Analysis: Clinton’s Acceptance Speech carries weight of history

July 29, 2016

Analysis: Clinton’s  Acceptance Speech carries weight of history

by Heidi M. Przybyla


In becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party, Hillary Clinton’s task Thursday night was not just to claim the Democratic nomination but to serve as a vessel for American women during a monumental moment in their history.

She and a parade of speakers before her did it by keeping the emphasis on its significance for future generations. “I’m so happy this day has come,” she said. “When any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone,” said Clinton.

Her address came on the heels of a rousing speech by President Obama Wednesday night, and the challenges were clear. They boiled down to how effectively she could make a closing argument to American voters after four days devoted to combating questions about her trustworthiness.

In addition to stressing the need for “steady leadership,” Clinton shared more about her personal history. “Some people just don’t know what to make of me,” she said, before explaining how she grew up, describing her grandfather who worked in a Scranton lace mill and her mother, Dorothy, who was abandoned by her parents and ended up working as a house maid at age 14.

She also stressed the importance of her Methodist faith, as well as her early work going door-to-door on behalf of children with disabilities in Massachusetts. “No one gets through life alone. We have to look out for each other and lift each other up,” she said.

She and a parade of speakers before her did it by keeping the emphasis on its significance for future generations. “I’m so happy this day has come,” she said. “When any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone,” said Clinton.

Her address came on the heels of a rousing speech by President Obama Wednesday night, and the challenges were clear. They boiled down to how effectively she could make a closing argument to American voters after four days devoted to combating questions about her trustworthiness.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, in Philadelphia, Penn.

She also stressed the importance of her Methodist faith, as well as her early work going door-to-door on behalf of children with disabilities in Massachusetts. “No one gets through life alone. We have to look out for each other and lift each other up,” she said.

From India’s Indira Gandhi to Maggie Thatcher to Germany’s Angela Merkel, many other nations have elevated women to their highest office. Yet the United States has been slow to do the same, with Clinton’s nomination coming 100 years after Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who is among those who blazed the trail for Clinton as the first female House speaker, called the moment “transformational” because of the nation’s status as the world’s leading superpower. While “we are admiring” of other global female leaders, “there’s nothing to compare it with,” said Pelosi, a California congresswoman, of the moment when Clinton accepted the nomination.

The program Thursday night also aimed to paint a portrait of a devoted daughter, mother and grandmother.

Chelsea Clinton gave a highly personal account of Clinton as a mother, saying “every single memory I have of my mom is that, regardless of what was happening in her life, she was always, always there for me.”

Hillary Clinton sought to demonstrate that her passion for issues — like helping children and people with disabilities — can be traced from her earliest days of adulthood to her current bid for the presidency. “It’s a culmination of her work over a lifetime,” said campaign manager Robby Mook.

Clinton also cast herself as a unifying figure while drawing a contrast with Donald Trump on temperament and even suggesting he’s a danger to national security. “Don’t believe anyone who says ‘I alone can fix it,’” she said.

“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” said Clinton, citing former President John Kennedy’s concerns that “a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride.”

Given her historically low levels of support from white men, the former secretary of State is counting on a huge gender advantage with women, including with younger females and some moderate Republicans.

Hillary Clinton arrives on stage to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016.

© Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Hillary Clinton arrives on stage to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016.

And as potentially the nation’s first female president, she also hopes to do more than just eke out a narrow win in November.

“You can look at how the Republicans have treated President Obama in a very disrespectful way. That’s why it’s very important to have a strong victory, so that the first woman president will have a Congress that cooperates, not obstructs,” Pelosi said in an interview ahead of the speech. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton accepts the nomination of her Party

July 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton accepts the nomination of her Party

Hillary Clinton accepts the nomination of her party and achieves the distinction of being the first American woman to occupy the  White House in January, 2017 as the 45th President of the United States of America  and Commander in Chief. It is clear in my mind that Hillary Clinton is my man because she is going to work hard to unite her country and build a humane society.–Din Merican


Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton to Sanders supporters: ‘I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause’
  • Clinton on Trump: ‘A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons’

Philadelphia (CNN)Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday with “humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise,” taking her place in history as the first woman to lead a presidential ticket.

On a night pulsating with emotion, Clinton declared, “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
Still, she warned voters the nation is facing a serious “moment of reckoning” from economic pain, violence and terror. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state set her sights on the White House and blasted Republican nominee Donald Trump, portraying him as a small man, who got rich by stiffing workers, peddles fear and lacks the temperament to be commander in chief.
She quickly reached out to disappointed Bernie Sanders voters at the end of a convention dedicated to healing the deep rift from their contentious primary race. With the Vermont senator watching from the arena, Clinton told his supporters: “I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause.”
Her speech lacked the poetic sweep of President Barack Obama’s address on Wednesday, but it was in keeping with someone who presents herself as a practical, dogged policy-oriented striver who got knocked down and got straight back up.
But as she playfully batted away an avalanche of balloons on stage with her running mate, Tim Kaine, Clinton appeared proud, happy and enjoying her historic moment.
President Barack Obama congratulated Clinton at the conclusion of her speech.
“Great speech,” he tweeted. “She’s tested. She’s ready. She never quits. That’s why Hillary should be our next @POTUS. (She’ll get the Twitter handle, too)”

Emissaries, Selena Gomez and Malaysian Official 1

July28, 2016

Emissaries, Selena Gomez and Malaysian Official 1

by Rom Nain

Malaysian Official Couple 1

Countless messages and notes have been flooding Malaysian cyberspace after the release of the damning US Department of Justice (DOJ) report alleging a litany of crimes committed by individuals led by the not-so-mysterious Malaysian Official 1.

One such WhatsApp message that I (and probably many of you) recently received claims that an infamous emissary is being despatched to the United States.

His task?

The Emissary and Arab Donor from Penang?

To offer an insane amount of money for the campaign of one of the US presidential candidates. In exchange, that is, for the non-prosecution of Malaysian Official 1 and possibly his cronies.

On reflection, this may sound rather far-fetched and insanely desperate, even for this regime. Indeed, one pro-UMNO portal,, has rubbished this allegation. But given how shameless this regime has become, who is to say, really?

The WhatsApp message ends with a plea that it be circulated so that more people would be alerted, possibly leading to the thwarting of such a dastardly act. But, as others have pointed out, an act of such a nature carries untold risks, especially for the US presidential candidate.

They say that, unlike the pathetic Malaysian mainstream media and our other tainted institutions, there is still some semblance of freedom and autonomy within American society and its institutions.

Any suggestion, for example, that the Harvard educated US Attorney-General (AG), Loretta Lynch, is anywhere similar to our own AG, has been laughed at by many. She was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the US Senate.

No such confirmation is needed in Malaysia, where the AG is appointed by the Agong based on the advice of the PM.

There are, of course, more substantial differences between Lynch and her Malaysian counterpart, but, by now, I am sure about everyone who can read critically and understand, is aware of that.

Be that as it may, the point is that many agree that the American justice system – which the Department of Justice is part of – is a tad more independent and autonomous than most others, including ours.

Hence, the idea of someone, a non-American at that, trying to interfere with such a justice system, trying to buy judgments, seems so atrocious, especially in a case with a series of suits that have by now gained so much international prominence and notoriety.

Were the media – American and international – to get even a whiff of something like this happening, gone would be the presidential hopes of the candidate.

US$500 million – the amount that this emissary is alleged to be offering the American presidential candidate – may be a lot, but surely not enough to risk life-long shame and possible incarceration for interfering with justice?

And there are also the risks for the people alleged to be involved on this side, especially Malaysian Official 1, if implicated. However, as we have seen, these people may be terribly sly, but certainly, given the ongoing excuses and counter-arguments that they offer, could just be dumb and desperate enough to attempt such a caper.

More delusional that we suspected

If so, then they really are more delusional than we have so far suspected.It is one thing to voice a moronic idea in Malaysia and in our servile mainstream media in support of your keeper; it’s quite another to try to sell that idea to a different, non-Malaysian crowd, particularly an American crowd and media that comparatively are politically freer, more varied and critical.

After all, it’s the American newspaper, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that’s been publishing one expose after another surrounding 1MDB and money-laundering allegedly sanctioned by Malaysian Official 1.

Hence, we can imagine their journalists being on their toes, waiting to pounce on the very same people who for months (or is it years?) have been telling the folks in Malaysian kampungs that they will sue this foreign newspaper, yet have done nothing.

And we can imagine the FBI as well, particularly the many who have been on this money laundering case, itching to lay their hands on the perpetrators of these crimes and actually doing so if this emissary (and possibly others) were to attempt to `buy up’ the US justice system.

Miss Salena Gomez

This is not to say that the American system is flawless, which it is not. It is simply to say that with the limelight being on Malaysian Official 1 and his lackeys, it would be best for any emissary, no matter how slimy, to sit this one out.

Indeed, perhaps it would be best to leave it to new friends in PAS to sembahyang hajat for Malaysian Official 1 just as earnestly as they plan to sembahyang hajat to save us from the alleged sexiness of Selena Gomez (above).


Does Hillary Really Have the Foreign-Policy Advantage?

July 28, 2016

Does Hillary Really Have the Foreign-Policy Advantage?

by Uri Friedman


Clinton says Trump’s wrong about the world. But she still needs to explain why she’s right.

Imagine you’ve had it with your house. Or, more precisely, you’re conflicted about it. You’ve loved living there. It’s a mid-century design—the biggest house on the block. You don’t really want to move. But the years, the kids, they’ve taken their toll on the place. In looking into what to do, you meet an interior designer with 25 years of experience and a fistful of glowing testimonials; she bounces around your home, gushing about the “life-changing” window treatments she’ll put here and the “modern, sophisticated” sofas she’ll add there.

When you ask for a second opinion, you’re floored: The guy tells you that the whole structure has been neglected for too long, and that it should be gutted and renovated. He didn’t bring testimonials and he couldn’t care less about window treatments, but he says he knows the best contractors in the world. Why tinker around the edges, he asks, when you could build your dream house instead? Why not put the bathroom where the kitchen is? No, really: What’s stopping you?

Welcome, roughly, to the emerging debate over foreign policy in the U.S. presidential election. Hillary Clinton is the interior designer. She appears to have a considerable advantage over Donald Trump when it comes to experience and knowledge. But that experience and knowledge is only a political asset insofar as voters buy into the premises of the international system that the United States has helped design and lead since World War II—the system, in other words, in which Clinton got all that experience. It’s only valuable insofar as you want to keep the kitchen where it is. If you don’t, well … the guy with the demolition equipment starts looking pretty appealing.

Already, Clinton has claimed international affairs as a key battleground against Trump, devoting her first major address of the general-election campaign to the topic. And she’s done so for understandable reasons. Foreign affairs is arguably the realm in which she can draw the sharpest contrast with Trump in terms of qualifications. In her national-security speech last week, Clinton noted that she visited 112 countries as Secretary of Sstate. While Trump was staging a Miss Universe pageant in Russia, Clinton wryly observed, she was negotiating limits on nuclear weapons with the Kremlin. Foreign affairs is also where the stakes of the election seem highest; in her speech, Clinton conjured images of a volatile Trump in the Situation Room, blustering through matters of war and peace with one finger on the nuclear button and another scrolling through Twitter. Plus, it’s where she may be able to peel off some Republican voters. Electing Trump, Clinton said last week, “would undo so much of the work that Republicans and Democrats alike have done over many decades to make America stronger and more secure.”

And yet: It’s unclear whether this strategy will pay off for Clinton. Yes, she has a record of making life-and-death decisions, while Trump doesn’t. But that fact cuts both ways. Experience is not the same thing as success, even though Clintonrarely distinguishes between the two. In his victory speech following Tuesday’s primaries, for example, Trump characterized Clinton’s foreign policy in the Senate and State Department as one that “invaded Libya, destabilized Iraq, unleashed ISIS, and threw Syria into chaos, and created the mass migration, which is wreaking havoc all over the world.” Whether or not that critique is valid, it’s a reminder that Trump can attack Clinton’s actual policy choices; Clinton can only assail Trump’s rhetoric and hypothetical actions.

Clinton has also tethered herself to a decades-old, bipartisan consensus on the rough outlines of U.S. foreign policy, which Trump has been challenging more vigorously than any major presidential candidate has in six decades. Trump has questioned the consensus on free trade by threatening to start trade wars with China and Mexico. He’s questioned the consensus on alliances by pledging to overhaul or even scrap NATO, and to risk antagonizing America’s southern neighbor by building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He’s questioned the consensus on mutual-defense pacts and overseas military bases by promising to withdraw such support unless countries like Japan pay more for U.S. military protection. He’s questioned the consensus on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons by inconsistently suggesting he would acquiesce to countries such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia obtaining nukes if it made them less reliant on American security guarantees. He’s questioned the consensus on U.S. leadership in the world by advocating for an “America first” worldview that is transactional rather than transformational. As a teleprompter-guided Trump declared in April, “We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.”

Experience is not the same thing as success, even though Clinton rarely distinguishes between the two.

Over the last 70 years, presidential candidates have largely acted like interior designers within the existing structure of American foreign policy. Not Trump. And while it’s not clear that most Americans agree with his views, what is clear is that his candidacy comes at a time when the public is deeply conflicted about America’s outsized role in the world. A recent Pew poll found that the vast majority of Americans support U.S. membership in NATO and the United States playing a shared leadership role in the world. At the same time, however, 49 percent of Americans say U.S. involvement in the global economy is a bad thing because it lowers wages and costs jobs in the United States, compared with 44 percent who believe it’s a a good thing because it provides the country with new markets and economic growth. Fifty-seven percent want the United States to “deal with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems as best they can,” while 37 percent feel the “U.S. should help other countries deal with their problems.”

(The scholar Stephen Sestanovich has pointed out that the Pew results may be more indicative of partisan differences on foreign policy than of bipartisan support for the U.S. reducing its role abroad. Trump supporters are particularly likely to view U.S. involvement in the global economy as a bad thing, while Clinton supporters are particularly likely to feel the opposite.)

John F. Kennedy (Democrat) and Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican)

Dwight Eisenhower, the celebrated World War II general and NATO commander, eventually defeated Taft in the primary, stamping out unilateralism in his party for decades to come. And he did so, in part, by making a passionate, affirmative case for internationalism and its imperfect but indispensable instruments, including the UN, NATO, and U.S. collective-security agreements (though he did want protected countries to gradually take on responsibility for their own defense rather than remain dependent on America).

Eisenhower was not calling for altruism. Every foreign-policy decision, he asserted in a speech shortly before the Republican convention, must advance the security and well-being of Americans. (In a testament to the malleability of language, he, like Trump, once labeled this philosophy “America first.”) And then he made an argument that drew on his authority as a man who had sent other men into battle: Global peace was essential to American security and well-being, he said, and “those who seem to think we have little or no stake in the rest of the world and what happens to it; those who act as though we had no need for friends to share in the defense of freedom—such persons are taking an unjustified gamble with peace.”

Why? Eisenhower argued that technological innovation, along with new production methods and labor skills, had shrunk the world and made countries far more interdependent. This applied even to the mighty United States, which depended on access to foreign markets and far-flung raw materials. America’s communist foes, he claimed, were determined to cut off these vital supply lines, and thus besiege the U.S. economy and political system. “The bleak scene of an America surrounded by a savage wolf pack could be our lot if we heed the false prophets of living alone,” Eisenhower warned.

Hillary Clinton still has work to do in making the affirmative case for internationalism—for sprucing up the house rather than gutting it. Her recentforeign-policy address included a number of assumptions whose logic Eisenhower didn’t take for granted when the U.S.-led international system was just beginning to take shape.

The choice in the 2016 election, Clinton declared, is “between a fearful America that’s less secure and less engaged with the world, and a strong, confident America that leads to keep our country safe and our economy growing.” OK, but why, in the 21st century, is robust American leadership in the world—yes, Clinton’s nuclear negotiations with Russia, but also her support for the U.S. military intervention in Libya—a prerequisite for safety and prosperity? There are arguments to be made on this front, but Clinton didn’t dwell on them last week. (She did offer a detailed defense of America’s unique alliance system and the benefits the country accrues from it.)

“If America doesn’t lead,” Clinton said at another point, “we leave a vacuum—and that will either cause chaos, or other countries will rush in to fill the void.  Then they’ll be the ones making the decisions about your lives and jobs and safety—and trust me, the choices they make will not be to our benefit.” Clinton vividly depicted Jumpy Trump in the Situation Room, but she didn’t take the time to paint a picture of how Americans’ lives and jobs and safety would change under, say, Chinese hegemony.

Trust me—America must lead, Clinton says. That line may have worked during past elections. But it may not be enough against an opponent who insists that America’s leaders can’t be trusted, and that America’s global leadership is a rotten deal.