Friday, March 18, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Has The Election Finally Killed TPP And Corporate "Free Trade"?


With trade as a major issue in this election season (voters are against it), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is clearly in trouble. All but one (John Kasich) of the remaining presidential candidates oppose it, with both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders actively campaigning against the damage the country’s trade policies have done to working people. Could this also mean an end to these kinds of “free trade” deals generally?


Obama tries to nudge Sanders out. NYT:President Obama privately told a group of Democratic donors last Friday that … the party must soon come together to back her … Mr. Obama chose his words carefully, and did not explicitly call on Mr. Sanders to quit the race, according to those in the room … [But] they took his comments as a signal to Mr. Sanders that perpetuating his campaign … could only help the Republicans…”
Sanders dismisses. Reuters quotes: “”The bottom line is that when only half of the American people have participated in the political process … I think it is absurd for anybody to suggest that those people not have a right to cast a vote.”
Sanders campaign sees uphill battle for AZ Tuesday. Politico: “Sanders chief strategist Tad Devine acknowledged the challenges … ‘There’s a lot of early vote and she tends to be very much ahead with the early vote. I think about half the people have already voted in Arizona … But I think we’re closing hard.'”
Bernie eyes delegate-rich CA and NY. W. Post: “Looking beyond Tuesday, Sanders said he is heartened that ‘we have the largest states in the country yet to come,’ adding that he is confident he can do well in delegate-rich California and New York. ‘I’ve got a shot to win California, and I think we can win it big,’ Sanders said, adding that some of the most progressive states in the country are on the West Coast and have yet to cast ballots.”
Clinton struggles with white men. NYT: “Her standing among white men does not threaten her clinching the Democratic nomination this year, or preclude her from winning in November, unless it craters. Mr. Obama lost the white vote … But what is striking is the change in attitudes about Mrs. Clinton among those voters, and her struggle to win them over again.”


Anti-Trump conservatives meet. W. Post: “Per three people familiar with the talks, the mood of the room was muted and downbeat. Attendees voiced frustration with the lack of coordination so far and wondered aloud whether Trump could be halted. The third-party scenario drew intense interest, but it was also acknowledged that it would be logistically and financially difficult…”
Time talks with Republican delegates about how they’ll vote in a brokered convention: “Trump supporters like [Stella] Kozanecki say they are loyal to the end … The GOP’s best hopes of picking off Trump delegates won’t come from people like Kozanecki, who had to collect 100 signatures to qualify as a delegate, but from places where party committees wield influence … In Tennessee, for instance, the state chairman offers a slate of delegates for confirmation by the state’s executive committee. That means anti-Trump delegates could theoretically be selected with a commitment to vote for Trump only on the first ballot.”
Republicans caused Trump by dismissing the working-class, says NYT’s Krugman: “Kevin Williamson in National Review [denied] that the white working class … is in any sense a victim of external forces … but “nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.’ … Mitt Romney spoke about the 47 percent … Eric Cantor, then the House majority leader, … chose to mark Labor Day with a Twitter post celebrating … business owners.”


Democrats press for hearings on Garland. W. Post: “The approach, which is being implemented in part by a well-organized group led by former aides to President Obama, involves targeting vulnerable GOP Senate incumbents for defeat by portraying them as unwilling to fulfill the basic duties of their office. The idea is to so threaten the Republicans’ Senate majority that party leaders will reconsider blocking hearings on Garland’s nomination.”
Republican leaders dismiss lame duck vote on Garland. The Hill: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is … opposed to the idea, according to GOP lawmakers and staff. ‘He said after the next president is sworn in,’ a McConnell spokesman said.”
NYT explores Garland’s judicial record: “His writings reflect an able and modest judge with a limited conception of his role … His most charged cases, involving national security and campaign finance, were as likely to disappoint liberals as to please them. He has repeatedly voted against detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and he joined the Citizens United decision that gave rise to super PACs. In more run-of-the-mill cases, he was apt to side with workers claiming employment discrimination and against criminal defendants who said their rights had been violated … He appears to apply Supreme Court precedents with punctilious fidelity even if there is reason to think he would have preferred a different outcome…”


Contentious Flint hearing, reports The Hill: “Democrats focused most of their fire on Gov. Rick Snyder (R), blaming him both for allowing an emergency manager to switch Flint’s water supply as a cost-savings measure and for not acting quickly enough to respond to the ensuing health problems … [EPA chief Gina] McCarthy said the EPA did what it was supposed to do with those warnings, including pushing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to more aggressively fix corrosion issues in the city … ‘I will take responsibility for not pushing hard enough, but I will not take responsibility for causing this problem,’ she added.”
Snyder claims he was misled. NYT: “…Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan acknowledged in a tense congressional hearing Thursday that he had been aware of complaints about the drinking water in Flint, including from news reports his aides had emailed him. Yet he had accepted assurances, he said, that the problems were not severe.”

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