Progressive Breakfast for May 24

Morning Message

The New Agenda For Taking On Wall Street

More than 20 progressive organizations representing millions of voters are putting their weight behind a five-point agenda for the next stage of Wall Street reform. What these groups will formally announce Tuesday, in an event featuring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sets a high but practical standard for what a candidate would have to embrace to be considered a progressive on reining in the financial sector.

Sanders Strengthens Convention Position

DNC concedes more platform committee slots to Sanders. W. Post: “The senator from Vermont was allowed to choose nearly as many members of the Democratic Party platform-writing body as Clinton … Sanders’s slate includes James Zogby, a longtime activist for Palestinian rights as well as a DNC member … Native American activist [Deborah Parker] and author and racial justice activist Cornel West … Sanders also named Rep. Keith Ellison [and] author and environmental activist Bill McKibben…”

Sanders encourages Democrats to allow a “messy” convention. AP quotes: “I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it’s going to be messy. Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic Party should go … if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about.”

Sanders criticizes Clinton’s decision to reject California debate. The Hill quotes: “I was disturbed, but not surprised that Secretary Clinton has backed out of the debate. I think it’s a little bit insulting to the people of California…”

Clinton Blasts Trump On Mortgages

Clinton attacks Trump on housing crisis. W. Post: “About a dozen surrogates and local elected officials in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and elsewhere will host calls, events and release statements focused on Trump’s response to the housing crisis that precipitated the economic recession … Clinton’s allies plan to highlight that Trump Mortgage approved subprime mortgages to unqualified borrowers. The mortgages were one of the key financial instruments linked to the crash.”

W. Post’s Dana Milbank tags Trump “welfare king”: “Several tax experts I spoke with said it’s entirely possible that Trump has continued to report negative income — and therefore not pay taxes — because of loopholes and dubious deductions that benefit powerful real estate interests … Trump has claimed to represent the American worker and has condemned corporate executives who ‘make a fortune’ but ‘pay no tax.'”

Progressives Step Pressure To Block TPP

“Labor, environmental groups call on Congress to oppose TPP” reports The Hill: “Labor unions and environmental groups are among the more than 1,500 organizations calling on Congress to reject [TPP. They] argued in a letter sent to Capitol Hill on Monday that [it] would kill U.S. jobs, hurt the environment and endanger food safety … In a separate letter sent earlier Monday, more than 400 businesses in 10 states signed off in calling for lawmakers to support [TPP.]”

TPP could mean more shoes made by cheap labor in Vietnam. McClatchy: “The deal would allow Vietnam’s manufacturing industry – already booming because of low labor costs – to export more products to the United States, primarily clothes, textiles and shoes … Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he’s concerned the administration had not pushed the Vietnamese government, which he said continues to subject labor activists to to monitoring, intimidation, harassment and assault.”

Exxon equates organizing with conspiracy. NYT: “So say defenders of the energy company, who in recent weeks have tried to flip the script on the activists whose work helped set the stage for the current investigations of possible conflicts between Exxon Mobil’s public and private statements on climate change. They say the environmentalists have been holding a series of meetings and discussions to plot their strategy … But any accusations that the group engaged in a conspiracy would seem to violate the first rule of conspiracies: that they operate in secret.”