Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Almost Showtime in Iowa

Hillary, Chelsea, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly in Ames, Iowa (1/30/16)
Just a reminder: Hillary HQ is in Iowa through the caucuses, so keep following along on Twitter!

Tonight, I'll be at the big caucus eve rally in Des Moines with Hillary, Bill, Chelsea and who knows who else. And on Monday, I'll be volunteering, observing a caucus (hopefully), and attending the victory celebration that night.

Can I get a #HillYes?

Hillary News & Views 1.31: "Too Many Flints," NYT Endorses, "Brown is the New White"

Today's Hillary News & Views begins with an op-ed from Clinton about the water crisis in Flint.

Clinton writes for MSNBC:
What’s happening in Flint, Michigan, is unconscionable.
A city of 99,000 people — 56 percent African-American, 40 percent living below the poverty line — has spent nearly two years with poisoned water.
Nearly two years of boil orders, foul smells and false reassurances that the water was safe to drink.
Nearly two years of having residents’ concerns dismissed and belittled by the state government.
Now, thousands of kids may have been exposed to harmful levels of lead, which can irreparably harm brain development and cause learning and behavioral problems. The rate of lead poisoning among children has nearly doubled since Flint approved a state-appointed emergency manager’s plan to switch their water source. And even now that the state is finally launching a belated response, Flint’s undocumented immigrant community is reportedly afraid to get the help they need.
Flint isn’t alone. There are a lot more Flints out there — overwhelmingly low-income communities of color where pollution, toxic chemicals and staggering neglect adds to families’ burdens.
We need to face some hard truths about race and justice in America. After 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, and decades of “separate but equal,” our country’s struggle with racism is far from over. That’s true in our criminal justice system. In our education system. In employment, housing, and transit. And tragically, it’s true in the very air our children breathe and in the water they drink. 
What’s happening in Flint today happened 10 years ago in predominantly low-income, African-American and Latino areas of Washington, D.C. Lead leached into the water there for four years. In high-risk neighborhoods, the number of toddlers and infants with lead poisoning more than doubled.
In Baltimore, families have received settlements for the lifelong health effects of childhood lead poisoning. And now private companies are going around getting people, many of whom are permanently disabled, to sign away hundreds of thousands of dollars in future payments in exchange for a few thousand dollars right away. It’s an outright abuse of vulnerable people who have been hurt too many times already.
Near San Francisco, where housing prices have skyrocketed, many low-income families live in more-affordable Richmond, California. Richmond is 26 percent African-American and 40 percent Latino, and the housing prices are low for a reason—because the city is surrounded by oil refineries, chemical companies and eight Superfund sites. It’s no surprise that the city has the highest hospitalization rate for asthma in all of Contra Costa County.
Twenty seven schools are within 1 mile of a high-risk chemical facility in the Manchester neighborhood of Houston — a neighborhood that is 85 percent Latino. In Manchester, rates of childhood leukemia, asthma and bronchitis are all above average. The children who go to public schools there are 56 percent more likely to get leukemia than kids who live 10 miles away.
And low-income white communities are by no means immune. In 2008, 525 million gallons of toxic coal ash, which contains lead and thallium, among other toxins, spilled in Tennessee, covering 3,000 acres of land, destroying 12 homes and flowing into the Tennessee River, which provides drinking water. The long legacy of coal mining has left Appalachia and other coal regions pockmarked with toxic sites in need of cleanup.
Environmental justice can’t just be a slogan — it has to be a central goal. Cities are full of lead paint in low-income housing, lead embedded in the very soil from the days of leaded gasoline. Already, African-American children are twice as likely to suffer from asthma as white children — and climate change will put vulnerable populations at even greater risk.
I’m not new to this fight. As first lady, I worked with the EPA to bring attention to the link between air pollution and child asthma. In the Senate, I made this a central issue, fighting for more support for lead paint and soil remediation in New York and across the country, pushing the EPA to establish indoor air quality standards for schools, and working across the aisle to call for a national program tracking the health effects of pollution. At the State Department, I took the fight for environmental justice worldwide with the Clean Cookstoves Initiative. 
And as president, I will make environmental justice a central part of my comprehensive commitment to low-income communities of color — by pursuing cleaner transportation; ambitious steps to reduce air pollution; dedicated efforts to clean up toxic sites; more resources for lead remediation; and greener, more resilient infrastructure. Because clean air and clean water are basic human rights — and our rights shouldn’t change between ZIP codes. 
Communities and kids across our country have been bearing the burden of environmental racism for too long. It’s harming their health, their educations, every aspect of their lives and futures. We can no longer accept the status quo — and as president, I never will. 
Clinton would like a Democratic debate in Flint to help put a national spotlight on the crisis.

Politico reports:
“We’ve agreed to an additional debate in N.H. and are currently in discussions to agree to additional debates — we think one of them should be in Flint," said campaign chairman John Podesta in a statement on Saturday afternoon, referring to the ongoing negotiations over scheduling new debates. The Sanders and Clinton camps agreed in principle to schedule new ones earlier on Saturday.
"The water crisis in Flint is unconscionable. It’s been going on for years, as the people of Flint repeatedly asked for help and were ignored by state government. As Hillary has said, this would not have happened in a wealthy community. It was only when the crisis was finally brought to national attention that real steps were taken to begin to address the immediate issues like access to clean water and health monitoring, and longer term health and infrastructure challenges," said Podesta.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Evolution vs. Revolution, Hillary vs. Bernie

Guest post by tybinka

· Evolution: a process of peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions

· Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system

So which is it young progressives? You may be the ones to decide.

Revolution sounds sexy and exciting and one gets a sense of personal power just talking about it. But guess what? Revolutions seldom work. People suffer. And the poor suffer most.

Evolution is much less sexy. It is slow. In the social arena, it takes painstaking hard work and then some more hard work. One step forward can feel like two steps back. Proponents of this approach often feel powerless, but they keep going, driven by dreams. They try this;,they try that, whittling away, building up, little by little until the Berlin Wall comes down, LGBT couples legally marry, dreams of racial equality seem possible.

Bernie tells us he wants a revolution, but he has no plan to create a new system of social democracy other than to talk about it. He waves his arms and expounds on all that is wrong with the social order. But before he unravels the system he deplores, he had better have a good idea of how to put the new order into place. Bernie is running for president, not emperor. That means he will need the backing of the very representatives and senators he has accused of being bought by special interests.

Hillary’s approach fosters evolution, the step-by-step approach. Put a plan in place, see how it flies, modify it, compromise, get something that is better than before. . . not perfect - far from it - but better.

Assume that Bernie’s supporters fuel this revolution that Bernie talks about, that they get behind single payer health care, redistribution of wealth, and taking big money out of politics...the signature issues of the Sanders campaign. How does it actually come about? Do they bust down the doors of congress and demand to put new players into place who favor what they favor? Do they appoint new Supreme Court justices? What do they do with the current ones who serve life terms? Or maybe they decide to have 10 or 11 instead of 9 so the balance swings? Do they give the executive branch whole new powers? How do they do that? How do they get around the constitutional guarantee that the three branches of government are designed to reign in such abuses?

Government is the quintessential catch-22. We won’t change decisions like Citizens United without a different majority on the bench. To create a different majority on the bench, we need a different configuration in the house and the senate as well as a democratic president. To get a different configuration in the house and senate, we need to undo the gerrymandering of districts and elect more democrats to office. That takes painstaking step-by-step hard work and a plan for restoring integrity to American elections. That takes activism. And it takes money.

I’ve been getting more than frustrated about this revolution rhetoric. I’m angry. It’s usually Republicans I’m angry at, but I expect no more from them than they are dishing out. I’m angry at progressives who claim to be for progress but don’t take the time to understand how government works, who have never read the Citizens United decision and the dissenting opinions, who want to create a utopian world through this so-called revolution but don’t want the hard work of activism, who want to stop momentum where it already exists, risk undoing what is already good, risk turning things back. Fuel a revolution? Tear things apart. Where is the imagination? Where is the hard work of democracy?

Progressives are for progress. For instance, progressives I know take a deep hard look at the political realities of the day. In federal, state, and local elections, they target individuals who have a chance to win, they back those individuals, they fund them, they get them elected, working step-by-step to change the balance of power so that there are enough representatives on the progressive side to pass legislation and appoint judges that they favor. I find it appalling that Bernie has no history whatsoever of helping like-minded candidates get elected while Hillary regularly throws her considerable political weight and fundraising ability behind candidates she favors.

So lets look at this picture realistically. Is a revolution really what we need in this country? More importantly, are people ready to back a revolution? Or is this revolution talk just rhetoric to get people fired up and get a candidate elected?

I hear it bandied about that Bernie has the big vision while Hillary is a tactician. Just what is Bernie’s big revolutionary vision? I still don’t know and its not because I haven’t been listening. After we break down the current social order, what do we put in its place? What do things look like when we have succeeded? Are we all happy? Healthy? Do we have jobs we love? Are our elected officials in agreement with us? Have we rolled back climate change and solved our immigration issues, our racial inequality, threats from terrorists? Have we instituted fair and representative prison and police reform? Have we taken care of the mentally ill and the mentally impaired? Do we stand tall in the eyes of the world?

Will we get to liberal outcomes faster with a revolution? Will we get to them at all with a revolution? Or should we put one foot in front of the other and walk the evolutionary path, the slow step-by-step path, the boring day-to-day struggle path? We should elect a president who has plans for tackling the issues of our day and a big vision that progresses gradually as we put proposals into place. As the future evolves to something better. 

Maybe this is the only way to proceed in our very complicated world.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Final Television Ads in Iowa

The time to caucus is almost upon us, and here are Hillary's final ads in Iowa.

"The time has come to make a choice..." Here is the contrast ad that reminds Iowans that it's time to pick the next President of the United States and Commander-in-chief:

Here is an incredible ad that spans decades, making crystal clear the cause that Hillary has been fighting for her whole life:

And finally, a simple 'thank you' to the people of Iowa:

I like them all and think she is finishing very strong. What do you think?

In the Democratic Race, Sanders is the King of Outside Money

Can you believe this?!
As he swung through Iowa this week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont rarely passed up a chance to bash the rising tide of money in politics, a system he said on Tuesday was “corrupt and undermining American democracy.”
At many of these stops, he was accompanied by members of National Nurses United, a seven-year-old union, fanning out from a bright-red bus in matching red scrubs to corral potential Sanders votes.
But the union is not just busing nurses into Iowa. The union’s “super PAC” has spent close to $1 million on ads and other support for Mr. Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate who has inspired liberal voters with his calls to eradicate such outside groups. In fact, more super PAC money has been spent so far in express support of Mr. Sanders than for either of his Democratic rivals, including Hillary Clinton, according to Federal Election Commission records.
And its not just from the good guys:
Mr. Sander’s unlikely rise to super PAC pre-eminence is, in part, the story of an unusual alignment of strategies by different outside groups, including Republican ones eager to bloody Mrs. Clinton and lift Mr. Sanders, whom conservatives believe will be easier to defeat in a general election. While the nurses’ super PAC is the biggest left-leaning outside spender in the Democratic primary, conservative organizations have also spent at least $4.3 million attacking Mrs. Clinton in recent months.
I have a real problem with Bernie getting Super PAC help from the likes of Karl Rove...and he would earn a lot of respect from me if he called it out and disavowed that. But I'm fine with him getting support from Democratic aligned Super PACs, because unfortunately it's the system that every candidate has to work with. Including Hillary Clinton.

But his repeated boasting about not having any Super PAC support is simply dishonest, especially since he is the reigning king of outside money on the Democratic side.

Hillary Leads by 8 Points in Final PPP Iowa Poll

PPP's final poll before the Iowa caucuses finds Hillary gaining a couple of points on Bernie since earlier this month:
Pretty good! Although there are a couple of wild cards that might swing the results a little bit one way or the other:
But this might help Hillary:
One finding on this poll that's encouraging for Clinton is that 88% of her voters say they're firmly committed to supporting her, compared to 74% who say the same for Sanders. When you look at the race just among voters who have completely made up their minds, Clinton's lead expands to 17 points at 56/39. Sanders is up 55/31 with folks who say they may yet change sides.
Three days to go, folks.

And stay tuned for tomorrow night's all-important Des Moines Register poll!

Hillary News & Views 1.29: Endorsements, Excitement, and a Seat at the Head of the Table

Today's Hillary News & Views begins with a review of progressive endorsements, followed by two more important endorsements from a key New Hampshire newspaper and a leading Iowa political blog.

National Memo reports:
Yet just a month ago, The Nation published its 2015 Progressive Honor Roll, an annual feature written by John Nichols, who happens to be a highly enthusiastic Sanders supporter — which named several strong supporters of Hillary Clinton among America’s “most valuable” progressives. In fact, of the individuals named on Nichols’ list, nearly every single one is backing Clinton...
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), named “most valuable Senator,” officially endorsed Clinton back in January 2014. Rosa DeLauro, “most valuable House member,” endorsed her last April. Pam Jochum, the Dubuque Democrat who presides over the Iowa State Senate — chosen from hundreds of local pols across the country as “most valuable state legislator” — announced her support for Clinton last October. Cecile Richards, the Planned Parenthood president named “most valuable activist,” led her organization to back Clinton earlier this month (and earned a sour-grapes dismissal by Sanders as “the establishment”). Newark’s Ras Baraka, the “most valuable mayor,” hasn’t officially endorsed a presidential candidate yet, but his political organization has shown every sign of backing Clinton since last summer. And “most valuable memoir” author Gloria Steinem, the great feminist leader and thinker, will campaign for Clinton in New Hampshire tomorrow.
As voting approaches, primary rhetoric gets super-hot, and partisans inevitably utter silly, uninformed, and even offensive remarks about the opposing candidate. But it is worth remembering that progressives can differ honestly over which of these two candidates will represent the nation’s real interests most effectively.
The Keene Sentinel endorses:
From her stint as perhaps the most active first lady in shaping national policy since Eleanor Roosevelt, to her time as a U.S. senator, representing New York, to her role as secretary of state, Clinton has more than proven herself a smart, energetic and capable public servant.
Clinton’s long and varied experience has included working across the aisle with Republicans on a range of initiatives. As first lady, she fought for universal health care, and succeeded in pushing the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In the Senate, she worked with leaders of both parties to better care for veterans and improve the lives of families and children. As secretary of state, she helped restore our global reputation, pushing for sanctions on Iran and a harder line in Syria, while advocating for the poor and disenfranchised everywhere.
It’s our belief that Clinton is best positioned to build on the successes of the past eight years; to make the necessary changes to the Affordable Care Act without tearing it down; to continue moving the economy in the right direction; to work to minimize the threat of climate change while creating, rather than costing, jobs; to work toward reversing the increasing disparity of wealth; and to build consensus to break through the logjam on the issues of gun violence and immigration. We also see her as more than capable of defending our national interests and serving as commander-in-chief.
The nation needs a leader not just of ideas but with the experience, capability and promise to work across the political divide to move the country forward. Those casting ballots in the primary would serve the nation well by voting to make Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party’s nominee.
Iowa Starting Line endorses:
As I’ve spoken with people who are wavering in their candidate choice or leaning toward Bernie Sanders, I hear the same thing over and over again. Sanders makes them feel something. His message and candidacy gives them excitement. Sanders is inspiring and Clinton is not. Most importantly, they believe that a vote for Clinton is one for a cynical acceptance of the way things are.
I do not understand this.
Hillary Clinton is one of the most successful public servants in America. She has helped expand economic opportunity and rights at home, while improving America’s reputation abroad after the Bush administration. And yet people somehow see her record and promise as a president in a cynical manner.
My question to them is this:
What is not inspiring about a little boy getting the health care coverage he needs thanks to Clinton’s leadership on the Children’s Health Insurance Program? What is not moving about an Israeli family who’s alive today because the ceasefire Clinton negotiated stopped rockets from raining down on their house? What is not stirring about the women’s rights movements sparked around the world from Clinton’s 1995 Beijing speech?
If these things do not inspire you, perhaps you should reconsider why you are interested in politics in the first place.
I’ve covered Clinton at countless events the past nine months, and saw up close her improve as a candidate as she took in Iowans’ stories and connected with their problems. It’s undeniable that she knows more in-depth details on every policy there is than pretty much any other politician or public servant. Most importantly, it’s clear she knows how to get things accomplished in these crazy political times. She’s still standing after decades of Republican attacks, and she’ll force them to the table once in office.
That’s what’s really important in this election: how we get progressive priorities accomplished.
True inspiration doesn’t come in chanting slogans, waving signs or enjoying a candidate’s soaring speech. Real inspiration happens in the real lives we change through progress born out of grueling, hard-won fights. I, for one, thought that’s why we’re all in this fight in the first place.
Hillary Clinton has been fighting for children, for women, for working families during my entire life. That is a feature of her candidacy, not a flaw. For all the trials and battles she’s been through, she’s still the one who can make a real difference.
Shakesville’s Melissa McEwan writes powerfully about the anti-establishment nature of Clinton’s candidacy for the presidency, and what Sanders overlooks when he portrays her as the embodiment of the establishment.

Please Note: Shakesville is a safe space with a required Comment Policy that is strictly enforced.  If you are going to participate in the community, respect it. You should also read Feminism 101 before commenting.
In this country, we tell little girls, at least the decent among us do, that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, but there are still so many spaces which women have never inhabited. And the most visible of them all is the presidency. Because of an "establishment" that keeps us out….

And this is what bothers me, this is the thing that has itching at the back of my brain, about Sanders using this particular line of attack against Hillary Clinton. To continually assert that she is representative of "the establishment," into the highest echelons of which women aren't even allowed, is a neat way of obfuscating the fact that she is, in her very personhood, a challenge to the establishment. Let me say that again, plainly: Sanders calls Clinton emblematic of an establishment that has never even allowed a woman to be seated at the head of the table….
Clinton's womanhood matters. Her clothes matter. Her hair matters. Her voice matters. Her tone matters. Her likeability matters. Her emotions matter. Her "murderous cackle" matters.
The thing about "the establishment" is that it's impervious to such demeanment.
It sets the rules by which Hillary Clinton is judged ever wanting, by virtue of metrics that are inextricably tied to womanhood.
There is a person in this Democratic primary who can be visibly angry, who can shout, who can use any tone and show any emotion, who can show up to campaign events looking like they just rolled out of bed after a bender. Who can coast by on the double-standard defined and enforced by the establishment.
It is not Hillary Clinton.
All the things I am admonished to admire about Bernie Sanders, that he is passionate, that he is unpolished, that he is impolitic, that he doesn't give a fuck, are things that the very establishment he allegedly wants to dismantle do not afford his female competitor.
Bernie’s dig at the Clinton campaign is inspiring her volunteers.

The Washington Post reports:
The comment has particularly galled the Clinton campaign, which believes that reports of an enthusiasm gap between the campaigns are greatly exaggerated.
And so, at campaign offices from Waukee to Ames, Sanders's quote now adorns whiteboards and poster boards, put there by Clinton staffers and volunteers hoping to prove him wrong.
The theme has also become a common feature of increasingly high-pitched fundraising appeals to supporters.
"I am so tired of Hillary's team being dismissed and written off like this," Abedin said. "On the road with Hillary every day, I see countless women, men, girls, and boys of all colors and creeds who are inspired by Hillary, and excited to make her vision a reality."
The Iowa caucuses are particularly driven by the energy and enthusiasm of a candidate's voter base, considering that they are held every four years at night, on a weekday, in bitterly cold weather.
Clinton campaign staffers point out that although the attention is often focused on the huge attendance at Sanders's rallies — such as his 20,000-person day in Minnesota this week — their candidate is the one with the most loyal supporters. In recent polling, for example, 51 percent of Clinton supporters in Iowa say they "strongly" support her candidacy, compared with 46 percent of Sanders supporters.

The sign at Hillary HQ that inspires her volunteers.
The Nation notes that Sanders should incorporate elements of Clinton’s Wall Street plan to strengthen his own:
Clinton’s reform package aims wide, extending scrutiny from the banks to smaller players who played an outsized role in the financial crisis. Sanders—who, unlike Clinton, has rejected Wall Street money—actually takes a narrower approach that favors a popular but insufficient strategy to “break up the banks.” If Sanders wants to challenge modern finance, he should incorporate and surpass Clinton’s plan.
Because he views their primary sins as political—big banks wield big influence—Sanders focuses on making the banks smaller. But the left can and should change the way that modern finance shapes the economy directly.
Hillary Clinton is proposing reforms that address these problems, with a risk fee for debt and a focus on “short-termism” for investment. Republicans are likely to pay lip service to these issues, while stressing ways to weaken the progress that has been made. Sanders could immediately change the nature of this debate by proposing even stronger reforms, pointing toward a positive vision of finance.
Gabby Giffords and her husband will campaign for Clinton in Iowa this weekend.
The Hill reports:
The pair will tout Clinton’s “common sense” gun safety measures before canvassing for her in the Hawkeye State.
Giffords and her husband endorsed Clinton in the Democratic primary earlier this month, praising her dedication on the issue.
“Most of the people who run for president talk a lot about how tough they are,” Giffords said on Jan. 11. "But most of them have shown they aren’t tough enough to stand up to the gun lobbyists.
“Only one candidate for president has the determination and toughness to stand up to the corporate gun lobby — and the record to prove it. That candidate is Hillary Clinton.”
Congressman Tim Ryan, writing for U.S. News & World Report:
We need a proud Democrat in the White House who will continue to not only advance our beliefs and policies, but who can realistically navigate the often difficult waters of Washington, D.C.
As a member of Congress, I have seen my share of tough attacks and what Republicans are capable of when it comes to campaigning. Their playbook is ugly. We need a tough competitor. We need Hillary Clinton.
I support Hillary Clinton for president, because she is a strong and resilient leader, standing strong against the roar of attacks and divisive partisan campaigning we see during every presidential election here in Ohio. I know she is more prepared for the challenges this complicated world will throw at our next president than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican.
Ohio is a moderate state, a swing state and a purple state – and where I come from, independent voters, moderate Republican voters and even many Democratic voters will run for the hills if our party names a self-identifying socialist as our nominee.
Hillary Clinton is the only candidate for the Democratic nomination who can preserve the progress made during the last seven years under President Obama. Hillary's vision for the future will unite Democrats and attract independent and moderate Republican voters who want to continue to move America forward from our school boards and statehouses to the White House.
Anita Finlay, writing for Blue Nation Review:
Hillary’s a progressive who gets results, and she demonstrated this most recently by dispatching two senior aides to Flint, Michigan to offer assistance with their lead-poisoned water crisis when their own governor would not act. Two hours after Hillary applied pressure, he acted. Hillary earned the endorsement of Flint’s mayor for being “the only candidate” to get the city the help they needed.
Hillary is still revered in Arkansas for her instrumental role in reforming and improving their education system when she was First Lady of the state. During her husband’s administration, she worked to successfully lower the rates of teen pregnancy. She initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families act, helped create SCHIP with Senators Kennedy and Hatch, helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice and played a key role in bringing the issue of human trafficking to the forefront of United States policy.
Hillary fought for and won extended benefits for military families and health benefits for our troops in the National Guard and Reserves. She fought off large cuts to Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Her ability to reach across the aisle, collaborating on health insurance legislation with the man who had been her husband’s nemesis years before, was impressive. Hillary also co-sponsored legislation to raise the minimum wage on five different occasions, was prescient in predicting and cautioning against the housing collapse and offered economic prescriptions praised by Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman.
In 2007, Hillary championed the Financial Product Safety Commission, something Wall Street hated, and put it at the heart of her “Fair Credit for Families Agenda.” The idea came from a then little-known Professor Elizabeth Warren. In other words, Hillary has a long history of working on behalf of Main Street — fighting for women’s rights, for children, for education and to strengthen families.
As Secretary of State, Hillary restored the American brand and diplomatic relations badly damaged during the Bush Administration and put diplomacy back in the hands of the State Department rather than the military. She also restored a demoralized organization made up of some 70,000 people, energizing and modernizing the way the State Department engaged. Hillary was a powerful ally in securing lucrative business contracts for American companies overseas and in May 2009, introduced a plan granting benefits to same sex partners in the Foreign Service.
Mary Steenburgen writing for The Huffington Post;
My friend Hillary and I have each weathered a lot. And been blessed with even more, particularly our children and grandchildren. (I beat her to that exquisite position which drove her a little crazy.) She has been there as a friend in the darkest moments of my life, judged me the least, advised me the best and has always, always been the owner of one of my favorite and readiest laughs I've ever heard. One that I find myself provoking just 'cause it's fun. In the kitchen counter days, I used to privately dream that Bill would be elected president someday. I remember once thinking about Hillary being president but that idea...that a woman could do such a thing...seemed a million miles away.
So I will vote for Hillary with my head and my heart. I will be hopeful that a woman who does think before she speaks is not completely perceived as "guarded," because a man who thinks before he speaks is called "thoughtful." I will hope that people's hearts are touched by her life of service to this country and even the world, that is second to none. I love that my friend, who has seen many of the world's sorrows, is still outraged about what has happened in Flint, Mich. And that fierceness is true to her. There has been no numbing, no inuring, on her part, to the mountains that people face. I LOVE that she has that edge. And I love that she chooses her words in a world where we hang on every one. Much of what is said about her tells us much more about ourselves; how we all still struggle with what a woman in a position of power is supposed to sound like and be like.
But I want every young woman to be as unafraid of her fantastic potential as my friend, the young Hillary Clinton was, and I wish for all of us grandmothers, the still fierce caring for the world, the beautiful well-earned edges and the impenetrable sense of humor that she has today. True, I'm extremely biased, but it's a bias born of knowing someone for almost forty years. So if that helps your heart at all, you're welcome.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

BREAKING: Sanders Workers Caught Masquerading as Culinary Union Members to Campaign Inside Hotels

Not good, y’all.

Via Jon Ralston:
Operatives from Bernie Sanders' campaign have donned Culinary union pins and secured access to employee areas inside Strip hotels to try to garner votes for the Feb. 20 caucus, sources confirm.
Culinary officials have been made aware of the faux union workers at four hotels -- The Rio, Paris, The Mirage and Planet Hollywood. The Sanders campaigners are wearing the distinctive yellow Local 226 pins, implying they are union members, to gain access to employee dining rooms. Beyond the obvious deception, union officials surely also are concerned about the implication that the organization has endorsed Sanders despite its recent pledge to remain neutral until after the caucus.
"It's inappropriate for any campaign to attempt to mislead Culinary Union members, especially at their place of work," said Yvanna Cancela, Local 226's political director, who confirmed multiple reports at hotels. "As of yet, the union has not made an endorsement, but is focused on a major citizenship and voter registration campaign while preparing for contract negotiations."
Important question: Is this sort of thing happening across the country, or just in this state? We need to know.

Whatever the case, I think Bernie can safely write off Nevada after this scandal.


UPDATE: The union has just released a statement. This is a very serious situation:

UPDATE 2: Ralston can’t believe what he just heard from Jeff Weaver:
(Jon is the go-to journalist for Nevada politics, in case anyone doesn’t know already)

Longtime Champion for Income Equality: Hillary Clinton

Guest post by tybinka

Some time ago, Vice President Biden said some pretty strange things about Hillary being a relative newcomer to issues of income equality. Since then, commentators, including one questioner in the Des Moines Town Hall, have been picking up his remarks as though they are fact. Huh? Was Biden referring to the same Hillary that I know? Or was he just throwing out remarks?

Isn’t this the same woman who turned down prestigious law opportunities to work as a young staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund, who was recently honored by that fund at their 40th anniversary for being a tireless advocate for low-income children? Hillary was with this organization at its beginning forty years ago. (1970, 73, 74)

Isn’t this the woman who directed the Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Arkansas School of Law while serving as assistant professor there (1974-77) and who was appointed by President Carter (1978) to the board of directors of legal services to help distribute federal funds to legal-aid bureaus throughout the United States? Doesn’t legal aid serve low- income individuals?

Wasn’t she appointed, in 1979, to be chairperson of the Rural Health Advisory Committee to provide health-care in isolated areas?

Isn’t this the First Lady who tirelessly attempted to drive universal health care through a reluctant congress (1993), who set the groundwork for the affordable care act that we have today?

Isn’t this the same woman who advocated for the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to provide all children with health insurance, who promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses, who used her influence to help create the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act? Who wrote It Takes a Village?

As junior senator from New York, didn’t she tirelessly raise funds for 9/11 Health Watch, which monitors aid for those who fell ill after the 2001 attacks? Wasn’t she among the first to demand legislation on behalf of first-responders? Doesn’t she continue to advocate for these individuals today since many now have no means to earn a living?

Hillary’s activism across the entire world on behalf of women and children is renowned. All of her various roles, including that of Secretary of State, have included the parallel agenda of shepherding women’s rights across the world. She has consistently reminded us that women deserve equal pay for equal work.

Is this someone who is a newcomer to fighting for income equality?

The thing is, Hillary is an incredibly hard worker and she stays with it. She gets things done and doesn’t have as much time as some candidates to talk about it. She’s busy listening to the needs of low-income people, and all women and children, then fighting for them. While Hillary has a long list of advisers, she has a way of looking at their advice through the lens of everyday people. That’s why she has gained credibility on the Flint, Michigan lead-infested water issue. Instead of calling for resignations and finding a fall guy, she sent someone there who could provide support and get action.

· Hillary looks at global issues like the great disparity in incomes with a local and even individual perspective.

· She addresses income inequality not as a concept to be brandished about at political rallies but as a reality for millions of Americans.

· She starts from where we are now, has a vision of where she wants us to be as well as fully thought-out plans and tenacious energy to get us there.

· She does not offer a grand design but instead suggests measures that can be accomplished during her presidency.

Far from being a newcomer to fighting for income equality, Hillary is an old timer in the best sense, one who understands the gap between noticing what is wrong and putting policy into place to do something about it. She’s practical, pragmatic, and tireless. And that’s what it takes to be a champion. That’s what it takes to be president. I’m voting for Hillary.

Hillary News & Views 1.28: Full Circle in Iowa, Standing with Labor, the Joy of Joan Walsh

Today's Hillary News & Views begins with an interesting piece about Clinton’s visit to a Bowling Alley in Iowa.

The New York Times reports:
Closing a circle on her Iowa presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton stopped in at a bowling alley here on Wednesday owned by Bryce Smith, a 23-year-old she met on her first visit to the state as a 2016 candidate.
“Bryce’s story was so touching,” Mrs. Clinton said as she stood in front of 12 bowling lanes in the packed Adel Family Fun Center, which was lined with wood paneling and local news clippings.
“He cared so much about what this business provided to Adel — it was a gathering place, it was a place for family fun, and he was describing his dream of someday owning that,” Mrs. Clinton continued. “That is the American dream.”
Mr. Smith was among five small-business owners whom Mrs. Clinton spoke to at a round table in Norwalk in April, part of her first swing in the state that will hold its caucuses on Monday. Mr. Smith lamented to Mrs. Clinton that he could not afford to pay off his college loans and pursue his dream of owning a bowling alley, and the visit turned him into something of a local celebrity. He is now running for the Iowa House in his hometown district.
“At the end of it, she said, ‘I would love to stop by your small business,’ and I said, ‘I would love that, too,’” Mr. Smith said introducing Mrs. Clinton on Wednesday. “Nothing motivates you more to clean a business than having a potential president stop by.”
The early period of Mrs. Clinton’s current campaign, when she held small round-table discussions with a handful of handpicked Iowans, drew criticism for seeming staged, but Mrs. Clinton, who focused on foreign policy in her four years at the State Department, says she got a lot out of them. She continues to refer to and draw on the stories she heard in the first few months of her candidacy.
“I went for education in college so I could teach, but I fell in love with bowling,” Mr. Smith explained to Mrs. Clinton in their first discussion. “So that’s my biggest thing, is the barrier of entry and financing.”
Mrs. Clinton lit up as she recalled the period in her campaign when she wanted to hear directly from voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. “We all know about the student loan debt, but I’ve never heard anyone so persuasively link it to the slowdown in business startups,” she said.
“You’ve given me an insight that nobody else has,” Mrs. Clinton said to Mr. Smith, “and I’m grateful to you.”
Also related to workers, Clinton has released a new ad touting her alliance with labor organizations:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

American Women Have Waited 227 Years for a Female President...and It's Time for the Wait to Be Over

Clinton concedes to Obama, June 2008
There is so much to recommend about Joan Walsh's incredible piece in The Nation today entitled "Why I’m Supporting Hillary Clinton, With Joy and Without Apologies" that it's hard to know where to begin. Just go and read it all, because Walsh has captured what so many of us have been feeling for months and spawned a new rallying cry with already-trending #WeWontBeErased.

I want to focus on one particular section that echoes something that's been on my mind for a while now:
Bernie is building a movement, we’re told (with little evidence of lasting organization, by the way), but it’s a movement whose loudest advocates are entitled young men who heap the vilest abuse on women who don’t deign to join it. To his credit, Sanders rapid response director has seen the online abuse, and warned on Twitter Monday night: “If you follow Bernie Sanders, please follow the senator’s lead and be respectful when people disagree with you.” Still, the larger message to Clinton supporters is that our demand for equal representation at the highest level of government at last, by a supremely qualified woman who is thoroughly progressive if not a socialist, must sadly wait. Again.
Yes. Again.

Eight years ago, Senator Hillary Clinton barely lost an epic and historic Democratic primary battle against Senator Barack Obama. But it wasn't just a crushing defeat for her, but also for her millions upon millions of passionate unknown number of whom would not live to see a female president in their lifetimes. One of these supporters was Hillary's own mother Dorothy Howell Rodham (1919-2011), who was born before women could even vote.

After losing such a long and exhausting race, many of us would have wanted to simply pout and go home, wishing their opponent the best of luck without lifting a finger to help them in their final battle. But she didn't. Instead, she accepted a traditional female role of supporting a man, one who happened to be seeking the very job that she was arguably the most qualified for in the first place. And she was a happy warrior all the while.

Later that same June...
From her concession, to her joint events with Obama, to her amazing speech at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary gave her all to make sure that her former opponent became President of the United States. In the midst of such incredible disappointment, she did not hesitate to go above and beyond to support her party and her country. Then, after all that, she went further still by serving a successful four-year tenure as President Obama's secretary of state.

Many of us will never, ever forget that. Neither will the history books...and the craziest thing of all is that she's not even close to being finished.

Eight years later, Hillary Clinton stands before us once again as unquestionably one of the toughest, smartest and most experienced people to ever seek the or woman. And she's not going to stop until she finally breaks that highest and hardest glass ceiling once and for all.

But Hillary also knows more than anyone that politics is a tough business, and every candidate for president must stand in front of the American people and be judged on their own merits. No one is entitled to the position, no matter what their race, gender, experience or family lineage might be. And passionate supporters on all sides are expected and necessary for our democracy to work.

However, there's something unique, unmistakable and widespread going on this year that is quite troubling: The absolute fervor against Hillary Clinton among mostly young, white (and supposedly progressive) males. Saying "Bernie is awesome and he should be president" is one thing. Saying "Hillary is a corrupt lying old witch who must be stopped at all costs" is quite another. This sort of talk is hard to miss and pretty much accepted as the norm, particularly any place on the Internet where you can hide your face behind an avatar. If you don't believe me, go check out the comment sections of YouTube clips of Hillary speeches or any article about her at The Hill. Actually, don't...because you'll probably be completely horrified by the combination of offensive sexism and ageism on display.

I'm sure that a great deal of these comments are coming from Republicans who would never vote for Hillary even if their lives depended on it. But I have questions for any so-called progressives out there who are seeking to build their candidate up by viciously tearing Hillary down: Are you really assuming, on the off-chance that Bernie Sanders pulls off an upset for the ages, that the women of America will quietly accept the defeat of the most accomplished woman in our nation's history again? Are you taking for granted that Hillary will happily assume the same intensive support role to help an arguably less-qualified man get elected once again? Are you assuming that the whole party will come together without much fuss...again...this time to help elect a democratic socialist instead of a lifelong Democrat?

That's a hell of a lot to assume, so if you really want Bernie Sanders to be president and believe in the same things that he's stood for his whole life, you'd be well-advised to tone it down a notch or two. Or seven.

Again, we have every reason to believe that Hillary Clinton will win the nomination. In fact, I have never seen a stronger candidate in my lifetime. But if someone else does win, my last piece of the year will be a brief recommendation to support the Democratic nominee, where my own vote will surely eventually go. I tried to talk my readers out of being PUMAs in 2008, and rest assured that I would do the same thing this year should the worst-case scenario occur.

And so, to her most ardent detractors on the left, I have one more question: Can you say the same thing right now, should she beat your chosen candidate? If so, you can prove it immediately by calling out the offensive language we regularly see against her, no matter where it may pop up. Barring that, just a basic level of respect for what Hillary Clinton represents and what she has accomplished in her life would go a long way.

Until that happens, rest assured that the women (and men) who passionately support her in 2016 will on keep reminding you that they won't be erased.

It might also be good to keep in mind that the women of America have been waiting 227 years for this moment, ever since the first male president (I believe his name was Washington) took office back in convincing them to wait any longer is likely to be a very tough sell.

Why Won't Bernie Debate?

After hearing months worth of conspiratorial talk about Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC scheming to "shield" the frontrunner from just gotta laugh at this:
A spokesman for Hillary Clinton, Brian Fallon, on Wednesday criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as the only "holdout" who will not participate in an unsanctioned debate to be hosted by MSNBC and the New Hampshire Union-Leader in February.
"The Sanders campaign is the one hold out. We think they should join us in saying they will be in New Hampshire next week," Fallon said on CNN.
Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said on Tuesday that the Vermont senator would not attend a debate not sanctioned by the DNC due to concern that his participation would keep him from attending future official debates.
Clinton's campaign said she would "participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the DNC to sanction the debate." And former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said he would attend the unsanctioned debate.
Last night, Rachel Maddow played clips of recent interviews with Clinton and Sanders, and we can easily hear the enthusiasm in Hillary's voice about the idea of more debates. And why shouldn't she feel that way? This week's Iowa town hall is only the latest reminder that events like these are right in her wheelhouse.

As for Bernie, he also seemed fairly eager too, saying "Count me in...If Secretary Clinton and Governor O'Malley want to do it, I'm there. I love debates...".

So what's the holdup, Bernie? This is a golden opportunity to stick it to the DNC establishment and have another great debate at a critical time in a key state.

If I were to posit my own theory on the matter, I'd guess that Bernie knows that a win in Iowa is unlikely and Hillary will probably get a good boost in New Hampshire as a result. At that point, Bernie will be looking to hold onto his lead in that state, and another face-to-face showdown with Hillary - the best debater of 2016 - would not be helpful. And if he loses in his neighboring state where he's had the lead for a while now, it's truly over for him.

Or then again, perhaps the answer is much simpler than that. Maybe Bernie just doesn't feel like doing it. Remember what Martin O'Malley said about this a month ago?
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley has tried to hold more debates, even without the party's blessing, he said Tuesday. He said he even asked fellow Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to debate him.
Sanders turned him down, O'Malley told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"You think I haven't done that?" O'Malley said when former DNC Chairman Howard Dean asked him why he didn't challenge Sanders to a one-on-one debate.
"I've done that," he continued. "I asked Sen. Sanders. Sen. Sanders doesn't want to do more debates either. He kind of liked where it is."
Well that's clarifying!

Stay tuned, as I'm guessing that Sanders will eventually relent pretty soon and the debate will go forward. Not doing so would be a huge misstep for him...if it isn't already.

Hillary News & Views 1.27: NH Debate, Supreme Court Justice Obama, "Children" Ad

Today's Hillary News & Views begins with debate news.

There may or may not be a debate in New Hampshire in the small window of time between their primary and the Iowa caucus.

ABC News reports:
Television network MSNBC and the Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest newspaper, announced the new debate on Tuesday, citing "overwhelming" calls from voters for another forum prior to the state's Feb. 9 primary. The proposal comes as Clinton and Sanders are locked in a tight race in first-to-vote Iowa and Clinton is trying to close the gap on Sanders in New Hampshire. Clinton's campaign had pushed for fewer debates earlier in the campaign, but now says she will participate in the forum if her competitors do.
"Hillary Clinton would be happy to participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the DNC to sanction the debate," Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign said he plans to attend.
New Hampshire Union Leader reports how the debate proposal came to be:

The Union Leader, the state’s largest newspaper, decided to host the debate after weeks of efforts by both undecided Granite Staters and supporters of the Democratic presidential candidates to have a final opportunity to hear from the candidates in a debate setting.

The event upholds a longstanding tradition and will be the Democratic presidential candidates’ only face-to-face debate after the Iowa caucuses and before the first-in-the-nation primary. Such a debate has been held in New Hampshire before the primary in every cycle where there has been a contested election since 1984.

"Our readers have demanded a debate to help them see who is most fit to be the Democratic nominee for President," said Joseph W. McQuaid, president and publisher of the Union Leader. "We were always concerned that this would have been the first time in 32 years without a Democratic debate before the New Hampshire primary. We are glad to partner with MSNBC to ensure Granite Staters have the information they need to make a critical decision on Feb. 9."
If this particular debate doesn't come to pass, it does look like the schedule will be revamped post-NH, so hopefully all of the campaigns and the DNC can reach a mutually agreeable resolution somewhere down the line.

Clinton likes the idea of nominating President Obama for the Supreme Court.

Washington Post reports:
The next president could appoint between one and three Supreme Court justices, as both Democrats and Republicans eagerly remind voters. But could one of the appointees be President Obama?
Asked that question Tuesday, Hillary Clinton appeared charmed by the prospect.
"Wow, what a great idea!" she told a man in Decorah, Iowa, at a town hall meeting. "Nobody has ever suggested that to me. Wow. I love that!"
She answered the question as if thinking out loud. First, she noted that Obama may have his own plans for his post-presidential life.
"I mean he’s brilliant, he can set forth an argument and he was a law professor," she told the man, musingly. "So he’s got all the credentials, but we would have to get a Democratic Senate to get him confirmed."
Clinton’s latest ad spotlights her lifelong work on behalf of children:

Clinton continues to draw contrasts with her opponents on the campaign trail.
CNN reports:
After laying out her plans on college affordability, clean energy and taxes, Clinton said that she puts her plans on her website and cites how she is going to pay for each plan to prove to voters that she isn't offering empty promises.
"I do want you to know that I am not just shouting slogans, I am not just engaging in rhetoric," Clinton said. "I have thought this through, I have a plan."
"I want you to understand because I don't think you can get what we need done in this election nor in the presidency unless you level with people. You tell them what you can do and then you let them then respond to it," she added.
She is also focusing on her peacemaking efforts as Secretary of State.
Politico reports:
At a Democratic candidates’ forum in Des Moines on Monday night, Clinton — speaking soon after Sanders reminded voters yet again of her 2002 Iraq vote — pressed her peacemaker credentials, recounting her role in talks that led to the Iran nuclear deal and explaining her efforts to avert a wider war in Gaza.
“So the Israelis are telling me, ‘Look, we’ve got to go back in. We have to have a ground invasion again in Gaza,’” Clinton said. “I’m saying, no, please, don’t do that. Let’s try to figure out, how do we resolve it?”
After she shuttled between Jerusalem and Cairo, where Egyptian leaders acted as intermediaries for Hamas, Clinton boasted, "They got a cease-fire. There was no invasion. That’s what you have to do.”
On Monday night, Clinton depicted herself as having fended off a potential war with Iran while she worked to advance Obama's nuclear diplomacy. "You cannot imagine how tense it was, because a lot of our friends and partners in the region basically just wanted to end that [nuclear] program by bombing them. 'Just bomb them!'" Clinton said. "I spent a lot of my time explaining to our friends why that was not a good idea."
A preview of caucus strategy, courtesy of The New York Times:
The Clinton campaign is also confident about its turnout goals, but Mr. Paul and his team have spent far more time building political operations in each precinct. Thousands of fliers have been sent to supporters providing the addresses of their caucus locations. And over two weekends this month, thousands of volunteers joined in dry runs of caucus-day operations at more than 150 Clinton campaign offices, union halls and homes across the state.
“Last summer, we got to the point of having a supporter in every precinct of the state much earlier than any campaign ever had, because of the tenacity of our organizers to drive from gravel road to gravel road to identify supporters,” Mr. Paul said. “Look, there are 1,681 precincts. You organize from there.”
A map of Iowa on Mr. Paul’s wall shows the 99 counties and different news media markets, with sticky notes marking planned trips for Mrs. Clinton, her husband and other surrogates. Mr. Paul carries a binder with a spreadsheet tracking Mrs. Clinton’s visits and crowds, and a laptop to review readouts from each event about the number of commitment cards collected and volunteers signed up — information he shares with her quickly.
Several Democratic county leaders said that they were contacted by the Clinton campaign months before the Sanders campaign, and that this gap in organization could hurt him.
“My wife and I started receiving calls from the Sanders campaign only three weeks ago,” said Mr. Vilsack, the two-term former Iowa governor, who is a strong supporter of Mrs. Clinton. “People know my wife as Christie, but the Sanders person called and said, ‘Is Ann there?’ Her full name is Ann Christine. But it suggested a lack of information.”
It was Mr. Vilsack who recommended Mr. Paul, his longtime spokesman and adviser, to Robby Mook, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager.
When he first met with Mrs. Clinton, last spring, Mr. Paul recalled, she laid out her priorities for the Iowa operation. They dovetailed with his own reputation for emphasizing direct contact with voters in carefully chosen, comfortably arranged settings (with American and Iowa flags prominently displayed).
“She wanted to have time and opportunity to have independent conversations with folks,” Mr. Paul said, “like sitting with four people in a coffee shop on her first visit.”
Mayor Bill De Blasio is hitting the campaign trail in Iowa.

The Hill reports:
Chirlane and I are proud to head to Iowa, roll up our sleeves and work to get out the vote for Hillary,” de Blasio said in a statement.
“Her bold progressive vision is exactly what our nation and our party need now.”
He had already endorsed Clinton back in October, but his increased presence in Iowa may help appeal to liberals in a state where Clinton's rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is gaining momentum.
De Blasio, who is a favorite among the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, was Clinton's campaign manager during her successful 2000 Senate run.
The Huffington Post reports on the ongoing debate between working inside and outside of the system as president:
A Sanders presidency, as Devine noted, wouldn't be strict political combat. "He can switch-hit on this," but Republicans would "have to meet him halfway" first.
But here, too, there is skepticism -- not over whether Sanders would make that turn, but whether he could after spending a career and a campaign promising bold, uncompromising pursuits.
"You can see by the fact that he has no endorsements from his colleagues, governors too, Sen. Sanders would have to play entirely an outside game," said former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who endorsed Obama over Clinton in the 2008 primaries. "And to me that is not as effective as doing both. You have to build public support for positions. But you also have to have relationships. Sen. Sanders, because he is a self-described socialist, has put himself out on the edge of American political positioning. People will be, 'Oh you compromised with a socialist? Or you're supporting a socialist?'"
"I wish that we could elect a Democratic president who could wave a magic wand and say, ‘We shall do this, and we shall do that,’" Clinton declared recently, in a comment that echoed the celestial choirs one from eight years prior. "That ain’t the real world we’re living in!”
And her campaign has begun more forcefully arguing the case that Sanders' vision is fanciful.
"Sen. Sanders has a habit of being unable to answer the follow-up question about how he is going to get any of this done short of invoking a so-called political revolution," said her spokesman Brian Fallon. "When you are campaigning for president you owe the voters more than just a platform that represents your idealized set of circumstances. You owe them an explanation for how you are actually going to achieve results to make a difference."
"Bernie is terrific. The thing is, he is pure in where he is and you can always deal with someone pure in their philosophy," said Penny Lee, a longtime adviser to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "The fault of Bernie is that there is no setting of expectations. He has an ideal and he wants to see America operate in the ideal of the issues he is fighting for. ... But it would be a struggle, because you have an intransigent other party that has a polar opposite view of where he is on many issues. You’d be setting his voters or supporters up for some disappointment."
Salon features a similar argument:
The difference between Sanders and Clinton is a matter of degree more than any fundamental ideological disagreement. They both advocate moving in the same direction, but by different methods. Bernie Sanders says he will bring about a political revolution to make his dreams of a democratic socialist society come true, which seems an unlikely proposition given that the GOP is sure to control one house of Congress and may well control both. Hillary Clinton advocates a pragmatic approach: protecting the progressive gains won under the Obama administration, taking what new gains may be possible in a divided government and setting the political table to back for more later.
Historically, it is this latter approach that has produced change. In any democratic system of government, progress is incremental. Only one time in our history as a nation have we seen such sweeping ideological change at a fundamental level happen in a brief span of time, and that change came at the price of five years of bloody civil war and some 500,000 deaths.
Human attitudes — and there is no more elemental human attitude than politics — cannot be defined as simply as darkness or the light. We’ve tried this again and again, and it never ends well. This Democratic primary contest isn’t a battle of good against evil. Hillary Clinton isn’t the evil agent of the powers of greed and darkness and Bernie Sanders isn’t an avenging angel or a pious saint. This is a political campaign and they are both professional politicians. While both candidates seek to highlight their differences, they have far more in common with each other than either of them does with the extremist and often dangerous positions of the Republican contenders. Politics is the art of the possible, not the perfect. One candidate embodies the possible. One insists on nothing less than the perfect. Paul Krugman is right. The achievable possible is always preferable to the unachievable perfect.
A conservative group is attacking Clinton for her tax proposals, which they claim will hurt economic growth.

CNN reports:
Hillary Clinton's tax plan would reduce both wealthy Americans' incomes and economic growth, a new report by the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation said Tuesday.
Clinton has said she would hike taxes on the rich in several ways, including creating a 4% surcharge on high-income taxpayers and establishing a 30% minimum tax on millionaires, known as the Buffett Rule. She would also raise rates on long-term capital gains.
These provisions would decrease after-tax income of the top 1% by 1.7% and of the top 10% by 0.7%, according to the Tax Foundation, and all Americans would see their incomes slip once reduced economic growth is factored in.
The Clinton campaign said the Tax Foundation's analysis is misleading and doesn't take into account her tax relief for businesses and individuals, nor her investments that would promote growth, said Brian Fallon, a Clinton campaign spokesman.
Washington Post writes about the sexism a hashtag revealed:
Yes, there are more than a few overt and thinly-veiled references to the many, many questions about Clinton's ethics, her ties to Wall Street, her email issues and even whether Clinton's past record of attempting to discredit women in defense of her husband comports with the rules of 21st century feminism. But there are also repeated references to Clinton's looks and her alleged failure to comport with Twitter users' notions of what a woman should be.
Note how many times the words, feminine, attractive, pretty, beautiful or the more artful "pleasant to look at" appear. Or how about "fashionable," "innocent," "warm," "thin-ankled," "genteel" and "able to satisfy husband."
Some don't even bother to bury these assessments in long lists of words. They just keep it simple with single-word statements like "cutie." Others are — and this is perhaps a statement about the overall content of the Internet — inherently sexual. We really could go on. Just keep scrolling on that hashtag.
Now even if you are part of the "well, this is just an honest and random sample of assessments" school of thought and, therefore, believe that this hashtag and its contents have no larger meaning, there is still something hard to dismiss here. How likely is it that "honest" assessments of the rather average — actually, let's be honest, on a good day and after a fresh haircut maybe "average" — collection of men running for president would include this many assessments of their collective appearance? How many references to other peoples's sexual interest in these male candidates would you really expect to see? And would those things truly rank top of mind when asked to describe a man seeking the White House?
The takeaway from the contents of the #WordsThatDontDescribeHillary collection is this. After more than 30 years of  serving as both a U.S. senator and secretary of state, among many other resume points, Clinton's appearance and whether or not she meets a certain set of cultural standards of appropriate or ideal behavior for women remains top of mind for some American voters.
And finally, from Twitter, two Hillary supporters show that enthusiasm isn’t just for the young!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I'm Going to Iowa!

I've got my button...and that's all I need!
Hi everyone...Scan here.

The caucuses are less than a week away, so it's just about time I share the news: I'm going to Iowa!

Though I've never been to that state, I've been fascinated by our nation's singular electoral process my entire adult life...and I've never seen a crazier election year than this one. Plus, I have a blog. Therefore, I really doubt that there will ever be a better time than right now to check it out for myself. And even though I live pretty far away in Austin, Texas, I still think it'll be well worth the trip.

I'll be arriving in Des Moines late Friday night and staying in the area until the following Tuesday evening. While I'm there, I plan to do a couple of things:

1. Cover the Iowa scene live, attending as many events as possible over the weekend. Obviously the main focus will be on Clinton campaign events, most likely in Des Moines and the surrounding area. I'll do my best to get a good seat when I can and even try to say hello to the candidate herself, but I have no idea how crazy it will be (so no promises). And while I'm not a supporter of Sanders or O'Malley, I think it would be interesting to check out their events as well, time permitting. As for the Republicans...I'm not sure I can bring myself to actually attend a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz (or whoever) rally, though they might be perversely fascinating to witness from a historical perspective. So I'm gonna have to say "TBD" on that front. But wherever I go that weekend, I'll be posting frequent updates and photos to Twitter and Facebook.

2. Volunteer for Hillary on caucus day. Yep, there's no way my trip to Iowa would be complete without doing my part to help Clinton to win there on Monday. I've already been in touch with the campaign, though what I'll be doing is still up in the air. But whether it's phonebanking, driving voters to their caucus sites, or simply waving a sign and yelling really loud with a whole bunch of other volunteers...I wouldn't miss it. All the while, I'll keep posting updates whenever I can throughout the day to record the historic day and remind Clinton supporters to caucus. And hopefully, I'll also be right there to celebrate as Hillary delivers her victory speech that evening!

If you will be in Iowa this weekend too, by all means drop me a line. I definitely look forward to meeting some awesome people while I'm matter if you support Hillary, Bernie or Martin. Because all of us want a brighter, fairer and more progressive future for our country, right? We just disagree about who is most ready and able to take us there.

That being said, there's only one historic candidate with the peerless résumé, astonishing smarts and legendary toughness that will crush any Republican in November...and #ImWithHer in Iowa.

See you there!