Progressive Breakfast for December 9

Morning Message Dave Johnson

Trump’s Punch Down Strategy

This is the next President of the United States publicly attacking a guy who is president of a local union in Indiana, singling him out for national attention. And this national humiliation and endangerment by the next President of the United States is because the guy told the truth ... Attacking a union’s leadership ... is classic management anti-union propaganda. Saying the union is costing jobs is a union-busting tactic, intended to drive a edge between the union and rank-and-file workers.

Trump Still Unpopular

Trump still unpopular in Pew poll: “55% of the public says that, so far, they disapprove of the job he has done explaining his policies and plans for the future, while 41% approve of the job he has done … In December 2008, 72% said they approved of the job then President-elect Obama had done … Roughly six-in-ten (58%) say they have either a very (38%) or mostly (20%) unfavorable view of Trump … By wide margins, the public held favorable views of other recent president-elects…”

Incoming Labor Secretary sued for labor violations. USA Today: “In 2004, CKE, agreed to a $9 million settlement to resolve three class-action lawsuits concerning overtime pay for restaurant and general managers in California … The company was sued in 2013 for allegedly failing to pay managers overtime … The class action lawsuit is still pending. In 2014, Puzder said his company had spent $20 million on labor lawsuits in the previous eight years…”

Anti-immigrant leader Kris Kobach may get plum Homeland Security spot. The Hill: “By choosing former Marine Gen. John Kelly over Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach … Trump gains a nominee with extensive experience on the southern border but with less of a penchant for controversy. While liberal groups are wary of the pick, they were prepared to go on the warpath against immigration hard-liner Kobach, who still might be nominated to be Kelly’s deputy.”

Climate Purge?

Trump transition appears to be planning a purge of those who worked on climate at the Energy Department. Bloomberg: “The transition team has asked the agency to list employees and contractors who attended United Nations climate meetings, along with those who helped develop the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon metrics, used to estimate and justify the climate benefits of new rules … Two Energy Department employees who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the questionnaire and said agency staff were unsettled by the Trump team’s information request.”

Trump can’t kill clean energy. NYT: “The plummeting cost of wind and solar energy, helped along by federal tax incentives, has led to a boom in the use of such ‘no-carbon’ power sources. And the nation’s largest electric utilities, many of which have joined Mr. Pruitt in his lawsuit against the climate regulations, have at the same time realigned their long-term investment strategies. Nicholas Akins, chief executive officer of American Electric Power, an Ohio-based electric utility that generates power in 11 states, said … [w]hether or not Mr. Trump dismantles the Clean Power Plan, he said he assumes that in the long run, carbon pollution will eventually be regulated.”

Companies will keep cutting carbon. WSJ: “From Houston to Silicon Valley, executives in the oil, power, retail, transportation and technology industries said their companies were locked into a lower-emissions trajectory driven in part by market forces, such as cheaper prices for natural gas and wind power.”

HHS Warns of “Chaos”

HHS Secretary warns of “chaos” if Obamacare repealed. The Hill: “Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell met with congressional Democrats on Thursday to warn of the dangers of the Republican ‘repeal and delay’ strategy … “…a repeal and a delayed replacement is a situation where it is basically repeal and chaos in terms of what will ensue, because of the uncertainty that gets presented to insurers, providers, consumers and states,’ Burwell told reporters.”

Republicans pass “Cures Act” before pursuing Obamacare repeal. NYT: “…huge bipartisan majorities in Congress have just passed legislation to speed the discovery of cures for killer diseases. At the same time, Republican leaders have been devising a strategy to undo the Affordable Care Act, which has done more than any law in a generation to treat people with those diseases. ‘It is a real contradiction,’ said Dr. Otis W. Brawley, the chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.”

“Trump’s Distractions Will Provide Republican Cover to Rip Apart the Safety Net” argues TNR’s Brian Beutler: “[President George W. Bush] barnstormed the country trying to secure popular support for [Social Security privatization]. In other words, it was huge news … Trump has proven able to divert media attention from the plutocratic government he is assembling and on to a variety of shiny objects … He has not tweeted about Obamacare or turning Medicare over to private insurers … Democrats can do their best to focus the public mind … But it is eerily possible to imagine Republicans pulling off the most regressive social reforms in modern history under a cloak of darkness.”

Dems Fight For Coal Miners

Government shutdown possible tonight as Dems fight for coal miner pensions and health benefits. The Hill: “Democrats are holding up the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government as they push to include a one-year extension of healthcare for thousands of miners and their families. The spending measure now includes a four-month extension … [Sen. John] Cornyn predicted Republicans would be able to break the Democrat filibuster on Saturday if needed. He argued that [Sens. Joe] Manchin and [Sherrod] Brown should be “grateful” for the four-month extension.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill rips absentee Trump. Politico quotes: “They totally gave the back of their hand to miners. Now, who’s for the working people? Where is Donald Trump on miners? Crickets.”

Progressives Look To California

California legislature looks to resist Trump. NYT edit board praises: “Bills introduced this week in the California State Legislature confront [Trump] directly. One would create a program to finance legal services for immigrants fighting deportation. Another would provide training and advice on immigration law to public defenders’ offices. Come the purge — and Mr. Trump has said he is going after two million to three million people immediately — many will need lawyers. The third bill, potentially the most consequential, seeks to ensure that California will never be an accomplice to mass deportation.”

Our Revolution to invest in CA campaigns. LAT: “Its [Election Day] results in California were lukewarm … But representatives from those campaigns say Sanders and his allies had an outsize impact that helped them stay competitive … In the run-up to the November election, Our Revolution raised more than $1.3 million — about 11% of that went to California races … California will continue to be a major focus for the Washington, D.C.-based group, in part because the top-two primary system and the dominance of the Democratic party in the state provides a clearer path for a progressive resurgence.”