Progressive Breakfast for August 17

Morning Message Robert Borosage

How to Win Elections from the Ground Up

Tuesday's primaries are proof that populist progressives are slowly remaking the Democratic Party. They are running to win at the state and local level, building momentum for reform and a deep bench for change in the future. This is the story that's often missed in national headlines: What’s going on in states like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont exemplifies the stirring that is taking place all across the country.

Sessions Fast-Tracks Deportations

U.S. attorney general issues order to speed up immigrant deportations. Reuters: “U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday sought to speed up the deportation of illegal immigrants, telling immigration judges they should only postpone cases in removal proceedings ‘for good cause shown.’ Sessions, in an interim order that was criticized by some lawyers, said the ‘good-cause’ standard ‘limits the discretion of immigration judges and prohibits them from granting continuances for any reason or no reason at all.’ Unlike the federal judiciary system, U.S. immigration courts fall under the Department of Justice and the attorney general can intervene. Sessions, a Republican former U.S. Senator appointed by President Donald Trump, has been unusually active in this practice compared to his predecessors. Stephen Kang, an attorney with the ACLU immigrants rights project, described Sessions’ order as ‘troubling’ and one of a series that “has moved in the direction of restricting due process rights for individuals who are in removal proceedings.”

Intelligence Veterans Condemn Trump For Muzzling Free Speech

Former intelligence chiefs rally around Brennan and slap down Trump. WaPo: “A group of esteemed former intelligence officials on Thursday released a statement to respond to “the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House regarding the removal of John Brennan’s security clearances.” They praised Brennan’s service as a former head of the CIA and declared that ‘allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless.’ They noted that Brennan decided “to speak out sharply regarding what he sees as threats to our national security.’ The former officials said that some of them had done the same, but others ‘elected to take a different course and be more circumspect in our public pronouncements.’ Whatever their decision, the intelligence professionals agreed that “the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech.”

Senate Report Slams Family Separations

Bipartisan report finds Trump’s policies Made reuniting migrant families more difficult. Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump’s short-lived policy of separating families entering the country illegally worsened the U.S.’s already troubled efforts to protect unaccompanied migrant children from trafficking and abuse, a bipartisan Senate investigation found. ‘The Trump administration took steps that exacerbated’ problems that emerged during Barack Obama’s administration, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a report released Wednesday that examines the government’s treatment of what it calls unaccompanied alien children.”

Senate Panel Questions Separation Policy

Who’s responsible for unaccompanied migrant children? Senators press officials for answers. PBS: “Since 2012, more than 200,000 undocumented kids have entered the U.S. unaccompanied, without an adult. Last night, the Senate Homeland Security Committee released a three-year investigation finding that once the kids are with sponsors, no one in the federal government is keeping track of them. Now Senators are concerned U.S. agencies are failing these children.”

Trump To Restrict Medicaid

Trump administration poised to approve restrictive changes to Medicaid. ThinkProgress: “The Trump administration is preparing to approve a number of changes to Medicaid — the government health care program that provides coverage to low-income people — that could leave tens of thousands of people without coverage. As Politico first reported Friday, the administration is set to approve waivers from some states that would impose work restrictions and allow questions about illegal drug use to be included on applications for Medicaid. The report comes two days after numbers out of Arkansas showed more than 5,000 people could be in jeopardy of losing their Medicaid coverage after failing to meet the state’s work requirements.”