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Friday, July 19, 2013

Samantha Power Has No Backbone

Posted by on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM

You may remember when Harvard academic Samantha Power, an up and coming member of the foreign policy establishment, resigned from the Obama campaign after calling Hillary Clinton "a monster" during the 2008 primary. Power had written a powerfully-researched book about genocide that won the Pulitzer Prize. She's been described as a "human rights advocate."

Which makes her performance at a Congressional confirmation hearing yesterday to become Ambassador to the United Nations all the more pathetic. Here's the transcript of the hearing. The part where she slavishly toes the American exceptionalist line is below—edited for brevity:

SEN. RUBIO: OK. Then in 2003 in an article you recommended a historical — quote, “a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored or permitted by the United States,” unquote. Which crimes were you referring to and which decisions taken by the current administration would you recommend for such a reckoning?

MS. POWER: Thank you, Senator, and, again, thank you for giving me occasion to respond to that. I, as an immigrant to this country, think that this country is the greatest country on Earth, as I know do you. I would never apologize for America. America is the light to the world.

SEN. RUBIO: So is — I would categorize the Rwanda situation as a crime, as — the words used — “permitted by the United States.” Which ones did the United States commit or sponsor, that you were referring to?

MS. POWER: Again, sir, I think this is the greatest country on Earth. I — we have nothing to apologize for.

SEN. RUBIO: OK. So you don’t have any in mind, now, that we’ve committed or sponsored?

MS. POWER: I will not apologize for America. I will stand very proudly, if confirmed, behind the U.S. placard.

SEN. RUBIO: No, I understand. But do you believe the United States has committed or sponsored crimes?

MS. POWER: I believe the United States is the greatest country on Earth, I really do. (Chuckles.)

SEN. RUBIO: Well, that’s — so your answer to whether we’ve committed or sponsored crimes is that the United States is the greatest country on Earth.

MS. POWER: The United States is the leader in human rights. It’s the leader in human dignity.



Comments (36) RSS

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seatackled 1
Not slavishly toeing the American exceptionalist line is a great way to go if you plan on not getting confirmed.
Posted by seatackled on July 19, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 2
What seatackled said.

She wants the job. She's not getting the job without licking some Republican anus. What she does when she gets the job is what actually matters.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM · Report this
I agree, there was no point in falling for this republican bait. They are looking for anything to use as ammunition. It's not like she's writing this in an op-ed, she's just jumping through the hoops.
Posted by Jude Fawley on July 19, 2013 at 4:56 PM · Report this
Sorry about the mixed metaphor @3.
Posted by Jude Fawley on July 19, 2013 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
Jesus Christ, it's like the Soviet show trials.
Posted by Fnarf on July 19, 2013 at 5:01 PM · Report this
Those kind of answers are becoming more and more standard, both in senate hearings and on talk shows. Ignore the question; parrot the talking point; rinse; lather; repeat. It's infuriating, or, at least, I hope it infuriated Rubio. Since he's answered his share of questions in the past using the same strategy, he can only sputter impotently. You don't get confirmed by answering questions; you get confirmed by not uttering twenty words in a row that can be snipped out and quoted in a five second blip on Fox News. The only way not answering the question can hurt you is if someone listens to you over several minutes, and they think "wow, how evasive!" Fortunately, several minutes is much longer than the attention span of a FoxNews watcher.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on July 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Dougsf 7
What others said. If confirmed, she has the opportunity to use her knowledge to affect policy. What was she supposed to do, flip the table and yell "this whole COUNTRY is out of order!"?
Posted by Dougsf on July 19, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
I thought it was a fair (an obviously derisive) response to stupid questions.

Notwithstanding Obama's (apparent) fuckups with NSA, Manning etc he and his appointees are obviously far away better than the Republicans.

Is that unfortunate? Sure.

Does Power have to say stupid (though basically true when you consider the size of the nation) things to get confirmed? Seems so.
Posted by David Sucher on July 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 9

Hillary should be branded an international criminal by the UN and banned from global travel.

Her sponsorship of NAFTA lead to the economic dislocation of 20 million agricultural workers who were forced from farms into a life on the run, crossing borders, and facing shotguns, because she took their livelihood away.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on July 19, 2013 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 10
Congress gets the answers it deserves.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on July 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this
raindrop 11
It's hardly "bait" when the question posed is for a clarification about something she wrote:
a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored or permitted by the United States.

It is excruciatingly logical and as well interesting about the subject to ask for specifics. It is such a malleable quote that she could have easily wiggled out of it.
Here's how:

"Senator, in hindsight those remarks were said in an overly generalized way. Essentially meaning that the United States needs to address its shortcomings in its policies. Certainty the United States does not sponsor criminal acts."
Pause and smile.
"We are the greatest country on Earth."
Posted by raindrop on July 19, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 12
Well, Senator Prescott Bush participated in and supported the I.G. Farben slave labor program. Do you want me to continue, Senator?
Posted by Ballard Pimp on July 19, 2013 at 6:01 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 13
"I would never apologize for America. America is the light to the world."

That does sound like something Hillary would say.
Posted by undead ayn rand on July 19, 2013 at 6:05 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 14
Hate it when I agree with Raindrop.

Hey, have you ever addressed the never-ending allegations that you've lived a double life, once posting to Slog under an assumed name that demonstrated a proclivity for sexual relations with men and support for goofball Republican presidential candidates?

I don't think it's a big deal at all and the similarities between you two are uncanny. You're both reserved and really quite articulate, occasionally douchebaggy, and seem to appear only in one another's absences. In fact, I bet we'd be hard pressed to find a thread you were both posting in. I certainly don't give anywhere near enough a shit to look, but do think it's somewhat remarkable.
Posted by mikethehammer on July 19, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
delirian 15
Samantha Power is fine. She is just testifying as she has to. But in any case, if deviates from her values and starts blocking everything that criticizes Israel, then I will be very disappointed with her. She has a lot of promise, and I think she knows the scale of the tragedy occurring in Palestine. I hope she acts on it.
Posted by delirian on July 19, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
delirian 16
Oh, and the US is not the greatest country on Earth. We might have been at one point, but we have lost our way. There are probably over a dozen countries that could claim that title right now. And while we continue parroting that line, we will never have the level of introspection required to recognize how vile we have become. We are decades behind the rest of the world in the advances in human rights and economic prosperity for all citizens. But the only thing we ever see is a mirror. We need to look outside of our borders and see how fucked up we are in comparison. And we need to stop repeating that propaganda line.
Posted by delirian on July 19, 2013 at 6:33 PM · Report this
Between the bike helmet post and this one, I honestly think Ansel's just trolling for comments now.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on July 19, 2013 at 6:55 PM · Report this
fletc3her 18
@9 No.
Posted by fletc3her on July 19, 2013 at 7:10 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 19
All you have to do is look at the person asking the questions: a Republican from Florida. It's like talking to a well-armed psychotic, you do a lot of smiling & nodding.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on July 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 20

PRISM is on your tail.

The stalking has to end, creep.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on July 19, 2013 at 9:18 PM · Report this

So in other words (per Fox News), "The United States needs to address its shortcomings." End of story.
Posted by cheakamus on July 19, 2013 at 9:27 PM · Report this
sirkowski 22
>Implying reptilians can tell the truth.
Posted by sirkowski on July 20, 2013 at 12:28 AM · Report this
Well gosh, yes, let's instead hear what sort of government or ideology Ansel Herz believes to be "the light to the world."

We've been waiting on pins and needles for him to tell us exactly what sort of socio-political system he wants to live in in the future; why is he withholding that quite relevant piece of information from his reading public?
Posted by robotslave on July 20, 2013 at 1:25 AM · Report this
Sam Power has done a lot of backpedaling and caving in since the Hillary quote derailed her career. It seems that her commitment to being successful is more important than her integrity.
Understandable if you want to be in the political world, but sad for an academic who used to be respected.
Posted by Ignatz Mouse on July 20, 2013 at 5:48 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 25
If that fucker Rubio was questioning me, I'd be equally evasive. The minute you give one of those right wing shits an opening, it's over
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 20, 2013 at 7:48 AM · Report this
Posted by treehugger on July 20, 2013 at 7:49 AM · Report this
what the fuck? usa committed horrible crimes aiding death squads and toppling governments democratically elected and we now justify some democrat licking the anus of the GOP?how do you expect the average joe the plumber to EVER know what we have done if we SILENCE OURSELVES? jesus what a bunch of toadying lackeys.
Posted by the Toadycrat party on July 20, 2013 at 8:20 AM · Report this
venomlash 28
>implying reptilians have any concept of truth
Posted by venomlash on July 20, 2013 at 9:06 AM · Report this
Guatemala (quite a number of times), Honduras (quite a number of times), Brazil, Iran, Panama (quite a number of times), the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and on and on and on.....

NAFTA, GATT, WTO Financial Services Agreement, Trans-Pacific Partnership and on and on and on......

Oh geez, Power worked at Morty Zuckerman's US News & World Report, and The Economist!!!!!!

(Although she did win the Pulitzer Prize, putting her right up there --- or far down there --- with Eli at The Stranger!)
Posted by sgt_doom on July 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM · Report this
But look, Power is married to Harvard's agent of "cognitive infiltration" --- Cass Sunstein!

(She was also, in 2004, was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world that year --- always an red flag if there ever was one!)

Of course, if Power is married to Sunstein, then we must once again review a previous commentary by yours truly:

The Matrix Fully Realized

This just released and publicized poll by claims that a majority of Americans have shifted against NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden.

But wait! The sampling was done online, on the Web, not directly speaking to actual humans, actual American citizens!

Now chatbots, trollbots, opinionbots, etc., software designed to appear as online human commenters and respondents, have been around since the late 1990s, with a number of government agencies utilizing them to mold public opinion: the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, DHS, etc.

It was just reported last week that the US Department of State spent almost $1 million to establish friends and friending on FaceBook!

Now President Obama appointed Harvard's Cass Sunstein --- the evangelist of "cognitive infiltration" --- to coordinate the artificial consensus manufacturing software of these agencies so that everyone is on the same page, working from the same script, to create and mold artificial public opinion, or pseudo-consensus!

Unless and until that time when, or any other such organization, can categorically prove they were polling actual humans, actual citizens, such polls must be considered specious undertakings, meant to form said opinion, not report it!…


(Update: A later poll, which actually polled real, live human Americans, found that 54% believed Edward Snowden to be a certified NSA whistleblower!)
Posted by sgt_doom on July 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
@28, v-lash, take it easy on those reptiles as they suffer from a major problem:

Reptile Dysfunction

'Nuff said.....
Posted by sgt_doom on July 20, 2013 at 11:13 AM · Report this
runswithnailclippers 32
The U.S. has no one to apologize to! Oh, except:

Most of Central America
Most of South America
East Timor
Innocent people picked up around the world, tortured then released
Innocent people sent to Guantanamo Bay and held there still
Torture victims
All the world's people that have been spied on via NSA

Posted by runswithnailclippers on July 21, 2013 at 8:16 AM · Report this
I feel my life would be improved if there were a sarcasm or facetiousness font. I cannot tell what to think here.
Posted by reino on July 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
lolorhone 34
@11: Your suggested dialogue made me hurl even harder than what she actually said. Was that the point?
Posted by lolorhone on July 22, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this
@32: Word. Also Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Philippines... the list goes on, and on.
Posted by Ansel Herz on July 22, 2013 at 2:52 PM · Report this
What would Weiner say?
Posted by WenG on July 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this

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