TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
On NPR’s Diane Rehm Show this morning, The Nation's editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel sits down with Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, David Keene of the National Rifle Association and Rehm to discuss some of the key issues for 2012: the presidential election, reforms in election finances, the Supreme Court’s decision to open a hearing on the Affordable Care Act, the “War on Terror” and the outlook of the US economy.
To listen, click here.
On the heels of the twentieth anniversary of the breakup of the Soviet Union, allegations of widespread fraud in the recent elections that gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party a parliamentary majority have galvanized massive street protests in opposition to the Russian political establishment. Stephen F. Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University and Nation contributing editor joined Democracy Now! on Friday to discuss the significance of the Russian protests and popular reaction to the parliamentary elections.
“The significance of the protests is obscured and skewed by the American media narrative,” says Cohen. “The reason that the people that control the financial oligarchy of Russia don’t want free elections is they know that … the people would vote for candidates pledging to confiscate their property,” which was privatized in the 1990s, he adds. He notes “these elections were not free and fair, but they were the freest and fairest in fifteen years,” and that members of the country’s middle class make up the bulk of the protesters. Cohen also argues the American media has failed to report on the resurgence of the Communist Party, supported mainly by working-class voters in Russia’s vast provinces, which could challenge Putin in the 2012 presidential race and force a run-off election.
His latest article, “The Soviet Union’s Afterlife,” appears in the January 9/16 issue of The Nation.
As the New Year approaches, it's time to summarize 2011. On MSNBC's Moring Joe, The Nation's sports editor Dave Zirin picks the top sports stories of the year. Jerry Sandusky's scandal tops the list as "the greatest fall from grace in the history of sports in the US." In comparison, Tiger Woods' scandal was "quaint," Zirin says, and points out the institutional corruption of NCAA that's behind what happened at Penn State. Also on Zirin's list are the NFL's lockout and the Boston Red Sox's dramatic defeat against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tim Tebow’s openness about his Christianity has stirred up quite some controversy in the media and among sports fans. The Nation’s sports columnist Dave Zirin joined CNN to explain that the most disturbing thing about Tebow’s open exhibition of his religious belief is that it confirms the hypocrisy of the NFL’s right-wing politics.
“The more voters see of her, the more they like her,” Nation columnist Ari Berman said of Elizabeth Warren on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown yesterday. In a spirited discussion of the upcoming election, Ari analyzed the slanderous attack ads against Warren’s campaign—and argued that they indirectly endorse her own populist message. You can read more of Berman's coverage here.
With her recent Nation cover story “Capitalism vs. The Climate,” Naomi Klein came to the startling conclusion that climate change deniers may have gotten one fundamental aspect of our environmental predicament correct: seriously confronting the warming of our planet would essentially spell the end for free-market capitalism. With climate treaty talks now underway in Durban, South Africa, Klein spoke with Andrew Revkin about how she came to this realization, and their conversation, published today on the New York Times's Dot Earth blog, reveals the severity of the challenges we face:
Andrew Revkin: First, I was happy to see you dive into the belly of the many-headed beast challenging the need for greenhouse-gas cuts (as was clear from your piece, you recognize that there’s no single species called “deniers”). There are lots of slings and arrows awaiting anyone exploring this terrain, as was the case with the Heartland meeting in 2008. What prompted you to do an in-depth look at global warming stances and the issues underlying this “crisis”?
Naomi Klein: I got interested after attending the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009. Like a lot of people who watched that train wreck up close, I came away wanting to understand the massive gap between the euphoric expectations of the environmental movement and the real political outcomes. When I got home, I was stunned by a new Harris poll that showed that the percentage of Americans who believed in anthropogenic climate change had plummeted from 71 per cent to 51 per cent in just two years. So here we were thinking that the world was on the verge of some kind of climate breakthrough while a large segment of the U.S. population was rejecting the science altogether. I wanted to understand how that could have happened.
I had a bit of an “a-ha” moment reading this paper by the excellent Australian political scientist Clive Hamilton, in which he argues that a great many American conservatives have come to see climate science as a threat to their core ideological identity. Then I read Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, which explains that many of the key scientists behind the denier movement hold a similar point of view – they are old-school Cold Warriors who came to see fighting environmentalism as a battle to protect “freedom” and the American way of life.
But as I read all this, I found myself thinking that from within the hard-right worldview, these responses were entirely rational. If you really do believe that freedom means governments getting out of the way of corporations and that any regulation leads us down Hayek’s road to serfdom, then climate science is going to be kryptonite to you. After all, the reality that humans are causing the climate to warm, with potentially catastrophic results, really does demand radical government intervention in the market, as well as collective action on an unprecedented scale. So you can understand why many conservatives see climate change as a threat to their identity. Too often the liberal climate movement runs away from the deep political and economic implications of climate science, which is why I wrote the piece. I think we need to admit that climate change really does demand a profound interrogation of the ideology that currently governs our economy. And that’s not bad news, since our current economic model is failing millions of people on multiple fronts.
Read the full interview on the New York Times's Dot Earth blog.
“I'm a vulture,” Nation contributor Maria Margaronis laments in her recent BBC radio feature on the Greek financial crisis. “I'm a vulture come to pick the bones of my poor miserable country.” In a devastating exploration of the day to day lives of Greek citizens, Maria visits the rapidly devolving streets of Athens, and explores the profound disconnection and rage that fuels its debilitating riots. You can listen to the full audio here. Read more of Maria’s coverage of the Greek crisis here.
The New York Public Library is planning on spending $250–350 million dollars on a colossal renovation of its main branch on 42nd Street. Seven levels of stacks of 3 million books will be moved to a storage space in Princeton, New Jersey, and a modern computer library will be built in the space.
The Nation's Scott Sherman talked on WNYC recently about this renovation and his article on this issue that appears in the December 19 issue of The Nation magazine. He raises the question of whether this planned makeover is necessary and hopes that his article will open up public discussion about this issue.
“There is a greater sense of urgency to move reform forward,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, in an interview with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman in Durban, South Africa. A veteran of the anti-apartheid movement and a leading environmentalist, Naidoo urges activists to “name and shame” uncooperative corporations and governments into entering a dialogue on climate change—and argues that the US is neglecting to participate in talks “at a time when the world needs its leadership.” You can read more of Kumi Naidoo’s analyses of environmental issues here.
Within days of kicking off the drive to recall Governor Walker in Wisconsin, campaigners have collected more than 300,000 signatures. The recall drive will likely be able to collect significantly more signatures—200,000 to 300,000— than the minimum 540,208 needed for an election. The Nation’s John Nichols sat down with Mike Gousha on Up Front and talked about how this can affect the political climate in the state and the psychological impact on potential Democratic candidates.