Quantcast

Articles | The Nation

News and Features

Eugene McCarthy's political life was full of contradictions: A conventional
cold war liberal and fierce anti-Communist, in the Vietnam era, he was
transformed into the standard-bearer of the liberal antiwar movement, a
true hero.

If you're really organized you've already completed your holiday shopping for the year. If so, you can take a break from this column. But if you're like me and still looking for holiday presents with a progressive slant, keep reading for ideas, many of them courtesy of my crack intern researcher Mike Fox (who also plays a mean fiddle and whose band's CD makes a nice holiday gift too).

First, check out Katha Pollitt's latest Nation column, which upholds her recent tradition of offering annual suggestions for giving to groups and organizations doing unbelievable work with shockingly little money. The efficiency of some of these places would awe a McKinsey consultant, so look them over before you make your final round of charitable contributions this year.

Heifer International also makes it easy to help assist needy families far from home. The Heifer gift catalog allows you to purchase an animal that can be a life-line for families in the developing world. A pig can be bought for $120 (or chip in $10 to help share the cost of one), three rabbits are a bargain at $60 total, a flock of chicks costs only $20, and if you're feeling really generous, a $1,500 donation provides two sheep, four goats, a heifer and two llamas.

Even the poets are restless now. They¡¦re not content to go along with Shelley and be the unacknowledged legislators of the world. They want to be acknowledged just a little bit.

Eugene McCarthyMarch, 1968

Eugene McCarthy, who has died more quietly than he lived at the venerable age of 89, will be remembered first and foremost as the courageous Minnesota senator who, when the anti-Vietnam War movement needed a champion in the political arena, took up the fight and deposed one of the most powerful presidents in history.

The remaining members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Baghdad say their work will go on regardless of what happens to their four colleagues still held hostage. CPT workers were among the first to expose abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and continue to document the excesses of the US occupation.

Four years ago, when U.S. Senator Russ Feingold stood alone in the Senate to oppose the Bush administration's Patriot Act, he was portrayed as a political fringe dweller whose determination to defend basic liberties was out of touch with the realities of the post-9/11 era.

This year, as Feingold leads the fight to block a flawed proposal to reauthorize the Patriot Act, he does so as the voice of a national movement that includes conservatives and liberals, Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians and independents, and residents of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And he has enough Senate allies to speak seriously about launching a filibuster to block the measure.

What has changed since 2001?

Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, died 25 years ago this month. Today Catholic Workers are in Cuba, keeping vigil outside the US Naval Prison at Guantanamo Bay and keep a vigil for detainees. This Colman McCarthy meditation on Day's funeral sheds light on Catholic Workers as a political and social force.

Jonathan Kozol, honored with the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, has spent his professional life actively listening to children and passionately advocating for the education they deserve.

HEALTH CARE AT SPRING HILL

San Antonio, TX

Twenty-five members of the Catholic Worker movement are walking across Cuba to the US Naval prison at Guantánamo Bay in hopes of meeting with more than 500 detainees, the first time peace activists have brought their protests to the tropical gulag. If they are turned away, the pilgrims plan on conducting a vigil outside.

When it comes to winning back the Senate, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee is beginning to look like the Democrats' make-or-break candidate--and that might not be such a good thing.

The Tipton Three embody a nightmare scenario of the "war on
terror": Young British men visiting Pakistan for a wedding wound up
accused of terrorism in Afghanistan, imprisoned and tortured at
Guantánamo Bay, then released with no charges. Now they're
telling their story in the docu-drama, The Road to Guantánamo.

Washington is a city of secrets. Some old; some new. There are few institutions devoted to the mission of prying these secrets from the filing cabinets of a...

The pursuit of truth in drama is elusive, but in life it is mandatory, wrote Harold Pinter, who died Wednesday at 78. When he won the 2005 Nobel Prize for literature, he condemned the United States for its actions in Iraq and and called on its citizens to reject the manipulation of political language.

As The Nation's editors have written in the href="http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051226/editors">lead editorial
of this special edition on torture, there is no longer any point in

The current debate in the United States over the use of torture in the
interrogation of terror suspects has prompted Patricia Isasa, a teenage
torture victim in Argentina's "dirty war," to speak out against the
School of the Americas, a longtime training ground for torture
techniques.

'Hello, Goodbye' is now just goodbye.

The Chronicles of Narnia is the perfect combination
of Christian allegory and The Lord of the Rings, a well-crafted
commodity and nothing more. The Ice Harvest, an anti-Christmas
film noir, has an unexpected depth of feeling. Memoirs of a
Geisha
is all prestige and promotions.

Photographs are supposed to be unbiased recognitions of
reality, but they're really self-portraits of the photographer. The
Ongoing Movement
, a blend of biography and analysis, examines what
happens when photographers create deliberately untruthful pictures.

Last May, I wrote an Annals of Outrage II chronicling the waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government in the first half of 2004. Plenty of time has passed since my last piece and much has happened. Here, then, is my latest attempt to guide you through the Bush Administration's most egregious corruption scandals. The information comes to us courtesy of the federal government's internal investigations into administration fraud, waste and abuse. The cronyism and corruption have hit a new low. 

1) Bat Mitzvah Corruption: In terms of sheer outrage, millionaire defense contractor David H. Brooks is hard to top. The New York Daily News recently reported that Brooks spent an estimated $10 million on his daughter's bat mitzvah reception. Aerosmith performed at the reception (reportedly earning a cool two million dollars), and Kenny G, 50 Cent, Tom Petty and The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh also played. Here's the kicker: Brooks has reportedly made more than $250 million in wartime profits as the CEO of DHB Industries-- which has had thousands of defective bulletproof vests recalled by the government! 

According to a government investigation into the faulty vests that was uncovered by the Marine Corps Times, DHB's equipment saw "multiple complete penetrations" when 9mm pistol rounds were fired into the vests. One government ballistics expert quoted in the government's findings said he had "little confidence" in DHB's equipment. Meanwhile, the SEC is looking into Brooks' 2004 sale of $186 million worth of company stock. Institute for Policy Studies' Sarah Anderson, who co-authored a report called "Executive Excess 2005," called Brooks a "world champion war profiteer," concluding, he has "no shame." 

Four editors of October magazine trace the history of
contemporary art. Though Art Since
1900
seeks to be comprehensive, its writers leave out entire movements and impose moralistic
judgments on the artists and art they profile.

Does it lessen the horror to admit that this is not the first time the
US government has used torture to wipe out political opponents? The
exclusion of the impact of the School of the Americas on war crimes in El
Salvador, Argentina and Panama from our current debate on torture is
evidence of our collective amnesia.

Bush brings a robust simplicity to the business of news
management: Where possible, buy journalists to turn out favorable
stories. And if you think you can get away with it, shoot them or blow
them up.

9/11 Commission calling, with questions on accountability. But from the
White House side of the line come on answers, only talking points.

The Democratic Leadership Council purports to speak for Democrats, yet
still employs former Christian Coalition official Marshall Wittmann to
parrot dishonest right-wing talking points about the war. Meanwhile,
Nancy Pelosi joins Representative Jack Murtha to demand withdrawal from
Iraq.