Progressive Breakfast for October 23

Morning Message

Riding Backroads for Change in Rural Wisconsin

There’s so much at stake in November. Western Wisconsin is an area that voted for Obama twice, and then turned around and voted for Trump. It takes people like me who live there and have lived there my whole life to step forward and say, “That’s not who we are.” The thinking behind a lot of the Democratic Party’s campaigning is that they have to run to the middle, and they have to sound conservative to get those votes – I am going to prove them wrong. We’re going to have a progressive, liberal Democrat representing western Wisconsin, in a very rural district, because I talk to people. I’m out there, out in the open, with my truck with a big sign that says, “Stop and Talk to Me!” People are welcome, and that’s all they really want - someone they can talk to, who listens to them, and responds to them.

Gorsuch, SCOTUS Shield Ross From Census Scrutiny

SCOTUS shields Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from answering questions in census controversy. WaPo: “The Supreme Court on Monday shielded Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from answering lawyers’ questions in a lawsuit challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form. The government had asked the Supreme Court to block questioning of Ross as part of a lawsuit filed by several states, including New York, and civil rights groups. The groups are seeking to stop the administration from adding a citizenship question to the decennial count. It is one of six legal challenges to the question, which Ross announced March 26 would be added to the survey to help enforce the Voting Rights Act. The states and groups say it will intimidate some from participating and result in an inaccurate census. The court’s action makes it unlikely that Ross will have to give a deposition in the case but allows the suit to go forward, at least temporarily. The court said it would entertain other objections from the government before the trial, which is scheduled to start in New York on Nov. 5.”

GOP Still Wants To Gut Medicare, ACA

GOP leader Mitch McConnell just made the case for a Democratic Senate. USA Today: “With only a few weeks to go until the midterm elections, Democratic Senate candidates across the country just got a boost from the unlikeliest of places: Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This past week, Leader McConnell told the American people exactly what another two years of Republican control of the Senate would look like. If Republicans retain the majority, he said, there will be another attempt to repeal the health care law, which could result in 20 million fewer Americans with health insurance. He then defended the partisan lawsuit that could end protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions — a lawsuit supported by 20 Republican officials, including two attorneys general who are running for Senate seats. Finally, after Republicans already passed a law that blew a $2 trillion hole in the deficit to provide tax breaks to the wealthiest few and the biggest corporations, Leader McConnell said that Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare need to be cut to reduce the growing deficit.”

Mnuchin Meets Saudi Prince Amid Murder Allegations

. CNN:Treasury’s Mnuchin meets with Saudi Crown Prince amid outcry over Khashoggi “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday amid an international outcry over dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death. A photograph of the meeting between Mnuchin and the Crown Prince was posted on Twitter by the Saudi foreign ministry. Saudi officials said the meeting “stresses the importance of the Saudi-US strategic partnership, where it holds an important role in the future in line with the Kingdom’s #Vision2030,” according to its caption. Mnuchin’s arrival in Riyadh comes after he joined other government officials from multiple countries as well as top banking and finance executives in bowing out of a high-profile investor conference in Saudi Arabia amid growing controversy over Khashoggi’s disappearance and apparent murder. The Washington Post columnist was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, the day a Saudi hit squad allegedly arrived at the consulate.”

Trans Activists Protest New Trump Gender Policy

#WontBeErased: Massive rallyoutside White House to counter attempt to deny Trans people’s existence. Common Dreams: “Assembling in front of the White House on Monday, members of the LGBTQ community and their allies gathered to deliver a clear message to President Donald Trump: transgender people ‘Won’t Be Erased.’ The phrase became a rallying cry at demonstrations and on social media the day after reports surfaced of a Trump administration proposal to officially deny the existence of transgender people—defining gender as biological and determined only by genitalia and sex assigned at birth, not relating to how one identifies. Led by groups including the National Center for Transgender Equality and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, protesters waved signs reading, ‘Trans rights are human rights’ and ‘No body is illegal.'”

Heritage Foundation Seeks To Stack Courts

Corporate-funded judicial bootcamp made sitting judges more conservative. The Intercept: “A Heritage Foundation training academy designed to indoctrinate law clerks with conservative legal theories got a lot of attention last week, leading Heritage to shutter the program. Legal experts condemned the dubious ethics of an ideological think tank openly influencing the judiciary by molding the youngest minds in the system. The critics were right to warn of the consequences of the indoctrination, because it’s been tried before — not just on law clerks, but on judges themselves. And it worked. In 1976, the Law and Economics Center, a corporate-funded academic organization now housed at George Mason University, began holding an intensive, all-expenses-paid, two- to three-week economics seminar for federal judges in Plantation Island, Florida. Organized by conservative economist Henry Manne, the Economics Institute for Federal Judges featured some of America’s most renowned professors teaching classical economic theories that could be applied to the courtroom. Though controversial in its day, the seminar recurred until 1999, and at its peak, over 40 percent of all federal judges had attended. According to a new working paper by three researchers, this indoctrination into law and economics — which emphasized cost-benefit analysis and economic efficiency; warned of the downsides of union protections and environmental regulations; and found benefits to deterrence — had a quantifiable effect on future rulings.”