Progressive Breakfast for August 17

Morning Message

Busting Myths About the Confederacy

Truth is the best remedy for hate. As white supremacists and neo-Nazis try to infest our communities with hate, it is important to contest their revisionist history. We should take down their symbols, but also examine the untruths taught today in our schools about the Civil War.

Mayors Move to Defend Cities From Alt-Right

Mayors taking swift action to avoid becoming the next Charlottesville. WaPo: “City officials across the country are nervously trying to figure out how to avoid becoming the next Charlottesville as alt-right leaders and white nationalist groups vow to stage more rallies in coming days. A group claiming it is advocating free speech has planned a rally for Saturday on the historic Boston Common, with a group advocating racial justice planning its own gathering in opposition. Boston officials said they have laid down strict conditions, including no sticks, weapons or backpacks.’Make no mistake: We do not welcome any hate groups to Boston, and we reject their message,’ Mayor Marty Walsh (D) said Wednesday.”

Trump Isolation Grows

Trump isolation growing as business panels dismantled. Seattle Times: “With corporate chieftains fleeing, President Donald Trump abruptly dismantled two of his White House business councils Wednesday —an attempt to manage his increasing isolation and the continued fallout from his combative comments on racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump announced the action via tweet, although only after one of the panels had already agreed to disband earlier in the day. A growing number of business leaders on the councils had openly criticized his remarks laying blame for the violence at a white supremacists rally on ‘both sides.'”

Students March Against Hate in Charlottesville

Thousands march in Charlottesville against racism and violence. LA Times: “Declaring their resolve to ‘take back the Lawn,’ students and faculty descended by the thousands on the University of Virginia as night fell Wednesday. Holding candles, laughing and singing softly, they retraced the steps taken less than a week ago by demonstrators clutching tiki torches and chanting Nazi-era slogans. The event, organized by a coalition of students and administrators but cloaked in secrecy for security reasons until hours before, culminated before the steps of the school’s domed Rotunda at the center of campus.”

Virginia Controversy Deflects GOP Tax Push

Trump’s Virginia remarks frustrate Republicans’ tax push. Reuters: “Republican tax writers from the U.S. House of Representatives promoted their legislative goals at a special gathering in California on Wednesday, but offered few new details about provisions that may end up in their long-sought overhaul plan. As Wall Street analysts warned that President Donald Trump’s controversial statements about Virginia protests on Saturday that turned deadly were hurting Republicans’ prospects for progress on domestic policy, the lawmakers assembled in Santa Barbara to say their tax reform agenda is moving forward.”

Trump Backs Away From Threat to Defund Health Care

Trump administration agrees to continue healthcare subsidy for now. LA Times: “The Trump administration, faced with increasing pressure from Republican members of Congress, backed away from causing an immediate crisis in healthcare marketplaces and agreed Wednesday to continue making payments to insurance companies that are widely viewed as critical to keeping the industry stable. President Trump and his top aides have flirted for months with cutting off the money, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, which help subsidize insurance co-payments and deductibles for low-income and moderate-income Americans. Doing so would be one step toward causing the Affordable Care Act to ‘implode’ — as Trump has sometimes put it.

EPA Weakens Chemical Safety Law

Trump EPA undermines bipartisan framework for chemical safety enforcement. Scientific American: “The EPA is giving itself an alarming amount of discretion to decide in general what qualifies as a ‘condition of use’ and what does not. In essence, Denison says, the agency can decide not to look at something because it does not think it is important. He notes the EPA has not provided criteria for how it would make this decision. ‘It could do anything it wants,’ he says. Nicholas Ashford, director of the Technology and Law Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, voices a similar concern. ‘A shift has been made under the present administration. They have decided not to go very far in looking at all the uses a chemical might have. They’re basically subverting the purpose of the act, which is protection.'”

Bannon Stokes China Trade War

Bannon touts “economic war” with China. American Prospect: “Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury… Bannon’s plan of attack includes: a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping. ‘We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.'”