Progressive Breakfast for July 20

Morning Message

Geithner’s Grift, Paydays and Democratic Drift

What does it mean when Tim Geithner, who President Obama chose to guide the nation out of the 2008 economic crisis, becomes president of a company that hoodwinks the victims of the financial system he helped rescue? If you care about economic justice - and if you want the Democratic Party to win more elections - the answer is: More than you think. It demonstrates that many of the supposed good guys, and the party that claims to stand up for working people, are deeply embedded in, and beholden to, the exploitative culture of American finance.

GOP Withdraws Judge Nominee For Views On Race

White House withdraws Appeals Court nominee who deplored multiculturalism. NYT: “The sprint by President Trump and Senate Republicans to install conservative judges to the nation’s courts hit an unexpected speed bump on Thursday after a nominee for a key federal appeals court was pulled to avoid an embarrassing defeat on the Senate floor. The nomination of Ryan W. Bounds to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit faced opposition over his writings in college, which included a column in which he railed against ‘race-focused groups’ on campus and ‘race-think.’ The Senate’s only black Republican, Tim Scott of South Carolina, had concerns about those writings and Mr. Bounds’s inability to clarify how his thinking had changed since then, according to a Senate Republican aide. ‘After talking with the nominee last night and meeting with him today, I had unanswered questions that led to me being unable to support him,’ Mr. Scott said in a statement. Republican leaders have no room for error when the Democratic caucus is united in opposition, given that the party has only a 51-to-49 majority, and one Republican senator, John McCain of Arizona, has been absent while battling brain cancer. At least one other Republican, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, agreed to join Mr. Scott in opposition to Mr. Bounds’s nomination, according to another Republican aide.”

Trump Wants To Gut Endangered Species Act

Trump administration opens door for corporate attack on vulnerable wildlife. Common Dreams:
Gutting the law that has protected the bald eagle, the American crocodile, the gray wolf, and countless other animals from extinction over the past four decades, the Trump administration gave its latest handout to corporate interests on Thursday when it unveiled sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ‘These regulations are the heart of how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. Imperiled species depend on them for their very lives,’ said Jamie Rappaport Clark, a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who is now president of Defenders of Wildlife, in a statement. ‘The signal being sent by the Trump administration is clear: Protecting America’s wildlife and wild lands is simply not on their agenda.'”

40m Americans Live In Poverty

Why the war on poverty in the US isn’t over, in 4 charts. The Conversation: “On July 12, President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers concluded that America’s long-running war on poverty “is largely over and a success.’ While the council’s conclusion makes for a dramatic headline, it simply does not align with the reality of poverty in the U.S. today. Poverty exists in all areas of the country, but the population living in high-poverty neighborhoods has increased over time. Following the Great Recession, some 14 million people lived in extremely poor neighborhoods, more than twice as many as had done so in 2000. Some areas saw some dramatic growth in their poor populations living in high-poverty areas. Given the complexity of poverty as a civic issue, decision makers should understand the full range of evidence about the circumstances of the poor. This is especially important before undertaking a major change to the social safety net such as broad-based work requirements for those receiving non-cash assistance.”

2018 Elections At Risk From Hackers

Week of Trump reversals puts 2018 election security in the spotlight. NPR: “With less than four months to go, how much are this year’s midterm elections at risk for the kind of interference sowed by Russia in 2016? It’s a question that’s coming up again because of President Trump’s seemingly shifting positions this week about Russia’s responsibility for the interference in 2016 and special counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic Party and state election computer networks. It would be ‘foolish’ to think Russia is not trying to influence the 2018 elections, said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Thursday, at the Aspen Security Forum. ‘They have the capability and they have the will,’ Nielsen also said. But two years after the first tendrils of the Russian influence and disruption campaign were detected, the U.S. response remains incomplete because of partisan politics, bureaucratic confusion and differing priorities among state and local governments. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats offered a stark warning last week, comparing this moment to the period immediately preceding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. ‘I’m here to say the warning lights are blinking red again. Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack,’ he said.”

16 Million Voters Purged Before 2016 Election

States purged 16 million voters from the rolls before the 2016 election. ThinkProgress: “States purged more than 16 million voters from the rolls between 2014 and 2016. That number, calculated in a new report published Friday by the Brennan Center for Justice, is a significant increase from previous years and an indication that large numbers of eligible voters are likely being disenfranchised by inaccurate and unlawful voter roll maintenance. The report comes just a few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ohio’s voter purge system, clearing the way for more states to move forward with the types of purges that disproportionately impact low-income and minority voters. For the two years before the 2016 election, the number of purged voters across the county increased 33 percent over the two years before the 2008 presidential election, according to the report. The increase in purged voters was most significant in parts of the country with a history of racial discrimination that, until the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, were required to seek pre-approval of changes to their voting laws from the Department of Justice. The report, which examined purge data submitted to the Election Assistance Commission, found that states historically subject to preclearance were purging voters at a higher rate than other states. If the jurisdictions with a history of discrimination had purged voters at the same rate as other jurisdictions, 2 million fewer voters would have been removed from the rolls from 2012 to 2016.”

More from OurFuture.org:

It’s Time for a Mass Movement to Impeach Trump. Miles Mogulescu: “Trump’s “Helsinki Betrayal” and “Nato Snub” seal the case that this traitorous, dangerous, anti-American, authoritarian, ignorant, narcissistic, racist, pussy-grabbing, mentally unhinged Putin Puppet has committed high crimes and misdemeanors and must be removed from access to the nuclear button before he irreparably harms the world and destroys what’s left of American democracy.”