In the news this morning are three critically important examples of the differences between these two candidates, about whom far, far too many people said there was no discernible difference.
1. [Content Note: Police brutality; racism] Sari Horwitz, Mark Berman, and Wesley Lowery at the Washington Post: Sessions Orders Justice Department to Review All Police Reform Agreements.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide, saying it was necessary to ensure that these pacts do not work against the Trump administration's goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.Emphasis mine.
In a two-page memo released Monday, Sessions said agreements reached previously between the department's civil rights division and local police departments — a key legacy of the Obama administration — will be subject to review by his two top deputies, throwing into question whether all of the agreements will stay in place.
...Since 2009, the Justice Department opened 25 investigations into law enforcement agencies and has been enforcing 14 consent decrees, along with some other agreements. Civil rights advocates fear that Sessions's memo could particularly imperil the status of agreements that have yet to be finalized, such as a pending agreement with the Chicago Police Department.
"This is terrifying," said Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, who spent five years as the department's chief of special litigation, overseeing investigations into 23 police departments such as New Orleans, Cleveland, and Ferguson, Mo. "This raises the question of whether, under the current attorney general, the Department of Justice is going to walk away from its obligation to ensure that law enforcement across the country is following the Constitution."
Donald Trump's exclusive priority is "promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime," which deliberately ignores that many of the people killed by police aren't engaged in violent crime when they are killed. Many deadly police shootings start with municipal violations, or allegations of petty crimes, or "compliance failures" resulting from disability and/or mental illness. And they are disproportionately governed by racism.
Trump, with his white supremacist co-conspirator Sessions, are endeavoring to bury all of this with "law and order" policies rooted in racist narratives that appeal to Trump's voter base, who don't want to hear anything contradictory to their firmly held belief that all police officers are heroes whose lives are constantly at risk because of violent swarthy thugs.
This was not Hillary Clinton's view. To the absolute contrary, she proposed that the federal government had an obligation to work with police forces to address overt racism, implicit bias, and woefully insufficient training on interacting with people with mental illness. Which she made clear many times along the campaign trail and during the first presidential debate:
LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton, last week, you said we've got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias. Do you believe that police are implicitly biased against black people?People will die because of Trump's indifference to these issues. I have no inclination to get over that.
HILLARY CLINTON: Lester, I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police. I think, unfortunately, too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other. And therefore, I think we need all of us to be asking hard questions about, you know, why am I feeling this way? But when it comes to policing, since it can have literally fatal consequences, I have said, in my first budget, we would put money into that budget to help us deal with implicit bias by retraining a lot of our police officers.
I've met with a group of very distinguished, experienced police chiefs a few weeks ago. They admit it's an issue. They've got a lot of concerns. Mental health is one of the biggest concerns, because now police are having to handle a lot of really difficult mental health problems on the street. They want support, they want more training, they want more assistance. And I think the federal government could be in a position where we would offer and provide that.
2. [CN: Misogyny] Laura Bassett at the Huffington Post: Donald Trump Defunds Global Maternal Health Organization.
Days after Melania Trump presented courage awards to 13 women working for gender equity around the globe, [Donald] Trump's administration halted all U.S. grants to the United Nations Population Fund, an international humanitarian aid organization that provides reproductive health care and works to end child marriage and female genital cutting in more than 150 countries.By way of reminder, during the third presidential debate, Trump claimed that nobody respects women more than he does, right before he called Clinton a "nasty woman."
The State Department invoked the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which he said will ensure that "U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." President George W. Bush used the same policy to defund the UNFPA from 2002 to 2008, arguing that the organization's presence in China constituted participation in the country's "one child" coercive family planning policy.
The UNFPA does not provide or promote abortions. The organization works in China to make reproductive health program voluntary and rights-based and has advocated against the country's one-child policy. The Trump administration did not explain exactly how it determined that the UNFPA violated any U.S. law.
"The UNFPA no longer provides any financial support to the Chinese government to support its family planning program. Not a dollar," said Peter Yeo, vice president of public policy at the United Nations Foundation. "So I'm not quite frankly sure how you make this Kemp-Kasten determination with a straight face."
Trump's move will pull $76 million from the UNFPA ― about 7 percent of its budget. In 2016, the funding provided access to contraceptives to 800,000 people around the world and prevented an estimated 100,000 unsafe abortions and 10,000 maternal deaths, according to the organization.
TRUMP: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody. Nobody has more respect.  Such a nasty woman.Someone who has even a modicum of respect for women does not use a demonstrably dishonest argument to justify defunding a program that has "prevented an estimated 100,000 unsafe abortions and 10,000 maternal deaths."
This program, it should go without saying, would never have been defunded under a Hillary Clinton administration.
People will die because of Trump's hostility toward women's global healthcare. I have no inclination to get over that.
3. [CN: Homophobia; violence; death] Tanya Lokshina at Human Rights Watch: Anti-LGBT Violence in Chechnya: When Filing "Official Complaints" Isn't an Option.
For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya. Law enforcement and security agency officials under control of the ruthless head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, torturing and humiliating the victims. Some of the men have forcibly disappeared. Others were returned to their families barely alive from beatings. At least three men apparently have died since this brutal campaign began.Putin's administration is recommending that LGBTQ people file official complaints if they want help, despite the fact that it's law enforcement and security agency officials who are waging the campaign of violence. In other words: Putin will do nothing. And of course that was always going to be the case, because Putin is virulently anti-LGBTQ.
...Kadyrov's press secretary immediately described the report as "absolute lies and disinformation," contending that there were no gay people in Chechnya and then adding cynically, "If there were such people in Chechnya, law-enforcement agencies wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning."
...The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground. The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred.
...On Monday, 3 April President Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, stated that the Kremlin was previously not aware of the situation, but that law enforcement authorities would look into these media reports. On the one hand, this seems like good news, a signal to investigative officials to run a check promptly. On the other hand, Peskov also suggested that people who supposedly suffered from abuses by law enforcement officials should "file official complaints" and "go to court" without indicating what, if anything, Russian authorities are planning to do to protect them.
...Filing an official complaint against local security officials is extremely dangerous, as retaliation by local authorities is practically inevitable.
Trump will remain utterly silent about this brutal campaign against LGBTQ Russians, because he is no friend to the LGBTQ community and because he is Putin's puppet.
Clinton, by contrast, had no qualms about criticizing Putin (hence the Russian meddling in the election), and promised as far back as her 2008 campaign to make to make global LGBTQ rights an active "part of American foreign policy," which is a promise she kept as Secretary of State.
Now, because of Trump's obsequience to Putin and his indifference to the safety of LGBTQ people, people will die. I have no inclination to get over that.
* * *
Irrespective of increasingly popular assertions that racism, misogyny, and homophobia played no role in the last election, they are irrefutably playing a role in the Trump administration now.
They were always going to play a role. Anyone who imagined otherwise is being willfully ignorant.
And anyone who promulgated the despicable narrative that Clinton and Trump were "basically the same" bears responsibility for elevating the candidate who shamelessly trafficks in deadly bigotry, while undermining the candidate whose policies and personal decency would have made the difference between life and death for the marginalized people who will suffer under Trump's reprehensible presidency.
Elections have consequences. That is not a bumper sticker slogan. It is an immense truth, in three deceptively simple words.
I'm not making this point to be "right." I'm making it because I never, ever, want this country to make the same catastrophic mistake again.