Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Both/And: A Life in Many World Book Review

It’s easy to think that we know someone famous based on the headlines and the soundbites coming from the press. The reality is that we don’t know them at all.

Huma Abedin‘s memoir, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, was published last November. Born to Muslim Pakistani and Indian immigrants in Michigan, she spent her formative years in Saudi Arabia. Taking a job with the Clinton administration in the late 1990s, she has worked for Hillary Clinton for more than two decades. She is also known for her troubled marriage to Anthony Weiner, a politician whose fall from grace can only be described as brutal.

The reader is taken on a journey across the world and across the spectrum of local, national, and international politics over the last few decades. Abedin’s tale is that a woman who has broken boundaries, redefines what it is to be American, and that of a survivor who has thrived in spite of the dark times in her life.

This book is so good. Abedin leaves nothing off the table, telling her story in an emotionally honest and open manner. Her narrative is nothing short of inspirational.

The part of the book that was the most challenging for me as a reader was the scandal that broke up her marriage and opened the door to he who shall not be named. It is akin to a rollercoaster that had no off switch. Given what was being thrown at her, she could have easily taken to her bed and soothed her grief with food or alcohol. Instead, she took it one day at a time and got through it with her head held high and her courage intact.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Republican Fuckery: MTG’s Gazpacho Comment & You Know Who’s Burning Documents

When it comes to the United States, we want to believe that the people who work at the highest levels of our government are good faith actors, even if we do not agree with them.

The last few years have proven us wrong.

Last week, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene misspoke when she referred to Capitol police as Gazpacho police. Gazpacho is a type of soup.

“Not only do we have the DC jail, which is the DC gulag, now we have Nancy Pelosi’s Gazpacho Police spying on members of Congress,”

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What she meant to say was Gestapo. In Europe during World War II, they were the undercover arm of the police and were known for not being subtle or gentle in doing their job. I would love to laugh at her, knowing that this is not the first stupid comment she has made and it will likely not be the last. But I can’t. Once more the inappropriate use of Holocaust imagery is being used in a way that at best is misunderstood and at worst disrespectful.

In other news, he who shall not be named is accused of violating the Presidential Records Act. It requires all outgoing Presidential administrations to transfer all documentation to the National Archives. In a move that surprises no one, he is accused of taking boxes of classified documents to his home in Florida and destroying other paperwork along the way.

I don’t know about anyone else, this screams that he has something to hide. When someone is innocent of the crimes they are being accused of, they act in a certain manner. When they are guilty and know that they have done something wrong, they do anything and everything in their power to hide the evidence. The hypocrisy and silence from the right compared to the accusations leveled at Hillary Clinton during the last days of the 2016 Presidential election says it all.

Just another day of Republican fuckery in America.

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The Comey Rule Review

Politics is a strange push pull of personal needs vs. the needs of those who voted for you. It would be easy to say that you became a politician to serve the nation and your constituents. The harder aspect of the job is ignoring your gut instincts for prestige and press.

The Comey Rule premiered last year. Based on former FBI Director James Comey‘s 2019 book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Jeff Daniels steps in the role of the man whose held the fate of the 2016 Presidential election in his hands. The 4 part miniseries follows two different and important narratives in recent political history: the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the four year tenure of you know who in the Oval Office.

The discovery that Clinton used personal servers for government business sends Comey and his staff on a year long search to discover if anything untoward was located within her emails. When they come to the conclusion that it was just a mistake by the former Senator/Secretary of State/First Lady and her staff, Comey is torn as to how to proceed. He could keep it within bureau, or make a public statement. His wife, Patrice (Jennifer Ehle) and those who work under him advise Comey to not say anything to the press or or public. But, as we all know, he chose to bring this information into the light.

When a certain reality show star and businessman is elected President (played by a fantastic Brendan Gleeson), Comey does his best to do his job. But when it becomes clear that the new leader of the free world is underqualified, he knows that this man is different than any other who has held the role.

I loved this series. Combining news clips with scenes based from the real James Comey’s book, it is tense, dramatic, and reveals an aspect of the 2016 election that only a few at the time were privy to. If nothing else, it is a reminder of how important the separation of powers is and how democracy if not tended to as it ought to, can quickly disintergrate.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Comey Rule is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Impeachment: American Crime Story Review

Back in the late 1990’s, the impeachment trial of then President Bill Clinton was everywhere. His affair with Monica Lewinsky and the scandal that followed could not be ignored. One would have to be either living under a rock or under a certain age to at least not catch a whiff of what was coming from Washington DC.

The third season of the FX series, American Crime Story, focuses on the whirlwind that surrounded the Clinton administration following the rumor that he had an extramarital affair with Lewinsky, who was then an intern in her early 20’s. Clive Owen plays the former President. The four main female players are Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Hillary Clinton (Edie Falco), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford).

What I like about this series is that it takes the sexism that was part and parcel of this this entire affair and turns it on its head. Nowadays, Clinton has been politically lionized in some circles for what he did while in office. But it is easy to forget that his reputation was that of a hound dog who was not above forgetting his marriage vows. The focus is not on him, but the women around them. Depending on the sources, Lewinsky (who is one of the producers of this season), Clinton, Tripp, and Jones are either mocked, ignored, or vilified for their behavior during this period. Instead of being portrayed as 2D stereotypes, these women are fully rounded characters and finally allowed to tell this story from their perspective.

The cast is fantastic. Owens disappears under a prosthetic nose and a southern accent. Feldstein gives her character the breadth and depth that she finally deserves after being a punchline for twenty plus years. Paulson’s Tripp is sort of an anti-hero. The viewer may not agree with the decisions she made, but we learn more of her than the headlines portrayed back then. For their parts, Falco and Ashford are equally good, trying to hold their own in a world that does not do them justice.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Impeachment: American Crime Story airs on FX on Tuesday night at 10PM.

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Filed under Feminism, FX, History, Politics, Television, TV Review

Telling Dr. Biden to Change Her Name is Wrong

In 2020, what should good for the goose should also be good for the gander. Unfortunately, sexism is still alive and well, stating that there are one set of rules for men and another for women.

Last Friday, Joseph Epstein, a writer with the Wall Street Journal wrote an op-ed suggesting that Dr. Jill Biden drop the Dr. from her name.

This is a textbook definition of sexism. If she was a man, the suggestion would never be considered. But because she is a woman and married to the President-Elect, she has to (according to Epstein) choose between her career and her marriage. If that was not enough to make my blood boil, he referred to her as “kiddo”.

Anyone who has earned any sort of degree can attest to how much work and effort is needed to claim it as your own. To have earned the title of Dr. (regardless of whether one practices medicine or not) requires multiple years of commitment. Not only is the question demeaning to Dr. Biden, it is demeaning to the millions of women around the world who have earned advanced degrees and can call themselves Dr.

Dr. Biden is not the first political wife to have to choose between her marriage and her career. Decades ago, Hillary Clinton changed both her name and her image to ensure that her husband could keep his job.

What it comes down to, for me at least, is that feminism is a movement that is still needed. We just needed a kick in the literal pants to be reminded of that.

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Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump Book Review

The intelligence community is supposed to be non-partisan. Regardless of who is in office, their job is to protect the country. But like anything politically based these days, it is hard to be non-partisan.

Up until a few years ago, FBI agent Peter Strzok was just doing his job and minding his own business. Then you know who was elected and he was pulled into the whirlwind. Agent Strzok’s memoir, Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump, was published in September.

At the height of the 2016 Presidential election, the allegation of possible Russian interference and questions about the contents of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton‘s emails added to the growing tension. It was Agent Strzok’s job to investigate both. He concluded that not only had Russia helped you know who to win the election, their reach into the White House was deep. When his private conversations became public, he was fired after decades of service.

This is not one of the better books about the current state of American politics. Instead of just jumping into the meat of the book, he took his time. The problem is that while it was readable, I would have preferred to just jump into the climax of the narrative.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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200,000 Reasons to Vote for Biden and Harris

Anyone who has ever started a new job will attest that it takes a while to learn the ins and outs of the job. No one, regardless of how much previous experience they have, knows everything on day one.

Back in 2017, when you know who started in the position that he has now, someone told me to give him a chance. Then and now, I am a Democrat and was devastated that Hillary Clinton had not won the election. But a small part of me hoped that he would grow into the job.

Nearly four years later, the opposite has occurred and over 200,000 Americans are dead from Covid-19.

Everyone who has died was loved by someone. They were someone’s parent, sibling, child, spouse/partner, etc. Six months ago, they were alive. Today, they are dead because of the careless and egotistical man whom we refer to as President of the United States.

They are 200,000 reasons to vote for Biden and Harris in November.

#BidenHarris2020

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Hillary Documentary Review

To be a woman in the public eye (especially in the political world) is akin to walking a tight rope. You must appear to be feminine and live within the confines of what is acceptably “female”. But, if you are emotional, critics will make the accusation that your emotions are taking over. On the other hand, if you are are so called “bossy”, you are labelled as aggressive and a b*tch.

Hillary premiered on Hulu earlier this year. This four part documentary series followed the lives and career of former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Telling Mrs. Clinton’s story, the creative team wove in interviews, news clips and images to give the viewer a perspective on it’s subject that few have had up this point.

I enjoyed the documentary. In pulling back the curtain, the viewer is introduced the whole person, not just the image presented in the media. If there is one thing I admire about Mrs. Clinton is that she keeps going. Given the number of times that she has been knocked down, it would have been easier to stay down. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, she has become an icon, a hero, and a role model for women for generations to come.

I absolutely recommend it.

Hillary is available for streaming on Hulu.

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Rodham Book Review

Life sometimes comes down to a series of choices. But the thing about these choices is that we never know where these choices will lead us.

Curtis Sittenfeld‘s new novel, Rodham, was released back in May. The book asks one basic question: what if Hillary Rodham has not married Bill Clinton? How would her life had turned out?

The book starts out when they are both students at Yale Law School in the 1970’s. Finding a nearly ideal partner in one another, their romantic relationship is on fire. After graduation, Hillary follows Bill back to Arkansas. But instead of marrying him, she ends the relationship.

Over the decades, Bill and Hillary will cross paths as she builds a career in politics and grapples with the same sexism that existed in her youth.

This book is brilliant. Balancing both the known facts and the what if question, Sittenfeld creates a narrative that feels completely organic. I was immediately sucked in and taken through an alternative history that could have happened, had things gone differently.

I absolutely recommend it.

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It Would Have Been Nice to Say “Madam President” in 2020

If nothing else, America is an idealistic nation. We are dreamers and fighters, we do not give up because we are told no.

We are also a nation that can be hypocritical.

August 18th is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. In the nearly 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment, American women (and women across the world) have achieved what our grandmothers and great-grandmothers could have only dreamed of.

But with every battle that we have won, there is still much more work that is required of us if there is to be true equality between the sexes.

I would have liked very much to use the term “Madam President” this year. But there will be no women in either party on the ticket come this fall.

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In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s loss to you know who was heartbreaking. This year, we had brilliant and capable women who might have done a bang up job as President. Senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar had all of the qualities one would want in a President.

Of all of the female nominees, Senator Elizabeth Warren came the closest. Some in the press are arguing that it was sexism that ultimately doomed her campaign. I can’t disagree with their arguments, even if she was not my first choice for President.

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Though it is indisputable that these women will forever have a place in American history, it still does not dull the frustration of not being able to say “Madam President” in 2020.

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