JanF

Deal me in!

Friday night, Hillary Clinton, along with the other 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidates, spoke at the Wing Ding Dinner, an Iowa Democratic Party fundraiser in Clear Lake, IA.

There is a lot at stake in the 2016 presidential election, an election where the contrasts between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party could not be more stark. On the environment, climate change, diplomacy rather than war, women’s rights, income inequality, racial justice, poverty, access to affordable health care, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and more … on issue after issue one party stands firmly on the side of the people and one stands firmly on the side of the special interests and those who do not value the dignity of human life.

One such issue is the full on assault on women’s health. In 2016, all of the the declared Republican candidates have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and many of them have declared their support for new abortion restrictions: no exceptions for any reason including to save the life of the mother. That restriction is not just ignorant (in an ectopic pregnancy, for example, neither the pregnant woman or the fetus would survive) but so out of the mainstream view on abortion that only 9% of Americans support it. Even their refusal to exempt the cases of rape and incest are at odds with most Americans as a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll (PDF, pg 15) showed that 83% support keeping abortion legal when the physical health of the mother is at risk or in cases of rape and incest.

In 2012, after losing the presidential election, and women’s votes by 12% (including a whopping 38% of unmarried women), the Republican National Committee conducted a post-mortem. One of the “shocking” discoveries was that people believed that Republicans are completely out of touch with women’s issues including equal pay, family leave, and reproductive rights. The RNC boldly declared that they would change their language (but not their policies) and in 2014, they Etch-a-Sketched away their Senate candidates’ extremist positions on fetal personhood laws and gained a majority in the U.S. Senate and in the 114th Congress.

Fast forward to 2015 where their current crop of candidates make cavemen look like feminists.

Secretary Clinton had this to say about women’s issues Friday night:

“… when it comes to women’s health and women’s rights, Mr. Trump’s words are appalling, but so are the policies of the other candidates. Senator Rubio brags about wanting to deny victims of rape and incest access to an abortion. Governor Bush says $500 million is too much to spend on women’s health. And they all want to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Well, why don’t they try telling that to the mom who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening. Or the teenager who avoided an unintended pregnancy because she had access to contraception. Or anyone who was protected by an HIV test.

Now, this might work in a Republican primary, but it sure doesn’t work in 21st century America. I am so tired of politicians shaming and blaming women. I am tired of Republicans dismissing the contributions women make to our economy and ignoring the obstacles that hold so many back from contributing even more. We cannot afford to leave talent on the sidelines. Women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying every day about how they’re going to take care of their child or what happens when a family member gets sick. That is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and it’s also an economic growth strategy.

“This isn’t complicated. When you shortchange women you shortchange families, and when you shortchange families you shortchange America. And I know when I talk about this some people think, “There she goes again with the women’s issues.” Like, Mitch McConnell said recently I’m playing the gender card.

“Well, if calling for equal pay and paid leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in. Let me add, if helping more working parents find quality, affordable childcare is playing the gender card, then I’m ready to ante up.

Hey, deal me in, too! Let’s take this fight to the Republican Party in 2016 and let’s take this fight to them with the strongest candidate on women’s issues that we have: Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton: If this feels like a full on assault on women’s health, that’s because it is.”
Support and Stand with Planned Parenthood

Weekly Address: President Obama – Continuing Work To Improve Community Policing

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President spoke about the work the Administration is doing to enhance trust between communities and law enforcement in the year since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. In May, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released their final report setting out concrete proposals to build trust and enhance public safety. And across America local leaders are working to put these ideas into action in their communities. The President noted that while progress is being made, these issues go beyond policing, which is why the Administration is committed to achieving broader reforms to the criminal justice system and to making new investments in our children and their future.

The U.S. Flag is Now Flying Over Our Embassy in Havana

Today at around 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, the U.S. Flag was raised over the American Embassy in Havana, Cuba:

Secretary John Kerry spoke about the renewed friendship between our two nations; the flag raising ceremony followed.

(Full transcript below the fold)

From Twitter:

@JohnKerry: Establishment of normal diplomatic relations is something two countries do together when the citizens of both will benefit.
@JohnKerry: I applaud @POTUS & President Castro for having the courage to bring us together in the face of considerable opposition.
@JohnKerry: The time is now to reach out to one another, as two peoples who are no longer enemies or rivals, but neighbors.

These three men were Marine security guards who lowered the flag back in 1961. Today, they handed that same flag over to the Marine color guard.

@JohnKerry: 54 years ago, you gentlemen promised to return to Havana and hoist the flag that you lowered on that January day long ago.
@JohnKerry: Today, I invite you on behalf of @POTUS and the American people to fulfill that pledge by presenting the Stars and Stripes.

The Marines carried the flag to the flag pole …

… the flag was raised, signally a new era in Cuban American relations.

80 years ago today: The Social Security Act of 1935

On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat, signed the Social Security Act into law. Since that time, Social Security has been protected by Democratic presidents and Democratic Congresses.


FDR signing Social Security into law

The Social Security Act of 1935:

Before the 1930s, support for the elderly was a matter of local, state and family rather than a Federal concern (except for veterans’ pensions). However, the widespread suffering caused by the Great Depression brought support for numerous proposals for a national old-age insurance system. On January 17, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a message to Congress asking for “social security” legislation.

The act created a uniquely American solution to the problem of old-age pensions. Unlike many European nations, U.S. social security “insurance” was supported from “contributions” in the form of taxes on individuals’ wages and employers’ payrolls rather than directly from Government funds. The act also provided funds to assist children, the blind, and the unemployed; to institute vocational training programs; and provide family health programs.

Prior to Social Security, the elderly routinely faced the prospect of poverty upon retirement. For the most part, that fear has now dissipated.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democratic president, created a long-lasting program to keep our most vulnerable citizens out of poverty.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Reaffirming Our Commitment to Protecting the Right to Vote

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by underscoring the importance of one of the most fundamental rights of our democracy – that all of us are created equal and that each of us deserves a voice. The enactment of the Voting Rights Act wasn’t easy – it was the product of sacrifice from countless men and women who risked so much to protect every person’s right to vote. The President reminded us about their struggle and that while our country is a better place because of it, there is still work to be done. He promised to continue to push Congress for new legislation to protect everyone’s right to the polls, and asked that all Americans regardless of party use every opportunity possible to exercise the fundamental right to vote.

Lyndon B. Johnson: “This most basic right”

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat, signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Handing the Pen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The new law of the land:

SEC. 2. No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.

Happy Voting Rights Act Eve! Thank you, 5th Circuit!

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Texas’s Voter ID Law

One day before the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the country wielded that law to strike down a Texas voter suppression law. A unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion written by a George W. Bush appointee, held that Texas’s voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act and must, at the very least, be significantly weakened. Though the court did not accept every argument raised against the state’s voter ID law, and its opinion does not go nearly as far as a trial judge’s decision which also struck down this law, it is a significant blow to the state’s efforts to make voting more difficult.

Texas Democrats:

Commenting on today’s Republican discriminatory voter ID ruling, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Texas Democrats believe that our nation and democracy is stronger when everyone is invited to participate in our electoral process.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for every Texas voter. Once again, the rule of law agrees with Democrats. The Republican voter ID law is discriminatory. Republicans made it harder for African-Americans and Latinos to cast their vote at the ballot box.

“We remain confident that the courts will find justice for Texas voters and ultimately strike down this racist and discriminatory law.

“I want to personally thank Congressman Marc Veasey, State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, and all of our outstanding Democratic legislators who have fought to defend Texas voters from this discriminatory law.”

PDF of 5th Circuit Opinion: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinion

We AFFIRM the district court’s finding that SB 14 has a discriminatory effect in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and remand for consideration of the proper remedy.” [ United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit,

President Obama Speaks on the Iran Deal

From American University in Washington DC:

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
And if the rhetoric [against this deal]… sounds familiar, it should, for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal. […]

Walk away from this agreement, and you will get a better deal — for Iran.

USA Today:

President Obama will deliver a crucial speech on the Iran nuclear agreement Wednesday, arguing that the congressional vote that could block the deal is “the most consequential foreign policy debate since the decision to go to war in Iraq,” the White House said.

White House aides said Obama would “point out that the same people who supported war in Iraq are opposing diplomacy with Iran, and that it would be an historic mistake to squander this opportunity” to contain Iran’s nuclear program.[…]

Wednesday’s speech, at American University in Washington, is already drawing historical parallels. It’s the same place President Kennedy gave his 1963 speech proposing a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union at the apex of the Cold War.

(Transcript from The White House.)