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This Week: Debt-Ceiling Theatrics. PLUS: The Nation's Summer Reading Picks! | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

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

This Week: Debt-Ceiling Theatrics. PLUS: The Nation's Summer Reading Picks!

DEBT-CEILING THEATRICS. On Wednesday, President Obama rejected Republican demands for cuts in federal programs, arguing that “you can’t reduce the deficit without having some revenue in the mix. And the revenue we’re talking about…is coming out of folks who are doing extraordinarily well.” Obama’s position on taxing the wealthy deserves credit, but his willingness to compromise with Republicans on healthcare and social security privatization should raise concerns, writes John Nichols. The Republican response, as I wrote in my Washington Post column, demonstrated once again the extent of GOP recklessness and extremist ideology. Refusing to negotiate on new taxes, closing of tax loopholes, or to crack down on overseas tax havens. Instead, they chose to pass on $2 trillion debt to the American public in the form of spending cuts. As George Zornick points out, there could be serious economic consequences if the government is unable to reach a debt-ceiling deal. As The Nation’s Washington Editor, Chris Hayes discussed this week with Rachel Maddow, does this point to a deliberate strategy by the GOP to tank the economy for political purposes?

CLIMATE-DRIVEN CONFLICT. This week, Contributing Editor Christian Parenti reports from some of the world’s poorest and most volatile regions to highlight the rise of climate-driven conflict as the earth heats up. Coinciding with the launch of his riveting new book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (Nation Books), an article by Parenti in this week’s issue of The Nation describes how victims of Pakistan’s devastating 2010 floods are coping one year later. Parenti joined Democracy Now!, WNYC's the Leonard Lopate Show, and MSNBC's Martin Bashir to discuss “catastrophic convergence”: the way in which three forces—the legacy of Cold War militarism; neoliberal economic restructuring; and the onset of climate change—combine and express themselves as poverty, crime, warfare, repression, and state failure.

POLITICS OF PERSONAL CRISIS. A few days before the New York State Senate passed the gay marriage bill, Jose Antonio Vargas, a Filipino writer and Pulitzer winning journalist, came out – as an undocumented immigrant. As Nation Editor Richard Kim points out, he risked everything to join the thousands of young immigrants coming out as undocumented in a push to gain citizenship for themselves and others like them. That so many gays are also part of the movement for immigrant citizenship is no surprise. The willingess to “weaponize’ the personal for the promise of full citizenship binds the LGBT and immigrant movements. But as gay couples across New York are finally heard and their right to marry is granted, for America’s immigrant population anxious for acknowledgement, DC Reporter George Zornick writes that even with piecemeal implementation at the state level--“the passage of the DREAM Act in the current political climate is just that—a dream.”

THE NATION'S SUMMER READING PICKS. Summer is upon us and there’s a long weekend ahead. What better time to delve into a good book? If you’re stuck for ideas, The Nation staff and interns might be able to help. They’ve compiled an eclectic list of their current reads, covering everything from Dostoyevsky to Egan, Hobsbawm to Didion. But we really want to know what you're reading! We're hoping to tap the collective literacy of our Nation readers, and publish a recommended reading list drawn from your suggestions. So, whether it's light beach reading or dystopian sci-fi appropriate for a penniless stay-cation, please tell us what you're reading this summer.

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