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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.

Is WikiLeaks Driving Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa?

Has WikiLeaks influenced the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa? Media Fix’s Greg Mitchell thinks the organization’s diplomatic cables leaks have played a significant role in the past few months' events in the region. Mitchell, author of the recently published book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond), joined Antiwar Radio this morning to talk about WikiLeaks’ savvy decision to release batches of cables from Bahrain and Libya, as it has done for Egypt and Tunisia in past weeks.

Though the media may attack WikiLeaks on their editorial pages, Mitchell says many outlets depend on the cables for juicy details about Libya. Where else could we learn that US diplomats consider Qaddafi and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez “revolutionary brothers”?

For the latest on all things WikiLeaks, read Greg Mitchell's live blog.

—Kevin Gosztola

'Shame!' Wisconsin State Assembly Passes Walker's Anti-Union Bill

In spite of the fact that tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Wisconsin over the past two weeks and many are still occupying the State Capitol day and night, the state’s general assembly passed Governor Scott Walker’s “budget repair” bill in a before-dawn vote today. Inside the Capitol, The Nation’s John Nichols joined Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman to talk about the vote and what it means for the protests. After “more than sixty hours of debate,” Nichols says, the Republicans went ahead and voted for the bill along party lines. The Democrats shouted “Shame!” but this was expected; the vote occurred in the dark of night because Republicans didn’t want to face tens of thousands of angry protesters after they passed the legislation. The bill now moves to the state Senate.

According to Nichols, voters feel blindsided by Walker’s recent moves: taking away collective bargaining rights and restructuring city and state government so he can have more decision-making power was not part of the governor’s election campaign. Polls indicate that a majority of Wisconsinites support the workers’ struggle to save collective bargaining. 

For more on Wisconsin’s protests as they unfold, read Nichols’s latest on-the-ground updates.

—Kevin Gosztola

Katrina vanden Heuvel: The GOP's Budgets Use 'Junk Math'

On MSNBC last night, The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel explained that the Republican state governors who want to cut funding for schools, universities and public employees are still giving out billions of dollars in tax cuts to big businesses and corporations. Americans are seeing a new wave of "extremist" Republicans who want to "defund the priorities of the people," but there is an alternative.

"Democracy is not just about the ballot box," says vanden Heuvel. Thousands of Americans getting out into the streets and saying "enough!" vanden Heuvel says. "You're giving our people's money away. Invest in our country, invest in jobs, invest in education."

One answer to the right-wing money grab is the grassroots movement US Uncut, inspired by Johann Hari's recent Nation article. US Uncut, vanden Heuvel explains, would like to see Americans "recoup from the very richest who brought us this financial crisis and from corporate tax dodgers" money they have essentially stolen so America can begin to balance its budget in a "fair way." 

—Kevin Gosztola

On Their Defunding Rampage, Will the GOP Stop at Planned Parenthood?

Republicans like Representative Mike Pence of Indiana are trying to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding just because the organization also provides abortions. But as The Nation’s Chris Hayes explains, the GOP’s efforts would in fact “deny millions of women routine checkups and examinations, defund gynecological exams, cervical cancer tests, UTI treatments and the full panoply of women’s services” the organization currently offers.

As Daily Show correspondent Kristen Schaal reported on Monday night’s episode, that’s not going to be enough for the Republicans. Embodying the distorted mindset of our elected officials, Schaal explains that “If an organization has anything to do with abortions, then everything that organization does is tainted and it shouldn’t get government money.” Could the next targets be fire departments, the FAA, even NASA?

—Kevin Gosztola

Governor Walker Threatens to Fire Wisconsin Workers

On The Ed Show Tuesday night, The Nation’s John Nichols discusses whether Republican Governor Scott Walker’s next move will be laying off teachers and other public workers. The past two weeks, Nichols says, has seen nothing but “threat upon threat upon threat” from Walker.

As host Ed Schultz points out, polls show that Wisconsinites are no longer on their governor’s side. Cornered and cowed by the public response, Walker is now on a “media tour,” Nichols says. His “political people” did not expect this to happen.

Nichols says that Walker is caught up in the moment, proud to be the right wing’s darling and the center of the media’s attention. However, after Walker fell for a prank call of a political blogger pretending to be right-wing magnate David Koch, the balance of power may be shifting in Wisconsin workers’ favor. Read Nichols’s latest post on how this prank call may change the game in Madison.

—Kevin Gosztola

Wisconsin Protests Grow Beyond Madison

The Nation’s John Nichols joined The Progressive’s editor Matthew Rothschild on GRITtv to dissect the forces behind Wisconsin’s union-busting legislation, ranging from the Koch Brothers to Republican ideologues.

Nichols says this bill includes a “sweeping hard right agenda laundry list” that is being “snuck through” the legislative process as an add-on to a “minor so-called budget repair bill.” He points out that the bill Wisconsin workers are opposing would restructure government so that Scott Walker and future Wisconsin governors would have far more control not just at the state level but also at the county and municipal levels of government.

The protests against this legislative sleight of hand, Nichols adds, are no longer limited to Madison. They have expanded to other cities in the state, and the war on workers that Walker launched now has fronts in states like Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and beyond. Go here to read Nichols’s latest posts on the protests.

—Kevin Gosztola

Unions Are the Core of Progressive Politics in Wisconsin

As public workers and their allies continue to occupy the Wisconsin State Capitol in opposition to Republican Governor Scott Walker's bid to strip workers of collective bargaining rights, The Nation's John Nichols joined KGO AM810 radio in San Francisco to talk about the future for the protests.

Nichols explains that unions are the "core of progressive politics" in Wisconsin. The Republicans' efforts to curb workers' rights isn't just about damaging a force that routinely votes Democrat. It's about "damaging forces that defend the public sphere" and public education.

Those protesting, Nichols says, have majority support in Wisconsin polls right now. Players from the Green Bay Packers and farmers have chosen to stand with unions.

—Kevin Gosztola

Is Governor Scott Walker a Puppet?

Speaking from amidst the crowds on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol building this past Friday, The Nation's John Nichols gets behind the right-wing campaign behind Wisconsin's attack on unions. According to Nichols, the Club for Growth, an organization funded by extremely wealthy conservatives to carry out their budget-stripping goals, has been a key player in Republican Governor Scott Walker's move to take out the state's organized workers.

Nichols says the Club for Growth is part of a "national strategy" to get "newly elected Republican governors" to destroy labor and unions. "Walker," Nichols says, "is doing the dirty work of Washington think tanks and hedge funds that fund groups like Club Growth." 

For the latest on the push by anti-union organizations to strip workers of collective bargaining rights and more, read Nichols's latest post and check for updates on his blog, "The Beat."

Kevin Gosztola

Wisconsin's Walker Is Trying to Silence His Political Foes

On a day when tens of thousands are taking to the streets in Wisconsin, The Nation's Madison-based reporter John Nichols joined Wisconsin Democratic State Senator Chris Larson and Madison teacher Susan Stern on Democracy Now! to talk about the protests. Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s move to take away collective bargaining rights and slash the pay and benefits of workers in Wisconsin has created a massive backlash in the state because so much is at stake for workers around the country. Nichols says the governor and his Republican allies are trying to “disempower” unions like the American Federation of State and County Muncipal Employees (AFSCME) that have been key political players in Wisconsin for a long time.

According to Nichols, rolling back collective bargaining protections has little to do with economics and everything to do with politics. The widespread outrage can be measured in the diversity of the crowds, with high school students protesting alongside older workers. “There’s simply no doubt that these Democratic state senators who really were expected to go along with the process, make some objections, be very angry about it but ultimately go along, they looked out the windows of the capital and saw these incredible, very peaceful and positive protests.” 

For more on Wisconsin's protests as they unfold, read Nichols's latest on-the-ground updates.

—Kevin Gosztola

Katrina vanden Heuvel: To Create Jobs, We Need Spending

It may surprise you, but The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel and Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Reason.com, agree on a few things. One big point of consensus: both believe cutting the amount of money going to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be a good starting point for rebuilding our economy. But on just about every other point, vanden Heuvel says, this country is having the wrong debate at the wrong time.

When there are "25 million people out of work, underemployed, seeking work," vanden Heuvel says, nobody should be talking about cutting vital services to the most vulnerable Americans. Instead, we need "additional spending to rebuild and to recover." We should view all of the issues and problems facing this country, vanden Heuvel says, through a "pro-growth, pro-jobs, lens over everything." 

—Kevin Gosztola

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