Month: October 2016 (page 2 of 4)

She honors veterans.

Day 82 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
Hillary honors veterans.
She could do more (we can always do more), but she pays attention to veterans’ needs and has some solid plans to support veterans moving forward. Not surprisingly, a lot of it comes down to budget. The VFW advocates for needs-based budgets over arbitrary budget caps for the DoD and VA. Hillary strongly supports ending the sequester, which prevents this.
To step back a bit, some of what she’s done for vets includes:
• Guaranteeing healthcare to reservists and guardsmen even when they were not deployed.
• She increased the payment to families of those who die in service from $12k to $100k.
• She broadened the Family Leave Act to include service members’ families who act as caregivers.
Moving forward, her plans include:
• Eliminate barriers between DoD and VA to simplify benefits claims.
• Strengthen the adjudication process for claims processing and denials.
• Make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent for companies employing veterans.
• Keep and strengthen the GI bill.
• Create a President’s Council on Veterans and convene a White House Summit to ensure the programs actually meet the needs of vets. This falls in line with her habit of going to the source for her education on every issue.
For people who care, the first link here is an objective depiction of each candidate’s plans for veterans based on the issues the VFW deemed important. It’s worth the read.

She has plans to expand small business.

Day 81 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
She supports small business owners.
Using IRS standards, 97% of all US business is defined as “small.” Most of us would agree that this definition is overly generous. The SBA has a more complicated – and fair – determination based on the industry. Either way, small businesses are where most of us work and live, and with news of GE paying no taxes littering the internet (it’s sort of true), it’s easy to agree that, as in so many instances, the small guy suffers.
The smallest businesses spend an average of 150 hours and $1,100 per employee to comply with federal taxes—20 times higher than for larger businesses.
And then there’s licensing. More than 25% of workers need a license —up from 5 percent in 1950. The average occupational license costs $209 totaling billions per year.
So, here’s a sampling of what she plans to do:
• Standardize licensing requirements across state borders to reduce costs and promote mobility.
• Provide incubators, mentoring, and training to 50,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners in underserved communities.
• Promote the 100% tax exclusion on capital gains for long-term small business investments.
• Create a new standard deduction for small businesses—like individual filers; however, they could choose to itemize expenses.
• Allow 4 million small businesses with gross receipts under $1 million to take advantage of “checkbook accounting.”
• Allow small businesses to expense up to $1 million in new investments, rewarding factory and new equipment expansion.
• Quadruple the start-up tax deduction to significantly lower the cost of starting a business.
• Simplify and expand the healthcare tax credit for small employers (up to 50 employees). Allow small businesses to pool together to offer retirement plans.
• Increase federal contracting opportunities for women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses.
• Defend and strengthen the Export-Import Bank, which is a crucial partner to small businesses exporting goods and services.
• Encourage small business exports by expanding SBA funding.
• Make it easier to ensure payment by ensuring federal oversight of proven bad actors to stop large companies from using litigation to deny small businesses—and give small businesses recourse to take on predatory behavior.

Her opponents support her.

Day 80 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
Her opponents support her.
Despite being a tough competitor, or “a nasty woman” as some might say, she earns and retains the respect and support of her opponents. Despite a bitter campaign, Barack Obama hired her as his Secretary of State. Despite an even more bitter campaign, Bernie Sanders is out stumping for her.
Michael Chertoff, who prosecuted Hillary in the Whitewater hearings has chosen to endorse her, saying what happened then is insignificant to what she can and will do as president. While the Bush men won’t publicly say they are voting for her, the Bush women have.
Despite significant political differences, an unprecedented number of Republican leaders have come out to endorse her. With the antagonistic history between the GOP and the Clintons, there is still something about her that merits their support. Some of it may be that she is middle-of-the-road, but I do believe that a lot of it is her ability to work with people who oppose her, and more importantly, that her history and experience have earned her this support.
The Clinton baggage is huge, and, honestly, the primary reason I have qualms about her. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is possible that the only thing the GOP establishment hates more than a black Obama is a female Clinton. And yet….

She takes mental health seriously.

Day 79 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
She cares about our mental health.
Hillary’s focus on mental health as a critical component to our overall well-being has been incorporated into much of the legislation she’s sponsored over the years including veterans’ bills, first-responders coverage after 9/11 and in her numerous childcare efforts.
The critical shift in her plan that infuses all of her efforts equates mental health with physical health and cares for them concurrently. With one in five Americans suffering from some form of mental health issue, including depression and anxiety, this affects virtually every family and community in some way. The key components of her efforts are:
• Integrate mental health care with physical health for access, care and treatment, eliminating coverage caps, for example, by insurance companies and providing treatment in rural areas.
• Create a national initiative for suicide prevention with special emphasis on children of color and LGBT youth, who are most at risk.
• Train police to deal most appropriately with mental health issues and those who suffer from them.
• Prioritize treatment over jail for low-level offenders.
• Provide housing support so the mentally ill aren’t homeless and untreatable.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which Clinton co-sponsored as a senator, requires group health plans to provide the same level of benefits for mental health as other medical conditions. While this is law, it’s not happening. Clinton will strengthen federal monitoring to make insurance companies comply with this law.
Anyone interested in Mr. Trump’s mental health initiatives will find them referenced in the Healthline and US News articles. The Healthline article is more comprehensive in its coverage.


They took bin Laden out surgically.

Day 78 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
Hillary was instrumental in the mission to take out Osama bin Laden.
I was in downtown NYC on 9/11/01. I saw the first plane hit. I saw both towers fall – live. In real time. I choked up when I heard they’d retasked Chelsea Piers’ hockey rink as a makeshift morgue (I drove by it every day on my way to/from work). I sobbed when I heard they never used it because there were no bodies to store.
I never understood why attacking Iraq was considered relevant. I don’t believe in the death penalty (I just don’t think I have the right to take anyone’s life unless doing so saves another – in the moment.). However, I was not unhappy that we killed Osama bin Laden. It is personal.
I appreciate the care and caution our government took in this mission, although it would have been great if it happened sooner. I appreciate the fact that it was surgical and not a massive attack. I appreciate the fact that the women and children in the compound were not also killed. And I appreciate that he was disposed of in such a way that no shrine could be created. I’m also glad that this mission was so successful because I hope it inspires our government to use this model more often moving forward.

She wants to save elephants (and end terrorism).

Day 77 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
Hillary loves elephants and wants to protect them.
What could be cooler than that? There are few creatures as loving, noble, smart or loyal as an elephant. Unfortunately, they are in trouble. This year, the Great Elephant Census – a survey across 18 countries – found that populations of savanna elephants have fallen by 30% in just seven years. And last year, scientists estimated that 65% of forest elephants have been slaughtered for their ivory since 2003.
Speaking at a Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, Hillary Clinton tied this slaughter to terrorism. “There is growing evidence that the terrorist groups stalking Africa, including Al-Shabaab with its horrific attack on the mall in Nairobi, fund their terrorist activities to a great extent from ivory trafficking.”
As Secretary of State, Clinton took on elephants and poaching and has made it an important piece of her platform moving forward. She held the State Department event on Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation: A Call to Action, which brought together foreign ambassadors, including from Kenya and Indonesia, and leaders from international organizations, non-governmental conservation organizations and the private sector to discuss the issues and develop resolution. And the Clinton Foundation has made it a priority. She vows to keep the pressure on as president.
It’s not often the wildlife conservation and the war on terrorism cross paths, but they do and I appreciate Hillary making the connection. And politically, it’s a good way to bring those who care about terrorism into the world of conservation. If you look at the Guardian link below, there is another link to a story she told on Ellen about an elephant that is very cool and a little hair-raising.

She has put out a decades-long effort to eradicate and treat HIV and AIDS.

Day 76 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
Hillary has worked to eradicate HIV and AIDS and to assist those afflicted.
This issue has been on her radar for quite some time and she has always dedicated a significant portion of her time and energy on it.
As first lady, Hillary convened global leaders to strategize and coordinate efforts to take on HIV and AIDS. She worked for increased funding for U.S. prevention and research efforts—especially for pediatric AIDS—and honored scientists committed to AIDS research.
In the Senate, Hillary put forward legislation to expand global AIDS research and assistance and to increase prevention and education. She voted for the creation of PEPFAR and to defend and protect the Ryan White Act. She co-sponsored legislation to extend Medicaid coverage to low-income people with HIV and expand resources for HIV testing and education.
As secretary of state, American aid supporting people on antiretroviral treatment increased over 200% reaching almost 7 million people. She worked to transition from working with international NGOs to deliver services to working with in-country partners and ministries of health, dramatically dropping the cost of care.
Hillary cannot directly take credit for some of these initiatives; however, she can take credit for establishing and promoting the State Department’s missions and priorities. She chose what was important to them.
Several of her efforts are targeted at those segments least likely to seek treatment because of cultural stigma, e.g., trans people, which I particularly like. It’s harder than reaching out to those more willing to openly seek and accept treatment. And let’s not forget the work of the Clinton Foundation in this regard. They are the world leader in HIV/AIDS treatment.

Prioritized children’s needs in foster care and adoption.

Day 75 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.

As First Lady, Hillary put the needs of children in foster care first.

Working with Senator John Chafee (R-RI), she spearheaded the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) as well as the Foster Care Independence Act.

The mission of the act was to prioritize the needs of the children rather than the needs of the parents. John Chafee said, “We will not continue the current system of always putting the needs and rights of the biological parents first. … It’s time we recognize that some families simply cannot and should not be kept together.”

In addition, some of the ASFA’s provisions:

• shorten the time-frame for a child’s first permanency hearing;
• offer states financial incentives for increasing the number of adoptions;
• set new requirements for states to petition for termination of parental rights;
• reauthorize the Family Preservation and Support Program.

The Foster Care Independence Act:

• Provides health insurance for those who went through the foster system without being adopted.
• Offers training and education for foster kids transitioning to adulthood.
• Funds independent living arrangements as they leave the system
• Improves documentation of children as they move through the system.

Hillary cited the Act as the achievement that she initiated and shepherded that provided her with the greatest satisfaction.…/a…/updates/1997/safeadop.htm…/foster-care-independence-act

Hillary has a plan for those with autism.

Day 74 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
Hillary has a plan for people and familes with autism.
Those who conflate autism with vaccines have moved the conversation about autism into something with a specific cause, a simple solution and puts it in the realm of disease. Each of these notions inhibits real research, ignores nuance, diminishes avenues for treatment and support, and ignores the reality of those who are currently looking for an appropriate place in our communities.
Hillary developed a comprehensive plan to work with those with autism. Her plans include:
• Conduct a nationwide early screening campaign to ensure that all children — especially low income — can be screened for autism.
• Push states to require health insurance coverage for autism services.
• Launch the Autism Works Initiative to establish public-private partnerships to connect people with autism with employment opportunities that match individual skill sets rather than assuming profound disability.
• Authorize the first-ever adult autism study in the U.S. to improve our understanding of how to identify, serve, and support adults on the spectrum.
This has never been done at the federal level. Kennedy is the last president to initiate any comprehensive reform for people with disabilities.
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