Quantcast

Articles | The Nation

News and Features

SCHADENFREUDEAN SLIP

Orinda, Calif.

Perry Anderson's Spectrum journeys through the abstract worlds
of conservative and liberal intellectual thought, and leaves in its
trail insights on the substance and style of ideas.

Syriana disappoints; The Boys of Baraka
documents the lives of inner-city kids transported to the wild beauty
of Africa; and Punishment Park zeroes in on injustice in
America.

Long before oil dominated geopolitics, rum was the original global
commodity, tying Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean in a
complex web of trade and credit. And Bacardi was the original
multinational.

"No Q and A." That's what Chris DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, said to me on the elevator at his think tank on Monday morning. I kn...

Home equity--for those lucky enough to own a house or condo--is a
primary source of economic security. But unsold inventory, rising
interest rates and record levels of mortgage defaults are making the
future look grim.

The scramble for petroleum by developing countries worldwide is
reshaping global geopolitics in favor of oil-rich nations like Iran,
Venezuela and Sudan.

For twenty-five years, Kurdish guerrillas have battled the forces of
the Turkish state. For a while, things began to settle down, but the US
occupation of Iraq changed all that.

There's a crisis in this country in higher education--and the House GOP's reckless fiscal policies are making it worse. To pay for the rebuilding costs associated with Hurricane Katrina, House Republicans just last week passed $50 billion in budget cuts, eviscerating student loan programs, Medicaid and food stamps while simultaneously seeking to enact a five-year $57 billion tax break for millionaires and corporations. ("The beauty of taking the cuts out of Medicaid and student loan programs...is that it doesn't reduce the flow of funds to the Republican campaign committees by a single dime," Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson observed.)

Make no mistake: the loan cuts could be devastating for low- and middle-income students. The Emergency Campaign for America's Priorities which fought to build opposition to the GOP's budget cuts said that New York students and their families would be looking at a $6,000 hike in costs for higher education should the GOP cuts take effect.

This assault on the poor and the middle-class comes at a low moment in higher education in general. Republicans' fiscal policies have made college less affordable for many. And with less money available at the state and federal level, schools have had to raise tuition and impose other costs on families least equipped to bear the burden.

As the Iraq war debate rages in the capital, and polls show growing public frustration with the war, keep an eye on the growing groundswell of opposition in cities across the country. The DC-based Institute for Policy Studies is a key player in organizing city councils, towns and municipalities to pass resolutions calling for US withdrawal, in hopes of forcing the hand of the Bush Administration and fence-sitting Democrats in Congress.

To date, 67 cities--including Chicago, Sacramento, Chapel Hill, Gary (Indiana) and dozens of towns in Vermont--have done so. The resolutions usually call on the US government "to commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq," while also shipping non-military aid "necessary for the security of Iraq's citizens and for the rebuilding of Iraq." (Disclosure: I am a longtime IPS board member.)

As IPS Director John Cavanagh concedes, cities alone cannot make foreign policy. But, he adds, "we're at a fascinating tipping point." He "can imagine a majority within a year to 18 months that would vote to cut off the money for the war. That is a goal.There are different ways to end the war, but that's the one that feels clearest."

When George W. Bush met Muhammad Ali at the White House last week, the
Champ had one last rope-a-dope up his sleeve. You don't have to guess
who won this match.

"The ice age has ended in Washington," writes Tom Hayden. In the last twenty four hours, the momentum in Congress has shifted. "It's a flawed policy wrapped in an illusion" is how Representative Jack Murtha--a 37 year Marine corps veteran--described the Iraq quagmire. In an emotional speech, this most hawkish of hawks, said that it is time for the war to end and for the troops to come home. Murtha also blasted Vice-President Cheney ("five-deferment Dick") for his distort, distract and divide attacks against opponents of this war.

What next? Hayden lays out what needs to be done to bring this war to a speedy end.

Senate Strands Bush in Iraq by Tom Hayden

If the United States is to extricate itself from the Iraq debacle, the
first step is to break up the cabal of Bush Administration officials
who have led the nation to war.

When Dick Cheney, a Wyoming congressman who had never served in the military and who had failed during his political career to gain much respect from those who wore the uniform he had worked so hard to avoid putting on during the Vietnam War, was selected in 1989 by former President George Herbert Walker Bush to serve as Secretary of Defense, he had a credibility problem. Lacking in the experience and the connections required to effectively take charge of the Pentagon in turbulent times, he turned to a House colleague, Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha, a decorated combat veteran whose hawkish stances on military matters had made him a favorite of the armed services. "I'm going to need a lot of help," Cheney told Murtha. "I don't know a blankety-blank thing about defense."

Murtha, a retired Marine colonel who earned a chest full of medals during the Vietnam fight and who has often broken with fellow Democrats to back U.S. military interventions abroad -- most notably in Latin America, where Murtha often supported former President Ronald Reagan's controversial policies regarding El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s -- gave that assistance.

During both the first and second Bush administrations he emerged as a key ally -- often, the most important Democratic ally -- of the Republican presidents. Cheney frequently acknowledged their long working relationship, describing Murtha in public statements as a Democrat he could "work with."

Capitalizing on Bob Woodward's revelation that he was one of the first
to learn about Valerie Plame's CIA status, Scooter Libby's legal team
hopes that will get their client off the hook. That turkey won't fly.

This week, Bob Woodward didn't break a story. He entered the story. On Wednesday, The Washington Post, Woodward's home base, disclosed that two days ...

This week, Bob Woodward didn't break a story. He entered the story. On Wednesday, The Washington Post, Woodward's home base, disclosed that two days ...

THE MAORI STILL FIGHT FOR JUSTICE

Somerville, Mass.

American readers have long felt guilty about loving Lolita.
As Vladimir Nabokov's nymphet heroine turns 50, Lila Azam Zanganeh
traces the impact of a novel that has become both an icon and a
cultural cliche.

Jerome Charyn's Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac
Babel
examines the life the revolutionary idealist murdered by
Stalin in 1940 and explodes the literary myths that have thus far
defined his works.

Gabriel García Márquez's new novella begins as an
autobiography, but the passion-filled story of an old man, mad with
love and clinging to life, weaves Marquez's other fiction into the
tale.

Amartya Sen's latest collection of essays explores the rich flow of
various peoples in and out of India and how they shaped the politics
and spirituality of the nation today.

The Caribbean island of Vieques is a fitting setting for Captain
of the Sleepers,
Cuban novelist Mayra Montero's engrossing story
premised on violations of the dead.

New biographies of Rousseau and Voltaire help us appreciate how
very fragile the eighteenth century's great movement of ideas was, and how remarkable it is that the Enlightenment not only survived but flourished.