Game Changers on Health and Immigration

nunsTakoma Park Sunday in the early spring turns out to be a big event for a change in the DC area for two reasons.

The final votes are being wrangled into the corral for health care reform, and it looks like what Majority Leader Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) calls the “final yard” will be handled in heart stopping, breath taking fashion with prayers said and fingers crossed.  Good news for millions without health care, warts and all.

And, in momentous timing simultaneously, tens of thousands, certainly no less than 50,000 immigrants and their supporters and maybe as many as 100,000, are rallying and marching to demand real, comprehensive immigration reform after more than a year of suffering through empty promises and holding back anger and what Gustavo Torres, the director of the CASA de Maryland, which is bringing more marchers to the rally than any other organization, calls “frustration.”  If the numbers hit the high end of organizers’ hopes, then perhaps immigration advocates will take a lesson from the health care struggle that will be crunching to a close, one way or another, at the Capitol as they pass by on the way to their buses.  The immigration organizers might realize that there is a real movement behind them pushing out of the pain and into the streets that must have relief and win reform.  Perhaps they will stop stifling the grassroots base and unleash them por la causa. If they do, and the beltway lobbying machine finally becomes coupled to the strategy and tactics of a movement, then a real bill, and not simply a  convoluted politicians’ “framework” might emerge.

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Measuring a Months Movement

harry-reid-2New Orleans Being on the road and out of the country for a month is a bit of a Rip Van Winkle moment despite the best intentions and mainlining internet to keep connected.  Some notes.

  • Still seems to absolutely be no progress on real plans for loan modifications to prevent foreclosures.  Reading old papers it seems there were yet more studies that were released in recent weeks that say that the chances of doing even 500,000 modifications that actually prevent foreclosures looked like a long shot.  None of the models and systems were ever designed to deal with massive unemployment, especially now that foreclosure notices have spread past sub-primes into all other conventional mortgages in the Great Recession.  What an abysmal failure all of this has been!
  • The “public option” continues to be on life support though has a heartbeat thanks to some herculean efforts by progressives to try to hold on to some semblance of real reform.  It’s hard to be happy about a fake “trigger” as backed by Senator Snowe and one worries that Senator’s Reid’s provision to allow states to “opt out” just means that those of us in poor, broke-ass states like Louisiana where the conservative demagogues even try to deny us stimulus triggered unemployment benefit increases, will also abandon our health care needs as quickly despite all of the evidence of how desperate we are for comprehensive coverage.  No happiness here.

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