Hillary Clinton welcomes Bernie Sanders to the arena

1 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Charles Lane: Hillary gets zigged by the Democrats zagging left wing.

Hillary Clinton welcomed Vermont Sen. The big story here is that an avowed socialist who voted with the Democratic Party in the Senate, but wouldn’t join it, now feels comfortable seeking its presidential nomination.A lot of people who have been supporting criminal justice reform for much longer than Hillary Clinton are feeling very conflicted about her speech at Columbia University yesterday embracing the cause.When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, South Central Los Angeles was ablaze in response to the acquittal of four white police officers who had viciously beaten a black man named Rodney King.

Did then senator Hillary Clinton change her position on the India-US nuclear deal in 2008 and vote in its favor in return for payments to her family trust and campaign? As Hillary Clinton embarks on her campaign for the 2016 presidential election, the country is again unsettled by unrest, this time in Baltimore, where Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died of a spinal injury suffered while in police custody. She did, according to a new yet-to-be-released book that has raised questions about funding of the family-run Clinton Foundation, accessed by Politico, a news publication.

Focus must be on helping America’s middle class.” Sanders avoided directly criticizing Clinton, though it said it was a “fair question” to bring up concerns about the Clinton Foundation. Though hardly a conservative, her record puts her to the right of a Democratic Party that has been gradually taken over by its left wing in the 20-plus years since a centrist Bill Clinton, accompanied by then-first lady Hillary, first gained the White House, as former Clinton White House political strategist Doug Sosnik argued in an influential 2014 article for Politico Magazine.

After all, as recently as 2008 Clinton was attacking Barack Obama for his opposition to mandatory minimum sentences, using it as an example that he was too liberal to win the Democratic nomination. Bill Clinton, whose popularity with black voters is legendary, went to black churches and promised to work for racial healing and equal opportunity if elected.

But the publication also said that a study of the Senator Clinton’s voting record on the deal showed “two key facts in (the book’s) argument on the topic are false”. He also noted his own role in leading efforts against the Iraq war — which Clinton voted to authorize — the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. In 2014, a Pew Research Center survey found that rank-and-file Democrats were almost twice as likely to describe themselves as “mostly or consistently liberal” as they were in 1994 (56 percent in 2014 vs. 30 percent in 1994). Currently at the center of our national frustration with our pay-for-play political system is Hillary Clinton, because Republican activist Peter Schweizer’s – a man with a strong record of partisan political investigations that can be easily debunked – new book Clinton Cash “exposes” a number of coincidental decisions he’d like people to believe that Hillary Clinton made as Secretary of State. The party’s activists and leaders are even more left-leaning, with 70 percent of them pronouncing themselves consistent liberals in 2014, as opposed to 35 percent in 1994.

Bill Clinton championed a 1994 law that, among other things, has increased untold numbers of prison sentences (by encouraging states to drastically reduce or eliminate parole and early release). While her husband Bill collected fees for speaking appearances before various groups, Schweizer “reports” that decisions made within the State Department may have had direct and indirect effects on their financial interests. This does not matter much once a political leader has left office and hit the global-grandee circuit—a lucrative world of paid speeches, charity work and discreet consulting gigs. Sosnik identified the improved funding and organization of left-wing groups, as well as the electorate’s increasing demographic diversity and leftward drift on cultural issues, as factors favouring the liberal Democratic ascent.

It only takes a quick look at Hillary’s actual voting record and statements to see that this conspiracy theory doesn’t even come close to passing the smell test.” The highly anticipated book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Help Make Bill and Hillary Rich”, is due for release next week. To that list of factors should be added the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the financial crisis, which damaged public confidence in U.S. foreign policy and U.S. capitalism, respectively. Her campaign website headlines the speech “It’s Time to End the Era of Mass Incarceration,” and the headline of Allen’s piece reads “Hillary Clinton Just Gave One of the Most Important Speeches of Her Career.” Here’s how Allen begins: Fair or unfair, Democrats’ chief criticism of Hillary Clinton has been that she doesn’t truly share their most cherished values, particularly when it comes to addressing inequality. But the problems and omissions in Clinton’s speech shouldn’t blind us to the fact that it’s a remarkable piece of political rhetoric, both in its own right and for what it says about American politics in 2015.

The allegations pertaining to the nuclear deal come in a chapter titled, “Indian Nukes: How to Win a Medal by Changing Hillary’s Mind”, which was obtained by Politico, the publication said. Two days after riots in Baltimore—at a time when most of the presidential field is either silent or contemptuous—Clinton has stepped out front with a forward-looking agenda on bringing people out of prison, a definitive rebuke to the “law and order” politics used by her husband throughout his career. Bush in 1988 and the loss of the House of Representatives to Newt Gingrich’s Republicans in 1994, both of which taught Democrats to fear getting outflanked on the right. Behind the snark, there are two big questions: Why should we believe Hillary Clinton suddenly cares about criminal justice reform? and Has Hillary Clinton really learned from her mistakes?

Her first major policy address of the 2016 campaign was Clinton at her finest, showcasing both strong policy chops and a deep sensitivity to Americans who are heartbroken over the deaths of young black men at the hands of police officers. Indeed, she read the names—Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin—and said “the patterns have become unmistakable and undeniable,” without specifying what the disparate and in some cases uncertain fact patterns in these cases have in common. “She freely moved between prose and statistic,” gushes Allen, referring to her invocation of the Fox Butterfield fallacy: “It’s a stark fact that the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, yet we have almost 25% of the world’s total prison population. And Bill Clinton personally accepted $500,000 from a Russian investment bank touting the Uranium One stock and connected to the Russian government for a speech in Moscow. Of the 600,000 prisoners who re-enter society each year, roughly 60 percent face long-term unemployment.” We have to do more than release nonviolent offenders to solve mass incarceration, but this at least shows that Clinton is thinking in broad terms. Unlike the Brits, who treat Tony Blair as a pariah these days, Americans do not necessarily think it outrageous that a former head of government should become rich.

Martin O’Malley, who planned a similar left-populist campaign against Clinton, finds himself on the defensive over his law-and-order policies as mayor of Baltimore in the early ’90s. Chris Christie and Scott Walker, of New Jersey and Wisconsin respectively, and former governors Jeb Bush (Florida) and Rick Perry (Texas), also are talking up reform measures that would scale back mandatory sentencing laws and seek alternatives to locking up nonviolent offenders.

Some of these are diplomatically phrased and some less so, like this tweet from longtime criminal justice journalist Liliana Segura, now writing for the Intercept: Whenever a politician suddenly flip-flops on an issue, especially after decades spent on the other side, it makes sense to wonder whether the conversion is genuine. We need a true national debate about how to reduce our prison population while keeping our communities safe.” The Democratic Party’s core policy agenda in a post-Obama—and post-Obamacare—era is resolving the ills of poverty, inequality, substance abuse, and the broken criminal justice and mental health systems. And, in 2010, giving a renegade Putin control of one-fifth of America’s spooky boom-boom metal didn’t seem sinister; it’s only in hindsight that it does seem nefarious, after Putin’s annexation of the Crimea. In the speech, she promises to make sure that “federal funds for state and local law enforcement are used to bolster best practices, rather than to buy weapons of war that have no place on our streets.” She calls for body cameras on all police—a major goal of the “Black Lives Matter” movement—supports better, “swifter” probation programs, and stresses help for mental health patients. “You and I know that the promise of de-institutionalizing those in mental health facilities was supposed to be followed by the creation of community-based treatment centers. Hillary figured in conservative demonology as the radical power behind her husband’s throne and got blamed for the failure of an allegedly overly liberal Clinton administration health insurance proposal; so she remade herself as a centrist.

In 1994, he signed an omnibus crime bill that included some popular measures, such as a ban on assault weapons and stronger laws against domestic violence. At the time, outside of the neocon groups huddling in John Bolton’s “we’re all gonna die!” anxiety closet, it was considered a good idea to increase cooperation and defuse tensions between the US and Russia. Lastly, if we know nothing else about Bill Clinton, it’s that he’d give a 45-minute talk about resource allocation to a hot dog sandwich if there were $250,000 in it.

A Hillary Clinton who believed she needed working class whites to win is not a Hillary Clinton who would embrace this agenda for police reform, or use this rhetoric. On Wednesday, Clinton offered criminal justice reforms that implicitly repudiate tough federal sentencing laws that her husband signed, and she lavishly praised David Dinkins — the one-term Democratic mayor of New York whose perceived failures to control crime paved the way to his election defeat by Republican Rudy Giuliani in 1993. His conclusion: “If this is the Hillary Clinton that hits the campaign trail for the next 18 months, she’ll be a far more formidable candidate than the halting speaker who struggled to articulate a raison d’être in 2008.” About the politics of Mrs. But, in the wake of Citizens United and the new operating assumption that money is speech, going into 2016, we ought to ask if Clinton’s position is unique. “Not A Real Jeb” Bush and his family have extensive ties to the energy industry, Poppy Bush having made his fortune in oil wildcatting. No, this Clinton clearly believes that she needs to reconstitute the Obama coalition to win, and to do that, she’ll push forward on key issues for black Americans, Latinos, young women, and other members of the Obama electorate.

Meanwhile, she has almost been silenced on President Barack Obama’s proposed free-trade agreement with 11 Pacific Rim nations — itself possibly a last vestige of Democratic pro-business centrism. Yet labor and other liberal interest groups are trying to establish opposition to free trade as the post-Obama party line — it’s a key issue for Sanders.

One such instance was his condemnation of the rapper Sister Souljah over comments she made two months after the L.A. riots that seemed to dismiss the slayings of some white people during the six days of violence. In her remarks Wednesday, Hillary Clinton scolded “those who are instigating further violence in Baltimore … setting back the cause of justice.” But she seemed to stand with protesters who, during the past several months, have demanded action on dismantling mass incarceration, building trust and respect between police and citizens and better education and economic opportunities for poor communities.

But many of those policies grew out of the crackdown on drug crimes and other nonviolent offenses that took place before and during Bill Clinton’s presidency 20 years ago. There’s Ted Cruz, who has declared – most likely because he can’t rake in as much money as Jeb – still has his own billionaire, a tax-dodger named Robert Mercer.

Scott Walker was long considered the billionaire Koch brothers’ preferred candidate (you may remember him from the time he was prank called by someone imitating David Koch), but Walker may no longer be the brothers’ favorite. As political scientist Jonathan Bernstein wrote for the Washington Monthly in 2012 (and Jamelle Bouie of Slate pointed out on Twitter yesterday), research shows that campaign promises are actually a lot more important than you might think: Jeff Fishel looked at campaigns from John F. Marco Rubio won the straw poll at the Koch brother’s donor summit – and that’s nothing to sneeze at, considering they’ve stated their willingness to spend up to $889m on political groups, think tanks and endowments through 2016. She enjoys the backing of a vast network of elected officials, donors and hangers-on; the chance to elect the first female president will induce many Democrats to swallow their ideological misgivings.

Not b/c he was wrong but b/c times change.” (We gather that means she has another speech in the works renouncing her husband’s support for Internet freedom.) I learned this firsthand as a young attorney just out of law school—at one of those law schools that will remain nameless here at Columbia. The likely effect — and intent — of a Sanders challenge is to push both Clinton’s campaign and her administration, if there is one, further left, thus consolidating liberal control of the party. What he found was that presidents invariably attempt to carry out their promises; the main reason some pledges are not redeemed is congressional opposition, not presidential flip-flopping. One of my earliest jobs for the Children’s Defense Fund . . . was studying the problem then of youth, teenagers, sometimes preteens, incarcerated in adult jails. The risk, for Clinton and the Democrats generally, is that they over-interpret the country’s mood, which is increasingly culturally liberal — but still deeply skeptical of federal competence and trustworthiness. “Democratic activists will need to reconcile the public’s desire for smaller government with their own progressive impulses,” Sosnik warned.

The question, of course, is what counts as a promise — political insiders and the media are often quick to dismiss things like Clinton’s Columbia speech as campaign rhetoric, and that shapes what history remembers as a commitment. The Clinton Foundation—which seeks to reduce childhood obesity, lower the cost of HIV drugs and other good things—has announced that while Mrs Clinton is running for office it will accept donations only from foreign governments that are already funding programmes. Almost 20 years have passed since President Clinton declared, “The era of big government is over.” If Hillary hopes to be the next President Clinton, that’s one part of her husband’s legacy she may not want to repudiate. But when advocates think a politician has promised them something, it gives them an opportunity to put public pressure on that politician when she doesn’t deliver. Political scientists are not sure whether that level of participation will continue once Obama’s name is no longer on the ballot, but the challenge for Clinton will be to minimize any drop-off.

He also used to really hate American funding of Israel, until he met billionaire political donor Sheldon Adelson, who loves Israel and almost singlehandedly kept Newt Gingrich’s laughable 2012 campaign alive. Not just because Clinton has made the commitment, but because she’s sent a powerful signal to other Democrats (and even some Republicans) to treat police reform as a mainstream issue. But immigrant activists did, and they resorted to increasingly public protests to hold him accountable — by calling on him to both champion reform and to take executive action. At any moment, these donors can drop a few score million into a PAC that will absolutely, positively not coordinate in any way, shape or form with the candidate’s campaign, even if they are run by personal friends or former aides of the candidate.

As long as they pinky-swear that they aren’t taking direction from or giving direction to the candidates on whom they’re spending untold millions, it’s all just free speech according to the US supreme court, which stated that raising this kind of money via third-party PACs does “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Whither Clinton, then? Democrats loyal to the Clintons closed ranks, telling media outlets that partisans are confecting allegations out of nothing, and that all charges will prove unfounded. If these funds and donors are able to aid the campaigns of these candidates, it is an unfair double standard to argue that she or her husband cannot pursue “global initiatives” without being tainted? And if the argument is that these ties are problematic because Clinton was in office, why is it acceptable that all those other candidates – besides Bush – are cultivating these ties while in office themselves?

But even the closest thing Bill Clinton’s offered to an apology (in an essay book from the Brennan Center about reducing mass incarceration) is still along the lines of “a good thing that went too far”: We acted to address a genuine national crisis. There would appear to be a feedback loop here: The high crime of the 1970s and 1980s heightened public vigilance and led to tougher crime policies, of the sort Mr. Instead of tearing them down, maybe we should focus on building ourselves up so we can more effectively express ourselves, through robust outlays of cash. That reduced crime, so that the public became less vigilant and more open to arguments about excesses of criminal justice. (Therein lies the appeal of the Butterfield Fallacy.) But while crime statistics may look considerably better in 2015 than they did in 1990, the images on television—riots in Baltimore, and earlier in Ferguson, Mo.; lawless disorder in other cities, including New York—have the potential to change public opinion, too. One problem with this is that the specific claim is wrong: putting more police on the streets did have some effect on the stunning drop in crime we’ve seen since 1994, but not much, and especially not with violent crime.

That’s an indication that the Clintons — and more broadly, former “tough-on-crimers” now embracing reform — aren’t actually looking at the extensive body of evidence out there about what worked and what didn’t. Beyond specifics, though, the “went too far” narrative implies politicians’ erred in the 1990s by simply not thinking hard enough about the needs of the people who’ve been victimized by mass incarceration.

During the tough-on-crime era, however, the opposite was the case: if you cared about black America, it was assumed that you should care about fighting the crime and illegal drug use that was devastating black communities. A majority of the Congressional Black Caucus voted for the 1986 law that created the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine; Congressman Charlie Rangel, in particular, championed the bill and other anti-drug measures. But Dinkins’s term also saw repeated outbreaks of disorder and rioting—in Flatbush (Brooklyn) in 1990, Crown Heights (Brooklyn) in 1991 and Washington Heights (Manhattan) in 1992.

Tragedies allow us to ride our hobby horses and to repackage the same arguments we were advancing before the first stone was thrown and the first fire set.”—E.J. This quarter was only the fourth in 60 years on record with three or more snowstorms sufficiently severe to be rated by the National Climatic Data Center’s Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS).

The historical relationship between weather and first-quarter growth suggests that weather may have reduced annualized growth by about a full percentage point this quarter. . . . This observation at least partially reflects generally worsening weather over the past decade, which may not yet be accounted for in seasonal-adjustment algorithms. Meanwhile, WSJ.com reports that “a new regulation from the Chinese Meteorological Administration bans amateurs and enthusiasts from publicizing their own weather reports, saying that only official authorities are allowed to offer such forecasts.” The president must be envious. (Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web. Thanks to Ethel Fenig, Macrena Sailor, Michele Schiesser, Bob Roenigk, David Hallstrom, Alan Jones, Debbie Wells, John Schoenecker, Miguel Rakiewicz, Jeff Bliss, Todd Crampton, John Tierney, Irene DeBlasio, Kris Tufts, Dave Nemzek, John Williamson, Kyle Kyllan, Bruce Goldman, Darin Zimmerman and Michael Murk.

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