Flattering Parade Magazine Spread on Hillary Clinton Let’s a Few Tidbits Drop About Her Situation

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Yesterday morning (Sunday, October 25) I opened the paper to find Parade magazine’s cover graced with a photo of a smiling Hillary Clinton. Reason? A 2-plus page spread entitled “A Day with Madam Secretary.”

Hillary Clinton on the cover of Parade magazine 10/25/09

Hillary Clinton on the cover of Parade magazine 10/25/09

The timing piqued my interest because just on Friday I had caught a discussion of Clinton on The McLaughlin Group.  Host John McLaughlin had outlined several successful Clinton initiatives that had been completed during the past week and wanted to discuss how important it all was…with a twist.  There have been rumors flying around about how Hillary is planning a 2012 run and how both Clintons are seething over what happened in 2008. While Pat Buchanan, Mort Zuckerman, and Eleanor Clift poo-pooed the idea, Monica Crowley held firm.

Zuckerman and Buchanan basically said that Hillary’s work wasn’t really “big” enough to get all that excited over and Clift brought up how, no matter how popular Teddy Kennedy was, he couldn’t derail the renomination of Jimmy Carter.  But Crowley, was sticking to chatter that she’s been hearing for awhile…that Hillary will resign over a foreign policy issue and launch another Presidential bid.  She won’t wait for 2016, either, when Crowley says she would be too old. No, the bid will come in 2012.

Take a look at the Parade piece. The piece is the work of Les Gelb, described this way:

Leslie H. Gelb is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served in senior positions in the Departments of State and Defense. He is the author of the book “Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy.”

What’s omitted from this bio is the fact was a long-time foreign policy writer for the New York Times. Just for the record…

The article is positively glowing, but there a few tidbits which raise one’s “suspicions”…


September 16
8:30 a.m. Daily Small Staff Meeting

The Secretary and six of her closest aides, including Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief Huma Abedin, both of whom worked on her Presidential campaign, review the day’s schedule, looking for trouble and opportunities. They meet in Clinton’s small, personal office just behind her larger, formal quarters. Practically every day begins this way. They touch on various explosive international hot spots: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, North Korea. Though they don’t talk about it, they seem ever aware of President Barack Obama’s iron-handed control of decisions. One worry today: the President’s decision to cancel the U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe—a move bound to displease Poles, Czechs, and Republicans.

8:45 a.m. Daily Senior Staff Meeting

snip

Whatever subject comes up, Clinton calls on her practical instinct: “ We’ve got to do a better job explaining to people around the world what we’re doing.”

She manages to get to the White House to meet with Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada at 11:05; no report on the meeting which is off-limits to Gelb, then is back at State by 12:10 PM for ceremony for Senegalese diplomats.

During their lunch break, Gelb brings up the topic of a resignation directly:

1 p.m. Lunch With Leslie Gelb
We eat in the courtyard adjoining the State Department’s first-floor employee cafeteria. Diners gape as Clinton goes through the line, although she does this—most unusually for the nation’s top diplomat—nearly once a month. Many burst into applause.

We sit at a table away from the crowd. Clinton has a hard edge to her foreign-policy views and generally positions herself to the right of her colleagues in national security. Yet she staunchly defends President Obama and his prerogatives. While she’s “not satisfied that we’re executing as we should” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, she nonetheless argues for continuing “present directions” in most areas. When I question whether the U.S. really has vital interests in Afghanistan, she shoots back that if we simply leave and allow the Taliban to return, al-Qaeda “would come right back, and we’d be worse off in Pakistan.” She continues: “Despite how hard Afghanistan is, we have to make progress. And what we do and what happens in Afghanistan will affect Pakistan.” Regarding Iran, she says, “We can’t choose negotiating partners in countries like Iran. So we’ve got to look for ways to change the perceptions of those we have to negotiate with.”

And what of the rumors, I venture, that she’s unhappy and may step down to run for governor of New York or her old Senate seat? She guffaws. “What nonsense! I love this job and working for President Obama and trying to do something about the critical problems we face in the world—and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Odd though, that Gelb should ostensibly limit the discussion to being governor of NY or running for the Senate again.  Why even bring these rumors up if they’re just rumors that most people don’t even care about?

Right after lunch, there’s this brief report:

2:15 p.m. U.S.-India Strategy Dialogue
Some 60 Executive Branch officials assemble to discuss strategy toward India—one of the new major powers in the world. Clinton stays briefly to bless the effort.

Seems like there’s really no need for Clinton to “bless” any effort when there are 60 EXECUTIVE BRANCH officials all gathered together, right?  Doesn’t Hillary have a role in this at all?

Winding up the day with a 7:30 PM policy dinner on Iran with some 30 experts from inside and outside the government, Gelb makes these final comments:

I scurry to catch the last flight back to New York. The Secretary, with her unfailing smile, repairs to her office for more calls and reading. It’s hard to read the mind of someone frozen in the public spotlight like Hillary Clinton. She has to be perpetually onstage. But what I think I glimpse beneath the unflagging smile and constant concentration is a very tired person—tense, frustrated, but absolutely determined to make her tenure as Secretary of State a success and to accomplish important things.

While this spread in Parade is flattering, one gets the sense of  how tightly Hillary is controlled by the White House and how she may be getting squelched on larger issues.

Frankly, I view Hillary Clinton as being the “finger in the dike” for U.S. foreign policy at this point.  Obama’s bowed to the Saudi leader. He’s squandered our prestige over a failed Olympic bid for Chicago, and he’s dithering on Afghanistan. (Note: France announced on October 15, 2009 it won’t be sending any more troops to Afghanistan). China may be drilling for oil in U.S. waters.  And let’s not forget to mention Obama’s prior rebuffed peace offerings toward Iran.   Hillary talks tougher than Obama does, but, unfortunately, she’s not the one in charge.

Meanwhile, some of our allies are less than pleased about Obama. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, for example, thinks Obama is “incredibly naive and grossly egotistical.”  After Obama’s speech to the U.N. Security Council in late September (spun nicely here by the New York Times), Jack Kelly appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show, but here’s link to the full piece he wrote on the subject entitled “Sarkozy’s Contempt for Obama”  (anonymous sources, unfortunately).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

While most world leaders dutifully praised the Nobel Prize awarded to Obama, the many were unimpressed. And there is some fraying around the edges lately, from both the right and the left. See and Obama the Impotent in the Guardian and Analysis: Why Everyone Is Saying No to Obama in the Jerusalem Post.  Obama is viewed as weak, no doubt about it.

I can’t imagine how Hillary Clinton keeps chugging along in this Administration and can fully understand her “frustration.” As for her desire to accomplish important things, she’s pushing against some forces that really don’t want her to get credit for anything “important.”  Heck, when you are up against 60 Executive Branch officials at a meeting on India and you don’t stay very long, what does that say about your position??

Whether Hillary Clinton is planning to take on Obama in the primaries for 2012 or not, there may just come a point where she really DOES decide to resign rather than to have her reputation ruined if Obama does something really stupid.  We’ll have to see, won’t we?

***

Earlier Related Posts:

The Complicated Diplomatic Life of Hillary Clinton (UPDATE 1X: Clinton on the Defensive in Congo over Bill’s “Presence”; UPDATE 2X: Bill Off the Leash?; UPDATE 3X: Video of Clinton Congo Outburst, Glenn Beck Comments) (August 10, 2009)

Hillary Clinton At It Again in Africa…This Time, Talking about Elections…(August 13, 2009)

The Past Week: April 19-25, 2009 (Pakistani Women Pushing Back; French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde Speaks; Doubts About Toxic Asset Plan; UK Blogs)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

With Pakistan and the Taliban now center stage, I found this story from The Dawn Blog interesting. Women in Karachi are meeting because of their concerns about events there:

Women Push Back

…On Friday, the Karachi chapter of the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) invited members of the civil society to help craft a comprehensive strategy to stem the Talibanisation of Pakistan and respond to the recent passage of the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009. On short notice, about 60 women gathered at the Aurat Foundation’s Clifton premises to brainstorm ideas for concrete action against the spread of militant ideology. Participants included the crème de la crème of Karachi society – revered activists, teachers, artists, filmmakers, professionals and many women who described themselves as ‘concerned citizens’ and ‘mothers’ (I could start name-dropping but someone might mistake this for the social pages and not the Dawn Blog).

The general mood was somber and, as the discussion proceeded, panic and passions flared. As one long-term women’s rights activist put it, ‘we came of age in the Zia years. Then, we were fighting the state. Now, we’re fighting against public misogyny being encouraged by non-state actors who have grown more powerful than the state – and they don’t play by any rules.’ In short, the women assembled at Aurat’s offices knew they were there to put up a fight.

MORE

Let’s hope we don’t see the women of Pakistan have the same fate as those in Afghanistan.

***
Caught a brief segment a few days ago on BBC America’s nightly newscast with the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, but she’s been speaking about the latest IMF report elsewhere, too.  Here’a link to a transcript of  her inteview on Lateline which airs on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It’s a worthwhile read if only to get a better understanding of what the people in charge of the money elsewhere are thinking.

But what caught my attention in the BBC segment was her comments about how unimpressed she was with the idea of creating stimulus package after stimulus package without getting a clear idea of how useful they really are.  She noted that France was early in pumping up government spending on infrastructure projects, like public buildings, etc. and programs versus cash payments, but the results were only just beginning to trickle in.  She was very pointed about how the French had started their stimulus efforts earlier than the U.S. and was quite clear that an idea of how effective the spending has been–and if it is getting to the right places–is needed before more spending is approved.  She also pointed out that the money really hasn’t started flowing yet, so it’s going to be a while before anything is really known here in the U.S.

Although Lagarde is “on the same page” with the Obama Administration in many ways, we’ll have to see if the Obama crowd and Congress keep creating more “stimulus packages” in spite of Lagarde’s warnings.

Here’s a something Lagarde said toward the end of the interview:

My personal belief is that this crisis stems from excess, abuses of the system. I don’t suggest, though, that it would be the end of free enterprise. I think that a liberal economy can also have its social dimension and that liberal economy, as liberalism is understood in economic terms, can only survive if it is properly regulated. And I think it would be a complete deterioration if you will, or abuse of liberalism itself, if it wasn’t regulated. So, when he says that government is back and policies are back, I totally agree with him if he means regulation, ownership of the development of a free market economy by politicians, by those who have been elected by the people to represent the general interest and to make sure that proper functioning of the economy is actually respected. And to that end, we need a combination of sensible and strong regulations, but also sensible and strong bodies that will make sure that regulations are actually applied. And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.

“And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.”

I’m not holding my breath here in Obamaland, are you?

***

Kenosha Marge spotted this article in the Financial Times….seems like Timothy Geithner still hasn’t dispelled a sense of mistrust among financial leades:

Warning over US toxic asset plan

By Francesco Guerrera, Deborah Brewster, Henny Sender and Aline Van Duyn in New York

Published: April 24 2009 02:03 | Last updated: April 24 2009 02:03

The Obama administration will on Friday get the first indication of investor interest in its $1,000bn toxic assets plan amid fears that the threat of government intervention and banks’ reluctance to sell will deter fund managers from participating.

Applications to become one of the five asset managers charged with raising funds to buy mortgage-backed securities from banks are due today and groups including BlackRock, Pimco and Bank of New York Mellon are set to apply.

However, financial executives warn that the plan is in danger of missing its goal of quickly shifting billions of dollars in troubled assets off banks’ balance sheets unless the government dispels investors’ concerns.

Potential buyers of assets complain that, a month after Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, unveiled the public-private investment programme, the authorities have yet to reassure them they would not be subjected to draconian Congressional scrutiny.

The Treasury did say that, aside from the small group of asset managers, investors who receive the generous loans available under the PPIP will not have to abide by restrictions on employees’ pay imposed on the banks that got funds from the troubled assets relief programme.

Yet some fund managers fear Congress and the government may change the rules mid-course, as they did with Tarp. Wesley Edens, chief executive of Fortress Investment Group, said: “The most important thing for the government is consistency.”

MORE

Wonder what Christine Lagarde thinks about all this?

***

Stumbled across this site which is a huge list of UK Political Blog Feeds.  It’s fun to check out what’s on the minds of folks across the pond.

***

THE PAST WEEK

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 25, 2009) The Squirrels Invade

While Pakistan Has Our Attention, Look What’s Brewing in Somalia…

The Financial Filter: How CNBC Handles Howard Dean vs. Susan Boyle

Labour (UK) Facing Poll Meltdown After “Smeargate” Allegations–Brown’s Fmr. “Spin Chief” (Now Political Director of a Union) Involved

The Past Week: April 12-18, 2009 (Newsweek Death Spiral?; Anti-Abortion Wars; Susan Boyle and Human Grace)

While Pakistan Has Our Attention, Look What’s Brewing in Somalia…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

A few mornings ago I was listening to the BBC World Service as usual and heard a very brief mention about an Islamist leader returning to Somalia and how this might affect the Somali government. The story on the web, however, didn’t hit until yesterday.

Yes, Somalia DOES have a government.  Back in 2006, Ethiopian troops went into Somalia and shattered the Union of  Islamic Courts, a prime force in Somalia’s instablility, which hadn’t had a central goverment since 1991.  However, one of its leaders came back to become the new Somalian president in January– Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. (BBC profile here.)

Between 2007-2008 Mr Ahmed was an exiled leader of a faction within the Eritrea-based Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

(SNIP)

He says he wants to make peace with Ethiopia, recruit Islamist militia fighters into a national security force and rebuild the country’s social services.

But a new group of insurgents has formed out of what was left of the Islamic Courts.  Al-Shabab (The Lads) are text-messaging Islamic insurgents believed to have ties to Al-Qaeda and they are controlling large areas of the country and posing a threat to the capitol, Mogadishu.

In an earlier story from March 16, 2009 the BBC published this report:

The Somali transitional federal government implemented Sharia law in the country in March in an effort to drain support for the radical Islamist guerrillas.

But a senior police officer in Mogadishu – who also asked the BBC to withhold his name – said the government’s move would not stop the killing because al-Shabab had a “hidden agenda… to make the world unsafe”.

map of areas under al-shabaab control

The police officer said al-Shabab was led by foreigners, while some younger members of the organisation were Somalis who had spent time abroad.

They had often been dropouts or addicts and were the most vulnerable to be used as suicide bombers, he added.

So now, the other Islamic Courts leader has returned.  He’s on the U.S.’s most-wanted list of terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Islamist leader back in Somalia.

Mr [Sheikh Hassan Dahir] Aweys and Mr Ahmed both headed the UIC, which ruled most of the country for the second half of 2006.

They fled to the Eritrean capital Asmara, where they formed the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS).

The two men split after Mr Ahmed – considered the more moderate of the two – agreed to UN-led talks with the government that brought him to power in January 2009 and saw Ethiopia withdraw its troops.

Mr Aweys accused Mr Ahmed of siding with the enemy, and last July declared he had taken control of the ARS.

Mr Aweys is an influential leader of one of Mogadishu’s most powerful clans, so his arrival in the capital suggests that relations between the two men has improved and some kind of agreement is one the table, our correspondent says.

If that is the case, it could significantly improve security in the capital, and give the government a badly needed boost of authority, he adds.

Radical Islamist guerrillas such as al-Shabab, which control parts of Mogadishu and much of central and southern Somalia, have sworn to topple the fragile government.

And, guess what?  International donors are going to spend $250 million to build up a police force (10,000) and national security force (6,000).  This is supposed to help combat piracy and bolster the new government which, according to BBC world affairs correspondent Mike Woolridge, “enjoys little practical authority at present.”

On a parallel track, we’re now hearing how Pakistan’s deal to allow the Taliban to impose Islamic law in a part of the country has opened a Pandora’s box.  We’ve got Sharia Law in the UK, and U.S. Treasury Department meetings about Sharia investing.

What comes next?

Sharia Finance: Rapidly Increasing Inroads Via American Banks…With the Help of Our Treasury Department

(Editor’s Note:  IA has visited the subject of Sharia law several times…See below for earlier posts on the topic. The accepted spelling is Sharia or Shariah.)

~~By American Lassie

The first thing I’d like to state before I get into the meat of this article is the fact I hold the opinion that most Muslims are just like you and me, only believing in a different religion. Their everyday lives are much the same as ours. It is the fanatical Hanbali form of Islam that is so autocratic and dangerous and considered authoritative in Saudi Arabia and other areas around the Persian Gulf.

During the Bush Administration, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert Kimmett’s visit to Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Persian Gulf states was with the purpose of recycling of petro dollars in the form of foreign investment in the United States to alleviate the financial crisis.  I’m sure Mr. Kimmett was told by the Saudis and others that in order to obtain their money, the banks would have to abide by Sharia Finance Law.  Whatever went on in his meetings with the Persian Gulf States, he came back to America and co-sponsored the Harvard University Law School’s Project on Islamic Finance.  The host of a seminar held at the Treasury Building was Neel Kashkari, Interim Secretary of The Treasury for Financial Stability and also administrator of the first of the TARP money while George Bush was President.  Kashkari was Henry Paulson’s top assistant.  Unfortunately Shariah-Compliant Finance seems to be the current party line in The Treasury Department.   (See: http://www.thebobofiles.com?p=632)

I’ll come back to this seminar later, but first I would like to present a little more background. This seminar is very important so please stay with me until the end of this article.

The United Kingdom is in deep trouble with all the concessions they have made to Sharia Finance and Sharia Law.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has caused a lot of turmoil in England with his pronouncements in favor of Shariah Law. Her Majesty’s government has allowed the establishment of at least five Shariah Courts to hear (initially) family law cases.  Polygamists in the UK can get welfare for each of their wives as long as all marriages beyond the first were performed overseas), Sharia promoting Islamists are seeking to achieve “parallel societies” here and elsewhere in the West.  Islamists secure footholds over other Muslims through “parallel societies” and then to non-Muslims.  This is an insidious industry meant to foist Islam on the policy community, the markets and western countries.

The differing views of Archbishop Williams and the Bishop of Rochester, England, Michael Nazri-Ali, are causing a rift in the Church of England. The debate over the path of the western sociopolitical system is the most pivotal in today’s world.  This is more and more evident in the crack it is causing in the Church of England.

Multiculturalism and universalism are fundamentally opposed beliefs.  The  level of danger to Britain, Europe, and the entire West created by homegrown Islamists  will be determined by which system prevails.

An op-ed by Dr. Nazir-Ali (January 11, 2008) discusses why he believes that “Britain’s campaign to reconstruct itself as a multicultural society has failed.” (See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574695/Extremism-flourished-as-UK-lost-Christianity.html)

Dr. Nazir-Ali has resigned his post to devote his time to working in communities where Christians are a minority.  He said he was inspired by the story of Hanna Shah, an imam’s daughter who faced being killed by her family for refusing an arranged marriage before she became a Christian.

Radical Muslims have became more militant as Britain has increasingly accomodated the strictures of Islam’s law:

“The death threats that followed Nazir-Ali’s essay only bolstered his thesis.  ‘The irony is that I had similar threats when I was a Bishop in Pakistan”,  he noted,  “but I never thought I would have them here.'”

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, suggested that official acceptance of some facets of Sharia not only “seems unavoidable” but could actually improve social cohesion. To Williams the idea that “there’s one law for everybody and that’s all there is to be said, and anything else is completely irrelevant in the process of the courts – I think that’s a bit of a danger.”
(See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7232661.stm)

Michael Nazir-Ali witnessed the realities of Sharia Law as a man in Pakistan.  He came to Britain to escape this for himself and his family and now finds himself in the same situation in Britain.  And the cultural split becomes more prevalent as native Britons see more and more acquiescence to Islamic Law. There will be more strife.  It will be battling enclaves with more and more social unrest.

Discussion about Sharia Law

From the Middle East Forum: David J. Rusin, a research associate at Islamist Watch and a Philadelphia-based editor for Pajamas Media, writes:

“Historians may one day look back on these two prelates and the church they serve —- a body faced with plummeting attendance and approaching disestablishment  — as a symbol of the early twenty-first -century discourse over the future of the West.  For now, Michael Nazir-Ali and Rowan Williams illuminate the diverging paths before us: one paved with an ardent defense of Western Liberties, the other with a nihilism that leads inexorably to dhimmitude. (See: http://www.meforum.org/1890/a-schism-over-sharia-in-the-church-of-england)

Melanie Phillips in the Spectator newspaper offered this statement in her rebuttal to Williams’ comments. (See: http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/492106/the-archbishops-speech.thtml)

“One law for all is the very basis of legal and social justice and is the glue that binds a society together.”

DO WE WANT THIS FOR AMERICA? Our Treasury Department is inviting just this scenario because of the greed of our officials.  In the wake of all the brouhaha about the banks–the Wall Street crisis, the enormous bailouts, The Federal Reserve’s suspect bailouts of AIG–one thing troubling me is the lack of publicity on our government’s support of Islamic financing. Is it being done under cover of all this other money boondoggle so that the American people don’t know what is going on?

***

“JIHAD WITH MONEY”
“While America struggles with the sub-prime and credit market crisis, Sharia-Compliant Finance, is quickly infiltrating our financial markets – and bringing Islamic Shariah Law with it.  As one leading Islamic authority on Shariah-Compliant Finance has stated, “it is jihad with money.” In a new ACT! for America video, Joy Brighton, ACT! for America’s financial expert on Shariah Compliant Finance warns America of this chilling threat.” (See: http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/023435.php)

Sharia means “path” or  “path to water.”  It means God’s Law that will provide salvation if followed.  The Quran, Islam’s holy book is considered the literal word of God.  Unfortunately, the Quran is interpreted in different ways by different teachers.

Sharia governs all aspects of life, not just financial.  It governs men and women’s relations, education and inheritances.  Some Islamic nations temper the application of Sharia in criminal law, but Iran and Saudia Arabia are exceptions.  They fully implement Sharia in all areas of the law.
(See: www.cfr.org/publication/8034)

***

FROM:  Shariah, Law and ‘Financial Jihad’: How Should America Respond?
Analysis and Findings of a Workshop Co-sponsored by: The McCormick Foundation and The Center for Security Policy

(See: http://www.rrmtf.org/publications/JihadReport.pdf)

The primary purpose of Shariah is to promote Islam as the only legitimate theo-political system and to accomplish it’s dominance, through violent jihad if necessary, worldwide. (This is what is meant by the “Islamist” agenda.)  Shariah rules govern all aspects of life but are most notorious for the mandate they provide for–toning of adulteresses, execution of homosexuals, amputations for petty crimes, beheading of Muslim Apostates, institutionalized misogyny and myriad other violations of western values and international norms. For example, a popular poster from the Islamic region of Nigeria, shows the dire punishments of Shariah in a country torn in two by conflicts over new Shariah Courts.  In the top row, a woman is shown riding a bike with a man, and next is shown her punishment: being stoned to death. (Page 7)

SNIP

The Law of Shariah is the source of the command for faithful Muslims to practice jihads. For peaceable Muslims the term is usually interpreted to mean a personal, introspective “struggle” against Muslims own sins or temptations.  The authoritative rendering of Islamic jihad, however is a ‘just’ war against non-Muslims and Muslims who have gone astray.  “Shariah-adherent Muslims must engage in jihad to bring about the global Islamic state under a caliph who governs pusuant to Shariah. (Page 10)

***

Islamic Finance and the U.S. Treasury Department

The United States Treasury Department is opening the back door to Sharia Law in this country by wooing the money of the Muslim States. This wooing of Sharia began in the Bush Administration.  In addition to the Nov 6, 2008 seminar at the Treasury Dept. there was an earlier seminar on April 26, 2002. Following are the introductory remarks by John B. Taylor, undersecretary for International Affairs at the Islamic Finance 101 seminar at the Treasury Department (www.treas.gov/press/releases/po3068.htm).

“Welcome to Islamic Finance 101.  As the Undersecretary of Treasury I want to thank you for joining us at this seminar on the fundamentals of Islamic Finance….We are very  grateful that this diverse panel is here today to share their knowledge with us.  They have joined us from great distances – traveling from Bahrain, Houston, Boston, and New York to share their expertise with us”
***
Treasury’s Office of International Affairs implements the U.S. Government’s international and finance and economic development polcies and develops U.S. policy toward the World Bank and IMF.  We have had a growing interest (sic) Islamic finance because of its rapid growth and significant presence in many partners of the United States such as Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Pakistan.”
***
“Today’s seminar was inspired by a round table that Secretary O’Neill attended last month in Bahrain.  At the roundtable hosted by Citibank Bahrain’s Islamic Investment Bank”—
***
“The Secretary wanted to make sure that we hosted a similar event in the United States to “demystify” Islamic Banking for our colleagues in Washington who may not have exposure to this topic.”

MORE

Then on Nov 6, 2008 there was another seminar at the Treasury Deparment.  This was the first time I learned that this was planned by the Bush Administration.  It had to be with the knowledge of the man who had just been elected to replace George Bush.

ISLAMIC FINANCE 101, Nov. 6, 2008.

Welcome by Neel Kashkari, Assistant Secretary and custodian of the first TARP money.
PURPOSE: “This forum is designed to help inform the policy community about Islamic Financial services, which are an increasingly important part of the global financial industry.
The Department of the Treasury, working with Harvard University’s Islamic Finance Project, will host speakers from academia and industry to share information on the development of Islamic Finance, both in the U.S. and globally.  The primary audience of this seminar is comprised of staff from U.S. Banking regulatory agencies, Congress, Department of Treasury and other parts of the Executive Branch.  For some in attendance this may be their first and only opportunity to learn formally about Islamic Finance.  We expect about 100 people in the audience.  The presentations will be short and focused, and directed toward policy makers rather than academics.
MORE
(See: www.saneworks.us/uploads/news/applications/7.pdf)

Representative Peter King, R-NY reacted, warning that “There are too many people who are sympathetic to radical Islam.  We should be looking at them more carefully.”

While our Treasury Department is courting these people, they are teaching insurrection on our very soil.  Their mosques and schools and Islamic Centers across the country are inciting insurrection by Saudi trained imams.

THE RISKS OF ISLAMIC FINANCE:
“Of particular concern is the progress being made to establish Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF) within Western, and most recently, U.S. banks and other institutions that trade securities.  Islamic finance’s leading Shariah authorities have made plain that they consider SCF to be “jihad with money”, “financial jihad” and a means of promoting their objective of destroying the West’s economic system and replacing it with an Islamic one.

“Incredibly, in recent days, the Treasury Department has begun embracing Shariah-Compliant Finance.  Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmett has professed an interest in “studying the salient features of Islamic Banking to ascertain how far it could be useful in fighting the ongoing world economic crises”.  According to a press report out of Saudi Arabia he has declared that “experts in the Treasury Department are currently learning the important features of Islamic Banking.” (See: www.USAStopSharia.org)

STRINGS ATTACHED TO HANBALI MONEY:
Robert Kimmett and his crew in the Treasury Department had better be sure they read the fine print.  When you accept Shariah money, you must accept Shariah Law with it.  These greedy officials at Treasury can’t see beyond their noses.  Their stupidity is going to land us in the same soup pot as the United Kingdom is in if we don’t manage to stop them.

At least Peter King, R-NY sees the danger in what is happening here.  Maybe if enough of us contact him he will raise a ruckus in Congress.  It’s worth a try.

***

Hanbali Islam (From Overview of World Religions from the University of Cumbria)–
“Today the school is officially recognised as authoritative in Saudi Arabia and areas within the Persian Gulf.”

Wikipedia article on Hanbali

Hanbali Material in English

Related Posts:

The Scanner–Politics March 18, 2009: (Taitz-Supreme Court; Sharia Law in Minnesota re: Home Mortgages; Stimulus Money Wanders from the States; Privatizing Vets’ Healthcare)

The SCANNER-Politics 11/7/08: Newsweek Editors on Charlie Rose in the SCARIEST Description of Obama So Far…(Video/Partially Transcripted); Sharia Hits the Treasury Department/HARVARD Alert!; Hill the Shill (UPDATE 1X)

While Hillary and Sarah Get Trashed in the U.S., Muslim Women in Britain Get Sharia Law

Obama-Odinga:50-50 Split Demands Sound SOOOO FAMILIAR…(UPDATE 1X–Author of “The Obama Nation” Detained in Kenya; UPDATE 2X–Corsi Released, Odinga Official Website)

Secy. of Defense Robert Gates Downplays Possible U.S. Role as Fears of Mexico Collapse Mount; Don’t Be Fooled, There’s A Bush-Era Agenda Still Going On Here…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

A couple of days ago I posted a press release from W.A.M. (Wake Up America) on the impending demise of the “E-Verify Program” which has been operating since the 1990’s. (See URGENT PRESS RELEASE March 4, 2009 from W.A.M. RE: Expiration of the “E-Verify Program” Which Screens Employment of Illegal Aliens.)

You have to wonder why this is being allowed to die, especially with the news coming out of Mexico.  Living only about 50 miles from the border (the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez area), I got to thinking.

On Monday (3/2) I saw a small AP article in the Albuquerque Journal hidden near the fold on page two which reported on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ appearance on Meet the Press the day before.  Since I don’t trust the AP to report anything anymore, I found the transcript of the show; here is the relevant passage:

March 1, 2009

Meet the Press

MR. GREGORY:  We’ve got a few more minutes, and I want to go through as quickly as we can some other really important topics.  The first is Mexico, a major threat on the border with Mexico because of a widening drug war there. The Economist magazine wrote this startling synopsis, and they call it “Who’s in charge?  The police chief in Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico’s border with America, resigned after drug gangs, who had murdered his deputy, threatened to kill one of his officers every 48 hours until he quit.” What’s going on there, and how big of a national security threat is this for the U.S.?

SEC’Y GATES:  Well, I think that what is important is that President Calderon of Mexico, perhaps for the first time, has, has taken on the battle against these cartels.  And because of corruption in the police and so on, he sent the federal army of Mexico into the fight.  The cartels are retaliating.  I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past.  Some of the old biases against cooperation with our–between our militaries and so on I think are being set aside.

MR. GREGORY:  You mean providing military supporting?

SEC’Y GATES:  Providing them with, with training, with, with resources, with reconnaissance and surveillance kinds of capabilities; but just cooperation, including in intelligence. But it clearly is a serious problem, and, and–but what I think people need to point out is the courage that Calderon has shown in taking this on, because one of the reasons it’s gotten as bad as it has is because his predecessors basically refused to do that.

This policy does not come out of the blue. The  plan was signed into law on June 30, 2008.

The Mérida Initiative (also called Plan Mexico by critics) is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational crime and money laundering. The assistance includes training, equipment and intelligence.

In seeking partnership from the United States, Mexican officials point out that the illicit drug trade is a shared problem in need of a shared solution, and remark that most of the financing for the Mexican traffickers comes from American drug consumers. U.S. law enforcement officials estimate that US$12 to 15 billion per year flows from the United States to the Mexican traffickers, and that is just in cash, and doesn’t include all the money sent by wire transfers.[1] Other government agencies, including the Government Accountability Office and the National Drug Intelligence Center, have estimated that Mexico’s cartels earn upwards of $23 billion in illicit drug proceeds from the United States.[2][3]

U.S. State Department officials are aware that Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s willingness to work with the United States is unprecedented on issues of security, crime and drugs, so the U.S. Congress passed legislation in late June 2008 to provide Mexico with $400 million and Central American countries with $65 million this year for the Mérida Initiative. The initiative was announced on 22 October 2007 and signed into law on June 30, 2008.

Now, this plan raises a couple of alarm bells. First, some are speculating that we should expect some sort of terrorist attack on the U.S. that will allow the Obama Administration to do something that will complete their power grab.  George Bush took 911 and we got a spate of new laws regarding security, FISA, and a whole new Homeland Security office.  It doesn’t take much to see the conditions in Mexico as a potential source of  a “transnational crime” of some sort.  What Obama would do with this sort of situation has been widely discussed.  Reports of  “camps” being built, the continuation of FISA, the economic problems and greater government intervention…well, would you be surprised if we saw some more power grabbed by Obama?

Secondly, what could the “cooperation” that Gates describes actually lead to?  The use of the word “just”, as in “just cooperation” automatically raises suspicion, as if it’s all being minimized to sound simple and benign. Foreign Policy In Focus analyzed the plan this way:

From what’s known of it, the package — officially dubbed the “Mérida Initiative” but more commonly referred to as “Plan Mexico” — contains direct donations of military and intelligence equipment, and training programs for Mexican law enforcement officials. A White House fact sheet lists surveillance equipment, helicopters and aircraft, scanners for border revisions, communications systems, and training programs for “strengthening the institutions of justice.” An additional $50 million dollars is earmarked for Central American countries to support their fight against “gangs, drugs, and arms.”

The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the “Overall Justification Document,” reported that more than a third of the package will be spent on aerial surveillance and facilitating the rapid deployment of troops.

But what has legislators and civil society worried on both sides of the border is not the money involved or the equipment to be sent. It’s the reach of Plan Mexico in recasting the binational relationship, to create what the Bush administration calls “a new paradigm for security cooperation.”

SNIP

The concept of a joint security strategy for North America goes back at least as far as the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in March of 2005. Since that time, the Bush administration has attempted to push its Northern American trade partners into a common front that would assume shared responsibility for protecting the United States from terrorist threats and bolstering U.S. global hegemony in the region.

SNIP

Plan Mexico twists the plot by presenting Bush administration efforts to create a North American security strategy in the guise of a war on drugs.

And Gates is still there as a carryover in Obama’s cabinet.

On Monday( 3/9) this site will be featuring a post on a planned “community,” with many of the target dates for reaching certain goals set for 2010.  The demise of E-Verify may be part of a larger scenario that’s being played out.  Remember “SPP”–you’ll be reading about it in more detail on Monday.

Is the plan going to work? A recent article from the El Paso Times reports on some doubts:

Lawmakers to evaluate Merida Initiative’s success

Meanwhile, fears abound that money, materials and services from the Merida Initiative won’t make it to their intended recipients, with corruption getting in the way and the potential for worsening violence as drug cartels continue to clash.

Gee, no “indicators”?  Doubts about whether “benchmarks” have been established? Sounds sort of  like how the “stimulus package” and bailout money is set up…no real oversight!

I found a rundown of some recent news items at The Albuquerque Journal site which paint a pretty grim picture of what’s going on. Click on the following headline to get the full list.

Updated at 11:20am — Cartels Said To Have 100,000 Foot Soldiers

Pentagon source tells Washington Times rival drug organizations may be negotiating a merger…

Here are the other headlines, which are descriptive enough:

7:10am 2/9/09 — Texas Plans for Possible Mexican Collapse: ‘You hope for the best, plan for the worst,’ Gov. Perry’s aide tells El Paso Times.

6:45am 2/2/09 — Ambassador: Mexico Not Collapsing: Top envoy responds to chorus of alarms by current and former U.S. officials over border violence.

9:45am 1/29/09 — Joint Chiefs Chairman Worries About Mexican Violence: Navy Adm. Mike Mullen tells D.C. press briefing that border drug war ‘has all of our attention.’

11:25am 1/14/09 — Military Report: Mexico’s ‘Sudden Collapse’ Possible: U.S. Joint Forces Command study puts Mexico on a par with Pakistan as global security threat.

9:35am 1/9/09 — U.S. Says It’s Ready for Mexican Violence: Homeland Security has a ‘surge’ plan, including use of military, if drug wars spill over the border. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told The New York Times this week that if Mexico’s vicious and escalating drug war spills over the border, the United States has several response plans, including the use of the military, the El Paso Times reported.

10:00am 1/7/09 — Ex-U.S. Drug Czar Warns of Mexican Chaos: McCaffrey tells incoming Obama administration ‘millions of refugees’ could surge across border…The United States has provided only minimal support for the Mexican government to date, with Congress approving the $400 million Merida Initiative worked out by President Bush with Mexican and Canadian participation only “after a divisive and insulting debate,” the report said…”A terrible tragedy is going to take place in the coming decade if we don’t closely ally ourselves with the courageous Mexican leadership of (President Felipe) Calderon’s administration — and develop a resourced strategy appropriate for the dangers we face,” McCaffrey told the incoming administration.

***

See that mention of Canada in the last excerpt?  You’ll be reading more about Canada next week…

And please remember who Felipe Calderon is. Recall that during Mexico’s national election in July 2006, there was a great deal of scuttlebutt around about how Calderon was “selected.”    As reported at the time:

Mexico Vote Gives Bush New “Amigo” in Latin America

Catherine Bremer – Reuters

Felipe Calderon’s election victory in Mexico gives the U.S. government a much-needed conservative ally in Latin America, where it has lost influence in recent years as a string of leftist leaders took power.

For months, it seemed that Washington would have to work with a combative Mexican leader in Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a fiery leftist who led opinion polls and promised to end two decades of U.S.-backed economic reforms.

But Calderon won the narrowest of victories and Mexico’s electoral court named him president-elect on Tuesday, throwing out Lopez Obrador’s accusations of massive fraud.

MORE

Now, doesn’t that sound real familiar?

Reviewing all this information, it’s plain to see that E-Verify is just an afterthought these days.  Maybe bigger things are brewing…


Women in Power: The Example of Prime Ministers in Bangladesh, “A No-Casserole Zone”

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

As Inauguration Day draws closer, many of us are still feeling very angry and insulted. Even though most of us were not naive about politics before the 2008 primary season began, we still were in for a shock on  two fronts. First, the utter corruption of the Democratic Party, once our “safe haven,” became painfully clear. Second, and related to this, was how the party saw their hand-picked candidate introduce misogyny, as well as race, into the campaign and didn’t make any moves to stop it. Not that the leadership even wanted to…

So, many of us feel that Hillary Clinton, even if she weren’t the first choice of some, still was badly treated and was “robbed” of the nomination.  Later, Clinton decided to stay and play with the boys, which was very disappointing. On the Republican side, Sarah Palin was trashed just to be trashed and suddenly the only person on either ticket with long executive experience wasn’t “qualified” ; and she was undermined by factions in her party as well.

So here we are in the United States, with so many of us not feeling fine about the status of women these days.   Many of us who have been in this fight since the 60’s see things slipping away, while many women and girls, along with the media and many men, either don’t get it or if they do, are just willing to accept a disdainful, hollow man as President rather than a more experienced, tough, fighting woman.

(As an aside…seeing the Roland Burris debacle unfolding, you can almost understand why Hillary Clinton wanted out of the Senate. I wish she hadn’t decided to stay in the game as Secretary of State, but it’s clear that Harry Reid et al will stop at nothing when it comes to getting “their” people in…and Clinton is not “theirs.”)

Which brings us to another thing to ponder.  We’ve seen NOW and NARAL cave, and we’ve witnessed Nancy Pelosi in action.  We  may speculate that once women reach a certain level, they’re in a power game and they forget where they come from and play the game alongside the men in the same way.  And this includes undermining other women.  It may be that they’re jealous of the power they’ve gained, fearful of losing it to a rival,  or may it’s just what’s in their own characters.  Whatever is going on, it’s clear that just because a woman gains power, there’s no guarantee that they will be any different from men in power. The media may try to undercut women in power with hints that they are “emotional” or “weak” but anybody watching can see these women are playing the power game no-holds barred.

As an example, let’s take a look at recent events in Bangladesh. Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries and one of the most politically corrupt, had an election on December 29, 2008.  For the last two years the country has been controlled by a caretaker government backed by the military which was installed  to try to bring stability to the country and stop political violence.

According to the BBC’s Q & A published before the election (Q & A: Bangladesh Election,December 17, 2008):

The two main parties competing for power are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and the Awami League of Sheikh Hasina – also a former prime minister…Between them the two women – bitter personal enemies – have alternated from government to opposition for most of the last two decades….both Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia have been detained during the last two years on corruption charges along with dozens of other top political and business leaders. Many fear that the character clash between the women – reflected among their respective sets of supporters – means that their mutual rivalry will overshadow the pressing problems the country faces.

Prime Ministers Zia (L) and Hasina (R)

Sheikh Hasina Wazed won a landslide victory on December 29th, marking her second election as Prime Minister. According to Reuters, “Security remained tight across Bangladesh and police were on alert for attacks by Islamist militants as the army-backed interim authorities prepared to hand over to civilian rule….Strikes, street violence and attacks by militants trying to turn Muslim-majority Bangladesh into an Islamic state based on sharia, Islamic law, have hampered past Bangladeshi governments.”

Today, January 7th, Hasini has been sworn in as Prime Minister (Hasina emerges with a change)

Her charter for change, which includes building of a “digital Bangladesh”, drew public attention, particularly of the young generation, which was finally reflected in the battle of ballots, observed political analysts. Her promise of change also reflected in the formation of the cabinet as she appointed young and fresh people.

The restraint in her speech attacks on her political rivals won her popularity in the run up to the election. Her call upon all political parties to shun politics of confrontation, and to develop a healthy political culture for building a prosperous country, also earned her public kudos.

We’ll see.  Hasini’s rival, Khaleda Zia ,who was the first woman prime minister elected in Bangladesh, initially vowed to work with Hasini even though she stood by her charges of voting fraud, but has already revived the bitter rivalry.

From The Daily Star (Bangladesh), January 7, 2009:

AL’s journey for ‘change’ started thru’ killing Says Khaleda

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday came down heavily on new Awami League (AL)-led government, saying that it has started its journey towards “change” through killing, snatching and criminal activities across the country.

(SNIP)

“You’re observing what is happening across the country. Does it mean change? Do people want it?” Khaleda made the remarks after visiting the bereaved family members of Nazrul Islam, a leader of Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal, who was killed in the city’s Bijoynagar area on Monday.

(SNIP)

Khaleda, who didn’t attend the oath taking ceremony of Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet, demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the killing.

Both these women have been jailed and both have been either threatened with exile or actually exiled. In Zia’s case, corrupt relatives have fled the country (elder son, Tarique Rahman, still awaiting trial). Observers believe that there will never be political peace in Bangladesh as long as these two women are on the scene.

All this reminds me of Benazir Bhutto’s history in Pakistan, which probably shouldn’t be a surpise as Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan. Like  Bhutto,  Hansini comes from a political family; she is the daughter of Bangladesh’s first prime minister.  Zia is the widow of the assassinated Maj. Gen. Zia ur-Rahman (assassinated in a failed coup attempt in 1981); she has also been elected to the office of prime minister twice.  As with Bhutto, corruption is the name of the game when it comes to these political rivals.

So, while lots of people mourn the demise of Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Presidency, the reality is that while being a woman in power does make a statement, it’s not always the statement we dream of.  In the meantime, let’s see how Pelosi, Clinton, and other women in the Obama Universe operate. We already know what Pelosi is capable of.

And let’s see long Sheikh Hasini lasts…THIS time around…

***

Related Post: After “Aunt Benazir’s” Assassination, Fatima Bhutto Still Fighting to Reveal the Truth [Posted December 27, 2008]

Bangladesh’s Political History from InfoPlease

After “Aunt Benazir’s” Assassination, Fatima Bhutto Still Fighting to Reveal the Truth

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

One year ago today on December 27, 2007 I woke up to the BBC World Service on my shortwave radio and heard the news that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated. It didn’t suprise me at all, given the political situation in Pakistan at the time, her family’s political history, her own political past (holding the office of  Prime Minister twice) and her return to Pakistan from exile.

I wasn’t exactly sure I would write about Benazir Bhutto until I came across an March 2008 interview with Bhutto’s niece, poet and author, Fatima Bhutto.

Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto

During the interview which was taped for CNN  “Talk Asia” program (hosted by Anjali Rao), Fatima Bhutto discussed her aunt, as a politician and as a relative, as well as her own activism.  Along the way, she had some very interesting comments that ring very true for me today in our current political environment.

In Part 1, a brief history of the Bhutto family recounts how Ms. Bhutto’s grandfather, founder of the Pakistan People’s Party and first democratically-elected leader of the country, was executed by the military and how Ms. Bhutto’s father, Mir Mataza Bhutto  (Benazir’s younger brother and a member of Parliament), was gunned down in 1996 after he split from his sister and became critical of her government’s corruption (more later on this topic).

Here is Part I of the interview:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Bhuto 2“, posted with vodpod

Key observations from Ms. Bhutto about her aunt include how:

“…in power, she caused a lot suffering…unrecognizable.”

“People placed hope with her…(she) spoke to hope and change…in power, she was no different than what had been before” (cited large-scale corruption, human rights issues and her dealings with the Taliban).

The “lack of accountability as she returned…deal with a dictator erased 20 years of corruption and a provision…makes it impossible to file charges against future parliamentarians” (National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

During Part 1 Ms. Bhutto was asked if she had any political aspirations of her own (at the time of the interview some in Pakistan saw her as the person to take over her aunt’s party), but explained that wanted to remain an activist on the local level, without any association with any party. She said there were other ways to be active outside of politics and that shes was not interested in “power politics.”

Asked about fears for her own safety because of her being so outspoken, she said all Pakistanis lived in fear and added:

“Once you begin to self-censor, you’ve done the state’s job…and they can rest quite easily.”

In Part 2 of the interview Ms. Bhutto describes how her father and six others were gunned down in 1996 by the police outside the family home (Fatima was 14 and in the house at the time and heard the shots), just a few of the thousands killed in what was called “state terrorism” in some quarters.  Her father was from the PPP’s left-wing and he broke with his sister who was Prime Minister at the time and accused her government as being corrupt.  Benazir Bhutto was accused of trying to cover-up the role of her husband in the murders.  Among the findings of an investigation by a tribunal was the conclusion that the murders could never have taken place without the “approval from the highest levels of government.”

(See” “Living on the Edge,” The Times (UK), 05/08/2008  (“Six months after her aunt Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, Fatima Bhutto is fighting to reveal the truth surrounding the murder of her father in 1996 — and making some very dangerous enemies.”)

According to Ms. Bhutto, this was a turning point in her life as she became the issues of  justice and violence became central to her life, as did the need for accountability so that political violence in Pakistan could come to an end.

When asked if there would be real change if the PPP took power again, Ms. Bhutto had these words:

“In Pakistan, it seems, that power doesn’t really change hands, it’s the faces that change.  But ultimately, their goal is the same.”

Part 2:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Fatima Bhutto CNN Talk Asia Part2“, posted with vodpod

Who was she talking about in March 2008?  The United States’ “democracy” as it really is today?

If you have time, do watch Parts 1 and 2 of this interview with this brilliant, courageous young woman. You’ll admire her…I know I do!

***

(Part 3 of the interview deals with Bhutto’s book about the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.)

***

For more on Fatima Bhutto and her books and newspaper columns, see her website.

“Aunt Benazir’s false promises,” by Fatima Bhutto,  Los Angeles Times, 11/14/2007