Progressive Breakfast for July 16

Morning Message

A Sweet New Century for America’s Most Privileged

The United States ended the 20th century on a roll — for the rich. Between 1973 and 2000, the nation’s most prosperous 1 percent tripled their incomes, after taking inflation into account. The top tenth of that 1 percent did quite a bit better. Their incomes more than quintupled between 1973 and 2000, rising 414.6 percent. And what about the other 90 percent of Americans ?Their incomes rose 2.6 percent. Something went horribly wrong over the last quarter of the 20th century. And so far in century 21, our decision makers in Washington have done their best to make things even worse.

Trump Meets Putin, Snubs Europe

Trump sees the European Union as a ‘Foe’ of U.S.. CNN: “Trump named the European Union, Russia and China as foes to the United States during an interview at his golf club in Scotland. ‘I think we have a lot of foes… I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.’ The President added that ‘Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive. They want to do well and we want to do well.’ Trump’s actions in the last week have only amplified concerns about his approach to Russia. During his swing through the NATO summit in Brussels and his first official visit the United Kingdom, Trump repeatedly criticized US allies and criticized the Obama administration rather than Russia in the wake of the Justice Department’s indictment of 12 Russian agents.”

Indictments Reveal Russian Links To Trump

Mueller’s new indictment of the Russian hackers is full of clues about connections to Trump World. Axios: “On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced a series of indictments against 12 Russian intelligence operatives for hacking various Democratic Party and state election infrastructure organs in an effort to interfere in the 2016 election. As Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley pointed out, one seemingly noteworthy effort came when the Russians attempted to hack Hillary Clinton’s “personal office” on the same day Donald Trump publicly stated he hoped Russia would hack Clinton’s emails. This wasn’t the only circumstantial evidence in Friday’s indictment of a connection between the actions of Russian hackers and those of the Trump campaign. The indictment lays out evidence that the 2016 election hacks were carried out by members of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU. Paul Manafort, who is currently awaiting trial for charges related to alleged undisclosed lobbying work on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, was cementing his position in the Trump campaign throughout the period of the hacking. Manafort would eventually rise to chairman of the campaign, and as he carried out that role he was also communicating with Konstantin Kilimnik about the possibility that Manafort might offer private briefings to one of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies… This new evidence doesn’t prove collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Still, it’s important to recognize the influence Manafort had on the campaign’s unorthodox Russia agenda—a reversal of Trump’s previous positions on Russia—during a time when he was potentially compromised and Russia was working to damage Clinton.”

Feinstein Loses Endorsement Of CA Dems

Kevin De León wins CA Dem endorsement in a landslide. The Intercept: “Longtime California Senator Dianne Feinstein lost the California Democratic Party’s endorsement in a stunning vote Saturday night at the party’s executive board meeting in Oakland. Though the vote was expected to be close, state Senator Kevin de León rather easily crossed the 60 percent threshold necessary for endorsement. De León secured 65 percent of the vote among the 333 executive board members present. Feinstein garnered 7 percent, and “no endorsement” took 28 percent. De León only took 54 percent of the vote at the state party convention in February. Virtually every undecided vote going into the executive board needed to flip to get this big a number. ‘The nation’s most accomplished Democratic Party is leading the call for a new generation of leadership who will fight to advance a bold agenda,’ de León said in a statement. ‘We have presented Californians with the first real alternative to the worn-out Washington playbook in a quarter-century.’ The executive board has grown more and more progressive for a decade, since a new generation of activists secured spots in the party hierarchy. De León proved to have better relationships with party delegates than a senator who spends most of her time in Washington, and little connecting with Democratic activists back home. But the endorsement is also a resounding rejection of Feinstein’s brand of centrist politics, which simply doesn’t mesh well with the party’s most dedicated and plugged-in supporters.”

U.S. Wage Crisis Deepens

America’s wage crisis no longer looks temporary. Axios: “Stuck wages for most U.S. workers look like more than a blip in the booming economy, and some mainstream economists say the government may have to step in. What’s going on: Wages fell over the last year for ordinary, non-management workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, further evidence that companies are managing to avoid paying amid one of the tightest labor markets in decades. The conundrum of stuck wages has vexed economists for more than a decade, but their underlying assumption had been that as joblessness drops — it’s at 4% now — companies will be forced to push up wages to attract and retain workers. Now that that hasn’t happened, the feeling is beginning to creep in that this is the new normal.”

Reich’s Seven Immigration Truths

Here Are 7 hard truths about immigration. Alternet: “Amid President Donald Trump’s escalating lies, here are a few realities: 1. A record high of 75 percent of Americans now say immigration is a ‘good thing’ for the country. 2. America needs more immigrants, not fewer, because our population is rapidly aging. 3. Historically, new immigrants have contributed more to society in taxes than they have taken from society in terms of public assistance. 4. Most immigrants don’t take jobs away from native-born Americans. To the contrary, their spending creates more jobs. 5. Trump’s claim that undocumented immigrants generate more crime is dead wrong. Both legal and undocumented immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. 6. Violent crime rates in America are actually at historical lows, with the homicide rate back to its level from the early 1960s. 7. Illegal border crossings have been declining since 2014 – long before Trump’s ‘crackdown.’ There is no ‘surge’ in illegal immigration. Please spread the truth.”