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Posts Tagged ‘President Bill Clinton’

An Apology to former President Bill Clinton for That PBS Documentary

In Clinton Legacy, Peace and Prosperity, President Bill Clinton on February 27, 2012 at 9:05 am

 February 26, 2012

By Joe Rothstein
Editor, EINNEWS.com

Apologies are in order, and since PBS and the producers of the four-hour Clinton documentary are not likely to do the right thing, I’ll weigh in instead.

I have standing to do this, since I’m a loyal PBS viewer, regular contributor and, much of the time, uncompromising cheer leader for the network.

But it’s hard to cheer lead for a Clinton documentary that begins with what feels like an endless rehash of the Monica Lewinsky episode, and whose unifying thread is opportunity lost.

If you go to the PBS web site promoting home copies of the program, it reads like this:

“From draft-dodging to the Dayton Accords, from Monica Lewinsky to a balanced budget, the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton veered between sordid scandal and grand achievement. In Clinton, the latest installment in the critically acclaimed series of presidential biographies, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE explores the fascinating story of an American president who rose from a broken childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history–and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage.”

I doubt that anyone who actually sits through all four hours of Clinton gets a message that he was “one of the most successful politicians in modern American history.” His fault lines, however, are explored in minute detail—from the women he chased during his very first campaign to the he’s-no-LBJ verdict pronounced against him in dealing with Congress.

And what about those “grand achievements?” If you happened to slip into the bathroom for a few minutes at the wrong time you missed the fleeting scenes about balancing the budget and presiding over the most prolonged economic expansion in peace time American history. There was a short segment about his orchestration of an end to the Balkan war, a job he took on at great political risk when European leaders refused to sign up for it. Clinton’s green light of an attempt to kill bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership was noted, but in the context of a suspected impeachment distraction.

More than 22 million jobs were created during the Clinton presidency. Home ownership was at the highest level ever, (without the phony mortgages that came during the Bush years). The crime rate dropped to the lowest level in 26 years. The Brady gun law was enacted. Family leave time became a reality.

Clinton made extraordinary efforts in the cause of racial harmony. (They called him “the first black president”). Thousands of Russian nuclear warheads were deactivated, and many others lying loose after the Soviet Union’s collapse were located and disarmed.

Unless I was checking email on my smartphone at the time, I saw or heard none of that.

But from beginning to end, you could have dropped into the PBS documentary nearly anywhere along its four hour time line and been told of sex, investigations, failures to live up to promise, and pseudo analysis of why Clinton behaved as he did. The producers didn’t discuss bed-wetting, but clearly they were obsessed with what made Clinton tick when he should have tocked.

Whitewater, as we now know, was a phony smokescreen Republicans used to justify what amounted to a full time, resident inquisitor who spent five years searching for anything that could tear down the Clintons. With what amounted to an unlimited checkbook of public money, subpoena power, a friendly Congress and about all the assets any prosecutor dreams of having, Kenneth Starr found nothing to hang on the President except Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress.

Bill Clinton was no saint. Neither were Newt Gingrich or Tom DeLay or so many others hounding Clinton all those years. During the impeachment process, Rep. Henry Hyde, who took on the role of chief U.S. House prosecutor, had to admit to an extra marital affair of his own.

Neither was Bill Clinton an LBJ. So what? Can you think of anyone, Republican or Democrat, who has duplicated LBJ’s talent for maneuvering through the legislative thicket to achieve success on difficult issues? Clinton made rookie errors in his early White House years. So did Reagan. So has Obama.

To be successful, television needs viewers. And since TV is pictures, reliving scenes of a sex scandal is bound to attract and hold more eyeballs than the intricacies of balancing a budget. The Lewinsky case and impeachment did consume an inordinate amount of public oxygen for years, along with various other failed Republican efforts to bring down President Clinton. Vince Foster, the White House travel office, missing files—thinking back it all seems like a bad dream. And all so pointless and historically insignificant.

Republican attempts to criminalize the President were scandalous, and the American public knew it. He left the presidency with the highest approval rating of any president since World War II. By the time the U.S. Senate voted down impeachment the public was sick to death of the entire episode. The largest grass roots organization of the past decade, Move On, was created by those begging political leaders to do that—-move on.

The PBS documentary billed itself as one of the first post-Clinton White House attempts to put those years in context. Why then, spend so much air time with a known self-aggrandizing sleezeball like Dick Morris and not a single bona fide historian? 

WAS DORIS KERNS GOODWIN asleep in the powder room?

Where were the first person interviews with members of Congress? Other than Robert Reich, who provided some excellent perspective, and Robert Rubin, Clinton’s treasury secretary, why no cabinet members? Clinton was portrayed generally as a failure in the foreign policy arena. Really? Is that how his foreign leader contemporaries viewed him? Did anyone ask Blair, Chirac or Putin?

If this attempt at defining the Clinton years were on cable TV I wouldn’t be surprised that sex and scandal were the highlight reels. But PBS?

PBS probably won’t apologize for this, Mr. President. But PBS is also the millions of us who contribute to keep it on the air. I can’t speak for anyone else, but from one loyal PBS member, I’m sorry. You deserved much better.

(Yes, millions of US but remember just one, George Soros contributed millions ensuring the highlights of the Clinton legacy would be short shrifted painting  Obama, the Renaissance Man of the 21st Century.)

(Joe Rothstein can be contacted at joe@einnews.com)

http://uspolitics.einnews.com/column/82749172/an-apology-to-former-president-bill-clinton-for-that-pbs-documentary

Bill Clinton endorses Emanuel, fires back at critics

In Bill Clinton, news on January 19, 2011 at 12:09 am

Former President Bill Clinton appears at a rally for Chicago mayoral candidate and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, in Chicago. Emanuel is vying to succeed the retiring Mayor Richard Daley. The election is Feb. 22. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Former President Bill Clinton endorsed Rahm Emanuel for Chicago mayor today and chastised critics who have sought to label the mayoral contender an outsider from Washington.

“We all knew where his heart was,” Clinton said of Emanuel’s love for Chicago while serving his presidential administration. “But we were glad to have his mind.”

Clinton recounted how he first met Emanuel while running for the White House and later tapped him to serve in a top strategic policy role. The former president called Emanuel “fearlessly honest” while acknowledging the candidate sometimes uses “extremely colorful language.” He credited Emanuel’s “skill set and values and sheer raw energy and determination and love” for the jobs he was assigned.

Speaking for nearly 20 minutes at the Chicago Cultural Center following a $250,000 closed-door fundraiser, Clinton said Chicago was “critical” to the nation’s future and needs “a big person for the job” of mayor.

“Rahm is not even 6-feet tall. He probably weighs about 150 pounds dripping wet. But in all the ways that are important, he is a very big person,” Clinton said. “He has made big decisions.”

Emanuel called Clinton a “teacher” and a “mentor” and credited the former president for instilling the values that led him to run for Congress as well as for mayor.

“I could not ask for a better role model than you,” he told Clinton and said he would “bring that same determination and grit” he displayed in the Clinton White House to the problems confronting the city.

“The challenge of change requires determination, strength, vision and courage,” Emanuel said. “Chicago is big enough, tough enough, strong enough and resilient enough to meet the challenge of change head on.”

Clinton’s endorsement was not without controversy. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., a former mayoral candidate, had contended Clinton risked jeopardizing his standing with the African-American community by endorsing Emanuel. Prior to Clinton’s appearance, Emanuel aides used the rally stage to feature various supporters who are African-American.

When Emanuel left the White House, Clinton appointed him to the board of Freddie Mac. Emanuel’s position on the board has been highlighted by other mayoral candidates, including Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle. In an attempt to distract from the star power Emanuel has been able to draw, both held news conferences an hour before Clinton is scheduled to arrive.

Chico accused Emanuel of failing a character test for not speaking out about unscrupulous accounting practices at mortgage giant Freddie Mac, where Emanuel was appointed to the board of directors by then-President Clinton in 2000.

Quoting repeatedly from a 2009 Tribune article about Emanuel’s time at Freddie Mac, Chico said company executives told the board about a plan to mislead shareholders about the profits the government-chartered company was then reaping from risky investments.

“Running for public office is about having the guts to do what’s right,” Chico said at his downtown campaign headquarters. “One of my opponents, Rahm Emanuel, likes to talk about ‘hard truths’ and ‘cleaning up City Hall.’ He even made an ad about it. But the question to be asked is, ‘Is Rahm Emanuel himself willing to tell the hard truths?'”

“It’s about character, about who will do what at the time, when something like this is presented to you,” Chico added. “And when it was presented to Rahm Emanuel, he chose to look the other way, sat on his hands, took the corporate fees and the stock options, and went away.”

Emanuel spokesman Ben LaBolt offered a response to Chico’s comments.

“Rahm didn’t sit on the audit committee and isn’t named in any of the reports on the matter. Again Mr Chico knows this isn’t credible,” LaBolt wrote in an e-mail.

Emanuel made at least $320,000 for his 14-month stint on the Freddie Mac board, the Tribune reported.

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2011/01/clinton-campaigning-in-chicago-for-emanuel-today.html

 

FOREIGN POLICYS TOP 100 GLOBAL THINKERS…(one guess)

In foreign policy, Global News, Smart Power, United States, Washington on December 3, 2009 at 8:19 pm


6. Bill Clinton

for redefining philanthropy in the modern era.

Former president | William J. Clinton Foundation | New York

Hillary Rodham Clinton

for giving “smart power” a star turn at the State Department.

Secretary of State | Washington

A year ago, there were questions. Would she play the follower in an administration she had hoped to lead? Would he use his global clout — tremendous, if no longer paramount — to give tacit support to the new, young Democratic administration? To both, the answer is yes, and more: In the past year, Bill and Hillary Clinton have solidified their status as the global power couple of all power couples.

Bill Clinton’s World

The former president on what to read, who to watch, and why there really is a chance of Middle East peace in 2010.

Bill Clinton’s brainchild, the Clinton Global Initiative, now in its fifth year, brings together leaders from aid organizations, academia, business, and government to put their checkbooks behind his big ideas. This year, they committed $9 billion to provide inoculations for 40 million, job opportunities for 80 million, and schools for 30 million, among other ambitious targets. In his off hours, he moonlights as a freelance diplomat, tackling Haiti, on behalf of the United Nations, and North Korea, as a private citizen.

In Port-au-Prince, he worked with humanitarian physician Paul Farmer to bolster investment and alleviate poverty. In Pyongyang, he successfully negotiated the release of two U.S. journalists and helped start a thaw in relations with the Hermit Kingdom.

Miraculously, Clinton kept his diplomatic side gig without stepping on the toes of his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This year, she has tirelessly broadcast the administration’s banner diplomatic message: The United States under Obama is a smart power, a participant in a “new era of engagement based on common interests, shared values, and mutual respect.” But Clinton is also aiming to remake the State Department itself. The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review she initiated promises a thorough, ongoing assessment of the massive bureaucracy in order to create a leaner, more responsive State Department capable of being the engine of Washington’s new diplomacy.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images


Bill Clinton’s World


The former president tells “Foreign Policy” what to read, who to watch, and why there really is a chance of Middle East peace in 2010.

DECEMBER 2009

If you wanted to know how Bill Clinton thought when he was president, you ignored the scripted set-piece speeches and instead went to listen to him talk off the cuff at an evening fundraiser. At night, he would ruminate extemporaneously on race, religion, science, and the nature of the human soul. His mind would roam widely and yet pull together disparate themes into a coherent narrative as no other politician of his generation. Today, the place to hear him think out loud is at the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, where he gathers hundreds of heads of state, business moguls, nonprofit executives, academics, and even Hollywood stars not just to talk about the world’s problems but to do something about them.

Peter Baker, White House correspondent for the New York Times, and Susan Glasser, Foreign Policy’s executive editor, caught up with Clinton there for an expansive conversation about identity, virtue, and riding the steppes with Genghis Khan. Below, the edited excerpts.

Last year we did not expect the economy to collapse quite the way it did. This year we did not think the people of Iran would take to the streets after the election. Looking ahead to 2010, what are the strategic surprises we ought to be looking for?

Bill Clinton: We should look around the world and see if there are any places where the political analogue of the financial crisis could occur. That is, what we know about all systems subject to a combination of stress and dynamism is that there are fractures and vulnerabilities that are not immediately apparent because people expect tomorrow to be a replica of yesterday and today. I always say, in a highly dynamic environment, it’s obvious you should always be working for the best and preparing for the worst. That’s easy to say, but how do you do that? And what are the warning signs? For example, could something go wrong in Nigeria as a result of a combination of economic and political conflict?

On the flip side, which other places in the world could still surprise us by doing something really smart and good? I still think there is some chance the Israelis and the Hamas government and the Palestinian government could make a deal. Because I think that the long-term trend lines are bad for both sides that have the capacity to make a deal. Right now, Hamas is kind of discredited after the Gaza operation, and yet [the Palestinian Authority] is clearly increasing [its] capacity. They are in good shape right now, but if they are not able to deliver sustained economic and political advances, that’s not good for them. The long-term trends for the Israelis are even more stark, because they will soon enough not be a majority. Then they will have to decide at that point whether they will continue to be a democracy and no longer be a Jewish state, or continue to be a Jewish state and no longer be a democracy. That’s the great spur.

The other thing that has not been sufficiently appreciated is the inevitable arc of technological capacity that applies to military weaponry, like it does to pcs and video games and everything else. I know that these rockets drove the Israelis nuts, and I didn’t blame them for being angry and frustrated — it was maddening. But let’s be candid: They were not very accurate. So it’s only a question of time until they are de facto outfitted with GPS positioning systems. And when that happens and the casualty rates start to really mount, will that make it more difficult for the Palestinians to make peace instead of less? Because they will be even more pressed by the radical groups saying, “No, no, look, look, we are making eight out of 10 hits. Let’s stay at this.” I think one of the surprising things that might happen this year [2010] is you might get a substantial agreement. Nobody believes this will happen, and it probably won’t, because of the political complexity of the Israeli government. But all I can tell you is, I spent a lot of time when I was president trying to make a distinction between the headlines and the trend lines. If there was ever a place where studying the trend lines would lead you to conclude that sooner is better than later for deal-making, it would be there.

FP: Who do you think is the smartest, most penetrating thinker you know (maybe other than your own family)? Are there people who should be on our list?

BC: Paul Krugman — I don’t always agree with him, but he is unfailingly good. David Brooks has been very good. Tom Friedman is our most gifted journalist at actually looking at what is happening in the world and figuring out its relevance to tomorrow and figuring out a clever way to say it that sticks in your mind-like “real men raise the gas tax.” You know what I mean?

Malcolm Gladwell has become quite important. The Tipping Point was a very good observational book about what happened and how change occurred. But I think his last book, Outliers, is even more important for understanding how we all develop and for making the case that even for people we view as geniuses, life is more of a relay race than a one-night stand by a one-man band or a one-woman band. I thought it was a truly exceptional book.

Robert Wright, the guy who wrote The Evolution of God, The Moral Animal, and the book he wrote in the middle, which had a huge effect on me as the president, Nonzero. This book about God is just basically an extension of his argument in Nonzero, which is essentially that the world is growing together, not apart. And as you have wider and wider circles of interconnection — that is, wider geographically, encompassing more people, and wider in bandwidth, encompassing more subject areas — you begin with conflict and you end with some resolution, some merging. So he says there is not an inherent conflict between science and God, and he explains why. Wright says, no, no, no, the religious and scientific can mix in accommodation. In Nonzero he argues that ever since people came out of caves and formed clans, people have been bumping up against each other, requiring expansion of identity, subconscious identity. You move from conflict to cooperation in some form or fashion. And so far the struggle between conflict and cooperation has come out before humanity triggered its capacity for self-destruction. So that whole Nonzero idea has now been translated into his argument on God, and I think he is a very important guy.

Another person I think has written some very interesting books on the ultimate imperative of cooperation in the human and other species is Matt Ridley. The one that had a pretty good influence on me is The Origins of Virtue. And by virtue he doesn’t mean, I never take a drink, even on Saturday night. He means civic virtue. How do we treat one another in ways that are constructive, and work together? I think that these are some of the many people. They are thinking about how the world works and how it might be at the same time. At this moment in history, we need people who have a unique understanding of both how the world works and how it might be better, might be more harmonious.

FP: The Cold War lasted about 40 years. Do you see this current struggle we are having with extremism, whatever you want to call it, the war on terror, do you see that lasting as long, or do you see that changing in some way over the next decade?

BC: How long it lasts depends on whether the places out of which really big, effective terrorist groups are operating remain essentially stateless. The territories in Pakistan and the border area with Afghanistan are not part of a centralized state. Robert Kaplan has written tons of books about what’s going on in the modern world, and if you read The Ends of the Earth and these books that say we are de facto, no matter what the laws say, becoming nations of mega-city-states full of really poor, angry, uneducated, and highly vulnerable people, all over the world, we would have a lot of slumdog millionaires. If that’s right, then terror — meaning killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority and go beyond national borders — could be around for a very long time. On the other hand, terrorism needs both anxiety and opportunity to flourish. So one of the things that the United States and others ought to be doing is trying to help the nation-state adjust to the realities of the 21st century and then succeed.

Resolving energy, ironically, could play a major role in reducing the appeal of terror because if we change the way we produce and consume energy all over the world, it would create opportunities for education, for entrepreneurs, for work, for involving women and girls in positive economic encounters, at every level of national income from the richest states to the poorest. Therefore, I think all of the creative energy thinkers need to be brought to bear on this because the world as it integrates has to have a source of new economic activity. In the poorer places just getting agriculture up to speed and putting all the kids in school, there is enough to keep going for a few years. But this energy thing could give us a decade of exhilarating self-discovery. Really smart energy thinkers, Amory Lovins, Paul Hawken, people who have been doing this for 30 years — what they’ve always known, before this ever became a serious debate, is, you couldn’t sell a clean green future unless you could prove it was good economics.

You should look at big thinkers on the question of identity. Samuel Huntington wrote the famous book The Clash of Civilizations. But we need an effort to explain and, if possible merge, theories of identity that are biological, psychological, social, and political, because it’s obvious that in an age of interdependence, you want Wright’s thesis, you want there to be more nonzero subsolutions. You want this thing to happen; you hope he is right that you can reconcile religion and science; you hope the president’s speech in Cairo turns out to be right, that it’s a walk in the park to reconcile religious differences. I gave a bunch of speeches on this after 9/11, saying that our religious and political differences could be reconciled. I think President Obama’s word was that we had to respect doubt.

What I always said was that if you are religious it meant by definition there was such a thing as Truth, capital T. So to make it work in a world full of differences, you had to recognize that there was a big distinction between the existence of Truth, capital T, and the ability of any one human being to understand it completely and to translate it into political actions that were 100 percent consistent with it. That’s what you had to do; all you had to do was accept human frailty. You can’t tell people of faith to be relative about their faith. They believe there is a truth. But the question of whether they can know it and turn it into a political program is a very, very different thing. That is an act of arrogance.

I was influenced by Ken Wilber’s book A Theory of Everything, because he tries to point out that throughout history we get connected to people who are different from us before our heads get around the implications of that, and then as soon as they do there is a parallel level of interconnectivity and we have to get our heads around that. All of the public intellectuals in the world need to be thinking quite a bit about this question of identity and need to recognize that in view of the findings of the human genome about the similarities of all of us, even the husband and wife who at the minimum are 99.5 percent the same — it’s pretty spooky, isn’t it?

FP: Lightning round: What are the three books you’ve been reading recently?

BC: I am reading H.W. Brands’s book on FDR. I am reading the new biography of Gabriel García Márquez, and I just finished Joshua Cooper Ramo’s book, which I thought was actually quite good, but I think he should write another one and think about the practical applications of the strategic insights and the theoretical insights.

FP: Top three leaders that people should pay attention to, other than Obama.

BC: The prime minister of Australia, Kevin Michael Rudd — he is really smart. He has a thirst to know and figure out how to do things.

I think people should study what Paul Kagame did in Rwanda. It is the only country in the world that has more women than men in Parliament (obviously part of the demographic is from the genocide). It may not be perfect, but Rwanda has the greatest capacity of any developing country I have seen to accept outside help and make use of it. It’s hard to accept help. They’ve done that. And how in God’s name does he get every adult in the country to spend one Saturday every month cleaning the streets? And what has the psychological impact of that been? The identity impact? The president says it’s not embarrassing, it’s not menial work, it’s a way of expressing your loyalty to and your pride in your country. How do you change your attitudes about something that you think you know what it means? How did he pull that off?

There are lots of fascinating leaders in Latin America worth studying. But I think it’s worth looking at Colombia. How has Medellín been given back to the people of Colombia? We all know President Uribe has faced criticism in the U.S., but how did Medellín go from being the drug capital of the world, one of the most dangerous places on Earth, to the host city of the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Development Bank? I would look at that.

I would look at another guy, José Ramos-Horta, the president of the first country in the 21st century, East Timor. Is it too small to be a nation? Can you get too small? Can your courageous fight for independence and freedom lead you to an economic unit that is not going to have a population or a geographic base big enough to take care of your folks? How are the Kosovars going to avoid that?

FP: Is there any country you haven’t been to yet that you want to go to?

BC: I want to go to Mongolia and ride a horse across the steppes and pretend I am in Genghis Khan’s horde — but I’m not hurting anybody! I want to go to Antarctica. There are places where I have been where I have only been working. I would like to take Hillary to climb Kilimanjaro, while there is still snow up there.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/11/19/bill_clintons_world?page=0,0

UPdated: Kosovo unveils statue honoring President William J. Clinton

In Global News, Kosovo, President Bill Clinton, United States on November 1, 2009 at 2:55 pm

INTERNATIONAL-US-KOSOVO-CLINTON-STATUE

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks in front of his statue in the capital Pristina, November 1, 2009. Clinton is in Kosovo where he unveiled the statue on Clinton's Boulevard. REUTERS/Hazir Reka

PRISTINA, Nov. 1, 2009 (Reuters) — Kosovo’s Albanian majority unveiled a statue of former U.S. president Bill Clinton on Sunday to thank him for saving them by stopping a wave of ethnic cleansing by Serbia.

 

As the U.S. President in 1999, Clinton launched NATO air strikes to halt the killing of ethnic Albanians by Serbian troops.

Clinton’s speech was interrupted several times by Kosovo Albanians wildly cheering his name and U.S.A., and waving U.S., Albanian and Kosovo flags.

“I am profoundly grateful that I had a chance to be a part of ending the horrible things that were happening to you 10 years ago giving you a chance to build a better future for yourself,” Clinton told the crowd.

The crowd chanted Clinton’s name when the former president started shaking hands with people along a boulevard named after him.

“I never expected … anywhere someone will make such a big statue of me,” Clinton said after his 3-meter (10 foot) statue was unveiled.

He urged Kosovars to build a multi-ethnic country with the minority Serbs and other minorities and said the United States would always help Kosovo’s people.

“You have to build something good and we should help,” he added.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia last year and was recognized by the United States and major European Union powers — a total of 62 countries worldwide but not by its former ruler Serbia, Russia and China.

Grateful Kosovo Albanians also named a central street in central Pristina after former U.S. president George W. Bush.

Kosovo Albanians regard Clinton, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Clinton’s state secretary Madeleine Albright as their saviors and have named their babies after them.

Ismail Neziri had travelled 60 km (37 miles) to see the president again after they met in a refugee camp in Macedonia where Neziri’s family had fled to escape the forces of late Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Around 10,000 Albanians were killed as Serb forces moved to wipe out an ethnic Albanian guerrilla force and 800,000 were expelled to neighboring Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro.

“I was only eight years in a refugee camp in Macedonia when Clinton took me in his hands and today he is the same big and young man,” said Neziri, 18, holding a U.S. flag.

“In 1996 everybody was speaking that Clinton is a good man and he will help us, and then my father named me after him,” said 13-year-old Klinton Krasniqi.

LINK

********** more…

Thousands of ethnic Albanians have braved the cold in Kosovo’s capital Pristina to welcome former president Bill Clinton at the unveiling of a statue of himself on a key boulevard that also bears his name.

Clinton is celebrated as a hero by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority for launching NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999 that stopped the brutal Serb forces’ crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.

This is his first visit to Kosovo since it declared independence from Serbia last year.

Many waved American, Albanian and Kosovo flags and chanted “USA!” as the former president climbed on top of a podium with his poster in the background reading “Kosovo honours a hero.”

Some peeked out of balconies and leaned on window sills to get a better view of Clinton from their apartment blocks.

To thunderous applause Clinton waved to the crowd as the red cover was pulled off from the 3.5 metre statue.

The statue is placed on top of a white-tiled base, in the middle of a tiny square, surrounded by communist-era buildings.

“I never expected that anywhere, someone would make such a big statue of me,” Clinton said of the gold-sprayed statue weighing nearly a ton.

He also addressed Kosovo’s 120-seat assembly, encouraging them to forgive and move on from the violence of the past.

The statue portrays Clinton with his left arm raised and holding a portfolio bearing his name and the date when NATO started bombing Yugoslavia, on March 24, 1999.

An estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians were killed during the Kosovo crackdown and about 800,000 were forced out of their homes. They returned home after NATO-led peacekeepers moved in following 78 days of bombing.

Leta Krasniqi, an ethnic Albanian, said the statue was the best way to express the ethnic Albanians’ gratitude for Clinton’s role in making Kosovo a state.

“This is a big day,” Krasniqi, 25 said. “I live nearby and I’m really excited that I will be able to see the statue of such a big friend of ours every day.”

Clinton last visited Kosovo in 2003 when he received an honorary university degree. His first visit was in 1999 – months after some 6,000 US troops were deployed in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission here.

Some 1,000 American soldiers are still based in Kosovo as part of NATO’s 14,000-strong peacekeeping force.

*******

Albanians kosovoAmazing! Such a truly great honor bestowed on our former president by a country showing their gratitude for the help President Clinton delivered ending the massacre of their people by a rouge dictator…. and the only photo I could find in the major news outlets commemorating Clinton’s legacy, besides the one above, is this one…. (Thanks to whoever converted the video feed to youtube.)

PIC UPdate: pictures courtesy of U-turning Hummingbirds during their migration to Argentina.

Kosovo Bill Clinton Visit

 

Ethnic Albanian children hold portraits of former US President Bill Clinton, during his visit in Pristina, Kosovo, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. Thousands of ethnic Albanians gathered in Kosovo's capital Pristina to welcome former President Bill Clinton on Sunday as he attended the unveiling of an 3.5 meter statue of himself on a key boulevard that also bears his name. Following the 1998-99 war authorities in Pristina changed the name of the capital city's thoroughfare from Vladimir Lenin Street to Bill Clinton Boulevard. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Kosovo

Former US President Bill Clinton, centre greets ethnic Albanians during his visit in Pristina, Kosovo, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. Thousands of ethnic Albanians gathered in Kosovo's capital Pristina to welcome former President Bill Clinton on Sunday as he attended the unveiling of an 3.5 meter statue of himself on a key boulevard that also bears his name. Following the 1998-99 war authorities in Pristina changed the name of the capital city's thoroughfare from Vladimir Lenin Street to Bill Clinton Boulevard. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

KOSOVO/

Workers install a monument to former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina, Kosovo October 12, 2009. The government of Kosovo said that Clinton's statue will be unveiled next month, with the former president expected to attend the ceremony. Picture taken October 12, 2009. REUTERS/Hazir Reka (KOSOVO POLITICS SOCIETY)

Kosovo Bill Clinton Visit

Former US President Bill Clinton poses with ethnic Albanians during his visit in Pristina, Kosovo, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. Thousands of ethnic Albanians gathered in Kosovo's capital Pristina to welcome former President Bill Clinton on Sunday as he attended the unveiling of an 3.5 meter statue of himself on a key boulevard that also bears his name. Following the 1998-99 war authorities in Pristina changed the name of the capital city's thoroughfare from Vladimir Lenin Street to Bill Clinton Boulevard. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

KOSOVO/

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton cuts a cake during his visit to Pristina, November 1, 2009. Clinton is in Kosovo where he unveiled his statue on Clinton's Boulevard. REUTERS/Hazir Reka (KOSOVO POLITICS)

President Bill Clinton to receive honorary doctorate from McGill University

In Award, President Bill Clinton on October 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Clinton-McGill U

Former U.S. President recognized for lifetime of outstanding leadership

McGill University is proud to announce that it will award an honorary doctorate to President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States of America, at a private honorary degree ceremony in Montreal on Friday, October 16.

“Few individuals define the expression global leader as perfectly as Bill Clinton,” said Heather Munroe-Blum, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University. “During his presidency and in the years since, President Clinton has demonstrated an unyielding devotion to social justice in the world. His continued leadership inspires us all to do more, and we are honoured to have the opportunity to formally recognize his contributions.”

About President Clinton

William Jefferson Clinton was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice – first in 1992 and then in 1996. Under his leadership, the country enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs.

After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. Today the Foundation has more than 1,400 staff and volunteers around the world working to improve lives through several initiatives, including the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, which is helping 2 million people living with HIV/AIDS access lifesaving drugs. Other initiatives — including the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative — are applying a business-oriented approach worldwide to fight climate change and develop sustainable economic growth in Africa and Latin America. As a project of the Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. In the U.S., the Foundation is working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity, and is helping individuals and families succeed and small businesses grow.

In addition to his Foundation work, President Clinton has joined with former President George H.W. Bush three times – after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008 – to help raise money for recovery efforts. He also served as the U.N. Envoy for Tsunami Recovery to help people “build back better.”

President Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. He and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have one daughter, Chelsea, and live in Chappaqua, New York.

About McGill University

McGill University, founded in Montreal, Que., in 1821, is Canada’s leading post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 34,000 students. McGill attracts students from more than 150 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,000 francophones – with more than 6,400 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body.

http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/news/item/?item_id=109899

Submit a Question to BILL CLINTON:

In Global News, Health Care, Human Rights, news on September 13, 2009 at 9:33 am

Now-now, be thoughtful and polite and maybe your question will be chosen.