alternet.org — It wasn't supposed to happen this way. But after outspending Rick Santorum by a ratio of 5 to 1 in campaigns for the Alabama and Mississippi Republican presidential primaries, Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, lost both states to the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Romney didn't even manage to make the number two spot in either contest; he came in third in both. The pollsters had predicted this would be close one for Romney, but not against Santorum, who was running behind Romney by some eight or 10 points in the polls. Romney's threat in the south was supposed to be former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is something of a favorite son of the region. Instead, Santorum trumped Romney in both primaries. That's how much Southern Republicans don't like Mitt Romney, who is not only regarded as a less than "severe conservative," as he termed himself in February; he's not regarded as much of a conservative at all.
slate.com — Imagine this: The world watches as a relatively young American president walks a tightrope to prove he would defend U.S. commitments in a strategic region with military force despite his known preference for a diplomatic solution. While he promises that all options are on the table, some very important American allies send signals that they doubt the president’s resolve. President Obama’s “I don’t bluff” statement last week on the Iran nuclear issue recalled a similar situation a half-century ago when John F. Kennedy faced his first foreign policy crisis in the landlocked Southeast Asian country of Laos, where communist guerrillas supported by the Soviet Union, North Vietnam, and China threatened to overrun a U.S. ally.
thenation.com — Killing at least sixteen Afghan civilians as they slept. Urinating on dead Afghan bodies while laughing about it. Setting fire to their Korans. Day after day, a tired American public hears that these are just “isolated acts” and that these incidents “cast shadows” and “complicate” Washington’s plan for a gradual withdrawal of troops over the next thirty-four months. We are told that the raging anger and distrust between many Afghan and American troops is a further sign that the steady plan is at risk. But what if it’s the other way around, that the repeated acts of madness—and the record number of US military suicides—are signals of distress from an American army that knows it cannot win this war?
truth-out.org — The G.O.P. isn’t just spectacularly unlucky in its menu of candidates; this is what the party has been for decades. Rick Santorum isn’t someone out of left field; he’s always been what you see now, and he was a central figure in his Senate days. All that has happened now is that the mannerisms have finally gotten to the point that the pretense that the G.O.P. is a reasonable party is no longer sustainable. But you weren’t supposed to notice until just about now.
washingtonpost.com — A certain kind of politician is becoming a dwindling breed. I’m not thinking of the over-praised and frequently eulogized centrist, the kind who spends a career watering things down and gets lionized for having done so. I mean the bold, politically courageous people who make real the cliché, “Speak truth to power.” The ones who are, perhaps, a little too righteous, who don’t compromise easily, but who prove again and again a tendency to be correct. They are the ones who are harder to dismiss, no matter how much the pundits or corporate media try. They insert themselves into the national conversation, pushing their ideas and their vision into the debate.
alternet.org — If you’re lucky enough to have a job right now, you’re probably doing everything possible to hold onto it. If the boss asks you to work 50 hours, you work 55. If she asks for 60, you give up weeknights and Saturdays, and work 65. Odds are that you’ve been doing this for months, if not years, probably at the expense of your family life, your exercise routine, your diet, your stress levels, and your sanity. You’re burned out, tired, achy, and utterly forgotten by your spouse, kids and dog. But you push on anyway, because everybody knows that working crazy hours is what it takes to prove that you’re “passionate” and “productive” and “a team player” — the kind of person who might just have a chance to survive the next round of layoffs. This is what work looks like now.
washingtonpost.com — It was clear before Sunday’s horrific massacre of civilians that it’s past time for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan to end. Now the only question should be how quickly we can get our troops onto transport planes to fly them home. What are we accomplishing, aside from enraging the Afghan population we’re allegedly trying to protect? How are we supposed to convince them that a civilian massacre carried out by a U.S. soldier is somehow preferable to a civilian massacre carried out by the Taliban? How does it make any of us safer to have the United States military known for burning Korans and killing innocent Muslim children in their beds?
politics.salon.com — Carl Cameron of Fox News reported Sunday night that Newt Gingrich’s campaign has been engaged in “preliminary ‘what-if conversations’” with Rick Perry’s camp about teaming up as a ticket in advance of this summer’s Republican convention. That this kind of story attracts any attention is a consequence of the deadlocked convention talk that won’t quite go away. The odds that the GOP presidential nomination won’t be settled well in advance of the late-August convention in Tampa are slim, but they’re not entirely nonexistent. And if Gingrich manages to win in Dixie this week, it will bolster the most plausible deadlock scenario that now exists – meaning we’ll probably hear a lot more about possible strategically preemptive V.P. selections by the candidates in the weeks ahead. At least that’s what’s happened in the few modern campaigns where suspense – or the illusion of suspense – has lingered through the primary season.
consortiumnews.com — According to the doctrine of pre-emptive war, Iran can be attacked based on its alleged desire to develop nuclear weapons, just as Iraq was attacked in 2003. In fact, Congress is currently debating whether a nuclear capability alone (which Brazil, Japan, and other countries enjoy) could justify the ‘preventive’ attack. I believe it is time to negate this doctrine by postulating that Iran in fact has a right, as a sovereign nation, to a nuclear capability. Having traveled to Iran recently, I can attest to the Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey’s reference to Iran as a “rational” actor. The Iranians have no interest in destroying America, or Israel, at the expense of one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world, dating back about 2,600 years.
washingtonpost.com — At some point while watching HBO’s absolutely smashing (and terrifying) movie “Game Change,” it occurred to me that Sarah Palin has ruined America. The movie has been scalloped out of the book by the same name and focuses on Palin, rather than on the entire 2008 presidential campaign. The decision to do so was absolutely correct. With her selection as John McCain’s running mate, American politics lost its way — and maybe its mind as well. Apres Palin has come a deluge of dysfunctional presidential candidates. They do not lie with quite the conviction of Palin, but they are sometimes her match in ignorance.