Progressive Breakfast for January 15

Morning Message

Would Dr. King Take a Knee? 6 Ways His Radical Spirit Lives Today

This Monday, the nation celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. If he hadn’t been murdered, he would be 89 years old. How would Dr. King view today’s activists? Would he join them to walk picket lines for a higher minimum wage, or take a knee as the national anthem is played? Dr. King’s call for jobs, income and housing for all is as radical today as it was fifty years ago, and lives on in every place radicals gather to change the world.

Immigration Talks Founder After Trump’s Racist Blurt

Hopes dim for DACA deal as lawmakers battle over Trump’s immigration remarks. NYT: “After three days of denunciations from around the world, President Trump declared that he is ‘not a racist’ on Sunday, even as the uproar over his vulgar remarks on immigration overshadowed critical issues facing the capital, including efforts to protect young undocumented immigrants and avert a government shutdown… Earlier Sunday, Mr. Trump declared on Twitter that the Obama-era program shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation was ‘probably dead,’ while a Republican senator who attended the Thursday meeting where the president discussed immigration denied that Mr. Trump had used the word ‘shithole’ in describing African nations.”

DHS Agrees To Accept DACA Renewals

DACA Recipients Can Apply For Renewal, Government Says. NPR: “The Department of Homeland Security says it will once again accept renewal requests from recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in response to a court order. ‘Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017,’ U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a part of DHS, wrote on its website Saturday. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September that the Trump administration would wind down the DACA program. The administration said it was executive overreach and called on Congress to come up with a solution to the status of DACA recipients, also called DREAMers. But a federal judge in San Francisco halted that plan late Tuesday and ordered the administration to resume processing DACA renewals while a lawsuit against the September decision moves forward.”

Trump Softens Stance On NAFTA

Trump softens hard line on NAFTA. Axios: “The White House will never admit this publicly, but the president is developing a softer attitude towards the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Five sources who’ve spoken privately with Trump about NAFTA say he’s taking more seriously the risks of withdrawing the U.S. from the trade deal with Canada and Mexico. A conga-line of Republican senators have met with the president and explained to him why they consider NAFTA so important to their states. Two arguments have helped change Trump’s thinking: Withdrawing from NAFTA might interrupt the stock market’s record-breaking run under his presidency. When it comes to bragging rights, Trump views the Dow Jones Industrial average as a useful substitute for his poll numbers. Though he told the WSJ that he thought U.S. markets would go up if he terminated NAFTA, sources who’ve spoken with the president say that privately he’s less certain of that — and is loathe to jeopardize the stock market’s record-breaking streak. Withdrawing from NAFTA would harm farmers and agricultural communities — whom Trump considers ‘my people.'”

Pruitt Wants To Cut EPA Staff By Half

Shrinking EPA Workforce Has Already Reached Reagan-Era Levels. Bloomberg: “Retirements and departures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have shrunk its workforce to levels not seen since the Reagan administration. As of Jan. 3, the agency employed 14,162 employees, down from about 15,000 people when President Donald Trump took office. If all employees who are eligible to opt to retire by the end of current term in 2021 then the workforce will have shrunk by nearly half… Pruitt is among several Trump cabinet officials who have embraced the idea of shrinking or restructuring their agencies. The Interior Department this week revealed plans to decentralize the 70,000-employee agency and dramatically change the way it manages 500 million acres of public land and water across the country.”

SCOTUS To Hear Texas Racial Gerrymander Case

Supreme Court to hear challenge to Texas’ racial gerrymander. ThinkProgress: “The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will hear two cases, both titled Abbott v. Perez, which claim that Texas’ congressional and state legislative districts were drawn to dilute Hispanic voters’ influence. Both cases involve an unusual circumstance where a court-drawn map is being challenged as a racial gerrymander.”

Sanders’ Issues Call For Global Sharing

Let’s wrench power back from the billionaires. The Guardian: “This is a pivotal moment in world history. With the explosion in advanced technology and the breakthroughs this has brought, we now have the capability to substantially increase global wealth fairly. The means are at our disposal to eliminate poverty, increase life expectancy and create an inexpensive and non-polluting global energy system. This is what we can do if we have the courage to stand together and take on the powerful special interests who simply want more and more for themselves. This is what we must do for the sake of our children, grandchildren and the future of our planet.”