NDN Blog

NDN Statement on Immigration Marches

Today, Americans all across the country are marching in support of a lasting and functional immigration policy - one that ensures a strong, safe, and secure border. NDN supports these marches, as they represent the need for something we have been strong advocates of for over three and a half years: Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

These marches are also a testament to the failure of the Bush Administration's to enact the comprehensive, meaningful reform America needs. As Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center, I will be speaking and participating in a large march in South Florida this afternoon.

What's happening in Iraq 2 hours before the veto...

President Bush will go on network television tonight to veto supplemental funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iraq Responsability Act, even as Republicans in Congress are warming to benchmarks.  Here's is what Reid and Pelosi are saying to the President:

"The agreement reached between the House and the Senate rejects the President's failed policies in Iraq and his open-ended commitment to keep American troops there indefinitely and forges a new direction for a responsible end to the war. 

"If the President follows through on his veto threat, he will be the one who has failed to provide our troops and our veterans with the resources they need and it will be the President who has rejected the benchmarks he announced in January to measure success in Iraq.  The bill ensures our troops are combat-ready before they are deployed to Iraq, provides our troops the resources and health care they deserve in Iraq and here at home, and responsibly winds down this war.

"Iraqis must take the tough and necessary steps to secure their nation and to forge political reconciliation.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates understands the value of timelines in motivating the Iraqi Government to accomplish these goals.  The President should carefully consider the views of his Secretary of Defense in making a judgment on this legislation.

"An overwhelming majority of Americans, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, military experts and the Iraq Study Group believe that a responsible end to the war best advances our national security needs.  It is now up to the President to make a decision: continue to stay his failed course or join us to give our troops a strategy for success."

As the President prepares to veto a bill supported by a majority of Americans, his National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley is searching for a War Czar to oversee the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is getting some criticism for failing to do the job himself:

It is the kind of task — a little bit of internal diplomacy and a lot of head-knocking, fortified by direct access to the president — that would ordinarily fall to Mr. Hadley himself. After all, he oversaw the review that produced Mr. Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq. But his responsibilities encompass issues around the globe, and he has concluded that he needs someone “up close to the president” to work “full time, 24/7” to put the policy into effect. He hopes to fill the job soon...

“Steve Hadley is an intelligent, capable guy, but I don’t think this reflects very well on him,” said David J. Rothkopf, author of “Running the World,” a book about the National Security Council. “I wouldn’t even call it a Hail Mary pass. It’s kind of a desperation move.”

That is one reason the war czar proposal has left some in Washington scratching their heads. At a recent press conference, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates described it this way: “This is what Steve Hadley would do if Steve Hadley had the time.”

But Mr. Daalder, who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, was mystified. “If Hadley doesn’t have time for this,” he asked, “what does he have time for? Our policy toward Nicaragua?”

Maybe that War Czar can do a better job of administering reconstruction in Iraq:

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.

And while there is good news out of Anbar, with more Sunni's cooperating with US forces, there is equally bad news about the Maliki government's efforts to protect Shiite militias and force out high-ranking Sunni security officials:

A department of the Iraqi prime minister's office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias, according to U.S. military officials in Baghdad.

Since March 1, at least 16 army and national police commanders have been fired, detained or pressured to resign; at least nine of them are Sunnis, according to U.S. military documents shown to The Washington Post.

Although some of the officers appear to have been fired for legitimate reasons, such as poor performance or corruption, several were considered to be among the better Iraqi officers in the field. The dismissals have angered U.S. and Iraqi leaders who say the Shiite-led government is sabotaging the military to achieve sectarian goals.

And the human cost of the war remains unacceptably high.  April was the most lethal month of the war for US forces and acts of terrorism in Iraq were up 91% from 2005 to 2006

And in the department of Orwellian holiday's, Happy Loyalty Day everybody.  I guess the President would rather we focus on that than the 4 year anniversary of the Mission Accomplished speech.

New NDN Paper: A Laptop in Every Backpack

Today, the NDN Globalization Initiative is releasing the first paper in A Series of Modest Proposals to Build 21st Century Skills offering innovative ideas on the steps that can be taken to help our children and workers right now, today.  This first paper A Laptop in Every Backpack suggests that:

Achieving the American Dream in this century increasingly requires fluency in the ways of this network and its tools – how to acquire information and do research, how to construct reports and present ideas using these new tools, how to type and even edit video.  We believe we need a profound and urgent national commitment to give this powerful new 21st knowledge, essential for success in this century, to all American school children.

Feel free to comment on the paper or pitch us on some additional ideas here on our blog.

Vanity Fair uses past to shine light on "Full Rudy"

Not many words can describe the Vanity Fair article on Rudy Giuliani, so I'll just paste an interesting paragraph from it and wish Michael Wolff well:

It's a Catch-22 kind of nuttiness. What with all his personal issues—the children; the women; the former wives; Kerik and the Mob; his history of interminable, bitter, asinine hissy fits; the look in his eye; and, now, Judi!, his current, prospective, not-ready-for-prime-time First Lady—he'd have to be nuts to think he could successfully run for president. But nutty people don't run for president—certainly they don't get far if they do.

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

NPI Event Reminder: Tomorrow 5/2 - The Exploding World of Political Web Video

Join the New Politics Institute tomorrow for a special event on this exploding world of political web video, including:

Steve Grove, News and Political Editor, YouTube.com, on the role of YouTube and web video in politics.

Karina Newton, Director of New Media, Office of Speaker Pelosi, on how web video is being used for governing.

Dan Manatt, founder and executive producer for PoliticsTV.com, on how any organization can immediately start using web video.

Phil de Vellis, aka ParkRidge47, an important political web video innovator, on how progressives can use the new tools to make powerful, political content.

Jeff Weingarten, President, Interface Media Group (IMG), on how Presidential campaigns are using web video.

As always, the event is free and lunch will be provided. Video of the event will be posted on our site for those who cannot make it or are out of town. Please RSVP if you can come, and in the spirit of the new medium, feel free to spread the word.

The Exploding World of Political Web Video

Wednesday, May 2nd

12:00PM - lunch will be served

Phoenix Park Hotel

520 North Capital Street NW, Washington DC

For more information or to RSVP you can contact: Tracy Leaman, 202-215-2224, or tleaman@ndn.org

Learn more:

Watch The Political Web Video World

Read Julie Bergman-Sender's NPI paper Viral Video in Politics: Case Studies on Creating Compelling Video


More speculation on Bloomberg

The current crowd of those speculating the presidential aspirations of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg grew today, as the Wall Street Journal delves deep and offers scenarios that could help and hurt Bloomberg if he chooses to enter the 2008 race:

Should he run, Mr. Bloomberg's fiscal-conservative, social-moderate credentials could undermine the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Both play up moderate stands on abortion, gay rights and gun control. Mr. Bloomberg also could draw votes from a Democrat seen as too left of the mainstream on taxes and budget control, such as former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. He might leach support from Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, whose appeal relies partly on talk of ending partisan squabbling.

An independent candidacy faces huge roadblocks, though. Each state has its own set of complex rules on who can be on a ballot. Theresa Amato, who managed Ralph Nader's 2000 and 2004 bids, says he eventually got on 34 state ballots in 2004 but had to go to court in a dozen of those. And the two major parties have grown increasingly aggressive about keeping third-party and independent candidates off the ballot.

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

William F. Buckley Jr.: "There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive"

A pretty extraordinary rebuke of President Bush and the conservative foreign policy failures of the past six years from an enexpected source.  It's a piece well worth reading and a milestone in what we call the Repudiating of the Bush Era

The Waning of the GOP

By William F. Buckley Jr.

The political problem of the Bush administration is grave, possibly beyond the point of rescue. The opinion polls are savagely decisive on the Iraq question. About 60 percent of Americans wish the war ended — wish at least a timetable for orderly withdrawal. What is going on in Congress is in the nature of accompaniment. The vote in Congress is simply another salient in the war against war in Iraq. Republican forces, with a couple of exceptions, held fast against the Democrats’ attempt to force Bush out of Iraq even if it required fiddling with the Constitution. President Bush will of course veto the bill, but its impact is critically important in the consolidation of public opinion. It can now accurately be said that the legislature, which writes the people’s laws, opposes the war.

Meanwhile, George Tenet, former head of the CIA, has just published a book which seems to demonstrate that there was one part ignorance, one part bullheadedness, in the high-level discussions before war became policy. Mr. Tenet at least appears to demonstrate that there was nothing in the nature of a genuine debate on the question. What he succeeded in doing was aborting a speech by Vice President Cheney which alleged a Saddam/al Qaeda relationship which had not in fact been established.

It isn’t that Tenet now doubts the lethality of the terrorists. What he disputed was an organizational connection which argued for war against Iraq as if Iraq were a vassal state of al Qaeda. A measure of George Tenet’s respect for the reach and malevolence of the enemy is his statement that he is puzzled that Al Qaeda has not, since 2001, sent out “suicide bombers to cause chaos in a half dozen American shopping malls on any given day.” By way of prophecy, he writes that there is one thing he feels in his gut, which is that “Al Qaeda is here and waiting.”

But beyond affirming executive supremacy in matters of war, what is George Bush going to do? It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month. In South Vietnam there was an organized enemy. There is clearly organization in the strikes by the terrorists against our forces and against the civil government in Iraq, but whereas in Vietnam we had Hanoi as the operative headquarters of the enemy, we have no equivalent of that in Iraq, and that is a matter of paralyzing importance. All those bombings, explosions, assassinations: we are driven to believe that they are, so to speak, spontaneous.

When the Romans were challenged by Christianity, Rome fell. The generation of Christians moved by their faith overwhelmed the regimented reserves of the Roman state. It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a “surge,” of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn’t any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it.

General Petraeus is a wonderfully commanding figure. But if the enemy is in the nature of a disease, he cannot win against it. Students of politics ask then the derivative question: How can the Republican party, headed by a president determined on a war he can’t see an end to, attract the support of a majority of the voters? General Petraeus, in his Pentagon briefing on April 26, reported persuasively that there has been progress, but cautioned, “I want to be very clear that there is vastly more work to be done across the board and in many areas, and again I note that we are really just getting started with the new effort.”

The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma.

Immigration marches going on across the nation

NDN's own Joe Garcia was quoted in an AP article on the planning of upcoming immigration marches. Citing the evolution of the immigration debate and how different cultures are becoming involved, Joe said:

"It used to be that Hispanic immigrants, those who came legally, were more conservative on the issue. But now it's become so wrapped up with issues of racism and identity, even Puerto Ricans and Cubans care about immigration."

For those interested, check out this article for a look at what the City of Los Angeles is doing to prepare for the crowds.

For more information on NDN's efforts on passing comprehensive immigration reform, click here.

Wolfowitz Watch

Wolfowitz defended himself before the World Bank's Board of Directors yesterday:

“The goal of this smear campaign, I believe, is to create a self-fulfilling prophecy that I am an ineffective leader and must step down for that reason alone, even if the ethics charges are unwarranted,” he said. “I, for one, will not give in to such tactics. And I will not resign in the face of a plainly bogus charge of conflict of interest.”

The NYT seems to think that a deal is likely:

Mr. Wolfowitz’s defiant response left unclear what would happen next, but many at the bank saw it as a prelude to his eventual departure if negotiations could lead to the board’s endorsement of his claim that he had acted in good faith, not favoritism, in arranging for a pay increase for Shaha Ali Riza, his companion, in 2005. She was, at the time, being transferred to the State Department, but continued to receive her salary from the bank.

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