Hillary Clinton for President

Our endorsement is rooted in respect
for her intellect, experience and courage.

Source:NY Times

Author: Editorial Board

Emphasis Mine

In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)

But this endorsement would also be an empty exercise if it merely affirmed the choice of Clinton supporters. We’re aiming instead to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton — because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.

Running down the other guy won’t suffice to make that argument. The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.

The best case is, instead, about the challenges this country faces, and Mrs. Clinton’s capacity to rise to them.

The next president will take office with bigoted, tribalist movements and their leaders on the march. In the Middle East and across Asia, in Russia and Eastern Europe, even in Britain and the United States, war, terrorism and the pressures of globalization are eroding democratic values, fraying alliances and challenging the ideals of tolerance and charity.

The 2016 campaign has brought to the surface the despair and rage of poor and middle-class Americans who say their government has done little to ease the burdens that recession, technological change, foreign competition and war have heaped on their families.

Over 40 years in public life, Hillary Clinton has studied these forces and weighed responses to these problems. Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena. Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformational change. As a candidate, she has struggled to step back from a pointillist collection of policy proposals to reveal the full pattern of her record. That is a weakness of her campaign, and a perplexing one, for the pattern is clear. It shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.

Similarly, Mrs. Clinton’s occasional missteps, combined with attacks on her trustworthiness, have distorted perceptions of her character. She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship. As first lady, she rebounded from professional setbacks and personal trials with astounding resilience. Over eight years in the Senate and four as secretary of state, she built a reputation for grit and bipartisan collaboration. She displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance and an ability to listen to constituents and colleagues that are all too exceptional in Washington.

Mrs. Clinton’s record of service to children, women and families has spanned her adult life. One of her boldest acts as first lady was her 1995 speech in Beijing declaring that women’s rights are human rights. After a failed attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system, she threw her support behind legislation to establish the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which now covers more than eight million lower-income young people. This year, she rallied mothers of gun-violence victims to join her in demanding comprehensive background checks for gun buyers and tighter reins on gun sales.

After opposing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants during the 2008 campaign, she now vows to push for comprehensive immigration legislation as president and to use executive power to protect law-abiding undocumented people from deportation and cruel detention. Some may dismiss her shift as opportunistic, but we credit her for arriving at the right position.

Mrs. Clinton and her team have produced detailed proposals on crime, policing and race relations, debt-free college and small-business incentives, climate change and affordable broadband. Most of these proposals would benefit from further elaboration on how to pay for them, beyond taxing the wealthiest Americans. They would also depend on passage by Congress.

That means that, to enact her agenda, Mrs. Clinton would need to find common ground with a destabilized Republican Party, whose unifying goal in Congress would be to discredit her. Despite her political scars, she has shown an unusual capacity to reach across the aisle.

When Mrs. Clinton was sworn in as a senator from New York in 2001, Republican leaders warned their caucus not to do anything that might make her look good. Yet as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she earned the respect of Republicans like Senator John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.

Her most lasting achievements as a senator include a federal fund for long-term health monitoring of 9/11 first responders, an expansion of military benefits to cover reservists and the National Guard, and a law requiring drug companies to improve the safety of their medications for children.

Below the radar, she fought for money for farmers, hospitals, small businesses and environmental projects. Her vote in favor of the Iraq war is a black mark, but to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history.

As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was charged with repairing American credibility after eight years of the Bush administration’s unilateralism. She bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya. But her achievements are substantial. She led efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran, which eventually pushed it to the table for talks over its nuclear program, and in 2012, she helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Mrs. Clinton led efforts to renew diplomatic relations with Myanmar, persuading its junta to adopt political reforms. She helped promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. Her election-year reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters, but her underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt. Mrs. Clinton’s attempt to reset relations with Russia, though far from successful, was a sensible effort to improve interactions with a rivalrous nuclear power.

Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.

Mrs. Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, governed during what now looks like an optimistic and even gentle era. The end of the Cold War and the advance of technology and trade appeared to be awakening the world’s possibilities rather than its demons. Many in the news media, and in the country, and in that administration, were distracted by the scandal du jour — Mr. Clinton’s impeachment — during the very period in which a terrorist threat was growing. We are now living in a world darkened by the realization of that threat and its many consequences.

Mrs. Clinton’s service spans both eras, and she has learned hard lessons from the three presidents she has studied up close. She has also made her own share of mistakes. She has evinced a lamentable penchant for secrecy and made a poor decision to rely on a private email server while at the State Department. That decision deserved scrutiny, and it’s had it. Now, considered alongside the real challenges that will occupy the next president, that email server, which has consumed so much of this campaign, looks like a matter for the help desk. And, viewed against those challenges, Mr. Trump shrinks to his true small-screen, reality-show proportions, as we’ll argue in detail on Monday.

Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.

see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/opinion/sunday/hillary-clinton-for-president.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-top-region&region=opinion-c-col-top-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-top-region&_r=0

Trump Flat-Out Lies About Crime in Attempt to Woo Black Voters

Facts don’t back up the Republican nominee’s claims about crime. Surprise, surprise.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Elizabeth Preza

Emphasis Mine

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continuously laments the state of crime in the United States, insisting the problem is “out of control” and alleging our inner cities are comparable to “war zones in countries that we’re fighting.”

He peddled this notion even more last week, posting to Twitter Monday, “Inner-city crime is reaching record levels. African-Americans will vote for Trump because they know I will stop the slaughter going on!” But in his aggressive—albeit shallow—push for black votes, Trump is once again advancing a false narrative that simply doesn’t square with the truth. In short, over the past two decades, violent crime in America’s cities has steadily declined, and nationally, crime remains at historic lows.

In 2015, the Brennan Center for Justice reported that despite a recent uptick of crime in some regions, two-thirds of U.S. cities saw a drop in crime, while overall crime rates remained steady. “The average person in a large urban area is safer walking on the street today than he or she would have been at almost any time in the past 30 years,” authors Ames Grawert and James Cullen wrote.

The Brennan Center report also noted that because murder rates are so low, “a small numerical increase can lead to a large percentage change.” Such is the case in New York City, where, according to the New York Police Department’s crime figures, while murders are up 12 percent this year compared with 2014, they’re still down 82 percent compared with 1993.

One of Trump’s favorite case studies on crime is Chicago, which, along with Baltimore and Washington DC, accounted for more than half of the national increase in murders in 2015. Last week, Trump told his number-one fan girl Bill O’Reilly he could solve the city’s problem “in one week” by putting “people in charge” who are tough on crime. Four days later, the Republican nominee horrified the masses when he patted himself on the back for his illuminated view of Chicago’s deadly streets.

“[NBA star] Dwyane Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago,” Trump tweeted. “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”

But while Wade’s tragedy is certainly emblematic of a larger problem in Chicago, it’s hardly representative of the downward trend of violent crime in the rest of the country. And even with the upward tick in violent crime in Chicago in recent years, murder is far from at “record levels,” as Trump insists. In 2015, 493 people were killed in Chicago, which as the Washington Post reports, is “a bit over half of the city’s peak and fewer than were killed at the tail end of the Capone era.”

In its report, the Brennan Center analyzed the factors impacting the rise of crime rates in Chicago, Baltimore and DC. It found the “increases seem to be localized, rather than part of a national pandemic, suggesting that community conditions remain the major factor.” Among the community conditions listed by the center were “falling populations, higher poverty rates, and higher unemployment than the national average.”

“This implies that economic deterioration of these cities could be a contributor to murder increases,” the report reads.

Of course, the nuanced factors contributing to the rise of crime in certain U.S. cities are lost on Trump, whose blanket solution to the problem is to put “the right people in charge.”

But considering this is the same candidate who rattles off erroneous claims about black-on-white crime, and whose plea to black voters took place in front of a predominately white crowd and portrayed blacks—according to the New York Times—“as living lives of utter desperation,” it’s unsurprising that his pitch for “law and order” sounds like B.S. What would be surprising is if voters buy it.

Elizabeth Preza is an AlterNet staff writer focusing on politics, media and cultural criticism. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.


See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-flat-out-lies-about-crime-attempt-woo-black-voters?akid=14598.123424.UJv3dV&rd=1&src=newsletter1063057&t=4

Paul Krugman Dismantles the Entire Premise of Trump’s Candidacy

Sorry scare-mongers. Crime is down. Social progress has made us safer.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Janet Allon

Emphasis Mine

The heads of fact-checkers throughout the land exploded last week, as speakers at the RNC in Cleveland piled lie upon lie upon piles of lies. The favorite of all these lies is the one about crime running rampant and Americans in general being so very unsafe.

It’s just not true.

Paul Krugman dismantles this myth in Monday’s column, starting with his (and Trump’s and Giuliani’s) hometown.

Last year there were 352 murders in New York City. This was a bit higher than the number in 2014, but far below the 2245 murders that took place in 1990, the city’s worst year. In fact, as measured by the murder rate, New York is now basically as safe as it has ever been, going all the way back to the 19th century.

National crime statistics, and numbers for all violent crimes, paint an only slightly less cheerful picture. And it’s not just a matter of numbers; our big cities look and feel far safer than they did a generation ago, because they are. People of a certain age always have the sense that America isn’t the country they remember from their youth, and in this case they’re right — it has gotten much better.

So, the question is, what gives with the terrifying premise of the Trump speech—that crime is rampant and that he alone can fix it. (But he can’t tell you how, because then he’d have to kill you.)

It’s only one of Trump’s lies, Krugman notes. Another favorite is the bit about our being the most highly taxed country on earth, when pretty much the opposite is true among comparably economically advanced countries.)

But the fact that crime is not actually running in any way rampant is a fact that can be seen by anyone with eyes. Yet, all too many voters, and possibly a majority of white men, buy it. Again, why? Krugman:

One answer is that, according to Gallup, Americans always seem to believe that crime is increasing, even when it is in fact dropping rapidly. Part of this may be the wording of the question: People may have a vague, headline-fueled sense that crime is up this year even while being aware that it’s much lower than it used to be. There may also be some version of the “bad things are happening somewhere else” syndrome we see in consumer surveys, where people are far more positive about their personal situation than they are about the economy as a whole. Again, however, it’s one thing to have a shaky grasp on crime statistics, but something quite different to accept a nightmare vision of America that conflicts so drastically with everyday experience. So what’s going on?

Krugman’s hypothesis is that the fear is displaced. The old order is kaput. The country is becoming less racist and sexist overall, with rising diversity and muddier gender roles. Making America Great again probably involves getting women back in the home once again. Trump VP pick Mike Pence is all about espousing those traditional values, and even absurdly once wrote an essay descrying the Disney movies Mulan for featuring a strong, warrior-like heroine. Sad. Here’s the simple truth that conservatives cannot abide. All the social changes that the sixties began to usher in have made America safer, maybe even greater! The truth hurts.


See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/paul-krugman-dismantles-entire-premise-trumps-candidacy?akid=14467.123424._4WGce&rd=1&src=newsletter1060764&t=6

New Texas Study Busts NRA Myths: Concealed Carry Doesn’t Reduce Crime, Guns Increase Crime



Emphasis Mine

It is legal in every state in the US to carry a concealed handgun. Up until this week, it was a commonly accepted myth that carrying a hidden gun was less harmful than carrying a visible firearm, and that the incidence of crime fell when there was no weapon in sight. A new study by Texas A&M University has just exposed the fallacy of this assertion. It turns out that -shocker- carrying a concealed weapon does not decrease crime rate. What does increase the crime rate? Having a gun in the first place. There is no safe way to carry a gun; whether it’s concealed or not makes absolutely no difference. These new results just add more evidence to the already extensive demand for tougher restrictions on gun control.

The logic that concealed guns directly relates to a decreased level of shootings has been the false basis of much legalized gun legislation. “A dramatic spike in the number of Americans with permits to carry concealed weapons coincides with an equally stark drop in violent crime,” Fox News wrote last year, citing a study by the Crime Prevention Research Center. It’s time to throw this logic out the window. Research by Texas A&M University dispels the previous data with a county by county analysis in over 500 counties, of the effect of concealed weapons. Their study proves whether a gun is visible or not has no connection with crime. The Crime Prevention Research Center based their findings on before and after concealed-carry legislation, and hence did not get a full picture.

The idea that concealed handguns lead to less crime is at the center of much firearms legislation, but the science behind that conclusion has been murky,” Texas A&M health sciences professor Charles D. Phillips said in a university release. “This research suggests that the rate at which CHLs (concealed handgun licenses) are issued and crime rates are independent of one another — crime does not drive CHLs; CHLs do not drive crime,” the study states. “What we found when we drilled down to the county level was that the changes in the number of concealed handgun permits in a county had no relationship to either an increase or decrease in the county crime rate,” commented Phillips.

Instead of relying solely on the visibility of a gun as a predictor or indicator of violence, Phillips’ study delves into real drivers such as the economy or policing tactics. By disproving the idea that concealed hand guns create an atmosphere of increased public welfare, gun legislation is going to have to be reevaluated.  “These results have some implications for the current policy debates concerning concealed handguns. The logic of relaxing requirements for concealed carry for the purposes of public safety implies that such legislation should reduce crime rates,” Phillips and his team concluded in their findings.

Americans own more than 300 million firearms. That means there is almost one gun per person. When you contextualize these figures, it is easy to see why the shooting at Roseburg happened so easily; and why a mass shooting is no longer a rare occurrence. Our society is oversaturated with guns. Up until this week, our legislatures used a surface level study to argue that carrying a weapon is okay, so long as that weapon is not in plain sight. Now that counter-research has rendered this thinking irrelevant, hopefully systemic reasons for violence will be targeted, and the government can finally step in and do away with gun ownership.

See: : http://wp.me/p3h8WX-5hK