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Secretary Clinton aims to fix future path of US-EU policy

In foreign policy, Global News, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, STRONG WOMEN, United States on November 30, 2012 at 6:16 pm

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Hillary Clinton will give five artists medals for embassy art

The honors will go to Jeff Koons, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shahazia Sikander, Kiki Smith and Carrie Mae Weems.

http://www.trbimg.com/img-50b82b9c/turbine/la-et-cm-hillary-clinton-will-give-five-artist-001/600

By Mike Boehm

November 30, 2012

For 50 years the U.S. State Department has been deploying visual art as part of the art of diplomacy, via a program called Art in Embassies.

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts to five artists who have shown “an enduring commitment” to the effort: Jeff Koons, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shahazia Sikander, Kiki Smith and Carrie Mae Weems.

It’s the first time the award has been given – and its future will likely depend on whether Clinton’s successors want to make it a tradition.

The State Department uses art to generate goodwill in foreign countries by organizing temporary exhibitions and other art events at U.S. embassies and ambassadors’ residences. The exhibitions are group efforts, featuring artists from the host countries as well as Americans.

Staff curators for Art in Embassies stock the shows with loans from artists, collectors and museums. Since 2000, the program has gotten into the art-acquisition business as well, picking works to permanently adorn newly built embassies and consulates.

For the new U.S. embassy in Beijing, which opened in 2008, Koons provided one of his huge “Tulips” sculptures to stand outside as a 10-year loan. It’s identical to one that fetched $30.7 million earlier this month when it was auctioned by Christie’s in New York City.

The art inside the Beijing Embassy includes “Eagle Landing on Pine Branch,” one of Cai Guo-Qiang’s images scorched on paper with gunpowder. After the honors luncheon at the State Department, Cai is scheduled to use his explosive fireworks technique to light up a 40-foot pine tree outside the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art.

The intended effect is a tree image in floating black smoke that will serve as an ethereal doppelganger for the real one. In downtown L.A. last April, Cai scorched a work called “Mystery Circle” onto an exterior wall of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary building.

LA Times

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US Secretary Hillary Clinton to visit Belfast

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The White House has confirmed that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to visit Northern Ireland.

She will travel to Belfast on 7 December to meet officials as well as discuss the peace process and investment opportunities.

The visit, part of a four-day trip that will also take in Dublin, the Czech Republic and Belgium, could be one of her last foreign engagements.

Her term ends next month, and she has said she does not want a second term.

Mrs Clinton, who visited Northern Ireland three times with her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, during the 1990s, plans to discuss the trilateral US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership and economic opportunities for Northern Ireland.

Later Mrs Clinton will take part in an event hosted by The Ireland Funds – a global fundraising network supporting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education, and community development in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Her journey to Belfast will follow a host of engagements in the Republic. In Dublin she is expected at a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and will discuss areas of co-operation in promoting peace, human rights, and economic growth with Irish officials to discuss.

She is due to deliver a major speech on US achievements in support of human rights globally.

Mr and Mrs Clinton visited Northern Ireland three times during his time in office from 1993 and 2001.

The most memorable was in 1995 when they turned on the Christmas lights in Belfast just a year after the first  IRA  ceasefire.

Mrs Clinton has also come to Northern Ireland without her husband.

In 1999 she gave a keynote address to a women’s conference and in October 1997 gave the Tip O’Neill Memorial lecture at  the University of   Ulster’s Magee campus in Londonderry.

She has also addressed the Northern Ireland Assembly.

BBC NEWS

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White House fires back on Sarah Palin’s Secret Service criticism

In Global News, Sarah Palin, Scandal, Secret Service Disgrace, STRONG WOMEN, United States on April 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Sarah Palin’s charge that the Secret Service prostitute scandal highlights President Barack Obama’s “poor management skills” drew a sharp rebuke Friday from the White House, where chief spokesman Jay Carney dubbed it absurd and politically motivated.

“It is preposterous to politicize the Secret Service,” Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.

Palin and Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions have in recent days charged that the scandal, coupled with the outrage over the General Services Administration’s lavish spending on a convention in Las Vegas, reflects poorly on Obama. Those two controversies, as well as the tragic mass slaying of Afghan civilians, allegedly by an American soldier, have overshadowed much of the White House’s agenda in recent weeks.

“What they’re doing is trying to turn these incidents—one that’s still under investigation—to political advantage,” Carney charged when asked about critics who lump the three issues together. “On the face of it, it’s a ridiculous assertion that trivializes both the very serious nature of the endeavor that our military is engaged in in Afghanistan and the very serious nature both of the work that the Secret Service does, the apolitical nature of the institution, and the seriousness of the investigation under way,” the spokesman said.

Palin weighed in on the scandal on Fox News Channel late Thursday after The Washington Post reported that David Chaney, one of two agents removed as a result, reportedly posted a photograph of himself guarding the former Republican vice presidential candidate during the 2008 campaign and captioned it “I was really checking her out, if you know what i mean?

“Well, check this out, bodyguard. You’re fired,” Palin quipped.

“You know, the president, for one, he better be wary there of—when Secret Service is accompanying his family on vacation. They may be checking out the first lady instead of guarding her. And I say that not just tongue-in-cheek, but I say that seriously, that the president, the CEO of this operation called our federal government has got to start cracking down on these agencies! He is the head of the administrative branch and all these different departments in the administration that now people are seeing things that are so amiss within these departments.”

“The buck stops with the president. And he’s really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. You know, he’s got to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies where so many things, obviously, are amiss,” she said. “Our president has poor management skills.”

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Fired Secret Service agent remains eligible for up to $2.1 million in taxpayer-funded pension payout

The disgraced Secret Service supervisors accused of engaging in a cocaine-fueled hooker party on the taxpayer dime will still cash in on lucrative taxpayer-funded pensions.

Three Secret Service agents tasked with protecting President Barack Obama have been terminated since it was revealed that they reportedly caroused with prostitutes and drugs in Colombia.

The Washington Post Thursday identified the two supervisors who have been forced out of the agency. Supervisor David Randall Chaney, 48, has been allowed to retire, while Greg Stokes, the assistant special agent in charge of the K-9 division, has been fired with cause. A third low-level officer has resigned his post.

Chaney will soon be cashing in on a pension worth between $47,000 and $61,000 per year, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

Despite the scandal, it will be nearly impossible to prevent him from collecting on the lucrative sum, according to Michael Spekter, an attorney specializing in defending federal benefit packages.

“Even if you’re fired for misconduct, unless you are found guilty of treason, you can get your retirement benefits that you’ve earned through your years of public service,” he said. “They don’t dock your pensions.”

Spekter has represented hundreds of federal employees during his 30-year career and has never seen a worker lose his pension.

Lawyers for the two agents told the Washington Post each man has between 17 and 18 years of service with the agency.

The Secret Service refused to comment on additional personnel matters. However, several federal law enforcement sources say that agents must have at least GS-14 seniority to qualify as supervisors—standards that also apply to the Secret Service.

Federal law enforcement supervisors working out of the D.C. metro area earn between $105,211 and $136,771. The positions qualify for pensions worth 2.5 percent of average highest salary over a period of three consecutive years, multiplied by years of service.

GS-14 supervisors receive pensions worth between $47,000 and $61,000 annually.

Since Chaney is retiring, he can collect on his pension almost immediately and could collect until age 83—the most recent average lifespan estimates for federal law enforcement officers, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

Over his lifetime, he could receive between $1.65 and $2.15 million in retirement.

Stokes, the fired agent, also qualifies for his pension and will begin collecting at age 62, which would earn him up to $1.3 million over his expected lifetime.

The Washington Free Beacon estimate could be on the low end of the spectrum.

Once in retirement, the agents will continue to enjoy a Cadillac health insurance plan while paying minimal premiums. They will also enjoy annual cost of living adjustments, which increase pensions based upon the consumer price index. Retirees enjoyed a 3.6 percent pay bump in 2012.

Scandals involving government or political employees often raise questions about whether they are entitled to such generous taxpayer-funded benefits.

The debate last surfaced when former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with more than 50 criminal counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. Public outcry led the state pension board to review his benefits, though Sandusky will continue to collect state checks until his trial is complete.

Andrew G. Biggs, a former principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration, said pension benefits are viewed as money in the bank, regardless of who is holding the money.

“At some point you have to consider whether the employee earns this money or the employer does,” said Biggs, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “If you get fired in the private sector, you get to keep the money that’s in your 401(k).”

Frank Keegan, a pension expert at State Budget Solutions, said the employer-employee debate is complicated in the public sector.

“It’s the taxpayer’s money, not the government’s,” he said. “If people violate the public trust, taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay the pension costs for the rest of [the employee’s] life.”

Some state and local governments have passed laws that strip public officials and employees of their pensions if they are convicted of felonies or otherwise violate the public trust.

The most notable case to date has been that of the imprisoned former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. State Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whom the Democratic governor considered appointing to Barack Obama’s Senate seat, stripped Blagojevich of his $65,000 pension following his corruption conviction in 2011.

Beginning in 2019, however, Blagojevich will begin cashing $13,000 checks from the federal government for his congressional pension. He will also be halfway through his 14-year prison term.

The Secret Service is reviewing the conduct of nearly a dozen agents, as well as forcing those allegedly involved to undergo polygraph tests.

Biggs said the government’s exhaustive investigation digs at the root of the problem: office culture. He said the extensive guest list at the wild party—up to 20 military and Secret Service personnel and an equal number of prostitutes—demonstrates an agency culture akin to the General Service Administration’s lavish Las Vegas trip.

“If you want recourse, you don’t go after their pensions; you make it easier to fire federal employees,” he said. “I don’t know what happened over there, but if we give everybody their due process, we are going to get people paying attention.”

Agency officials have told congressional committees in the House and Senate that more heads are likely to roll—and take their lucrative pensions with them.

http://freebeacon.com/pley-money-2/

STRONG WOMEN: “THE IRON LADY” to HILLARY to Revolutionary, DEBORAH SAMSON…

In Draft Hillary, Global News, HILLARY 2012, HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Merryl Streep as the IRON LADY, National Womens History Museum, PM Margaret Thatcher, STRONG WOMEN on January 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Meryl Streep is starring as PM Margaret Thatcher in the new movie “Iron Lady.”
Meryl Streep also donated her salary $1.000,000 for making this movie to the National Womens Museum  under construction in Washington, DC.

Ms.Sreep’s favorite woman from Revolutionary Times is Deborah Samson who dressed as a man and joined the military to fight for her country. Upon her discovery, she won a commendation from the US WAR Dept…She was wounded in battle and had to sue the government for her disability pension of $40.00/mo which she received until her death at the age of 66.

Her story of courage and valor is below the jump-

SIGN “THE DRAFT HILLARY PETITION” HERE


Hillary discussing her goals for America

Statue of Deborah Samson at Sharon, Massachusetts public library, She served in the Revolution as "Robert Shurtlieff of Uxbridge, Massachusetts"

Deborah Sampson was born in Plympton, Massachusetts, a small village in New England, on December 17, 1760. Although her family name was originally spelled ‘Samson’, without the ‘p’, Herman Mann’s biography of her used a mistaken spelling and it is under this spelling that she is most commonly remembered. She was the oldest of six children of Jonathan and Deborah Bradford Samson, both of old Colonial stock; the elder Deborah was a descendant of William Bradford, once Governor of Plymouth Colony. Her siblings included Jonathan, Sylvia and Jeremiah. The family lived in Middleborough, Massachusetts, during her youth. Her family was poor, and when they received word that Jonathan Sampson had drowned in a shipwreck in 1765, they were forced to go into service as indentured servants. Jonathan Sampson, who was Deborah’s father, told the family that he was going to England. However, some sources say that Jonathan Sampson instead sailed to Maine and remained there for the rest of his life.

Deborah lived in several different households; first with a spinster, then with the widow of Reverend Peter Thatcher, and finally, in 1770, she ended up an indentured servant of Deacon Jeremiah and Susannah Thomas.

When she turned eighteen and was released from her indentured servitude with the Thomas family, she became a school teacher, rejecting the suggestion that she marry, even though she did marry later on.

Army

In 1778, she felt the need to do her part for the war and wanted to enlist in the Continental Army. In that day and age, women were not allowed to enlist, so she disguised herself as a man. She had little trouble doing this, since she was tall and educated. Even her own mother failed to recognize her while she was disguised as a man. In disguise, the local recruiting office enlisted her under the name of “Robert Shurtleff” of Carver. Because of the notable manner in which she held a quill pen, she may have been recognized and did not report the next day for service. On May 20, 1782, she tried again, this time successfully enlisting in the army on the muster of Master Noah Taft of Uxbridge, under the name of her deceased brother, Robert Shurtleff Samson, [1] and his/her residence as Uxbridge, Massachusetts.[1] Her signature still exists in Massachusetts records.[1]

She was chosen for the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment[1] under the command of Captain George Webb. The unit, consisting of fifty to sixty men, was first quartered in Bellingham, Massachusetts and later the unit mustered at Worcester under the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by Colonel Shepard. Although she had some trouble with the men in her regiment after she looked in on the men changing, her distant cousin, Reverend Noah Alden, a minister in Bellingham, kept her secret.

Deborah fought in several skirmishes. During her first battle, on July 3, 1782, outside Tarrytown, New York, she received 2 musket balls in her thigh and an enormous cut on her forehead. She begged her fellow soldiers to just let her die and not take her to the hospital, but they refused to abandon her. A soldier put her on his horse and they rode six miles to a hospital. The doctors treated her head wound, but she left the hospital before they could attend to the musket balls. Fearful that her true identity would be discovered, she removed one of the balls herself with a penknife and sewing needle, but her leg never fully healed because the other ball was too deep for her to reach. On April 1, 1783 she was promoted and spent seven months serving as a waiter to General John Patterson. This job entitled her to a better quality of life, better food, and less danger.

After the peace treaty was signed, everyone thought the war was over. However, on June 24 the President of Congress ordered General Washington to send a fleet of soldiers to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to aid in squelching a rebellion of several American officers. During the summer of 1783, Deborah came down with malignant fever and was cared for by a doctor, Barnabas Binney. He removed her clothes to treat her and discovered the band she used to bind her breasts and, thus, discovered her secret. He did not betray her secret; he took her to his house, where his wife and daughters further treated her.

After Sampson recovered she returned to the army, but not for long. In September 1783 peace was assured through the signing of the Treaty of Paris. November 3 was the date for the soldiers to be sent home. When Dr. Binney asked her to deliver a note to General John Patterson, she thought that her secret was out. However, General Patterson never uttered a word; instead, she received an honorable discharge from the service, a note with some words of advice, and a sum of money sufficient to bear her expenses home. Thus, on October 25, 1783, General Henry Knox honorably discharged Deborah Sampson from the Army at West Point, after a year and a half of service.

Deborah Sampson wikipedia