Clinton let her people down


I am appalled by Donald Trump’s misogyny and  narcissism but I think he won the presidential race in spite of those traits rather than because of them.

I don’t think Hillary Clinton lost because she was a woman and I simply don’t believe this:

Recently I met a man whose wife is a pilot for American Airlines. Occasionally, he told me, she flies with a female co-pilot. At those times, in certain parts of America, a male passenger will board the plane, see that the cockpit contains two women, and turn around and get off. He would rather not fly than travel in a plane in female hands. . . 

On all but the smallest of planes it’s difficult if not impossible to see the pilots. Whether or not the door to the cockpit is open, one of the cabin crew stands in front of it as passengers enter.

How could someone get on, see both pilots, be more worried about their gender than getting to his destination, get off past the other passengers getting on and not trigger a full-scale terror alert?

The writer, Jennifer Egan continues:

We’ve watched Hillary bear, with dignity . .her shocking defeat by Donald Trump. She is a consummate leader: wry, forbearing, mature.

On election night she didn’t have the courage and composure to face her supporters.

Those hard-core Democrats, who would have worked very, very hard to help her win, had to make do with campaign manager John Podesta.

Failing to front wasn’t dignity.

It was putting herself before her supporters most of whom were volunteers who would have been just as upset as she was.

Failing to front wasn’t the act of a consummate leader.

It was a total lack of leadership.

It wasn’t wry, forbearing or mature.

It was the opposite.

She let her people down.

We were with Americans the weekend before the election. They said they didn’t like Trump but they didn’t trust Clinton.

Her election night failure to front her supporters gives credence to their doubts of her.

If she couldn’t do the right thing on election night, tough though it would have been, how would she have acted when faced with the even tougher tests a president must face?

Tribalism trumps principles


Had I been true to my principles I wouldn’t have voted for the National Party in 1984.

The big government, protectionist, high tax and spend policies Robert Muldoon and his government were pursuing did not align with my views on what was best for New Zealand.

I could have voted for Bob Jones’ New Zealand party, but I didn’t.

Why not?

I was a member of National, though not an active one, but still tribalism, my loyalty to the party, trumped my principles.

This must be what is happening in the USA.

So much of what Donald Trump stands for must be anathema to Republicans who want small government, a lightly regulated economy and free trade.

At least some Democrats must be more than a little concerned about Hillary Clinton.

But, even though polls show both candidates have more people who don’t want them than do, tribal loyalty will trump voters’ principles. They will vote/have voted for their party’s candidate and one of other of these unpopular people will become president.

Commentators who know far more about the USA, its politics and people than I do, are forecasting trouble whoever wins.

But political tragics forget that most people aren’t as wrapped up in the minutiae of politics and politicians as they are.

They overlook the fact that, imperfect as democracy in general and the way it’s operating in the USA at the moment in particular, is,  the vast majority of people where it’s been working, for better or worse, for hundreds of years, will accept the result.

And they don’t realise that, barring a major calamity, people carry on doing what they do as much in spite of governments and their actions as because of them.

If women ruled the world


Angela Merkel has been chancellor of Germany since 2005.

Hillary Clinton is likely, though not certain, to be the next president of the USA, if only because many people see her as the lesser of two evils when compared with the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Half the candidates vying to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations are women, including former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Theresa May has been sworn in as UK Prime Minister. (The BBC profiles her here.) and 14 other countries already have women as heads of government or elected heads of state .

The countries, women leaders and year they took office are:

* BANGLADESH: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2009)

* CHILE: President Michelle Bachelet (2014)

* CROATIA: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (2015)

* GERMANY: Chancellor Angela Merkel (2005)

* LIBERIA: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006)

* LITHUANIA: President Dalia Grybauskaite (2009)

* MALTA: President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (2014)

* MARSHALL ISLANDS: President Hilda Heine (2016)

* MAURITIUS: President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (2015)

* NAMIBIA: Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (2015)

* NEPAL: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari (2015)

* NORWAY: Prime Minister Erna Solberg (2013)

* POLAND: Prime Minister Beata Szydlo (2015)

* SOUTH KOREA: President Park Geun-hye (2013)

* TAIWAN: President Tsai Ing-wen (2016)    

Does being female make a difference to what they do and how they do it?

My answer to that is probably, everyone brings a different perspective to a role and gender would have some influence on the difference.

If women ruled the world some things would change but a female perspective in itself wouldn’t mean better or worse.

The world has and has had good and bad leaders and it will continue to have them regardless of whether they’re men or women.

But I think the world would be a better place if people were regarded as people, accepted and respected for what we have in common and differences like gender and race were immaterial.


Which century is this?


It’s hard to believe this is happening in the 21st century:

The group Return of Kings – which believes women should be controlled by men – is instructing members to meet in centres around the world including New Zealand.

“Tribal meetings” are being held in 44 international locations on February 6, and Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin are on the list.

American group leader Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, reportedly believes rape should be legalised on private property. . . 

On Return of Kings’ website, a list of beliefs includes a woman’s value depends on her fertility and beauty, and their emancipation has destroyed the family unit. . . 


Prime Minister John Key doesn’t think Mr Valizadeh would even be allowed into New Zealand.

“My view is we have a good character test and he wouldn’t meet that good character test.”

If these people believe women should be controlled by men, how will they cope if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency?.

Trump trumped by Cruz


Polls showed Donald Trump was the favourite going in to the Iowa primary but he’s been trumped by Senator Ted Cruz.

Mr Cruz, a conservative lawmaker from Texas, won with 28 percent of the vote compared to 24 percent for Mr Trump, according to MSNBC.

Speaking after the results, Mr Trump said he was “honoured” by his second-place finish and congratulated Mr Cruz.

Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida, came in third place with 23 percent.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, was in a dead heat with rival Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist and a senator from Vermont. . . 

Interesting times.

Quote of the day


In almost every profession – whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. – Hillary Clinton who celebrates her 68th birthday today.

Another Clinton contesting US presidency


Breaking news but no surprise – Hillary Clinton has announced she’s contesting the Democrat nomination for the US presidency.

It’s her second attempt and she has the support of the man who beat her the first time:

Over the weekend Ms Clinton earned high praise from Mr Obama.

“She was a formidable candidate in 2008. She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding Secretary of State. She is my friend,” Obama said at a regional summit in Panama.

 She is the wife of former President Bill Clinton and the election could turn into a race between her and Jeb Bush, the son and grandson of former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. the son of former president George H.W. Bush and brother of former president George W. Bush.

Friends, allies, partners


Under past administrations a lot of energy went in to deciphering the nuances in pronouncements on the relationship between the United States and New Zealand, particularly the difference between being friends and allies.

But that no longer matters. After yesterday’s press conference with Barack Obama and John Key, we’re officially partners:

He said he was very pleased that the relationship with New Zealand was “growing stronger by the day.”

He also said: “I’ve always been stuck by the intelligence and thoughtfulness
that the Prime Minister brings to his work.”

. . .  Mr Obama made mention of the fact that the two foreign ministers – Hillary
Clinton and Murray McCully – were in Bali together at the ASEAN Regional Forum
and were looking at further ways to work together from “green growth to trying
to standardise regulations to increase the flow of trade”.

“And throughout this process whether it’s in Apec settings, now the East Asia
summit, we’ve always found New Zealand to be an outstanding partner.

“And Prime Minister Keys personally has always been an outstanding partner on
these issues.”

Given the difficulties the President is facing with the economy and the a senate unwilling to back his plans for recovery, the Prime Minister’s visit would not have been a high priority.

But we have much to gain in trade and security by a closer relationship with the United States and the meeting was another positive step towards that.

Apropos of the visit, in his speech to the Washington Chamber of Commerce, the PM said that:

 . . . while the US and New Zealand economies have many differences, we also have a lot in common.

At the most basic level, we share a commitment to the democratic, capitalist system.

Our governments are freely elected. Our economies encourage enterprise, hard work, and innovation. We trust people to get on with their lives and make the best choices for themselves. We also both understand the importance of world-class education.

For these reasons, our countries are amongst the most sought after places to live, raise families, and do business.

 He also noted that the US has contributed about 10% of the $90 million rasied for the Canterbury earthquake appeal.

Hillary Clinton not standing for president?


Did I hear Guyon Espiner on Q&A say that Hillary Clinton had told him that she wouldn’t stand for president?

But interestingly, she ruled herself out of the presidency.  There was a bit of interest overseas about that comment, because there was some thought that because Obama had been hammered at the midterms that did this open the door for Clinton to actually come in and fulfil John Key’s prophesy that she would be President Clinton one day?  But she said, ‘No, no, no.  Not me.’

Is that a real, absolutely, definite I won’t stand or an it’s better politically at the moment to say I won’t stand ?

Grin & grip caption contest #2


The All Blacks and Helensville in the background can’t be a coincidence.

The photo was borrowed from here. Captions welcomed.

Adam Smith is also inviting captions for a different photo from the same event.

Can we laugh yet?


One of the wonderful signs of human resilience is the ability to laugh in the face of great difficulty and to find the seeds of comedy in disaster.

In light of that, and the previous two posts, I hope it’s not too soon to share New Zealanders appeal unintelligibly for help after urthquake which starts:

World governments admitted they were ‘baffled’ last night after the New Zealand government issued a ‘fully incomprehensible’ message about an ‘urthquike’.

And finishes:

Julia Gillard, the newly-reelected prime minister of New Zealand’s English-speaking neighbour Australia, welcomed the US response. ‘She said it was ‘terliddle terlate yabladdy drongos’, Mrs Clinton said. ‘My translators tell me that means ‘God bless America.’

You can read the whole thing at News Biscuit.

In your own right


When we were first married I was often asked if I was my farmer’s wife because he’d been national president of Young Farmers and was well known in the district and further afield for various other – mostly positive 🙂 – reasons.

It took a job as rural reporter on Radio Waitaki before I became better known in my own right and I knew I’d finally got there when my farmer went to buy some sheep and the first thing the vendor said to him was, “are you Ele’s husband?”

This story  about Bill Clinton brought that back because although he’s referred to as a former president he’s also called:

Clinton, the husband of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, . . .

Domestic affairs



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