A few days before the New Year, soon after the New York Times reported that Bush had authorized the warrantless wiretapping of thousands of Americans, I called Elizabeth Holtzman. I remembered that Nixon was charged in Article II of his bill of impeachment with illegal wiretapping for what he, too, claimed were national security reasons. And memories of Holtzman as a young leader on the House Judiciary Committee, during Watergate, made me sure she'd be a rigorous, thoughtful voice on this gravest of issues.
I reached Holtzman at her New York city law office. Anyone who knows Holtzman respects her level-headed, no-nonsense manner. That afternoon, however, her voice rose as she expressed outrage about the recent revelations of Bush's wiretapping, and she was quick to drew parallels to Watergate-era abuses. But Holtzman hesitated before agreeing to take on this assignment, asking for a few days to pull together her material and arguments. A few days later, she sent me an e-mail saying I'd have it a few days after the new year.
As promised, Holtzman got us the piece. Over the course of a week, working with senior editor Betsy Reed, Holtzman revised the article--adding more facts, reviewing arguments with legal colleagues, and updating (for example, the Pentagon study disclosing that proper bulletproof vests would have saved hundreds of lives came out just days before press date).
While the edges continue to be smoothed off Martin Luther King Jr.'s bracing challenges to racism, war and free-market exploitation, the holiday is a time to remember a leader who believed civil rights and labor rights are tightly intertwined.
The Green Party fell from power in recent German elections, but Greens continue to be the party to watch, a progressive influence on the world's third-largest economy.
The time has come to call for the impeachment of President Bush. Any President who maintains he is above the law--and acts repeatedly on that belief--seriously endangers our consitutional system of government.
What irony that Jack Abramoff and other once-young Republicans, who hectored their elders about defending the nation's taxpayers and security forces, should now be accused of deeply betraying both.
A significant credibility gap opened between Samuel Alito's radical judicial record and his self-portrayal as an open-minded jurist before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his second day of testimony. Senators have reason to scrutinize a recent peer evaluation of Alito's rulings by Yale Law School, which locates him somewhere to the ideological right of Antonin Scalia.
In informal but politically credible ways, factions of Iraq's armed
national resistance are developing scenarios for an honorable
withdrawal of US troops and a shared set of demands that could lead to
Lest anyone accuse me of conflict-of-interest, let me fully disclose at the outset that this post is both highly self-interested and written to introduce you to a new project with which The Nation is directly involved and invested.
That said, I'm delighted to announce that the new RadioNation show, hosted by author, activist and award-winning radio personality Laura Flanders, debuted on the Air America Radio Network this past weekend in a new collaboration betweenThe Nation, Air America and Laura and her team.
Broadcast live for three hours each Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 to 10:00pm EST, and available online, the show features news and programming from around the country; special remote broadcasts; interviews with Nation writers, editors and Nation Institute journalism fellows; reader call-ins; a weekly journalists' roundtable; coverage of Nation events; live musical performances and cutting-edge political and cultural commentary.
When Frank Wilkinson died on January 2nd, obituaries focused on his role as a leading defender of the First Amendment and as a fierce opponent of McCarthyism. But Wilkinson was by all accounts--including the compelling new biography about his life and work, "First Amendment Felon" written by longtime Nation contributor Robert Sherrill--an ordinary, even a conservative, American who became an accidental champion of our right to speak and (by extension) to think what we choose.
For decades, Wilkinson waged a David vs. Goliath battle against the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover and others who illegally wiretapped and harassed domestic dissidents opponent. (In later years, Wilkinson obtained his FBI file--all 132,000 pages of it!)
As many obituaries noted, as a result of a shameful Supreme Court decision, Wilkinson was one of the last two people jailed for refusing to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) whether he was a Communist. As a result, in 1961 he spent nine months in federal prison in Lewisburg, PA. After prison, Wilkinson spent more than a decade on the road, working with the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, determined to shut down HUAC. When HUAC was finally abolished in 1975, Wilkinson's crusading work was widely cited as a key reason for its demise.
On his first day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Samuel Alito was purely political, focusing on his blue-collar roots and the accomplishments of his immigrant family. But Democratic Senators focused on his judicial record on abortion, voting rights and conflicts of interest.
Best response to the Abramoff Scandal? That's easy.
As just about everyone else in Congress is rushing to dispose of campaign contributions received from GOP super-lobbyist and convicted criminal Jack Abramoff, California Congressman John Doolittle says he's keeping his Abramoff-linked money. Doolittle, a Republican whose various campaign committees collected close $50,000 from Abramoff and the disgraced lobbyist's associates and clients, has been identified as a top target of the Justice Department investigation of Congressional corruption.
But, his office says, it wouldn't look right for the congressman to rid his campaign of Abramoff's dirty dollars. "Congressman Doolittle refuses to give even the slightest appearance of something wrong by returning money that was accepted legally and ethically," says Doolitte aide Laura Blackann. Keeping the money, explains Blackann, "is a matter of principle to the congressman." Suggested slogan for the congressman's reelection campaign: Doolittle's Got the Courage to be Corrupt.
When the Senate Judiciary Committee begins questioning Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito this week, Americans will again be reminded of the limitations of the confirmation process for presidential picks to serve on the federal bench.
Alito will lie to the committee, intentionally and repeatedly.
In keeping with the standard set by all recent high court nominees, he will treat the hearings, and by extension the American people, who the confirmation process is intended to serve, with utter and complete contempt.
Pat Robertson's God sure has been angry of late, smiting on a scale not seen since Sodom and Gomorrah. First, the Lord collapsed the Twin Towers because of homosexuals, then drowned New Orleans because of abortions, and now He has apparently, according to the kindly Reverend Robertson, blocked a blood vessel in Ariel Sharon's brain as punishment for "dividing God's land."
Excuse me? If divisiveness is such a sin in God's eyes, why is Pat Robertson at 75-years-of-spit-and-vinegar still with us? But perhaps he is onto something. Certainly a surprising number of divisivefigures have been brought low of late.
First, there was Harriet Miers, who divided the GOP (God's Own Party) and had her nomination to the Supreme Court struck down. Then Bill O'Reilly was slapped down on Letterman for dividing America, the promised land, over the holiday season.
Try as it might, no amount of spin from Wal-Mart's multimillion-dollar war room in Bentonville, Arkansas can undo the latest bit of bad news for the world's largest corporation.
On December 22, a California jury ordered Wal-Mart to pay $172 million in damages to more than 100,000 current and former Wal-Mart workers, who had been unjustly and routinely denied meal breaks.
According to Fred Furth, the plaintiffs' lawyer, the retail behemoth violated California's strict mandatory meal break law 8 million times between January of 2001 and May of 2005.
Revelations of the Bush Administration's domestic spying program have sharply shifted the focus of Samuel Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearings from domestic and social issues to executive privilege during times of war. Here's a list of questions Alito should be asked to fully elicit his views on the scope and limits of presidential power.
There ought to be a law about bribery in America, but there isn't--not a real one. Bribery is so central to our political culture that it's virtually impossible that any politician ensnared in the Abramoff scandal will actually be convicted of the corruption that makes Washington work.
Thanks to the fear tactics advocated by the Bush Administration and abetted by many health activists, gay and bisexual men have been engaged in a one-sided conversation about safe sex--all death and no life. Isn't a sex-positive approach more realistic?