Progressive Breakfast for February 23

Morning Message

We Can Reclaim Democracy, One Heart at a Time

The revolution may not be televised, but in 2018 the resistance is being electoralized. People’s Action members are going door to door nationwide to do our part and win back democracy - one heart, one conversation and one vote at a time.

NRA Boycott Gathers Steam

#BoycottNRA: Enterprise car rentals, Omaha bank sever gun lobby ties as boycott movement gains steam. WaPo: “Two major companies, Enterprise Holdings Inc. and First National Bank of Omaha ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association Thursday as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picked up steam. Enterprise is the parent company of three car-rental brands: Enterprise, Alamo and National. The arrangement offered discounts to NRA members. First National Bank of Omaha, one of the country’s largest privately held bank, announced the end of a credit-card co-branding deal with the NRA. The bank had issued what its ads described as the “Official Credit Card of the NRA,” according to the Omaha World-Herald… The decisions came as names of companies with NRA associations began circulating widely on the Internet via social media under the #BoycottNRA hashtag in the wake of the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.”

Trump Cribs NRA Speech In Call To Arm Teachers

Trump appears to read from the NRA’s script hours after the gun lobby chief’s speech. NPR: “In trying to clarify his Wednesday comments about arming teachers and other school personnel, President Trump, a day later, aligned himself even more closely with the National Rifle Association on the issue of teachers with guns and beefing up school security. So much so, they seemed, at times, to be reading from the same script… when it comes to ‘hardening’ schools, not a phrase that was in wide use before Thursday, and speaking out against ‘gun-free zones,’ it appears the president and the NRA are, well, on the same page.”

US No Longer Welcomes Immigrants, Officially

‘Nation of immigrants’ no longer: USCIS updates mission statement. USA Today: “The U.S. is no longer devoted to securing ‘America’s promise as a nation of immigrants.’ That’s according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) anyway, which changed its official mission statement late Thursday and dropped the language to describe the country… In a letter to employees, L. Francis Cissna, USCIS’s director, said the changes were a ‘straightforward statement (that) clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and the commitment we have to the American people.’ There was no specific explanation for why USCIS dropped the phrase. Cissna became the agency’s director in October last year, after President Trump’s election. Trump has sought to significantly harden decades of U.S. policy on legal and illegal immigration. He plans to admit no more than 45,000 refugees in 2018. His predecessor President Obama had set the 2017 cap at 110,000 admissions, which Trump lowered to 50,000. About 6,700 refugees have been admitted in the U.S. so far this year, according to the latest available State Department data.”

USDA Wants Own Visas For Agricultural Workers

USDA secretary wants separate immigration program for agricultural workers. Reuters: “U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said on Thursday the government wants a separate immigration program for agricultural workers. Speaking on the first day of the annual USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, he said agriculture is caught in the crossfire of the immigration debate. ‘The people who come to America to work on farms and ranches are not taking jobs from Americans,’ Perdue said. ‘They are not the ones putting a burden on criminal justice system or welfare system.'”

SEC Cuts Sanctions On Corporate Fraud By Two Thirds

The Trump Administration Is a Golden Age for Corporate Crooks. NYM: “The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought dramatically fewer cases and lower penalties under Trump. From last February through September, the agency brought 15 cases and collected $127 million in civil penalties, in comparison with 43 cases and $702 million in penalties during a comparable period in 2016. Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency is collecting far less in penalties from polluters than it did under any of the previous three administrations… A massive shift in power and resources is underway, from consumers and workers to business owners. The natural confluence of interest between Trump’s inclination as a proprietor of business scams, and the laissez-faire instincts of his partisan allies, is a golden age for corporate crime.”

EPA Enforcement Penalites Cut By Half

Civil penalties collected by the EPA fell by more than half in Trump’s first year in office. Vox: “n his first year as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt has made a huge mark, shrinking his agency and repealing as many Obama-era environmental regulations as possible. And as I pointed out last month in this feature story, he’s also overseen a drastic slowdown in the day-to-day work of the agency. Key offices remain vacant and the implementation of new environmental rules has stalled, effectively throttling the agency. But one of EPA’s most important jobs is to enforce civil penalties for companies that breach limits for hazardous chemicals like sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. And one new measure of Pruitt’s foot-dragging that’s just emerged is how much money EPA has been collecting from polluters lately. According to a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project, a watchdog group that advocates for enforcement of environmental laws, the amount of fines collected by Trump’s EPA has plummeted compared to the agency under the past three presidents in their first year in office. “