TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
A miscalculation, an overreach and a massively foolhardy and hubristic move is how The Nation's Chris Hayes described the GOP's attack on Medicare. On The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC last night, Hayes wondered what the GOP was thinking when they tried to take down one of this country's most popular public programs. "Killing" Medicare was not going to be passed by the Senate and was largely going to be a symbolic vote. But as Hayes says, "Now that vote is there just rotting on their lawn. And, they can't run away from the stench of it."
Using torture to extract intelligence is not only immoral but also extremely unreliable, and makes our troops vulnerable to reprisals. The bottom line is that torture violates international and domestic law, and by not holding masterminds such as Dick Cheney accountable, we have opened the door for torture to seem like a viable option in intelligence gathering. The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel joined MSNBC last night to debunk the myth that torture was what allowed to the US to find and kill Osama bin Laden.
Last week was a good one for President Obama. As our national conversation quickly pivoted from Donald Trump’s fixation on the president's birth certificate to the death of Osama bin Laden, Obama was able to rise above the partisan noise and make his opponents look petty. On MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show, The Nation’s Ari Berman talks about the president’s performance in the latest cluster of events, as well as the critical need now to discuss end games for Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
“Most people in America have gotten addicted to various things,” says Walter Mosley, author of the new book, Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation. Joining MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mosley argues that Americans now need to change themselves in order to make this country a better place. He suggests that citizens know better—we know that we are not all middle class and that capitalism isn’t really democracy. But if we know these things about America, why don't we take the time to grapple with the major dilemmas facing our society?
Immediately following the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed, the pundits and politicians began saying that bin Laden’s death might actually lead to more attacks on the US. But joining Ed Schultz and Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films on The Ed Show on Tuesday night, Jeremy Scahill argued that now is the time to find non-military solutions to our problems. According to Scahill, we are never going to be able to kill all the terrorists in the world, so there's no sense in trying to “kill your way to peace.”
Our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not helped our national security, Scahill says, and the US is actually giving people in Afghanistan a reason to want to fight America. In that sense, now is the time to get US troops out of Afghanistan.
At Ground Zero in New York City and outside the White House Sunday night, crowds of people celebrated Osama Bin Laden's death by pumping their fists and shouting, "USA! USA!" But, for Jeremy Scahill, jubilation isn't the most productive response to the killing of bin Laden. Scahill joined PBS's Tavis Smiley show last night to explain why the death of bin Laden is a "somber occasion." Bin Laden's capture and killing provides a moment to reflect on the tremendous number of people who Al Qaeda killed on 9/11 and the hundreds of thousands of people who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Scahill thinks the treatment of the killing as a "sporting event" makes the US seem bloodthirsty and presents an image of a "culture that celebrates execution." He adds, if the wars in the past decade were all launched just so the US could kill bin Laden, it was not worth it. "Much of what happened in the past ten years militarily should not have happened," concludes Scahill.
On Democracy Now! this morning, The Nation's Jeremy Scahill explains that Osama bin Laden's killing in Pakistan yesterday is not necessarily a cause for celebration: the United States used the man who launched the September 11 attacks on America as a reason to "declare war on the world," Scahill says. In response to September 11, "Iraq was invaded, a country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, nothing to do with bin Laden. The United States created an Al Qaeda presence in Iraq by invading it, made Iran a far more influential force in Iraq than it ever would have been. We have given a grand motivation to people around the world that want to do harm to Americans in our killing of civilians, our waging of war against countries that have no connection to Al Qaeda and by staying in these countries long after the mission was accomplished... This is a somber day, when we should be remembering all of the victims: the three thousand who died in the United States and then the hundreds of thousands that died afterward."
Click here for more from The Nation on Osama bin Laden and the US war on terror.
On Tuesday, Obama sent out a Congressional letter asking for an end to the $4 billion in tax subsidies the oil and gas companies receive each year. The letter was coupled with a Congressional bill to end $40 billion in subsidies for large oil companies over the next five years. This is a step in the right direction, The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel says on MSNBC, and represents the interests of the majority of Americans—a majority, she adds, who agree that corporations have too much power over our democracy. Even Republican House Speaker John Boehner let it slip that ending oil and gas subsidies should be on the table, which his party quickly retracted.
At this point, the GOP, which vanden Heuvel calls the “Grand Old Polluting Party,” is completely in the pockets of the oil and gas industries. In 2010, lobbying for oil and gas companies was at $146 million. If the Democrats are able to institute a windfall profits tax, vanden Heuvel says, the money the government currently doles out to the oil and gas companies could instead go into the pockets of all Americans, where it could be put to much better use investing in green cars and other environment-friendly initiatives.
Fears that GOP Representative Paul Ryan is planning to end Medicare as Americans know it are now spreading outside the beltway. Joining Ed Schultz on MSNBC's The Ed Show, The Nation's John Nichols said that citizens at town hall meetings in Wisconsin are starting to fight back against the severe cuts that are central to Ryan's budget plan.
In Kenosha, those in attendance challenged Ryan on most of what he was arguing, citing government agency reports and other materials that show that Ryan's plan is built on falsehoods. Nichols reports that "Ryan was kept on his toes," and Kenosha citizens were as charged as he's ever seen them because they really are afraid of Ryan's plan and what it might do to Medicare.
Many House Republicans are now facing heat in their home districts because they voted Paul Ryan’s Medicare-trashing budget bill. And this might actually come as a surprise to the Republicans, said The Nation’s Chris Hayes on The Rachel Maddow Show last night. The GOP has come to believe, and the beltway media has helped confirm, that they were elected in 2010 to push through their radical vision of extreme privatization of the welfare state—which they were not. The Republicans won because of the poor economy, and the anxious mood across the country, Hayes says.
The most effective way for the Democrats to maximize on this disconnect between Republicans and their constituents, Hayes says, is to take a vote in the Senate on Ryan’s bill. This will reveal, once again, how unpopular the vote is, and then the Democrats can use the fact that they saved Medicare as a key campaign issue for the 2012 elections.