Saturday: Women in Active Control

Rise and shine, news junkies.

Here are my Saturday offerings. Enjoy.

But former Obama administration official Anne-Marie Slaughter says that “this idea of the women going to war is wildly overplayed.”

“On the one hand, you get the women in the administration criticized because they focus on development issues and empowering women and humanitarian issues, and the next minute they are being stylized as Amazons — that’s ridiculous,” says Slaughter, who ran Clinton’s policy planning office at the State Department until recently.

Clinton initially took a cautious line on military intervention, turning only after she was assured that Arab states supported it and would play a role.

Only the day before, Mrs. Clinton — along with her boss, President Obama — was a skeptic on whether the United States should take military action in Libya. But that night, with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces turning back the rebellion that threatened his rule, Mrs. Clinton changed course, forming an unlikely alliance with a handful of top administration aides who had been arguing for intervention.

Was President Obama “henpecked” into waging war on Libya by his “Amazon warrior” female advisors? Only if you’re shocked by the thought of women in positions of power actually asserting their power. It also helps if you consider skepticism of military engagement to be inherently “feminine” and think that getting convinced of something by a woman is in and of itself emasculating. And if you’re Maureen Dowd you repeat all that stupid, backward cant, because you’re the hard-charging award-winning New York Times columnist with the most retrograde conception of gender relations this side of Hays Code-era Hollywood.

  • Photo (at the beginning of this post): U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledges the crowd at a ceremony marking World Water Day at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2011 (Reuters).

The water crisis can bring people together. In fact, on water issues, cooperation, not conflict, is and can be the rule.

  • This year’s theme for the UN’s 19th annual WWD was

Water for Cities: responding to the urban challenge.

  • Heather Allen at NRDC, on the MOU (memorandum of understanding) agreement on water, signed by Hillary and World Bank president Robert Zoellick on WWD 2011:

Last year Hillary Clinton’s speech on World Water Day catapulted water to the top of the mind among the diplomatic and humanitarian communities. Previously water had done well in Congress (regularly receiving signficant appropriations and passing the Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act), however focus from the White House or Administration had been lacking.

In Clinton’s 2010 speech she called water the ‘wellspring of all life’, and characterized it as central to international development. From that speech and other actions over the last year we have seen significant progress toward prioritizing water. Just last month the Rajiv Shah the Administrator of USAID appointed Chris Holmes to be the new Global Water Coordinator – a position designed to help build a water strategy across government agencies. In addition President Obama requested just over 300 million for water appropriations for 2012 – the largest amount ever, indicating an increasing focus on water.

This MOU will help to ground these advances and build support at all levels throughout government agencies for cooperation on water. Agreements like these can be powerful tools to support innovative projects on water, because they make it clear that the highest levels of government intend to see progress here.

Today’s agreement on water helps people in the World Bank and the U.S. Government focus attention where we need it most – to bring water and sanitation to the billions who lack it, a great reason to celebrate on World Water Day.

  • Hillary and Zoellick exchanging documents after signing the MOU (click to view larger):

  • Perusing through the various links I came across on water day, I was reminded of the Guardian’s John Vidal recently asking What does the Arab world do when its water runs out? (h/t Minkoff Minx for pointing to this piece in one of her roundups last month.)
  • Check out this brilliant slideshow of twenty photos from around the globe on World Water Day (via SacBee’s The Frame).

He raised the bar for what it means to be a public servant and set new benchmarks for what a private citizen can accomplish to make the world a better place. He also has more energy and travels more miles than anyone I know—aside from maybe his brilliant wife.

“With the passing of Elizabeth Taylor, America has lost one of its greatest talents and fiercest advocates for HIV/AIDS research. Born in England, Elizabeth became thoroughly American royalty. For more than a generation, she brought to life unforgettable characters on film, and her tireless efforts to combat AIDS brought hope to millions of people around the world. We were honored to host her at the White House in 2001 when she received the Presidential Citizens Medal for her relentless crusade for more AIDS research and better care. In founding amfAR, she raised both millions of dollars and our level of awareness about the impact of AIDS in the United States and around the world. Elizabeth’s legacy will live on in many people around the world whose lives will be longer and better because of her work and the ongoing efforts of those she inspired. Our thoughts are with her family, her friends, and her many fans. We will miss her talent, her heart, and her friendship.”

Taylor was an avid Hillary Clinton supporter during the 2008 presidential race and donated the legal maximum of $4,600 to Clinton’s campaign.

“I have contributed to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign because she has a mind of her own and a very strong one at that,” Taylor said in 2007. “I like the way she thinks. She is very savvy and a smart leader with years of experience in government, diplomacy and politics.”

As Walker’s biography indicates, Taylor wasn’t afraid to go public with these sorts of feelings. Although Taylor is widely recognized for her work as an AIDS activist, she clearly saw the world in feminist terms. One public event chronicled by Walker shows how fiercely vocal Taylor could be when she felt women were not taken seriously:

The senator was addressing a policy forum of Republican VIPs and saying that women should be exempt from the draft, when Elizabeth gave vent to a dissenting mutter and then, to the surprise of many, a prolonged boo. Warner, in what was interpreted as an attempt to placate her, succeeded in looking as if he were slapping her down. Women, he claimed, were volunteering for jobs in the services. Elizabeth’s hard-edged voice split the tense atmosphere….’What kind of jobs — “Rosie the Riveter” jobs?’ Laughter broke out. Emboldened by feeling that the audience was with her, she backed up her position. ‘Women have been in active control since Year One.’ Look at Margaret Thatcher, she said: look at Cleopatra. Warner, now flushed, appeared to try and subdue her with a wave of his hand — a gesture that brought her leaping to her feet. ‘Don’t you steady me with that all-dominating hand of yours.’

Today, 85 countries from every region of the world joined together in a historic moment to state clearly that human rights apply to everyone, no matter who they are or whom they love.

  • This next one is from a conservative think tank, so you’ve been duly warned — Christina Hoff Sommers, via the American Enterprise Institute — Tina Brown’s Post-Feminist Summit:

When panelist Anna Holmes, founder of the website Jezebel, denounced fashion magazines for retouching photographs of female models, Brown refused to see it as a pressing moral issue. “When I get photographed,” she quipped, “the first words out of my mouth are, ‘Am I going to be retouched?'” A dismayed Holmes replied, “But you still want to look human!” “No,” said Brown, “I just want to look great.”

  • For something more inspiring — Homa Sabet Tavangar met up with Hillary’s go-to person between sessions at Tina Brown’s summit in NYC the other week and posted this interview on Huffpo a couple days ago: Don’t Know Melanne Verveer? Why you Should.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which killed 146 workers and prompted labor reform in the United States, HBO is letting the basic-cable-subscribing public watch its recent documentary about the events.

“Triangle: Remembering the Fire” will re-air on CNN on Saturday, Mar. 26 at 11:00 p.m. ET – just one day after the anniversary.

That’s it for me. What’s on your blogging list today?

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]

Saturday: Solidarity, Sisterhood

Good morning, gleaners!

Grab your morning brew, and let’s go!


  • It’s farmer-labor day today at the WI Capitol building, starting at noon, complete with a “tractorcade.”


(second link will take you to an AFP report on Hillary’s remarks at Friday’s Women in the World conference in NY. See also her remarks at the 2011 Women of Courage event for more.)

  • This week–on International Women’s day no less–our advocate-in-chief helped to launch a Global Partnership on Maternal and Child Health, bringing a long-neglected development goal further out of the shadows. Brava, Madam Secretary!

(see also Hillary’s 100 Women Initiative. If you don’t know what it is, click and find out.)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, introducing the president of Kyrgyzstan at a State Department event.

Women’s Rights

  • See here for RH Reality Check’s exhaustive coverage of the latest developments from yesterday. Also, Minkoff Minx wrote to her Georgia state representative, Stephen Allison (R-8) and received a letter from Rep. Allison that you might find of interest. Scroll to the end of the post to see it.
  • My $0.02 on Allison’s response: The excuse that the most draconian of these bills will never pass is baloney. The rise of mini-Stupaks in states across the country has built up a momentum in the war against women, and that momentum is helping to get other horrible versions of these bills passed. Furthermore, the preponderance of such nonsense legislation clearly indicates a concerted effort to use women and their civil rights as a tool of division and distraction from the economy, degrading those rights in the process and blocking unfettered access to reproductive healthcare for women–all women. The rich will get their safe abortions on demand one way or another, and we all know it.

Tired of hearing about Charlie Sheen?


  • Bernie Sanders introduces The Emergency Deficit Reduction Act. Sanders’ press release says the bill would a) create a 5.4% surtax on millionaires, yielding up to $50 billion annually for the US Treasury, and b) end tax breaks for Big Oil, yielding about $3.5 billion a year in new revenue. Thank you, Bernie Sanders!


US Politics: 2012

  • US News & World Report says wedge issues are back just in time for the 2012 electoral cycle. In other news… Water? Yep, wet as ever. (When did wedge issues ever leave?)
  • Here’s a derivative piece if ever there was one… Cameron Lynch says Barack Obama is the “Surprisingly Silent President.” This echoes Ruth Marcus last week suddenly discovering that Obama is the “Where’s Waldo” president. Obama told America who he was from 2004 to 2008. The creative clueless class was too busy chattering away and creating “a different kind of politician” narrative to take note that Obama was telegraphing very clearly that he would make an indifferent kind of president.

Civil Liberties

King hearings

  • Adam Serwer (via the American Prospect) has an important read up that puts it all in perspective… Good Cop, Bad Cop: “On counterterrorism, the only difference between Republicans and Obama is rhetorical.”

Disaster in Japan and Elsewhere

(Also, Crowley confirmed his comments about Manning to The Cable:”What I said was my personal opinion. It does not reflect an official USG policy position. I defer to the Department of Defense regarding the treatment of Bradley Manning.”)

  • See the NYT’s photojournalism blog — Lens — for dramatic shots of the devastation from the 8.9 quake and tsunami in Japan, as well as other harrowing pictures from around the world yesterday, that tell the story of tragedy and strife.


  • “The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century. Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”

–Achim Steiner, the executive director of UN Environment Programme

This Day in History (March 12)

  • First fireside chat: “It is your problem no less than it is mine. Together we cannot fail.” –FDR, 1933 (even FDR sounds like he’s saying Solidarity forever!)

What Kind of Liberal are You?

  • Take the quiz. I’m a “Working Class Warrior.” How about you?
  • I mostly linked to this silly quiz so I could share this priceless bumper sticker quote from the first question: “May the fetus you save be gay.”

Song of Protest for Saturday

Extra verse added to the PPM version: “Show me the famine, show me the frail, eyes with no future that show how we failed, and I’ll show you the children with so many reasons why there but for fortune, go you or I.”

I’m turning the Saturday reads over to you in the comments… Take the quiz and let us know how you score, share a song, link us to what’s on your blogging list this weekend…and have a great day!

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]

Women, Workers, and The Sisterhood

Hillary has marked today’s 100th International Women’s Day by releasing the following op-ed. As soon as I heard the title, I knew I’d hear, “women do two-thirds, yet…”

Real life Rosie the Riveter. Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber, Tennessee (1943). Library of Congress, LC-USW36-295 (P&P)

March 7, 2011:

Women’s Work-More, Earn-Less Plan Hurts — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

[Bloomberg headline — I Know the Secret to Economic Growth: Hillary Rodham Clinton]

“Throughout the world, women do two-thirds of the work, yet they earn just one-third of the income and own less than 2 percent of the land. Three billion people don’t have access to basic financial services we take for granted, like bank accounts and lines of credit; the majority of them are women. […] If we invest in women’s education and give them the opportunity to access credit or start a small business, we add fuel to a powerful engine for progress for women, their families, their communities and their countries. Women invest 80 percent of their incomes on their families and in their communities.”

Whether Hillary’s in or out of US domestic politics, Hillary is working for all women and for all workers. She’s the woman who first introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2005 after all.

Over the last thirty-something years, Hill’s even gotten Bill speaking the language of women power.

September 2009:

“According to the United Nations, women do 66% — two thirds — of the world’s work, produce 50% of the world’s food — a fact which would stun people in this country given the way agriculture is organized — earn 10% of the world’s income, and own 1% of the world’s property.” –President Bill Clinton, at the Clinton Global Initiative, discussing why we need to invest in girls and women

I’m more familiar with hearing the “two-thirds work, 10% income, 1% property” set of figures. Hillary’s “two third-one third-less than 2%” is a new one on me–I wonder if it’s an update or tweak. Anyhow, another great companion piece to read with Hillary’s op-ed today is this interview at Democracy Now – “Women’s Rights are Workers’ Rights:” Kavita Ramdas on History of International Women’s Day and Challenges Women Face 100 Years Later. From the link:

“I think there is a need for us, I think, at this moment, particularly as there’s an effort to marginalize the rights of workers, as you see across many of the states, particularly Wisconsin, Indiana, an attempt to kind of roll back some of the achievements that workers have fought for so hard. You see that happening simultaneously, Amy, as you mentioned, with the attempt to sort of roll back women’s rights. And this is happening exactly at the moment that globally, the voice says, ‘Oh, you know, the way to have development and democracy is to invest in women.’ So, on one hand, you have what’s right for the rest of the world; on the other hand, you actually have a situation in which people are losing rights, in the context of the country where those rights were fought for, you know, to begin with.” –Kavita Ramdas

I’d love to hear our resident economist and blogger extraordinaire Dakinikat weigh in when she gets a chance and give us her thoughts and analysis on where women’s wage earnings stand and the road forward. In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to revisit some of Hillary’s earlier op-eds from the last three years, to see how her current piece tackling “Work-More, Earn-Less” fits into her overall vision. I’m just going to pick the op-eds that come to mind for me and excerpt a small passage from each. I want to let Hillary do the talking here and illustrate the framework she’s been putting in place, piece by piece, with each of these editorials.

This will go backwards in time (reverse chronological order.)

November 10, 2010:

An End to Human Trafficking — SecState HRC

“It is especially important for governments to protect the most vulnerable – women and children – who are more likely to be victims of trafficking. They are not just the targets of sex traffickers, but also labor traffickers, and they make up a majority of those trapped in forced labor: picking cotton, mining rare earth minerals, dancing in nightclubs. The numbers may keep growing, as the global economic crisis has exposed even more women to unscrupulous recruiters.”

October 28, 2010:

The Key to Sustainable Peace: Women” — SecState HRC and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store

“Whether they are combatants or survivors, peace-builders or bystanders, women must play a role in the transition from war to peaceful development. And we must urge men and women to focus on changing the conditions that produced the violence in the first place. In the coming weeks and months, our governments will be pressing to ramp up meaningful implementation of Resolution 1325. As just one part of that effort, our governments are among those participating in an important international conference in Copenhagen this week, where the focus will be on the role of women in a broad range of global security issues. If we want to make progress towards settling the world’s most intractable conflicts, let’s enlist women.”

October 2009:

A New Approach to Global Food Security and Hunger– SecState HRC

“Food security represents the convergence of several issues: droughts and floods caused by climate change, swings in the global economy that affect food prices, and spikes in the price of oil that increase transportation costs. So food security is not only about food, but it is all about security. Chronic hunger threatens individuals, governments, societies, and borders. People who are starving or undernourished and can’t care for their families are left with feelings of hopelessness and despair, which can lead to tension, conflict, even violence. Since 2007, there have been riots over food in more than 60 countries. The failures of farming in many parts of the world also have an impact on the global economy. Farming is the only or primary source of income for more than three-quarters of the world’s poor. When so many work so hard but still can’t get ahead, the whole world is held back.”

August 2009:

What I Saw in Goma– SecState HRC

“There is an old Congolese proverb that says, ‘No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.’ The day must come when the women of the eastern Congo can walk freely again, to tend their fields, play with their children and collect firewood and water without fear. They live in a region of unrivaled natural beauty and rich resources. They are strong and resilient. They could, if given the opportunity, drive economic and social progress that would make their country both peaceful and prosperous. Working together, we will banish sexual violence into the dark past, where it belongs, and help the Congolese people seize the opportunities of a new day.”

August 9, 2009:

Women Are Drivers of Positive ChangeSecState HRC

“National Women’s Day commemorates the 20 000 South African women who marched for justice on August 9 1956. Fearless, they sang an anthem that has become a rallying cry: ‘Wathint’a bafazi, Wathint’ imbokodo’ (You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock). Women can be the rock on which a freer, safer and more prosperous Africa is built. They just need the opportunity.”

June 17, 2009:

Partnering Against TraffickingSecState HRC

“When I began advocating against trafficking in the 1990s, I saw firsthand what happens to its victims. In Thailand, I held 12-year-olds who had been trafficked and were dying of AIDS. In Eastern Europe, I shared the tears of women who wondered whether they’d ever see their relatives again. The challenge of trafficking demands a comprehensive approach that both brings down criminals and cares for victims. To our strategy of prosecution, protection and prevention, it’s time to add a fourth P: partnerships. The criminal networks that enslave millions of people cross borders and span continents. Our response must do the same.”

September 25, 2008:

Let’s Keep People In Their Homes -- Senator HRC

“I’ve proposed a new Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), to launch a national effort to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. […] The original HOLC returned a profit to the Treasury and saved one million homes. We can save roughly three times that many today. […] If we do not take action to address the crisis facing borrowers, we’ll never solve the crisis facing lenders. These problems go hand in hand. And if we are going to take on the mortgage debt of storied Wall Street giants, we ought to extend the same help to struggling, middle-class families. […] This is a sink-or-swim moment for America. We cannot simply catch our breath. We’ve got to swim for the shores. We must address the conditions that set the stage for the turmoil unfolding on Wall Street, or we will find ourselves lurching from crisis to crisis. Just as Wall Street must once again look further than the quarterly report, our nation must as well.”

August 6, 2008:

No Crisis Is Immune From Exploitation Under BushSenator HRC

“The examples of the waste, fraud and abuse are legion — from KBR performing shoddy electrical work in Iraq that has resulted in the electrocution of our military personnel according to Pentagon and Congressional investigators, to the firing of an Army official who dared to refuse a $1 billion payout for questionable charges to the same company. In another scam, the Pentagon awarded a $300 million contract to AEY, Inc., a company run by a 22-year-old who fulfilled an ammunition deal in Afghanistan by supplying rotting Chinese-made munitions to our allies. But the fraud and waste are not limited to the war. In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina, for example, FEMA awarded a contract worth more than $500 million for trailers to serve as temporary housing. The contractor, Gulf Stream, collected all of its money even though they knew at the time that its trailers were contaminated with formaldehyde. […] If we’re going to get serious about putting our nation’s fiscal house in order, let’s talk about putting an end to billions in no-bid contract awards to unaccountable contractors. Let’s talk about the number of lucrative contracts and bonuses being paid for duties never performed, promises never fulfilled, and contracts falsely described as complete. And let’s talk about reforming the federal contracting system so that we can take on the real waste, fraud and abuse in our federal government.”

Are you detecting a pattern yet?

Disaster capitalism… No Profit Left Behind…. Mortgage Crisis… Modern-Day Slavery… Opportunities for Women… Banishing Sexual Violence… Global Food Security and Hunger… Women’s Progress as the Key to Sustainable Peace… Enlisting Women… Investing in Women’s Education and Economic Security…

These are just a few of the challenges and objectives outlined, and the above is hardly an exhaustive compilation.

When I think of Barack Obama’s op-ed writing, I think of his ode to deregulation at the start of this year. When I think of Sarah Palin’s, I remember this summer of 2009 anti-cap and trade diatribe that never even mentioned global warming (or climate change). Two Reagan-wannabe peas-in-a-pod.

Hillary stands out as presidential–a champion for every man, woman, and child to have a level playing field in this world from which to rise. But, as our own commenter paperdoll says, “1600 PA Ave. isn’t big enough for Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.”

And, that’s because Hillary’s work is bigger than her and belongs to all of us.

On this International Women’s Day, I’d like to leave you with the photo below. Because when it comes to Hillary and her work, it’s not about her being likeable, and it’s not about paternalism and rescuing damsels in distress who are incapable of freeing and governing themselves–it’s about all of us supporting these young women, and for that matter one another, so we can each lift ourselves up to our God-given potential.

When Hillary gave her speech at the DNC in 2008, she asked “Were you in this campaign just for me?”

Hillary, I’m still in the campaign for all of us, and I’m in it for the sisterhood:

A group of girls reach in to hug Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a tour of the Siem Reap Center, a shelter that provides rehabilitation, vocational training, and social reintegration for sex trafficking victims, in Siem Reap.


Hillary: Warmonger

March is women’s history month, and Tina Brown’s Newsweek has put Hillary on the March 14th cover of Newsweek, under the banner of “150 Women Who Shake the World.”

The header on the cover is “Hillary’s War,” but on the website the cover story–written by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon–is called “The Hillary Doctrine.”

“Hillary’s War” is not what you think–it takes the common charge against Hillary as the warmonger to outmonger all the men before and after her and turns that canard on its ugly little head.

Hillary’s war is her campaign for all of us–her fight for women and girls. Because if women are left behind there can be no lasting progress. As the byline on the cover notes, Hillary is “shattering glass ceilings everywhere.”

Two other recent pieces/interviews of Hillary that are a must-read for anyone who follows Hillary, btw:

Hilarious to see Kathleen Parker’s whimpy whine that “Women make lousy men” appear as a footnote on the Newsweek cover next to Hillary’s beautiful, beaming face. It’s so revealing. While conservative hacks like Parker are still busy fighting that old battle of the sexes, Hillary and the rest of us in her fearsome army are trying to bring women and girls to the table for the benefit of us all.

So much of Hillary’s comments on Egypt in the last few months–as Barack Obama’s secretary of state–have come across as a pro-stability argument for the West at the cost of a people’s right to self-governance, especially when viewed through the limited backburner coverage we usually get of Hillary’s work from the mainstream media. But, Lemmon’s piece puts the pieces of the Hillary Clinton puzzle into perspective.

Hillary has always been about putting women and girls front and center. And, any time women are left behind, there really isn’t true self-governance by a large segment of that populace anyway.

In Hillary’s own words:

“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century,” Clinton recently told NEWSWEEK during another rare moment relaxing on a couch in the comfortable sitting room of her offices on the State Department’s seventh floor, her legs propped up in front of her. “We see women and girls across the world who are oppressed and violated and demeaned and degraded and denied so much of what they are entitled to as our fellow human beings.”

Clinton is paying particular attention to whether women’s voices are heard within the local groups calling for and leading change in the Middle East. “You don’t see women in pictures coming from the demonstrations and the opposition in Libya,” she told NEWSWEEK late last week, adding that “the role and safety of women will remain one of our highest priorities.” As for Egypt, she said she was heartened by indications that women would be included in the formation of the new government. “We believe that women were in Tahrir Square, and they should be part of the decision-making process. If [the Egyptians] are truly going to have a democracy, they can’t leave out half the population.”

On Saturday, I linked to two pieces that discuss the issue of women and where they fit in in the New Egypt at length. One thing that really struck me while reading both pieces and in this Newsweek feature on Hillary is that there’s this intersection of top-down and bottom-up efforts going on when Hillary brings women’s voices to the international table. She’s building the structure from the top down, but in doing so, she’s not just putting policies into place, she’s also planting the seeds for women and like-minded men to continue the advocacy work from the bottom-up.

Another thing about Hillary that immediately struck me is that she’s more comfortable in her skin than ever, and it shows in the photo of her on the Newsweek cover. She is doing work of purpose–the unfinished work of the 21st century.

Hillary’s presence in Barack Obama’s Cabinet itself is a symbol that speaks volumes. I often think of this picture from when Obama nominated Hillary. To me that photo says it all: There can be no lasting progress if she is left behind.

It’s not just identity politics. Hillary has taken pains to translate the symbolic into the concrete. Or, what a Young Hillary Rodham called the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible. But more about that later.

In her Newsweek piece on Hillary, Lemmon writes:

Her campaign has begun to resonate in unlikely places. In the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, where women cannot travel without male permission or drive a car, a grandson of the Kingdom’s founding monarch (Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud) last month denounced the way women are “economically and socially marginalized” in Arab countries.

Is Newsweek’s newly hired Andrew Sullivan reading this? LOL. Getting the grandson of Saudi Arabia’s founding monarch to denounce the marginalization of women… not bad for an untalented, drab woman like Hillary, which is what Sullivan has always insisted about Hill.

Hillary puts the Mama-in-chief propaganda on both sides of the political spectrum in the US to shame, and Lemmon underscores this by bestowing Hillary with the following:

advocate in chief for women worldwide

I was really glad to see Newsweek note the following, as well, because predictably, it didn’t get the attention it deserved at the time:

As she noted in Qatar in January, two weeks before Egypt’s first “day of rage,” the Middle East’s old foundations were “sinking into the sand.”

Here’s a transcript link to what Hillary had said in Qatar. I’m only going to quote a short bit, so click the link if you’d like to read the larger context of her remarks — it’s very thoughtful and incredibly prophetic given the global events that unfolded right after she spoke:

But in too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand. The new and dynamic Middle East that I have seen needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere.

This wasn’t just two weeks before Egypt’s first day of rage–Hillary said this THE day before Ben Ali fled Tunisia.

That’s our Hillary–we can add cassandra-in-chief to the list of her titles.

Another key theme of Hillary’s work on behalf of women and girls emerges in Lemmon’s piece:

“This is a big deal for American values and for American foreign policy and our interests, but it is also a big deal for our security,” she told NEWSWEEK. “Because where women are disempowered and dehumanized, you are more likely to see not just antidemocratic forces, but extremism that leads to security challenges for us.”

Hillary has been saying this all along, of course:

Exhibit A: “What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well.” –First Lady HRC

Exhibit B: “the role and rights of women in today’s world is a critical core concern of foreign policy — it *is* national security.” –SecState HRC

Theresa Loar–who helped Hillary organize the Beijing delegation in 1995–tells Newsweek that she (Loar) got a call from the National Security Council after Hillary expressed interest in speaking at the conference. The NSC told Loar that her job was to make sure Hillary doesn’t go to China. Loar says her reaction at the time was to think “my job is to make sure it’s a rip-roaring success—and guess who is going to succeed?”

And, succeed Hillary did. Hillary’s 1995 speech was a call for all women to assume our rightful places in society and our political voices. When Kirsten Gillibrand took Hillary’s old Senate seat, I remember her describing Hillary’s speech as the clarion call that helped inspire her to become more politically involved. Similarly, the current Newsweek piece describes how Mu Sochua, a prominent Cambodian opposition leader, decided to enter politics the day she met Hillary in Beijing and heard her give that speech.

Theresa Loar also had this to say:

“I honestly think Hillary Clinton wakes up every day thinking about how to improve the lives of women and girls. And I don’t know another world leader who is doing that.”

There are some wonderful paragraphs in the Newsweek piece that talk about Hillary becoming the first secretary of state in two decades to visit Yemen. A tiny snippet:

It’s also a country where a man may marry a girl of 9, and so Clinton sought out the kind of people who rarely meet American secretaries of state—the students, community activists, and, most obviously, the women.

Anybody who has been following Hillary’s work as secretary of state or really her entire history knows this is no anomaly. Hillary has always been about using her voice to bring out the voices and the causes of the marginalized, and she’s made “townterviews” with students, activists, and women a staple of her diplomatic visits around the globe.

A great quote from Melanne Verveer, ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues and longtime partner with Hillary Clinton in her work for women Hillary Clinton:

“Politics is seen in most societies, including our own, I would add, as a largely male sport—unarmed combat—and women are very often ignored or pushed aside in an effort to gain or consolidate power,” she says. Her work aims to change that.

[Edit to correct. It was Hillary who said it, not Melanne. Right before that the Newsweek piece talked about how Melanne is at Hillary’s side.]

Hillary and Melanne and countless others fighting this “war” understand that the health of a society can be gauged by how well society treats its women.

Like I said earlier, this goes beyond identity politics. Hillary is not content to let the story just be about herself as an image and end there. Hillary wants to translate her star power and the movement she has created and make sure it is built into something that will outlast her and make lasting change for women, so that when she and Melanne and the rest of the Hillaryland crew aren’t there, the work will still continue:

For her part, Clinton says that her ambition now is to move the discussion beyond a reliance on her own celebrity. She must, she says, take her work on women’s behalf “out of the interpersonal and turn it into the international.” At the State Department, that goal is reflected in a new and sweeping strategic blueprint known as the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which establishes priorities over a four-year horizon. Women and girls are mentioned 133 times across the 220 pages of the final QDDR document.

By institutionalizing a process that recognizes the importance of women’s involvement, Clinton hopes her successors will continue what she has started. Many of those on the front lines of implementing Clinton’s changes say they believe her message will stick. “Once you have built this track record, it is much harder to ignore it,” says Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served as a chief architect of the QDDR process.

Others worry that without Hillary, the causes of women and girls will return to the backburner:

“There is a culture at State, and you have to break through that culture,” admits one former ambassador. “The guys who work on country-to-country relationships don’t think these issues are central.” Clinton’s efforts could easily stall or be reversed when she and Verveer leave, he adds, in part because each is so good at what she does. “I think the combination of those two personalities is crucial, and that’s why I can’t be at all sure it will last beyond this administration.”

Here’s how Hillary responds to that kind of concern:

Asked whether she worries her eventual departure from the State Department will endanger the future of her mission, Clinton admits to feeling a great weight of responsibility for all the women and girls she has met and the many millions of others like them. “It is why there are 133 references to women and girls in the QDDR,” she says, turning reflexively to the hard evidence. “It is why I mention the issue in every setting I am in, and why I mention it with every foreign leader I meet.

Whatever concessions Hillary has made to work from within the system, and however much I often disagree with the US foreign policy machine that she is very much apart of, Hillary is using her political capital to try her best to make space for ALL of us to keep talking well beyond her tenure at the State Department and open up the space even more and resolve a lot of those foreign policy impasses that have proven so far impenetrable. Hillary’s “war” and “doctrine” is bigger than Hillary, and always was.

That is what separates Hillary from the empty suits and skirts whose audacity and moxie stops where their images stop.

I still can’t wait for Hillary to get back to her advocacy roots and set up that foundation for women and girls. But, I’m also so very glad to hear that my intuition about Hillary and why she is so tireless in always bringing up women and girls has been correct and that it is all very much part of a strategy on her part to integrate women at every later of national security and foreign policy.

I don’t want to ruin the ending lines of the Newsweek piece for you, because it’s so good, you need to read it for yourself. I’ll leave you with this passage from the piece instead, which I found very moving as well:

Squeezed in elbow to elbow around a long wooden table in the State Department’s Jefferson Room was a virtual cabinet gathering, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. As host of the meeting, which began so promptly that several attendees sheepishly slid in late, Clinton asked each of the officials to share their team’s progress. She moved briskly around the table, then stopped to make a frank appeal. “One thing I would urge, if you do get a chance, is to visit a shelter, a site where trafficking victims have been rescued and are being rehabilitated,” she said to a room that had suddenly gone silent. “I recently was in Cambodia, and it is just so overwhelmingly heartbreaking and inspiring to see these young girls. One girl lost her eyes—to punish her, the owner of the brothel had stabbed her in the eye with a nail,” Clinton continued. “She was the most optimistic, cheerful young woman, just a tremendous spirit. What she wants to do when she grows up is help other victims of trafficking, so there is just an enormous amount of work to be done.”

The shelter Clinton referred to is run by the Cambodian activist Somaly Mam, who herself was forced into a brothel as a little girl. Mam credits Clinton’s visit with making her work rescuing young victims respectable in the eyes of her government. “She protects our lives,” Mam says simply, noting that during her visit Clinton took the time to talk with the girls and that many of the shelter’s children now keep photos of her on their walls. “Our people never paid attention. Hillary has opened their eyes, so now they have no choice; by her work she has saved many lives in Cambodia—our government is changing.”

This is change that will reverberate. I don’t have to “believe” in the idea of it. This is change I can see. Words translated into action.

It’s also worth noting that this “warmonger” on behalf of women’s rights was kept off the domestic stage in the US at a time when the right wing’s armageddon on women’s civil rights was taking foot. Just think if we had her to respond to Stupak and all the odious baby Stupaks it has spawned across the nation.

Saturday: a time for prayers

Click Image to go to Al Jazeera Live Blog on Egypt for Feb. 5th

Photo: A wounded antigovernment protester joined fellow demonstraters for Friday prayer at Tahrir square in Cairo. Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered for sweeping “Day of Departure” demonstrations to try to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit. (Mohammed Abed/AFP-Getty)

Good morning, news junkies!

So the story this week is still Egypt, and I thought I’d start off with a first-person account that Bloomberg ran yesterday from reporter Maram Mazen:

A policeman looked me in the eye and said: “You will be lynched today,” running his finger across his neck.

But, that wasn’t Mazen’s most frightening moment on Thursday in Cairo. Click over to find out what it was.

Next up, a youtube of the protesters in Tahrir square breaking into song yesterday, led by a guitarist off-camera, amidst cries for Mubarak’s immediate exit during Friday’s ‘Day of Departure’ demonstrations. It’s almost at a 100,000 views already. Please go give it another. It’s just plain enjoyable music too. Rough translation of what they’re singing, from the comments:

Let’s make Mubarak hear our voices. We all, one hand, requested one thing, leave leave leave … Down Down Hosni Mubarak, Down Down Hosni Mubarak … The people want to dismantle the regime …. He is to go, we are not going … He is to go, we won’t leave … We all, one hand, ask one thing, leave leave.

Click Image to see more pictures of the day for Feb. 4th from the NYT Lens

Photo: Iranian women participated in Friday prayer outside Tehran University (Behrouz Mehri/AFP-Getty)

Here’s the latest word from Secretary Clinton on Egypt, speaking at a Munich security conference this Saturday — Hillary characterizes the unrest that the Mideast is facing as a “perfect storm of powerful trends” and says:

This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable.

Al Jazeera English also reports that she said there must be clear progress toward “open, transparent, fair and accountable systems” across the region not to risk even greater instability.

While we’re on the Middle East, did you hear? Rand Paul wants to end “welfare to Israel.” Hey, don’t shoot, I’m just relaying the news here. And, before anyone on the other side of that issue goes goo goo over Paul following in his father’s isolationist footsteps, remember the libertarian catch that it comes with–Paul is also calling for dramatic education cuts.

There’s an interesting blog piece on Egypt, Obama, and Indonesia at the New Statesman that I’m still thinking on, but I thought I’d put it out there for Saturday reading. I have to say, I have yet to see any indication that Obama has much of a plan when it comes to Egypt. The deer-in-the-headlights look coming from this White House has been hard to miss.

This next item didn’t seem to generate much buzz, but I thought I’d put it in here and get your reactions… a Mississippi federal judge threw out a challenge to HCR on Thursday.

Here’s a story I’d been meaning to cover last week but didn’t get to, and there’s an update on it this weekend too. You may or may not know but Indian human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen is facing life imprisonment. Here is the report Democracy Now’s Anjali Kamat filed from Chhattisgarh in advance of the global day of protest calling for Binayak’s release last Sunday. And, here is the update on Binayak’s wife, Ilina Sen, who has been under a witchhunt by the Maharasthra Police. An FIR against her has been reportedly thrown out:

Illina was named as an accused for her alleged failure to inform the police of the participation of foreign delegates at a conference of the Indian Association for Woman Studies ( IAWS) in Wardha.

Illina, who had termed the FIR an vindictive act of the state, told Mail Today on Thursday that she was unaware of the development. ” But if it is happening, it is a welcome step,” she said.

” The home ministry has intervened in the matter… Illina’s name will be dropped from the FIR,” a government source said.

Looks like a bit of good news we can hang our hats on as the rest of the world spins out of control. Speaking of women’s studies…

This Saturday in Women’s and Children’s Health headlines

BYU School of Family Life researchers Sarah Coyne and Laura Padilla-Walker find that teen girls who play video games with their parents are less depressed (Truthdig), as part of the Flourishing Families project that began in 2007. Here’s the pdf to the actual study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health this month for anyone who is interested. According to Coyne, et al. (2011), for girls there is a link between playing age-appropriate games with parents and lowered internalizing (anxiety/depression) and aggression. There is no correlation for boys, and further studies are still needed to determine causality and long term effects for girls. Two years ago, the larger study that this research is a part of found a link between frequent gaming and relationship difficulties. This summer the project led to research that found having a sister may counter depression. Let’s hear it for sisterhood! Which brings me to…

Cinematherapy…in Feminist Perspective

Click poster to go to

A great op-ed last week on Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s documentary Missrepresentation, by Ashley Chappo in The Cavalier Daily — “Showgirls.” Here’s a teaser of Chappo’s piece:

As the American activist Marian Wright Edelman once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Our national misconceptions about the value of women have contributed to the fact that the United States currently ranks 90th world-wide when it comes to women’s representation in politics. This year, Newsom’s documentary is a must-see because it challenges all Americans to reconsider their values and confront institutions that perpetuated inferior images of female capability.

Another film featured last month at the Sundance festival that you might want to take a look at is Lynn Hershmann’s !Women Art Revolution. Also, if you have a chance, check out: “Global Girls Go Sundance.”

This last one is really a review of a review of a book, but I’m sticking it here because it goes with feminist reads. Historiann: “Rebecca Traister on Stephanie Coontz’s A Strange Stirring.”

This day in history (February 5)

1871: Mary Sewall Garnder, pioneer of public health nursing, was born.

(If you click on Mary’s name, the link will take you to more women’s history trivia for February 5th.)

Closing thought

With all the upheaval going on in the world these days, I thought I’d share the Gayatri mantra before I go… I grew up on it, and though I’m agnostic and don’t believe in a “creator god,” this one stuck for me, perhaps because Gayatri is a girl goddess and the prayer is about asking her to dispel the darkness of ignorance. I like this translation:

Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

Mother who subsists as all three Kalas, in all three Lokas, and all three Gunas, I pray to you to illuminate my intellect and dispel my ignorance, just as the splendorous sunlight dispels all darkness. I pray to you to make my intellect serene and bright.

And, to make this roundup even more cross-cultural…

La fin and merci beaucoup if you made it to the end. Let’s hear what you’re reading this Saturday in the comments.

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]

Clinton Does the Sunday Shows

Today, the Secretary of State clearly became the face of the US response to the Egyptian protests.  She appeared on all

State Visit to Egypt, June 2009

five talk shows.  Here’s some coverage of what she said and what others think about it.

From the NY Times:  Clinton Urges Egyptian Dialogue

She issued a strong endorsement of key groups working to exert their influence on the chaotic Egyptian protests – the military, civil society groups and, perhaps most importantly, the nation’s people – but carefully avoided any specific commitment to Mr. Mubarak.

Her phrasing seemed to imply an eventual end to Mr. Mubarak’s 30 years in power. But when asked whether the United States was backing away from Mr. Mubarak and whether he could survive the protests, the secretary chose her words carefully. His political future, she said, “is going to be up to the Egyptian people.”

Making the rounds of the Sunday television talk shows, Mrs. Clinton urged the government in Cairo to respond in a “clear, unambiguous way” to the people’s demands and to do so “immediately” by initiating a national dialogue. At the same time, she was supportive of the Egyptian military, calling it “a respected institution in Egyptian society, and we know they have delicate line to walk.”

Hillary Clinton On ABC with Christine Amanpour:

From CBS NEWS: ‘Clinton: In Egypt, “Words Alone” Are Not Enough’

“Let me repeat again what President Obama and I have been saying,” Clinton said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “That is, to urge the Egyptian security forces to show restraint, to not respond in any way through violence or intimidation that falls upon the peaceful protestors who are demanding that their grievances were heard.”

Faux News:  Secretary Clinton: Won’t Label Egypt Foreign Policy Crisis Situation

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shied away Sunday from labeling the escalating political turmoil in Egypt as a “foreign crisis situation” for the Obama administration.

“I don’t label anything like that, this is a very serious time for Egypt and we are going to do all we can to support an orderly transition to support a situation in which the aspirations of the Egyptians are addressed,” Clinton said.

She made the comment while briefing reporters before leaving on a trip to Haiti to assess recovery and political work there after last year’s devastating earthquake.

Clinton said that there are “many complexities” because Egypt has been a partner to the U.S. and worked closely with the country to keep peace in the region. She also lauded the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement.

“We do not want to see a change or a regime that would actually continue to foment violence or chaos — either because it didn’t exist or because it had a different view in which in which to pose on the Egyptian people,” she said.

Some possible hints at what’s going on behind the scenes from the LATimes and Peter Nicholas.

A tight-lipped White House is taking an even-handed approach to the crisis in Egypt, suggesting that President Mubarak might be able to hold onto power if he allows competitive elections and restores individual freedoms. But inside the Obama administration, there are signs that officials are preparing for a post-Mubarak era after three decades.

One former senior administration advisor said he had spoken to his old colleagues inside the Obama administration in recent days about the unrest in Egypt. As early as last Wednesday, the Obama administration recognized that they would not be able to prop up the Mubarak regime and keep it in power at all costs, the former official said.

“They don’t want to push Mubarak over the cliff, but they understand that the Mubarak era is over and that the only way Mubarak could be saved now is by a ruthless suppression of the population, which would probably set the stage for a much more radical revolution down the road.”

Other behind the scenes hint at the Jerusalem Post: Gates appears to be talking to Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke Saturday evening both with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and on Sunday Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a telephone conversation with Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Obama made a round of phone calls Saturday to Middle East leaders to consult on the situation. In addition to speaking to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Obama also reached out to Prime Minister Recep Tayyi Erdogan of Turkey and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. On Sunday he spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron.


StateDept StateDept

Missed #SecClinton interviews with ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and NBC on #Egypt? Find all the transcripts here:

I have some take away questions from her interviews.  Like, did she or didn’t she hedge the aid to Egypt question?  We can talk about them below the fold.

Oops. She did it again.

Click on Max Headroom for a great Wired read on How Max Headroom Predicted the Demise of TV Journalism

While I was doing some grant writing, the Palin video detailing her supposed victimization during the events surrounding the Tucson Massacre was scrubbed.  It’s amazing how many things disappear from there these days.

benpolitico Ben Smith

Weird – Palin video’s gone.

I didn’t watch or read it since I have to admit I have developed a serious tic that only  appears when the ex-Governor from Alaska is speaking.   It’s been getting worse too.  Evidently, her use of the term “Blood Libel” is creating a stir heard round the village. It’s adding to the conversation on what makes up hurtful rhetoric.  It also gives us a study on what makes up intellectual and political gravitas.   This is a short explanation from Ben Smith’s link via the tweet.
The phrase “blood libel” was introduced into the debate this week by Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, and raised some eyebrows because it typically refers historically to the alleged murder of Christian babies by Jews, and has been used more recently by Israeli’s supporters to refer to accusations against the country. It’s a powerful metaphor, and one that carries the sense of an oppressed minority.
As you know, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is Jewish.  You may also know that Glenn Beck is well known for what some folks have labeled “Nazi Tourettes”. That link goes to Lewis Black who originated the snarky label but raised important issues about Beck’s fascination with NAZI props.  Beck is not known for his fact checking.  He publicly admits it too.
Think Progress has some more information up on outcries from Jewish Groups in their recently published item: ‘”Jewish Groups: ‘We Are Deeply Disturbed’ By Palin’s Use Of Anti-Semitic Term ‘Blood Libel,’ She Should Apologize’. Something tells me Palin had no idea about the history of the term when she made the video.  She just jumped on it because Beck had used it.   This doesn’t surprise me.  We have more than a few opinion leaders these days that don’t seem to like to do their homework.  At least some of them get staff that to help.  Our President is surrounded by people that edit his words carefully because of the impact we all know they can have on the national and international conversation. Palin’s not the President but she’s got a group of people that consider her a leader. Her words do have meaning and effect.

This morning, Palin launched an aggressive Facebook and web-video campaign to counter what she deemed a “blood libel” against her by the media to connect her infamous cross-hairs map and other right-wing incendiary rhetoric to violence.Of all the terms Palin could have used, from “defamation” to even “implicating me in murder,” why did Palin choose “blood libel”? As the conservative National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who says he “agree[s] entirely with…Palin’s, larger point,” notes, “Historically, the term is almost invariably used to describe anti-Semitic myths about how Jews use blood — usually from children — in their ritual.” Indeed, many Jews consider the term extremely offensive, and the Anti-Defamation League and other prominent Jewish organizations have spoken out against its use dozens of occasions in the past.

Indeed, Jewish groups are taking offense to Palin’s choice of the term. Noting that accusations of blood libel have been “directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries,” the National Jewish Democratic Council condemned Palin’s use of the term:

Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a “blood libel” against her and others. This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries — and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today. […]

All we had asked following this weekend’s tragedy was for prayers for the dead and wounded, and for all of us to take a step back and look inward to see how we can improve the tenor of our coarsening public debate. Sarah Palin’s invocation of a “blood libel” charge against her perceived enemies is hardly a step in the right direction.

Likewise, the president of the pro-Israel, pro-peace Jewish lobby J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said he was “saddened by Governor Palin’s use of the term ‘blood libel,’” adding that he hopes “she will choose to retract her comment [and] apologize“:

Could this be the reason the video’s been scrubbed? moved to a less prominent place?  (updated, see note below)

Read the rest of this entry »