Progressive Breakfast for February 21

Morning Message Richard Eskow

A Pledge to Transform the Resistance, and America

Resistance to Trump is vital, but it is not enough; it only defines what we're against. If today's resistance is to become a lasting movement, voters must decide what we're for. A new pledge from leading progressives points the way, with the positive values we share.

Democrat Flips KY Statehouse Seat

Dem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points. THe Hill: “Kentucky Democrats on Tuesday reclaimed a rural district in the state House of Representatives that went heavily for President Trump in 2016. Linda Belcher (D), a former state legislator who lost her seat in the Trump landslide in Kentucky, reclaimed the Bullitt County district by a more than two-to-one margin, defeating her GOP opponent Rebecca Johnson 68 percent to 32 percent. The Democrat had lost her seat in 2016 by just 150 votes, or less than 1 percentage point, even as Trump carried the district with 72 percent of the vote there compared to Hillary Clinton’s 23 percent. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also won the district in 2016 with 64 percent of the vote.”

NYCLU Challenges Immigrant Detentions

NYCLU challenges open-ended detentions of immigrant minors. NYT: “”in a lawsuit filed last week against federal agencies, the New York Civil Liberties Union said that federal officials are holding young adults — even those without suspected gang ties — indefinitely and illegally. The civil rights organization filed a class-action suit in Federal District Court in Manhattan on behalf of a 17-year-old native of El Salvador, who has been in federal custody since July, after he was arrested by agents for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement at his home on Long Island. He did not get a hearing before an immigration judge until December, when Judge Amiena A. Khan of New York declared he was not a safety or flight risk. But he has still not been released, and his lawyers say that the government is holding him because of its political agenda to deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible.”

Insurgents Gain In IL Governor’s Race

Insurgents jolt Illinois governor’s race. Politico: “The Illinois governor’s race was supposed to be a clash of two fabulously rich politicians, an election so expensive that it might end up costing more than a quarter-billion dollars. But with just four weeks to go until the March 20 primary, it’s not even certain that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker will be their parties’ nominees in the general election. Both are fighting off longshot rivals who have, against all odds, put a scare into their cash-flush campaigns — and reminded them of the roiling grassroots anger in both political parties. ‘I think the people of Illinois are being confronted with the choice between a middle class progressive and another out-of-touch billionaire and it’s not a hard call for people,’ said Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss, who has seen a steady rise in both polling and campaign funding in his bid against Pritzker. ‘There’s all kinds of energy out there. This is what we all thought was going to happen. Donald Trump is the president, Bruce Rauner is governor. Inexperienced billionaires are not what people are going for.'”

Trump Backs Health Plans That Deny Pre-Existing Conditions

Trump pushes insurance that doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. NBC: “The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is moving to expand the use of low-budget temporary insurance, which could offer customers a cut-rate alternative to plans on the Affordable Care Act’s exchange, but undermine more comprehensive insurance for others… The plans are normally supposed to cover a brief lapse in coverage, but the order makes it easier to rely on them as primary insurance. Health experts say they’re likely to be cheaper, but they could raise premiums for patients who need comprehensive plans through Obamacare by siphoning away young and healthy customers into a separate market.”

Spending Deal May Prompt DREAMer Showdown

A massive, must-pass spending package is likely to reprise the fight over DACA and Donald Trump’s wall. Politico: “The next immigration battle might be right around the corner. The Senate’s protracted debate last week deadlocked with a predictable flurry of finger-pointing and insults. But the chamber will likely reprise the fight ahead of the next and presumably final deadline to avoid another government shutdown on March 23. A must-pass, roughly $1.3 trillion spending bill may be the last chance before the midterm elections for the two parties to achieve their top immigration-related priorities: protecting Dreamers from deportation or build President Donald Trump’s border wall. Whether they can succeed after their repeated failures is anyone’s guess, but they’re expected to try. One possibility would be a scaled-down compromise that would extend protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants for an additional three years in exchange for three years of wall funding. That would punt the decision on a permanent fix past Trump’s first term as president. Other potential scenarios are an even shorter fix for the Dreamers, or, given the chamber’s track record, no deal at all.”

Trump Plan A Net Loss In Infrastructure Investment

WH infrastructure plan results in net loss in infrastructure investment. The Hill: “The funding for the president’s proposal is another example of his gift for prevarication. With one hand, he offers $200 billion in funding for the $1.5 trillion price tag. With the other hand, Trump’s budget, rolled out the same day, deeply cuts existing infrastructure spending. The result is a net loss of $1.40 for every $1 in proposed spending: No new jobs, no real investment that creates economic opportunity for us or our local communities. The White House simply moved dollars from one column to another and hoped we’d all miss the fast shuffle.”