Nooz

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big picture stuff

Here’s some nooz for you, and maybe news, also: This morning’s “urgent issues and innovative solutions” panel here at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference featured an interesting exchange between Thomas “My World Is Flat” Friedman and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan.

This is from my notes, and the quotes may not be exact. Musharraf was asked to speak to the situation in Afghanistan. The increasing power of the Taliban, said Musharraf, has a lot to do with the presence of foreign troops; the people of Afghanistan feel antipathy toward foreign troops.

Including U.S. troops, Friedman asked. Yes, said Musharraf.

So, we are part of the solution and part of the problem, said Friedman.

Part of the problem, said Musharaff.

(Scattered applause from audience.)

Jude Nagurney Camwell of Iddybud had the sense to bring a recording device, so she’s got an audio of the whole thing. Maybe one of us can figure out how to post an audio link to selected portions of the program.

Javier Solona, who is Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, inspired another nooz zinger. He was speaking to the work he did to diffuse tensions surrounding the Danish cartoon flap. Of course we respect free speech, he says, but if we are serious about reducing the divides that exist in the world, we need to exercise some responsibility and prudence in the terms we use to talk about Islam

Is one of those terms Islamic fascism? Friedman asked. Solona sort of nodded and shrugged, but I didn’t catch an audible answer.

Did I mention First Lady Laura Bush was there?

The Clinton Global Initiative is, basically, a big whoop-dee-doo conference of heads of state and other big shots of business and religion to address global challenges. There are working sessions in four general areas: (1) energy and climate change; (2) global health; (3) poverty alleviation;and (4) reducing religious and ethnic conflict. I plan to listen in to these from the press room. What makes CGI different from other big whoop-dee-doo conferences is that people are challenged to make specific action commitments, and if they don’t keep their commitments they don’t get to come to next year’s CGI. In this way, people can’t just show up for the free buffets and not think about global challenges until the next conference.

The commitment process is vaguely similar to accepting Jesus at a revival; some people who have made commitments come up to the podium and publicly sign their agreement, then get their picture taken with Big Bill. You can browse commitments here. Last year’s was the first CGI conference, at which 300 commitments worth $2.5 billion were made.

Now, back to the nooz.

The plenary session took place in huge conference room at the Sheraton on the Upper West Side. Some of us bloggers planted ourselves on the edge of the platform built for the television cameras. We had a line of tripods in back of us and a line of very large security guys — Secret Service, maybe — in front of us. You can spot the security guys because they all have plastic coils coming out of their ears and running down the back of their coats. As I couldn’t see much else, I watched the back of the coat in front of me. It was black. Sometimes the security guy would shift his position a bit, and then I could glimpse one of the big screens or even the actual person speaking.

President Clinton spoke first and talked about how CGI is about tackling big global challenges in bite-size pieces. Then Laura Bush spoke about how her husband’s administration wants to build partnerships between governments and business to address poverty. These transactions must be transparent, Mrs. Bush said, and government must invest in their people. Wow sounds like the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, huh? Oh, wait …

Then Steve Chase and Jean Chase and some other guy accepted Jesus and signed their commitments, and we crashed ahead to the above-mentioned panel.

Beside Friedman, Musharraf, and Solona, the panelists were President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and President Alvaro Uribe Velez of Colombia. President Velez emphasized his country’s need for reduction in violent crime and the need for agrarian reform, notably reform that would prevent so many farmers from growing coca. President Johnson-Sirleaf wants to help her people grow beyond subsistence farming and help young people develop the job skills that would attract capital investment in her country.

Musharraf provided most of the morning’s juicy bits. He discussed the difference between al Qaeda and the Taliban, from his perspective — al Qaeda members tend to be foreigners who move into Pakistan, but the Taliban takes root among the local folks. According to Musharraf, Mullah Omar (remember Mullah Omar? I haven’t heard his name in quite a while) still runs the Taliban.

I’m going to come back and add to this in a bit; let me get this much published while the wireless connection is working.

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3 Comments

  1. justme  •  Sep 20, 2006 @3:20 pm

    Well I hope someone took notes(or drawn pictures) for laura to take to georgie, especially with regard to Musharraf”s(you know the guy who’s name little georgie didn’t know?)comments.I am betting you won’t read about those comments anywhere in the MSM, and what a shame because it is info all Americans need to hear.
    I wished someone would have asked Musharraf about his recent “agreement” with the Taliban in more detail than what little we already know. I have a feeling what we do know has been purified for our consumption by the powers that be to the point where we may not know the half of it.I also wish he would have commented on our little bombing raid we pulled on his country a while back, although I am sure most Americans have forgotten it since they don’t seem to focus longer than one news cycle.
    Personally I think Laura bush has a lot of nerve even showing her face at an event like this.Her husband has done nothing for this world but destroy it, one piece at a time.Help from that bunch of criminals is a joke.IF….and I mean IF she really wants to do something to heal the world she should go home and pack her shit, rent a uhaul,and tell her husband to step aside.She should come out and tell the world her husband is a torturing war criminal and give us the proof we need to lock him away where he belongs so he can NEVER harm another soul…shy of that there is NOTHING laura bush can do to help this world(although it would have been nice had she raised daughters that were not tramps and could hold down jobs)…For her to be there is like taking a giant piss on the entire event….isn’t it cute? Her husband is a mass murderer ..someone should tell her the biggest threat this entire world faces is her nutty ass husband…Maybe she will make a pledge to contain him and not be invited back next year when she doesn’t follow thru..
    And don’t even get me started on what she is wearing.It would be nice just once to see her wear something proper. With a ass as big as hers someone should tell her tight skirts make her look like sausage stuffed in casing..”.it aint pretty” as they say in these parts.I hope she is taped down from head to toe or ann althouse will freak out because you know, it just isn’t proper to look like a women in public.She better be REAL careful how she is photographed with Bill cause I am watching very close.know what I mean?????Lets hope for her sake ann althouse picks her clothes.

  2. Ivan Raikov  •  Sep 20, 2006 @4:07 pm

    I am nitpicking, but it’s actually Javier SOLANA. You misspelled his name three times, so I though I’d point this out.

  3. Tom Hilton  •  Sep 20, 2006 @7:29 pm

    What makes CGI different from other big whoop-dee-doo conferences is that people are challenged to make specific action commitments, and if they don’t keep their commitments they don’t get to come to next year’s CGI. In this way, people can’t just show up for the free buffets and not think about global challenges until the next conference.

    I’m way behind the curve on CGI (out here on the West Coast, that stands for something very different), but this is really interesting–and very typical Clinton, more concerned with results than just looking good.

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