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This Week: A Jobs Crisis, Not a Deficit Crisis. PLUS: Four Major Investigations | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

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

This Week: A Jobs Crisis, Not a Deficit Crisis. PLUS: Four Major Investigations

A GRAND BARGAIN ON JOBS. President Obama put his presidency on the line this week, standing firm on his commitment to raise the debt ceiling and introduce spending cuts over the next ten years. At any other time in history, this would have been a dream deal for the Republicans, but the standoff continues and the deadline for default looms. But as I argue in my Washington Post column this week, gridlock over the debt-crisis is deflecting attention from the real issue—14 million people unemployed. Putting people back to work is the most effective deficit-reduction plan. On Sunday, I joined Tony Blankley, former press secretary to Newt Gingrich, on CNN's Reliable Sources, where I argued for a more thoughtful media response to the budget crisis and a grand bargain on jobs. So when will the Obama administration eventually “pivot” to jobs? They shouldn’t need to, writes The Nation’s Ari Berman, admonishing the White House for failing to take long overdue action on unemployment. It should have been a priority from day one. Berman joined MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan this week arguing that Washington has once again failed to solve the economic crisis—and instead ceded the political agenda to special interest groups and anti-tax advocates.

SKY FALLS ON HOUSE OF MURDOCH. With the announcement of the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch’s No. 2, News Corporation dropped bid for full ownership of satellite broadcaster BSkyB, and continuing allegations around the phone-hacking scandal, The Nation brings you highlights of over three decades of coverage of Murdoch and his global empire. As D.D. Guttenplan writes in his analysis of the Murdoch “para-corpooration,” the political firestorm of the last two weeks, illustrated here in a detailed slideshow of events, has shaken the foundations of the House of Murdoch. “Is this the end of Rupert?” he asks. And for daily updates and analysis, see media blogger Greg Mitchell’s live-blog: Murdoch Watch.

This week, The Nation is proud to release a number of groundbreaking investigations, bringing you exposés from Somalia, Haiti and here at home, where leaked documents reveal how corporate interests are striking at the heart of our democracy.

THE CIA'S SECRET SITES IN SOMALIA. National Security Correspondent and Puffin Fellow Jeremy Scahill uncovers CIA operations that are supporting the expansion of the US's widening war in Somalia. Based on extensive on-the-ground investigations in Mogadishu, "The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia," reveals that the CIA is using a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters. Officially run by the Somali NSA, Scahill reports that US intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners. Former prisoners held at the underground prison give accounts of the appalling conditions of their captivity and describe fellow prisoners were rendered from Kenya. Scahill traveled to Somalia with filmmaker Richard Rowley to bring you these images from the front lines of Mogadishu. On Wednesday, Jeremy joined Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! to discuss what Salon’s Glenn Greenwald describes as “one of the most significant political exposés of the year.” In this week's Nation Conversation, Scahill describes his experience as an independent journalist traveling to Mogadishu and reporting on the CIA's secret sites in Somalia.

ALEC EXPOSED. Until last week, an archive of model bills that have shaped American politics was available only to an exclusive legislative and corporate membership of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). But thanks to a leak by Aliya Rahman, an Ohio-based activist who helped organize protests at ALEC’s Spring Task Force meeting in Cincinnati, The Nation has obtained more than 800 documents representing decades of model legislation designed to impose a “one-size-fits-all agenda on states,” as John Nichols reports in an introduction to the ALEC exposé. Teaming up with the Center for Media and Democracy, The Nation asked policy experts to analyze the archive. Their analysis shows how decades of model legislation have served as templates for the legislative assault on healthcare, education, voting, and American public life. Nichols, joined by Center for Media and Democracy executive director Lisa Graves joined MSNBC's The Ed Show for an exclusive look at ALEC's organizational funding, political agenda and legislative impact.

BROKEN PROMISES IN HAITI. A joint investigation by The Nation and The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund this week exposed the truth behind the Clinton Foundation’s activities in Haiti. Following the earthquake, the international community surged to assist the devastated nation. Aid was pledged and promises were made; sadly, few were kept. Amongst them, pledges by the Clinton Foundation to build "hurricane-proof...emergency shelters that can also serve as schools...to ensure the safety of vulnerable populations in high risk areas during the hurricane season." What they found instead were staff and students in sweltering trailers, suffering from headaches and eye irritation. As Isabeau Doucet and Isabel MacDonald reveal in "The Shelters That Clinton Built," these shelters provided by the foundation were manufactured by Clayton Homes, the same company that is being sued in the United States for providing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with formaldehyde-laced trailers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. According the Associated Press, the Clinton Foundation has sent "independent experts" to Haiti to evaluate the shelters. And Dr. Paul Farmer, Clinton's deputy special envoy to the UN in Haiti, told Democracy Now! that he would personally look into the issues raised by the investigation.

PRAY THE GAY AWAY. In another exclusive report, The Nation revealed how two taxpayer-funded Christian counseling clinics owned by Michele Bachmann’s husband—and main political adviser—try to “cure” homosexuality using “ex-gay therapy.” Washington, DC–based writer Mariah Blake, who joined Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC this week to discuss the clinic’s activities, shows how her investigation sheds new light on the Bachmanns’ embrace of the controversial ex-gay movement and related psychological approaches, which portray homosexuality as a disease to be rooted out.

FDL'S THE DISSENTER. Congratulations to former and recent Nation web intern Kevin Gosztola, whose new blog at Firedoglake, "The Dissenter," debuts today. As Kevin explains in his inaugural post, the blog "will cover civil liberties and digital freedom issues. It will feature regular coverage of the torture scandal that continues to wear on and the ongoing US government war on WikiLeaks, along with coverage of the Orwellian expansion of the surveillance state, Internet privacy rights, the mass incarceration of people of color...and historic repression of dissent." Stay tuned for what will undoubtedly be a must-read!

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