Support Families like Mine: End Inequality in Immigration Policy

October 22, 2011  |   LGBT Issues Mexico Politics and Policy Progressive Political Commentary

Support Families like Mine: End Inequality in Immigration Policy

I’m one of the lucky ones – lucky because I’ve had the good fortune to share the past ten years of my life with the person I love, despite the fact he’s a Mexican citizen, and I’m an American citizen. I’m lucky because, in 2001 when we met, I had the resources, ability, and the option to move to Mexico and establish a business and a life with Luis. I’m lucky because Luis and I built a rich and rewarding life together.  We enjoy the love and support of both our families, we have a wonderful circle of friends, and we’ve been able to give back to our Mexican community in ways that have been incredibly satisfying. Unfortunately, the past two years have shown us just how fragile that luck has been. My business, a small resort hotel catering to LGBT vacationers to Puerto Vallarta, has suffered greatly since the U.S. economy took its nosedive in late 2008. In 2009, Mexico was the epicenter of the H1N1 flu scare – it nearly shut down the tourism industry for a couple of months. And mounting concerns over the safety and security of travel to Mexico due to drug cartel violence has further decimated the tourism industry and my once-thriving business, despite the fact that the violence is enormously hyped by U.S. media and is mostly localized in a few cities far from Puerto Vallarta. Times are hard. The economic realities of a struggling business in Mexico have compelled me to return

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Republicans Scuttle Fed Nominee: More of the same electoral politics that put workers last

August 8, 2010  |   Politics and Policy

There are three vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.  That’s a big deal – maybe the biggest deal for economic recovery you’ve heard almost nothing about in the mainstream press. The economy has been growing for most of the past year, but data from the second quarter of 2010 are showing new signs of a slowdown. Unemployment hasn’t come down, and may be showing signs of inching up again. All this is great news for Republicans heading into the fall elections. Their biggest fear is that voters might see signs of recovery and jobs growth, and scuttle Republican chances for big gains in November.  But how do Fed nominees play into the Republican equation for electoral victory?  The Fed is the only body that can now take serious action to boost the economy.  Thanks to Republican obstructionism, and misplaced hysteria over the short-term budget deficit (the solution is putting people back to work, paying taxes and growing the economy), nothing more will come out of Congress this year. So what better for Republicans than to ensure continued gridlock at the Fed, guaranteeing continued high unemployment at least until after the November elections? Obama has nominated three highly qualified candidates to fill vacancies on the Fed Board of Governors: Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has been nominated as vice chair; Sarah Raskin is currently the Maryland commissioner of financial regulation; and Peter Diamond is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor (an former

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Senate Financial Reform Bill: A Review of the Key Proposals

April 1, 2010  |   Paul Crist Politics and Policy

Senate Financial Reform Bill: A Review of the Key Proposals By Paul Crist March 28, 2010 The Financial Reform Bill introduced by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) appears to be, on the whole, a decent piece of legislation.  There are good arguments why various aspects may be weaker than they should be, but given the political landscape, Dodd has come up with a bill that ought to garner broad support from across the spectrum.   It is widely recognized that the need for reform is urgent, and given the level of public anger toward bankers and the financial sector generally, fairly swift passage of this bill should be possible.  After all, are there 41 Senators willing to stand up and side with the bankers?  That would be very hard to explain to the constituents back home. The bill is comprehensive in that it covers many issues, and detailed, with over 1,100 pages of regulatory reforms.  Assessing every issue in detail would be a daunting task (but somebody’s gotta do it).  But there are a range of specific areas that deserve consideration and comment.  The following issues will be briefly addressed here: The proposed Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and curbing industry influence over regulators; The proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA); Enhanced resolution authority and the “too-big-to-fail” problem; Proposed changes in the division of regulatory authority; Proposed regulation over trading of derivatives, asset-backed securities, and hedge funds; Proposals for financial brokers, investment advisors, and credit rating agencies.   Financial Stability Oversight Council

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The Real Message in the Massachusetts Special Election

January 20, 2010  |   Politics and Policy

The more I think about this Massachusetts election outcome, the more I am concerned... but not about the Democrats.  I worry for the Republic.  I think both parties are in much deeper trouble than their leaders realize.  And that spells trouble for the Republic. Why? America has become ungovernable.  Every election is about "throwing the bums out," no matter who's in the majority.  Seems to me we have a major populist shift in attitude in the country, with no populist leadership coming from either party, because they're both in thrall to their corporate masters. Candidates talk a populist game in the heat of the campaign, but they don't govern that way (Brown rode around Massachusetts in a pickup truck to polish his populist bonafieds). The anger is growing, but is unfocused.  That anger is evidenced by the utter breakdown of civility either in the halls of Congress or in the political discourse taking place everywhere. It's reflected in the xenophobic hatred of immigrants and an uptick in violence against racial and other minorities.  The teabaggers, birthers, and the Town Hall screamers are evidence of the growing rage, but there is also a growing rage among traditionally left-leaning voters, who have not yet realized it, but they have some common cause with these so-called nut-cases on the right. Rules in the Senate, and the peculiar dynamics of how we apportion Senators and how they're elected, in particular, make it impossible for either party to effectively address the populist demands of voters. 

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