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This Week: The Second Most Important Election of 2012. PLUS: Facebook's Callous 'One Percenter' | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

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

This Week: The Second Most Important Election of 2012. PLUS: Facebook's Callous 'One Percenter'

WISCONSIN'S RECALL. The June 5 Wisconsin recall elections are "the most ambitious set of recall elections in American history," reports John Nichols in this week's issue. Wisconsin's recall is nothing short of a "grassroots rebellion against the determination of Governor Scott Walker and his legislative lieutenants to destroy unions, slash public sector wages and benefits, cut education funding and tear open the social safety net." If successful, writes Nichols, the results would be seen as a "rejection of the idea that cutting taxes for the rich while attacking unions and slashing services will somehow spur job growth." We're proud to endorse the campaign of Walker's Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who former Senator Russ Feingold described as “a lifelong progressive [who] stood with me in voting against the deregulation that led to the Wall Street crash, opposing the Patriot Act and reforming our system of campaign finance.” Find out how you can support and join Barrett's campaign, here.

YEMEN: A SAFE HAVEN FOR MILITANTS? US counter-terrorism policy in Yemen made headlines this week after the Obama Administration issued a broadly defined executive order that imposes sanctions "on individuals and entities who threaten the peace, security, and stability of Yemen by disrupting the political transition." And just last week, intelligence officials claimed to have foiled an alleged terrorist plot orchestrated by AQAP, a branch of Al Qaeda based in Yemen. National Security correspondent Jeremy Scahill has reported extensively from inside Yemen, detailing how the Obama Administration has dramatically escalated drone strikes and increased logistical support to the Yemeni military. Appearing on Al Jazeera's Inside Story, Scahill explains that continued US drone strikes have sparked enormous backlash, which have only served to radicalize Yemenis. And on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Thursday, Scahill explains how the Obama Administration's (not so) targeted killing operations and support of forces inside Yemen will make it likely that Yemen becomes a safe haven for terrorist groups. Be sure to listen to the interview, and you can read Scahill's reporting from inside Yemen, available here.

FACEBOOK'S CALLOUS ONE PERCENTER. "These guys [have] become emblematic of a class of one percents who think they don't owe anything to the countries that made them great," Nation columnist Ilyse Hogue told MSNBC's The ED Show on Wednesday. Eduardo Saverin, a Facebook co-founder, declared last week that he's renouncing his US citizenship to avoid paying taxes on the windfall he stands to gain after Facebook goes public. "Saverin’s craven selfishness," writes Hogue, "will help us rethink not only enforcement of our tax code, but also how we recognize and define loyalty and patriotism for all of us, immigrant and native-born, who call America home." The story prompted action from Senator Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey, who on Thursday proposed legislation to crack down on tax-dodging expatriates. Under mounting public criticism and outrage, Saverin issued a statement, which is available here.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I'll be on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, Saturday at 10am ET to discuss the news of the week with the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, Nation Contributor Victoria deFrancesco Soto, and Reason.com's Nick Gillespie. Tune In!

SAVE 'THE AMERICAN PROSPECT.' I wrote Friday about the importance of magazines of opinion as an essential source for great political ideas and debates that shape and confront our country. That is why we were saddened by news that The American Prospect might close its doors at the end of may unless it can raise close to $500,000. As I explained, The Nation and the Prospect share some great DNA. And it has long been home to intelligent journalism, smart reporting and terrific coverage of progressive ideas and policy. They urgently need your help. Join me in keeping the Prospect alive.

CONGRATULATIONS MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY. Hats-off to Nation columnist and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry for being named a finalist in the 2012 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence. Her essay, "Are We All Black Americans Now?" was one of just three selected in the Magazine Commentary/Essay category. Harris-Perry’s provocative column is reflective of her larger role in our public debate. As a professor, author, and national voice, Harris-Perry is an intellectual tour-de-force. Her provocative ideas and cogent analyses weave together issues of race, gender, politics and society. In her columns and on her weekend MSNBC show, she challenges us to think, and invites us to debate.

SPRING BOOKS. The Nation's bi-annual Books & Arts special issue is here. This spring’s edition features a timely and provocative essay on motherhood by former Harper's senior editor Jennifer Szalai; a powerful reflection on the works of Kurt Vonnegut by William Deresiewicz; an inside look at the letters of Samuel Becket, and much more. The Nation remains proud to be one among few remaining publications that devotes its pages to book reviews. At a time when many media organizations are scaling back, we remain committed to a free-standing Books & Arts section, in print and on the web.

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

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