Democrats for Angle

(Cross-posted from Think it Through.)

If you are a Democrat and you want to do something that will help you revive your party and rebuild the self-confidence it had just 18 months ago, you should send your money and support to Sharron Angle for United States Senate in Nevada.

Sure, she has some strange views.  Angle is known more for what she is against than what she is for.  I call her the Elimination Candidate: she would like to eliminate Social Security, the Department of Education, the U.S.’s membership in the United Nations, fluoridization of water, and the Internal Revenue Service code.  But so what?  A wacky freshman U.S. Senator from Nevada is not a great threat to our democracy.  But the person she wants to eliminate from the Senate has proven to be one of the most formidable obstacles to progressive change in this country.

There's more...

Weekly Diaspora: Will Immigration Reform Bills Bring Voters to the Polls?

by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

Riding the media blitz that followed the DREAM Act’s recent defeat, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) unveiled their own comprehensive immigration reform bills just before Congress adjourned last week. The bills are enforcement-heavy, party-line bills that were immediately referred to committee, where they are expected to languish for some time.

Few expect much to come of either bill, given their untimely introduction and the broad failure of previous immigration reform efforts. Rather, these bills are perceived as last-ditch attempts to score political points before midterm elections. The Menendez bill could net support for Democrats from an increasingly unmotivated Latino electorate, conversely, Hatch’s bill reinforces the hard-line immigration stance so popular among Republican voters.

The Menendez Bill: Two steps forward, one step back

While the Menendez bill was introduced with the strong support of major immigration reform groups like the National Immigration Forum, others regard it as a disappointing mixed bag of talking points.

The bill has several high points, like its inclusion of AgJOBS and the DREAM Act, but is heavy on the kinds of federal immigration enforcement that immigrant rights advocates abhor. As Prerna Lal at Change.org writes:

[The bill] starts with border enforcement, followed by interior enforcement, then worksite enforcement, before actually reforming the system and moving forward with the legalization of undocumented immigrants. […] The biggest downfall of the bill is probably that it does not do much to address the ever-growing immigrant detention complex and, instead, mandates a system that criminalizes immigrants.

Likening it to the failed Schumer-Graham bill of last spring, Lal notes that the bill’s prioritization of enforcement isn’t bi-partisan so much as a slap in the face of those who have fought hardest for comprehensive reform. Nevertheless, the Menendez Bill succeeds where its Democratic predecessor—the Guttieriez bill—failed: It provides a path to citizenship for undocumented partners of LGBT citizens.

While it remains unlikely that the bill will ever become law as is, Menendez introduced it into Senate to remind Latinos which party is on their side this election season.

The Hatch Bill: Revving up the base with more of the same

Orrin Hatch admits even more frankly that he only introduced an immigration bill because he wanted to stir up his base. In his own words, the bill is “just for show.”

Accordingly—and as Elise Foley of the Washington Independent notes—his bill doesn’t do much of anything except reinforce existing immigration laws and practices:

Immigration advocacy groups were critical of the bill, calling it “dog whistle rhetoric” to gin up his base. “His bill doesn’t offer serious solutions,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum said in a press release. “Instead it duplicates work already being done on enforcement and won’t solve the crisis it purports to address.”

The bill does propose boosting enforcement in some areas—for instance, requiring all law enforcement agencies to deputize their officers as immigration agents—but on the whole appears to be little more than the political ploy Hatch says it is.

Where are the Latino voters?

Whether either bill will have much of an impact on voters, however, is up for debate. A new report released by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that, while Latino voters still largely identify as Democrats, they are much less motivated to cast their ballots this year than they have been in the past two elections. The finding is a surprising one, as reform advocates have been working hard to galvanize the Latino constituency against increasing anti-immigrant sentiment.

But weak voter motivation may have less to do with politics and more to do with the pressures accompanying a bad economy. As I wrote for Campus Progress, populations that were disproportionately hurt by the recession seem to have less overall interest in voting this November.

In particular, Latino voters with close ties to undocumented workers are experiencing some of the worst voter fallout from the recession and, under the circumstances, are becoming politically disaffected despite the highly politicized immigration debate.

Rather than motivating the bulk of Latino voters, all of the controversy surrounding anti-immigrant sentiment and policies are instead fomenting an agitated conservative base. At ColorLines, Jamilah King astutely notes that, “while Democrats had hoped incendiary anti-immigrant legislation like SB 1070 would encourage voters to come out against Republicans in protest, it seems that the opposite is happening.”

Instead, controversy surrounding SB 1070 and other measures are generating strong support among conservatives. Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, once the figurehead of immigration enforcement in the U.S., is now proclaiming himself to be the “poster boy” of immigration as he tours the country endorsing a slew of radical conservative candidates.

There they are!

Nevertheless, reform advocates are optimistic about both the power and the will of the Latino electorate.

According to Valerie Fernandez at New America Media, organizers are registering record numbers of Latinos this year. In Arizona, where voter registration closed on Monday, a coalition of ten groups claims to have registered 22,000 new voters. It’s a remarkable accomplishment. Latino voters make up only 15 percent of all registered voters in Arizona, despite the fact that Latinos comprise 30 percent of the state’s population. 22,000 new voters could effectively double the number of Latinos voting in the state, and may significantly impact the election’s outcome.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

What is Hillary's End-Game?

With just three primaries left, it is abundantly clear at this point that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for president, yet Hillary has shown no signs that she plans to leave the race any time soon. On the assumptions that she is aware that the race is effectively over, and that she does, in fact, have some reason for remaining in the race other than spite and/or denial, the question becomes, what is she looking to gain? In the extended entry, I discuss what the competing theories are, and how realistic they seem to be.

There's more...

Urgent - Call/e-mail sens Feinstein and Schumer - demand that Democrats stand against torture

For the past 8 years I have worked on a volunteer basis at the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis.  Torture survivors are amazing and resilient people - representing the best of human nature.  Waterboarding IS TORTURE of the worst kind.  It, and other forms of torture, are the worst things humans are capable of.  If the breaking news http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/03/washin gton/03mukasey.html is true and Senators Schumer and Feinstein are going to break with other Democrats and vote to move Mukasey's nomination forward despite his refusal to call waterboarding torture, it will be a retraumatazation of torture survivors everywhere - people whom had hoped that Democrats could stand up and at least demand our nation's top law enforcement officer be honest about torture and speak strongly against it.

How pathetic and without moral standing has the Democratic party become if they cannot even stand up to Mr. 26% approval and refuse to compromise on something as fundamental as torture.  

We have until MONDAY night to spread the word and contact Senator Schumer and Senator Feinstein and demand they reconsider.  Contact info found below:

Sen Schumer:

http://schumer.senate.gov/

Sen Feinstein:

http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/

There's more...

Disappointment of the Day: Senator Schumer Champions Special Tax Treatment for Billionaires

(by Amy Traub of DMIblog) It must be pretty nice to be taxed like a hedge fund manager. Despite the many millions you are compensated, most of your income isn't taxed at the 35% rate, like ordinary income for the top tax bracket.  Unlike your highly-paid colleagues in other industries, a nifty IRS loophole allows you to pay just 15% in taxes on much of your compensation. On paper, it works because a big chunk of your pay is considered capital gains, not ordinary income. The real world effect is that you get taxed at a similar rate as the guy who makes your morning latte.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that $6.3 billion in tax revenue is lost every year by providing hedge funds with privileged tax status, with an equivalent amount lost annually by providing these tax benefits to private equity mangers.  

For a federal government stretched at the seams, trying to foot the bill for two wars, increased homeland security, veterans' health care,  health coverage for poor kids, crumbling national infrastructure,  investments in renewable energy, efforts to make college more affordable,  or just making the tax code more fair to middle-class Americans you'd think ending the low-tax loophole for billionaires would be high on the list of new revenue sources. And you'd be right.

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads