Friday, December 16, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Beyond Resistance: The Story of 2016


Richard Eskow
Beyond Resistance: The Story of 2016
Democrats can’t "resist" Republicans unless they reset themselves as a movement-based party, with new ideas and new faces. That’s how Sanders mobilized a generation. It’s why he is, by some measures, the most popular politician in America. Resistance is important, but to “resist” is only negative. Bernie’s call for “political revolution” is affirmative, evoking a world we can bring into being.

House Gropes Toward Health Care Strategy

House Republicans say they will replace Obamacare with “universal access.” NYT: “‘Our goal here is to make sure that everybody can buy coverage or find coverage if they choose to,’ a House leadership aide told journalists … the date that [Obamacare] provisions would actually disappear would be delayed, allowing a transition period as short as two years or as long as three or four years … By giving people the choice to buy insurance, Republicans could end up dangerously skewing the health insurance market, Obama administration officials and insurance executives say. Sick people are more likely to sign up, they say, and there may not be enough healthy people paying premiums to cover the costs for those who are less healthy … The aide declined on Thursday to say if Republicans would seek an immediate halt to the cost-sharing subsidy payments.”
No GOP decision on when to scrap individual mandate. The Hill: “Congressional Republicans have not yet said whether they intend to scrap the mandate right away, but the bill they unsuccessfully pushed last year — and are now using as a blueprint for 2017 — abolished the mandate immediately … immediate repeal of the mandate could have severe repercussions … more healthy people are likely to go without health coverage, leaving mostly sick people enrolled in ObamaCare. If that happened, premiums could rise substantially.”


Proposed “border tax adjustment” riles importing retailers. Salon: “The proposal is part of the House Ways and Means Committee’s blueprint for the tax overhaul … Though technically not an import tariff, the so-called border tax adjustment prevents companies from writing off import costs on their taxable income, effectively raising their tax bills … To import-reliant businesses, the border tax adjustment is a poison pill, and bigger companies are preparing for war to ensure President-elect Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress know just how much they hate this idea.”
WSJ offers reasons why tax reform may not clear Congress: “While House Republicans seem unified around their blueprint, senators have barely discussed it. They might balk at pieces of the House plan, namely the border adjustment and estimates showing the bulk of the benefits going to the top 1% of households … other issues will clog the calendar and drain post-election political capital, including a Supreme Court nominee, Cabinet appointments, appropriations and the federal debt limit … The taxpayers and industries that benefit today won’t give up their advantages so easily, and the losers in any plan will be loud.”


Eric Trump Foundation sells access to Ivanka. NYT: “Ozan M. Ozkural, a London-based investment manager, found a creative way to gain one-on-one access to the new first family: He bid nearly $60,000 to have a cup of coffee with Ivanka Trump for a charity event she was hosting. Mr. Ozkural [wants] to gain insight into topics like President-elect Donald J. Trump’s possible future dealings with Turkey and other nations where Mr. Ozkural invests … The money was to go to a foundation led by Ms. Trump’s brother Eric … In a brief telephone interview about the auction, Eric Trump … said that he was trying to navigate the ‘new world’ he is in since his father’s win.”
Incoming National Security Advisor has “deep ties to defense contractors” reports Bloomberg: “Just last week, [Michael Flynn] was re-elected to a paid position on the board of a surveillance drone company with Department of Defense contracts … while taking part in the classified briefings for Trump last August, he revamped his consulting company — Flynn Intel Group, or FIG — by adding one senior executive whose firm does extensive cybersecurity work for government agencies and another who was soliciting defense department aviation contracts.”


Tom Perez formally joins DNC race. The Hill: “…Perez said on a conference call with state Democratic chairmen[,] ‘I believe that at no point in my life has the Democratic chair been this important. We need strong progressive leadership that can deliver results. I’m a proud progressive and have been getting stuff done my entire career.’ Perez promised to return to the DNC’s ’50 state strategy,’ … on Wednesday night, [Rep. Keith Ellison] swiped at Perez for supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.”
North Carolina Republicans aim to strip incoming Democratic governor of power. The Atlantic: “About 20 demonstrators as well as one journalist were arrested amid demonstrations against what liberal groups are describing as a ‘legislative coup.’ … ‘If I believe that laws passed by the legislature hurt working families and are unconstitutional, they will see me in court,’ said [Gov.-elect Roy] Cooper … The state house passed a bill that will reduce the number of jobs appointed to the governor from 1,500 to 300, make Cabinet picks subject to state senate approval, and withdraw the governor’s ability to make appointments to University of North Carolina system boards of trustees and the state school board. (In effect, that will convert many of the political appointments made by outgoing Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, into permanent jobs.)”
States and cities prepare to tackle climate without Trump. NYT; “In last month’s election, Seattle, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio, voted to expand mass transit. Portland, Ore. … began a new municipal waste program a few years ago, resulting in higher recycling and composting rates … Miami Beach is raising roadbeds and building flood walls … [CA Gov. Jerry Brown] scoffed at reports that some Trump transition officials wanted to eliminate the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s system of earth-observing satellites. ‘If Trump turns off the satellites,’ he said, ‘California will launch its own damn satellite.'”
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