Our Word is Good.


October 6, 2016by Sarah Evelynn

Filed under: Politics, Soapbox

Well, the election season as officially started. If you watched the debate, it went pretty much as excepted. One person was calm, collected and prepared and the other was…not. Let’s dive into the topics that were covered on the debate.

Full disclosure, I am a liberal, and my bias will come through in this article. These thoughts are mine, and don’t necessarily represent BillTrack50. I’ve included some research and links about on the topics discussed in the debate; I hope you find the extra material helpful as you think about the election.

Achieving Prosperity – Jobs

What did this mean? How are the nominees going to create the kinds of jobs to put more money into the pockets of Americans.

Clinton 

Clinton had a thought out answer covering her platform, stances and plans. She opened with “What kind of country do we want to be, what kind of future do we want to build together?” Then focused on creating new, good jobs with raising wages in industries like innovation, technology and infrastructure. She then moved to focusing on making the economy fairer by raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women and profit sharing. Clinton finished with implementing paid family leave and earned sick days to encourage a better work life balance.

Trump

Trump opened with talking points he mentioned many times throughout the debate, “jobs are fleeing the country and we cannot let them leave.” He believes all of our jobs are going to Mexico because they are building some of biggest plants in the world. He also stated that China is devaluing their currency and using the United States as a piggy bank to rebuild their country. On the topic of work life balance, Trump stated that he and Clinton probably agree, but have different numbers. He plans on reducing corporate taxes from 35% to 15%, stating this will incentivize companies to come, build and expand thus creating jobs.

Clinton 

Clinton responded with the need for a tax system that rewards work, not profits. She has a different view on what investments we should make, wanting to focus on investments where we can grow the economy. “The more we can do for middle class, the more we will grow.” Clinton does not want to see the United States to go back to the policies that “failed us in the first place” and avoid what she attempted to coin “Trumped up Trickle down economics.”

During this segment Clinton also brought up that Trump advocated for the housing crisis and opportunity for profit off of it, to which Trump responded “that’s called business”. She also stated that she is “very specific” of what she will do, bringing light to how Trump did not address the question and had to be re-asked by the moderator how “specifically” he will create jobs.

Personal Take-Away

I thought Trump opened pretty strong and stuck to his talking points, not falling for some of Clinton’s “bait” (aka when she stated he started his company with a “small business loan from his dad of 14 million dollars”). He did, in classic Donald fashion, not answer the question with a specific plan and actionable data about what will help the country. No numbers or proof about Mexico, China, paid family leave and other claims he made. This comes after controversy that Trump’s paid family leave plan does not provide for same-sex couples, and this would have been an appropriate time to address it.

Taxes

Clinton 

Clinton stressed that slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn’t worked, “Smart wealthy people know that.” People in our country need to make contributions to rebuild the middle class, including refinancing college debt and broad based inclusive growth which will be better for us as a whole.

Trump

Trump maintained there needs to be a tax cut for companies to keep the jobs in the US. He also believes we are in a bubble that is only kept alive by low interest rates, which the Fed maintaining for “political reasons.”

The moderator then asked why Trump hasn’t released his tax return. Trump continued with his claim of that he is under a routine audit and cannot release his tax returns..but added it was “against his lawyers’ wishes.” The moderator responded that the IRS stated Trump releasing the tax returns will have no impact on the audit. Trump then said he will release his tax returns after Clinton releases her 30,000 emails and he has filed 104 pages of finical statements showing “much more information” than the American public could gain from a tax return (including “the income is filed at $694 million for this past year). If you want to know exactly what information you could gain from reading Trump’s tax return, read this blog from the Wall Street Journal that details what we could learn about his income, charitable donations and foreign investments.

Clinton called Trump on going from the tax return scandal to the email scandal. “The IRS made it clear that there is no prohibition on releasing tax returns under audit.” Clinton then threw skepticism on reasons why he may not being releasing them possibly being due to: the actual status of his wealth, he is not as charitable as he claims, he is in debt or doesn’t want people to know that he has does not pay taxes. When Clinton brought up the lack of federal tax payment Trump responded that “makes me smart”.

Personal Take-Away

Frankly, I am so sick of hearing about the emails, it happened and it has been investigated. Trump attempting to take the light off of him for not doing something that literally every single president has done in the last forty years is very unnerving to me, for the reasons Clinton brought up. I want to know what conflicts of interest and other information we can find in the tax return that we cannot find in these 104 pages of financial documents. The part that truly angers me is his comment about getting around paying taxes making him smart. As an American citizen, it our moral and ethical responsibility to pay taxes to fund the society that we cherish. There are always going to be opposing views on how taxes are spent or “squandered”, but having that attitude about not contributing to society you’re campaigning to run is not presidential.

The Emails. 

Clinton

Following these statements, the moderator asked Clinton if she wanted to address her emails. Clinton stated that she made a mistake, is not going to make excuses and takes responsibility for it.

Clinton then directed her attention to Trump’s claims of wanting to run the United States like his company. She stated that he has built his company on “the backs of little guys.” It is known fact that Trump has refused to pay many contractors after they finished their work and has taken business bankruptcy six times.

Trump

Trump immediately stated that the emails aren’t a mistake, if her staff is taking the 5th amendment to protect from self-incrimination she took disgraceful actions. He also addressed the nonpayment of contractors “First of all, they did get paid a lot. But I take advantage of the laws of the nation because I’m running a company. My obligation right now is to do well for myself, my family, my employees, for my companies. And that’s what I do.”

Personal Take-Away

The emails need to be done. There has been as much investigation as we are going to see for them and we need to move on. I 100% understand the controversy surrounding them, but there is no way to take it back we can only learn from it for the future.

Problems surrounding Trump not following through on contracts and not paying people is a huge problem. The laws that he is referring to pertain to the idea of “good-will”. What he was essentially saying is that American laws do not require him to pay the full amount of the contract. Trump never has to worry about losing his “good-will” value with contractors (needed to maintain the long lasting relationship for continuing business) because more than likely he will not be working in the area again for a long time and does not care about the value of his “good-will”. Not paying people because you know the fees for taking you to court outweigh the amount you refuse to pay them are not the ethics I want in a president. How is he going to treat our foreign affairs and other relationships if he knows that he only has four years until he is out?

America’s Direction – Race Tensions 

Clinton 

Clinton stated “race remains a significant challenge in the county. It determines too much: where people live, level of education or how they are treated in the justice system. We have to do several things at the same time.” The most important aspects Clinton wants to focus on is restoring trust, working to make sure police are using the best training and ensuring the police are well prepared (using force only when necessary). “Everyone should be respected by the law and everyone should respect the law.” She has always had criminal justice reform as part of her platform and aims to bring police officers and communities together. Clinton wants to get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, “The gun epidemic kills more young black men than anything else. Tackle the plague of gun violence.”

Trump

The “law and order candidate” brought up law and order along with his endorsement from the Fraternal Order of the Police. Trump wants to bring back law and order to this country which he believes bringing back stop and frisk will help. He thinks stop and frisk will take the guns away from criminals roaming the street. Trump believes we have to protect the inner cities, “African American communities are being decimated.”

Clinton

Clinton rebutted it is “unfortunate he paints such a horrible picture of black communities” and that “There’s a lot that we should be proud of and we should be supporting and lifting up.” She went on to say that stop and frisk was unconstitutional and ineffective (it was found to have violated the rights of minorities and its implementation in New York was unconstitutional, because the police were making stops due to race and not because they held a reasonable suspicion of wrong). Clinton shed light on sentencing disparities – the fact that a young black man can commit the same crime as a young white man and is more likely to be arrested, go to court and locked away. The two candidates could agree there needs to be a prohibition passed on letting people on the terrorist watch list purchase guns.

Personal Take-Away 

What I was most impressed and surprised by was Hillary’s ability to address implicit bias. Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes which affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner.  These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Hillary stated she thinks implicit bias is a problem for everyone not just police, “I think we need all of us to be asking hard questions about, you know, why am I feeling this way?” She did a great job bringing light to this serious issue. Here is a graphic from the Sentencing Project showcasing these disparities.

incarc-rate-by-race-gender-web

Birther Issue

What did this mean? Trump maintained for many years that Obama was not legally born in the United States, thus disqualifying him as president. The “theory” is regarded to be racist behavior.

Trump

Lester Holt asked what Trump would say to people who were offended by his desire to not accept that he is an American citizen, Trump was blunt: “I say nothing because I was able to get him to produce it.”

Clinton

Clinton took this question as an opportunity to press Trump on “racist behavior” he has engaged in in the past. Aside from maintaining the birther theory for much, much longer than “appropriate”, Trump was also sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because in the 70s Trump Management Inc and Fred C Trump would not lease units to minorities. Instead of apologizing and taking responsibility for the past behavior, Trump responded with “We settled the suit with zero — with no admission of guilt. It was very easy to do. . . . That was a lawsuit brought against many real estate firms, and it’s just one of those things.”

Personal Take-Away

This really disappointed me, especially after I dived further into the the suit issue. An article written about this issue in the Washington Post stated “All the Justice Department wanted was to obtain a settlement in which Trump and his father would promise not to discriminate. But Trump instead hired Roy Cohn, a notoriously combative attorney, and countersued the Justice Department for $100 million ($500 million in today’s dollars) for making false and misleading statements. But his allegations were dismissed by the courts, and two years of litigation later, Trump decided in 1975 to settle before the case went to trial.”  It also challenged Trump’s statement that many companies were part of the suit. Here is a copy of the suit that is titled United States of America v. Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump and Trump Management, Inc.

As I said with Hillary Clinton and the emails, there is not much to be done about this instance because it is in the past, but ownership and responsibility is important. Instead of admitting to the fact that in the past there were policies that were not appropriate, Trump is instead proud it was easy to do and he did not have to admit guilt? Another article by NPR stated that during the time this was occurring, a black man and white woman went to test the building. After the office manager who refused to rent to apartment to black man, but offered a lease for said “off-market” to a white woman was confronted he stated “Well, I’m only doing what my boss told me to do — I am not allowed to rent to black tenants”. His boss was Trump Management. Even if they did not have to admit guilt, Trump Management had to agree to stipulations meant to prevent future discrimination at his rental properties and place advertisements for the spaces for rent focusing on minorities.

Securing America

Cyber security has been an increasingly important issue for America over the last two decades. Especially in light of the hacks on the DNC.

Clinton 

Clinton believes cyber warfare will be one of biggest problems for the next president of the United States. She stated the attacks are coming from state sponsored groups, specifically in Russia, and these groups are using the attacks against American institutions. Hillary then brought up when Trump infamously invited people to hack Clinton.  Trump stated at a news conference in Miami, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” He then added “By the way, they hacked — they probably have her 33,000 e-mails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 e-mails that she lost and deleted because you’d see some beauties there. So let’s see.”

Trump

Donald opened his dialogue stating that more than 200 admirals and generals, along with ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), have endorsed him. He then stated that we don’t know that the hacks have come from Russia, they could be from “Someone sitting on their bed weighing 400 pounds.” To which the hackers of the world responded
Computer hacker frown

The debate then turned to discussing NATO. Trump stated “I was asked on a major show, what do you think of NATO? And you have to understand, I’m a businessperson. I did really well. But I have common sense. And I said, well, I’ll tell you. I haven’t given lots of thought to NATO.”And then continued to state that they are not paying us for the protection.

Hillary, after Trump went on a rant stating that he has far better temperament than she, responded to his comment about how NATO has come through for the United States. “You know, NATO as a military alliance has something called Article 5, and basically it says this: An attack on one is an attack on all. And you know the only time it’s ever been invoked? After 9/11, when the 28 nations of NATO said that they would go to Afghanistan with us to fight terrorism, something that they still are doing by our side.” Which was important, half due to the fact that Trump said it is important that NATO focuses on anti-terrorism.

The debate then turned to many minutes of Trump denying he supported the war in Iraq before the invasion, which there is evidence that it is not true.

First Use Nuclear Weapons

The debate naturally turned to nuclear war and weapons which allowed Lester Holt to ask his last question. “President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy?” And what followed was, in my opinion, the most impactful part of the debate.

Trump

Trump’s main focus is we are not keeping up with the other countries with their nuclear and military capabilities. ” But Russia has been expanding their — they have a much newer capability than we do. We have not been updating from the new standpoint.” And then stated that he would rather have all of the countries “end it {nuclear}, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.” After a hopeful environment of a nuclear-free Earth, Trump said “At the same time, we have to be prepared… Because you look at some of these countries, you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea. And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I’ve ever seen negotiated that you started is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea.”

Clinton 

When Clinton started her response, she said something that has need to have been said throughout the debate. “Well, let me — let me start by saying, words matter. Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them. It is essential that America’s word be good. And so I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to — on behalf of myself, and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people, say that, you know, our word is good.”

She then stated that they put a lid on the Iran nuclear program and there is “no doubt that we have other problems with Iran” but at least the nuclear threat is gone.

Finally, Clinton stated, “We need to be more precise in how we talk about these issues. People around the word follow our presidential campaigns so closely, trying to get hints about what we will do. Can they rely on us? Are we going to lead the world with strength and in accordance with our values?”

Personal Take-Away

This part of the debate was something I wanted and needed to hear. It is scary to hear some of the outlandish comments Trump makes about our global issues and some of our relationships, trade deals and treaties. And she was so right. We can’t be having an election like this with the whole world watching and just hope that they will have faith that we will figure it out and keep our world. This was an incredibly important, presidential part of the debate.

The only thing that was better than this was when Holt attempted to ask Trump about when he said “Well, I just don’t think she has a presidential look, and you need a presidential look.” Trump stated, “She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.” To which Clinton responded “Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

 

Final random thoughts. 

My final random thoughts on this debate cover multiple areas. First, there were so many moments in this debate that if it had been any other situation people would have been up in arms and incredibly upset about. For instance when Trump took the opportunity to plug his new DC hotel in the beginning of the debate. Second, it was interesting to read the reception of how viewers received the candidates different demeanors. I read many articles about how Clinton was smiling too much, but she is always criticized for being too cold. I never read anything that was commenting about how Trump was frowning almost the whole time. Third, it was hilarious to me to hear all of Trumps sniffs, but then see Trump supporters up in arms about questions of his health and why he was acting that way, no matter the never ending questions on Clinton’s health issues. I was incredibly upset with Trump’s actions during the debate because they were simply not presidential. He even ended the debate defending his hurtful, inappropriate remarks about women. He did not prepare for the debate and he is not prepared to be president.

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