Progressive Breakfast for September 22

Morning Message

Campaign 2014: Will Democrats Get the Message?

This should be a Republican year ... But voters aren’t buying what Republicans are selling. The Senate races are still too close to call. Even Karl Rove, the architect of “dark money” politics, admits Republicans haven’t closed the deal ... Turnout will be low in November. Candidates can be elected with support of 20 percent of eligible voters. Turning out the base will be key ... Whether Democrats can overcome the staggering odds against them this election remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: The candidates who do so will have to find an authentic populist voice that makes it clear to voters whose side they are on.


People’s Climate March shatters expectations with 400K. Time: “Coalesced by several organizations, including Bill McKibben’s, the swarming crowds were there to pressure Obama and other leaders to make addressing climate change a top political priority. ‘Today, civil society acted at a scale that outdid even our own wildest expectations,’ said May Boeve, executive director of, in a statement. ‘Tomorrow, we expect our political leaders to do the same.’ … Nearly every labor union joined the march, including the Service Employees International Union, the largest union in the city. The march was supposed to start at 59th Street, but the throng of people stretched past 93rd Street, and there were so many marchers that it took the back of the line over two hours to start moving. The march was so well attended that organizers had to send a text at 5 p.m., asking marchers to leave because the route had filled to capacity.”

Gala 2014 banner PB/PMU-EB

World leaders convened blocks from march. NYT: “Behind the scenes, though, the real work toward forging a global deal was underway. A few blocks from the march, in a hotel conference room on Lexington Avenue, Secretary of State John Kerry convened a meeting of foreign ministers of the 17-member Major Economies Forum, focused on climate change, and Todd Stern, the chief United States climate change negotiator, held back-to-back meetings throughout the day.”

President Obama prepares to address U.N. Climate Summit. The Hill: “Obama will seek to jumpstart the talks by committing to ‘redoubling our effort to held vulnerable populations around the world prepare for climate change impacts,’ [WH aide John] Podesta told reporters. The president will also announce a suite of planned public goods that he says will help drive science and technology advancements in the U.S. to build up climate resilience.”

Rockefellers will divest. NYT: “John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels. The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.”

Business leaders pledge to cut emissions. Bloomberg: “Mars Inc. and others will announce plans to phase out fossil-fuel use, companies including Unilever NV (UNA) will endorse a tax on carbon and Statoil ASA (STL) and five other oil and gas producers will pledge to plug methane leaks.”

China now leads in carbon pollution. Bloomberg: “China surpassed the European Union in pollution levels per capita for the first time last year, propelling to a record the worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions that are blamed for climate change. The findings led by scientists at two British universities show the scale of the challenge of reining in emissions damaging the climate. They estimate that humans already have spewed into the atmosphere two-thirds of the fossil-fuel emissions allowable under scenarios that avoid irreversible changes to the planet.”

Breakfast Sides

Larry Summers renews call for major infrastructure investments. Bloomberg: “‘What we need in the United States is a comprehensive growth strategy to get that rate from a struggling 2 percent to a 3 percent,’ Summers said in an interview broadcast today on the Fox News program ‘Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo.’ … ‘We can borrow money for the long term in a currency we print ourselves at just about 2.5 percent,’ he said. ‘If now is not the time to repair our infrastructure, I don’t know when that time will come.'”

Treasury Secretary Lew almost ready to unveil inversion plan. Bloomberg: “U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the department is finishing work to limit the benefits companies gain from moving their addresses overseas even if his action won’t be enough to stop the practice known as inversion. Lew, speaking to reporters yesterday after a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers in Cairns,Australia, reiterated that while the Obama administration wants to revamp the broader U.S. corporate tax code, ‘there is one loophole that should be shut down immediately — inversions.'”

Both parties embracing pre-K education. American Prospect’s Rachel Cohen: “Each [Pennsylvania gubernatorial] campaign has created TV ads and sent direct mailings to voters about its candidate’s commitment to early-childhood education. Wolf’s platform includes the creation of a universal program, and Corbett has advertised the $10 million budget increase he oversaw to expand pre-K access. None of this would have been possible without the launch of the Pre-K for PA campaign, a well-organized nonpartisan effort designed to educate the Pennsylvania public, policymakers, and those running for public office about the benefits of early-childhood education.”