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This Week: America's Longest War. PLUS: The Trump Sideshow | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

This Week: America's Longest War. PLUS: The Trump Sideshow

This week, I argued in the Washington Post that the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan, now in its tenth year, could imperil President Obama’s reelection. Let’s not forget that the success of Obama’s 2008 campaign was bolstered by his opposition to the war in Iraq and commitment to a speedy withdrawal. As I wrote, antiwar sentiment is at the heart of Obama’s base -- and also of his appeal to independent voters. The human and financial costs of America’s longest war coupled with plummeting support on both sides of the aisle are clear indications that it’s time for the president to declare victory and get out of Afghanistan. You can read the piece here.

Also this week….

WELCOME: Liliana Segura as Associate Editor

We’re pleased to welcome Liliana Segura as The Nation’s new Associate Editor. Liliana is a journalist and editor with a focus on social justice, prisons and the criminal justice system. A graduate of Barnard College, she has written for The Nation, AlterNet, and numerous other publications. Her article, “‘Justifiable Homicides’ Are on the Rise: Have Self-Defense Laws Gone Too Far?” was published in The Best American Legal Writing 2009, edited by Dahlia Lithwick. She is on the board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank, and has spent the past year working on a project about the death penalty and life without parole. A former Nation intern and then a program associate at The Nation Institute, Liliana has been a part of the Nation family for some time. After leaving the Institute, where she worked on several projects with Nation Books, she went on to work as an editor at AlterNet, where she was responsible for civil liberties and international coverage.

BLOG: The Trump Sideshow

On Wednesday, President Obama appeared before the press to put an end to the odious and absurd controversy over the origins of his birthplace. In finally revealing his long-form birth certificate, Obama reminded Americans that we cannot address the MANY challenges before us if we’re distracted. He relegated the birther hogwash to a “sideshow” and attributed it to “carnival barkers.” But no sooner did Obama deliver his remarks than Trump was back at it his carnival routine.

Correspondent Ari Melber is right to point out in “Confronting the Coded of Racism of Donald Trump,” that Trump’s most recent volley, questioning how a “bad student” got into Columbia and then Harvard is “a putatively non-racial, vaguely constitutional way to challenge the legitimacy of the first black president and appeal to racists without sounding officially racist.” In a press conference, Trump declared that he’s “looking into it,” demanding Obama to show his school records.

Columnist Melissa Harris-Perry argues in “For Birthers, Obama’s Not Black Enough,” that this controversy isn’t about documentation; it’s about deeply held beliefs, even faith claims, about who is and is not a legitimate citizen. Read her column here.

But Trump isn’t the only one to blame. As I pointed out in “Emperor Trump Has No Clothes,” for a media obsessed with infotainment, they’re largely playing the role of cheering spectator for Trump’s self-aggrandizing parade. Who’s asking the ostensible GOP frontrunner the tough questions about his finances—three bankruptcies and tax evasion? Who’s asking Trump about the serious fiscal challenges facing the country? It’s time to put an end to this charade and set our focus back on real policy issues.

VIDEO: Back at You, Glenn Beck

On Tuesday, MSNBC's The Last Word Host Lawrence O'Donnell challenged Glenn Beck, who has repeatedly attacked Nation contributor  and labor leader Stephen Lerner. According to Beck, Lerner is a "mastermind worse than Osama bin Laden." Why such venom? On March 19 at the Left Forum in New York City, a reporter for Glenn Beck's website The Blaze secretly recorded Stephen Lerner giving a presentation in which he called for Americans to band together to stop paying exploitative mortgage fees to the big banks that caused our financial crisis. This is a point Lerner made in his Nation article, "Back at You, Glenn Beck." O'Donnell says that if Beck thinks something worse than 9/11 is in the works, "I beg him to go to his nearest New York City fire station and tell the firefighters there, all of whom lost someone dear to them on 9/11, that something worse is coming. Tell those firefighters all about former union leader Stephen Lerner." Watch the clip here.

GUEST VISIT: Senator Bernie Sanders at The Nation

We were delighted to have Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Nation’s offices Wednesday afternoon, as he was heading off to do The Daily Show and MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show. His new book, The Speech, published by Nation Books, is Sanders' entire eight and a half hour filibuster delivered on the floor of the Senate blasting the agreement President Obama struck with Republicans over extending the Bush tax cuts last December. The Speech is both a call to action and a passionate statement informing us that the only people who will save the middle class is the middle class itself. Read more about the book here, and be sure to watch Sanders' interview with The Daily Show's Jon Stewart here.

POLL: The Nation Named Winner in AlterNet's Poll of Most Influential Progressives

We were tickled pink to be named "most influential progressives" in the online magazine category in AlterNet's recent online poll. We pulled ahead of both Mother Jones and the Huffington Post. According to AlterNet, "poll participants were asked to choose the 10 people, magazine and blogs they thought most influential." Others Nation winners include columnist Naomi Klein, Melissa Harris-Perry, DC Editor Chris Hayes, National Security Correspondent Jeremy Scahill--and I snuck in there too! Take a look at the poll here.

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As always, thanks for reading.  I'm on Twitter--@KatrinaNation. Please leave your comments below.

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