NDN Blog

Take Back America Conference

Don't forget to check out the Take Back America conference tomorrow. Simon will be speaking, as well as many other leading progressives, including presidential hopefuls Bill Richardson, Barack Obama, and John Edwards.

CNN's YouTube Debates Highlight Importance of New Media

In a New York Times piece entitled "YouTube Passes Debates to a New Generation," Katharine Seelye summarizes the traditional format for presidential debates:

"A guy in a suit asks mostly predictable questions of other suits. The voter is a fixture in the audience, motionless until he or she gets to address the candidate, briefly and respectfully. Everything is choreographed."

The YouTube debates may help to expediate the evolution of that format. Some are skeptical that the move will shake things up enough to get regular, everyday people more involved in the debates. And of course, everything still depends on what questions CNN decides to air. It does seem clear, though, that this is a good first step towards democratizing the debate process, and will hopefully get more millennials involved.

What is also clear is how important the mastery of new tools is for candidates to be successful in a digital age. NDN has long advocated a proactive approach to tackling new, cutting-edge media techniques. Check out some of the exciting work our affiliates at the New Politics Institute are doing to move progressive politics into the 21st century.

Meeting the Conservative Challenge

Are you tired of having an administration that doesn't believe in effective government? See what NDN is doing to help end the era of conservative ascendancy in America - click the link or find it under "NDN Advocacy."

Aides to Rove and Bush Crafted Response to Attorney Firings

As our friends at thinkprogress.org reported last night, the Justice Department has just released more emails which link Karl Rove's top aides to the attorney firing scandal. White House Counsel Harriet Miers was also heavily involved. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) had said that the new documents "show that the White House played an integral role in the firings and their aftermath."

Most will probably not be shocked to learn that Rove has his fingerprints all over this mess. Still, for an administration that places such an emphasis on loyalty and secrecy (in the interests of our national security, of course - don't you feel safer?), these documents provide a rare and pretty candid snapshot of their systemic efforts to subvert every level of our government for their own political ends.

Take Back America 2007

Simon will be speaking at the 2007 Take Back America conference in Washington, DC. The conference, which begins next Monday, is described as "the premier progressive event of the year. From June 18th - 20th, 2007 thousands of progressive activists, thinkers, bloggers, and leaders will convene in Washington, DC," where they will have the opportunity to hear a very impressive array of influential progressive speakers.

Look for Simon on a panel Tuesday morning at 9:45 looking at new and better ways to be using media.  He will be showcasing some of the issue advocacy television ads NDN and its affiliates have run in the last two election cycles.

New links to Rove, Abramoff exposed in prosecution of former Alabama Governor

Scott Horton's recent piece in Harpers provides an excellent case study in the current culture of corruption in government. Horton's well-researched article centers on statements by current Alabama Governor Bob Riley's former Chief of Staff, Toby Roth, in the Birmingham News.

In the Birmingham article, Roth denies that the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman was political in nature. The Birmingham reporters take Roth's words at face value. Horton, however, carefully documents Roth's extensive links to Karl Rove and Jack Abramoff, suggesting that:

"We’re looking at one hell of a scandalous miscarriage of justice, the object of which is corrupt and patently partisan and political. Very powerful forces have been engaged to cover it all up. There are also unmistakable signs of corruption surrounding the Montgomery statehouse – it’s not Siegelman’s corruption, but rather that of his successor and opponent. Indeed, it seems very closely tied to the people who claimed to have launched an effort to “get” Siegelman, using the authority of Karl Rove and his reach deep into the Department of Justice."

Roth's cover-up is but the latest example of the corruption and cronyism that we have almost come to expect from this Administration and its friends.

NDN's Immigration Work

Just a quick reminder: if you'd like to read more about NDN's substantial body of past work on immigration reform, click the "immigration" tab below relevant blog headers (like the one right above this), or see our Responsible Immigration Policy section, located under "NDN Advocacy."

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.

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.

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?

Syndicate content