Progressive Breakfast for April 22

Morning Message

Elites Discover So-Called “Free Trade” Is Killing Economy, Middle Class

The New York Times editorial board finally gets it right about trade in its Sunday editorial, “This Time, Get Global Trade Right.” ... "Many Americans have watched their neighbors lose good-paying jobs as their employers sent their livelihoods to China. Over the last 20 years, the United States has lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs." People in the Midwest, the “rust belt” and elsewhere noticed this a long time ago ... acknowledging that our trade deals have hurt the country, [the editorial board says] maybe we could try to do it right with coming agreements ... They write that one problem is that these agreements are negotiated of, by and for the giant corporations ... And they’re asking, like the rest of us are asking, why in the world won’t they do something about currency?

The Nation Goes All-In For Earth Day

Mark Hertsgaard explains “Why Today Is All About Climate”: “…The Nation is marking Earth Day 2014 with special, wall-to-wall coverage of the climate challenge … Growing a larger grassroots movement is vital because the history of Earth Day teaches that public protest, more than public opinion, is what delivers progress … Today’s climate movement must become bigger and rowdier, and it has a surprising amount of good news to build upon…”

“U.S. Emission Rules Would Far Outweigh Impact of Keystone Pipeline” notes NYT: “…the real climate policy work is being done four blocks away, where a squadron of Environmental Protection Agency lawyers is shaping regulations to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants — the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution — while at meetings in Beijing and Brussels, State Department officials are slogging through negotiations to get other countries to agree to similar cuts. Experts say that Mr. Obama’s eventual decision on the pipeline will have a marginal impact on global warming emissions, while those dull-sounding E.P.A. rules and treaty talks will determine his environmental legacy.”

Keystone decision probably not until after midterms, reports The Hill: “The reason: a Nebraska county judge’s ruling in February that struck down the pipeline’s route through the state, leaving roughly 200 miles of project in limbo. Nebraska’s Governor Dave Heineman (R) and Attorney General Jon Bruning have appealed the case, and the state’s supreme court has agreed to hear it but no court date has been set … If the state’s high court upholds the lower court’s ruling, however, that may delay a decision even further …”

Trade Push On Tap In Asia

Questions whether Obama can announce progress on Pacific trade deal during Japan visit. Politico: “‘I think what we’re going to have is hopefully, from my perspective, a breakthrough,’ said Tami Overby, vice president for Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ‘I think they are going to announce something.’ … Scott Miller, a trade analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he was less optimistic and expected a largely formulaic statement … A stronger-than-expected statement could reinvigorate action on the stalled trade legislation, but most experts only believe that will happen if Obama gets more personally involved to round up votes among fellow Democrats.”

Malaysian official downplays expectation. Shanghai Daily: “…Obama’ s three-day official visit to Malaysia would not conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but only to further discuss it, an official of Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry said…”

WH Considers Deportation Reform

AP speculates on possible executive action regarding deportation reform: “Tens of thousands of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally but don’t have serious criminal records could be shielded from deportation under a policy change being weighed by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson … [That] would fall short of the sweeping changes sought by activists. They want Obama to expand a two-year-old program that grants work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as children to include other groups, such as the parents of any children born in the U.S.”

AFL-CIO seeks worker safety exemption. The Hill: “…the group said many illegal immigrants do not report dangerous working conditions and unpaid wages because they are afraid they will be deported. To remedy this, the AFL-CIO called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant low-priority illegal immigrants affirmative relief from deportation and work authorization, so they will not be afraid to report misconduct.”

GOP Senator praises Jeb Bush on immigration. Politico: “…Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Bush deserves praise for his comments, saying: “I agree with Jeb, and I applaud him for having the guts to say it … I hold no brief for Jeb Bush, but having such a prominent Republican speak so humanely and unapologetically about the motivations behind many of those who have come to reside in this country is good for all of us,’”