Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: 50 Years On, MLK Calls For a Radical Revolution of Values


Libero Della Piana
50 Years On, MLK Calls For a Radical Revolution of Values
Fifty years ago today, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of his most prophetic and powerful speeches, ‘Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence’, at Riverside Church in New York City. One year later – to the day – he was assassinated in Memphis. King’s words are as urgent and powerful as ever. He declared his opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam in his strongest terms to date, but perhaps more importantly for us, King identifies a broader challenge for the future.

Thursday Vote On Nuclear Option

At least 41 Dems will filibuster Gorsuch. Politico: “To [confirm Gorsuch], Republicans will have to invoke the so-called nuclear option … no Republican has said they would oppose the controversial parliamentary move … The showdown over the nuclear option is expected on Thursday.”
Some senators seek last-minute compromise. LAT: “…conversations have been quietly underway behind the scenes among a handful of lawmakers from both parties who are trying to find a way to deescalate. Their ability to strike a compromise remains doubtful…”
“Both sides do it” is not the story, says NYT’s David Leonhardt: “Republicans have taken a much more aggressive, politicized approach to the courts than Democrats … The failure rate of Democratic nominees to federal trial courts since 1981 has been almost twice as high as the Republican failure rate: 14 percent versus 7 percent … The gap between the parties would be even larger if Democrats hadn’t eliminated the filibuster on lower-court nominees in 2013 … Republican nominees have been less centrist than Democratic nominees…”

Republicans Trying Making ACA Repeal Worse

Republicans try to resurrect ACA repeal. Bloomberg: “Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus met with House conservatives late Monday to lay out the details of the plan … House GOP leaders said earlier that no health-care vote is planned, but several lawmakers, including a close ally of Trump’s, said they think a vote could still occur this week … the White House and Republicans are discussing a plan that would allow states to apply for waivers on some of Obamacare’s requirements…”
“Republican Health Proposal Would Undermine Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions” reports NYT: “[States] could decide to opt out of provisions that require insurers to cover a standard, minimum package of benefits … And they could decide to do away with a rule that requires insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone who is the same age … [The opt-outs] would make the insurance options for those with pre-existing conditions … meaningless.”
Veto of Medicaid expansion in Kansas sustained. NYT: “…the [state House] vote was 81 to 44, three short of the two-thirds majority needed for an override … While two Republican lawmakers who had originally voted against expanding Medicaid switched sides and voted to override, two others who had supported the expansion bill when it passed the House in February voted to sustain the veto.”

Breakfast Sides

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduces the “College for All” Act. The Nation: “[The bill] aims to eliminate college tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for students from families that make up to $125,000 per year … Sanders and several of the co-sponsors clearly see the bill as a valuable organizing tool … There are five Senate co-sponsors for the bill … and fourteen in the House … When Sanders introduced a similar bill in 2015, it had zero co-sponsors.”
“Unions help narrow the gender wage gap” finds EPI: “…gender wage gaps exist across the wage distribution and among workers of every education level … working women in unions are paid 94 cents, on average, for every dollar paid to unionized working men, compared to 78 cents on the dollar for non-union women as a share of non-union men’s dollar…”
National Priorities Project crunches the “Militarized Budget”: “… the militarized budget includes the traditional military budget, as well as spending on veterans’ affairs, homeland security, incarceration, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, and the still-ongoing war on drugs … At $618.8 billion in 2016, military spending accounted for more than 53 percent of the federal discretionary budget … the militarized budget totaled $741.3 billion – amounting to 64 percent of discretionary spending…”
Rail privatization failed in UK, says Owen Jones in NYT oped: “…Britain’s rail commuters spend up to six times more on rail travel than their European counterparts have to … While British workers are suffering the most protracted wage squeeze since the Napoleonic wars, rail fares in recent years have gone up at twice the rate of wage increases … On all scores, the privatization of Britain’s railways is an embarrassment.”
California Senate passes “sanctuary state” bill. Time: “The bill, formally known as Senate Bill 54, would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from using resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest persons for the purposes of immigration enforcement. The Senate voted 27 to 12 along party lines to pass the measure, which will next be considered by the state Assembly before possibly going to the governor’s desk.”

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