Nel's New Day

July 27, 2016

Hillary Wins, Bill’s Photo on Front Pages

Last night Hillary Clinton broke through a glass ceiling when she was nominated the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate–the first woman named by a major political party for a presidential candidate. The first crack in that ceiling, however, came 136 years ago when Victoria Woodhull ran for the presidency in 1872, almost 50 years before women could legally vote for the president. That didn’t happen until 1920 after the 19th Amendment was ratified. With a platform of women’s suffrage and equal rights for women, Woodhull ran for the Equal Rights Party. She was paired with Frederick Douglass, former escaped slave and abolitionist author and speaker, against GOP Ulysses S. Grant and Democrat Horace Greeley. Obviously she lost, and her party picked Belva Ann Lockwood for its candidate 12 years later. No woman appeared on the presidential ticket until Geraldine Ferro was the vice-presidential candidate in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008.

Since Woodhull, other women have tried for the presidency. The first one on the ballot was Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) who got 22 delegate votes from four states in 1964. Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), the first black person to run for the Democratic nomination, got 151.95 delegate votes from 26 states in 1972. The only other woman to receive delegate votes in a Democratic campaign, Ellen McCormack, got 27 delegate votes from five states in 1976. Women who did not run in the primaries for President have also got delegate votes at the Democratic Conventions: Barbara Jordan, 1 (1976); Koryne Horbal, 5 (1980); Martha Kirkland, 1 (1984); and Patricia Schroeder, 8 (1992).

The first women who appeared on the presidential ticket for a major political party were vice-presidential candidates—Geraldine Ferro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. Yesterday, however, Hillary Clinton garnered 2,842 delegate votes—2,205 of them pledged—compared to the 1,846 pledged delegates and 48 super delegates for Bernie Sanders. Fifty-five votes were abstentions. Clinton also Clinton won 16.8 million votes to 13.2 million for Sanders, about 55 percent of the vote to his 43 percent for a 12 percentage point gap.

Much was said from the Sanders’ side about the “rigged” election, but Sanders gained many of his delegate votes from caucuses, which do not represent the vote of these states. In fact, the two states that had both primaries and caucuses, Nebraska and Washington, showed that the majority of people voting in primaries supported Clinton although the Sanders picked up more votes from the caucuses in those states.

Clinton

Those who think that the mainstream media has lost its sexism, however, should look at the photos on the front pages of major newspapers from the Wall Street Journal in New York to San Diego—moving through Washington, Detroit, Wisconsin, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco—on up to Alaska. These newspapers put photos of Bill Clinton instead of the new Democratic presidential nominee, evidently believing that a male visual is more important than one of a female. The Oregonian, the largest newspaper in my state, went safe with a photograph of a man taking a back flip off a tree trunk into the water.

Trump photos make the front pages of newspapers when he’s done nothing; Hillary Clinton is overlooked despite her phenomenal background of public service. This reporting is sexism at its greatest. The Wall Street Journal did finally figure out its mistake and changed later editions. The Dallas Morning News was one of the few newspapers that understood the significance of yesterday’s Democratic nomination for the presidential candidate.

Dallas Morning News

An interesting Wal-Mart story: In 1995, one of its Miramar (FL) stores pulled a popular T-shirt proclaiming “Someday a woman will be president” off its shelves. The store had sold about two-thirds of its 204 shirts before they were pulled , and a Wal-Mart spokeswoman explained that a customer had complained. Jane Bockholt said:

“It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor.”

rubenAnn Moliver Ruben, a 70-year-old psychologist when she created the shirt, designed the shirt with the child character Margaret from the cartoon strip Dennis the Menace. The figure making the proclamation had a big smile and her arms spread wide. Ruben had purchased the rights to use the drawing of Margaret and sold the shirts to women’s groups for between $10 and $15 before approaching Wal-Mart.

Protests forced the shirt back on the shelves, but Wal-Mart didn’t carry it long, saying that it didn’t sell. Recently, Ruben wrote a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describing the similarities between Dennis the Menace to Donald Trump. Today, the day after Hillary Clinton has become the Democratic presidential candidate, her shirt and her letter are even more appropriate. Right now there are none of these shirts for sale, but they may reappear soon!

Here’s part of that letter with the accompanying visual.

trump“Take a look at Dennis. He says he doesn’t know what a crepe suzette is but he knows that 8-year-old Margaret is a creep. He tells Margaret that he was her valentine last year and “haven’t I suffered enough?” When Margaret tells him she wants to be a nurse, he tells her, “You’d have plenty of work … you make people sick.” Finally, as Margaret is shown playing the accordion, he tells his 3-year-old friend, Joey, “She is no good at makin’ cookies, either.” Can’t you hear Donald Trump telling — what’s her name — that her face would stop a clock?

“Only Donald Trump, acting like 5-year-old Dennis, would mimick a disabled journalist and propose banning Muslims from entering this country and building a wall that Mexico would pay for. Unfortunately, he is incapable of owning up to the problems his words and his behavior cause.”

Thanks, Ms. Ruben! Now make more of those shirts!

July 1, 2016

Phoenixgate: Only Clinton Can’t Use Private Emails

 

On the presidential campaign trail, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, said,”I turned over my email, both professional and personal, to all of the investigators who asked for them. And said, ‘Look at whatever you want to look at.'”  No, he didn’t. He slammed Hillary Clinton about using a private email account and asked his audience to imagine what would happen if he had done the same thing while being accused of closing the George Washington Bridge. Court documents show that he did exactly that. Christie’s personal email account he shared with his wife, Mary Pat, was never searched although he used it for government business.  Christie’s cellphone that he used during Bridgegate is also missing. And New Jersey taxpayers paid Christie’s lawyers $13 million to hide all this information. Christie is no longer a presidential candidate, but he’s in the top tier to be Trump’s VP.

Ten years ago, a judge ordered Donald Trump’s casino operation to turn over emails from 1996 to 2001. He was told that they had been erased. Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld had a “concern about credibility” in this claim because of Trump’s high-speed Internet provider, and defendants in the case brought by Trump said this was destruction of evidence. The charge was never resolved because  the case was settled before a court decision. Now Trump wants Hillary Clinton to “go to jail” even after she turned over all the business-related emails in her private server. Ten years later, Streitfeld, now retired, said that he remembered the claim because he was “incredulous that an organization of that significance doesn’t do email.” Both Trump and Clinton used private servers, but Trump’s emails permanently disappeared.

While governor of Florida, presidential candidate Jeb Bush used a private server for emails and didn’t release them until he was forced to do so, seven years after he left the office despite Florida law that he release them immediately. Like Clinton, Jeb Bush made personal decisions about what should be released, choosing not to share some related to “politics” and “campaign donors asking for favors”—topics relevant in a presidential campaign.

Many politicians use private addresses through commercial servers, more accessible to the public than private servers.  although they may not have private servers. During their time in office, presidential candidates Bobby Jindal (LA) and Rick Perry (TX), used private email accounts when they were governors. Mitt Romney, another presidential nominee, and his top aides used private email accounts for state business despite warnings against the practice from his own administration. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called Clinton’s use of private email an “outrage” after being part of a fund-raising controversy about his running a secret email network for his inner circle of advisers when he was Milwaukee County executive. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), past and perhaps future presidential candidate used his personal email to conduct business and then deleted the emails.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell used a private email address while in office, as did Condoleezza Rice, although she did not email extensively. Even Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chair of the Benghazi Committee that highly criticized Clinton for her email situation, used a private address rather than a government one.

During the George W. Bush administration, as many as 22 political advisers to the president, including Karl Rove, used RNC email accounts for White House-related business. Because the RNC automatically purged emails after 30 days, as many as five million emails may have been lost from the White House’s official server.

The White House has no archived emails for many of its  offices, including president and vice president, for 473 days  between 2003 and 2005, according to the summary of an internal White House study that was disclosed yesterday by a congressional Democrat. All these days with missing emails were when VP Dick Cheney or his staff were in the news,, especially the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and Cheney’s secret dealings with oil and gas executives who were directly influencing national energy policy.

As Clinton emails continue to dribble out and fascinate people, the GOP—which ignored all Republicans who concealed their own business emails—now claims to have another “smoking gun” against Clinton. When I heard about this mysterious “secret meeting” yesterday, I wondered what was said. Googling the GOP fury about the meeting, I discovered nothing. Actually, that’s what is known about what was said by this supposedly nefarious duo. Steve Benen describes the situation far better than I do:

When news reports surfaced yesterday about a private meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, Republican outrage went from 0 to Hair-On-Fire with remarkable efficiency. It wasn’t long before Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) actually called for an independent prosecutor to investigate the “controversy.”

Given the apoplexy, one might have assumed that Lynch and Clinton arranged some kind of secret meeting in an undisclosed location to plot some nefarious scheme. The truth–the two crossed paths at an airport–appears to be far less interesting.

Ms. Lynch said at a press conference that the Clinton meeting was unplanned. Mr. Clinton was apparently waiting to fly out of the Phoenix airport when Ms. Lynch’s plane coincidentally landed there. The former president then walked over to the attorney general’s plane to speak to Ms. Lynch and her husband.

“Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primarily social and about our travels,” Ms. Lynch told reporters in Phoenix on Tuesday.

I realize there’s nothing the political world loves more than a Clinton “scandal,” but as an objective matter, it’s tough to get worked up about a casual chat at an airport between a president and an A.G. If your first reaction to Bill Clinton talking about his grandchildren is, “I hear Ken Starr is unemployed, so let’s give him something to do!” you might be a little too eager to exaggerate the significance of harmless social interaction.

The trouble is, the political world remains deeply invested in the idea that Hillary Clinton’s cabinet-level email server management is one of the most important issues in the country right now. Folks hear about Bill Clinton saying hello to Loretta Lynch, and their first reaction is to assume that this was an effort to prevent an indictment.

But that’s silly. For one thing, an indictment is ridiculously unlikely. For another, if Bill Clinton intended to launch some kind of back-channel pressure campaign to interfere with an investigation, he’d probably take steps less overt than a public chat at an airport.

The obvious explanation may sound naive, but it’s also the easiest to believe: the former president wanted to say hello to a prominent official he knows so he could talk about his grandkids. He wasn’t considering “media optics,” because as far as Clinton is concerned, there was no reason to care – why would anyone make a fuss about something so innocuous?

Nevertheless, the Attorney General will reportedly announce today that she will remove herself from any decision making role in the email matter, and will “accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make.”

And with Benghazi conspiracy theories having been discredited again this week, the far-right suddenly has something new to obsess over for a while.

The day after Clinton testified for 11 hours before the Benghazi committee, Sen. Mitch McConnell—yes the same Republican who is Majority Leader—said about Clinton, “She’s an intelligent and capable person, no question about it.” He added that he worked well with her in the Senate and could work with her as president.  About Trump, McConnell says that the candidate needs to change to be a “credible candidate.” Arguments against Clinton have nothing to do with her honesty and integrity. All the GOP has left against “an intelligent and capable” person who has more experience for the presidency than any other candidate during the past 260 years is a chance social meeting at a Southwest airport.

The GOP demonstrates their desperation when they believe that two leading politicians would have a secret meeting on the airport tarmac in full view of everyone. Just call it Phoenixgate.

In an aside, is it not curious that all the men who used private email accounts and destroyed the emails get a walk for doing so while a woman is held far more than accountable?

 

September 6, 2012

Democratic Convention 2012 – Day Two, Extraordinary

Topping the first day of the Democratic convention was difficult, but the second day  displayed as much–if not more– electricity with non-stop speakers throughout the evening, capped by a 48-minute speech from former President Bill Clinton.

Many of the convention speakers, in contrast to those at the GOP convention last week, have been non-politicians. For example, three workers from Bain-controlled companies talked about problems of Mitt Romney’s leadership. Randy Johnson began by describing how Bain bought his company in 1994 and fired hundreds of employees without any warning. “They rushed in security guards to walk us out of our plant. We weren’t even allowed to take our personal items.”

Cindy Hewitt, a worker at Dade Behring, told how Bain drop her company, an important part of the community, was driven into bankruptcy, destroying 850 jobs.

David Foster, worker at a steel mill said, “When Romney and Bain took over the mill, they loaded it up with millions in debt, and within months, they used some of that borrowed money to pay themselves millions. Within a decade, the debt kept growing and was so large the company was forced into bankruptcy. They fired 750 steelworkers while they pocketed $12 million in profit. A steelworker at GST Steel would have had to work 240 years to make $12 million.”

Sister Simone Campbell, who led the “Nuns on the Bus” tour for social justice this past summer, used her seven-minute speech to decry Paul Ryan’s budget: “Paul Ryan claims this budget reflects the principles of our shared faith. But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the Ryan budget failed a basic moral test, because it would harm families living in poverty.”

Sandra Fluke, the activist who has fought for contraception from insurance companies and called a slut and worse by Rush Limbaugh, talked about the alternate futures, depending on who is elected as president. ”Six months from now, we’ll all be living in one or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) said, “My friend Paul Ryan talks about fiscal responsibility but voted to put two wars on a credit card. He voted to spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. He voted for a prescription drug benefit with no plan to pay for it. He abandoned the bipartisan principle that we must pay for what we buy.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) said that a vote for Democrats in the November election is a vote to preserve Medicare and Social Security and a vote in favor of women.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s claims that President Barack Obama is weak on Israel make “no sense” and are “ludicrous.” Earlier in the day when during an MSNBC interview, she said, “I think we do not know what Gov. Romney’s position on national security is, frankly. He has advisers that are some neocons, some of the people that brought you the previous policies under the [President George W.] Bush administration and he barely talked about foreign policy in his speech.”

Elizabeth Warren, who founded the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, talked about how “the [financial] system is rigged” but that President Obama is working to give everyone a chance at a “level playing field.” She described the GOP approach to governing in this statement:  “I’ve got mine; the rest of you are on your own.” Aiming at the GOP, Warren said, “Republicans say they don’t believe in government. Sure they do! They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said, ‘Corporations are people.’” She finished her speech by quoting the Bible: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”–Matthew 25:40.

Bill Clinton was the highlight of the evening when he shredded all the arguments from the GOP convention speakers about President Obama’s four years. “He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long, hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”

In answer to the objections that life is not better under this president, Clinton said, “Are we where we want to be? No. Is the president satisfied? Of course not. But are we better off than we were when he took office with an economy in free-fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month? The answer is yes.” He continued, “President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did,” he said. “No president–not me or any of my predecessors–could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the president’s contract you will feel it.”

Andrea Mitchell said, “As a political document, this speech was extraordinary,” providing an “explanation of all of the policy points.” Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who managed GOP nominee John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said, “I wish to God, as a Republican, we had someone on our side who had the ability to do [what Clinton did tonight].”

Blogger Michael Hayne said, “In short, the 42nd President of the United States beautifully encapsulated how Obama has consistently extended the olive branch to Republicans and they have proudly taken that branch, ripped it up into a million pieces, stomped it into the sand and buried their heads with it so that the economic worsened and they could easily say ‘vote Republican’ in 2012.”

Unlike Paul Ryan’s and Mitt Romney’s speeches in Tampa, Clinton’s speech was on policy and gave specifics in amazing detail, so much that there isn’t enough room for it here. Even more amazing, no matter how much FactCheck.org and USA Today scoured the multitude of facts that Clinton provided in his speech, the two organizations could not find anything false. This is far different from their investigation of Ryan’s and Romney’s speeches when they had trouble finding anything true.

Asides: The reading level for Michelle Obama’s speech was Grade 12; Ann Romney’s speech was seven grades below. [Note: Is this what each person thinks of her political party’s education?]

Clinton said, “Though I often disagree with Republicans,” he said, “I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.” Ann Coulter’s tweets show how vicious the far right is:

“Bill Clinton just impregnated Sandra Fluke backstage…”

“To get Bill Clinton to speak at the convention, Obama had to agree to carry his bags.”

In another hateful spate, Rush Limbaugh claimed that President Obama isn’t actually black because he lacks any slave ancestry. Not that it matters, but one of the president’s ancestors is the first documented slave, John Punch, according the The New York Times. 

The ADP National Jobs Report reported the addition of 201,000 private-sector jobs in the month of August, almost 50 percent more than the estimated increase of 140,000 jobs. It also revises the number of jobs added in July up to 173,000 from 163,000. In addition, the Department of Labor’s weekly report today showed the number of new claims for state unemployment benefits had fallen by 12,000 when Wall Street had expected only 1,000.

Things are looking better!

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