Nel's New Day

September 21, 2017

Don’t Go Away, Hillary!

Much of the coverage of a book released in September, What Happened, has been extremely negative as both right and left media tell her to go away. They treat her as badly as they did during her campaign and blame her for her election loss after a perfect storm of opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Russian influence, incessant lying about her, and the release of negative information from former FBI director James Comey less than two weeks before the election despite the his refusal to release evidence about Russians colluding with the campaign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).

Heather Digby Parton, however, has a different perspective, as the following article shows:

I’m not going to review Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened, since there are approximately 12,576 reviews out there already, with more to come. But I do want to discuss one issue that came up in the book that has been addressed in a couple of those reviews. That would be the fact that the press regularly and tiresomely slags Clinton for her failures in the 2016 campaign but have still completely failed to acknowledge their own.

There are many aspects of this story that are unique to Clinton. As Politico’s Jonathan Allen, then of Vox, wrote at the beginning of the campaign, there was an establishment media groupthink about her that was obvious, although the press itself seemed completely oblivious to it. (I wrote about this on Salon in real time as it unfolded and after the race was over. )

Allen put it bluntly:

“The Clinton rules are driven by reporters’ and editors’ desire to score the ultimate prize in contemporary journalism: the scoop that brings down Hillary Clinton and her family’s political empire. At least in that way, Republicans and the media have a common interest.”

Indeed they did. (As it turns out, maybe some members of the Russian government did too.) And one aspect of the coverage verged on outright corruption: the “deal” The New York Times and The Washington Post made with a Steve Bannon associate to publish excerpts of a book of lies called Clinton Cash that set the tone for much of the coverage to come.

The Atlantic’s James Fallows addressed the press obsession with the Clinton email story in his review of What Happened:

“No sane person can believe that the consequences of last fall’s election — for foreign policy, for race relations, for the environment, for anything else you’d like to name (from either party’s perspective) — should have depended more than about 1 percent on what Hillary Clinton did with her emails. But this objectively second- or third-tier issue came across through even our best news organizations as if it were the main thing worth knowing about one of the candidates.”

David Roberts at Vox took on the subject by analyzing in depth the way the media reported one particular incident in the campaign: Hillary Clinton’s alleged “coal gaffe,” which he described as “navigating a hall of mirrors.” Her comment about putting coal miners out of business was poorly phrased, but as it was reported, it was also truncated and taken out of context. The way her response was then distorted by the GOP and the press as an illustration of Clinton’s disqualifying character flaws was the real crime, Roberts writes:

“Mainstream news outlets should stop treating ‘how it looks’ as though it’s some fact in the universe that they discover. They are the arbiters; they decide how it looks. They build and reinforce narratives. They seek out confirming evidence and ignore disconfirming evidence. They amplify some voices and not others. They direct attention, which is the coin of the realm in modern politics. If they draw attention to a bullshit scandal, they are the ones ensuring that it damages the campaign. If they play along with the ludicrous notion that Clinton loves firing coal miners, they are sanctioning and disseminating misinformation. They are not doing their jobs.”

Whether you are convinced by these arguments or not, it’s tempting to write them off as something that only pertains to Hillary Clinton. There is no doubt that the narratives spun around her in the campaign and for years prior were informed by systemic sexism. The press is no different from the rest of society in being unable to grapple with that reality. But in fact, this wasn’t the only time this happened.

The coverage of the 2000 presidential campaign, and to a lesser extent the 2004 campaign as well, had similar characteristics. In the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, the media mercilessly abused the latter with a series of shallow character attacks that were both unfair and untruthful. Roberts’ analysis of Clinton and the “coal gaffe” is exactly the same sort of prejudicial coverage the media gave Gore for his “I invented the internet” and “Love Canal” gaffes, among a dozen others.

One vivid illustration of journalists’ collective disdain for Gore was reported in Time’s article about an early New Hampshire debate between Gore and his Democratic primary rival, Sen. Bill Bradley:

“The 300 media types watching in the press room at Dartmouth were, to use the appropriate technical term, totally grossed out. Whenever Gore came on too strong the room erupted in a collective jeer, like a gang of fifteen-year-old heathers cutting down some hapless nerd.”

Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank explained why the press corps was so hostile:

“Gore is sanctimonious, and that’s sort of the worst thing you can be in the eyes of the press. And he has been disliked all along, and it was because he gives a sense that he’s better than us — he’s better than everybody, for that matter, but the sense that he’s better than us as reporters. Whereas President Bush probably is sure that he’s better than us — he’s probably right, but he does not convey that sense. He does not seem to be dripping with contempt when he looks at us, and I think that has something to do with the coverage.”

Reporter Margaret Carlson explained in her book that one of the reasons the media gave Bush such good coverage was that he served Dove bars and designer water on the press plane, while Gore only offered granola bars and sandwiches.

As far as I know, the media have still never given their coverage of that campaign a second thought. Four years later, John Kerry was mocked for ordering the wrong cheese and drinking green tea and otherwise being a snobby New Englander without the common touch of George W. Bush, originally of Kennebunkport, Maine. And then there was 2016 and “her emails.”

None of this is to say that these candidates weren’t flawed or bear no responsibility for the outcome of those races. The point is that the press corps made a collective decision that they didn’t “like” these people and obsessively covered them in a trivial manner, as if they had been running for homecoming queen instead of president of the United States. With fake news and social media and foreign propaganda distorting our democracy, it’s past time for the press to stop behaving like the mean girls of D.C. High.

Parton’s comments above demonstrate the control that the media has over elections. Canadian Kristen Pyszczyk also published a piece discussing the disproportionate scrutiny Clinton received as a woman. Mitt Romney used private email when he was the Massachusetts governor and then destroyed them when he left office. Congress ignored the 13 attacks on U.S. embassies killing 65 people, and embassy attacks during the Reagan presidency killed hundreds. Pyszczyk wrote:

“We live in a culture where women are shamed for speaking up, seeking power and existing successfully in the public eye. (Check out the comments section to this piece if you don’t believe me!) The mere fact that Clinton is still speaking out is incredible.”

Pyszczyk was 100-percent right about the comments. She also repeated Carly Fiorina’s “joke” on the campaign trail:

“If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Hillary Clinton.”

Here are a few:

First ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. Distinguished graduate of Yale Law School. Former Director of the Arkansas Legal Aid Clinic. Former civil litigation attorney. Former Law Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Former First Lady of Arkansas. Former First Lady of the United States, and the first FLOTUS in US History to hold a postgraduate degree. First ex-FLOTUS in US History to be elected to the United States Senate. Elected by the… State of New York to serve two terms in the United States Senate. Former US Secretary of State. GRAMMY Award Winner.

And a few more. Clinton:

  • Laid the groundwork for today’s healthcare plan supported by a majority of people.
  • Helped develop State Children’s Health Insurance Program for poor children.
  • Helped create the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act.
  • Successfully fought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and asthma at the National Institute of Health (NIH).
  • Spearheaded investigations into mental illness plaguing veterans of the Gulf War revealing Gulf War Syndrome.
  • Championed the Violence Against Women Act
  • Helped create the DOJ office on Violence Against Women.
  • Worked to secure over $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment after 9/11.
  • Drafted the first bill to compensate and offer the health services for 9/11 first responders after taking a leading role in the investigation of these health consequences.
  • Introduced the Pediatric Research Equity Act to alleviate over-dosages for children with chronic diseases like epilepsy and asthma.
  • Proposed a revival of the New Deal-era Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to help homeowners refinance their mortgages in the wake of the 2008 financial disaster.
  • Brokered human rights with Burma and acted as a major proponent of ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.
  • Called for the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan that led to his death.
  • Constantly traveled as Secretary of State in diplomatic missions.
  • Co-founded the Clinton Foundation that improves living conditions for nearly 400 million people in over 180 countries.

Before that:

  • Founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to educate the public on children’s issues.
  • Chaired Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, which created new state school standards.
  • Founded Arkansas Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youth.
  • Helped created Arkansas’ first neonatal intensive care unit.

This article has more.

And Carly Fiorina? She was fired as an executive because of serious problems at the company. Clinton has spent her life helping women, children, veterans, etc. while DDT who lies, bullies, cheats, and destroys everyone except the wealthy.

September 30, 2015

What Has Hillary Clinton Accomplished?

Because the GOP thinks that Hillary Clinton’s email problems aren’t enough to destroy her as a presidential candidate, the House of Representatives created a special committee to investigate the four deaths at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. It follows six other committees, all of which exonerated Clinton from blame. Lest people doubt that the purpose of the current committee is to smear the former Secretary of State, Clinton, House Majority Whip and potential future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) clarified the goal of Benghazi investigations that have cost taxpayers $4.5 million:

“What you’re going to see is a conservative Speaker, that takes a conservative Congress, that puts a strategy to fight and win. And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

The GOP also brags about how they have slimed Clinton in the Benghazi committee by drilling about her emails. Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, however, that no emails reviewed by the committee have “anything of consequence” about Clinton’s role in Benghazi. Republicans were simply using the horrible deaths of four people to make political hay.

In the most recent GOP presidential debate, candidate Carly Fiorina defied any Democrat to list Clinton’s accomplishments because Fiorina thinks that the former First Lady and Secretary of State has none. Here are a few that the Fox networks has listed:

Advocate for women and children: Clinton has fought for women’s reproductive rights, family values, and after-school programs for almost one-fourth of a century.

Equal-pay proponent: A strong supporter for equal pay, Clinton has continued to campaign on this issue.

Women’s safety: Clinton had a large role in creating the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women and made the cause a significant Clinton Foundation priority.

9/11 redevelopment. Working closely with senior New York senator, Charles Schumer, Clinton helped secure $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment.

Middle East ceasefire. Secretary of State Clinton brokered a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas in November 2012.

Iranian Nuclear Deal. Clinton took proactive steps to negotiate a viable deal to placate Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Free-trade agreements. Clinton’s role in many U.S.-led bilateral trade agreements included a deal brokered between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Minimum wage. Her presidential platform and legislative record show Clinton’s support for raising the federal minimum wage.

Human Rights. During her long career, Clinton has worked to ensure labor and sociopolitical protections throughout the world.

Gun control. NRA advocates have long opposed Clinton on her push to keep guns off the streets and her advocacy for a national gun registry.

Other media sources and politicians have provided more Clinton accomplishments:

Bill Burton:

  1. Her China speech on women.
  2. Her role in killing Osama bin Laden.
  3. Management of the State Department during which time we saw a 50 percent increase in exports to China, aggressive work on climate (particularly at Copenhagen), and the effort to create and implement the toughest sanctions ever on Iran—helping to lead us to the agreement currently on the table.

Howard Dean:

“Hillary Clinton was the principal author of the sanction on Iran that brought them to the table. We cannot afford any Know Nothings like Carly in the White House.”

Harry Reid:

“She took the reins from a Bush administration that had left America’s reputation deeply damaged and planted the seeds for the foreign policy successes we see today. From the agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, to the landmark normalization of relations with Cuba, nearly every foreign policy victory of President Obama’s second term has Secretary Clinton’s fingerprints on it. Her accomplishments extend to health care, as well. As First Lady, she helped create and guide through Congress Children’s Health Insurance Program, a key program that brought health care coverage to millions of children. As a Senator, she worked across the aisle to provide full military health benefits to reservists and National Guard members.”

Anita Dunn:

“After universal health care failed in 1994…, then-First Lady Hilary Clinton ended up being the White House ally and inside player who worked with Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch to create SCHIP [State Children’s Health Insurance Program] in Clinton’s second term, which expanded health coverage to millions of lower-income children.”

Chuck Schumer:

“She fought tooth and nail to protect the first responders who rushed into danger when the towers collapsed and was pivotal in the passage of legislation that helped those first responders who got sick get the care and treatment they deserved. She worked night and day to protect and create jobs in New York, whether that was at the Niagara Falls Air Force base or the Center for Bioinformatics at the University of Buffalo. She also led the charge on the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Act, which is now the law of the land.”

Chris Dodd:

“The first thing that came to mind was her authorship of the Pediatric Research Equity Act. This law requires drug companies to study their products in children. The Act is responsible for changing the drug labeling of hundreds of drugs with important information about safety and dosing of drugs for children. It has improved the health of millions of children who take medications to treat diseases ranging from HIV to epilepsy to asthma. Millions of kids are in better shape and alive because of the law Senator Clinton authored.”

Paul Begala:

“Iran sanctions. Secretary Clinton accomplished the nearly impossible mission of getting China, Russia, the European Union and the civilized world on board with crippling sanctions against Iran. This is what brought Iran to the negotiating table.”

A few more that haven’t been mentioned:

  • Instrumental in the creation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act.
  • Helped increase research funding for prostate cancer and asthma at the National Institute of Health (NIH).
  • Spearheaded investigations into mental illness plaguing veterans of the Gulf War, Gulf War Syndrome.
  • Worked out a bi-partisan compromise to address civil liberty abuses for the renewal of the U.S. Patriot Act.
  • Proposed a revival of the New Deal-era Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to help homeowners refinance their mortgages in the wake of the 2008 financial disaster.

What has Carly Fiorina accomplished? She has incessantly lied, fired 30,000 employees while heading up a major U.S. corporation that evaded U.S. sanctions by selling hundreds of millions of dollars of computer products to the terrorist regime in Tehran, and then got fired herself. Not much of a resume for the President of the United States.

May 5, 2015

Fiorina, Carson Dive into the GOP Presidential Pool

Two GOP candidates joined the presidential race yesterday.

Former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Fiorina speaks at the New England Council's "Politics and Eggs" breakfast in Bedford[Former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina at the New England Council’s “Politics and Eggs” breakfast in Bedford (NH) Feb. 10, 2015. Photo by Gretchen Ertl/Reuters]

Carly Fiorina is touting herself as an alternative to Hillary Clinton because of her six years as the first woman to run a Fortune 500 company. Between 1999 and 2005, she gained infamy for her thousands of layoffs and missed earning targets and she criticizes President Obama for doing nothing to improve the economy while he tries to redistribute the wealth. After painting Clinton as dishonest, Fiorina is trying to use her business background as a vital qualification. The Guardian describes her lack of business acumen:

“Those who watched what Fiorina did to HP–mishandling the $25bn acquisition of Compaq, getting ousted by the board in 2005 with a $21m golden parachute, repeatedly being named one of the worst CEOs in American corporate history–say those supposed accomplishments are already coming back to ‘haunt’ her run for the White House.”

Former colleague Jason Burnett, a member of the Packard Foundation board of trustees, said, “She put herself ahead of the interests of the company and I fear she would do the same as president. I don’t want her to do harm to this country.” Roy Verley, Hewlett-Packard’s former director of corporate communications, said Fiorina was more interested in promoting herself than acting in the best interests of the company during her time as CEO. “She didn’t know what she was doing and couldn’t deliver on her promises,” Verley explained.

Despite HP’s officially supporting action against climate change, Fiorina questions climate change. Her support this year for the House GOP 20-week abortion ban ran counter to the opposition from moderate and female Republicans who helped kill the kill.

Fiorina has never held public office. She spent $5 million of her own money in her failed 2010 race against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), leaving her $500,000 in debt. That was the year that the GOP swept the country. Two years earlier the presidential campaign team for McCain/Palin team pulled her from speaking on their behalf.

Fiorina blames the gender gap in wages on unions and government bureaucracies, but the wage gap for unionized women is 40 percent smaller than for non-unionized women. Women in unions make almost 90 percent of what male peers do. The gender gap for federal employees is only 13 percent, a great change from 30 percent just ten years ago. One reason for the smaller gap is transparency, which Fiorina wants to eliminate. Only 18 percent of women working for the government are told they can’t discuss pay at work, compared to 60 percent of women working in the private sector. Although Fiorina claims that current laws protect women against discrimination, only one-third of pay discrimination complaints brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office have been won in the past 17 years.

On MSNBC’s conservative program Morning Joe, host Mika Brezinski summarized Fiorina’s problems in her interview with the new candidate:

“Someone could say it like this: ‘You ran for the Senate and lost. You worked for John McCain, you got moved off that campaign, and he lost. You had a tenure at Hewlett-Packard that many describe as extremely rocky, destroying jobs and destroying the company’s reputation. Are you really the right person to be criticizing Hillary Clinton’s achievements?’”

Guest Steve Rattner added, “You were fired [from HP] after a disastrous merger with Compaq and the stock price dropped.”

The past head of a high-tech company failed to get the website CarlyFiorina.org. It is currently being used to criticizing her for her layoffs with a graphic depicting these people before the finale:

“That’s 30,000 people she laid off. People with families. And what does she say she would have done differently? ‘I would have done them all faster.’—Carly Fiorina”

Today, “tech authority” Fiorina said that she would “roll back” the new rules on net neutrality despite their support by 85 percent of the Republican voters. When Sarah Lane asked Fiorina if she would consider the vice-presidential position, she snapped back, “Would you ever ask a man that question?” Both John Edwards and Bill Richardson were asked the same question, and the same possibility has been raised about former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, a possible Democratic candidate.

Fiorina told George Stephanopoulos when she announced her candidacy on Good Mroning America that she would make a good commander-in-chief because she “understand[s] technology, which is a tool to reimagine government and re-engage citizens in the process of government.”

demon sheepFiorina’s 2010 campaign may be best remembered for a creepy demon-sheep television ad that featured a flock of sheep, one of them with scary red eyes. Her message was that her opponent was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The ad went viral and became the object of much ridicule. Fiorina, however, beat her GOP opponent by 35 points.

Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, announced his candidacy on the same day as Fiorina but put off his campaign kickoff until next week, perhaps hoping for more publicity. He compares Obamacare to the destruction of 9/11 and slavery as well as equating the U.S. to Nazi Germany. Women’s liberation and single motherhood are responsible for Michael Brown being killed on a Ferguson street, and veteran suicide is “a gift from God” to show people how horrible bureaucracy is. Yet Carson advocates the elimination of for-profit insurance companies “to make the government responsible for catastrophic health care.”

Like Fiorina, Carson has never held public office, but he uses his visibility to push his inflammatory ideas such as spreading fear that anarchy might cancel the 2016 election. To Carson, the growing national debt, ISIS, and the Senate Democrats’ refusal to consider House legislation is proof of this trend. These could cause President to call off the election by declaring martial law, Carson concluded.

The safety net would disappear if Carson had his way, despite the fact that his mother was forced to use welfare to supplement wages from her two jobs.

Carson is also one of a small group that believes Congress should remove judges who support marriage equality. His premise that “Congress actually has the right to reprimand or remove [the judges]” is wrong: removal of judges is only for impeachable offenses, defined by the constitution as “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Far-right Congressional members are still contemplating a law to keep judges from ruling on the rights of same-sex married couples.

Carson also calls marriage equality a “Marxist plot,” describes marriage equality supporters as “enemies of America,” and compares homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. Later he apologized for his “poorly chosen words” in the last accusation. LGBT people demanding cakes from businesses could get poisoned. Carson also drew fire for his claim that male rape in prison against other males proves that homosexuality is a choice and had to backtrack.

The Geneva Conference means nothing to Carson: he doesn’t want trials for war crimes, such as those against the Nazis after World War II. He has said that the military should not be subject to any war crimes law:

“If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war. Other than that, we have to win.”

Carson’s lack of knowledge seems to match that of former candidate Herman Cain. When asked to name his favorite secretary of the treasury, he finally came up with “Andrea Mitchell’s husband.” That would be Alan Greenspan, former chair of the Federal Reserve—not Treasury secretary. Carson was also surprised to discover during his recent trip to Israel that the country has a legislative branch. He is also confused about NATO and placed Islamic radical violence several centuries before Islam existed.

A booster of GOP-backed voter-ID laws that disenfranchises many blacks, Carson cites discredited anecdotes of voter fraud. The 95-percent share of the black vote for the president, comes from ignorance. Carson justifies his outrageous claims by denouncing the importance of “little details” and claiming that there’s nothing “crazy” about his beliefs.

Carson is sixth in an average of four polls at five percent, and Fiorina is at the bottom of 14 candidates at 1 percent. Both of them must realize that they have no chance of achieving the highest position in the country, but they may be angling for vice president. Each represents a minority—female and black—that the GOP desperately wants.

Both Carson and Fiorina claim that they want to unify the country. They might begin by no longer bashing over half the people in the country.

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