Monday, May 2, 2016

Hillary News & Views 5.2: Racism, Obama's Legacy, Gender Equity, Policy Spotlight: Puerto Rico


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Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of Clinton’s remarks at last night’s NAACP dinner.

Detroit Free Press reports:
“We have to face up to a painful reality. More than a half a century after Rosa Parks sat … race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind,” she told the crowd of nearly 10,000 people at the 60th annual NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund dinner at Cobo. “I want you to know that I get it and I see it. And it’s important that we have this conversation. For many white Americans, it’s tempting to believe that systemic racism is largely behind us. But anyone asking for your vote has a responsibility to see things as they actually are, not as we wish them to be.”
The NAACP dinner this year took on an especially urgent tone as local leaders and Clinton talked about the public health crisis facing the city of Flint and the struggles of the schools in Detroit,  two cities where minorities hold majorities in the population.
"We can’t be satisfied until every parent has a good-paying job and every grandparent has a secure retirement. Until all of Detroit’s children are learning in good schools with good teachers with no crumbling ceilings or rats scurrying across the floor," said Clinton, a former  first lady and secretary of state, "Where every child has safe water to drink and bathe in. We know what happened in Flint was unacceptable."
She focused on not only racism in her speech, but the promise of a comeback in Detroit and drew a contrast with New York businessman Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the GOP nomination for president.
"Look at all of the great things happening in the city. There is a palpable feeling of pride and progress. And the auto industry just had its best year ever," she said, noting that much of that progress has happened under the leadership of President Barack Obama.
ABC News reports:
"We cannot let Barack Obama's legacy fall into Donald Trump's hands," the Democratic presidential candidate told the audience of roughly 6,000 people at the NAACP's Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, which is known as the "largest plated dinner in the country.
"We can't let all the hard work and progress we've achieved over the last seven and a half years be torn away. We have to move forward together. We have to bring our country together," she said. "We have to keep working toward the more perfect union."
During her fiery remarks, where she railed against Trump for "stoking hatred and inciting violence," Clinton reminded the audience that the Republican frontrunner "is the man who led the insidious birther movement" against Obama back in 2008.
"I went to 112 countries as your secretary of state," she said. "There is no place like America. Let's not endanger the promise, the potential, the dream of our country by giving in to these voices of hatred."
Closing out her remarks, she made a call to action: "Let's make sure love trumps hate once and for all."
CNN reports:
While Clinton routinely touts Obama and knocks Trump, her remarks to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter dinner is further than she has gone before, warning that the 2016 election is about "unity versus division, compassion versus selfishness and love versus hate." 
"Now America's decision is who will succeed him," Clinton said of Obama before hitting Trump for questioning the President's birth certificate and initially failing to disavow white supremacists who are supporting his campaign. 
"We have been blessed to have this strong thoughtful leader sitting in the Oval Office and exceptional first lady sitting by his side," Clinton said. "They have made us proud. They have represented America to the world with style and grace and it is up to us to make sure that when they leave the White House the concerns and priorities they champion, the hopes and dreams that Americans have entrusted to them, don't also leave."

Clinton is bringing her “Breaking Down Barriers” tour to Appalachia.

Politicus USA reports:
While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is talking about poverty while attempting to slash programs for the poor, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton will be speaking about the real issues that are confronting the poor during a two-day driving tour of Appalachia.
In a statement, the Clinton campaign described the tour:
On Monday, May 2, Hillary Clinton will launch her “Breaking Down Barriers” tour with a two-day driving tour (welcome back Scooby van) through Kentucky and West Virginia, culminating on Tuesday, May 3 in the Southeastern Ohio border region with a speech on jobs and the economy. In her remarks in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, Clinton said, “I want you to keep imagining a tomorrow where instead of building walls, we are breaking down barriers. We are making it more likely that Americans will be part of a prosperous, inclusive, decent society.”​
On this tour, Clinton will meet with voters, hear their stories, and discuss how she will fight to raise incomes and expand opportunities for them and their families as president. The trip will underscore Clinton’s focus on the aspirations and needs of families, especially in often overlooked or underserved communities across the country, and what they are looking for in their next president.
Clinton will go to Ashland, KY, Williamson, WV, and Athens, OH to discuss jobs and the economy. She will be going to the communities who are underserved, and instead of bringing vague​ rhetoric about caring, Hillary Clinton has actual policies and plans.
Clinton released a policy roadmap for Puerto Rico:
Growing Together: Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Puerto Ricans 
Puerto Ricans are proud American citizens who work hard and have enriched our nation. Yet, the people of Puerto Rico face unequal, inconsistent, and incoherent treatment under federal law.  Puerto Rico’s economy has lagged that of the States for four decades and been in recession for the last 10 years. In the past decade, more than 290,000 jobs have been lost. People are relocating to the States in record numbers. Those who have made their homes in the States have higher incomes and are more likely to be employed than if they had stayed in Puerto Rico, still more than one-quarter of Puerto Ricans living on the mainland are living in poverty.  As President, Hillary will fight to break down these barriers so that everyone, regardless of where they live, has a chance to live up to their potential.
As President, Hillary will:
  • Work to put Puerto Rico on a path toward economic stability and prosperity. Hillary believes that Puerto Rico should have the authority to restructure all of their debt to pay back their obligations in an orderly fashion. Congress should act immediately to address Puerto Rico’s worsening economic condition by allowing Puerto Rico to restructure all of their debt, while respecting Puerto Rico’s local self-government. Hillary will continue to fight on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico, and as President, would partner with Puerto Rico to do the hard work needed to put the island on a path towards stability and prosperity.  Giving Puerto Rico a shot at overcoming its critical budgetary problems is the fair thing to do.
  • Ensure Puerto Rico’s political status gets resolved:  Hillary believes that the people of Puerto Rico deserve a resolution of the status of their island. She will make sure all stakeholders do their part to hold a plebiscite on any proposal that the Government of Puerto Rico puts to voters, as long as it is federally sanctioned and compatible with the Constitution, laws, and basic policies of the United States.  And Hillary will ensure that Congress honors whatever the people of Puerto Rico decide, because all people have the right to a form of government that is representative at all levels of government.  Hillary believes that Puerto Ricans, as all Americans, should have the opportunity to participate in helping elect their President, regardless of where they live.
  • Fight for high quality health care for Puerto Ricans, regardless of where they live. Puerto Rico is facing a crisis in its health care system just as the island is facing a public health crisis with the Zika virus. With more than 2 million Puerto Ricans relying on Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid to pay for their health care, Hillary knows we must do more to treat Puerto Ricans equally under these programs. Doctors are fleeing Puerto Rico at an alarming rate. As President, she will urge Congress to put Puerto Rico on a path toward equal treatment on healthcare by increasing the share of Medicaid paid for by the federal government and stopping the cuts to Medicare Advantage.  She will also stand up to Republican attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and will protect the progress that has been made. She will build on the ACA to lower out-of-pocket health care costs, reduce the cost of prescription drugs and transform our health care system to reward value and quality. As President, Hillary will fight to defend Medicare and Social Security as well as expand benefits for widows and women who have taken time out of the workforce—so that all American families can retire with dignity.
  • Ensure Quality Education for Puerto Rican Youth: Hillary believes we need to break down all the barriers that hold Americans back and build ladders of opportunity for all our people. Hillary will champion new opportunities in education and remove barriers to employment, to ensure nothing stands in the way of all Americans achieving their full potential. Hillary will increase our investment in Early Head Start and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. She also has a plan to make pre-K universal for all 4 year-olds in America, and will fight for strong public schools in every community across the country—so that every Puerto Rican child has access to a world-class education, whether they live on Puerto Rico or in the mainland United States. Like too many Americans, Puerto Ricans on the mainland face difficulty in paying for college and paying off their student debt. Through her New College Compact, Hillary will fight to ensure that cost is not a barrier for anyone who wants to attend college—and that debt won’t hold them back when they do. Her plan will also provide scholarships and child care support for student parents, so that these parents can build a brighter future for their families.
  • Create Good-Paying Jobs and Get Incomes Rising Again: Even in the States where Puerto Rican poverty rates are significantly lower than in Puerto Rico, the share of Puerto Ricans who live in poverty is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population.  Hillary has said getting incomes rising again is the defining economic challenge of our time, and she will fight to raise incomes so that all American families can get ahead and stay ahead. Her plan includes raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for women, providing incentives for companies to share profits with their employees, guaranteeing paid family and medical leave, and boosting apprenticeships to help more people get into the workforce. Hillary has committed to breaking down the barriers that keep Puerto Rican communities behind. That is why she recently announced a major, $125 billion investment to create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect housing to opportunity in communities that are being left out and left behind. Her plan includes investing $20 billion to create youth jobs, and another $25 billion to support entrepreneurship and small business growth in underserved communities. Puerto Ricans in the states have a lower homeownership rate than other Americans. Hillary recently announced her plan to invest $25 billion to lift more families into sustainable homeownership and connect housing to opportunity. She will pay for the new investments in this initiative through a tax on Wall Street—ensuring that the major financial institutions that contributed to the Great Recession are doing their part in bringing back the communities it hurt the most.
  • Fight for Puerto Rican veterans: Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have served with honor and distinction in the U.S. military at least since the First World War.  Hillary has put forward a comprehensive and far reaching plan for veterans. She will hold accountable every VA employee from the Secretary down to ensure that the VA is putting veterans first.  Her plan will, in part, transform the VA into an integrated health care system and care coordinator to ensure all veterans get the quality health care they’ve earned. She will also ensure veterans have access to a good education and good jobs when they come home. And Hillary will move decisively to end the tragic situation of veterans living homeless on the streets.
Hillary knows Puerto Rico and has a record of standing by the Puerto Rican community:
As Senator from New York, Hillary represented New York’s vibrant Puerto Rican community and championed equality for Puerto Ricans in federal programs. She co-sponsored a bill that authorized Puerto Rico’s Elections Commission to conduct a plebiscite on the question of territorial status and fought for Puerto Ricans living in New York.
As a presidential candidate, she visited Puerto Rico extensively during her 2008 campaign, from Aguadilla to Ponce, from Caba Rojo to San Juan, and last September went there to draw attention to the health care and financial crises affecting the insular government.
As First Lady, Hillary came to Puerto Rico in 1998, days after Hurricane Georges, to help assess the damage and ensure that Puerto Rico got what it needed to rebuild.  
As Secretary of State, Hillary looked after the interests of Puerto Rico, authorizing the establishment in San Juan of one of only 29 federal passport offices nationwide, as well as coordinating with Puerto Rico officials on Haitian disaster relief.
Rep. Xavier Becerra has endorsed Clinton.

Los Angeles Times reports:
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) is endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, citing her commitment to passing immigration reform.
Becerra, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, becomes the highest-ranking Latino lawmaker to state a preference in the 2016 race.
"No leader comes better tested in the halls of Congress and in the foreign capitals of today's international hot spots," Becerra said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. "As president, Hillary Clinton would make sure that our kids can go to college without facing a lifetime of debt, that every American is rewarded for working hard and growing our economy, and that we fix our broken immigration system."
Clinton has already earned the support of dozens of House Democrats but only one from a party member higher in the leadership ranks: Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has not formally endorsed her, but she has spoken favorably of her candidacy in public and introduced Clinton at a recent meeting of the Democratic caucus as the next president of the United States.
Clinton’s plan to make her cabinet 50% female is “an enormous deal.”

NBC News reports:
Hillary Clinton last week pledged that, if elected, she would appoint a presidential cabinet in which at least half of the members are women, a move that would profoundly shift the look of the people who govern America.
Clinton, in an interview on Monday with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, said, "I am going to have a cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women, right?"
And the pledge fits with Clinton's history: as first lady, senator and secretary of state, Clinton tapped often women as top aides.
But a cabinet that is half-female would be setting a new bar.
Only 30 women have ever held Cabinet posts. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama appointed a number of women to key posts, but women held just four of the 16 official Cabinet posts during most of their tenures. Clinton is pledging to double that number.
Including both the official cabinet and jobs that are designated as cabinet-level (such as White House Chief of Staff), President Bill Clinton had the most women in top roles, according to data compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. In Clinton's second term, 41 percent of women held those top jobs. The second-highest level of women in such jobs is right now, in Obama's second term, with 35 percent of cabinet and cabinet-level jobs occupied by women.
"No hint of quotas or numeric targets — other than 'more than my predecessor'— has ever been part of cabinet head discussions before," said Heather Hurlburt, who served as a senior adviser at the State Department and National Security Council from 1995-2001. "So it's an enormous deal."
"The matter-of-course suggestions that it would be easy to find that many qualified women at that level, and that representation that matches or comes close to societal representation matters, are also entirely new," she added.
"In the rest of the world, quotas are quite normal. But in the U.S., a country founded on the idea of merit —it's hard to imagine that these days quotas could get through Congress," Newton-Small said. "But making half your cabinet women is something Clinton can do unilaterally."
That kind of progress with the first female president is powerful, but is coupled with trudging through endless and exhausting misogyny.

Lindsey West writes for The Guardian:
I was chatting with a friend recently – a successful actor who does abortion-rights advocacy on the side – about a big pro-choice fundraiser she’s currently orchestrating. It was past midnight at her house, but she was still up, still working, clacking away at her laptop, tying up loose ends, pushing ticket sales, gathering auction items – her “side” project looking suspiciously like a second full-time job.
“You’re a hero,” I said.
“No, I am not,” she snapped, vehement. “Somebody’s got to do it. It’s a fucking embarrassment that I have to.”
It was when I sat down to write about Donald Trump’s statement – he said: “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card” – that I realised: it’s the same thing. How many times do feminists have to deconstruct and debunk the notion of the “woman card”? How many rounds are we going to go this time? How many thinkpieces do we need before society accepts that sexism is real and we can move on to the far more important work of repairing the damage it has caused? The next time some rightwing dillweed drops a turd like “woman card”, will anyone remember that women have already done this labour? Or will we just have to do it all over again?
But maybe what I hate the most about this election is thinking about all the goddamn writing I’m going to have to do for the next four (or, potentially, eight) years if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. Misogynist rhetoric is going to reach levels of frenzy heretofore unknown to science, and with misogynist rhetoric comes feminist outcry, and with feminist outcry comes dopey faux-confusion: “I don’t get why this is sexist. Explain it to me. Debate with me. Help me. Convince me.” There is no sense of memory, of the fact that all of this has been explained many, many times before. Because why would they want to remember? The incessant demand that women “debate” and defend our own humanity is a deliberate diversion meant to hobble our power – part of the mechanism of sexism itself.
Do you know what I care about? Young-adult fantasy novels, detective shows and writing comedy with my husband. Do you know what I spend my time writing about? Abortion, online harassment and rape, over and over, around and around. Not that I’m not passionate about those issues – I am, deeply – but my passion is born of necessity. I would love to not have to care.


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