Progressive Breakfast for May 26

Morning Message

Preserving Public Lands in Montana and Beyond

Montana's Greg Gianforte and Ryan Zinke are are among the Republican lawmakers who feel empowered by President Trump to go out and take public lands for private use. A growing number of Americans refuse to let them get away with it, and here's why.

Reap What You Sow

Reporter-punching Republican Gianforte wins Montana House race. WaPo: “The darker forces that propelled President Trump’s rise are beginning to frame and define the rest of the Republican Party. When GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter who had attempted to ask him a question Wednesday night in Montana, many saw not an isolated outburst by an individual, but the obvious, violent result of Trump’s charge that journalists are “the enemy of the people.” Nonetheless, Gianforte won Thursday’s special election to fill a safe Republican seat. ‘Respectfully, I’d submit that the president has unearthed some demons,’ Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) said. ‘I’ve talked to a number of people about it back home. They say, ‘Well, look, if the president can say whatever, why can’t I say whatever?’ He’s given them license.'”

Trump travel ban blocked, now heads to Supreme Court. Forbes: “The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution… remains ‘a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace.’ And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” Those stern words were the opening lines in a ruling issued Thursday by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals blocking President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban from taking effect. The strident tone established in this opening stanza continued throughout the decision authored by Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, marking it as one of the most condemnatory declarations issued by a court against a president in many years.

This Land Is Whose Land?

Trump wants to drill for oil in Alaska’s fragile wildlife refuge. CNN: “The 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been closed to oil exploration since 1980 due to concerns about the impact on the region’s caribou, polar bears and other animals. But Trump, who has promised to flex America’s energy muscles, wants to change that. The White House’s budget proposal put out this week calls for raising nearly $2 billion in revenue over the next decade by selling oil and gas leases in an oil-rich section of ANWR.”

House votes to undo pesticide protections for nation’s waterways. ThinkProgress: “The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a bill that dismantles a pesticide permitting system. Opponents are calling the Republican-led legislation the ‘Poison Our Waters Act.’ Under the bill, anyone applying a pesticide that the Environmental Protection Agency has approved under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act would no longer require a Clean Water Act ‘general permit.'”

Little Big Wall

Trump’s big wall is now just 74 miles long in his budget plan. NPR: “After making the need for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a central campaign theme, President Trump has asked Congress for just $1.6 billion to start building 74 miles of barriers. Texas alone shares more than 1,200 miles of border with Mexico… The request is far less than the $21.6 billion the Homeland Security Department had estimated that wall construction would cost. Still, Trump’s request works out to $21.6 million a mile, or nearly $13,000 a yard — for what’s expected to be a steel and concrete barrier.”

Kicking the Can

Senate mulls health bill rewrite pushing Obamacare repeal past 2020. Bloomberg: “Senate Republicans are weighing a two-step process to replace Obamacare that would postpone a repeal until 2020, as they seek to draft a more modest version than a House plan that nonpartisan analysts said would undermine some insurance markets. Republicans – in the early stages of private talks on the Senate plan – say they may first take action to stabilize premium costs in Obamacare’s insurance-purchasing exchanges in 2018 and 2019.”

HUD Secretary Carson says poverty is largely “a state of mind.” CNN: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in an interview Wednesday that having ‘the wrong mindset’ contributes to poverty. ‘I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind, the retired neurosurgeon said during an interview with SiriusXM… ‘You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you could give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.'”

More from OurFuture.org:

How Compassion Becomes Contempt in America. Sam Pizzigati: “Mick Mulvaney, the Trump administration budget chief, desperately needs some serious lexicological support. That became obvious when Mulvaney stepped up before reporters to defend the new Trump budget for the federal fiscal year starts in October, by redefining ‘compassion’ in his own terms. We have too many people out there, he told reporters, ‘who don’t want to work. We don’t have enough money,’ he then added, ‘to take care of people who don’t need help.'”

There Is a Plan to Fix Infrastructure; It’s Not Trump’s. Liz Ryan Murray, Ben Ishibashi: “There’s broad agreement in our country, and across party lines, that we need more good jobs and to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The good news is there is a plan to get us there, but it’s not the one Trump wants us to back.”