Progressive Breakfast for March 18

Morning Message

To Clean Up the Planet, Clean Up Washington

For decades, majorities of Americans have favored swift, meaningful action on climate change. They understand that we must transition away from dirty fuels and toward clean, renewable energy. Yet despite this overwhelming support, Congress has repeatedly failed to act. This jarring disconnect between what the public wants to see and what Washington is prepared to deliver doesn’t just threaten the health and safety of everyone in our country — it undermines the very principle of representative democracy. The reason that Congress hasn’t acted is an open secret. Follow the trail of the millions of dollars in campaign contributions from corporate polluters over the years, and you’ll find countless lawmakers who’ve worked to block action on climate change. The special interests that are hostile to our environment have designed a sophisticated toolkit for furthering their narrow agenda, while avoiding accountability. This assault on our democracy must end. With H.R. 1, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to clean up Washington, make our democratic process more fair and inclusive, and insist that Congress respond to the will of the many, not the money. Doing so will remove long standing barriers that have slowed and blunted climate action.

Dem Candidates Condemn White Nationalism

2020 Democrats condemn ‘white nationalism’ after New Zealand shooting.ThinkProgress: “Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke drew a connection between Friday’s deadly anti-Muslim shooting in New Zealand and the racist and xenophobic rhetoric regularly used by President Donald Trump and tolerated by his supporters. ‘We must call out this hatred, this Islamophobia, this intolerance, and the violence that predictably follows from the rhetoric that we use. We must be better than that. We know that we need leadership that reflects it,’ said O’Rourke, as he perched on a counter in a coffeeshop while on the campaign trail in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Although the former congressman did not use Trump’s name, O’Rourke was clear about the connection between Trump and the attack. Forty-nine people were killed in the attack at two mosques in Christchurch. Police in New Zealand said Friday that a 28-year-old man was in custody and charged with murder. The alleged shooter was a self-described terrorist who wrote a manifesto about white supremacy, in which he praised Trump, calling the president a ‘symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.'”

GOP Rhetoric Fuels Rise Of White Supremacy

Politicians and pundits must stop their anti-Muslim rhetoric, The Intercept: “‘It’s the birthrates.’ So begins the online manifesto of the man accused of shooting and killing at least 49 Muslims in a terror attack targeted at two mosques in New Zealand. When I read his manifesto, I couldn’t help but think of high-profile American politicians, such as the president of the United States who said, “Islam hates us,” referred to “people coming out of mosques with hatred and death in their eyes and on their minds,” and compared a caravan of migrants to an “invasion.” Or Sen. Ted Cruz, who called on “law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Or Sen. Marco Rubio who said he was in favor of “closing down anyplace — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — anyplace where radicals are being inspired.” Or Sen. Lindsey Graham who declared: “If I have to monitor a mosque, I’ll monitor a mosque.” Or former Gov. Mike Huckabee who described Muslims in the Middle East coming out of mosques on Fridays “like uncorked animals.” Violence does not exist in a vacuum. In fact, since the 9/11 attacks, the right has demanded that progressives and Muslims crack down on ‘preachers of hate.’ Remember the so-called conveyor belt that leads from nonviolent rhetoric to violent acts by Muslims? Remember how ‘ideology matters’? Isn’t it past time for conservatives to take their own advice?”

McConnell Blocks HR1 In Senate

Blocking H.R. 1, the GOP seems afraid of democracy. Palm Beach Post: “For anyone who doubts that Americans are fighting a war today over the future of democracy, take a look at what’s happening in the U.S. Congress. On March 8, the House of Representatives voted for the Democrats’ major reform bill, 234-193 — an important blow against the incessant erosions of our political process. All 13 of Florida’s Democratic congressmembers voted for it; none of the 14 Republicans did. And in the Republican-controlled Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t even bring the measure, H.R.1, up for debate. Instead, he and his allies are attacking the ‘terrible bill.’ What makes this bill so dastardly? Why, it seeks to lessen the influence of super-rich donors. To tighten ethics rules for Congress and force presidential candidates to reveal their tax returns. Most important, it would ban the most common forms of voter suppression and greatly expand voter participation. McConnell reads all this as threat. He calls the bill a ‘power grab.’ Think about that. The Kentucky Republican is practically shouting for all the world to hear: ‘If more people vote, they’ll vote against our party. And that’s not fair!’ Basically, McConnell is admitting that Republicans’ efforts to tamp down the votes of blacks, Hispanics, young people and the poor — nationally and in Florida, particularly under Gov. Rick Scott — had nothing to do with their standard rationale that they are fighting “voter fraud.” No. He’s saying that democracy is bad for the Republican Party.”

Trade Talks With China Stagnate

Trade fight with China enters overtime, with tariffs a costly sticking point. NYT: “The United States and China are pushing for a summit meeting in late April to complete a trade deal, while negotiators are still grappling over its terms and how they should be enforced. Although much remains unsettled, one thing is becoming clear: The Trump administration will continue to hold the threat of tariffs over Beijing to ensure that it lives up to whatever commitments it agrees to in the final deal. That approach is prompting concern among American businesses that the economic damage and uncertainty caused by President Trump’s trade war could persist even once negotiations are resolved. The tariffs, if they remain in place, would reduce United States gross domestic product by at least $1 trillion within 10 years.”