Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Keith Ellison's Quest for DNC Chair


Robert Borosage
Keith Ellison’s Quest for DNC Chair
Rep. Keith Ellison offers a lifeline to a Democratic Party that is struggling to stay afloat. The question is whether party officials realize that they are sinking and accept it ... Of all the candidates, only Keith Ellison is the real deal. Ellison was elected to Congress in 2007 after a long history in the hotbed of movement politics. His mentor and friend was the late Paul Wellstone, the rare political leader who understood that politics was about people and passion, and brought grass-roots organizing into the electoral arena ... He doesn’t simply talk about ways to build grassroots support, or about inside-outside strategies, he has created them. When he was first elected, his district had the lowest turnout in the state. Now it has the highest.

Final Week For DNC Chair Race

CNN to host debate Wednesday: “The debate … will air at 10 p.m. ET … CNN has not yet announced which candidates will be attending … The DNC leadership election will be held on Saturday, February 25.”
Ellison picks up endorsements. LAT: “Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, will formally announce on Monday she’s backing Elllison … Also on board is Alexis Tameron, the Democratic chair in Arizona …”
The New Yorker profiles Ellison: “Ellison offers an idealistic synthesis, drawing on Wellstone’s approach—which bears some resemblance to Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s Beloved Community, a semi-utopian vision that insisted on the inextricability of economic justice, civil rights, and antiwar sentiment. Ellison’s advantage in promulgating this sixties-descended, peace-and-love brand of liberalism is, perhaps, the matter of his own identity: no one is likely to accuse a black Muslim who fought his first political battles over apartheid and police brutality of shunting the concerns of minorities to the margins.”
Steve Phillips of Center for American Progress argues Democrats should tack left in NYT oped: “…more Obama voters defected to third- and fourth-party candidates than the number who supported Mr. Trump. That is the white flight that should most concern the next D.N.C. chairman … The way to win them back is by being more progressive, not less.”

New Travel Ban

Trump to try travel ban again. USA Today: “President Trump plans to issue a revised version of his temporary travel ban targeting majority-Muslim countries as early as Tuesday, with a likely focus on fewer people so it will survive legal challenges … [The draft] would only bar entry to those without a visa and who have never entered the United States before … By focusing a new executive order on foreigners who have never been in the U.S., the Trump administration also makes it difficult for anyone to even initiate a lawsuit.”
SCOTUS case could provide window into judicial thinking. Bloomberg: “The high court on Tuesday will hear an appeal from the parents of Sergio Hernandez, a Mexican teenager who was shot to death by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in 2010. At issue is whether constitutional protections apply to Hernandez even though he wasn’t in the U.S. when he was shot. The question is a variation of one of the central issues in the legal fight over the stalled travel ban…”
Trump maintains powers to curtail immigration. Bloomberg: “Trump has broad discretion to use the money and [ICE] employees as he sees fit without seeking approval from Congress. The president wants to bolster that force, saying he’ll hire 10,000 more agents and use state and local law enforcement as immigration officials.”
Trump plan involves deportations to Mexico, regardless of nationality. ProPublica: “… that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico. Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.”
“The Private Prison Industry Is Licking Its Chops Over Trump’s Deportation Plans” reports Mother Jones: “…given that America’s detention system for immigrants has been running at full capacity for some time now, where is the president going to put all of these people before deporting them? In new jails, for starters … It’s not difficult to guess who profits.”
Seattle mayor threatens to sue Trump. Politico: “Seattle Mayor Ed Murray … will use his state of the city speech — delivered at a mosque in North Seattle — to announce a plan to officially demand answers on the creation and intention of President Donald Trump’s executive orders, as well as his plans for DACA and sanctuary cities. If the administration doesn’t respond within the allotted 20 business days, Murray says, he’ll sue.”

Border Tax Battle

16 manufacturing CEOs back Speaker Ryan on border adjustment tax. CNBC: “In a letter to House and Senate leadership, they argued that the current tax system penalizes American factory workers and restrains business investment and economic growth … The letter underscores the deep division within the business community as Washington debates the most sweeping changes to the American tax system in more than 30 years. The companies backing the letter are part of the newly formed American Made Coalition and would benefit from the proposal championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan [which] faces significant opposition from the retail industry … they have established their own lobbying group, the Coalition for Affordable Products.”
But Ryan fighting uphill. The Atlantic’s Michelle Cottle: ”At this point, anti-BATers have an edge. Why? Partly, because the provision is super complicated and almost impossible to explain in terms that don’t sound like something a coven of economists vomited up.”
Can Republicans avoid another government shutdown? AP: “For years, Republicans needed President Barack Obama’s signoff and relied on Democratic votes to pass the measures and balance out opposition from tea partyers … Some House conservatives are demanding a round of budget cuts to ‘offset’ new spending on the Pentagon and Trump’s wall … ‘I don’t think we’d be able to jam anything through that didn’t have some significant buy-in by Democrats,’ Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said … Lawmakers face an April 28 deadline, which seems like plenty of time. The administration, however, is off to a slow start…”

Breakfast Sides

Gorsuch wooing Dems. Politico: “Gorsuch and his allies are engineering a full-court charm offensive to win over Democrats soured by the GOP’s yearlong blockade of Garland … And there are signs it’s working … There are 10 ripe Democratic targets: Senators up for reelection in states Trump won. But two of them have already said they would oppose Gorsuch.”
Cities should consider a luxury housing tax to fund affordable housing, argues Eric Uhlfelder in NYT oped: “…cities need local financing initiatives that make up for the coming reduction in federal assistance … an annual luxury housing tax, levied on new high-end condos and rentals … would feed a self-sustaining fund dedicated to develop truly affordable units.”
Unions needed to tame the gig economy. American Prospect’s Katherine V.W. Stone: “…here is a long history of unions protecting their members from employers’ efforts to force workers to bear all the risks and costs of fluctuating demand … [Workers] in the world of so-called alt-labor, use worker centers, associations, and other worker-empowerment strategies that are not technically unions. If the Trump administration changes rules and laws to weaken traditional unions … these new strategies become that much more important.”
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