Archive for category Hillary Clinton
On AlterNet, Guy Saperstein points out that Hillary Clinton, despite her charm and extraordinary work ethic, is not a better candidate for President this time than she was in 2008.
By every metric, voters are in a surly mood and they are not going to be happy campers in 2016, either. Why should they be? The economy is still in the toilet, not enough jobs are being created even to keep up with population growth, personal debt and student debt are rising, college graduates can’t find jobs, retirement benefits are shrinking, infrastructure is deteriorating, banksters never were held accountable for melting down the economy, inequality is exploding — and neither party is addressing the depth of the problems America faces.
Here are just a few of the problems with a Clinton candidacy, according to Saperstein:
- Voters in 2016 will be seeking change and there is no way Clinton can run as a “change” candidate.
- Rand Paul is out-polling Clinton 45-40 percent in Colorado, a blue state Democrats need to win in 2016.
- Overwhelmingly, Democrats believe that Wall Street played a substantial role in gaming the system for their benefit while melting down the economy, but Clinton will be perceived as Wall Street’s candidate.
- Clinton is not simply a hawk at a time when the Democratic base (and the country) is sick of expensive and counter-productive foreign adventures, she is a superhawk.
- Clinton’s campaign will harken back to the glory years of the Clinton administration, but how much is that going to help? The major policy changes that started the ball rolling steeply downhill for workers and the middle class began in the Clinton administration.
- Clinton spent four years as Secretary of State, which certainly improved her public profile, but can anyone identify any substantial accomplishments she had as Secretary of State?
As in 2008, Hillary’s main asset is her so-called “inevitability.” But that’s only an advantage until somebody better enters the race. Like Elizabeth Warren.
And Madam Secretary brings some reality to the table:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Well, the cost is financial, the cost is in women’s lives, the cost is to undermine what many of the very same opponents claim is their priority, namely to prevent abortions [wry grin] because—you know, we want to stay focused on improving maternal and child health, and there is no doubt at all that family planning services are absolutely essential to improving both maternal and child health.
Working through our government—with other governments, with NGOs with expertise, capacity, proven track records—we have made a big difference in women’s health. You know, global estimates, Senator, indicate that, by helping women space births and avoid unintended pregnancies, family planning has the potential of preventing twenty-five percent of the maternal and child deaths in the developing world.
Family planning is the best way we have to prevent unintended pregnancies and abortion [wry grin] so I—I know that it—it is, um, a very, um, controversial issue [she seems barely able to spit the words out through her disdain and casts her eyes down then lifts them back up as she continues] but numerous studies have shown that the incidence of abortions decreases when women have access to contraception.
And therefore I strongly support what this administration is doing in trying to provide the means to improve the health of women and children around the world.
It is pretty much this simple. The argument is about as basic as it can be. It isn’t a matter of religion, or opinion, or collecting a bunch of white male virgins to testify as to how peachy keen no birth control would be. The case is very, very simple.
1. Women are people
2. They can make their own choices
3. Birth control and family planning make them better off
4. Birth control and family planning make kids better off
5. Birth control and family planning mean less abortions
At this point anyone who is under the mistaken impression the catholic church has any morality in their position at all is simply not aware of the terms of the discussion. If the catholic church had any respect for human life at all they would be campaigning for birth control, not against it.
Hillary Clinton Knocks it out of the ballpark: Her Historic Speech to the UN On the Rights of GLBT Person
Kvetch though I do about other issues, you cannot fault the Administration for this speech. Astonishing.
Thank you, Mr. President and Madame Secretary of State.
It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.
The second issue is a question of whether homosexuality arises from a particular part of the world. Some seem to believe it is a Western phenomenon, and therefore people outside the West have grounds to reject it. Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.
Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality. And protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do. South Africa’s constitution, written in the aftermath of Apartheid, protects the equality of all citizens, including gay people. In Colombia and Argentina, the rights of gays are also legally protected. In Nepal, the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens. The Government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle anti-gay discrimination.
The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn’t cultural; it’s criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.
Emphasis below added:
So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress has fallen, it has taken a cooperative effort from those on both sides of the barrier. In the fight for women’s rights, the support of men remains crucial. The fight for racial equality has relied on contributions from people of all races. Combating Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism is a task for people of all faiths. And the same is true with this struggle for equality.
I like this passage:
And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people.
Now, we must go further and work here and in every region of the world to galvanize more support for the human rights of the LGBT community. To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes. They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.
Final paragraph, emphasis added:
I know that the thoughts I’ve shared today involve questions on which opinions are still evolving. As it has happened so many times before, opinion will converge once again with the truth, the immutable truth, that all persons are created free and equal in dignity and rights. We are called once more to make real the words of the Universal Declaration. Let us answer that call. Let us be on the right side of history, for our people, our nations, and future generations, whose lives will be shaped by the work we do today. I come before you with great hope and confidence that no matter how long the road ahead, we will travel it successfully together.
Recently on firedoglake, Glenn W. Smith opined:
There are very few people around the globe who are not moved by the solidarity and passion of the Egyptian people as they unite to topple their bullying, authoritarian leader, Hosni Mubarak. Here in America, there’s an egocentric temptation to think the Egyptian freedom fighters want to be like us. It’s no longer “they hate us for our freedoms,” it’s “they want to emulate us because of our freedoms.” Both self-centered notions are dead wrong.
…Egyptians don’t want to become like us. They already are like us, and like everyone else, too.
Of course, the consistent media narrative we are exposed to day in and day out tells us that Egyptians are not like us, and our country — America The Exceptional — is not the least bit similar to Egypt. Why, just look at the glaring contrasts!
Egypt is governed under an emergency law that gives its government extraordinary powers in the name of fighting terrorism. This “temporary” law was renewed last May for another two years. The U.S. government has nothing like that, and never will. [See update below]
In Egypt, according to The New York Times, “Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt has long functioned as a state where wealth bought political power and political power bought great wealth.” That could not possibly happen in America.
Glenn Greenwald had some fun with this on Monday:
One would never, ever find in The New York Times such a sweeping denunciation of the plutocratic corruption and merger of private wealth and political power that shapes most of America’s political culture. Just like “torture”– which that paper has no trouble declaring is used by Egypt’s government but will never say is used by ours — such systematic corruption can exist only elsewhere, but never in America. That’s how this genre of Look Over There reporting is not just incomplete but outright misleading: it actively creates the impression that such conditions are found only in those Primitive Foreign Places, but not here.
Unlike Egypt, in the USA you won’t find any election fraud, media censorship, massive unemployment, real estate bubbles, over-spending on the military, or religious fundamentalism. Income inequality is unknown in America — you might as well look for deserts or pyramids.
UPDATE: Maybe I should have dialed back my cynicism about the USA PATRIOT Act extension. There were 26 House Republicans who broke with their party, enough to stall re-authorization of key provisions of the Act set to expire at the end of this month.
UPDATE: USA PATRIOT Act cynicism back on. Out of the 52 members of the House Republican Tea Party Caucus, 44 voted to extend the Act’s Constitution-shredding provisions. That means only 15 percent voted to uphold the Constitution – Tea Party FAIL. Utah Rep. Rob Bishop voted against re-authorization, but not fellow Republican Jason Chaffetz or Democrat Jim Matheson.
Also, Steve Benen notes:
For Patriot Act critics, this was a pleasant surprise, but the satisfaction will very likely be short-lived — the reauthorization will come back to the floor later this month under regular order, and will need only a simple majority to advance to the Senate.
UPDATE: Looks like Mubarak is going to step down, with a military-run interim government taking over Egypt.
UPDATE: In his speech on Egyptian TV, Mubarak indicated he plans to keep his title as President but transfer power to the Vice President, Omar Suleiman. “Angry crowds are chanting as Tahrir Square erupts following the Mubarak’s refusal to step down.”
UPDATE: After yesterday’s false start, today it was announced that Mubarak is out and the Supreme Military Council will run Egypt at least for now. “The euphoria is unimaginable,” writes Spencer Ackerman.
Just watched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s press conference on the latest from WikiLeaks: 250,000 State Department cables. It was followed by the regular White House press briefing with Robert Gibbs. Both of them claimed that the leak of the cables (1) was highly damaging and (2) didn’t reveal anything new or interesting.
Also, both Clinton and Gibbs explained that the Obama administration is very, very committed to transparency. However, transparency has its limits, don’t you know. We have to draw the line somewhere. In this case, they are opposed to the release of any information at all. In the case of previous disclosures from WikiLeaks the administration was also against letting the public know anything.
On the right, as usual, they go a little further. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called the leak “nothing less than an attack on the national security of the United States… Let there be no doubt: the individuals responsible are going to have blood on their hands.” [And the USA does not?] “Treason,” cries former U.N. Ambassador (and current Faux News Channel commentator) John Bolton.
Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute calls WikiLeaks a criminal enterprise. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, says WikiLeaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.
Look, as far as we know now this all boils down to one guy who copied a whole lot of documents onto a rewritable Lady Gaga CD. PFC Bradley Manning, a member of the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, is currently in solitary confinement awaiting trial over the WikiLeaks disclosures.
As a U.S. Army officer, I held a security clearance but hardly ever got to see classified information. The reason is simple: access to secrets is supposed to be on a “need-to-know” basis, and I didn’t need to know. For a private first class to be able to copy hundreds of thousands of classified reports, that would be a major breakdown of security discipline.
Further evidence of U.S. government incompetence? The WikiLeaks website was hit with a denial of service attack yesterday — but the State Department cables were already in the hands of several news organizations.
In the age of electronic data transfer, something like this was bound to happen. It is not the fault of WikiLeaks. In fact, a Washington Post investigation recently revealed that nearly a million people are cleared for Top Secret — how long before some of that information gets leaked?
Too much is recklessly labeled classified, just to hide it from the public. If the Obama administration wanted to promote transparency, they would de-classify all but the most closely guarded national security information. They especially should not be hiding evidence of torture and war crimes.
UPDATE: Likely GOP Presidential contender Mike Huckabee: “I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty” for leakers.
How can we miss Blackwater (Xe) if they won’t go away? Spencer Ackerman on Danger Room:
Never mind the dead civilians. Forget about the stolen guns. Get over the murder arrests, the fraud allegations, and the accusations of guards pumping themselves up with steroids and cocaine. Through a “joint venture,” the notorious private security firm Blackwater has won a piece of a five-year State Department contract worth up to $10 billion, Danger Room has learned.
Apparently, there is no misdeed so big that it can keep guns-for-hire from working for the government. And this is despite a campaign pledge from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ban the company from federal contracts.
Apparently the State Department thought nobody would notice that Blackwater (Xe) used a cutout so that their company’s name never came up in the process of awarding the Worldwide Protective Services contract. The deal includes protection for U.S. embassies in Baghdad and Kabul.
Late last year, there were reports that Blackwater (Xe) is a key element in the CIA’s drone war in Pakistan. The U.S. and Pakistan governments, as well as Xe, deny the company operates in Pakistan.
The independent, non-profit journalists at ProPublica recently reported a milestone in the privatization of modern U.S. warfare. This year, more contractors than military personnel died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Old Guard surrenders to the British at the Battle of Waterloo, 1815
Mark Penn, the genius political consultant who took Hillary Clinton from inevitable to unelectable, is heard from again on HuffPo:
Once again an initially popular Democratic president tries to pass healthcare reform, raise taxes on the wealthy and expand domestic spending. And once again the voters send a sharp signal that they want him to chart a more centrist course.
Again making us wonder why anyone would pay him for giving advice, Penn advocates surrender to the Republican agenda a la President Bill Clinton. Forget “people versus the powerful” populism. Seek “true bi-partisanship.” Propose micro-initiatives.
The last thing America needs in a time of economic desperation is another demoralizing, Clinton-style betrayal of progressives. President Obama and the rest of the Dems ought to cowboy up, get rid of the Senate filibuster, and start passing BIG legislation that would make FDR proud. Or they can return to exile, like Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo.
Last summer Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) predicted the failure of health care legislature would bring down President Obama: “It will be his Waterloo, it will break him.” This morning on ABC’s “This Week,” after host Terry Moran aired audio of the quote, DeMint tried to claim he never said it.
MORAN: So did you break him? And is that really how Americans want you to behave here in Washington, break the president? […]
DEMINT: I did not want this to be the President’s Waterloo. But pushing through a massive government take over of our health care system was certainly not a good idea.
The other day, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz gave the White House spokesman his view of Obama’s retreat from the battlefield:
“I told him he was full of sh*t is what I told him. I mean I did… And then he gave me the Dick Cheney f-bomb the same way Senator Leahy got it on the Senate floor.
I told Robert Gibbs, I said ‘And I’m sorry you’re swearing at me, but I’m just trying to help you out. I’m telling you you’re losing your base. Do you understand that you’re losing your base?’”
If the Democratic Party cannot implement progressive policies when in control of the White House and blockbuster majorities in the House and Senate, then they do not deserve to lead. Napoleon’s army, despite its reputation, was the underdog at Waterloo. You can’t say the same for the Dems– they have every advantage if they can figure out how to break free of the Washington special interests. Just do the opposite of whatever Mark Penn recommends!
UPDATE: Devilstower on DKos compares the strangely impotent Democratic majority to General McClellan’s Union army advancing on Richmond in 1862 (another unfortunate historical analogy).
At the start of 2010, Democrats held the House, the White House, and a filibuster-proof margin in the Senate. They were put there by the largest, most energized, most committed electorate ever assembled. They were funded in large part by a broad base of individual donations that left them extraordinarily free to pursue policies without the threat of losing money supplied through a few select large donors. The electorate that had placed them in power knew well enough the policies they represented and the change they wanted to implement, and that electorate awarded them with majorities not seen in forty years.
Opposing them was a fading Republican Party whose policies had brought on a decade of disaster complete with unfinished wars, a crumbling economy, and intentional mismanagement of issues from health care to the environment….
Even though the Confederates were outnumbered and on the defensive, McClellan gave up the fight and retreated.
I’ve heard this suggestion mentioned on a couple of talk shows and from this online report by Andrea Mitchell:
New York State Democratic Party sources tell NBC News that Caroline Kennedy has expressed interest in the New York Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.
She is known to have discussed the upcoming vacancy with New York Gov. David Paterson, who will be appointing the next senator to serve the remaining two years in Clinton’s term once she becomes Secretary of State.
I have long admired Caroline Kennedy. She is clearly an intelligent, educated, well-read woman whose life has been immersed in the political world. Though she has shyly remained away from the public spotlight for most of her life, she played an active and highly visible role in the Obama campaign.
It may be time for us to hear from another Kennedy voice, a young female voice. I am thrilled at this prospect.
In a lengthy chapter of his book, Glenn Hurowitz describes Bill Clinton as a gutless wonder. Hurowitz makes the case that Clinton’s entire political strategy was based on his personal dislike of confrontations. Clinton would go out his way to avoid confrontations, including compromsing one core progressive values. Clinton’s reluctance to confront his political enemies (and they were numerous) had the effect of convincing them that they could push him and push him and push him and get political victories and he would not fight back. They were right – Clinton only fought back and fought back hard when his political career was in danger. I think it was James Carville who described Clinton as the king of the counter punchers.
Two interesting articles – one in the WaPo about Barack Obama and one at the American Prospect about Hillary Clinton – have me thinking about the idea of “the code” and how you can crack it.