Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hillary News & Views 11.12: An Inclusive, Feminist Plan for Veterans, a "Sacred Responsibility"

Today’s Hillary News & Views focuses heavily on Clinton’s expansive plans for meeting the needs of our veterans, along with those currently serving in the military.

Clinton used the occasion of Veteran’s Day to roll out her proposals, starting with a self-penned op-ed in the Military Times:
This Veterans Day is an opportunity to reaffirm that America’s promise to our veterans is a sacred responsibility. Yet today we are failing to keep faith with our veterans. Long wait times for health care, crippling claims backlogs, little or no coordination between different government agencies responsible for serving veterans — these problems are serious, systemic and absolutely unacceptable. They need to be fixed, and fixed now.
If we can maintain the most advanced military in the history of the world and fight wars across vast oceans and continents, we can figure out how to ensure that no veterans ever have to wait in line for weeks or months to get care, no matter where they live or what their needs are.
As we work to improve the VA, I will fight as long and as hard as it takes to prevent Republicans from privatizing it as part of a misguided ideological crusade.
I believe in giving veterans more choice in where and how they receive care and I think there should be more partnerships between the VA and private hospitals and community health care providers. But we can’t put our vets at the mercy of private insurance companies without any care coordination, or leave them to fend for themselves with health care providers who have no expertise in the unique challenges facing veterans. Privatization is a betrayal, plain and simple.
As with all new policy proposals, Clinton is featuring the full details on her website.

Some additional highlights:
As president, Hillary will:
  • Build a 21st-century Department of Veterans Affairs to deliver world-class care.Hillary was outraged by the recent scandals at the VA, and as president, she will demand accountability and performance from VA leadership. Many veterans have to wait an unacceptably long time to see a doctor, or to process disability claims and appeals. Hillary will make the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) a seamless partner in health care. She does not believe that privatization will solve the problems that the VHA is facing—this department must deliver high-quality care while acting as an integrated payer-purchaser and facilitating a full range of services for all veterans, regardless of where they live. Hillary also believes that the VHA must continue to lead the nation in vets-focused research in areas like mental health, traumatic brain injury, and prosthetics.
  • End the epidemic of veteran suicide and improve mental health services. Veteran suicide is a tragedy—one that is unfortunately becoming more common. Although the VA has made progress toward addressing suicide, Hillary believes we can do more to help our vets. She will expand access to treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues, particularly post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other invisible wounds of war. She will continue to advocate for fighting the stigma of mental health care treatment and encourage all vets to seek the help they need.
  • Move decisively to eliminate the scourge of veteran homelessness. Hillary believes we must reach “functional zero” for veteran homelessness. To do this, we must increase the amount of supportive housing for our nation’s most at-risk veterans while tackling many of the root causes of homelessness, including mental health issues, substance abuse and addiction, and joblessness.
  • Strengthen opportunities that allow veterans to succeed. Thanks to the post-9/11 G.I. Bill, more than 1.5 million veterans and their family members have been able to pursue higher education. As president, Hillary will make sure the post-9/11 G.I. Bill remains intact for future generations, and she will veto any efforts to undermine the bill. She will also expand programs that better prepare our veterans to live and work in the economy of tomorrow, including partnerships that make the transition from military to civilian careers easier. To give veterans the best possible chance, she will close loopholes—such as the 90-10 rule—that encourage for-profit schools to unfairly target veterans and their families.
  • Equally support all who have served—including women and LGBT veterans. Women and LGBT veterans deserve equal recognition and equal support from their country. We must ensure the VA responsively serves women veterans, who represent the fastest growing segment of the veteran community. Also, we must recognize and honor LGBT veterans, first and foremost by upgrading discharges that were a result of backward regulations our government no longer observes. Our veteran community is as diverse as our country, and we must ensure the VA and other agencies serve every veteran.

Bustle notes that Clinton’s plans are inclusively feminist:
On Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, Americans will stop to remember those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. In conjunction with the federal holiday, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has released her veterans plan. This plan includes numerous points that are geared toward women, culminating in an inclusive proposal that, thankfully, addresses specific issues that women veterans face
As her resumé shows, Clinton might be the best candidate for veterans — particularly female veterans, who are "the fastest-growing population served by the VA" and a group that deserves its own specific plans for reintegration. Here are six incredible feminist points in Clinton's veterans proposal.
  • Expand Health Services That Really Cater To Women
  • Make Childcare A Priority
  • Recognize Military Sexual Trauma
  • Stringent Policies On Sexual Assault
  • Opening All Military Positions To Women
  • Allow Transgender Service Members To Serve Openly

A wonderful piece at Salon makes the case for Clinton as the ideal president to follow Obama:
When Clinton has moved to the left, as Enten points out, it’s generally because Democrats generally have moved to the left. Her more conservative moments are outliers, usually an attempt to give voters what they want, but her overall trajectory is toward the left. The theme is not of a snake in the grass, but someone who listens, learns and tries to represent what the voters are asking of their representatives.
Clinton’s talking point in the primary race is, “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.” It’s not a sexy line. It calls to image boring, incremental change done with lots of meetings and red tape and compromise and bargaining and bureaucracy. This is not the language of revolution. But it is the language of change. It is also a promise she can keep, which is something voters should take very seriously.
Clinton is running for president. The president isn’t some dictator who can just change the country however he or she wants. The reality is that the executive powers are limited, since presidents don’t write legislation. It’s an office that rewards a willingness to work through bureaucracy and to express power in incremental, detailed ways, especially if you’re saddled with a Congress that opposes you, which any Democrat who wins almost surely will be.
And of course, there is the gender thing. Contrary to what some folks say, I don’t mindlessly support people based on their genitalia, or else I would support Carly Fiorina or Sarah Palin or even Clinton ’08. (I voted for Obama in the primaries and would do it again, because he was what we needed at that time.) But all other things being equal, yes, having a woman president does matter, if only to spend election night watching the spreading urine stains on the pants of the men who spent months lecturing feminists about how we’re wrong to want to break the stranglehold of power men have had on the White House.
And we’ll close today with a powerful endorsement from civil rights legend and Georgia representative John Lewis:
Twenty-five years after that day in Anniston, the teenager who was beaten and arrested for standing up to racism was elected to Congress to represent Georgia—a state that had been deeply segregated for the first half of his life.
But in 2013, decades after African Americans were legally guaranteed the right to vote free from discrimination, he watched with horror as the Supreme Court removed key pieces of the Voting Rights Act of 1964—a law he had fought and bled for.
“That act helped free and liberate many Americans. The vote is the most powerful, most precious nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. And we have forces in America today that are trying to make it harder and more difficult for people to participate—we cannot let that happen.”
Hillary will fight to restore the Voting Rights Act and the rights that the Freedom Riders fought for: ensuring that no voice is silenced, no person is unfairly barred from voting, and no community is ignored in the political process.
“There are forces that are trying to take us back. Hillary Clinton is saying we will not go back, we will go forward and we will go with her,” Lewis says. “When things get tough, Hillary does not back down. … She is a tireless fighter, an advocate for those that have been left out and left behind. She will fight to reform our broken criminal justice system. She will fight for each and every child to receive the best possible education. She is the right person for the job in the 21st century.”

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