fresh voices from the front lines of change







Trump's Undocumented Workers

Making President Trump’s bed: A housekeeper without papers. NYT: "During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Victorina Morales has made Donald J. Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. When he visited as president, she was directed to wear a pin in the shape of the American flag adorned with a Secret Service logo. Because of the 'outstanding' support she has provided during Mr. Trump’s visits, Ms. Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name. Quite an achievement for an undocumented immigrant housekeeper. Ms. Morales’s journey from cultivating corn in rural Guatemala to fluffing pillows at an exclusive golf resort took her from the southwest border, where she said she crossed illegally in 1999, to the horse country of New Jersey, where she was hired at the Trump property in 2013 with documents she said were phony. She said she was not the only worker at the club who was in the country illegally."

EPA Eases Rules For Coal Plants

EPA announces plan to ease carbon emissions rule for new coal plants. WaPo: "The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it plans to reverse a rule that would have forced new U.S. coal plants to install technology to capture their carbon dioxide emissions, marking the latest effort by the Trump administration to repeal Obama-era climate regulations. Advocates of renewable energy say that the sort of drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions needed to slow global warming would come only with the continued closing of coal plants and replacing them with wind, solar or geothermal facilities. 'This proposal is another illegal attempt by the Trump administration to prop up an industry already buckling under the powerful force of the free market,' Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), said in a statement. Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said 'If the president cared about coal miners, he would start working on ways to help the industry’s workforce adjust to the new economic reality and begin investing in their future.' A panel of U.N. scientists said in a recent report that coal and gas plants still operating need to be equipped with carbon-capture technologies to achieve the reduction in carbon emissions necessary for keeping the world under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming past preindustrial levels."

New CFPB Head Has Zero Experience

The Senate just confirmed a director for CFPB who has no background in consumer issues. Vox: "The US Senate voted to confirm Kathy Kraninger as the next head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal government’s top consumer watchdog. If you haven’t heard of her, don’t worry — before she was tapped to head the agency, neither had pretty much anyone else. Kraninger, who was confirmed by a 50-49 vote, served as associate director for general government programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), overseeing a $250 billion budget across seven Cabinet departments, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. She will take permanent charge over the CFPB and replace Mick Mulvaney, who became interim director of the bureau after Richard Cordray, its first director, stepped down in November 2017. Mulvaney, who is also head of the OMB, has been a controversial figure at the helm of the CFPB; critics say he’s sought to undermine its mission and scale back its enforcement and oversight efforts. Those same critics have echoed concerns about Kraninger, wondering whether she’ll continue on the same path as Mulvaney at the CFPB. They also point to her lack of experience in the consumer sector."

Fox And Friends Host To Be UN Ambassador

Trump to name Heather Nauert as next U.S. ambassador to the U.N.. CBS: "President Trump has chosen Heather Nauert to replace Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, three sources with knowledge of the decision told CBS News. Nauert is currently the spokeswoman for the State Department. Mr. Trump is expected to make the announcement Friday morning. Nauert has been on the short list for ambassador to the U.N. since Haley announced that she was stepping down from her post in October. Formerly a Fox News anchor, she came to the administration in 2017. She will have to be confirmed by the Senate to become ambassador to the U.N. Nauert's appointment was first reported by Bloomberg. Although some have speculated that Haley may challenge Mr. Trump in 2020, Haley has said that she will support the president. If Heather Nauert is appointed and confirmed, she takes the position at a rough time for the U.N. because the Trump administration has cut funding of many programs and withdrawn from several international agreements."

Where Are The Activists?

'Lobbyists Are Here. Goldman Sachs Is Here. Where's Labor? Activists?' Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez Pull Back Curtain on Corporate-Sponsored Freshman Orientation. Common Dreams: "Pulling back the curtain on the ostensibly "bipartisan" orientation for newly elected members of Congress at Harvard's Kennedy School in Boston, Reps.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) informed the public through live social media updates on Thursday that—contrary to the ideologically neutral advertising—the private conference featured a heavy dose of speeches by corporate CEOs and completely shut out organized labor and members of the progressive community. 'Our 'bipartisan' congressional orientation is co-hosted by a corporate lobbyist group,' Ocasio-Cortez noted, likely referring to the Koch-funded American Enterprise Institute, which is co-sponsoring the event. 'Other members have quietly expressed to me their concern that this wasn't told to us in advance. Lobbyists are here. Goldman Sachs is here. Where's labor? Activists? Frontline community leaders?'"

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