US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. Wall Street protesters need to be focused, practical (Chicago Sun Times)

Of course Occupy Wall Street makes sense, says this editorial. As do Occupy Chicago, Occupy Atlanta and all the other offshoots of this national grassroots protest movement against the lopsided power of corporate and Wall Street interests in American political and economic life.

2. Don't make it hard to vote (Philadelphia Inquirer)

In 14 states controlled by Republican legislators, voters face new restrictions that "could make it significantly harder ... to cast ballots in 2010," reports this editorial.

3. How to Fix California's Democracy Crisis (New York Times)

Direct democracy in California was meant to bring the people into the governance process, but voters have become consumers of television sound-bite campaigns, writes James S. Fishkin.

4. Who signed Anwar al-Awlaki's death warrant? (Washington Post)

Richard Cohen does not share Ron Paul's indignation, but does share his dismay: A U.S. citizen was killed on a functionary's say-so.

5. NASA needs clear mission (Omaha World Herald)

There is no way to know what advances might come from new NASA research, concedes this editorial. What is certain, though, is that without a farsighted commitment by NASA, those advances will not be made in America.

6. How the Campaign Season Got So Long (Wall Street Journal)

Thank Jimmy Carter for the seemingly interminable presidential horse race, says Larry J. Sabato -- and the state of Florida, too.

7. You Have to Gamble on Your Health (New York Times)

H. Gilbert Welch asks: Is screening for prostate cancer and breast cancer worth it? No matter what the task force recommends, there is no easy answer.

8. Morality, not theology (Los Angeles Times)

With his swipe at Mitt Romney's Mormonism at the Value Voters Summit, Robert Jeffress played into the worst stereotypes about the GOP as a bigoted and theocratic party for evangelical Christians alone, writes Jonah Goldberg.

9. Districts should be based on common interests (Boston Globe)

The districts should be as compact as possible, respect municipal boundaries as much as possible, and split up natural constituencies as little as possible, says this editorial.

10. This Is Not Your Father's Democratic Party (Roll Call)

For anyone old enough to remember Bucky Dent's memorable home run in the 1978 Yankees-Red Sox playoff, the current makeup and political strategy of the Democratic Party has to seem very odd, and while that was an asset in 2006 and 2008, it very definitely looks like a problem in 2012, writes Stuart Rothenberg.

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Five things Hillary Clinton’s released emails reveal about UK politics

The latest batch of the presidential hopeful’s emails provide insight into the 2010 Labour leadership contest, and the dying days of the Labour government.

The US State Department has released thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails. This is part of an ongoing controversy regarding the presidential hopeful’s use of a private, non-governmental server and personal email account when conducting official business as Secretary of State.

More than a quarter of Clinton’s work emails have now been released, in monthly instalments under a Freedom of Information ruling, after she handed over 30,000 pages of documents last year. So what does this most recent batch – which consists of 4,368 emails (totalling 7,121 pages) – reveal?
 

David Miliband’s pain

There’s a lot of insight into the last Labour leadership election in Clinton’s correspondence. One email from September 2010 reveals David Miliband’s pain at being defeated by his brother. He writes: “Losing is tough. When you win the party members and MPs doubly so. (When it's your brother...).”


Reaction to Ed Miliband becoming Labour leader

Clinton’s reply to the above email isn’t available in the cache, but a message from an aide about Ed Miliband’s victory in the leadership election suggests they were taken aback – or at least intrigued – by the result. Forwarding the news of Ed’s win to Clinton, it simply reads: “Wow”.


Clinton’s take on it, written in an email to her long-time adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, is: “Clearly more about Tony that [sic] David or Ed”.

Blumenthal expresses regret about the “regression” Ed’s win suggests about the Labour party. He writes to Clinton: “David Miliband lost by less than 2 percent to his brother Ed. Ed is the new leader. David was marginally hurt by Tony's book but more by Mandelson's endorsement coupled with his harsh statements about the left. This is something of a regression.”


Peter Mandelson is “mad”

In fact, team Clinton is less than enthusiastic about the influence Mandelson has over British politics. One item in a long email from Blumenthal to Clinton, labelled “Mandelson Watch”, gives her the low-down on the former Business Secretary’s machinations, in scathing language. It refers to him as being “in a snit” for missing out on the EU Commissioner position, and claims those in Europe think of him as “mad”. In another email from Blumenthal – about Labour’s “halted” coup against Gordon Brown – he says of Mandelson: “No one trusts him, yet he's indispensable.”

That whole passage about the coup is worth reading – for the clear disappointment in David Miliband, and description of his brother as a “sterling fellow”:


Obsession with “Tudor” Labour plotting

Clinton appears to have been kept in the loop on every detail of Labour party infighting. While Mandelson is a constant source of suspicion among her aides, Clinton herself clearly has a lot of time for David Miliband, replying “very sorry to read this confirmation” to an email about his rumoured demotion.

A May 2009 email from Blumenthal to Clinton, which describes Labour politicians’ plots as “like the Tudors”, details Ed Balls’ role in continuing Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s “bitter rivalry”:


“Disingenuous” Tories “offending” Europe

The Tories don’t get off lightly either. There is intense suspicion of David Cameron’s activities in Europe, even before he is Prime Minister. Blumenthal – whose email about a prospective Cameron government being “aristocratic” and “narrowly Etonian” was released in a previous batch of Clinton’s correspondence – writes:

Without passing "Go," David Cameron has seriously damaged his relations. with the European leaders. Sending a letter to Czech leader Vaclay Klaus encouraging him not to sign the Lisbon Treaty, as though Cameron were already Prime Minister, he has offended Sarkozy., Merkel and Zapatero.

He also accuses him of a “tilt to the Tory right on Europe”.

In the same email, Blumenthal tells Clinton that William Hague (then shadow foreign secretary), “has arduously pressured for an anti-EU stance, despite his assurances to you that Tory policy toward Europe would be marked by continuity”.

In the aftermath of the 2010 UK election, Blumenthal is apprehensive about Hague’s future as Foreign Secretary, emailing Clinton: “I would doubt you’ll see David again as foreign secretary. Prepare for hauge [sic, William Hague], who is deeply anti-European and will be disingenuous with you.”

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.