Progressive Breakfast for August 15

Morning Message

Progressives Win Big in Wisconsin Primary

Mandela Barnes, Marisabel Cabrera, Jeff Smith and Sarah Godlewski: remember these names. These four members of Citizen Action Wisconsin, who all won primary races Tuesday night by wide margins, are proof the blue wave Democrats hope will crest in November continues to rise. But there’s more to this story. These four are the tip of a progressive iceberg, which is much bigger just below the surface. And like an iceberg, they’re getting ready to crash the GOP’s “unsinkable” ship of gerrymandering and dark money and send it straight to the bottom of Lake Superior.

Diversity Wins In Tuesday’s Primaries

Diverse candidates rule the night and other takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries. CNN: “The nation’s first transgender governor, its first Somali-American woman in Congress and its first black woman in Connecticut’s congressional delegation could all be on the horizon after Tuesday’s slate of four primaries. Christine Hallquist’s bid to become the nation’s first transgender governor cleared a major hurdle Tuesday when Vermont Democrats nominated her to take on incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott. Hallquist is now the first openly transgender person to be nominated for governor by a major party. It’s a breakthrough of both substantial and symbolic importance for LGBTQ Americans — and particularly the trans community, which has long been shut out of the highest levels of elected office. Another “first” from Tuesday night: In Minnesota’s 5th District, Democrats nominated state Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American progressive woman. She’s likely to join Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib as the first Muslim women in Congress. The 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, defeated an opponent endorsed by the local Democratic Party to win a House primary in Connecticut. She’d become the first black Democratic member of the state’s congressional delegation.”

GOP Reshapes Judiciary With Little Scrutiny

With little fanfare, Trump and McConnell reshape the nation’s circuit courts. WaPo: “As the Senate moves toward confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are leading a lower-key yet deeply consequential charge to remake the entire federal judiciary. The Senate will return Wednesday from an abbreviated summer recess to confirm two more federal appeals court judges by the end of the week. That would come on top of a record-breaking string of confirmations: The Senate already has installed 24 appellate judges since Trump was sworn in, the highest number for a president’s first two years in office. While much of the focus has been on Kavanaugh and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, the Senate’s rapid approval of appellate judges is likely to have its own broad impact on the nation, as the 13 circuit courts will shape decisions on immigration, voting rights, abortion and the environment for generations. For McConnell, this is the culmination of a years-long gambit that started with stymieing President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees, most notably Supreme Court choice Merrick Garland, and creating a backlog of vacancies on the nation’s highest courts.”

Trump EPA To Ease Pollution Limits

Draft details Trump’s plan for reversing Obama climate rule. Politico: “The Trump administration is preparing to unveil its plan for undoing Barack Obama’s most ambitious climate regulation — offering a replacement that would do far less to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, according to POLITICO’s review of a portion of the unpublished draft. The new climate proposal for coal-burning power plants, expected to be released in the coming days, would give states wide latitude to write their own modest regulations for coal plants or even seek permission to opt out, according to the document and a source who has read other sections of the draft. That’s a sharp contrast from the aims of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a 2015 regulation that would have sped a shift away from coal use and toward less-polluting sources such as natural gas, wind and solar. That plan was the centerpiece of Obama’s pledge for the U.S. to cut carbon dioxide emissions as part of the Paris climate agreement, which President Donald Trump has said he plans to exit. The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that both carbon emissions and pollutants such as soot and smog would be higher under its new proposal than under the Clean Power Plan. And Trump’s critics call it a recipe for abandoning the effort to take on one of the world’s most urgent problems.”

UCIS Traps Immigrants For ICE at Status Hearings

Officials set up ‘trap’ to arrest immigrants at legal status interviews. CNN: “A Boston-area US Citizenship and Immigration Services office appears to have been coordinating with local ICE officials to arrest undocumented immigrant spouses married to US citizens when they appeared at government offices to interview for legal status, according to newly released internal emails. The documents, included in a court filing made in an immigration case brought by the ACLU, which is working with the law firm WilmerHale in Massachusetts, show officials from the Boston-area offices of ICE and US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency responsible for processing legal immigration requests, discussed scheduling interviews with immigrants at times that were convenient for ICE agents who would be waiting to arrest them — and in some cases initiate the deportation process. The ACLU calls the moves a ‘trap’ in their filing and highlights emails that show ICE officials asking to spread the interviews over time to avoid media scrutiny and for logistical reasons, and, in one case, requesting USCIS delay an immigrant’s meeting by 15 minutes because ICE agents were ‘getting a late start.'”

Stephen Miller Denies Family’s Immigrant Origins

Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle. Politico: “Let me tell you a story about Stephen Miller and chain migration. It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America. He set foot on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903, with $8 to his name. Though fluent in Polish, Russian and Yiddish, he understood no English. An elder son, Nathan, soon followed. By street corner peddling and sweatshop toil, Wolf-Leib and Nathan sent enough money home to pay off debts and buy the immediate family’s passage to America in 1906. What does this classically American tale have to do with Stephen Miller? Well, Izzy Glosser is his maternal grandfather, and Stephen’s mother, Miriam, is my sister. I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.”

Omarosa’s Virtue And Martha Mitchell

Omarosa and the forgotten Martha Mitchell: Unlikely heroes who brought down a president? Salon: “As I watched Omarosa on the various news programs and talk shows this week I was reminded of another famous gadfly who made the White House very nervous in similar circumstances. Back in the early 1970s, a garrulous Southern belle who was married to one of the most powerful men in Washington used to have a drink or two and then call up reporters to share information she’d overheard eavesdropping on her husband’s meetings. I’m speaking of Martha Mitchell, the wife of John Mitchell, who was attorney general in the first Nixon administration and ran the Committee to Re-elect the President, also known as CREEP. Martha Mitchell too was something of a TV star and household name, known for speaking her mind and causing no end of heartburn for the Nixon administration, largely because they didn’t know what she knew and who she was going to tell it to. As it happened she knew a lot because her husband was a corrupt schemer who was in charge of any number of nefarious doings in his capacity as Nixon’s campaign chairman. As the Watergate scandal unfolded, Martha Mitchell was considered a ticking time bomb and Nixon’s supporters went to great lengths to portray her as a lunatic who was not to be believed. At one point a bodyguard physically restrained her from speaking to UPI reporter Helen Thomas by yanking the phone out of the wall. Later, on her husband’s supposed orders, Mitchell was held down, tranquilized and kept under lock and key for several days. Richard Nixon himself told David Frost in their famous series of interviews, ‘If it hadn’t been for Martha there’d have been no Watergate. The point of the matter is that if John had been watchin’ that store, Watergate would never have happened.’ If that’s so, here’s to Martha Mitchell, unsung hero of that scandal. And if reality show villain Omarosa can prove that Donald Trump knew about the Russian hacking operation in advance, then whatever her motives are she’ll be a hero too.”