NDN Blog

House Immigration Hearing Thursday

The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law is holding a hearin on Shortfalls of 1986 Immigration Reform Legislation this Thursday at 3:00pm in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  It's open to the public and another sign that Congress is getting to work on this pressing issue.

YearlyKos Event Tonight in Washington, DC

If you're in Washington, you should definitely check out the YearlyKos 2007 Convention grassroots fundraiser tonight at the Mott House from 6:30-9:00 on Capitol Hill.  Info below:

Join Sen. Feingold, Rep. Brad Miller, Rep. John Hall, Rep. Jerry McNerney and support YearlyKos in DC

Join... Senator Russ Feingold
Rep. Brad Miller
Rep. John Hall
Rep. Jerry McNerney
YearlyKos Convention Executive Director Gina Cooper

...activists, organizers and on-lookers as we drink, laugh and carouse liberally to celebrate the progressive blogging community and prepare for the 2007 YearlyKos Convention at a grassroots fundraiser...

Washington, DC on April 17, 6:30 - 9:00 PM,
at the Stewart Mott House at 122 Maryland Ave., NE

...(at the corner of Maryland Avenue & Constitution Avenue.) It's about as close to the Capitol as you can get without being elected, a few blocks from Union Station & Metro. Best of all, you don't have to be a lobbyist or even a Republican to afford it. We are asking for a minimum donation of $35 per person. Light snacks and soft drinks will be available. A modest donation will be asked for beer & wine. Parking is hard to come by in the immediate vicinity but should be available on the street within a few blocks or at Union Station.

Help us update the NDN Agenda: National Security

NDN needs your help to update our agenda. Two weeks ago, we began the important process of updating the NDN Agenda for Hope and Progress, the document that defines our governing philosophy and is at the center of all our advocacy work. This week we are asking for your feedback on the foreign policy and homeland security sections of the NDN agenda "Assert Responsible Global Leadership" and "Protect the Homeland."  After you read the sections below, sign-up for an NDN Blog account, if you haven't already, and share your ideas with us in the comments section. 

From NDN's Agenda for Hope and Progress...

Assert Responsible Global Leadership: Win the war on terrorism and end international conflicts that threaten our interests and values; foster security and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan; ensure that America's military is the strongest, most agile, and best equipped in the world and our nation honors the service of our veterans; combat AIDS and other pandemics that threaten global stability; and work together with our allies and international organizations to advance democracy, human rights, liberty, free markets, opportunities for women, and rising standards of living across the world.

Protect the Homeland: Implement a comprehensive homeland security strategy; improve our nation's counter terrorism intelligence capabilities and performance; ensure that those on the frontlines have the very best tools, training and support to protect our communities; secure our nation's borders and ports without impeding the free flow of goods and people; and fight to protect the civil liberties for all Americans that have long been the envy of the world.

Read and comment on the entire agenda here.

Read Simon Rosenberg's oped "Time Warp" from The New Republic for an example of NDN's foreign policy work.

Simon Rosenberg at the Tufts Democrats' "Issues of the Future" Symposium on Immigration

Simon gave the keynote address at Tufts University’s annual Issues of the Future Symposium.  Coverage from the Tufts Daily is here and excerpted below.

Concern about immigration is "one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century," Rosenberg said.

But a "durable and sustainable" approach is necessary, he argued, since migration is unlikely to let up. "As the pain of immigration is lessened due to the ease of travel and transition, migration will increase globally," he said.

In this climate, the United States' current stance leaves a lot to be desired, he said. "No one is happy with our current stance on immigration," Rosenberg said.

Passing progressive legislation, he said, is a necessary step in reforming current policies.

He said that an example of such legislation is the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill that made it through the U.S. Senate last year. He called it "an oasis of sanity."

The Week That Was 4-13 Edition

This summary of the week's news will be posted every Friday, as part of our new "Week-in-Review" for NDN News members.  To join the NDN News list, click here.   

The week began with President giving a major speech on immigration in Yuma, Arizona.  The location was telling, a brand new border patrol station, part of the enforcement-only plan backed by many conservatives.  "Congress can pass a comprehensive bill, and I can sign it into law this year," Bush said.  But he did not offer any specific proposals and has yet to publicly pressure his own party’s Congressional leadership to support the comprehensive immigration reform bills in Congress now.  In fact, leaked White House documents show that the administration is actually moving away from their previous strong support for comprehensive immigration reform. 

Over the weekend, Senator Barack Obama announced he would not participate in the Congressional Black Caucus Democratic Presidential debate hosted by Fox News.  He joined Senator John Edwards in avoiding the debate, almost guaranteeing that it won’t happen.  This follows last month’s boycott of a Nevada Democratic Party debate that was to be hosted by Fox News, making it clear that Democratic Presidential candidates don’t want to be subjected to Fox’s anti-Democratic party bias. 

The President flip-flopped on working with Congress, first offering to work with Democrats on Iraq and then clarifying, through spokeswoman Dana Perino, that he was not willing to negotiate over the Iraq and Afghanistan military spending supplemental bill and that Congress should pass the funding bill without benchmarks or other stipulations.  At the same time that the Bush Administration was talking tough with Congress, they were getting rebuffed by at least three retired generals who were offered the position of “War Czar” with direct oversight for the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  One of the three who turned down the position, Marine General (Ret.) John J. "Jack" Sheehan put it best:  “The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going…So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks.’”

Senator John McCain gave a policy speech on Iraq at the Virginia Military Institute.  In it he reiterated his support for the President’s Iraq policy and took shots at Democrats in Congress, earning strong rebukes from Democrats including Senator Chris Dodd: "We don't need a surge of troops in Iraq. We need a surge of diplomacy.  The Bush/McCain Doctrine is not succeeding. It is failing."

Finally, the White House has a new scandal that threatens to envelope the US Attorneys one.  Senior White House staff members have admitted to using two separate email accounts, one ‘whitehouse.gov’ one and one ‘gwb43.com’ one set-up and run by the RNC, ostensibly for political work.  It is known that Karl Rove, for one, primarily used the RNC operated account, and now the White House is reporting that it accidentally deleted thousands of emails from those ‘gwb43.com’ accounts and that they may be irretrievable.  That wasn’t good enough for Rep. Waxman Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee or for Senator Leahy who said "They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!...You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers…Those e-mails are there; they just don't want to produce them. We'll subpoena them if necessary."

Help us update: "Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century Global Economy" from NDN's Agenda for Hope and Progress

NDN needs your help to update our agenda. Last week we began the important process of updating the NDN Agenda for Hope and Progress, the document that defines our governing philosophy and is at the center of all our advocacy work. This week we are asking for your feedback on the first section of the NDN agenda "Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century Economy."  After you read the section below, sign-up for an NDN Blog account, if you haven't already, and share your ideas with us in the comments section. 

From NDN's Agenda for Hope and Progress...

Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century Global Economy: Enact a 21st century economic strategy that will help all Americans succeed in the global economy and create broad-based prosperity and opportunity; restore fiscal responsibility and genuine progressivity in the tax code; champion free and fair trade; ensure the integrity and vitality of America's capital markets and the U.S. dollar; promote entrepreneurship, innovation and broad access to capital; update national telecommunications policy to foster universal broadband; enact a new national energy strategy; raise the minimum wage; prepare for the retirement of the baby boom; and protect and promote the retirement security of all Americans.

To read and comment on the entire agenda click here.

Gov. Richardson Reports Progress in North Korea

New Mexico Governor, statesman and Presidential candidate Bill Richardson reported significant progress at the end of his four day trip to North Korea.  From the BBC:

[Richardson] was leading a delegation to retrieve the bodies of US soldiers killed during the Korean War.

He said officials in Pyongyang had assured him that once the funds were made accessible, the North would act swiftly to enact its pledge to shut down Yongbyon.

"The North Korean government told us that with that issue resolved, [it] would move promptly, within a day after receiving the funds," he said.

"And therefore, within that day, [it would] invite the [UN nuclear inspectors] to Pyongyang to draft the terms for shutting down the Yongbyon reactor," he added.

Mr Richardson said he was "optimistic" about the North's willingness to shut the reactor, which was part of a deal agreed in February.

Under that landmark agreement, North Korea said it would "shut down and seal" Yongbyon in return for energy aid and other incentives from its dialogue partners - the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

But the deal has been delayed because of the financial dispute involving $25m (£12.7m) of North Korean funds, which was frozen in Macau-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA).

The deadlock looked to have been resolved on Tuesday when the US Treasury Department said the Macau authorities would lift the freeze, allowing North Korea to obtain the money.

John McCain Reaffirms Support for Bush Iraq Plan

Senator McCain just gave a major speech on Iraq at the Virginia Military Institute.  He bashed Democrats and praised the stay the course route.  Is he going to be the Mondale of the Republican primary season?  Read more here.

The Washington Post on President's Immigration Address

The WAPO coverage of President Bush's immigration speech was pretty fair.  It gave him credit for pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, while emphasizing his frustrating reluctance to move past soundbites "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande" and focus on specifics.  Read NDN's response to the President's speech here.

President Bush outlined the latest version of his plan to overhaul the nation's immigration laws Monday, renewing his support for a guest-worker program for those with low skills and issuing a vague call for a resolution of the legal status of the estimated 12 million undocumented workers in the country.

Speaking at the dedication of a state-of-the-art Border Patrol station here, a few miles from the U.S.-Mexican border, Bush called on Congress to pass the type of comprehensive immigration legislation that he has been pushing with little success since his earliest days as president. Bush said the overhaul should combine increased border security and added pressure on employers who hire illegal immigrants with a legal avenue for large numbers of guest workers to come into the country, while resolving the status of undocumented workers already here.

President Bush leaves Easter church service in Fort Hood, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"Congress can pass a comprehensive bill, and I can sign it into law this year," Bush said, without offering a detailed proposal.

Since becoming president, Bush has viewed immigration as an issue on which he could make his mark as a "compassionate conservative" while extending the reach of the Republican Party to the fast-growing ranks of Latino voters, who tend to lean Democratic. But the swirling politics surrounding the emotional issue have left Bush groping for a viable path toward a solution, even as his political capital continues to be drained by the war in Iraq.

House Committee to Look Into Lynch, Tillman Incidents

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announce that they are going to investigate two high-profile events in recent US military history.  Those two events: the friendly-fire death of US Army Ranger and former NFL star Cpl. Pat Tillman and the rescue of Pvt. Jennifer Lynch.  In Tillman's case,  there are clear signs of a serious cover-up over the circumstances of his death, and Lynch's story which was spread far and wide appears to be one part fairy tale, one part exploitative propaganda.  It'll be the committees job to investigate misbehavior and see how high up in the chain of command, military and civilian, it went.  We'll be following this story closely at NDNblog, as we continue to look at the failures of the period of conservative ascendency. 

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