Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hillary News & Views 8.12: #BLM Boston, Substance Abuse, and Raising the Social Security Cap

Today's edition of Hillary News & Views focuses on her visit to New Hampshire yesterday, where she met privately with leaders of Boston's #BlackLivesMatter movement, attended a forum on substance abuse, and promoted her New College Compact that was first announced on Monday. She also talked about clean energy and her willingness to raise the Social Security payroll cap.

The big news story out of New Hampshire surrounded the #BlackLivesMatter leaders who attempted to protest a Clinton event, and ended up meeting with the candidate privately. Politico reports:
The group – affiliated with Black Lives Matter organizations in the Boston area — told reporters afterwards that they asked Clinton about “her and her family’s history with the war on drugs both at home and abroad, and how she felt about her involvement in that violence that has been perpetuated, especially against communities of color and against black folks,” said Daunasia Yancey. “We wanted to know her reflections on her involvement as first lady, as senator, and as secretary of state.”
“What we got was a Hillary Clinton who was willing to delve into the issues given her platform constraints, but she was not willing to take responsibility for or give much voice to the anti-blackness current. She validated some of the points that we offered, but she didn’t offer many of her own,” said Julius Jones of Worcester, Mass. “She was intentional about meeting us. She got something out of the meeting, that much is certain. What I feel like I got out of the meeting was to press her in a very real way and probably in a way that she hasn’t been pressed in a long time.”
Clinton’s response, which they declined to detail, was not a reflection on “her part in perpetuating white supremacist violence,” Yancey said. “I heard a reflection on failed policy.” “She did acknowledge that there have been policies that she has been part of promoting that have not worked,” Yancey added, without detailing which policies specifically she meant.
The New Republic reports:
"We were going in there with the understanding that we were combating systems, but we're also encountering a person with a higher level of responsibility for the way that the systems are today than most anyone in the presidential race," Jones said. "We went in there with that understanding, and chose to press her on her personal involvement and her personal feelings about her involvement, and what she was going to do to change it, given her husband's history of perpetuating mass incarceration and the War on Drugs."
When asked whether the group accomplished its goals for the day, despite not being able to have their say inside the event, Jones noted the presence of the Secret Service that protects Clinton. "That is a bit of a game-changer when it comes to personal safety," he said. "Whether or not a disruption would have been more productive, I can’t say—but I know that direct action wins. It has won against Bernie Sanders, and it will push the other candidates if it were to happen to them. But in this instance, what we walked away with was the best that we could walk away with. I have no regrets about it whatsoever. It happened the way it was supposed to happen and it moved the needle more towards justice, for sure."

Clinton attended a substance abuse and mental health forum in New Hampshire. The Union Leader reports:
At the forum, Clinton said she has only become aware of the nationwide heroin epidemic since she started her campaign for the presidency this year.“I have to confess, I was surprised,” Clinton said. “In New Hampshire I have met two grandmothers raising their grandchildren because of heroin.”
Forum participants told Clinton the federal funds for addiction treatment just aren’t there. Addiction needs to be treated like the chronic long-term disease that it is, one woman said. Many said addicts struggle to rebuild their lives after serving time in jail.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The former secretary of state has dispatched her advisers to speak with medical professionals and substance-abuse advocates as the campaign develops policy proposals during the coming months. On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton offered only broad prescriptions at the town hall event in Keene, saying that she wants to learn from the experts about what works. Mental-health issues and substance-abuse issues should be treated as health issues, she said.
Mrs. Clinton also said more needs to be done to prevent people with serious mental illnesses from obtaining guns, and she vowed to improve background checks. “I’m going back at the universal background check,” she said, urging gun owners to stand with her. Going to school or a movie should not put people at risk from someone who should not have a gun, she said.
“We have got to get this worked out,” she said. “I just am appealing to sensible, rational gun owners to help us work this out because it’s really getting out of control.”
At a Town Hall event, Clinton offered her condolences to those who sat through the GOP debate, then pivoted toward serious issue contrasts on higher education. The Washington Post reports:
"I bet some of you might have sat through four hours and 17 candidates of debates," Clinton said in a tone of mock condolence. "Really, I admire you," she said to laughter. "It's part of being in New Hampshire," with its first-in-the-nation primary next February, Clinton added. "I know you've got an obligation."
She then turned serious.
"But if you haven't seen it, there was not one word from one of those candidates about making college affordable or dealing with debt," Clinton said. "I think this is a major challenge, and I want us to address it. Not one word from the other side."
"Then you take somebody like Governor Walker of Wisconsin, who seems to be delighting in slashing the investment in higher education in his state and making it more difficult for students to get scholarships or to pay off their debt," Clinton continued.
Valley News reports on Clinton's extended remarks at the event. Here are some quotes from her on a variety of major issues.

Higher Education and Student Loans:
“I want to make it absolutely clear, you will not have to borrow money for tuition to attend a four-year public college or university under my plan,” Clinton said to applause.
"Colleges and universities need to do better, state governments need to do more of what they used to do to keep tuition down and students will be asked to work 10 hours a week at least,” she said.
“Debt should not hold you back. We will refinance everybody’s student debt,” Clinton said.
“We don’t let our students and families refinance their student debt. That is just wrong. Under my plan you will be able to refinance to the rate that currently exists."
Clean energy:
“There is now doubt in my mind if we have a national goal and we change the incentive so instead of us having tax benefits for fossil fuel, that we should be trying to slowly eliminate, we should have them for the entrepreneurs on the renewable side,” Clinton said. “We have to change the tax code so it provides more predictable and sustainable incentive for clean energy.”
Social Security:
Clinton criticized Republicans on Social Security and said she would consider raising the cap on income subject to the Social Security tax to increase the contributions into the system from high earners.
“We can’t allow the Republican right wing talk machine to make us think Social Security is on its death bed because it’s not. We need to have a rational discussion on how we make sure it is shored up and continues into the future and one of the options is looking at the cap,” she said. “I will defend Social Security. It is a critical safety net program. I don’t know what we would do without it and I don’t intend to ever find out.”
Finally, there are some new official Clinton campaign videos. Here's her latest spot on her plans for higher education:

And here's one on the Republicans and higher education:
And a spot ridiculing the GOP debate:

For more on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency, check out…  

The Hillary 2016 Platform Series  

Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform  

Part 2: Immigration Reform  

Part 3: Voting Rights  

Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts

July 31, 2015: National Urban League

July 20, 2015: Facebook Q&A

July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner

April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit

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