventive measures, primarily, and abortion as a last resort. Like some men in our own Congress, men in Canada would do well to hear her out on this. She is well-versed on this topic.

Afghanistan? Her job is to try to keep you on board.

I have never seen evidence that some of the 9/11 terrorists did NOT come through Canada. Nine of them lived eight blocks from me. Three (I believe) left Canada on flights to the U.S. If she was wrong about that, I want proof.

Whatever! She looked as charming and diplomatic as ever to me.

So what special friendships were wrecked? Hillary Clinton did not declare war on Canada!

Then there arrived this: In which Hillary Clinton speaks for Canada

Update: Lawrence Cannon does not think any of this was a big deal, and agrees that the maternal health issues needs to be revisited by Canada.

Clinton criticism ‘tempest in a teapot,’ Cannon says

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Here we go again.  I feel it is incumbent upon me to point out, yet another time that Hillary Clinton never said she had a crush on David Miliband, Foreign Minister of the U.K.  She NEVER SAID THAT!

This article from the Mail Online:   Move over Miliband! Hillary Clinton has a ‘special relationship’ with a new foreign minister begins with the incorrect assertion:

First she admitted a crush on David Miliband.

The text from the December 2009 Vogue article is below.  Please bear in mind that the first person pronouns refer to the author of the article, Jonathan Van Meter, and not to Secretary of State Clinton.

I was also happy to see her taking delight in a favorite new colleague, David Miliband, the tall and dashing 44-year-old British foreign secretary. When I mentioned to her over lunch that I had spoken with him, she lit up. “Oh, my God!” I joked that I got a crush over the phone in about five seconds partly because of his accent, and she said, “Well, if you saw him it would be a big crush. I mean, he is so vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He’s really a good guy. And he’s so young!”

For his part, Miliband seems smitten, too. “She applies intellect but also psychology to the dossiers that she’s studying. She uses her experience in a very impressive way. She brings it to bear in a way that enriches a conversation but doesn’t swamp it. She learns from history without being trapped by it. I think it’s also important to say that she’s delightful to deal with one on one.* She’s someone who laughs and can tease, and she’s got perspective as well.”

(*Uh…yes, David.  Delightful!  We’re sure!)

It was Jonathan who said he had a crush. Hillary Clinton never said she did. Is that clear to everybody? Any questions?

Now, to get back to the Mail Online article,  I just knew, when I saw these pictures from Wednesday, that somehow Miliband’s name would come up.

I have been noticing since his first visit to her at State last year, as well as during her visit to Pakistan, that they got along particularly nicely.  Is she flirting?  Seriously!  Is there any doubt?   She is a beautiful woman, and she probably enjoys the results she gets from flirting.  I really do not see anything wrong with that.  She flirts all the time.  She is really good at it!

Is she “crushing”?  Crushes are fine, I guess, but I just want to point out (for the nth time on this blog) that Hillary Clinton has not admitted to any.  Although I must say that I do think Miliband has been crushing on her, and maybe Qureshi as well.   Who can blame them?

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Ohhh! So as Secretary Clinton prepares to take off for Montevideo and other parts south, THIS raises its ugly head once again. The blame, for now,   is being laid on Obama, but Hillary will be the one taking the flak to be sure.  This is certain to end up in her pretty hands.

In a February 25 blog post at CDR Salamander:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You can’t vote “present” to history ….

It can only be his personal antimosity towards the British that we have seen over an over that can explain this – especially when the British spent the better part of a decade backing our play.It was a headline I never expected to read: “US refuses to endorse British sovereignty in Falklands oil dispute.” Washington has declined to back Britain in its dispute with Argentina over drilling rights in the waters surrounding the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands. President Obama’s position is one of strict neutrality, refusing to take sides. According to the State Department:

We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality. The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.

Salamander goes on to quote Toby Young in this Telegraph article: Et tu, Barack? America betrays Britain in her hour of need

Her hour of need?  What is this?  The Battle of Britain? We have always been there in Britain’s hour of need. I actually was out of the country the last time this sovereignty issue exploded into battle. One Haitian radio station spent the entire war playing Argentine tangos, milongas, and the Wolfe Tones of Ireland singing their tribute to countryman Guillermo Brown, founder of the Argentine Navy. It just seemed natural for the Irish to back Argentina against Britain on this issue.   For anyone who does not remember this war, here is a concise history of the events: The Falklands War.

Now maybe the U.K. is still smarting from Obama ousting Churchill from the Oval Office, but this administration is hardly inimical to the U.K.  Secretary Clinton has gone so far out of her way to be cordial to P.M. Brown and the U.K. Foreign Minister David Miliband that there actually has been speculation of flirtation and crushing.

Now, based on our close friendship and history, the U.K. wants us on their side.  Well, here is how it went down the first time:  We did remain neutral in the beginning,  and the late Secretary of State Alexander Haig did his level best from a neutral position to negotiate between the parties, but the diplomatic approach failed.   Reagan agreed to provide limited military assistance to his dear friend Maggie Thatcher.  The British prevailed, and the Argentines rose up against the military junta, the president of Argentina resigned sounding the death knell of the junta and  opening the door to resumed democratic elections.

I suppose history could repeat itself.  I suppose our Homegirl-in-Chief could follow the Haig route and shuttle back and forth between BA and London.  Just guessing, but it is probable that her charm goes a little further with David and Gordon than with Cristina Kirchner who is somewhat pissed with us also for not taking their side.   But assistant Secretary Valenzuela was pretty terse and clear at the briefing: “We will not be discussing the Falklands issue with them. This is a matter for Argentina and for Britain. And it’s not a matter for the United States to make a judgment on.”


Personally, I agree with neutrality on this.  I do not think we should be taking sides in a dispute between our friends, and we badly need friends in The Cone.  Badly!

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The Lady to the left here is the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, past Presidential candidate, former U.S. Senator, and former First Lady of the United States and of the State of Arkansas.  In all of those roles she has consistently spoken out against human rights violations and worked hard in the battle to eliminate them.  Every one of her loyal admirers knows of the litany of efforts she has mounted over the years.  Last year, her first as Secretary of State,  she spoke up frequently on this issue as she has every year since she has been in the public eye and public service.  She is a tireless public servant.  She never hesitates to go the extra mile (actually, this past year, she has gone thousands of extra miles).   So it befuddles me when I see a header like this by Nile Gardiner in the UK TelegraphWhere is the Secretary of State? Hillary Clinton has gone AWOL on the Iranian front.

Reminder:  Hillary Clinton spoke out early, sternly, and often,  right from the outset,  about the disputed Iran election and about the treatment of the opposition demonstrators.  She also put her power where her mouth was when she learned that Twitter,  a primary outlet of news from the streets of Iran,  was about to be taken down for maintenance and had her staff  request that the maintenance be postponed, which it was.  (I need to insert here that the subsequent “upgrades”  of Twitter would have made the kind of information dispersion  we saw in June impossible since you can no longer tweet the same message twice.  You must reword, a task that requires precious time that demonstrators in life-threatening circumstances cannot afford.  This is off-topic, but important.)   Since June, Secretary Clinton has continued to bring up the issue of human rights abuses regularly and consistently.  In her seminal address at Georgetown University on December 14,  The Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century, she spoke specifically about human rights in Iran several times, and brought it up another time in response to a question that was not specifically about Iran.  This was a mere two weeks ago.

In mid-October she was on a two-week trip to Switzerland, England, Ireland, and Russia, she returned for all of two days, one of which was a Saturday and she worked that day speaking at the commissioning of the USS New York.   She then left on another two-week trip to Berlin, Singapore, Manila, Singapore again, Shanghai, Beijing, and finally Afghanistan. On these trips, she lives on her plane and in hotel rooms.  She actually, while in Zurich, helped salvage the Turkey-Armenia accord while working for at least an hour out of her CAR!  When she is traveling, she does not get weekends off.  Hillary Clinton soldiers on through all of this for us, her people, and for the people of the world.  In  all of this pressure and hard work, she never complains and always wears a beautiful and sincere smile.

I would like to know why Mr. Gardiner thinks that someone who has been working this hard for a solid year (because, yes,  she did return to the Senate last January and worked hard there before resigning and moving to State) does not deserve a vacation.  Why, even when she is on vacation, must she re-address an issue she spoke about formally only two weeks ago?  Literally, Mr. Gardiner, give her a break!  She is flesh and blood and heart.  She is not a machine.  She mentions her heart often, and Americans know that she has a lot of soft spots in that sweet heart of hers.  Human rights in Iran is very much an issue close to her heart.  She has no need to interrupt a very well-deserved rest to remind us of that.  That gesture, in the picture above, is a familiar one to those of us who have been watching her for years.  Perhaps, Mr. Gardiner, you have not been observing as closely as we.  Hillary and her heart are not missing-in-action, and America knows it.  I really do not even need to put a link to a story right here (but, shucks, I will anyway because I am proud of her), since , by now,  everyone knows about it.  Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Most Admired Woman of 2009.  Among the reasons are those cited above.

So, Mr. Gardiner, do not dig up this old Vampire Tale of “Where’s Hillary?”  Do not let that Vampire out of its coffin again.  Along with 2009,  it needs to be put to rest.

Just as 2009 was ending, another UK source, The Guardian, printed this  prevarication  I’ve changed my mind about the Clintons by one Niall Stanage.  I really was not originally going to comment on this since he is digging up material that dates back to 2008,  and everyone really ought to know by now that none of what he is talking about is true and never was.  I decided to address it anyway when I saw this story popping up on so many feeds.

The Clintons are not and never were racists.  If they were,  we would not see Hillary working so hard on the Haiti Donors Conference ,  or Bill ( a Special U.N. Envoy to Haiti),  via his  Clinton Foundation, working hard to aid many of Haiti’s ills from healthcare, to agriculture, to education and beyond.  Not to mention their long-standing and continued similar involvement across the continent of Africa.

Neither are they monolithic and it rankles me when they are referred to as if they were.  Many remember in the primary debates the incident when moderator Tim Russert tried to trick Hillary by reading a quote of Bill’s without attributing it until after she provided her perspective on the issue.  Her view differed from his, and she retorted, “Well he’s not standing here right now!”

Finally, the biggest whopper of them all: Niall Stranage never was a Clinton supporter or admirer.  A quick scan of his archives tell that story.

This article is very hard to swallow given that today is Haitian Independence Day.  Here is a link to Hillary’s statement.  No Hillary is not a racist, never was.  Here’s another reason why this is hard to swallow:  This  Vampire Tale and this recurrence of Clinton Derangement Syndrome emanate from the U.K.!  Messrs.  Gardiner and Stanage may arguably have some familiarity with our country.  Gardiner purportedly lives here, but neither seems to be up to date on the Clintons.  In fact, they seem to have missed out on another important  and relevant fact:  Um…guys?  Pssssst!  We  have been independent from you for 233½ years.   You seem to have missed this little document!

So lay off the Clintons.  They are ours, and we love them!

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UPDATED AGAIN: 10-12-09

The Tamil point of view which never was represented in the comments are is represented in this article:

Hillary Clinton Does Not Mince Words

UPDATED!

US responds to Sri Lanka protest over Clinton remark
2009-10-05 01:25:00

The United States, responding to protests from Sri Lanka over remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said it had no recent evidence of women being raped while in Sri Lankan government custody.

In a letter addressed to Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama, the State Department noted that the US government and international human rights groups over the years had detailed “numerous cases of rape and sexual violence in Sri Lanka, particularly acts committed against women held in detention by the government.”

However, the letter signed by Melanne Verveer, ambassador at large for global women’s issues at the State Department said that “in the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009 … we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict area around the world.”

“We hope that this clarification puts the issue in its proper context,” the letter said, adding that Washington remains concerned about extrajudicial killings, disappearances and detainee abuse in Sri Lanka.

“Secretary Clinton believes that Sri Lanka must focus to the future and move forward on the promotion of peace and the protection of human rights,” the letter said.

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Well, I don’t know whether that makes things all better, but where this goes on, Hillary will call it!

Ever since early February, when, just weeks into her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary joined U.K. Foreign Minister, David Miliband in calling for a halt to human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, both Miliband and Hillary have come under attack by that government as well as by the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Clinton-Miliband joint statement of February 3, 2009 is below:

Earlier today at a meeting, Secretary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband discussed their serious concern about deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka caused by the ongoing hostilities. They affirmed their insistence on a political resolution to this longstanding conflict. The time to resume political discussions is now and we will continue to work with the Tokyo Co-Chairs, the Sri Lankan government, and the UN to facilitate such a process.

Secretary Clinton and Foreign Secretary Miliband call on both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to agree to a temporary no-fire period. Both sides need to allow civilians and wounded to leave the conflict area and to grant access for humanitarian agencies.

We welcome today’s statement by the Tokyo Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, US and EU) jointly expressing their great concern about the plight of thousands of internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka. We join the Co-Chairs and call on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the safe zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the PTK hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge. We also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect the international law of armed conflict.

The picture in this Madam Secretary blog post  WANTED: Clinton, for aiding terrorism, most disturbingly hammers home the level of vitriol with which the Clinton-Miliband team is viewed in Sri Lanka.

Again in early May, they spoke up together calling for an end to the conflict.

Indeed, in late May, the government forces finally did overcome the LTTE forces and a quarter century of conflict came to an end, but as in so many cases of civil conflict,  the human rights issues did not cease with the ceasefire.   Camps for the displaced and victims of the war are essentially holding areas where innocent civilians and combatant LTTE are intermingled.  As the camps filled  in late May,  UNICEF called for a quick screening by the government to identify those who are true victims and had no part in the conflict so that they might receive the humanitarian aid they required.

As we all know,  our indomitable Homegirl acted as President and Chair of the U.N. Security Council this past Wednesday putting forth the U.N. Resolution on Violence Against Women and Girls which was adopted with no objections.  The full transcript and text is at the link above. Part of what Council President Hillary Clinton (typing that felt so good!) said is below.

Statements
Council President HILLARY CLINTON, Secretary of State of the United States, speaking in her national capacity, said: “We are here to address an issue that has received too little attention, not only in the Council but also by all Governments around the world.” That issue went to the core of protecting the safety of citizens in all countries. It also went to the responsibility under the United Nations Charter to protect the lives of all, including women. That responsibility was particularly acute in circumstances where peace was challenged.

Noting that women and children were often the victims in wars for which they bore no responsibility, she said the resolution just adopted was a step towards protecting women in conflict zones. It built on resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008). Violence against women and girls during conflict had not diminished, in fact, in some cases it had escalated. The use of rape as a tactic of war had been used in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka and elsewhere and the perpetrators were not being punished. That impunity encouraged further attacks. In Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, which she had visited, and where thousands of cases of rape were being reported, she had met the victims. The toll on them, their family and society could not be quantified. “It shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings.” It also undermined economic progress.

There is nothing particularly anti-Sri Lanka in that statement as I read it.  It is a simple statement of the fact in the context, as Hillary always puts such acts, of the need for the government to seek out and punish the guilty – on both sides of the conflict.  It seems, however, that the government of Sri Lanka has taken exception to her remark.  On my Hillary news feed today, this article popped up: Sri Lanka Protest Clinton’s Rape Remark.

Well, it seems you just cannot please everybody.  The North Koreans made remarks about her which, if comically cryptic and contradictory, were meant to insult (she laughed).  Last week on Larry King, Hugo Chavez was equally complimentary: “Hillary Clinton is lost. America should be concerned about that.”  And now The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka continues  its  attacks on our Homegirl.

Hillary Clinton  picks her fights and issues.  Last week represented a milestone in Hillary’s career-long battle for the rights of women and girls.  That men and military regimes will not necessarily agree with her positions is a no-brainer.  But, like Joan of Arc or SuperWoman, she will continue her fight.   If these guys despise her, we love her all the more.  I don’t think the Homegirls need to worry about Hillary going on a trip to Colombo any time soon.

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