Archive for Immigrants

Whither Dems Podcast

rightsign2The Trump win Tuesday is the right time to stop these weekly podcasts after 9½ years. Watch this URL for occasional commentary, maybe a little video…later.

Today was my usual half-Vulcan Spock self.

We shall survive as a nation, as we did during and after the George W. Bush time. He ruined the economy even more than the typical Republican. We haven’t climbed all the way out of his debt pit. We’ll never get back the many thousands of lives lost to war and jobs destroyed. I fear more of that from Trump.

I snort as Speaker Ryan and GOP sorts claim mandate. The lost the popular vote, held the House only due to gerrymandering in previous years, and hold a paper-thin Senate majority. Mandate, my bad head!

We don’t yet know what malicious laws Congress will try to enact. We do know that the wave of emotion that brought us President Trump is as irrational and ignorant as he. We need look no farther than comparing the cries of do-nothing Congress and throw the rascal out to right-wing voters keeping nearly all the do-nothings and rascals from the GOP in office. Huge duh.

We’ll surely have at least two years of pettiness and malice. As the economy slides and unemployment climbs, even the loudest Trumpettes will feel shame. Let us look historically to see in the last century that again and again Dems have rescued the nation after the GOP has goofed it up.

It’s going to be a rough, disheartening, anti-American two to four years.

icon for podpress  Whither Dems [18:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

Goosing the Lame Duck Podcast

Still stunned Republicans in Congress must also be hearing their leaders bluster about how the POTUS and his Dems had better do whatever they say. Huh?

We kicked around what was possible in this lame-duck Congress and short-term 2013. Listen in below as we hit the fiscal cliff (totally manufactured brinkmanship), immigration reform (and GOP efforts to get just a little Latino voter love), and more. The fiscal slope is a better term and Congress has months to concoct a fix, although House Republicans could stop this foolishness immediately by passing the Senate-approved bill extending middle-class tax cuts.

We think aloud about the kind of blame the right will take if they fool around too much, too long and too obviously.

We ended up comparing MA Dems’ rethinking after the Sen. Scott Brown victory three years ago and our amazement that the national Republicans can not thrown themselves into the kind of restructuring that served Dems so well here.

icon for podpress  Goosing the Lame Duck [30:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

Joy, Not Despair, 2012

Without gloating, or with only a little, we held forth on yesterday’s elections.

Even the almost invariably optimistic Ryan did not see most Republicans rethinking their obstructionism. Mike predicted a deal on the auto-sequester at year’s end, only because that would be political suicide for Congressional Republicans in both houses if they didn’t show a bit of wit.

We talked about the role new Sen. Elizabeth Warren might play, the likelihood of Sen. John Kerry moving to Secretary of State, and other impacts of left-leaning victories in Congress. Mike started with a joyous recap of the four marriage-equality state-level victories.

Both of us were disappointed but not surprised at the vitriolic and graceless post-elections comments from GOP candidates and winger media types. That likely foreshadows their uncooperative futures, willing to hurt all of us for their political shading.

Listen in as we predict what might happen with the re-upped Obama and maybe even filibuster reform.

icon for podpress  Joy or Despair 2012 [35:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

Elephant Leavings Podcast

Ryan and Mike has a good time recapping the GOP doings in Tampa. Rather, the non-doings, as it was all too plain that the Republicans abjectly failed to provide any reason to vote for Romney/Ryan instead of against Obama/Biden. The speakers, including the candidates, gave no details, not specifics, no proposals and no plans to better the country and its economy.

Moreover, even the Missus could not humanize the not-very-human Mitt. We look forward to the contrast with this week’s Dem speakers who are certain to offer a real path and speak without the lies and pretense we heard this past week.

Ryan suggests that the Dems should take the weak attack the Tampa folk left with, the question that worked in another election, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago.” Unfortunately for the Republicans, the vast majority of Americans can only say yes. They’d like more, faster, but yes.

Alas for the elephant herd, the fringe GOP platform suddenly is obvious and real. In lieu of any plans and proposals, voters can only look to the stated objectives of the party. They would scare all but the most extreme.

Teeing off of one of Mike’s friend’s view, they discussed what happens if Romney loses. Ryan backed the friend in predicting an even worse purge of moderates. Mike figures it would immediately lead to another soul (if you pardon that word here) searching by the party.

Listen in as we talk about what was and was not in the week that kind of was.

icon for podpress  RNC Convention [30:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

Sasquatch SCOTUS Podcast

Even without Thursday’s looming health-care reform ruling, the SCOTUS strutted its stuff this week. We dealt with forbidding life without parole for teens, Arizona’s immigrant laws, and dismissing Montana’s version of limiting Citizens-United style campaign spending.

All threads led to November. We discussed what it might mean for Republicans and Romney in particular trying to walk back anti-Latino/anti-immigrant screeds, whether Dems and Obama can rally those groups, women, young voters and more in the face of slow economic recovery and more. Listen i as we try to put current and pending Supreme Court rulings in a progressive context.

icon for podpress  Sasquatch SCOTUS [30:03m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

King Who Would Be Senator Podcast

Dropping note: OK, boys and girls, word at MassLive is that King decided to drop out of the race the day after our show with him. I hope it wasn’t something we said. Enjoy the commentary in that context.

Jim King does not accept being an afterthought candidate in the race for the Dem nomination to challenge US Sen. Scott Brown this fall. He figures his platform is the best, he’ll have enough money to compete, and he’ll get the 10,000 signatures and 15% of party delegates for the June convention. He intends to get on the September ballot, at the very least.

He takes strong positions, which he tends to back up with detailed historical and economic reasoning. Some, like energy independence and employment, he has particular passions for as well.

He told us plainly why he was in the race. “Number one is to beat Scott Brown,” he said. He believes the incumbent’s victory in the special election following Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death was an anomaly. He feels Kennedy “gave us a tremendous legacy,” one Brown has not done well by. He added that this position may not be Kennedy’s seat, “but he showed us how to use it.”

Click below to listen to King’s positions including:

  • Jobs — we need WPA/TVA-style public works projects as well as developing and expanding high-tech here
  • Casinos — no economic panacea
  • Corporate taxes — eliminate outdated subsidies like petroleum depletion and exploration credits, and make U.S. companies pay taxes on foreign holdings
  • Immigration — For non-violent/non-drug crime illegal immigrants, have them pay fines, make them follow the path to citizenship, and forget expensive, counterproductive long jail terms or deportation
  • Regressive politics — Brown among other GOP legislators are too often atavistic in promoting states-rights positions on health-care and more

King also believes that there is enough money to fund important development, like tidal power plants and wind turbines, without tapping the military budget. He acknowledges that self-interested Congress members might prefer to send money to pet projects, but he says, “Then let’s have a fight about it.”

His website has a clear, detailed section for each of his position.

icon for podpress  Jim King [32:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

DeFranco Ready for Battle Podcast

Wired and ready, Marisa DeFranco is not intimidated by US Sen. Scott Brown’s millions or Elizabeth Warren’s public and party support. She’s itching for debates and forums. She figures she’s going to win first the Dem primary and then the general on issues.

“I am the only progressive in this race,” she told us today. An immigration attorney, she declares herself also the one from either party who has the most real-world experience, foreign policy knowledge, and solutions in her platform. Moreover, she differentiates herself from the other candidates by saying she is the only one with a real jobs plan.

To her, the incumbent and other candidates speak in vagueries and talking points. She says there are two kinds of campaigns, the talking point variety and her specific and plainspoken one. “My whole campaign is based on real talk,” she said.

She admitted that voters won’t necessarily agree with all her platform, but they’ll have no question what she means or intends to accomplish. In contrast, she said that Brown came to office with the single priority of job creating, but has neither done that nor even produced a plan.

While she has the least in the bank of any Dem candidate, she said ad money won’t make the difference in this race. “Democrats aren’t going to get people to hate Scott Brown in this state,” she said. Also, they “are making a fundamental mistake in playing the money game against Brown.” she figures whatever the Dem nominee raises, Brown’s supporters will at least double. Instead, she believes voters “are tired of the mouthpiece politics” of generalities.

She said for the past 11 months, she has based her organizing and speaking on a “focus on message, message, and message, and grassroots.”

As for Warren, DeFranco said that working for the Obama administration and spending many years at Harvard are not good preparation for the Senate and are not marks of an outsider. “I am the real outsider,” she said, “the person on the ground and from the streets.” She noted that in her many advocacy trips to the legislature, “I haven’t seen Elizabeth Warren in any of my travels.” Moreover, she was similarly plainspoken about Warren taking contributions from those in the financial industry and claiming those are the ones who want reform. She called it “disingenuous to say, ‘My rich guys are better than your rich guys.'”

For Warren’s centerpiece of the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, DeFranco remains unimpressed. She notes that it came with no prosecutorial powers. Also, she says that its (and Warren’s) emphasis on making lenders and companies reduce complex contracts to two pages does not do much. As an attorney, she says she knows that “mortgagte companies can make a two-page document hard to understand too.” She said that the CFPB is trying to regulate want instead of could; the customer may really want to buy that house, but the danger is what the lender can do on its side, regardless of how clearly the customer is thinking.

DeFranco says her plain talk has gotten support from both parties as well as independents. She says that she doesn’t “know where Elizabeth Warren would stand on so many issues.” For Brown, it returns to “Where’s his job plan. That’s my biggest problem with him.”

Short term, she’s in the process of directing her volunteers to gather the necessary 10,000 valid signatures to make sure she’s on the ballot.

icon for podpress  Marisa DeFranco 2 [34:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

Massachusetts Money Podcast: Grossman

We have to look to comic book or movie heroes to find a more straight-ahead character than Steve Grossman. The MA Treasurer joined Left Ahead today and gave an update on his numerous innovative and even revolutionary campaign pledges. The short of it is that he’s getting us there.

You can check his campaign promises on his appearance with us in May of 2010 here.

Over at Marry in Massachusetts, Mike endorsed him. He has also written numerous posts including favorable mentions.

That attitude reflects in today’s show. We did not have time to get into one area of disagreement — he sees destination casinos as revenue sources and job creators, while the LA hosts see more drawbacks than potential benefits. However, we did get into questions and criticisms that have floated about. For example, as maybe the Dems’ best ever fund raiser, he solicited money in the last election from people who did or could do business with the commonwealth.

Listen in as he talks about how the bidding and hiring systems work and how he has upgraded them. He even, bless him, used the correct whom you know phrase when describing how nepotism and referrals from machers were no longer acceptable. He contends that it is and will remain the lowest responsible bid that wins the contract and the best qualified candidate that gets the job.

We can check him on that with his thinner-than-ever transparency online.

A big part of that is moving the entire commonwealth checkbook and bidding records online. That’s very new and has been in the works since January. He plans for the big part of the checkbook to be functional in October and fully fleshed out in November. He’s very much a believer in people being able to see where their money comes from and is going.

What sounded like an ever harder part is working well already and will just be getting better he says. Grossman promised to leverage MA’s billions in pension funds and other investments to create jobs here. The key part is partnering with banks who will lend to local companies who want to expand here. He says already 51 of the 190 MA banks have signed up, 27 have completed the paperwork and are working with small businesses. Every quarter, they have to prove their commitment and lending records to keep their millions in MA money. By the bye, he notes that he goes to every meeting with banks who want to join the program to answer their questions.

He also touched on things just starting, like financial education and literacy by students, seniors and veterans, and on the messy matter of attacking unfunded pension liability.

icon for podpress  Steve Grossman [32:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments

DeFranco Path from Grassroots to Senate

A competent, confident candidate with a wide and deep platform joined us today to talk about her replacing U.S. Sen. Scott Brown next year. Marisa DeFranco explains how she’s the real thing and he a flash in the pan and abject survival-of-the-fittest pol.

She is an immigration attorney and best known the related circles. Listen in though as she explains her economic policies and plans for job creation. She also describes her accomplishments and goals in women’s rights including equal pay. Also, for a living, she has long fought the federal government and details how she understands its workings.

DeFranco is proud of being a progressive, a union supporter, a Democrat, and more. She figures to resonate with such voters in a grassroots campaign. Listen in as she describes how she’ll go after the seat.

Be sure to catch the end where she says she’ll put up her debating skills against the incumbent’s. She’s looking forward to the campaign.

icon for podpress  Marisa DeFranco [31:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments (1)

Worcester Check-In Podcast

Social activist (podcaster, blogger, video maker and on and on) Mike Benedetti joined us from and to talk about Worcester. That helped keep us from our usual speculation and judgments of politicians. He is much less rarefied and concentrates on real issues of real people, like the homeless and immigrants. His own real life is after all with the Catholic Worker community.

Listen in as we figuratively walk through Worcester to talk about what matters there, how it is the same and different from other Massachusetts cities and what has been changing there. We deal with the impact (and lack thereof) of having the lieutenant governor and one of the most influential members of Congress in Jim McGovern.

You can learn more of Benedetti in this The Pulse Magazine profile (about the middle).  You can also see more of his craft and labors at Pie and Coffee and WCAATV’s 580 show.

He discusses such progressive issues as the surprising effectiveness of placing group homes in Worcester. He also walks us through the slow economic recovery of the central downtown. Listen in to hear what is and what isn’t happening…and why Worcester is a fine place to be a vegan.

icon for podpress  Mike Benedetti [49:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments