Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hillary News & Views 4.12: What Unity Looks Like, and a "Boring" Daily News Interview


Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with a reminder of what unity looks like.

Melissa McEwan, writing for Shakesville, looks back on the 2008 primary and its aftermath, which led two rivals to become great friends and allies:
And, if Sanders does become the eventual nominee, I will support him. Because he is an infinitely better candidate than anyone the GOP could run, and because, if my preferred candidate loses, she will ask me to support him. 
All of which is prelude and caveat to my saying that I think Clinton will be the eventual nominee. And one of the things to which I am very much looking forward if and when she is, is President Barack Obama being able to campaign with and for her.
I am looking forward to that SO MUCH!
Over the weekend, I watched (again) one of my favorite political interviews of all time, in which President Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton sat down together for an interview with 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft.
I love everything about this interview. The way they look at each other, the way they lean toward each other, the way they speak about each other.

I love its usefulness now, during another hotly contested Democratic primary, and how it provides us both the argument for coming together and the roadmap to do it.

I love the story of their friendship, and how it was built.

I seriously cannot wait to see these two on the campaign trail together. Again.
McEwan also notes that the respect currently being shown in our primary is not exactly mutual:
I just want to note here that Sanders could make the case that he's got better judgment than his opponent (which he quite clearly wants to do, despite protestations to the contrary) without saying negative shit like "something is clearly lacking" and "her judgment is not quite as high as it should be."

He could, for instance, just straightforwardly say, "I think I've get better judgment than she does." Or he could do the more politic thing of saying, "We've got different judgment on a number of issues, which is reflected in our records, and I'll let the voters make up their minds about whose judgment they prefer."
But of all possible options, he went for the option where he basically just trashes her.
During a separate segment on [CNN's State of the Union], Clinton declined to criticize Sanders when asked by host Jake Tapper whether she has doubts about him.
"No, I don't," the former secretary of state said. "I don't have anything negative to say about him."

New York Daily News has posted the entire transcript of Clinton's interview with their editorial board, which coupled with Sanders' trainwreck that preceded it, can serve as a case study for the importance of being prepared for such an interview.

Some highlights include Clinton on…

Raising wages:
On fairness, we have to take on the fact that most Americans haven't had a raise in 15 years. And you're right, although inequality was going up, so was incomes. And what I have seen in every survey that I have looked at, and what I hear from people in this campaign and I've now talked to many thousands of them, they just want to make sure they're getting ahead. It's not so much the fair acquisition of higher income. It's the manipulation of the system. It's the rigging of the system.
In the latest reports, we're seeing a slight uptick because the labor market is getting somewhat tighter. I am withholding judgment about, you know, how strong it is because I think I see more indicators that we're heading in the right direction. I will always be alert to those that are not. But when it comes to how we get raises, we have got to take a hard look at how work is being performed today and what are the drivers of companies cutting hours back.
And a lot of people say it was the Affordable Care Act, because above 30 hours, there's going to be certain expectations. Well, it's also because a lot of companies don't want to pay benefits of any kind, so trying to keep employees below whatever the threshold is. We have to take a hard look at that. That is just making it nearly impossible for so many working families to get ahead.
And look at what's happening with scheduling. And I'm particularly sensitive to this because I hear about it from a lot of young people. They are having to take one, two, sometimes three jobs, and they're at the mercy of unpredictable scheduling. So I think the federal government, through the Department of Labor, we have to look at how we enforce the existing laws. Overtime laws are a perfect example. And then, what do we need to do to try to adjust our laws to the so-called gig economy, which is ripping away the safety net from so many working people?
I support the increase in minimum wage. I supported the Fight for 15. I think the way New York has done it makes a lot of sense, because, you know, applying it more quickly in New York City, having a more phased-in application upstate, keeping an eye out for unintended consequences. California's doing something similar.
So I think raising the bottom historically has meant you also bump up those above the bottom. We also have to guarantee equal pay for women. And you know, people look at me when I say this like, "Well, that's a luxury." It's a necessity. It goes into the wage base. It goes into the pocket book, and we have a continuing big problem about unequal pay for women. And the women's soccer team is just the latest example. There's a lot of issues around this because we have a lack of transparency.
So this is a big deal to me. I point out all the time, because when I'm speaking to big crowds, I say we have to guarantee equal pay for women. The women all applaud wildly, and a lot of the men are just sort of looking at me. And then I quickly say this is not just a women's issue. It's a family issue. If you have a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter who is not being paid fairly, she does not get a gender discount when she's checking out at the supermarket. You're a white woman, therefore you only have to pay 78 cents on the dollar, or you're an African-American woman, you only have to pay 68 cents, or you're a Latino, you only have to pay 58 cents. That doesn't happen, so it is a family issue and it's a broader issue of economic fairness and I would argue growth.
And then long-term, we've got to look at capital gains as well as corporate tax. I want to reward patient capital. I think the more we can try to nudge our business leadership into looking at what will grow their companies and grow their employment base.
And the final thing I'll say about this, because I could talk on for a long time. When I was giving one of my economic speeches and I was looking through a lot of the reporting, there was a survey that had been done with leaders of major American corporations, people in the top 100, right? And they were asked a question, to paraphrase, that went like this, "If you could make an investment today in plant and equipment, in research, in training and education for your workforce and you could be guaranteed it would pay off in five to 10 years in your bottom line, but it would knock a penny off your share price, would you do it?" To a person, they said no. And I guessed that one of the people saying no is somebody I know who heads one of these big corporations. So I called that person up. I said, "Were you part of this?" "Yes," the answer was. I said, "You really said no?" and the response was, "You have no idea. The activist shareholders, the market would destroy me. I can't make those kinds of long-term investments."
So we're looking at the incredible cost that quarterly capitalism is imposing on our economy. And if we aren't smart enough to figure out how to look at that and deal with it, shame on us. Because I remember when I went to law school, shareholders were not the only constituency of a corporation that had to be given priority, and we have slowly moved away from that for all kinds of legal and economic reasons and pressures. So we've got to take a look at how we are funding ourselves and the kind of pressures we are putting on corporations, which are driving American growth but not feeling like they can make the investments that will actually pay off.
On Infrastructure Investment:
I have this image of the Old Executive Office Building. They have some very big rooms with really high ceilings, and I want a map of our country where we plot all of the most pressing infrastructure needs, both what we can see — roads, bridges, tunnels, airports — and what we can't see, like water systems, so that what happened in Flint, doesn't happen anywhere again. And to finish building out high-speed affordable internet access for everybody because that's an economic tool and we are leaving a lot of jobs and income on the table because we haven't done that. And to really prioritize. You know, back in the Recovery Act in '09 and '10, the Obama administration said we're going to go for shovel-ready projects. And to a great extent, they did.
But we need to get ahead of that and to get states and localities to immediately, within the first 100 days, prioritize their infrastructure needs and let us know what they are, and then we will overlay that with some of what I consider to be national infrastructure needs. For example, leaking pipelines across borders. So one state may say, "Well, you know, that's somebody else's problem."
So I want to also be creative about what kind of new infrastructure investments might be worth pursuing. I think a lot of the work we need to do on clean, renewable energy requires a new electric grid. We got some planning done under the Recovery Act. I want to… I'm not immersed in it. I don't have access to it because a lot of it needs to be dealt with in security constraints, but we need to look at all of that and I'm excited by this.
See, I really believe, Arthur, now this may be betraying my level of enthusiasm and confidence about what we can do, but I really believe that if you tell Americans what you're trying to do, and you tell them again, and you bring them along, and you demonstrate that we can actually do things together again, you can rebuild what has been a real collapse in confidence in our economy, our government and our political system, because really if you get beyond the specifics, what we're dealing with is a turning away from a belief that anything, anywhere is gonna help people.
Politics has to play some role in this. Let's not forget we do have to play some role. I got to get it passed through Congress. And I think I'm well-prepared to do that. I was telling you about Buffalo. I got $20 million. Now I got that because it was political. But it worked. And it has created this amazing medical complex. So I don't disregard the politics, but I believe one of the ways to get to the overall political outcome is by doing a better job than I think was done in the Obama administration, in constantly talking about what this can mean — new jobs, new economic growth and competitiveness.
One of our challenges is because our infrastructure is really below grade in so many ways, we don't even have an airport in the top 25. I'm glad at least that we're looking at upgrades to LaGuardia, which we all know has been an embarrassment. So we're making some progress in some of these areas, but we need to link what needs to be done to what can be achieved and I will take that on gladly.
You see, I really believe that one of the challenges is we're locked in this ideological binary world right now where you've got the Tea Party ideologues, which are basically determining what Republicans say, taking a negative stand toward everything. “Government can't do anything and we shouldn't even pretend that it can.” And then you've got the people who say “the government's got the answer to everything. Whatever is ailing you, we got to get the government back doing all these things.” Look, I think you've got to say, "Hey, what are the goals we're setting? What are the steps we take?" It sounds boring but this is the kind of strategic analysis and presentation I believe in, and, "How are we going to accomplish it?" And then you look at that map and you say, "Where do I need to get the support? Where do I go to make the case?"
So I think we can do that, and particularly if we can get the mechanism for the National Infrastructure Bank. Because if all we do is rely on Congress, then we are going to be at their mercy every five to seven to eight years. Whereas if we say, yeah, Congress still has the primary role... It passed finally $275 billion program, but we want to have an ongoing, revolving fund. We need to look at how we can once again use municipal bonding authority. How can we use more state bonding authority? We used for a little period of time, and I like the idea of federal bonds that can be used for infrastructure, as long as you have a revenue stream. Look, I'm excited about this stuff. I'm kind of a wonky person. I'm excited by it.
On higher education costs:
Here's the problem. States have been disinvesting in higher education now for 20 years but at an accelerating pace for 10 years. So that the flagship higher education systems in California, in New York, in Michigan, other places have been under increasing pressure because states have diverted money to other purposes. Building prisons has taken a lot of state dollars, and I think we should end building any more prisons. I think we need to be focused on moving people out of prison and diverting them in the first place. But we have to figure out how we get states, once again, to invest, because tuition has gone up 42% in the last 10 years. Nothing else has gone up that fast.
So you're putting families and young people in an increasingly untenable position. So I have what I call the New College Compact. And it takes federal dollars to use basically as the incentive for states to join with the federal government in providing debt-free tuition for middle-class, working and poor families. I will not make it free the way my opponent, Sen. Sanders, has offered, for two big reasons.
First, I want not only to incentivize states to reinvest in higher education. I want to incentivize colleges and universities to take a hard look at their costs, because I do think that there needs to be a rigorous analysis. You know, one of the complaints that I think students rightly make is every student pays for athletic facilities. It may be required to buy tickets that they will never use. We need to take a hard look at what's going into the base for the tuition that the average student has to pay. So if you say it's free, I mean that's like, take the pressure off, okay?
I get excited. Okay, so you've got the states, you've got the institutions and you've got the families, and then students who want to take advantage of debt-free tuition have to agree to work 10 hours a week. It's work-study at the college or university, because a couple of public institutions — Arizona State University being a prime example — have lowered their costs by using students for a lot of the work. Yes, it's free. It's in effect in exchange for lower tuition. So I want that to be part of the deal.
So the federal government would hold out this promise. And I think states with Democratic governors like New York or California would accept it.
[The federal government] would ensure that as students are accepted into public colleges and universities, they would submit an application that included their family income and resources, and below a certain level, they would be told, "Okay, you can afford this much, x amount, to pay for your tuition, but you can't afford any more than that. We will make up the difference." And some people will be told, "You can't afford any of it, so we will pay. So you do not have to borrow any money whatsoever to go to school."
But it would be better, it would work better, if the states were also reinvesting. And so part of the compact is to encourage the states to do that by saying, "We got a great deal for your students, but we're going to request that you put more money in. And by the way, colleges and universities, I don't see how you're going to tell your students they can't be eligible but we want you to engage in the hard analysis of what you are charging your students."
They are told, "You are eligible for this kind of aid." The aid comes with usually an interest rate that is often above market level, number one. The aid is very often not in any way going to help them if they can afford through the aid to have tuition, but they get no help on the expense side. So I am also offering help on the expense side for young people who need it.
So we've got this perfect storm. They go through this long, burdensome process, and they often end up being told, "Well, you can borrow x amount at this rate." They borrow x amount at this rate, but there's no guarantee that the rate stays the same. We are eliminating that.
It's not a loan.
Now what I want to do is look at all of the available financial assistance that's out there, because we can combine with state grant programs or institutional grant programs.
But here's what I also feel really strongly about is as you're looking at this...you know, when I taught at the University of Arkansas Law School, tuition was very low, but there were a lot of poor kids. And a lot of poor kids could scrape the money together for tuition, but their whole education was dependent upon keeping all the other costs affordable.
So they lived out in the country, and they had an old clunker car. And the car broke down. There was no mass transit. People were stuck. And for the lack of $300, they were out of luck, because they couldn't get to classes, or if they were a single parent, the scholarship, I mean the child-care money was no longer affordable, or whatever their problem might be. So I started something called the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund to fund those expenses that were not tuition, but were room, board, books, but also these unexpected...and so I want to move Pell Grants so that they can be used for non-tuition expenses. So this whole package will lead to debt-free tuition.
But here's the final point I want to make, why I feel absolutely committed to this. If you look at the data, and I know you do look at data, if you're a young person in the bottom quartile of income right now, in America, you have a lesser chance of starting and completing college than someone in the same position did 30 years ago.
Even if you're a top student, if your grades are good, if your test scores are good. And we are just shrinking the pipeline. If we're supposed to be a meritocracy, then let's get back to helping people who deserve it. And I am not going to pay for my granddaughter. I'm not going to pay for Donald Trump's children or grandchildren. I'm going to focus on middle-class, working and poor families. And that's where I think we need to be lifting those young people up.
Now the other thing I want to quickly say because I also feel strongly about this. We do need to try to get the cost of community college as close to free as possible. And the President made a proposal about that. I think he's on the right track on that, because a lot of young people, especially starting in high school, go to community college programs and actually acquire college credits as well as credentials. Maybe it's a credential as a machinist or maybe it's college credits so you can start as a junior and save the money that you would have otherwise spent in your freshman or sophomore years.
So I am determined that we're going to do more with community college, more with technical institutions, because we have to once again send a very strong message that going to college is not the only way to get a good middle-class life. We have about 1.2 million jobs in this country that are going unfilled for machinists and welders and tool and dye makers and computer coders and a lot of things that don't require a four-year college degree but do require skills. So we have to look at the total picture about how we make college affordable, how we make community college readily available starting in high school, how we produce more credentialed workers and then get them out into the workforce.
On the 1994 Crime Bill and mass incarceration:
I think the term refers to the over-incarceration of people for low-level offenses, non-violent offenses, often but not exclusively drug offenses. And I think it is a problem that slowly but steadily made itself known over the last 10, 12 years. And now I think it's important to take a hard look at how we divert more people from the criminal justice system in the first place, how we acknowledge and deal with systemic racism, which has a lot to do with who ends up there, as opposed to a fair assessment of who should, and what we do for people coming out and how we do a better job of reconnecting them and preparing for them to live in society.
So the first speech I gave in this campaign, back in last April, was on reforms of the criminal justice system and tackling this incarceration problem. And I've been encouraged because as I've traveled around the country, I've actually been seeking out programs that are working to divert people and programs that are working to provide opportunities once people come out, and also looking at jurisdictions that have decriminalized low levels of drug possession.
And then I think the clemency provisions, the hard look at who really needs to be incarcerated and how we get back to having more programs within the prisons, because one of the unfortunate decisions that was made by a lot of states including ours was to cut out college programs, to cut out all kinds of education and skills programs. So if you put the whole package together, then I think we have a better shot at incarcerating those who should be.
Well, I think [President Clinton] has said, last summer at the NAACP, that there were some good programs in the crime bill. We did have more police on the street because of the crime bill. The Violence Against Women Act, the assault weapons ban, which was part of the package, coming up with in a more limited way, the recognition that giving young people something to say yes to as opposed to getting into trouble was a real need in a lot of communities, and there were programs for that.
But there was a lot of moves by states following the passage of the crime bill to criminalize a lot of behavior and to incarcerate a lot of people, who, as we just discussed, didn't necessarily need to be.
So I think that was not as apparent at the time, but part of being a responsible decision-maker is to keep track of what's happening. And now I think it's clear that there were some consequences that we do have to address. And when I was a senator, I went after racial profiling, introduced legislation. I supported reducing, I wanted to eliminate, but reducing the disparity between crack and powdered cocaine, looking for ways to try to eliminate some of the effects, or the failures to act that were leading to over incarceration, mass incarceration.
And a lot of people have been very willing to step up, including Al Sharpton, and say “we were begging for action,” because there was a terrible sense of fear and insecurity in so many communities across our country.
And there were some specific findings. For example, 30 years before, there had been three police officers for every felony committed. By the early '90s, there were only one police officer for every three felonies, and so we knew we had a manpower problem. We also had a policing strategy problem, which was the whole idea behind community policing and trying to develop better relations with communities so that they could be partners in making their own communities safe.
So there was a real problem. I will not ever deny that. And I think that, as I said, there were some positive changes that came out. But it is important to constantly be evaluating and I agree with those who say a lot of the sentencing, a lot of the three strikes and you're out, a lot of the over criminalization of nonviolent actions led to a situation which we now must address.
On gun violence, Mothers of the Movement, and Black Lives Matter:
[President Clinton] made the point, which I think is an important one, that we need to be talking and listening to each other. And that's exactly what I've been doing from the first day of this campaign until right now, where I am meeting with a lot of activists, leaders, concerned citizens in many communities across America about all of the issues that they are concerned about.
One of the most extraordinary experiences that I've had is getting to know the mothers of the movement, women who have lost their children to violence, predominantly gun violence, some to police actions, but a lot to the epidemic of gun violence. And I listened to them, and they want to end the gun violence. One of the women who lost her son is a chief in the Chicago fire department. Her husband is a detective in the Chicago police department. Her honor student son was on a public bus in Chicago when a gang member got on because he saw on the back of the bus through the window somebody he was looking for from a rival gang and the guy started shooting. And this woman's son put himself in front of his schoolmates and he died.
So you're not going to get an argument from me that we still have to make sure that people can live without fear, that they can live safely and securely, that the epidemic of gun violence has to be addressed, which is why I'm so determined to take on the gun lobby… that we do need to reform police practices so that police don't reach for their gun as the first choice. They try to deescalate situations. So I am committed to looking at this broadly. It's not either/or. It has to be both/and.
And, very briefly, number one, we do have to invest federal funds in police retraining and work with those departments that set a high standard. Create regional training centers or use ones that are already there to try to introduce and reinforce best policing practices.
Secondly we've got to do more to demilitarize the police. I think some of the issues that need to be addressed result from what we did predominately after 9/11 where there was a lot of concern about homeland security and a lot of military equipment was shared with, sent to local police departments, including in small places where any threat assessment would have demonstrated that maybe New York, maybe L.A., but not these smaller towns.
So thirdly I think we need to do much more to incentivize diversion programs on the front end and work with the police and communities to be partners in that and much more to incentivize different behaviors and programs inside correction facilities. Right now, we are putting people in prison who have addiction problems, mental health problems, lack education and skills, and we're basically doing nothing other than warehousing them and very often, putting them in conditions that make their future lives even more dangerous.
Well, there are some really good talks going on right now. Cory Booker, Mike Lee, Dick Durbin, even Chuck Grassley are talking about sentencing reform. Now we don't, at the federal level, have control over state and local sentencing plans, but by setting an example and again by providing incentives, financial incentives, but also lifting up what are more reasonable sentencing guidelines, I think we can have a downward pressure that will cause states and cities to do that.
And I'm encouraged, I'm hoping, that maybe there will be some bipartisan sentencing reforms before the end of this Congress. Now maybe it'll get lost in the political shuffle, but I've talked to some of the Democrats who are working on it and they still are hoping that can happen.
On Dodd-Frank and financial reform:
Well, I have been a strong supporter of Dodd-Frank because it is the most consequential financial reforms since the Great Depression. And I have said many times in debates and in other settings, there is authority in Dodd-Frank to break up banks that pose a grave threat to financial stability.
There are two approaches. There's Section 121, Section 165, and both of them can be used by regulators to either require a bank to sell off businesses, lines of businesses or assets, because of the finding that is made by two-thirds of the financial regulators that the institution poses a grave threat, or if the Fed and the FDIC conclude that the institutions' living will resolution is inadequate and is not going to get any better, there can also be requirements that they do so.
So we've got that structure. Now a lot of people have argued that there need to be some tweaks to it that I would be certainly open to. But my point from the very beginning of this campaign, and it's something that I've said repeatedly: big banks did not cause the Great Recession primarily. They were complicit, but hedge funds; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank; a big insurance company, AIG; mortgage companies like Countrywide, Fannie and Freddie — there were lots of culprits who were contributing to the circumstances that led to the very dangerous financial crisis.
Well, it rankles me that I don't believe we had sufficient laws, sufficient prosecutorial resources to really go after what could have been not just dangerous, unethical behavior but perhaps illegal behavior. I've talked with some of the people responsible for trying to determine whether there could be cases brought. And they were totally outresourced.
We haven't adequately resourced the regulators — SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, FDIC — and we have not sufficiently resourced the Justice Department and U.S. attorneys to have the expertise and the ability to go after anything they sought.
The prosecutors tell me it was the problem of the law. Other analysts, as you well know, have said that there could have been more vigorous efforts that might have led to prosecutions. Now there were cases brought in some of the mortgage companies. There's also a problem with the statute of limitations, because these are difficult cases to bring. They take a long time. I think we should certainly extend the statute of limitations.
So I'm not going to second-judge people who I believe were acting in good faith, because I think they were — U.S. attorneys, Department of Justice prosecutors. But they concluded that they could not make cases. So I think we have to have a very robust analysis of what were the real reasons they couldn't make cases. Are the laws insufficient? Therefore how do we try to make them tougher as a deterrent and make it clear to people in the financial services industry that there's a new sheriff in town so that there will be additional legal requirements and we will resource better.
So I think we have to take a hard look at this, and I believe we can do that.
At this point, I am not privy to the analysis that is being conducted under Dodd-Frank to make that determination. I am however quite concerned about the recent district court judgment overturning the regulators' assessment that MetLife should be considered an institution under the too big to fail rubric, because I don't think that the Financial Stability Oversight Council acted precipitously when they so labeled MetLife. And they clearly did their homework and came to that conclusion. And for a district judge to in a sense substitute her judgment for FSOC concerns me.
So right now, I don't know what the analysis of the existing potential for a grave threat or the suitability and completeness of their living wills might be. But I want to stress I will be looking for regulators who I have confidence in will be able to make those hard calls. We can't ever let what happened happen again.
But we've got to go further. We've got to have more transparency with hedge funds. We don't even know what kind of risk they pose. We need to look at repurchase agreements, which need more collateral so that they can't be used for the leverage that they were used before. That was a big problem with Lehman Brothers. We have to look at money market funds. One of the problems with one of the big money market funds back then was that it had too much Lehman Brothers debt in its portfolio and the government had to step in to boost it back up.
So my point has been continuously: The banks always have to be under now a tight regulatory oversight. But if all you do is look at the banks, you are missing shadow banking, and I have put forth a plan that everybody from Paul Krugman to professors of finance have said is a top-to-bottom, comprehensive look at not just what happened in the past but how we prevent risks in the future.
On U.S. policy regarding Latin America:
Well, let me again try to put this in context. The legislature, the national legislature in Honduras and the national judiciary actually followed the law in removing President Zelaya. Now I didn't like the way it looked or the way they did it but they had a very strong argument that they had followed the constitution and the legal precedence. And as you know, they really undercut their argument by spiriting him out of the country in his pajamas, where they sent the military to take him out of his bed and get him out of the country. So this began as a very mixed and difficult situation.
If the United States government declares a coup, you immediately have to shut off all aid including humanitarian aid, the Agency for International Development aid, the support that we were providing at that time for a lot of very poor people, and that triggers a legal necessity. There's no way to get around it. So our assessment was, we will just make the situation worse by punishing the Honduran people if we declare a coup and we immediately have to stop all aid for the people, but we should slow walk and try to stop anything that the government could take advantage of without calling it a coup.
So you're right. I worked very hard with leaders in the region and got Oscar Arias, the Nobel Prize winner, to take the lead on trying to broker a resolution. Without bloodshed. And that was very important to us that… Zelaya had friends and allies not just in Honduras but in some of the neighboring countries like Nicaragua, and that we could have had a terrible civil war that would have been just terrifying in its loss of life.
So I think we came out with a solution that did hold new elections, but it did not in any way address the structural, systemic problems in that society. And I share your concern that it's not just government actions. Drug gangs, traffickers of all kinds are preying on the people of Honduras.
So I think we need to do more of a Colombian plan for Central America, because remember what was going in Colombia when first my husband and then followed by President Bush had Plan Colombia, which was to try to use our leverage to rein in the government in their actions against the FARC and the guerillas, but also to help the government stop the advance of the FARC and guerillas.
And now we're in the middle of peace talks. It didn't happen overnight. It took a number of years, but I want to see a much more comprehensive approach towards Central America because it's just Honduras. The highest murder rate is in El Salvador and we've got Guatemala with all the problems you know so well.
So I think in retrospect we managed a very difficult situation without bloodshed, without a civil war that led to a new election, and I think that was better for the Honduran people, but we have a lot of work to do to try to help stabilize that and deal with corruption, deal with violence and the gangs and so much else.
Washington Post describes Clinton’s interview with the Daily News as “boring”, and they mean that as a compliment:
One word would describe Hillary Clinton’s Saturday sit-down with the New York Daily News editorial board: Boring! And that’s a good thing.
The 80-minute wonkfest with the two-term former senator from the Empire State was notably different from the editorial board meeting with Sen. Bernie Sanders a week earlier. That gathering was gasp-worthy for the Vermont Independent’s seeming inability to talk beyond his stump speech. Clinton had the opposite issue. She could talk — and talk and talk — about anything in thoughtful paragraphs stuffed with details.
Clinton talked about the broader economy, the U.S. relationship with Israel, mass incarceration and other issues during her Saturday visit at the Daily News. But I highlight her responses on the banks and college affordability to show that even on Sanders’s turf, Clinton has ideas, plans, something to say. When Sanders was asked about foreign policy, Clinton’s domain as a former secretary of state, he more than disappointed. “I don’t know the answer to that,” Sanders said when asked whether President Obama had “the right policy” in dealing with the Islamic State.
Daily News columnist Linda Stasi wrote over the weekend that Clinton was “as totally well informed as you expect her to be.” That’s not nearly as exciting as listening to a presidential candidate walk through policy like one walks on thin ice. But at this stage in the nomination contest, I’ll take “totally well informed” and the boredom that goes with it than the worrisome alternative. 
Clinton’s been contrasting her record with Sanders’ record on the campaign trail in New York, managing to do so without the character attacks and vague innuendo that he relies on.

Politico reports:
"There seems to be a growing level of anxiety in that campaign, which I hope doesn’t spill over into the way that his supporters treat other people who have every right to support whomever they choose," Clinton told reporters at a restaurant in Queens, where she also denounced the rhetoric of Donald Trump.
Remarking that she is "far ahead" of Sanders in the popular vote and "considerably ahead" with pledged delegates, Clinton urged her opponent to "stay on the issues and let voters in New York and the states that follow" make their decisions.
Among those issues Clinton touched upon during the impromptu gathering was Sanders' 2007 vote against an immigration reform bill due to a guest-worker provision that he has likened to modern-day slavery. Clinton also noted Sanders' appearance on Lou Dobbs' program, which she said "at the time was really beating the drum against legal immigration."
"I think our records are very clear," Clinton said, noting her longtime support of the DREAM Act. Sanders, she added, "was supporting the so-called vigilantes, the minutemen on the border."
That assertion also surfaced during last month's debate in Miami, in reference to an amendment to a Homeland Security appropriations bill that would ban the department from providing foreign governments with information about "the activities of an organized volunteer civilian action group, operating in the State of California, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona."
Clinton said she is looking forward to the Thursday night debate in Brooklyn.
"I have noticed that under the bright spotlight and scrutiny in New York, Sen. Sanders has had trouble answering questions. He's had trouble answering questions about his core issue, namely dealing with the banks," Clinton said, referring to Sanders' Daily News editorial board interview. "He's had trouble answering foreign policy questions. And so I look forward to a debate that is in New York with people asking the kind of questions that New Yorkers ask."
Hillary Clinton’s “secret weapon” in the Democratic Primary? Democrats.

Washington Post reports:
Bernie Sanders made the rounds on the Sunday shows reiterating his oft-made argument: He, not Hillary Clinton, is the candidate best positioned to take on Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. It’s true, as Sanders says, that a number of polls show him performing better against them in general election match-ups, though the significance of this is an open question.
This argument from Sanders, however, is crucial to understanding this new ad from Hillary Clinton that attacks Donald Trump by name, going hard directly at Trump’s xenophobia, demagoguery and chauvinism.
This ad signals that Democrats will be free to go much harder at Trump than are his GOP rivals, who have been constrained from doing so by the inconvenient fact that a lot of GOP voters agree with Trump’s more wretched prescriptions and pronouncements. Dems speaking to a general election audience will not be similarly constrained.
But this ad also says something important about the remainder of the Democratic primaries, particularly the New York primary, which is set for April 19th. Many of them are closed to independent voters, meaning only registered Democrats can vote.
Sanders supporters say they’ll be able to compensate for this problem by “super-charging turnout among young people and other key Sanders groups,” Seitz-Wald reports. And that of course could happen. But throughout these primaries, Clinton has fared far better than Sanders in closed contests, in part because she wins among Democrats while Sanders wins among independents.
Much of what you’re seeing right now from the Clinton campaign is best understood with this in mind. It helps explain why Clinton has taken to calling out Sanders for not being a Democrat. And it also helps explain the contours of the argument the two candidates are now having about electability.
After noting that Trump has said we should “punish” women who have abortions and has called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” it concludes: “With so much at stake, she’s the one tough enough to stop Trump.”
The Clinton camp is betting that Democratic voters in particular have a deep well of historical memories of her at war with Republicans for more than two decades, and that as a result, they will conclude that she should be entrusted with the task of defeating Trump, given how horrifying the prospects of a Trump presidency really are.
New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray writes about her support for Hillary:
When I announced that I would lead the effort to change the culture around mental health, to address stigma and the way our city delivers mental health services—a tough issue that has historically been ignored—Hillary was one of the first to express enthusiasm, and to offer me advice about how to make sure everyone is included in ThriveNYC. I wasn’t surprised.
Hillary has always been able to see a problem clearly and create a plan to fix it. She has never been afraid to tackle a tough issue and stick with it until she finds a solution.
That’s probably why, from the very beginning, Hillary recognized a truth that many would rather ignore: So many of the challenges facing American families are rooted in inequality. That is why, throughout her career, she has fought for policies that address the root causes of inequality.
The need for her leadership on this issue has never been more urgent, especially for African Americans. The typical African American family has just 8 cents of wealth for every dollar held by a typical white family. Eight cents. And it’s even less for African American women.
That has to change—and it starts by fighting for equal pay. That is why Hillary, as senator, helped pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
But equal pay is just a start. We also need to give hardworking Americans a raise.
Back in January, my husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced a $15-dollar minimum wage for all city government employees. And on Monday, our state’s minimum wage was raised to $15 dollars. Now we need other states to follow our lead.
And for that to happen, we need Hillary.
It is also high time for us to provide every American with access to paid sick leave and paid family leave. Because no one should be forced to choose between the health of their family and their next paycheck.
Doing that won’t be easy. I know because we’ve already done it, extending paid family leave to 20,000 city employees and sick leave to a half-million more New Yorkers.
Now we need to make sure every family has access to these crucial resources. Doing that will take more than a vision. It will take a plan and meticulous follow up and execution.
And let’s not forget early childhood education—a passion that Hillary and I have long shared. Universal pre-k is in its second year here in New York City, and I know that Hillary is eager to extend universal pre-kindergarten to the rest of the country.
Bill and I have been advocating for progressive change since we worked for New York City’s first mayor of color, David Dinkins, in the early ‘90s. So I know what progressive looks like—and it looks like Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In New York City, we have a bold vision to address inequality. And we have plans to make that vision a reality. Our city and our country would benefit greatly if we had a progressive president in the White House.
That is why we need Hillary. No one is better prepared to help us with our mission. No one is better prepared to help our working families.
She has what it takes—and she won’t stop until the work is done.
Amanda Marcotte, writing for Salon, notes that Clinton is actually more likely to enact progressive change because she understands how to do so within our political system:
The reality is that Clinton’s campaign is much more representative of the liberalization trend than Sanders is. Despite the loud honking about centrism and DINOs coming from the Sanders camp, the truth is that the Democratic party is not a cluster of recalcitrant centrists and conservatives. The Democrats have been drifting leftward for decades now. Not as fast as the Republicans have been drifting rightward, because that’s impossible, but, even though it might be hard for Sanders fans to swallow, the movement to the left has been quite steady.
Clinton herself is part of this trend, with a Senate record that put her in the top third of most liberal Democrats, and even to the left of President Obama. She’s certainly more liberal than her husband, in part because her career as a politician started when his ended, meaning that she’s tracked left as the party has on issues like gay marriage and immigration. No wonder she voted with Sanders 93% of the time.
In other words, Sanders didn’t make what he calls socialism “an acceptable idea to a good chunk of the electorate,” as Mitchell would have you believe. On the contrary, there’s been a long, if boring, takeover of the Democratic party by the liberal wing, represented by Clinton and Obama, and Sanders is reaping the benefit of the mainstreaming of liberalism.
While the Sanders base is appealingly young, there is a major problem with the assumption that his base represents some kind of demographic future: They aren’t particularly diverse. On the contrary, the Sanders base looks disturbingly like the Republican base, dominated by white men. Clinton has won women in all but three states: New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and in Wisconsin, Sanders only got 50% of women. Clinton continues to crush with black voters and is doing much better than Sanders with Hispanic voters, as well.
Clinton supporters aren’t conservatives and they aren’t fools who are laboring under false consciousness. They are progressives, in some cases (such as on gender) even more progressive than Sanders supporters. They simply believe that the path to effective change is through organizing the party, winning elections and pushing the party to the left.
Sanders, who self-identifies as a democratic socialist rather than Democrat, doesn’t even seem that interested in the multi-decade project of using the Democratic party to push the country to the left. Odds are high that once he folds his cards, the entire movement behind his dissipates. Some people in it will continue to do progressive work, but most were already doing that already. And we’ll all return to a system that, while slow and imperfect, at least has half a chance of working: Using the Democratic party as a vehicle to press for progressive policies. Which is why Clinton, like Obama before her, represents what the actual future of progressivism looks like.
Rev. Al Sharpton states the obvious about the 1994 Crime Bill.

The Hill reports:
“There was no division in 1994,” Sharpton said on MSNBC’s “The Place for Politics 2016." "We are looking at a distinction without a difference.
“I want to be clear: There was no difference in 1994 [between Hillary] Clinton and Sanders in support of that bill. He was in Congress and voted for it, and she supported it as first lady.”
Critics say the crime law, which took effect under President Bill Clinton, harmed minority communities by raising mandatory minimum sentences. They've also blasted Hillary Clinton at the time for using the term "super predator" in reference to young people in the '90s.
Marcus Johnson writes for Medium:
Bernie Sanders, the insurgent candidate on the Democratic side, has taken up the label of the candidate of the common man. Although he has energized millions of voters and won several states, he’s done terribly with the most consistent and reliable Democratic voters in the Party — Black voters. Sanders has not cracked 30 percent of the Black vote in a single state, atrocious numbers for a Democrat who wants to be the nominee. Sanders and his campaign have made several convenient excuses:
1. Black voters will flock to Sanders once they get to know him.
2. Voters in “red states” don’t matter, because those states are more conservative.
3. The Clintons are a brand, and Bernie is a relative unknown.
All of these excuses are problematic, especially for someone who is supposed to be running a national campaign. Votes in South Carolina count just as much as the ones in Washington state, for one. And if Black voters don’t know who Sanders is by now, then the blame lays with the Sanders campaign for doing a terrible job at minority outreach.
Perhaps the worst excuse, which we don’t really hear from the campaign, but we do hear a lot from backers on social media, is that Black voters just don’t know what’s in their best interest. This is condescending at best, and racist at worst, the insinuation being that Black people aren’t smart enough to know who the candidates are, what they stand for, or what their own interests are as a group. Black voters are just as intelligent as any other group, and they know their interests just fine. It’s just that they’ve decided Hillary Clinton serves their interests far better than Bernie Sanders. That is why Hillary Clinton has beaten Sanders by 40 points or more with Black voters in every single state that has voted so far.
Republicans won five out of the next six Presidential elections after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Being associated with Black people was not popular politically at the time, in fact, Republicans had rode anti-Black sentiment to rousing success over the past several decades. Democratic Presidential candidates in 1984 and 1988 largely ignored Black voters and went for the white working class vote (it didn’t work out so well). The Clintons were in that political environment, and they still decided to build relationships with Black voters. The Clintons reached out to Black voters in ways that Presidential candidates simply hadn’t done before. President Clinton appointed the most diverse Cabinet in US history when it wasn’t popular to do so. Bill Clinton appointed seven Black Cabinet Secretaries. He appointed more Black people to federal judgeships than were appointed all of 16 years prior to his taking office. In fact, 14 percent of all Clinton appointees were Black — a number that was twice as high as any administration prior. Bill Clinton put Black people in positions of power when it hadn’t been done before, and when it wasn’t very popular with the white working class.
Hillary Clinton, in particular, took a strong policy stance in the Clinton Administration. Unlike almost every First Lady before her, she was dedicated to having a policy role and meaningfully supporting the legislative agenda. She played a significant part in most of the administration’s successes, and her effectiveness led to her being elected Senator and eventually serving as Secretary of State under President Obama.
Black voters aren’t stupid, they remember the Clintons fondly for a reason. The Clintons had near universal support from Black voters at the end of Bill Clinton’s Presidency, largely because their policies worked well.
Black voters aren’t ignorant. They know their interests, and they know them well. They’ve simply decided that Hillary Clinton is the best champion of their interests. She played a large role in some of the biggest legislative successes of the 1990s, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But perhaps where she truly won over Black voters was when she lost to Barack Obama. Black voters left the Clintons in 2008 to support now President Obama, who then had the chance to become the first Black President. I still think it is understated, how big a deal that was to Black people. Clinton lost a close and bitter race and had every opportunity to take her ball and go home. She didn’t — she fought to get Obama elected twice by campaigning for him, and she served under him as his Secretary of State. I personally don’t agree with every legislative choice Obama made, but Hillary Clinton’s willingness to stick by him and fight for him after a stinging defeat won Black voters over for 2016. Especially given the unprecedented vitriol and racist attacks against Obama by the opposition.
The Clintons brought good economic times and a real increase in jobs and income for Black people. They fought against the NRA and won. The dramatic increase of the EITC program redistributed wealth to the working class. They built relationships with Black voters and put Black people in positions of power when it wasn’t popular to do so. All of those things are very progressive. Those are real achievements that positively impacted Black people. Black people remember the 1990s fondly for a reason.
It is easy then, to see why Black voters have utterly rejected Bernie Sanders. Sanders is the antithesis of the Clintons in several respects. While the Clintons were putting Black people in positions of power and building relationships with Black voters in the 1990s, Sanders had never once been elected by a diverse electorate, let alone been responsive to Black people’s needs as an elected official. While the Clintons fought the NRA, Sanders was voting with the NRA to protect gun manufacturers even while Black Americans are disproportionately harmed by gun violence. Sanders talks about potentially raising incomes for minority groups, the Clintons actually did it. The Clintons have real accomplishments to their name, not dogma or uncompromising rhetoric. And those accomplishments positively impacted Black people. Black voters didn’t forget.

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