Posts Tagged ‘Bill Clinton’

Obama Turns to Bill Clinton for Foreign Policy Cred

In Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Barack Obama, Bin Laden, foreign policy, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Romney on May 2, 2012 at 7:08 am

President Obama’s foreign policy is in complete disarray.  He has misunderstood and underestimated the need for the War on Terror from the word “go,” and as a result, his administration has now simply decided the war is over–as if they honestly believe that telling our enemies we’re packing up and going home will settle everything.

Yet Obama needs a nail on which to hang his hat, so he’s out on the campaign trail summing up his foreign policy thus—Osama bin Laden is dead. But this approach has hit with such a thud that Obama has been forced to jet around the world for fancy photo ops and parade around Bill Clinton to convince the Democrat base that the current Commander-in-Chief is actually up to the task. Clinton is a strange choice, however, *since he is best remembered as the president who refused to kill bin Laden.* ( *pre 9/11 )

So now we have Obama  trying to represent himself as a foreign policy success story, while actually fleeing from records of weakness and appeasement. (especially with Iran and Pakistan)

And from his not-so-lofty perch, he is working to distract the public from Obama’s utter failure by asserting that Republican candidate Mitt Romney would never have okayed the bin Laden kill. Their basis for this assertion is a statement Romney made on the campaign trail in 2007. And it’s important to note it’s a statement they’re taking out of context in order to suit their intentions:

“I wouldn’t want to over concentrate on bin Laden. He’s one of many, many people who are involved in this global jihadist effort. He’s by no means the only leader. It’s a very diverse group – Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and, of course, different names throughout the world. It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. It is worth fashioning and executing an effective strategy to defeat global, violent jihad, and I have a plan for doing that.”

To be honest, the fact that Obama would seize upon this quote is as embarrassing as it is telling.  Obama does not understand the immensity of the War on Terror or the commitment necessary to see such a war through. Thus, when Romney says, in effect, the war is bigger than one man—Osama bin Laden—he’s not saying “I would not okay a kill on bin Laden.” Rather, he’s saying, the war is too big to be orchestrated solely for the apprehension or death of one man. Moreover, Romney understands the war continues beyond bin Laden’s death, which is something that Obama has missed.

In other news, security measures have recently been beefed up around U.S. airports because of “concerns… that terrorists will ingest explosives and try to detonate them on a commercial flight.” But rest easy, folks;  Obama gave the order to kill Bin Laden so the war is over.


Bill Clinton in favour of Keystone; wife to decide its fate

In Bill and Hillary Clinton, Canada, HILLARY in 2012, TransCanada Pipeline, United States on February 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton weighed in Wednesday in favour of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial project whose ultimate fate is in the hands of his wife.

Updated: Wed Feb. 29 2012 16:08:11

The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. president Bill Clinton weighed in Wednesday in favour of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial project whose ultimate fate is in the hands of his wife.

Clinton, the keynote speaker at the Department of Energy’s conference for clean-technology startup companies in Maryland, wondered aloud why TransCanada didn’t originally propose to build the pipeline around an environmentally fragile area of Nebraska.

“One of the most amazing things to me about this Keystone pipeline deal is that they ever filed that route in the first place, since they could have gone around the Nebraska Sand Hills and avoided most of the dangers, no matter how imagined, to the Ogallala with a different route,” he said.

“The extra cost of (rerouting the pipeline) is infinitesimal compared to the revenue that will be generated over a long period of time,” he added.

“So, I think we should embrace it and develop a stakeholder-driven system of high standards for doing the work.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testifying later in the day to the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee hearings into energy security, was asked about her husband’s remarks.

“He’s a very smart man,” she said to laughter.

“But he, unfortunately, is not bound by the laws and regulations any longer of the United States to make decisions that follow a certain procedure. And that’s what we have to do.”

Bill Clinton’s comments are certain to cause a stir given his wife has already been accused of a pro-pipeline bias. The State Department is deciding the fate of the $7.6 billion pipeline since it crosses an international border.

In November, the Obama administration deferred making a decision on the pipeline until after this year’s presidential election, citing concerns about the risks Keystone XL’s proposed route could pose to the Ogallala aquifer.

Pipeline proponents cried foul, saying it was a cynical political move aimed at pacifying the environmentalists among President Barack Obama’s base in advance of the election.

In January, facing a mid-February deadline imposed by congressional Republicans, the Obama administration rejected TransCanada’s permit outright, saying it didn’t have enough time to thoroughly review a new route before giving it the green light.

But Obama also assured Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the decision was not based on the pipeline’s merits, but was merely necessitated by the Republicans’ pressure tactics.

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that TransCanada has submitted a new application for a route that would carry Alberta oilsands bitumen from the Canadian border to Steel City, Nebraska.

“At the same time,” she said, “they’re moving forward with parts of the pipeline like from Oklahoma to Texas, that don’t cross the border and don’t need State Department evaluation or decision.”

The Calgary-based company has also said it is reapplying soon for a presidential permit that incorporates the alternate route around the Nebraska aquifer.

Republicans have not eased up on their attempts to force approval of the pipeline. Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed legislation that would strong-arm the Obama administration into green-lighting Keystone XL as soon as possible.

They believe the pipeline will create thousands of jobs and help end U.S. dependency on oil from often hostile OPEC regimes.

At the White House daily media briefing on Wednesday, spokesman Jay Carney decried the tactics of congressional Republicans.

“Calls to approve Keystone XL right away, again, are insulting to the American people because there is no permit to approve,” he said.

The pipeline has become a rallying cry for Republican presidential candidates as well. After narrowly winning the Michigan primary on Tuesday, Mitt Romney vowed to keep fighting for Keystone XL.

“I’ll get us that oil from Canada that we deserve,” he said to cheers in Columbus, OH.

The Obama administration, meantime, signalled a shift in attitude toward Keystone XL earlier this week when the president praised TransCanada’s decision to carry on constructing the pipeline from Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas.

Hillary Clinton denied the administration was shifting gears in her testimony on Wednesday.

“So why the flip-flop on the Keystone XL pipeline?” Florida congressman Connie Mack asked Clinton.

“I don’t think there was any flip-flop, Congressman,” she replied.

“I think that this was always a matter that had to be evaluated in accordance with legal and regulatory standards. Certainly energy security considerations was a key factor, but not the only factor. There was a lot of concern on the part of one state through which the pipeline traveled.”

Edmonton Paper

In Hillary Withdrawal? Grab a cocktail, Click here and relax!

In HILLARY 2012, Peace and Prosperity, Smart Power, Woman of the Year on October 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Bill Clinton UNPLUGGED: The Clinton Tapes… Candid, Smart, Funny…

In President Bill Clinton, Washington on September 23, 2009 at 5:15 am

In ‘The Clinton Tapes,’ Bill Clinton Disses Bush, Dowd, Gore and More

The UPS man said he wished everyone were as excited to see him at their door as I was when he put that Teddy Kennedy memoir, “True Compass,” in my hands last week. But it’s just as well that I wasn’t home when he dropped off Taylor Branch’s forthcoming “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President.” Because having been assigned to write about such historical figures as Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp for The New York Times, my initial reaction to Clinton’s gazillion hours of yakking to Branch was I’ve seen that movie, thanks — and some of it was tedious the first time. Link

Please understand the author of the above article is a Clinton Hater from way back-

Better than the short synopsis and link- the comments from readers are by far the better path for an objective book review-


10:10PM Sep 22nd 2009

I don’t care what a person does or says in their PERSONAL LIFE, period………………………….as long as they do a good work at their job. We all had a little change jiggling in our pockets those 8 yrs. Clinton was in office. God only knows how hard that man worked with that Republican Congress, even with Newt and K. Starr judging and prosecuting him. ($66 million spent doing so) Such a waste of time and money (our money).

President Clinton did try to KILL BIN LADEN, and in transition of the Presidency, he warned W several times about Bin Laden. Plus, he left W a $180 billion surplus, but it was gone with those stupid checks W mailed out to us, trying to win some popularity from the American people which was so low. And also W thought, as President it would be easy, until 9/11 he had planned on playing golf thru his Presidency.

And should he ever been President anyway? Whistle blower was going to testify over voter fraud in the Bush Administration, but was killed in a mysterious plane crash, in Dec. 2008. Read more:

But, back to President Clinton: Except for that One thing with President Clinton he was and still is one of the most brilliant President’s we’ve ever had. And except for that One thing, his Presidency was one of the most successful. Even with that One thing, he still may go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents. And President Obama needs to let go of his ego and use President Clinton more. Did you folks know, when Bill Clinton left office, his popularity rate, I think was still at 65%?

The American people could have cared less about that One thing. And when the extreme right wingers judge, they need to remember ALL THE SCANDALS THAT WENT ON IN THEIR PARTY UNDER THE CHENEY/ROVE/BUSH administration.

Even though, I agree Al Gore was a bore, I think 9/11 might have Not happened if a Democrat had won [oh wait they did], because Clinton and Gore had a much better relationship with the Muslim world than did the Bush family. Herbert, 41, left troops in Mecca, Saudi Arabia after Desert Storm, of course for the base and to watch over Kuwait, but with that said/written it infuriated the Muslims. Remember, 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi. And by the way, how come the Saudi government was never held responsible for that? [15 OF 19 folks] The Saudi government ALL HAVE TRILLIONS and trillions and trillions from bleeding the world for their selfish profits.

Hey Saudi government how about sending us a couple of a trillion FREE, we could sure use it NOW to make up for 9/11 and the lousy job W did. AND SAUDI’s REMEMBER ‘W’ HAD THE BIN LADEN OUT OF AMERICA IN 2 DAYS AFTER 9/11 ……………….. and don’t forget your partner Herbert (41) with the Carlyle Group!!! RATE THIS COMMENT:Vote UpVote DownGood (3)

11:22PM Sep 22nd 2009
Ren, bottom sentence CORRECTION on u’r post.

“Hey Saudi government how about sending us a couple of a trillion FREE, we could sure use it NOW to make up for 9/11 and the lousy job W did. AND SAUDI’s REMEMBER ‘W’ HAD THE BIN LADEN [FAMILY] OUT OF AMERICA IN 2 DAYS AFTER 9/11………………….and don’t forget your partner Herbert (41) with the Carlyle Group!!!

I agree with pretty much everything u wrote, except about Gore, he isn’t given enough credit for all he has done around the world and here in the good ole’ USA. If it had not been for Al Gore, America and the rest of the world would still be apathetic about Global Warmning.

I googled George H.W. Bush and his ties (Carlyle Group) with the Saudi government, interesting to say the least. We’ll never know the truth about all the corruption under the G.W. Bush Administration, will we? SAD
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1:29AM Sep 23rd 2009

Best President ever. Remember Kennedy, Onasis, and the blonde Marilyn, nothing said nothing done. Well Tawny, I guess if you were with a willy and doing your job as brilliant as President Clinton you wouldn’t want the world to know about your private parts, orgasms, and private life. Your statement more distaste than mine. Get a life.
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8:08AM Sep 22nd 2009

He got one thing right, Al Gore is still living in Neverland.
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8:18AM Sep 22nd 2009

Al Gore’s defeat was best for America. He would have been a horrible president–worse than Obama.
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3:15PM Sep 22nd 2009

Stella, but he will make BILLIONS of the cap and tax, a present from the democrats and Pres. Obama. He is laughing all the way to the bank and thanking all the gullible american people.
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10:37PM Sep 22nd 2009

[Al Gore’s defeat was best for America. He would have been a horrible president–worse than Obama.] heh heh…I love the warm feeling of superiority I get whenever anyone admits to still thinking that Bush was a good president.
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10:58PM Sep 22nd 2009

You hit on the nose man, President Clinton was the best president this counntry ever had in this day and age. He was respected all over the world, and when he does something, he does it well and with a smile. How about those who voted for Bush JR twice? what does that tell our Republican friends? was there anyone watching?
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11:19PM Sep 22nd 2009
WESTSIDEMTNBILKER; That warm feeling you have was from wetting yourself, try again.
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11:20AM Sep 22nd 2009
Sounds to me like the 2000 election was for run for village idiots is there nothing in Washington to filter these folk out of the system so that a fit and proper person gets elected ?
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11:53AM Sep 22nd 2009

Artti – I’m not picking on you; just responding to your post. Any criticism here is directed at ALL OF US! Given the perspective and tone in our media, can we realistically expect any “honest, intelligent, and caring” person to run for public office? Would such a person subject their own family to such an abuse?

The politician lives his/her life in a fishbowl. Their every move and decision is scrutinized, second-guessed, and criticized. In a diverse society, no decision is going to please everyone. It is understood that the media has to report the dissenting opinions, but, the media needs to provide comprehensive coverage. Instead, the media sensationalizes the situations by overemphasizing the extreme positions. If a typical reporter interviewed 10 people (one left-wing extremist, one right-wing extremist, and the balance are centrists), 80% of the reporter’s article would cover what the two extremists had to say. The media overemphasizes the discord and disharmony in our society. People are asking “What happened to civility?” Well, the media drove it out by ignoring it. Like Obama said, the media encourages rudeness!!

This perverted perspective extends o the politician’s personal life. The media dissects their background and their family looking for any “dirt” they can find. The media, especially the paparazzi, salivate at the thought of catching a politician/celebrity making a mistake or doing something embarrassing.

Why do we find it necessary to tear our politicians apart? Are we so jealous, insignificant, and insecure, that we can not stand the thought of someone being revered or honored more than ourselves?
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8:30PM Sep 22nd 2009
Apparently not; we have Obama don’t we.
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12:08AM Sep 23rd 2009
Right on. Gore or Bush? I wrote myself in on the 2000 ballot.
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8:41AM Sep 22nd 2009
umm, the writer of this article actually bought that Ted “killer” Kennedy book…and is bragging??
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Fat boy
10:10AM Sep 22nd 2009
I bet it wasn’t any of Mary Jo’s family. Only in America if you are a drunk womanizing killer will you be rememberd as a “Lion” after your death. God have mercy on this awful nation.
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8:52AM Sep 22nd 2009
For those who don’t know,  (the author of this article)  Melinda Henneberger is a long time Clinton hater. So whatever she says about anything Clinton, take it with a grain of salt. Just do a Google search with her name and Clinton, it’s all old music to my ears. This article continues the pattern.
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For more dysfunctional hilarity, click here: LINK

Bill Clinton talks climate change and health care at CNE

In Bill Clinton, Climate Change, Global News, Health Care on August 30, 2009 at 3:14 am

The sun shines for Bill Clinton.

Bill in TorontoOr at least it did this afternoon, when the skies cleared in time for the former U.S. president to address an audience of almost 12,000 at BMO Field at the Canadian National Exhibition.

Clinton, who had just flown to Toronto from the Boston funeral of Edward Kennedy, opened his remarks with words of remembrance of the late senator.

“I knew him for more than 30 years,” said Clinton. “We worked together, sometimes we fought… but throughout it all I cherished my relationship with him because he proved that public service was an honourable way to live, and he gave his entire life to trying to make our country and the world a better place.”

The half-hour speech, tailored to a Canadian audience and bookended by standing ovations, ranged in terms of subject matter from climate change to the health care debate south of the border. Addressing the latter, Clinton did his level-headed best to explain the fervour at town halls throughout the U.S.

“If you look at America, you must wonder what in the world are my friends to the south thinking? Why don’t they just pass some bill? How could it be worse?”


“A lot of you have American friends; you can help us with this,” he continued. “The money’s going somewhere, and the somewhere doesn’t want to give it up… You have to understand there’s a lot of economic incentive to keep things misunderstood and (people) full of fear.”

Clinton switched gears from austere to earnest and back again numerous times throughout the speech. At one point, he spent two minutes explaining his love for fairs, particularly given their place in the political circuit in Arkansas, the state he governed before becoming president.

Black Frat Inducts Bill Clinton as Honorary Member

In Bill Clinton on July 11, 2009 at 9:48 pm

July 10, 2009

Bill Clinton NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A historically black fraternity has voted to induct former President Bill Clinton as an honorary member.

Phi Beta Sigma President Paul Griffin Jr. said Friday that Clinton is the first U.S. president to be inducted into a historically black fraternity.

The fraternity voted Tuesday for Clinton’s induction at its 95th Anniversary Conclave in New Orleans, La.

Stevie Wonder, Al Roker, the Rev. Al Sharpton and jazz musician Ramsey Lewis are also honorary members of Phi Beta Sigma.

The fraternity was founded in 1914 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. It has more than 150,000 alumni and college members in about 500 chapters throughout the U.S., Caribbean, Africa and Asia.


(funny they would induct a “racist”… hmm )

Great Orators of the Democratic Party

From history, we see greatness:

* ‘One man with courage makes a majority.’ – Andrew Jackson

* ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ – Franklin D. Roosevelt

* ‘The buck stops here.’ – Harry S. Truman

* ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’ – John F. Kennedy

And from today’s Democrats we see… well, you figure it out.

* ‘It depends what your definition of ‘IS’ is?” – Bill Clinton

* ‘Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are not in crisis’ – Barney Frank (fall 2003)

* ‘That Obama – I would like to cut his NUTS off.’ – Jesse Jackson

* ‘Those rumors are false …. I believe in the sanctity of marriage.’ – John Edwards

* ‘I invented the Internet’ – Al Gore

* ‘The next Person that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads up their ASS.’ – Joe Biden

* ‘America is–is no longer, uh, what it–it, uh, could be, uh, what it was once was…uh, and I say to myself, ‘uh, I don’t want that future, uh, uh for my children.’ – Barack Obama

* ‘I have campaigned in all 57 states.’ – Barack Obama (Quoted 2008)

* ‘You don’t need God anymore, you have us Democrats.’ – Nancy Pelosi (Quoted 2006)

* ‘Paying taxes is voluntary.’ – Sen. Harry Reid

Thats All,  folks!

New York Times writes this weekend’s magazine cover story on Bill Clinton’s changing role..

In Bill Clinton, Global News, Greatness Award, Politics, Smart Power, United States on May 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm


New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker writes this weekend’s magazine cover story on Bill Clinton’s changing role, yet still hectic globe-trotting lifestyle, according to an advance copy of the piece.

Following Clinton around the world — whether stopping at a crafts store in Lima or a conference in Davos — Baker notices similarities to his past travels with then first lady Hillary Clinton as a White House correspondent for the Washington Post.

She typically would make a courtesy stop at a palace for a brief meeting with the head of state, but the trips were built around roundtable discussions or visits to far-off villages to explore how people confronted the challenges of their world. That’s what Bill Clinton was doing now. The next day he would wake up in Lima, fly to Barranquilla on Colombia’s northern coast and then to Medellín before settling into a hotel in Cartagena. When I later made the observation to him, he said with a laugh, ‘‘We’ve reversed roles.’’

Baker’s 8,000-plus-word piece isn’t yet online, but is expected to go up ahead of the weekend print date, perhaps later today or tomorrow.


Haiti Donors Conference

In foreign policy, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, United States on April 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Donors Conference for Hati“, posted with vodpod

Remarks at the Haiti Donors Conference

Well, thank you very much, and I congratulate the IDB, President Moreno and the staff for hosting this important donors conference. I thank Secretary General Ban Ki-moon not only for the United Nations commitment, but your personal commitment with the recent trip that you took with my husband to Haiti. And I congratulate the prime minister for an excellent plan that was laid out and clearly explained, and now presented to all of us. And to Minister Oda, thank you and your government for linking the aid that we hope comes from this donors conference with the effectiveness that needs to be present.

Now, for some of us, Haiti is a neighbor, and for others of us, it is a place of historic and cultural ties. But for all of us, it is now a test of resolve and commitment. Now, some may ask, and I am sure there are some in my country and my Congress who may ask, why a small nation in the middle of the Caribbean should command so much attention. Why should countries in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, the Middle East and Asia offer assistance to Haiti in the midst of a global economic downturn (inaudible)? And I think the answer is very clear. Because what happens in Haiti affects far beyond the Caribbean and even the region. This small nation of 9 million people is on a brink. It is on a brink of either moving forward with the help of the collective community or falling further back. And it, as well as this region, will be shaped to a large extent by the decisions that we make.

On a personal note, my husband and I went to Haiti for the first time shortly after we were married, so we have a deep commitment to Haiti and the people of Haiti. Our homes are filled with art from Haiti. We have friends who hail from Haiti. But it is not only my personal concern that brings me here today. On behalf of the United States, we are here because Haiti is a neighbor and a friend. Our ties reach back to the early years of both of our nations. They have endured for generations, through our struggles for independence, through the defeat of slavery in Haiti which inspired slaves and abolitionists in my country, to the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who have emigrated to the United States and have strengthened us through their contributions in politics and business and health and education, in science, sports, and culture – the benefits of which I experienced firsthand as a senator representing New York, which has a vibrant Haitian American community.

Remarks With Haitian Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 15, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I am so delighted to extend a warm welcome to the prime minister of Haiti and to her distinguished delegation. She and I were together at the donors conference on behalf of Haiti yesterday. And as you know, I will be traveling to Haiti tomorrow.

But before I turn to the important issues that we discussed today about Haiti, I’d like to take a moment to discuss an issue that affects us all, and that is the scourge of piracy. The attempted capture of the Maersk Alabama and the attack yesterday on the Liberty Sun off the coast of Somalia are just the most recent reminders that we have to act swiftly and decisively to combat this threat. These pirates are criminals. They are armed gangs on the sea. And those plotting attacks must be stopped, and those who have carried them out must be brought to justice.

Last weekend, we were all inspired by the courage and heroism of Captain Phillips and his crew, and by the bravery and skill of the U.S. Navy. These men are examples of the best that America has to offer. And I salute and thank them. But now it falls to us to ensure that others are not put into a similar situation. As I said last week, we may be dealing with a 17th century crime, but we need to bring 21st century solutions to bear.

I want to commend the work that this Department’s anti-piracy task force has already done, along with their counterparts throughout our government. In the past several months, we have seen the passage of a robust United Nations Security Council resolution, a multinational naval deployment, improved judicial cooperation with maritime states and an American-led creation of a 30-plus member International Contact Group to coordinate our efforts.

But we all know more must be done. The State Department is actively engaged with the White House and other agencies in pursuing counter-piracy efforts, both unilaterally and in concert with the international community. This Friday, a steering group that includes State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the intelligence community, will meet to consider recent events and potential responses.
more here

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton concludes his remarks to the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank

in Washington.

Tuesday April 14, 2009

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton concludes his remarks to the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington April 14, 2009.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton concludes his remarks to the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington April 14, 2009.

Paul Farmer (2nd R), co-founder of Partners In Health and board member of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, laughs with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) at the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, April 14, 2009. Also pictured are Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno (2nd L) and Haiti's Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis (L).

Paul Farmer (2nd R), co-founder of Partners In Health and board member of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, laughs with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) at the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, April 14, 2009. Also pictured are Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno (2nd L) and Haiti's Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis (L).

Haiti's Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis (L) speaks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton at the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington April 14, 2009.

Haiti's Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis (L) speaks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton at the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington April 14, 2009.

HAITI: Donors Pledge 125 Million Dollars to Rebuild After Storms

WASHINGTON, Apr 15 (IPS) – International donors have pledged 324 million dollars over the next two years in additional aid to help Haiti recover from food riots and damage to roads and other key infrastructure caused by four hurricanes that ravaged Latin America’s poorest nation last summer.The commitments were made during an all-day, all-star meeting that featured former U.S. President Bill Clinton, his wife and current secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), among others, at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) here Tuesday.

The new commitments, including 41 million dollars to reduce the government’s anticipated deficit this year, came amid growing concern that Haiti’s economy faces daunting challenges not only in recovering from the hurricanes that effectively erased 15 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) last year, but also in coping with the global financial crisis which, among other effects, has reduced remittances to Haiti from the U.S.

For the first time in several decades, the economy’s growth in 2007 – 3.4 percent – exceeded the increase in its population. But the hurricanes, which hit the country’s third-largest city, Gonaives, particularly hard, more than reversed the advances of the previous year. Losses were estimated at some one billion dollars, while more than 800 people were killed by the flooding and tens of thousands were displaced from their homes.

“Haiti’s economy was beginning to show the first signs of a turnaround,” noted World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who visited Haiti shortly after the storms, “but the results haven’t yet reached critical mass or visibility. Now, set back once again by global recession, there is a real danger that we fail to seize the moment of Haiti’s promise,” he noted, adding, “long-term ‘Haiti fatigue’ may prove more devastating to the country’s future than natural disasters.”

Just last month, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) warned that serious instability could ensue if donors failed to sharply increase their assistance in the wake of last April’s food riots, which resulted in the ouster of the then-Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis, and the following summer’s hurricanes.

“The socio-economic situation is worse than at the time of the April 2008 riots and the fall of the Alexis government,” said Bernice Robertson, the group’s senior Haiti expert, when the report was released in early March.

“We are treading on very fragile ground,” declared Haiti’s new prime minister, Michele Duvivier-Louis, during the opening session of Tuesday’s meeting. “If no action is taken now the consequences will be catastrophic.”

Haiti’s urban areas, she noted, were filled “with unemployed young men and women whose future looks absolutely grim.”

“This small nation of nine million is on a brink,” agreed Hillary Clinton, who plans to meet with President Rene Preval during a visit Haiti Thursday on her way to the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. “It is on a brink of either moving forward with the help of the collective community or falling further back.”

Clinton said Washington will provide 287 million dollars in non-emergency to Haiti this year, most of which will be devoted to infrastructure, agricultural development, debt relief, and security, which, despite the natural disasters, has improved sharply over the last several years due largely to the efforts of the Brazilian-led U.N. 9,000-strong peacekeeping force, MINUSTAH.

In addition to aid, Washington has provided Haiti with duty- and quota-free treatment to Haitian garment exports guaranteed over 10 years under its Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE II) Act of 2006.

Development economist Paul Collier, who has acted as Ban’s special adviser on Haiti, has praised HOPE II as “best trade deal on earth” and one that could, given needed investments in energy and infrastructure, create tens of thousands of jobs in a country where unemployment is estimated at 70 percent and some one million young people are expected to enter the job market over the next five years.

In addition, Haiti is on track to meet the conditions for gaining one billion dollars in debt relief from the IDB, the IMF, and the World Bank as early as the end of June. IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said debt cancellation would free up to 48 million dollars a year for projects to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.

“Haiti is at a turning moment,” said Ban, who traveled to the Caribbean nation with former President Clinton and Haitian-American rapper Wyclef Jean last month. “It may count among the world’s poorer nations. Yet the plain and simple fact is that its prospects, today, are better than almost any other emerging economy.”

Clinton, whose intervention in Haiti in 1994 resulted in the restoration of civilian rule and whose foundation supports a number of projects there, echoed that view in the conference keynote address. “Haiti’s got a chance, the best chance in my lifetime,” he said. “Haiti has good leaders. Haiti has a good plan, only you can give them the capacity to do it,” he told the donors.

The Haitian government is hoping that President Barack Obama will yield to appeals by Preval and Duvivier-Louis to grant “temporary protected status” (TPS) to tens of thousands of undocumented Haitians – as it has done for Central Americans after natural disasters. TPS, which was repeatedly denied to Haitians by the administration of President George W. Bush, would permit them to work here and send money back home. The issue is reportedly under review by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The U.S. is Haiti’s biggest bilateral donor, although Canada, France, and Japan – all of which sent senior officials to Wednesday’s conference – have also provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid in recent years.

Canada’s Minister of International Co-operation, Beverley Oda, announced Tuesday that Ottawa was on track to meet its commitment of 555 million dollars in aid to Haiti over five years, making it the largest per capita bilateral donor.

The Haitian government has worked closely with donors in developing a two-year recovery plan designed, among other things, to create 150,000 jobs. Zoellick called for improved co-ordination among the donors, particularly reducing the administrative and accounting burden on Haiti’s weak government bureaucracy, channeling more aid through the national budget, and aligning funding with priority projects.