Category: US Democrats

Immigration reform Obama style

by Jo Coghlan

America has more than 11 million (and as possibly as high as 20 million) people living inside its borders who do not have legal status. They account for 3.7% of America’s population. For American President Barrack Obama, immigration is the political elephant in the room particularly as he faces re-election next year. Recently Obama has significant speeches on immigration ‘reform’ but it is domestic politics that is driving his policies.

American immigration policy is largely family based. Residency is most commonly granted to the immediate family of existing citizens. For others, visas are granted based on skill levels, with highly skilled immigrants having a much easier time getting work permits than unskilled labourers. Skilled workers, usually people with a university education or professional training have a range of visa options. The most common visa, the H1B class, currently has a ceiling of 65,000 each year: a quota that is easily filled every year. For unskilled labourers, the U.S. grants just 5,000 work visas each year to people employed in fields other than agriculture. For many, the American dream means they live and work in America as undocumented ‘aliens’.

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The Five Smartest US Congressional Bills You’ve Never Heard Of

by Ryan Rafaty

During any given Congressional term, literally thousands of proposals never make it past the committee stage of the legislative process. In recent years, less than 5 percent of all bills introduced ultimately became law. The scope of proposals in Congress garnering considerable media attention is similarly narrow. The pieces of legislation that attract the most publicity from the beltway media—like Paul Ryan’s radically unpopular plan to scrap Medicare—tend to drown out more sensible ideas that hardly stand any chance of enactment without public pressure on lawmakers to move the agenda forward.

But behind the smoke screen of the news cycle, there are several genuinely excellent pieces of legislation that remain more or less entirely shrouded from public view. The bills below are among the more progressive efforts underway in our 112th Congress, with sponsors and co-sponsors representing both sides of the aisle. They warrant far greater attention than they’re getting.

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Adapting Social Democratic Parties to the Facebook Age

 

 

By Neal Lawson

 

 

Form follows function. What are social democratic party’s for and therefore how should they be structured? In the era of what we could call social democracy 1.0 when unions were big, production was bigger and the state and power heavily centralized the goal was the administration of power from the top down. War socialism meant an elite and hierarchical form.

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The Palinization of America

by Jim Worth, huffingtonpost.com

For many years America has been sliding into a dark abyss…

… succumbing to the lowest common-denominator — spurning intelligence for ‘cool.’

As a result all areas of American life have changed, but not for the better. In fact, it is easier to be stupid than it is to become smart. And, unfortunately, America has embraced stupid.

Sarah Palin has somehow emerged at the vortex of this strange struggle — this negative storm. Perceived by some to be the answer for this country’s ills, she is, in fact, one of the causes.

This erosion was happening long before Palin burst onto the scene, but her presence has exposed the negative effects of the direction we’ve been heading for many years. The Palinization of America!

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A Better Way to Fix Lobbying

by Lee Drutman, Adjunct Professor, the University of California’s Washington Semester Program, The Brookings Institution.

That Washington is corrupted by special interests is perhaps the most common critique of the federal government. Poll after poll reveal a public convinced that lobbyists are a destructive influence, and most lobbying reform ideas accordingly take a distinctly moralizing tone. “Drain the swamp” was Nancy Pelosi’s rallying cry in 2006, backed by a promise to, on Day One, “break the link between lobbyists and legislation.” President Obama, too, spent his campaign bashing special interests (as did McCain), and also made a symbolic point of enacting new lobbying rules for his administration on Day One.

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Progressing the Social Democratic Agenda