Progressive Breakfast for September 20

Morning Message

Rising from the Grassroots to Win in November

November's elections are about living in the world as it is, but pushing for something new, with candidates and positions we can believe in. This is the only way forward: by showing the truth that having more and more people share their experiences, getting involved and then turning out to vote can be life-changing.

McCaskill To Vote NO On Kavanaugh

Sen. Claire McCaskill: ‘I will vote No on Judge Kavanaugh’. NPR: “Sen. Claire McCaskill says she will vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but the Missouri Democrat, who is facing re-election in November, says it is not because of allegations of sexual misconduct swirling around the nominee. In a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday, McCaskill says the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford — the professor who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were teenagers — are ‘troubling,’ and need to be examined. ‘[My] decision is not based on those allegations but rather on his positions on several key issues, most importantly the avalanche of dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy,’ McCaskill wrote. ‘He has revealed his bias against limits on campaign donations which places him completely out of the mainstream of this nation,’ she wrote, adding that she was ‘also uncomfortable about his view on Presidential power as it relates to the rule of law, and his position that corporations are people.'”

GOP Forces Deadline For Kavanaugh Accuser

Kavanaugh’s confirmation on track as deadline looms for accuser. Politico: “Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is back on track, with the GOP increasingly confident and Democrats decidedly alarmed that the Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed despite a sexual assault allegation against him. Senate Republicans have given Christine Blasey Ford a firm deadline: Talk to the Judiciary Committee by Monday, whether in public or private, or risk not having your story told before the Senate votes. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he expects a response by Friday morning. Ford’s attorneys have asked for an FBI investigation into the alleged assault in high school and more witnesses to appear before the panel, but the GOP has shrugged them off. The Senate GOP says Ford’s lawyers are not corresponding with them other than a letter sent to the committee earlier this week. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said on Fox News Thursday that if the radio silence continues, ‘after the time we’ve spent on this, it’s time to move forward and get the votes in next week.'”

Tightening Races Stir Dem Hopes To Take Senate

Tightening Texas race boosts Democrats’ hopes of taking Senate. Reuters: “The Democratic congressman aiming to unseat Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in Texas has pulled even in the race, a Reuters poll found, a spark of hope for a party seeking a Senate majority to curb President Donald Trump’s agenda. The Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics Poll released on Wednesday of several competitive U.S. Senate races offered a mixed picture of Democrats’ chances in November of winning the two seats they would need to take control of that chamber. It showed tight races in Arizona, where Democrats are hoping to win a seat held by a retiring Republican, and in Florida, where Republicans aim to unseat a Democratic incumbent . Democrats are broadly seen as facing steep odds in trying to capture a Senate majority in the Nov. 6 congressional elections as they have to defend seats in 10 states that the Republican Trump won in the 2016 presidential election. Texas, Florida, Arizona and Nevada, all surveyed in the poll, are four of the most competitive Senate races.”

Sessions Tightens Screws On Immigration Courts

Sessions limits ability of judges to dismiss deportation cases. The Hill: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has placed new limits on U.S. immigration judges serving under the Department of Justice, prohibiting them from dismissing deportation cases except under ‘specific’ circumstances. Reuters reports that new guidelines implemented by the Justice Department this week state that judges can only dismiss immigration cases under ‘specific and circumscribed’ conditions, such as when the government cannot prove its case or when the case involves ‘exceptionally appealing or humanitarian factors.’ When a deportation case is dismissed, it does not grant legal immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security can re-file charges to attempt to spark deportation procedures, but the practice of dismissing cases has often given immigrants time to pursue different avenues of obtaining legal citizenship, according to Reuters. A group representing immigration lawyers with cases before the Justice Department, the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, slammed Sessions’s latest decision as the latest move by the attorney general to undermine the independence of judges in the agency. ‘The decision is the next step in a concerted effort by the A.G. to undermine judicial independence and to minimize the role of judges in immigration court,’ said Kate Voigt, the group’s associate director of government relations. Immigration judges are members of the Department of Justice and fall under the authority of Sessions, which has allowed the attorney general to personally enforce changes to immigration case guidelines in an attempt to alleviate the backlog of immigration cases before the agency.”

The True Cost Of The EPA’s 9/11

Future generations will mourn what the EPA did on 9/11. Common Dreams: “September 11 is already an annual day of mourning. But while the nation grieved over victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency announced a plan future generations may well grieve as a tragedy in its own right. While Americans attended memorial services, the EPA announced plans to roll back regulations on methane — a powerful greenhouse gas that damages the world’s climate and threatens human health. Methane carries up to 36 times more warming potential than carbon dioxide. More methane emissions mean more lethal heat waves, extreme storms, rising sea levels, drought, and floods More methane emissions mean more lethal heat waves, extreme storms, rising sea levels, drought, and floods. They mean worsening air quality, water quality, and crop damage. They mean certain crops will lose nutritional value, and pest- and waterborne diseases will spread. Specifically, the White House wants to kill the Obama administration’s 2016 New Source Performance Standards, which require oil and gas drillers to limit emissions of methane during fracking and flaring (the process of burning off gas that won’t be captured and transported). It’s yet another big present to the oil and gas industry. Meanwhile, ordinary working families will pay the price, and so will their health. Children, the poor, the elderly, and those with a weak or impaired immune system are especially vulnerable.”