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Sam Pizzigati

New York Points A New Way Forward For The Nation

What happens at America’s state level can sometimes reverse the political momentum of the entire nation. We experienced just such a reversal in 1978, when California conservatives pushed our country to the right. We may be poised to do so again – in a new direction – thanks to important victories in New York State for progressives. Back then, on a calm June day, conservatives engineered a California earthquake. They won nearly two-to-one voter support for a ballot initiative that wrote a cap on local property taxes into the state constitution. This “Prop 13” initiative would in short order crater funding for California’s world-class public services. But Prop 13’s most lasting impact would be political. Prop 13 gave America’s cheerleaders for grand private fortune a simple winning formula for electoral success: Make elections about cutting taxes. Always. Four decades later, we’re still living amid the extreme inequality Prop 13 did so much to create. But now, New York has enacted — over fierce billionaire opposition — legislation that takes a giant step toward defining decent, secure housing as a basic human right. With this and other recent wins, progressive forces in New York have clearly changed the political conversation in the state — and maybe the nation.

Revelations From Border Crisis Spark Outrage

Tragic photo shows migrant girl and dad who died trying to cross the Rio Grande. CBS: “A tragic image from the southern border reveals the grim reality facing many Central American migrants who make the dangerous journey. The image shows a young father and his daughter who died trying to cross the Rio Grande in south Texas. They were found in shallow water, a few hundred yards from where they tried to cross. The girl is still clinging to her father’s neck. This follows outrage over U.S. officials returning more than 100 migrant children to a facility where they reportedly lived in inhumane conditions. The father, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, had traveled from El Salvador with his family, hoping to claim asylum in the United States. On Sunday, Martinez’s wife said the family decided to try and cross the Rio Grande. The bodies of a Salvadoran migrant and his nearly She said her husband and daughter made it across on the first attempt. But when he tried to go back for his wife, the toddler tried to follow and fell into the water. She said Martinez grabbed the toddler, but the two were swept away by the current and couldn’t get out. The tragic story comes as more revelations are made about the migrant children who are being held at border facilities. One hundred children were returned to a Texas facility yesterday, after more than 300 had been removed following reports that they were living in horrible conditions.”

House Passes Border Humanitarian Aid, Awaits Veto

House passes $4.5 billion In emergency border aid. NPR: “The House Democratic leadership pushed through a $4.5 billion emergency aid package late Tuesday to help thousands of migrants packed into overcrowded facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border, but it’s unlikely to get a hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate. The measure passed by a 230-195 vote mostly along party lines, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tamping down a last-minute revolt by members of her party’s progressive caucus who had sought, among other things, to ban private shelter contractors who failed to provide a basic level of food, hygiene items and medical care to migrants under their care. ‘Every member of this body has a sacred moral obligation to protect the human rights and the lives of vulnerable families, no matter who they are or from where they came,’ Pelosi said ahead of the vote. The bill reportedly includes more than $1 billion to house and feed migrants detained by immigration authorities and almost $3 billion to care for unaccompanied children, according to The Associated Press. But President Trump has threatened to veto the House measure, which was not expected to get much support among Senate Republicans, either.”

Mueller To Testify Publicly Before Congress

Mueller to testify to Congress, setting up a political spectacle. NYT: “Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, has agreed to testify in public before Congress next month about his investigation into Russia’s election interference and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, House Democrats announced on Tuesday night. Coming nearly three months after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report, two back-to-back hearings on July 17 before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees promise to be among the most closely watched spectacles of Mr. Trump’s presidency. They have the power to potentially reshape the political landscape around his re-election campaign and a possible impeachment inquiry by the Democrat-controlled House. Mr. Mueller, a strait-laced former F.B.I. director who has spoken publicly only once about his work as special counsel, had resisted taking the witness stand. He knows he is certain to face questions from both sides of a pitched political fight. Many Democrats are eager to employ him to build a case against Mr. Trump, and Republicans are just as eager to vindicate the president. His 448-page written report, Mr. Mueller asserted, should speak for itself. In the end, though, the two committees issued subpoenas compelling Mr. Mueller to speak, and he accepted.”

Progressive Caban Leads In Queens DA Race

Queens D.A. primary too close to call, as Cabán narrowly leads Katz. NYT: “It was billed as a contest of criminal justice reformers, a six-way Democratic primary for district attorney in Queens that would soften the tough-on-crime policies that have long typified this working-class borough of New York. Tiffany Cabán, a 31-year-old public defender, holds a narrow lead over Melinda Katz, the Queens borough president. Ms. Cabán declared victory shortly after 11 p.m., telling the crowd at her watch party, ‘We did it y’all.’ But Ms. Katz did not concede; speaking to her supporters just before 11 p.m., she said that every vote should be counted. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Ms. Cabán led Ms. Katz by 1.3 percentage points. Roughly 3,400 absentee ballots have to be counted, with Ms. Cabán’s margin at roughly 1,100 votes. Board of Election officials said the count may not be completed until Wednesday, July 3. But Ms. Cabán’s campaign said they felt comfortable declaring victory because the 3,400 absentee ballots would be divided among the seven candidates listed on the ballot, making her lead difficult for Ms. Katz to overcome.”

First Presidential Debate Tonight

The Democratic debates, night one: political dynamics to watch. NYT: Some of the Democratic Party’s strongest orators, including Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, will be at the center of Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Miami, the first of two this week. Ms. Warren is the only candidate on the first night who is polling in double digits, but there are plenty of intriguing story lines and political dynamics to watch for. The leading candidates on the stage Wednesday night have different ideologies, policy proposals and political styles. But they share a common strategy: All are betting big on Iowa. Mr. Booker and Ms. Warren have among the biggest campaign staffs there; Beto O’Rourke, a former representative from Texas, has barnstormed the state; and Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, is the neighbor next door. Will any of them make Hawkeye-specific pitches?”

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