Thursday, June 30, 2016

Hillary News & Views 6.30.16: Puerto Rico, Planned Parenthood, Trends, Town Hall

Making history on June 7

Guest post by aphra behn

Good morning to the Hillary-supporting community! We’ve got lots of news and a special Independence Day weekend-themed edition of Thursday Herstory today. Let’s get to it!
The GOP report on Benghazi is a blow to those who thought Hillary’s campaign would be harmed by it. Lauren Gambino writes in The Guardian:
Though the conclusion of the investigation probably did little to win over detractors and skeptics who believe Clinton is responsible for the attack and its aftermath, it does extinguish any hope that the panel would uncover a “smoking gun” and derail her presidential campaign.
“I’ll leave it to others to characterize this report, but I think it’s pretty clear that it’s time to move on,” Clinton said, responding to the report during a campaign stop in Denver on Tuesday
Perhaps the indecent GOP can now leave Ambassador Steven’s grieving family in peace.
Hillary took time on Wednesday to personally tweet about the the New Hampshire Executive Council, which voted Wednesday to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.

In today's vote on Planned Parenthood, the NH Executive Council can choose families or a political agenda. Watching which side they pick. -H
That’s what a president who prioritizes reproductive health looks like!
The people of Puerto Rico are hurting right now under a weak economy that has been struggling for years. Puerto Ricans are proud American citizens who work hard and contribute to our Nation every day and they deserve a chance to get ahead. Congress and the Obama Administration need to partner with Puerto Rico by providing real support and tools so that Puerto Rico can do the hard work it will take to get on a path toward stability and prosperity.
The challenge is multi-faceted, and will ultimately require Puerto Rico to find a way to pay back its debtors in an orderly fashion. As a first step, Congress should provide Puerto Rico the same authority that states already have to enable severely distressed government entities, including municipalities and public corporations, to restructure their debts under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code.
We're not talking about a bailout, we're talking about a fair shot at success.
We also have to step back and look hard at how Puerto Rico’s economy arrived at this dire situation. The deficit is a consequence of an economy that has lagged that of the States for decades and shrunk for eight of the last nine years. Puerto Rico needs a longer-term plan to address a declining population, eroding employment base, high utility rates and the impact of unequal federal investments. It will take tough decisions and real economic reforms.
But we should also recognize that the inconsistent — and incoherent — treatment of Puerto Rico in federal laws and programs has substantially contributed to the economic decline. One troubling example of this treatment is the lack of equity in federal funding for Puerto Rico under Medicaid and Medicare. This problem has been demonstrated in recent months by a scheduled cut in Medicare Advantage premium reimbursement rates. In 2008, I called for an end to the disparate treatment of Puerto Rico in federal health programs. Today, I renew that call, and commit to helping Puerto Ricans get on a path towards equal treatment under Medicaid and Medicare and other federal programs.
Underlying all of this is the fundamental question of Puerto Rico’s ultimate future. That question needs to be resolved in accordance with the expressed will of our fellow citizens, the people of Puerto Rico.
The goal is not just to create jobs and encourage entrepreneurship amongst millennials, who are graduating with record debt and entering a still weaker-than-normal job market, but also to help boost enterprise creation in general, which has fallen dramatically in this country since the 1970s.
This is a big deal, because it ties into the most important economic question of the day, which is why there isn’t stronger productivity growth in the economy right now (economic growth is essential productivity plus demographics).
Start-ups are a key driver of productivity. But the birthrate of startups has been in decline since the 1970s. Since then, it has dovetailed with a shift in how the financial sector business model works — it no longer invests primarily in new business, but rather buys up and trades existing assets, and funding for small and mid-sized start ups is still scarce (while increasing monopoly power on the part of large firms squashes new ones, as Robert Reich and others have recently written.
Meanwhile, Doug Gilmore over at Slate has some more analysis of Clinton’s tech plan.
In the absolutely key question of internet access, the plan makes a laudable push for competition. It’s unfortunate that America has allowed telecom companies to take such overwhelming control over internet access. We’d have been vastly better off if we’d required the cable and landline phone operators to let other internet service providers use the existing lines and spectrum to offer competitive services, as has been done in other parts of the world. We didn’t, so we were left with insisting on network neutrality, the principle that we consumers at the edges of networks, not a tiny number of telecom giants, should make decisions about what data gets to our devices with what priority. Clinton strongly supports net neutrality.
One ray of hope in the competitive landscape is that in certain jurisdictions, governments, public-private partnerships or (rarely so far) for-profit companies have installed networks, in places like Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Lafayette, Louisiana.* They’re competing with major internet service providers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox, which in many places have been slow to provide the kind of service we all need in the 21st century. Unfortunately, many state legislatures, doing the bidding of the phone and cable companies, have restricted or banned such competition at the local and regional level, but the FCC has been working to remove those barriers. The Clinton plan endorses the competitive alternatives (however inefficient this may be from an infrastructure standpoint).
...There’s some potential good news on the patent front, too. The plan pushes for reform to our dysfunctional system, in which the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office routinely issues poor-quality patents, giving patent trolls fertile ground in which to peddle their sleazy trade. Although the plan doesn’t address the quality issue—a significant lapse—it does aim to give the USPTO more resources so patent examiners can actually do their jobs; Congress has diverted patent fees to other programs in recent years, making the situation worse. The Clinton plan would help address the troll problem by banning forum shopping by patent holders, which brings cases to jurisdictions that are notoriously kind to plaintiffs.
Polls getting you down? Well, here’s some bad news for Donald Trump. (I love writing that!)  Doug Sosnick at the Washington Post looks at historical trends and thinks that things look very good for Hillary Clinton:
The single best predictor of the electoral outcome is the job approval of the incumbent president — even one who’s not on the ballot. In four of the five elections since 1980 when the incumbent president’s job approval was at or above 50 percent, that party held the White House. The outlier was 2000, when President Bill Clinton enjoyed a 57 percent job approval rating in October yet Al Gore “lost” to George W. Bush.
...Three big election moments remain: the selection of the vice presidential nominees, the party conventions and the fall debates. Breathless coverage notwithstanding, none of these has had a measurable impact in changing the outcome of a presidential election in at least 40 years.
President Obama’s job approval rating now sits above 50 percent. Significant structural advantages have also favored Democrats since 1992. The party’s candidate has carried 18 states plus the District of Columbia — totaling 242 electoral votes — in every election since 1992. Now New Mexico and its five electoral votes, which Bush won in 2004, are considered safely Democratic. If those states remain solid for Clinton, that leaves her only 23 votes short of the 270 necessary for victory.
Poor Donald. Perhaps he can console himself with getting the endorsement of Britain’s most visible racist, Nigel Farage. He certainly can’t be very happy about this:  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be campaigning together on Tuesday July 5 in North Carolina. I can’t wait! Those fireworks will not be just some leftovers from the 4th of July!

Hillary and @POTUS are making their first stop together in Charlotte. Text NC to 47246 for more info on their trip!

And speaking of fireworks, let’s take a break for some American Revolution-themed Thursday Herstory!
Women’s work is often invisible in conventional history, On this July 4 weekend, you’ll likely see representations of Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and John Adams. We might learn a bit about Revolutionary writers like Phillis Wheatley (who penned an ode to Washington ) or female soldiers like Deborah Sampson Gannett. But the vast majority of American married women’s involvement in the politics of Revolution came through their self-politicization of their daily labor. They declared themselves to be political participants through their economic activity.  They might not have signed the Declaration, but if we uncover women’s work in the 1760s and 1770s, then we find many ordinary women claiming a place in American politics at the very dawn of Revolution.
In the colonial household was no separation between “home” and “work.” Every member of the household (including any apprentices or other unrelated workers, whether free or enslaved) played a role in supporting it economically, unless they were too young or too infirm to do so.  In rural areas, much of this involved farm labor. Women’s work often included dairy operations, the household’s food garden, and producing a wide range of goods for the household, from soap to thread and cloth to ink for the pens they used to keep the accounts (often a  feminine task.) In cities, economies were more specialized, so some tasks were different— urban women might be able to buy bread at the baker’s shop instead of baking it themselves, for example.
Whether urban or rural, wives were also involved in plying trades, usually alongside their husbands. Sometimes this work was gendered. In a shoemaker’s household, for example, male workers might cut and shape leather, while wives and older daughters stitched up the shoes.  In some cases, daughters and wives performed the same tasks as male counterparts, as in certain metalmsith shops.  Wives usually ran the storefronts where the goods were marketed. As in the country, they kept the books and did much of the purchasing for household and business.
Some married women headed up their own businesses, separately from their husbands (although it

Anne Hoof Green, painted by Charles Wilson Peale

must be noted that, under the law, such businesses and their earnings were legally owned by their husbands.) A few examples of typically feminine businesses include laundering,  millinery,  and  midwifery. (The last  was could be a very profitable profession, with midwives acting as ob-gyn, nurse-practitioner, pharmacist,  pediatrician,  and keeper of medical records.) A few women ran traditionally male-headed businesses, such as printing. ). In fact,  the first edition of the Declaration of Independence to contain the signatures of all fifty six signers was printed by single woman Mary Katherine Goddardof Baltimore, who also became the first postmistress in the United States. The widwowed Anne Catherine Hoof Greenof Annapolis  was named official printer to the colony of Maryland.
Whatever their professions, female householders became essential political players when the Townshend Acts took effect in November of 1767. Mandating tariffs on colonial luxury goods on glass, paper, lead, paint, and tea, it fanned resistance in the form of  mass boycotts of  British goods in many areas.  Women’s support was crucial.Boycott-favoring newspapers pleaded with women to shun British goods. And women themselves recorded their participation in the boycott. Poet Hannah Griffits of Philadelphia noted that while women had no part in formal political processes (“no Voice”) they could certainly support a boycott (a negative):
If the Sons (so degenerate) the Blessing despise,
Let the Daughters of Liberty, nobly arise,
And tho' we've no Voice, but a negative here.
The use of the Taxables, let us forebear,
Stand firmly resolved & bid Grenville  to see
That rather than Freedom, we'll part with our Tea.
And well as we love the dear Draught when a dry,
As American Patriots, our Taste we deny,
Sylvania's, gay Meadows, can richly afford,
To pamper our Fancy, or furnish our Board,
When this Homespun shall fail, to remonstrate our Grief
We can speak with the Tongue or scratch on a Leaf.
Refuse all their Colors, the richest of Dye,
The juice of a Berry – our Paint can supply,
To humour our Fancy – and as for our Houses,
They'll do without painting as well as our Spouses,
While to keep out the Cold of a keen winter Morn
We can screen the Northwest, with a well polished Horn.
Gathering tea substitutes such as Labrador tea from “Sylvania’s gay Meadows,” and berries (for dye) certainly added to colonial women’s workload. As for the work involved in flattening horn for windows (rather than using imported glass) here’s a modern description of the work involved. Not a quick process!  Homespun cloth (usually flax or wool; a few Southern colonies also produced small amounts of silk and cotton)   was unfamiliar work for many urban women. Yet spinning thread for its production became one of the key symbols of women’s political participation in the boycotts.  Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich described the women’s textile protests of the 1760s:

Romanticized 19th century print of “ a patriotic young woman.”

Newspapers trumpeted even the smallest success. In Newport, Rhode Island, a seventy-year-old woman who had ‘never spun a thread in her life before’ became a very good spinner. In Windham, Connecticut, one woman raised six thousand silk balls from a single mulberry tree. In Sutherland, Massachusetts, a lady of fashion made and quilted a petticoat from remnants in her scrapbag, patching together forty-five pieces for the outside and ninety-two for the lining. With such efforts, surely Parliament would relent. In February 1769, several newspapers reported a seemingly spontaneous contest between two Connecticut women. ‘On the 16th Instant, the Wife of Mr. John Vaughan of Lebanon agreed upon a spinning Match with a neighbouring young woman; they began their work three Quarters of an Hour after Sunrise, and left off at Nine O’Clock in the Evening of the same Day.’ The winner had spun seven skeins and two knots of fine linen yarn and her competitor almost the same.
Soon there were reports of large gatherings all along the coast of Massachusetts and into Rhode Island. For urban elites, spinning was a novelty. One writer described the Daughters of Liberty at Newport, Rhode Island, ‘laudably employed in playing on a musical Instrument called a Spinning Wheel, the Melody of whose Music, and the beauty of the Prospect, transcending for Delight, all the Entertainment of my Life.’ Another assured readers that the young women who met at Daniel Weeden’s house in Jamestown, Rhode Island, were ‘of good Fashion and unexceptionable Reputation.’ Those at Taunton, Massachusetts, were ‘young Blooming Virgins... With all their Native Beauties of Sixteen...’

1776, “A Society of Patriotic Ladies”

Women’s involvement with nonimportation became even more important with the passage of the 1773 Tea Act.
  A famous British cartoon from 1776 mocked the 51 women of Edenton, North Carolina who signed a boycott agreement. The “Society of Patriotic Ladies” are made to appear ridiculous. They are drawn as either grim and ugly,  or scandalously sexual (one woman is kissing a man). They neglect their feminine duties: a child cries alone on the floor while a dog pees on boxes of tea. (Either bimbos or sexually unappealing hags... sounds like some modern stereotypes about political women, come to think of it.) What a silly thing, women meddling in politics!
Yet while that cartoon is well-known, less well known are the words of the agreement, the women’s actual declaration of their political position. The boycott was organized by Penelope Barker Edenton; the women met in  the home of Elizabeth King. The women signing the agreement declare themselves political actors, with duties to their country:
As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country, and as it has been thought necessary, for the public good, to enter into several particular resolves by a meeting of Members deputed from the whole Province, it is a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections who have concurred in them, but to ourselves who are essentially interested in their welfare, to do every thing as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence to the same; and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper, as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination to do so.
Women’s economic activity was not only vital in the protests that blossomed into Revolution but was a crucial part of the war effort during the Revolution itself. When I was growing up, tales of Martha Washington knitting socks at Valley Forge were one of the few glimpses I got of women’s history in this period. It was presented as a sort of charming domestic scene. The little ladies were helping!
But women’s manufacturing  was in fact part of a hard reality for the Continentals.  British colonial policy had intentionally repressed the development of colonial manufacturing; the only way to get the materials of war was through small businesses and home-based production.  Sally Franklin Bache,  for example, took charge of the Ladies Association of Philadelphia to produce uniforms; under her supervision they produced over 2200 uniform shirts. Women worked to make up other supply needs as well, such as  the desperate gunpowder shortage, Abigail Adams wrote to John about it in 1776 :
You inquire of whether I am making Salt peter. I have not yet attempted it, but after Soap making believe I shall make the experiment. I find as much as I can do to manufacture cloathing for my family which would else be Naked. I know of but one person in this part of the Town who has made any, that is Mr. Tertias Bass as he is calld who has got very near an hundred weight which has been found to be very good. I have heard of some others in the other parishes. Mr. Reed of Weymouth has been applied to, to go to Andover to the mills which are now at work, and has gone. I have lately seen a small Manuscrip describing the proportions for the various sorts of powder, such as fit for cannon, small arms and pistols 
Of course, it must be noted that not all of the women doing this work were doing so out of political motivations. Servants, both indentured and especially enslaved persons, had little choice but to follow the directions of their mistresses. (To put the shoe on the other foot for a moment, it’s worth considering that enslaved women who self-emancipated from Patriot slaveholders by joining the British lines made a statement at once deeply personal and highly political. These Black Loyalist women went on to be founders of two different countries—Canada  and Sierra Leone.) Other women took on war-related work out of economic necessity, without making political statements. Large swaths of the American population were politically apathetic about the American Revolution; that included, naturally, many women.
Yet there were women who gave their labor out of conscious political awareness, and that’s important.  They defined themselves as part of the political body from the beginning—they had no votes, no representation. Married women were denied even the right to their own property. But they had their voices, their signatures, and their labor to give. This fourth of July I will be recalling the hard-working women  from all walks of life who claimed a stake as political actors from the very beginning of the Republic. If only they could see us—and Hillary-- now!

Speaking of making history, the Clinton campaign has 22 pictures summing up her path to the Democratic nomination. Here is my favorite.

January 29, 2016: Clinton with 102 year old Ruline from Iowa
January 29, 2016: Hillary met 102-year-old Ruline in Grand View, Iowa, who was getting ready to caucus in her 20th presidential election. "In my first century of life I have seen many incredible things," she said. "A pandemic, two worldwide depressions, a cure for polio, the first Catholic president, a man on the moon, the end of smallpox, an attack on American soil, and a black president. In my second century, I look forward to seeing a woman president.
Over at Shakesville, Melissa McEwan has excellent coverage of Clinton’s town hall, in which she addressed the problem of “revenge porn.” A snippet of Clinton’s response:
Clinton: First, let me say thank you. You are really brave. And standing up, speaking out, and taking action against the kind of [long pause; disgusted look] behavior that you have experienced is so important, and I really thank you for that. And I will do everything I can as President to try to figure out how we can give victims like you the tools you need—and the rest of society should support—to be able to protect yourself, and, by doing so, protect others.
I will really look to all of you [gestures to the audience] because the bullying online, revenge porn, the kind of cyberstalking that is all too common ruins lives. It leads people to lose their confidence, their belief in themselves; to go into depression; and, in some cases, kill themselves.
...So I know that many of you have used your channels, your outreach, in really positive ways—as role models, as intervenors in some instances, to help. So you have to help me figure out: How do we keep the best of everything you're doing and everything that the internet means— And, yeah, is there going to be bad stuff and nasty stuff and rotten things that are said? I am Exhibit A. I am an expert in this. So yes, I know that. But when it crosses a line, when it becomes so threatening, so dangerous, we have to stop it.
McEwan comments:
I love this so much.
I love it because I know that when Clinton says she's going to do everything she can to make this happen, she means it.

I love it because she doesn't say that she has all the answers, but says that she's going to be listening to the people who are in it every day to come up with a meaningful solution.

I love it because she takes the question as seriously as it needs to be taken.
I love it because she is willing to connect her own personal experience to the experiences of people who are harmed by abusers on the internet, which is just a whole other level of validating our experiences.
Empathy. Taking people seriously. Listening. Coming up with meaningful solutions, every day.
Sounds like my kind of president.
(originally posted at Daily Kos)


  1. this is the kind of wonk stuff she multi-tasks, I bet she's had the patent office on her radar for decades, this quote from above:

    "on the patent front, too. The plan pushes for reform to our dysfunctional system, in which the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office routinely issues poor-quality patents, giving patent trolls fertile ground in which to peddle their sleazy trade."

    How does she know? Because the patent office is under the executive branch, and when she was first lady she made a point of getting to know the professionals over there, she listened to them, and under Bush incompetents were put in charge by that wily Dick Cheney, and they hired and protected hacks.

    Hillary Clinton has paid attention to the slow-down in American innovation related to the degrading of professionalism in the patent office, she also know who is doing their jobs and who is holding on and standing in the way.

    Expect some plastic hand-shakes you Bush era patent office promotees, expect accountability to quality, expect pop quiz's for the mangers, and expect to have internal evaluations of your work, and expect to evaluate someone else's work. Expect evidence based directives.

    And oh you under-employed or under-challenged or under-thrilled-with-your-current-job tech and patent law graduates, there will be some fun jobs to apply for, not efficiency experts, they have no place in government, there is no profit to squeeze higher on workers backs for government jobs, but there are skills and quality requirements, and there will be ways to measure that need to be developed, that focus on quality..

    And this idea that we're stuck with having to have net-neutrality laws, and then monitor and enforce them with taxpayer money, what a waste.

    In real competition, which has to admit that the playing field isn't level to start with and so requires 'corrections' so that anyone can get in and innovate, keeping out others by buying the means up first is anti-American, squashes innovation as surely as land barons in Europe who closed routes to markets, or owned all the land so go whistle.

    That isn't for us. That's what Hillary knows (and more)

    1. She could be the wonkiest president of all time, and that would be awesome!

    2. that's why they were so upset when she noticed the white house travel agency amazing incompetence, lost tickets, checks for tickets deposited in the travel agency head's personal checking account, getting far from the best prices on tickets, just general incompetence of the sort that can hide and protect worse.

      No one before her had even noticed, and so it became a so-called scandal that she noticed, how dare she notice, and that her husband's chief of staff looked into it and got rid of the hack, which was supposedly all her doing. I think they even hired that hack back, he was her victim, as if it had nothing to do with standards of professionalism.

      As much as she spots and likes talent and gives credit where it's really due, and doesn't stand in the way of other opportunities, she dislikes lazy and sloppy.

      and she's funny and fun to work with or for if you take your job seriously, which in government means serving the people the best you can.