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The Nation

May 8, 2008
Katrina vanden Heuvel

In early 2007, The Nation published an extraordinary speech by Bill Moyers. In "A New Story for America," America's media conscience wrote of how "voters have provided a a respite from a right-wing radicalism predicated on the philosophy that extremism in the pursuit of virtue is no vice." Newt Gingrich, architect of the hit job on America--better known as "The Contract With America" --was a key figure of right wing extremism. Or as Moyers called Gingrich and his hearty band --"Ravenous predators...masquerading as a political party of small government, fiscal restraint and moral piety..."

In a much-publicized May 6th post at Human Events magazine, "My Plea to Republicans: It's Time for Real Change to Avoid Real Disaster," Gingrich seems to echo Moyers, who continued in that 2006 Nation article to argue that "the conservative movement stands intellectually and morally bankrupt...."

The long night of the junta is not yet over. We have more than 200 days until Bush and Cheney depart the White House, But the Republican loss in the special election for Louisiana's Sixth Congressional District last Saturday should be --and even Gingrich warns of this --a sharp wake up call for Republicans.

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May 8, 2008
TomDispatch

These days, the price of oil seems ever on the rise. A barrel of crude broke another barrier Wednesday -- $123 -- on international markets, and the talk is now of the sort of "superspike" in pricing (only yesterday unimaginable) that might break the $200 a barrel ceiling "within two years." And that would be without a full-scale American air assault on Iran, after which all bets would be off.

Considering that, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, oil was still in the $20 a barrel price range, this is no small measure of what the Bush administration years have really accomplished. Today, it's hard even to remember not 9/11, but 11/9--November 9, 1989--the day that the Berlin Wall fell, signaling that, soon enough, after its seventy-odd year life, that Reaganesque Evil Empire, the Soviet Union, was heading for the door. In 1991, it disappeared from the face of the Earth without a whimper. Until almost the last moment, top officials in Washington assumed it would go on forever; and, when it was gone, most of them couldn't, at first, believe it. Soon enough, however, the event was hailed as the greatest of American triumphs--"victory" not just in the Cold War, but at a level never before seen. Finally, for the first time in history, there was but a single superpower on the planet.

At the dawn of a new century, the administration of George Bush the younger, packed with implacable former Cold Warriors, came to power still infused with that sense of global triumphalism and planning to rollback what was left of the old Soviet Union, an impoverished Russia, into an early grave.

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The Notion
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May 8, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Stoller makes the case.

Micah Sifry replies here with his own thoughts.

(Whoops! Accidentally posted this originally as a blank post with just the title "Obama". This occasioned some justified ribbing.)

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May 8, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Yesterday, I blogged about a Pakistani couple that had been detained by Immigrations and Custom Enforcement for apparently no good reason.

Today comes word they've been released:

The Hashmis have been released! It seems that efforts on many fronts--grassroots, legal, and political--sent a powerful message to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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May 8, 2008
John Nichols
John Nichols

Much has been made of the fact that a substantial portion of North Carolina and Indiana Democratic primary voters who cast ballots on Tuesday for Hillary Clinton told exit pollsters that – if Barack Obama is their party's nominee this fall – they may vote for Republican John McCain.

Should Obama be concerned? Of course. There is no question that the senator from Illinois must do more to appeal to wavering Democrats, especially white, working-class voters who have heard a lot more about the candidate's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., than they have about his position on trade policy.

But Obama's not the only likely party nominee who should be worried about some shakiness at the party base. Despite the fact that all-but-coronated Republican nominee John McCain was running essentially without opposition Tuesday, 27 percent of Republican primary participants in North Carolina cast their votes for a candidate other than McCain. In Indiana, 23 percent of Republican primary voters rejected the senator from Arizona.

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John Nichols
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May 8, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Isaac Chotiner at TNR catches this line from Clinton, talking about her base:

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.[Italics mine]

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May 7, 2008
John Nichols
John Nichols

When I interviewed George McGovern last summer about the Democratic presidential field last year, the liberal icon expressed the most enthusiasm about the candidacy of Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

But he said he was still talking to the candidates.

New York Senator Hillary Clinton talked with McGovern a lot, recalling her work in Texas for his 1972 presidential campaign and reassuring the former South Dakota senator that she really was determined to end the war in Iraq.

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John Nichols
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May 7, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Why is the US government detaining an elderly Pakistani couple on immigration violations when they were planning to leave the country anyway?

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May 7, 2008
TomDispatch

Remember when the globe's imperial policeman, its New Rome, was going to wield its unsurpassed military power by moving from country to country, using lightning strikes and shock-and-awe tactics? We're talking about the now-unimaginably distant past of perhaps 2002-2003. Afghanistan had been "liberated" in a matter of weeks; "regime change" in Iraq was going to be a "cakewalk," and it would be followed by the reordering of what the neoconservatives liked to refer to as "the Greater Middle East." No one who mattered was talking about protracted guerrilla warfare; nor was there anything being said about counterinsurgency (nor, as in the Powell Doctrine, about exits either). The U.S. military was going to go into Iraq fast and hard, be victorious in short order, and then, of course, we would stay. We would, in fact, be welcomed with open arms by natives so eternally grateful that they would practically beg us to garrison their countries.

Every one of those assumptions about the new American way of war was absurd, even then. At the very least, the problem should have been obvious once American generals reached Baghdad and sat down at a marble table in one of Saddam Hussein's overwrought palaces, grinning for a victory snapshot -- without any evidence of a defeated enemy on the other side of the table to sign a set of surrender documents. If this were a normal campaign and an obvious imperial triumph, then where was the other side? Where were those we had defeated? The next thing you knew, the Americans were printing up packs of cards with the faces of most of Saddam's missing cronies on them.

Well, that was then. By now, fierce versions of guerrilla war have migrated to the narrow streets of the poorest districts of Baghdad and, in Afghanistan, are moving ever closer to the Afghan capital, Kabul. U.S. troops are, at present, in block by block fighting in Baghdad's vast Shiite Sadr City slum and they're wheeling in the Abrams tanks and calling in helicopters, Hellfire-missile-armed drones, and jets for help in brutal urban warfare as the bodies pile higher.

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The Notion
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