Monday, September 26, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: We Need a Real People's Debate, Not the "Fight of the Century"


Richard Eskow
We Need a Real People’s Debate, Not the “Fight of the Century”
Millions of Americans deserve answers – including the unjustly incarcerated, African Americans, Native Americans, the unemployed, people struggling to get by on their meager earnings, young people burdened with student debt, and everyone who is concerned about the future of the planet. Will they get them? ... Here are some of the underreported issues that Lester Holt and NBC should ask the candidates to address.

Pre-Debate Jockeying and Jitters

Hours before the first presidential debate, here’s “Donald Trump’s economic strategy in detail.” The Washington Post: “A new, 30-page analysis of Trump’s economic proposals, penned by two of his senior policy advisers and issued Sunday evening by Trump’s campaign … is a tapestry of supply-side conservatism and liberal populism. It promises to free American companies to compete more successfully on the world stage and to force America’s top trading partners into submission.”
Democratic hopes of winning Senate fade, The Washington Post reports. Why? “The significant shift in the Senate battlefield appears to be the result of voters separating Trump — once considered so toxic that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) waffled about whether to support him — from Republicans running on the same ballot with him. That recognition could lead to more voters splitting their ticket between Clinton and a Republican House or Senate candidate.”
Democrats go on offense on gun laws. USA Today: “On Tuesday, Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head at a 2011 Tucson rally, and her husband, Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut, begin barnstorming election battlegrounds, including those with a strong gun culture, like Iowa, Virginia and North Carolina, in a 14-state tour that goes through Election Day.”

Wells Fargo Employees Push Back

Wells Fargo sued over firings for missed account quotas, Bloomberg reports. “The bank, according to the Los Angeles suit, rewarded employees with promotions for using tactics including “sandbagging” — opening fake accounts the day after a customer instructed the bank not to; “pinning” — assigning personal identification numbers without customer authorization; and “bundling” — lying to customers about limited availability of certain products in packages.”
Crime pays: USA Today says Wells Fargo’s CEO gets $123.6 million if he walks. “Neither [CEO John] Stumpf nor Wells Fargo has stated the CEO’s continued employment is in doubt, but he is eligible for the bank’s retirement plan. … Seeing such a large retirement package gets to the essence of the grilling Stumpf, 62, took on Congress this month. Stumpf confirmed no high-ranking officials have been fired or monetarily punished as a result of the alleged fraud.”
The GOP sets up the next Wells Fargo-style scandal. Mark Rogers in Fortune: “The Financial CHOICE Act, a bill that would essentially repeal key protections within the Dodd-Frank Act, was approved by the House Financial Services Committee on Sept. 13. … [I]t repeals most of the corporate governance provisions contained within Dodd-Frank, provisions that provide greater transparency and accountability to shareholders. … [It also removes] the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) authority to punish companies for practices that are abusive to consumers. … Earlier this month the CFPB and other agencies imposed a $185 million fine on the bank for its widespread fraud.”

Shutdown Countdown

A final vote on funding to keep the government open after midnight Friday is all but certain to come at the 11th hour, Roll Call says. One snag: “The inclusion of what Republicans described as a “down payment” on supplemental aid to flood-ravaged communities in Louisiana but not the Flint money [emergency funding for the lead-plagued water crisis in Flint, Michigan] drew the ire of Michigan Democrats, and it appears to be a key to Democratic opposition in the Senate.”
White House preps agencies for possible shutdown. But “few on Capitol Hill expect the government to halt operations just weeks before the critical presidential election.”
Here’s who to watch, according to the New York Times: “Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, and Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader from Nevada, who may broker a final deal. Keep an eye on Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan and a longstanding and fierce advocate for Flint who rarely gives up a legislative fight easily.”

Breakfast Sides

Here’s another topic for presidential debate: 500,000 U.S. households without proper indoor plumbing. “Nearly half a million households in the United States lack the basic dignity of hot and cold running water, a bathtub or shower, or a working flush toilet, according to the Census Bureau.” In one Alabama county, “35 percent of homes had septic systems that were failing, with raw sewage on the ground. Another 15 percent had nothing.”
President Obama will meet with Leonardo DiCaprio at the White House to talk climate change. Time reports: “The discussion will also include climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and take place on Monday, Oct. 3 … [I]t will be followed by a screening of DiCaprio’s National Geographic documentary ‘Before the Flood,’ making its U.S. debut on the South Lawn.”
Babies benefit from a higher minimum wage. “Robert Kaestner is with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government & Public Affairs. He found that among new mothers with lower education levels, living in an area with a higher minimum wage led to heavier babies — about 11 grams for every dollar — and heavier babies are healthier babies.”

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