Progressive Breakfast for July 28

Morning Message

Keith Ellison and the Worker-Led Wage Wave

There were no formalities when we interviewed Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and activist Joseph Geevarghese on the crowded and clamorous floor of this month’s Netroots Nation conference. Ellison made his position clear as soon as we began rolling tape, saying, “The real story today, in my humble view, is not income inequality.” “The real story is what we’re doing about income inequality.” “There are green shoots popping up all over this country,” he added, citing worker-driven organizations like Good Jobs Nation. Throughout the course of the conversation, Ellison and Geevarghese listed progressive movement successes, past and present.

Moral Mondays And Walking Mayor Come to DC

Moral Mondays and “Walking Mayor” Come to Washington for Medicaid Expansion and Support for Rural Healthcare. Save Our Hospital: “Expanding Medicaid saves lives. When the North Carolina state legislature denied the Medicaid expansion, a health care corporation decided that providing care in rural areas was no longer profitable and the small town of Belhaven lost its hospital. … Mayor Adam O’Neal, Belhaven’s Republican mayor and community members are walking 273 miles to the nation’s capitol to tell their story. On Monday, Mayor Adam O’Neal will stand with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the NC NAACP and architect of the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, as they petition political leaders to address this rural health care crisis at a Moral Monday rally and press conference Join Mayor Adam O’Neal and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II on July 28th for a Rally and Press Conference. It is time to stand up for a health care system that cares about people, not profits.”

North Carolina GOP mayor breaks from party, marches 273 miles to DC for healthcare reform: “The Republican mayor of Belhaven, North Carolina embarked on a 273-mile walk to support health care, rural hospitals, and Medicaid expansion, Blue Virginia reported. When he arrived in Woodbridge, Virginia  Mayor Adam O’Neal (R) spoke on behalf of Save Our Hospital, a group dedicated to preserving the Pungo District Hospital, which once serviced over 20,000 patients in Beaufort and Hyde counties. The hospital had been purchased in 2011 by Vidant Health, who promised to expand it. Instead, the group gutted the hospital of vital equipment and, in 2014, shuttered it for good… ‘It’s immoral for a company to take health care away from people and keep your non-profit designation,’ the mayor argued. ‘We’re also walking to see a bill introduced that HHS has to sign off in order to close a critical-access hospital.’”


Ryan Defends Poverty Plan

Ryan defends anti-poverty plan. Politico: “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan defended his newly released anti-poverty proposal on Sunday, saying it would upend a federal system that ,perpetuates poverty.’ ‘We don’t want to have a poverty management system that simply perpetuates poverty,’ the Wisconsin Republican said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘We want to get at the root causes of poverty.’ The 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee released a plan last week to give states autonomy to administer their own anti-poverty programs. The proposal, called the Opportunity Grant, would consolidate 11 federal programs — including food stamps, housing assistance and other welfare programs — and provide funding for states to manage those funds on a more local level.”

John Nichols writes that Paul Ryan’s “faux populism” isn’t going to end poverty or reduce inequality: “The House Budget Committee chairman, who on Thursday released an ‘anti-poverty proposal’ that rehashed decades-old schemes to scale back anti-poverty initiatives and regulatory protections for low-income Americans, offers scant evidence of a serious determination to solve the problems that have got Americans up in arms. If Ryan was serious, he wouldn’t be proposing, as his ‘Opportunity Grant’ plan does, to ‘consolidate’ existing federal programs to aid the poor into block grants to the states — an approach that would allow Republican governors who have already shown a penchant for undermining healthcare, food-stamp and education initiatives the ‘flexibility’ to do even more harm.”

Digby cuts to the core of Paul Ryan’s latest anti-poverty plan: “Ryan wants to “help” the poor the same way conservative have always wanted to help them — by giving them the ‘tough love’ of making their lives even worse than they already are. If they want “help” they can go to a church and pray to their God and maybe they’ll get a sandwich. “

Inversion Aversion

Obama could curb corporate ‘inversions’ on his own: ex-U.S. official. Reuters:
“President Barack Obama could act without congressional approval to limit a key incentive for U.S. corporations to move their tax domiciles abroad in so-called “inversion” deals, a former senior U.S. Treasury Department official said on Monday. By invoking a 1969 tax law, Obama could bypass congressional gridlock and restrict foreign tax-domiciled U.S companies from using inter-company loans and interest deductions to cut their U.S. tax bills, said Stephen Shay, former deputy assistant Treasury secretary for international tax affairs in the Obama administration. He also served as international tax counsel at Treasury from 1982 to 1987 in the Reagan administration. In an article being published on Monday in Tax Notes, a journal for tax lawyers and accountants, Shay said the federal government needs to move quickly to respond to a recent surge in inversion deals that threatens the U.S. corporate tax base.”

Paul Krugman takes apart the arguments against cracking down on tax inversion: “Opponents of a crackdown on inversion typically argue that instead of closing loopholes we should reform the whole system by which we tax profits, and maybe stop taxing profits altogether. They also tend to argue that taxing corporate profits hurts investment and job creation. But these are very bad arguments against ending the practice of inversion. First of all, there are some good reasons to tax profits. …Finally, none of this has anything to do with investment and job creation. If and when Walgreen changes its ‘citizenship,’ it will get to keep more of its profits — but it will have no incentive to invest those extra profits in its U.S. operations.”

Sanctions Against Russia Likely

Amid Ukraine clashes, international team makes new attempt to visit MH17 site. CNN: “An international team is attempting again Monday to enter the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in war-torn eastern Ukraine, a day after heavy fighting prevented it from getting near. The group — including officials from the Netherlands, Australia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe — set off in vehicles from the city of Donetsk on Monday morning.
Among their aims is the retrieval of human remains from the fields strewn with wreckage from the passenger jet, which had 298 people on board. The team of observers, investigators and experts anticipates getting good access to the site after negotiating with both sides in the conflict, said Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the OSCE mission.”

Rhodes: New sanctions on Russia likely this week. Politico: “Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Sunday increased U.S. and European sanctions against Russia will likely come later this week. ‘We still think that the best thing the United States can do is send a message to Russia through very strong sanctions, coordinated with the Europeans,’ he said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘And I’d expect in the coming days, you will see the Europeans move out on stronger sanctions.’ Asked by host Candy Crowley whether European sanctions would be as strong as the U.S. would like them to be, Rhodes answered: ‘We believe so.’”

Border Crisis Continues

Texan Bipartisan Pair: American Public Wants an ‘Orderly Border’. ABC News: “With just five days until Congress adjourns for summer recess, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, are attempting a bipartisan, last-ditch effort to address the border crisis in their home state – but there are few signs of support in Congress. ‘The American public wants us to have an orderly border,’ Cuellar told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on ‘This Week’ Sunday. ‘They’re seeing chaos at the border.’ The Cornyn-Cuellar bill aims to change the existing 2008 law that differentiates between the process undocumented children coming from Central America and those coming from Mexico go through if they are returned to their home countries after entering the U.S. The proposed legislation would allow the U.S. to expedite the deportation process for migrant children from Central America, which is how the U.S. currently handles Mexican immigrants.”

At Salon, Cristin Silva sums up a year living in “the murder capital of the world”: “It was surreal when the violence in Honduras suddenly become the topic du jour in the United States so soon after my return. … The wave of migrant children made me think about my nieces and nephews in Tegucigalpa and their many cousins. I remembered how despondent I felt when I learned that their parents never took them to the park because they were too afraid. It made me angry that my 3-year-old nephew could nonchalantly recount the story of his favorite uncle’s murder. I worry about what kind of men the boys will become when they live in a society where educational and professional success does not ensure personal or financial security.”

At Truthout, Laura Raymond writes that to address the refugee crisis at the border, the US should stop financing repression in Honduras: “Since the military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, violence and repression have continued to increase. Honduras currently has the highest murder rate in the world. The current refugee crisis at the US border is a foreseeable and understandable consequence of this violence. Unfortunately, after playing a widely criticized role in legitimating Honduras’s post-coup government, the US government is now using this crisis to further entrench its alignment with one of the most corrupt and violent police and military forces in the hemisphere. Couched in language about bolstering ‘security’ and “prosperity” in the region, both the White House and the Senate have proposed yet more US ‘investment’ in the very Honduran security forces that are responsible for the violence, human rights abuses and lawlessness that are contributing to the flight of tens of thousands of Hondurans. “

‘Impeachment Lite’

Analysis: Clinton Drama Hangs Over GOP Lawsuit. ABC News: “The last time Republicans unleashed impeachment proceedings against a Democratic president, they lost five House seats in an election they seemed primed to win handily. Memories of Bill Clinton and the campaign of 1998 may help explain why Speaker John Boehner and the current GOP leadership want no part of such talk now, although conservatives increasingly clamor for it. And also why President Barack Obama’s White House seems almost eager to stir the impeachment pot three months before mid-term elections. Republicans have already “opened the door for impeachment” with their plans to sue the president over allegedly failing to carry out the health care law, White House aide Dan Pfeiffer told reporters.”

NTY’s Charles Blow says ‘impeachmet lite’ could work in Democrats’ favor: “A CNN/ORC poll released Friday found that while 45 percent of respondents said they believed the president had gone too far in expanding the power of the presidency and the executive branch, 52 percent believed that he ‘has been about right’ or ‘has not gone far enough.’ For comparison, in 2006, the sixth year of the George W. Bush administration, 48 percent believed that he had gone too far, while just as many thought he was about right or hadn’t gone far enough. Furthermore, only 41 percent of Americans believe House Republicans should sue the president, as opposed to 57 percent who believe they shouldn’t. And if you believe that the lawsuit is simply, as some have called it, ‘impeachment lite,’ the public truly has no appetite for that. Respondents in the CNN/ORC poll opposed impeachment by nearly two to one.”