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    The Clinton Foundation’s Impact on the Fight Against HIV/AIDS and More

    Sept 1 2016 FINAL small.ArtAidscover_Page_04_Image_0010I am so honored to be writing for the San Francisco Bay Times about this historic presidential campaign. As someone who has followed Hillary Clinton’s work for many years, and who is helping with both the local and national grassroots efforts to elect her, I would like to focus on The Clinton a and its impact on our community and beyond.

    A lot of ink has been invested in attacking the Clintons for the work the Foundation has engaged in, or more specifically, the Foundation’s ability to encourage investment in its worthy goals. Let’s then talk about those goals.

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    As we look at the Foundation’s stated initiatives, it becomes pretty clear why the extreme right is harping. Most of the initiatives focus on empowering women, educating those most disenfranchised in our global economy, and providing much needed healthcare advances for children and families, especially in Africa and across Latin America. Work in the fight against HIV/AIDS is front and center in the Foundation’s Global Health program as part of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which was founded in 2002.

    That year, only 200,000 people were receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS in low and middle income countries, with medicines that cost over $10,000 per person per year. In a recent article in Fortune magazine that scrutinized the Foundation, it could not be ignored that CHAI has helped to negotiate HIV/AIDS therapy price cuts as high as 90%, thereby helping to ensure access to these treatments for more than 11.5 million people across more than 70 countries.

    If you look at the agenda of the right—specifically the attacks on equitable access to healthcare, the disempowerment of women and slashing of community investment in areas continually impoverished by global economic injustice—you can understand more clearly why the right wing critics continue to attack The Clinton Foundation. Leveraging private capital to fund governmental objectives is a win. The Clinton Foundation raises money to do good around the world, and they succeed in their goals. Not only have they been rated an A+ by Charity Watch and a Platinum (the highest) by Guidestar, the results are phenomenal. Consider that the following goals have been reached due, in large part, to the Foundation’s efforts:

    More than 31,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity.

    At least 105,000 farmers in Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania are benefiting from climate-smart agronomic training, higher yields, and increased market access.

    Greater than 33,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced annually across the United States.

    Over 450,000 people have been impacted through market opportunities created by social enterprises in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

    An estimated 85 million people in the U.S. will be reached through strategic health partnerships developed across industry sectors at both the local and national level.

    Horror of horrors that The Clinton Foundation is actually making a positive difference.

    Many of you might have read the Associated Press’ widespread article that attempted to be a big exposé, using State Department data to make some striking claims about Clinton’s schedule as secretary of state. If you did fall for that, I encourage you to read Matthew Yglesias’ Vox piece (http://www.vox.com/2016/8/24/12618446/ap-clinton-foundation-meeting) that reveals many of the piece’s falsehoods. As Yglesias writes, “so little unethical conduct (was found by the authors of the AP article) that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

    Yglesias continued: “More than a year ago, Jon Allen wrote for Vox about the special ‘Clinton Rules’ that have governed much reporting on Bill and Hillary Clinton over the past 25 years. On the list are the notions that even the most ridiculous charges are worthy of massive investigation, that the Clintons’ bad faith will always be presumed, and that actions that would normally be deemed banal are newsworthy simply because the Clintons are involved.”

    The hyper focus on Hillary Clinton and the total ignoring of the lack of transparency of Donald Trump underline the double standard that is at play. Until the press demands the same disclosure from candidate Trump as is demanded of Clinton, the puffed up stories against her are but a symptom of the sexism inherent in our system.

    Meanwhile, Trump has not shown us his tax returns, his medical records or any of his emails that might shed light on his relationship with Russian hackers who seem to be his only performing campaign consultants.

    What are you hiding, Donnie?

    Debra Walker is a Commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco Building Inspection Commission. A past president of the Commission, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the San Francisco Arts Democratic Club, Walker is also an internationally recognized painter and printmaker. For more information: http://www.debrawalker.com/