NDN Blog

Arrests in New Haven may offer a glimpse of the future

Today's New York Times features a story which vividly highlights the urgent need to change our immigration policy and demonstrates what a tragedy the immigration bill's failure truly is. On the same day that the bill stalled in the Senate thanks to willful and calculated sabotage, federal officials conducted a raid in the town of New Haven. This town had become a safe place for immigrants already living there; "The police adopted a ‘don't ask, don't tell' policy for dealing with immigrants, and the mayor backed a plan for municipal identification cards. Within the borders of this liberal college town, there was hardly a whiff of opposition." Yet at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials swooped in on the town, arresting 31 suspected illegal immigrants, many of them in their homes. From the article:

"Within hours, any sense of sanctuary that the city and advocates for immigrants advocates had developed over the years was turned upside down, replaced with fear.

“There is truly no safe haven for fugitive aliens,” said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that conducted the raid.

Afterward, local officials’ cellphones lighted up with dozens of frantic phone calls from residents and community leaders saying that people were missing. There were rumors of a mass arrest at a supermarket. Fair Haven resembled a ghost town, with residents huddling inside their houses, afraid that they, too, could be arrested at any moment."

We are at a crucial point in our nation's history where we must choose a vision of America's future. This raid has afforded us an example of one such vision, that of the politicians who worked to undermine the immigration bill, where people are arrested in their homes at the break of dawn and rounded up like cattle while at the supermarket buying food for their families.

Clearly this is the wrong vision. 63% of Americans, and a smaller percentage of the Senators representing them, have another one. With the immigration bill, we had a fleeting glimpse of a different path, one that would have been both more effective and more compassionate; unfortunately, now we may never see more than that.

Mr. President, is this how it ends?

After the collapse of the immigration bill last night, I could only really think of the President and his legacy. Immigration reform has been something that he could do that would leave behind something lasting, something permanent, something that as he traveled around the nation in his post-Presidential years he could look on with joy and pride. But even now that looks doubtful, and with that, it is increasingly likely that he will go down in history as one of the worst leaders our nation has ever had.

Consider what we will be discussing and writing about for posterity: a drop in the standard of living for average Americans; the creation of structural budget deficits coming right before the fiscal time bomb of the retirement of the boomers; a decline in our rates of broadband penetration relative to the rest of the world; more without health insurance, in poverty and with dangerous levels of household debt; rising crimes rates; an education reform approach underfunded by tens of billions of dollars; a weakening of our support for trade liberalization; a shifting of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class; an era of what has been perhaps unmatched corruption, lying and betrayal of the public trust; a weakening of our long-cherished civil liberties, including the suspension of habeas corpus for non US citizens; the publicly sanctioned demonization of Hispanics, the fastest growing part of the American family; and of course there is the great one, Iraq, and our incredible tossing away of the opportunity to remake the world in a way true to our values after 9/11 when the whole world was with us.

What will also be discussed are not just the mistakes, but the challenges not met. The lack of action on the decline of the middle class, on climate change, on energy independence, on college tuition costs; on giving our workers and kids 21st century skills; on offering a plan to give more people health insurance and good and affordable care; on Darfur. To paraphrase Tom Friedman this was not only a disappointing age for what was done, but also disappointing in the lack of imagination shown by our leaders in finding ways to solve the tough emerging challenges facing our nation and the world.

So, Mr. President, this morning we add one more item to this terrible legacy - the inability to fix our broken immigration system.

Somehow I thought that given the coming judgment of history, Mr. Bush would rise, drag his reluctant Party to the table, and end his time here with a powerful and moral act - bringing these 12 million out of the shadows - that would make it much more difficult for history to break against him. But this morning, even on an issue he believes in so deeply, he couldn't get it done, and we are now one more day closer to having his time here in Washington be judged as an extraordinary failure of leadership, character, judgment and governance.

Perhaps things will change in the coming weeks, and the President and the reluctant Republicans will wake from their slumber and find common ground with the Democrats. I hope so, and we at NDN will continue to work as if something good can come from the disappointing outcome last night on the floor of the Senate.

Edwards Outlines Plan To Fight Terrorism

John Edwards gave a major speech on terrorism today. From his campaign:

At a press conference today in New York City, Senator John Edwards outlined his plan to keep Americans safe and fight terrorists. With terrorism around the world on the rise, Edwards believes we need a change from the Bush "Global War on Terror Doctrine," which hasn't worked and has only been used to justify the worst abuses of his Administration. Edwards laid out a mission-focused plan to shut down terrorists and stand up for American values.

Below are the six steps Edwards will follow to stop terrorism. These are truncated from the fact sheet:

  • Rebalance our force structure for the challenges of the new century
  • Ensure our intelligence strategy adheres to proven and effective methods
  • Hold regular meetings with top military leadership
  • Create a "Marshall Corps" to stabilize weak and failing states
  • Rebuild equipment
  • Create a National Security Budget

I'd be interested in your comments on the Edwards plan.

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

UPDATE: Obama offers closed captioning for videos

Just a quick update from a prior post: Barack Obama expanded his website's closed captioning capability today with Spanish-language captioning. Check out BarackTV en Español.

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

New Pew Research Center Poll

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants "wins broad and bipartisan support. Overall, 63% of the public - and nearly identical numbers of Republicans, Democrats and independents - favor such an approach if illegal immigrants 'pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs.'"

When it comes to stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, "just 25% say increasing the number of border patrol agents is the best solution, and even fewer (7%) see more border fences as the most effective solution."

The study also addresses other issues, including Iraq; it found that 56% of Americans - "the most ever in a Pew Research Center survey" - favor withdrawing from Iraq as soon as possible.

Unpublished
n/a

WTF: where's the fence?

Grassfire.org has an ad up entitled "Where's The Fence?" From their website:

Last year, Congress and the President promised 700 miles of fence. Now, with almost no progress on the fence, they are pushing ahead with amnesty. Let’s face it -- we’ve been conned and it’s time for Americans to shout: “Where’s The Fence?”

The ad is below, but I'd really welcome your comments on this one. (FYI - to post a comment, just register at NDNBlog and click "add new comment" below this post)

(Credit to Dan on the title...)

Quick '08 Update

- The Wall Street Journal tells us that Rudy Giuliani is set to release his health-care plan.

- More Rudy: Patrick Gavin and Jeff Dufour from The Examiner point out that Rudy Giuliani's comments on abortion, which were followed by a lightning strike , is quite popular on YouTube:

As of 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani’s response to a question on abortion, which was accompanied by a lightning strike, was viewed 198,964 times. That’s 3.1 times more views than the rest of the GOP debate combined (64,409 views total) and a whopping 8.1 times the entire Democratic debate, which had 22,891 views during the same time frame.

- Mitt Romney's campaign released a boastful statement on the Iowa straw poll, which John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are opting out of. For more Mitt, check out this video interview of him in the Washington Post.

- Hillary Clinton picked up an endorsement from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. In other news: Hillary recently turned down Univision's invitation to participate in the first ever Spanish-language debate, saying that she plans to only participate in debates sanctioned by the DNC. Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson, both fluent in Spanish, have accepted.

- Jonah Goldberg asks "Are we better off with Fred?" and begins his piece with some satirical stats on Fred Thompson who, because of them, joins the likes of Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer.

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

Outside The System

As Nico from the Center for American Progress reported yesterday, the Justice Department recently released a correspondence between former Gonzales counsel Monica Goodling and assistant Attorney General Paul Corts. In the email, Goodling asks that an order be drafted and sent directly up to her, "outside of the system." The order in question, which was signed by Gonzales, "granted her and [then-Chief-of-Staff] Sampson broad powers to make personnel choices and other major decisions." Goodling subsequently used those powers to fire and hire U.S. Attorneys for admittedly political reasons.

This memo demonstrates yet again the consistent tendency of the current Administration to value loyalty and partisanship over competence and merit, and their evident willingness to go "outside the system." President Bush has made it clear that he values loyalty extremely highly, and this philosophy has permeated all levels of the Bush government. Goodling, a graduate of Messiah College and Pat Robertson's Regent University (which currently has some 150 graduates working in the Bush Administration), was one of several Gonzales aides "remarkable for their inexperience and autonomy in deciding the fates of seasoned Justice Department lawyers." Just before her resignation, Goodling said that all she wanted to do "was serve this president, this administration, this department." Goodling was dedicated enough to break the law in pursuit of that goal.

So it seems the real question is: Should partisan loyalty really be the decisive factor when appointing public servants?

Celebrate Democracy's 1st Anniversary

As you know, NDN has been at the forefront of a national effort to imagine and build a progressive infrastructure capable of doing battle on the new emerging battleground of the 21st century.    This month we celebrate the 1st anniversary of the founding of an important new piece of this emerging infrastructure, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.  This compelling new journal was founded by two good friends of ours, Kenneth Baer and Andrei Cherny, and has been supported by NDN from its inception.

You can learn more about Democracy by visiting their web site at www.democracyjournal.org

Democracy was launched to be the progressive analogue of the idea journals on the conservative side – such as Public Interest, National Interest, and Commentary – that have been the original source of many of the big ideas the right wing used to appeal to Americans over the past 30 years. And it has had a very strong first year. Democracy’s readership has shot up to more than that of Public Interest at its peak during the Reagan years.  The journal can be found in major bookstores in 49 states – in places like Gulfport, Mississippi and Anchorage, Alaska – on shelves where conservative journals used to have all the space for themselves. It has subscribers on every continent, and is finding its way into libraries across the nation.

Most importantly, Democracy is a crucial part of creating the intellectual underpinnings of the next wave of progressive action.  They feature thoughtful groundbreaking pieces from established thinkers such as Joseph Nye, Jr., Peter Bergen, Dennis Ross, and Elaine Kamarck as well as up-and-coming writers. This is why they have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and on hundreds of blog posts over the past year.  Maureen Dowd wrote that Democracy is “a progressive journal to ponder big ideas that might help the wretched Democrats stop driving on Ambien and snatch back a little power.”  Not exactly how I would have said it but you get the idea.   

In honor of Democracy’s first anniversary, NDN has arranged for a special subscription discount for our members and friends of $24 for the entire year.   I hope you will help us celebrate their anniversary by subscribing – and supporting – this very worthwhile venture today.   

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