Progressive Breakfast for August 16

Morning Message

Movements Are Driving Democratic Party Debate

Movements, not politicians, are driving the furious debate within the Democratic Party. The outcome is far from clear, but bemoaning this battle is like decrying the rising of the sun. People are engaged, and the demand for change is real.

Trump Insists on Equivalency for White Supremacists

Trump offers cover to white hate groups in unscripted press conference. CNN: “The President’s careening news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday left him deep in a race controversy of his own making, pushing him closer to the white nationalist fringe of American politics. His insistence that there was “blame on both sides” for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend again drew an equivalence between torch-wielding neo-Nazis and protestors who condemned their bigotry. His comments did more than obliterate the scripted cleanup effort he mounted at the White House Monday… and appeared to represent an authentic window into his innermost thoughts and feelings.”

Business Leaders Abandon Trump

AFL-CIO president, business leaders quit Trump’s advisory councils. Associated Press: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday ripped into business leaders who resigned from his White House jobs panel — the latest sign that corporate America’s romance with Trump is faltering — after his equivocal response to violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia… After his remarks, a fifth member of his manufacturing panel resigned: AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who said in a statement, ‘We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism.'”

White Supremacists Rejoice

Neo-Nazi leaders thank Trump for ‘courage.’ NYT: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth,’ David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, said on Twitter on Tuesday. ‘Trump’s statement was fair and down to earth,’ tweeted another white nationalist leader who participated in last weekend’s demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va. Their remarks came after a wild shouting match of a news conference during which the president again blamed ‘both sides’ for the deadly violence, equating activists protesting racism with neo-Nazis and white supremacists.”

Trump’s Threat to Cut Health Payments May Cost $194 Bln

CBO reports Trump threat to end ACA payments will add to deficit. NPR: “If President Trump decides to cut off payments to insurance companies called for under the Affordable Care Act, it’s going to cost him. Or, more accurately, it’s going to cost taxpayers — about $194 billion over 10 years. The cost is ‘eye-poppingly large,’ says Nicholas Bagley, a professor of health law at the University of Michigan. ‘This single policy could effectively end up costing 20 percent of the entire bill of the ACA.'” The deficit figure comes from the Congressional Budget Office, which on Tuesday released an estimate of the budget impact of ending what is known as cost-sharing reduction payments.”

Talks to Renegotiate NAFTA Begin

5 big questions about the NAFTA talks. Politico: “One of President Donald Trump’s core campaign promises is about to be tested as talks with Canada and Mexico on NAFTA open Wednesday. Trump’s negotiators will be tasked with transforming the 25-year-old agreement that he has called ‘the worst trade deal’ in history into one that he can trumpet as ‘saving and creating jobs.’ At the same time, Trump will have to please constituencies who are both for and against lifting trade barriers. Talks are scheduled to continue until Sunday, but this week is just the beginning of a drawn-out process. Negotiators from the three countries will be meeting over multiple rounds in the coming months.

Baltimore Removes Confederate Monuments

Baltimore takes down Confederate statues in middle of night. The Guardian: “Statues were being removed days after a city council vote on the issue. The memorials in the city include the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue, the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway, the Roger B Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place, and the Robert E Lee and Thomas J ‘Stonewall’ Jackson Monument in the Wyman Park Dell. Confederate-era monuments fell back into the spotlight at the weekend when a civil rights activist died during violence at a far-right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia against plans to removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, who commanded the Confederate army of northern Virginia.”

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized

Lincoln Memorial vandalized with profanity. BBC: “The vandals appear to have used red spray paint to write ‘[expletive] law’ early on Tuesday morning, the National Park Service said in a statement… U.S. Civil War memorials have become a lightning rod in the US race debate. Other ‘undecipherable graffiti’ was found written in silver paint on a nearby sign directing tourists to the Smithsonian Institution on Washington’s National Mall public park. President Lincoln led the northern Union government to defeat the secessionist Confederacy and ordered African-American slaves to be freed in 1863. He was assassinated in Washington only five days after southern General Robert E Lee surrendered, effectively ending the war.”

More from OurFuture.org:

What You Can Do Now to Help Dismantle Racism. Del McWhorter: “Thousands of groups across the country and world have held vigils to express solidarity with Charlottesville. Many have asked us what they can do to fight back against white supremacy. We ask you to join us and do at least one thing — today — that will have an effect. And please make a commitment to do as much as you can every day. Hate has no place in this world.”