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This was supposed to be a Sweet Victory post. That's the weekly feature Sam Graham-Felsen and I started last fall. In those grim days after the election, we believed that one antidote to the political darkness was to shed some light on progressive wins--from legislative and electoral victories to successful organizing efforts, protests and boycotts, to the launching of promising new organizations or initiatives. We hoped these stories would serve not only as a source of information but as inspiration.

We plan to continue tracking these victories. And we hope you Nation readers will continue to send us tips about what you think we should be covering. (Click here to send suggestions.) But I have to confess that it was really tough to come up with a sweet victory in this last week of July 2005.

As a friend from DC wrote me late last night: "So this is the week from hell: the AFL-CIO splits, the DLC unveils Hillary as head of its American Dream new ideas committee (god forbid), to be followed by confirmation of Christopher Cox to head the SEC without a fight, passage of a big oil energy bill with massive giveaways to industry, including Halliburton, passage of CAFTA, with 15 Dems on board. Bush declares triumph; hailed as effective. Country takes it in ear. No wonder breathing the air here in DC is officially bad for your health....And as Congress heads to recess, both parties show what they are. Rs are disciplined and utterly corrupt, willing to hijack democracy for their own agenda, and wrongheaded. And Ds still in disarray, divided with too little fight in them."

A couple of months ago, with the help of terrific song suggestions from Nation readers, I put together a playlist for Dubya's iPod. Radiohead's Hail to the Thief, Green Day's American Idiot, Kid Rock's Pimp of the Nation, and REM's The End of the World, As We Know It, all made the Top Ten. Masters like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Frank Zappa (especially his The Torture Never Stops) were also at the top of many readers' lists.

The Rolling Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want, made it to the top fifty. Now, it seems, the band may be gunning for the top slot with its new single. Britain's New Musical Express reported last week that the next Stones album, slated for release this September, will include a track critical of the Bush gang's foreign policy. Sweet Neo-Con, according to the weekly, "is believed to be an attack on the politics of George Bush and the Republican Administraton." Virgin Records has been telling people the song has "a political message about moralism in the White House."

Jagger giving Dubya morality lessons. I like it. Sympathy for the Devil.

Comments on Iran, Wal-Mart and John Roberts.

There are no ordinary shots in Wong Kar Wai's 2046 and no ordinary
sounds--which is remarkable, given that you've seen and heard everything
before.

The Informant and Son of the Rough South examine the dynamics of moral choice through the lens of the civil rights movement.

Foucault and the Iranian Revolution details the story of Foucault's induction into journalism as a political correspondent in Iran.

Racial tensions abound in Southern California.

With its war in Iraq and its talk of promoting democracy, the Bush
Administration has begun to transform the Middle East--but not always in
ways it may have intended.

Socialist Bernie Sanders seems set to win one of the few US Senate seats next year where no incumbent is running.

Even so-called liberal publications frequently tilt rightward.

If we're going to have a society surveilled 24/7, let's begin at the top.

To Bush, Karl Rove is fine--as long as his leaking is not a crime.

Like every important government crisis, the outing of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame by Karl Rove, must be seen in many contexts at once.

Democrats, led by Rep. John Tierney, joined in sending a
letter to Bush demanding he revoke Rove's security clearance.

The public broadcasting system remains an easy target for Republican deception, demagogy and mischief.

Is John Roberts worth a fight?

In the aftermath of the labor split, both sides must get beyond recriminations and hold themselves to common goals.

With key provisions of the Voting Rights Act up for renewal, Congress must remain committed to the equal right to vote.

The Central American Free Trade Agreement, which was such a high priority for the Bush administration that the president personally lobbied Congressional Republicans on the issue Wednesday, passed the House by two votes.

Those two votes came from members who can best be described as "Bush Democrats."

The final vote on CAFTA was 217-215 in favor of the deal, the closest margin possible -- as a tie vote would have prevented approval.

Picking up the pieces at the AFL-CIO convention.

Another part of the save-Rove cover story is not holding.

Once the Plame/CIA leak became big (mainstream-media) news in September 2003--when word hi...

Last night, President Bush eked out a very narrow victory on his top trade priority, with the House of Representatives approving a free-trade agreement with Central American countries by just two votes. The House vote was held open for more than one hour to ensure passage. The final tally was 217 to 215.

The White House's victory on CAFTA was achieved through a combination of intense pressure and outright bribery to secure support for the measure, which fostered strong opposition from Democrats and Republicans. As Republican Representative C.L. "Butch" Otter, Republican of Idaho, told the Boston Globe today, GOP leaders promised pork-barrel spending and future legislation to undecided members, with a massive highway spending bill scheduled to be completed this week as a prime location for pet projects. "They're pulling out all the stops," Otter said. "They're either promising or threatening. They've done everything they could." (The Idaho rep. said he opposed CAFTA, despite personal lobbying from Bush at the White House.)

At least the GOP legislators were able to wrest unrelated bribes for their districts in return for their votes. That much cannot be said for the 15 so-called Democrats who voted for the pact and made passage possible.

GOD AND MAN AND MAILER