Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hillary News & Views 2.18: Chicago Rally, White Privilege, "My Uterus is Not a Sentient Being"

Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of Clinton’s rally in Chicago yesterday.

Politico reports:
The rally quickly took on a solemn tone as the mother of Sandra Bland — a black suburban Chicago woman who was found dead in her jail cell following a traffic stop in Texas — briefly teared up as she spoke of meeting privately with Clinton to talk about her daughter.
“Now this, I know to be true. I was one of those mothers who met with her and was able to make it through,” Geneva Reed Veal said, crying through her words. “She has a plan on gun violence that is like none other. … As Sandra Bland’s mother, I know a little bit of frustration.”
Clinton knew her audience. Chicago has had more than 365 shootings since the beginning of the year, and January saw murders skyrocket. Clinton singled out the names of local children who were killed by gun violence, including the late Hadiya Pendleton.
“Nothing is more precious than a child’s life. While we’re knocking down those barriers, we have to do what we can to protect our children” and some 33,000 others killed each year by guns, she said.
"These stories cannot be ones that just provoke our emotions. They must lead us to action. They must motivate every one of us to take on these issues, reforming police practices and making it as hard as possible where people who get guns who shouldn’t have them in the first place,” Clinton said. “We owe it to the families of young men, like Laquan McDonald, and the other names we know all too well.”
“We have a governor, who I hear is giving his budget address today. This is material for some kind of sitcom. Because he’ll be speaking without a budget” from 2016.
Clinton skewered Rauner, saying he had “refused to take part” in negotiations with Democrats unless his turnaround agenda was advanced.
“His plan would turn Illinois around, all right, all the way back to the robber barons of the 19th century,” she said. She criticized the governor, laying the blame on the Republican for cuts to drug addiction programs as well as to higher education. For his part, Rauner has said he was willing to negotiate with Democrats but would not raise taxes without changes that would boost business and deplete union power.
Clinton ticked off reasons why President Barack Obama was well within his rights to nominate a successor to late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Clinton cited precedent and said the Constitution is clear. She called Republican opposition to the move politically motivated.
“This is pure, naked hostility, and opposition to the president of the United States,” said Clinton, drawing big cheers from the crowd.

A full transcript is finally available of Clinton’s powerful speech on race.  Here are some highlights.

On racism in its many forms, and why whites need to stop pretending we’ve moved past it, and confront it instead:
Now, these inequities are wrong — but they’re also immoral. And it’ll be the mission of my presidency to bring them to an end. We have to begin by facing up to the reality of systemic racism. Because these are not only problems of economic inequality.
These are problems of racial inequality. And we have got to say that loudly and clearly.
Now, I don’t by any means intend to imply that we are not still making progress. We do have a lot to celebrate, as Congressman Rangel said. The people in this room know that — you have helped to make it happen.
And there is no better example of that progression than our president. And for all the partisan resistance President Obama has faced every day, remember — and celebrate — he brought our economy back from the brink of another Great Depression. On his watch, 14 million jobs have been created, health care has been brought to 18 million people, the auto industry was saved, and so much else.
Now, he would be the first to say — as we’ve heard him say — that despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.
For many white Americans, it’s tempting to believe that bigotry is largely behind us. That would leave us with a lot less work, wouldn’t it? But more than half a century after Rosa Parks sat and Dr. King marched and John Lewis bled, race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind.
Now anyone — anyone — asking for your vote has a responsibility to grapple with this reality. To see things as they actually are, not just as we want them to be.
I’d be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers. I’ve made my own mistakes. I’ve walked my own journey. But I believe with all my heart we can and must do better. We’ve made progress before, which gives me hope we can do it again. In the 1990s, economic programs like the new market tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and empowerment zones like the one right here in Harlem made a real difference in people’s lives.
They helped to create the highest increase in black incomes and the lowest black unemployment in history. We achieved record small-business lending to minority-owned businesses, and record bank lending in minority communities. Right here in Harlem, the unemployment rate dropped by two-thirds, and we saw a drop in child poverty and an increase in employment and income for single mothers, too.
We also learned about what doesn’t work. Some of what we tried didn’t resolve problems. Some ended up creating new ones, and caused disappointment, frustration, even anger. So as we face today’s challenges, we have to bring all those lessons to bear.
Here’s the bottom line, as I see it: When we make direct strategic investments in communities that have been left behind, and when we guarantee justice and dignity to every American, then we really can make progress. Lasting progress. Progress that will catapult us into the future. We can reduce poverty. We can build ladders of opportunity.
So I’m proposing a comprehensive new commitment to equity and opportunity for African American communities. That means a real plan to create jobs. If I’m elected president, we will direct hundreds of billions of dollars in new investments to places like Harlem and rural South Carolina — including $20 billion aimed specifically at creating jobs for young people.
The unemployment rate among young African Americans is twice as high as for young white people. Now, we need to get young people working, developing their skills, unlocking the full extent of the contributions they can make to themselves, their families, and our country. We need to make sure we’re not only creating good jobs, but connecting black communities to where the good jobs are.
So we’ve got to be strategic about our investments in transit and infrastructure. And we need a real plan, including expanding access to capital to support black entrepreneurs — especially black women, who represent the fastest-growing segment of women-owned businesses in America. And while we’re at it, let’s finally ensure equal pay for equal work for women.
That would benefit women of color most of all, and would lift up an awful lot of families. And let’s go even further. Let’s follow Governor Cuomo’s lead and raise the minimum wage to help people get out of poverty.
Now we need to support African American homeownership, which has always been one of the surest ways for black families to build wealth. That’s why I have a plan that would, among things, help African American families save for a down payment.
We need to make sure every family also has access to quality pre-school. And I applaud Mayor De Blasio for what he’s achieved here in New York with his pre-K program.
And please, help us reverse the dangerous slide towards re-segregation in our schools. Our schools are now more segregated than they were in 1968. That is appalling, and we’ve got to fix it.
On ending the school-to-prison pipeline:
And let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. It’s diverting too many African-American kids into the criminal justice system, instead of giving them the education they deserve.
We’ve seen a significant increase in police involvement in school discipline, especially in schools with majority-black students. We’re seeing an over-reliance on suspensions and expulsions. I’m sure many of us remember that horrifying video of the girl in South Carolina being thrown out of her desk and dragged across her classroom by a school police officer.
A classroom should be a safe place for our children. We shouldn’t even have to say that, I don’t think.
So today I’m announcing my plan to end the school to prison pipeline. It includes major investments in school districts that reform their discipline practices. We want districts to know, if they do the right thing, we’ll have their backs. And we will dramatically expand support for guidance counselors, school psychologists and social workers — so instead of just labeling kids problem students, they can actually help kids with their problems, and keep them in school!
And for schools that refuse to reform and states that refuse to take this issue seriously, I want the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to intervene, because this — this is not just an education issue, this is a civil rights issue and we cannot ignore it any longer.
The bottom line is this: We need to be sending our kids to college. We need a cradle-to-college pipeline, not sending them into court and into prison.
On being a wonk:
Sometimes people make fun of me because I actually tell you what I want to do as president. I actually give you plans about what I want to do. I kind of think it’s my duty to help inform voters, so that you can make a good decision!
On President Obama’s racially motivated opposition:
I want to mention one more critical area: Protecting that most fundamental of rights — the right to vote. Across our country, Republican governors and legislatures are erecting one barrier after another that make it harder for black people to vote. It’s a blast from the Jim Crow past, and we need to call it for what it is.
And in the past few days the stakes got even higher. Justice Scalia’s passing means the court hangs in the balance. Now the Republicans say they’ll reject anyone President Obama nominates, no matter how qualified. Some are even saying he doesn’t have the right to nominate anyone, as if somehow he’s not the real president.
That’s in keeping with what we’ve heard all along, isn’t it? Many Republicans talk in coded, racial language about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe. This kind of hatred and bigotry has no place in our politics — or our country.
The president has the right to nominate, under the Constitution, and the Senate has the obligation to process that nomination. And I hope the Senate will start paying more attention to statesmanship than partisanship. And I hope that they will understand that we can have our differences, but let’s not go right after fundamental rules of how we govern ourselves. That’s a bridge way too far, my friends.
Now, I will appoint Supreme Court justices who will see the Constitution as a blueprint for progress, not as an excuse to try to roll back decisions going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt — which is apparently what some of them would prefer to do!
On being held accountable:
Now I suppose some people will hear what I’m proposing and think, “Well, she’s saying this because she’s in an election.” But many of you in this audience know me, and you know that these issues have always been part of my North Star.
We Democrats have a special obligation: If we’re serious about our commitment to the poor, to those who need some help, including African Americans, if we continue to ask black people to vote for us, we cannot minimize the realities of the lives they lead or take their concerns for granted.
You know, you can’t just show up at election time and say the right things and think that’s enough. We can’t start building relationships a few weeks before a vote. We have to demonstrate a sustained commitment to building opportunity, creating prosperity, and righting wrongs. Not just every two or four years, not just when the cameras are on and people are watching, but every single day.
So here’s what I ask of you: Hold me accountable. Hold every candidate accountable. What we say matters — but what we do matters more. And you deserve leaders who will do whatever it takes to tear down all the barriers holding you back, and then replace them with those ladders of opportunities that every American deserves to have.
On whites needing to examine their own privilege, and “we” vs. “they”:
I’m also asking all Americans to join in that effort. As Cornell Brooks, the new head of the NAACP, said in our meeting this morning: None of this is a “they” problem. It’s a “we” problem, and all of us have to admit that. And you know what? It is not an urban problem. It’s an American problem.
Ending systemic racism requires contributions from all of us — especially those of us who haven’t experienced it ourselves. White Americans need to do a better job of listening when African Americans talk about the seen and unseen barriers that you face every day.
We need to recognize our privilege and practice humility, rather than assume that our experiences are everyone’s experiences. All of us need to bring our skills to bare — and especially young people coming up today, who have a passion for social justice and are helping to create new ways to solve intractable problems.
And we all need to try as best we can to walk in one another’s shoes. Imagine what it would be like to sit our son or daughter down and have the talk. Or if people followed us around stores or locked our car doors whenever we walked past.
That kind of empathy is critical. It’s what makes it possible for people from every background, every race, every religion to come together in this great city, and to come together as one nation. It’s what makes a country like America endure.
New Yorker Magazine writes about the above speech:
Then it hit you that Hillary was going to talk — at length — about black people, almost exclusively. She began with the normal rhetoric of just listing black people she knew, whom she spoke with, whom she associated herself with — but then it took a turn. When she began discussing Flint, the white woman Establishment presidential candidate said, It's a horrifying story, but what makes it even worse is that it's not a coincidence that this was allowed to happen in a largely black, largely poor community. Just ask yourself: Would this have ever occurred in a wealthy white suburb of Detroit? Absolutely not.”
It was that moment of, Oh shit, did Hillary come to play today? I looked down my row, and multiple people had that same goddamn face etched on their faces. She was making points about privilege that minorities always make, but it packed such a different punch — even if President Obama had said it — because she was chastising her own privilege, putting the privilege of whiteness front and center.
I genuinely couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The tiptoeing had vanished. She wasn’t trying to win everyone’s vote by flying as close to the middle as possible. And even though the room was markedly black, these thoughts were now on her permanent electoral record for all to see. The use of “imagine” was powerful, because it comes with an almost implied, You can’t imagine it, because that shit wouldn’t fly. She was finally just saying it, bluntly. Hearing this, in February, was so much more powerful than any policy plan. Because before many people want to know your plan — or before people will ever truly consider believing in your plan — they want to know that you understand their world.
Watching a white woman who could be the president of the United States say things like, “For many white Americans, it's tempting to believe that bigotry is largely behind us. That would leave us with a lot less work, wouldn't it?” and “Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind. Now, anyone — anyone asking for your vote has a responsibility to grapple with this reality” is uncharted waters.
It’s a speech that, if President Obama had given it, would have gotten him reamed out for showing favoritism — for not being the American president but just “the black president.” If a different version of Hillary Clinton had shown up, it would have come off as pandering to black people. But that afternoon in the Schomburg, things clicked in a way they really hadn’t before. She wasn’t any less of an Establishment white politician than she was before, but you could tell that she’s coming to terms with the reality that if she wants to actually connect in a way that many people believe she can’t, she’s got to understand and own up to everything and, through both humility and intelligence, prove that she’s ready to push forward.
The New York Times noticed the power of black voters, which shouldn’t be a news bulletin at this point, but okay:
We’re living in an era when blacks have essentially played kingmaker in the most important elections in the nation (and thus also the world). And it’s happening again, as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton battle to win the South Carolina primary on Feb. 27.
Mr. Sanders’s first move after his resounding victory in New Hampshire last week was to travel to meet Al Sharpton at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem the next morning. He’s under no illusion: If he can make inroads with black voters and other nonwhite voters in the remaining primaries, he’ll have a chance against Mrs. Clinton. If he can’t make those gains, he won’t, as my colleague Nate Cohn has calculated.
For followers of political history, it’s a rich twist that the Southern strategy, which helped Republicans hold the White House for 20 out of 24 years starting in 1968, has given way to such influence by African-Americans. It all starts in South Carolina this cycle, with two especially important subsets of the black vote there.
■ Blacks have a significantly higher rate of church attendance than whites. So while some black intellectuals like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander and Cornel West have backed Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Clinton is counting more on the black church.
An Upshot reader, Ed of Old Field, N.Y., wrote: “As white evangelicals are for Republicans, black evangelicals are an important constituency for Democrats, and Sanders in South Carolina will have as much of an uphill climb against their skepticism of him personally as Trump, for different reasons, had in Iowa. Not at all insurmountable, but a high hurdle.”
■ In the last South Carolina Democratic primary, black women made up for 61 percent of the black vote. In the 2012 presidential election, black women voted at the highest rate of any group across race, gender and ethnicity, and 96 percent of them voted for President Obama, according to exit polls. It is not an exaggeration to say that black women, in formation and flexing their political power, could have the final say over whether Mrs. Clinton becomes the first female presidential nominee of either party.
Civil rights lawyer Bill Murphy has endorsed Clinton.

MSNBC reports:
Civil rights attorney Bill Murphy, who is representing Flint residents in a class-action lawsuit, has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, according to a campaign aide.
Clinton has a moving new ad playing in Nevada.
The well-known Baltimore lawyer, who also represented the family of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, filed a federal suit against Michigan officials earlier this month. He is seeking compensation on behalf of Flint citizens for all water bills paid for undrinkable water tainted with lead. 
In a statement provided to NBC News, Murphy said he preferred Clinton “because she has been truly loyal to President Obama and is the best person to protect and build on his legacy.”
He also cited Clinton’s legal background. “Hillary’s background as a lawyer puts her in a better position than Bernie or any other candidate to understand who should be nominated to the Supreme Court,” he wrote.
Murphy, who will campaign for Clinton in South Carolina next week, praised Clinton’s foreign policy experience and said outright that Sanders lacked comparable “knowledge, experience and success.”
“And most important,” Murphy said, “because never again do we want our hearts broken and our hopes dashed by nominating a wonderful candidate who can’t beat the Republicans in the general election.”
So did the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus. reports:
Clinton, who is battling Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, received the endorsement because of what the caucus described as her long record of fighting for racial and social equality and her proposals for criminal justice reforms, increased voting rights access and expanded affordable health care options, according to a news release.
"Hillary Clinton is the only candidate in this election who truly understands the struggles African American families face every day in Alabama, and the only candidate that has put forth a realistic plan to improve the quality of life for all Alabamians regardless of the color of their skin," Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, chairman of the caucus, said in a news release.
Alabama's presidential primary is March 1.
CBC PAC chairman Gregory Meeks is not mincing words.

The Huffington Post reports:
CBC PAC chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) joined HuffPost Live and explained why the organization chose to back Clinton over her challenger Bernie Sanders.
Meeks told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani that most CBC members have a "longstanding relationship" with Clinton, and he praised her dedication to civil rights. Meeks added that Sanders' socialist platform wouldn't adequately target issues of race.
"He has been a leader and a fighter for the socialist party and socialism. That's who he's been and he's true to his word in that regard," he said. "But socialism and/or dealing with class does not mean … that you can eradicate racism."
Meeks also questioned Sanders' past civil rights involvement, which became a huge story after his run-in with Black Lives Matter activists this summer and bubbled up again when an old picture of Sanders speaking before a civil rights rally surfaced. It received renewed attention when civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said he "never saw" Sanders while working for the movement. 
"Though we appreciate the fact and recognize the fact that he might have participated in some of the civil rights movement of the '60s, he had never really been a part of or involved in many of the civil rights and or racial issues that we've had to deal with throughout our tenure," Meeks said.
A statement from the CBC PAC touted Clinton's work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, vote to raise the minimum wage and support to ban racial profiling as reasons for the endorsement. 
"We just believe that Sen. Clinton has been there for a longer period of time, has been dedicated and focused on the issues that are most important to us," he said.
Also from The Huffington Post:
My choice is Hillary and I think I have very solid reasons for it. Before I explain my rationale, I would clarify that I am not supporting Hillary because of the common perception that Sanders is "un-electable" if he gets the nomination. This is a very different election and Sanders may end up getting the nomination and even the presidency. His electability or lack thereof is not my reason for supporting Hillary.
I think it is better to improve along the lines of the existing system, something which Hillary is recommending and which is doable also. I know in this election pragmatism has become unglamorous but it has its virtues!
I fully agree that minimum wage has to go up, but suggesting that it should be raised to 15 dollars an hour may make it an attractive election slogan -- but is again not doable. Raising it to that level (if you are actually able to raise it) will actually discourage employers from hiring. It would also hurt their competitiveness and lead to losses and layoffs. We have to strike a proper balance between workers and employers (particularly small-scale businesses) and our goal should be to ensure that while minimum wage goes up, it is still viable for the employers because only then can improvement take place. What Hillary Clinton is suggesting is progressive and yet also more feasible.
Likewise, ideas like breaking up the big banks are highly impractical and if implemented can seriously undermine investor confidence. I know this slogan is attractive and it feeds into the collective disgust which many feel for the "greedy" Wall Street bankers, but it is not the right idea. This is not suggesting that Wall Street should be given free reign. What we need is better supervisory oversight rather than reducing the size of the banks.
I think the choice between Hillary and Sanders is fundamentally not of progressive credentials or for that matter even feminism. You can be a feminist and yet vote for Bernie and your progressive and liberal credentials won't be undermined if you vote for Hillary. It is about electing someone who is progressive and can actually also get things done.
Hillary Clinton is by far the one of the most experienced and qualified candidates in the modern times and someone who knows the system and can maneuver proposals successfully. She is a progressive, a liberal and a feminist. Since she has been at the center of power politics, therefore it is easy to find her flaws and mock at her compromises. I doubt if Sanders had been in those positions, would he have behaved much differently.
That is why despite really liking Sanders, I am supporting Hillary Clinton.
I can’t believe I’ve got the word “uterus” in my HNV headline, but the overt, casual sexism on the left shouldn’t surprise me anymore.

Shakesville’s Melissa McEwan writes:
Later in the day, rapper Killer Mike, who has been campaigning with and for Sanders, said during a Sanders rally that a "uterus doesn't qualify you to be president."

He later said he was merely quoting what a woman said to him. But a woman saying it doesn't make it any less offensive; doesn't make it any less misogynistic or ciscentric.

The habitual rhetoric of reductively representing female candidates—and female voters—to body parts, whether we are said to consider a uterus a qualification to be be voting with our vaginas, is contemptible. Women are more than our body parts. Not all women even have uteri and/or vaginas.
What Killer Mike said was indefensible, though that hasn't, of course, stopped people from trying to defend it. By, naturally, accusing critics who object of "being in the bag" for Clinton and "playing the gender card."
MTV has some good analysis, too:
Mike dismissed the accusations of sexism on Twitter, saying simply that he’s not a fan of Clinton as a candidate. But his language, even in quotation marks, strikes a troubling resemblance to the sexism that has hovered around Clinton since she set off on her campaign trail.
The idea of “voting with your vagina” — or uterus, or whatever body part conveniently signifies womanhood in a cis-normative political landscape — delegitimizes the politics of everyone who aligns with Clinton, no matter their gender. It’s a gender-essentialist cliché that reduces a powerful political figure to the sum of her body parts, and it suggests that people with uteruses aren’t capable of making choices beyond picking out their closest anatomical match in a political race.
Uteruses are political to the extent that their owners still need to fight for the right to control them, but that’s just about the only reason they should ever come up in a political context. There are plenty of critiques to be made of Clinton that don’t rely on the particulars of her body. Though Killer Mike was quoting a known feminist, the words he shared with Sanders supporters to cheers and applause can only serve to deepen the sexism that has plagued the presidential race. There’s no purpose to that quote other than to paint Sanders supporters as cerebral and enlightened, while Clinton supporters by contrast come off like they’re subject to the whims of their anatomy.
Killer Mike has used his celebrity to draw attention to some of the most urgent issues facing the U.S. today, like police brutality and Black Lives Matter. But his latest appearance in the political sphere only solidifies the idea that the Sanders campaign is a boys’ club — a place where women’s opinions and needs come in second.
The MTV piece links to an earlier Lenny article written by Jessica Grose:
The last time I checked, my uterus was not a sentient being. It has not registered to vote. It doesn't pay my taxes though it would be great to share that burden, especially since my uterus keeps taking in freeloaders for nine months at a time. But in all seriousness, here's what the "voting with your genitals" accusation is really telling other women: you're too hysterical to use your pretty head. You can't possibly be versed on the issues and have come to a legitimate conclusion from your understanding of those issues. Though lots of women are excited by the possibility of a woman in the White House, vanishingly few women actually vote for candidates based exclusively on their parts — otherwise Hillary's supporters would have switched to Sarah Palin en masse in 2008.
It doesn't actually matter why women — including, disappointingly, the aforementioned Susan Sarandon — are implying that other women are voting with their vaginas. The important thing is that they realize it's wrong. This kind of gendered bashing is why women don't run for office in the first place. A study from the nonprofit Political Parity about why the U.S. has stalled out in terms of women in government shows that nearly three-quarters of women officeholders said they experienced gendered discrimination, and part of that discrimination involved "being ridiculed, either privately or sometimes in public."
Furthermore, telling women that they're just "voting with their vaginas" doesn't even help Bernie; it just highlights how important Hillary is as a symbol. The reason these things are still said about her is, in part, because a viable woman running for president is still an anomaly. If we had a presidential race that included not just Hillary but also Elizabeth Warren, Nikki Haley, and Susan Collins, the "voting with your vagina" accusation would be moot.
Bernie Sanders forcefully denounced Killer Mike’s sexist quotations and — ha ha just kidding.

The Washington Post reports:
A spokesman for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Wednesday dismissed as "gotcha politics" a controversy over comments by rapper Killer Mike, a frequent Sanders surrogate, about whether a uterus alone qualifies someone to be president.
Sanders weighed in on Wednesday morning, with a spokesman saying he "doesn't believe gender should be a reason to vote for or against someone."
"That's the point Mike was making when he quoted Jane Elliott, the internationally known educator," said Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs. "We need to get beyond the gotcha politics and get to the issues at the heart of the election."
As a palate cleanser, Clinton’s on the air with a powerful new ad showcasing the daughter of  undocumented immigrants.

Here is “Brave”:

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