TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
If the United States government is the largest energy consumer in the world, asks Nation contributing editor Christian Parenti, why doesn't it use its massive buying power to support real green, clean energy technologies—instead of subsidizing the catastrophic failures of oil giants like BP?
Parenti joins The Nation on Grit TV in studio to point out that if the US post office switched to electric cars, that subsidy alone would bring down the price of sustainable transportation and create infrastructure for the rest of the country. He also talks Bill Gates, more green technologies and the war in Afghanistan.
“Optimism is back,” proclaimed William Greider at the recent gathering of the Democratic Socialists of America in Chicago. Greider, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, spoke before the crowd to explain how to better understand today's government by examining our political history.
Looking back one hundred years, Greider draws parallels between the political realities of today and the challenges labor activists, socialists and civic reformers mounted against US capitalism in the Populist-Progressive.
Greider notes that given the current reality of inequality and repression, US capitalism is at a critical point in history: the system will either have to change or fall apart. “The catastrophes are liberating the mind,” he told the audience. Greider stressed the need to go back to the voices of Debs, Gompers, Thomas and Harrington because “Those messages, with a little dusting up and revision, fit our situation today.”
Watch the full 35-minute talk on CAN TV (Chicago’s Public Access Television).
"Imagine for a moment our country elected a bunch of people who thought rape should be legal…" This is what Nation Washington editor Christopher Hayes asks us as guest host of The Ed Show. He says that the pro-rape people know that just coming out and promoting rape would not be accepted by the general populous. So instead, they get everyone to call it "unilateral, physical intimacy." But Hayes knows, "this is not a neutral phrase, this is propaganda."
Hayes uses the same argument for the pro-torture euphemism, "enhanced interrogation techniques." He refers to a Harvard University study that compares how the media described the practice of waterboarding before the Bush administration and after. From the 1930s to the early 2000s, the New York Times called or characterized waterboarding as torture, 82 percent of the time. From 2002 to 2008, it was only 1 percent of the time. As thing for the Los Angeles Times: from the 1930s to the early 2000s waterboarding was called or characterized as torture 96 percent of the time and only 5 percent of the time from 2002 to 2008. During that later period, USA Today never referred to it as torture. "The term enhanced interrogation technique from the beginning was designed to fuse our moral circuitry," Hayes says. "It’s the job of the independent press to trigger our moral alarms. The New York Times and the LA Times failed this basic duty."
The Nation's Washington Editor Chris Hayes continued his week of guest-hosting The Ed Show last night, bringing on GritTV's Laura Flanders and Obamanomics author Tim Carney to discuss the GOP's continued reluctance to extend unemployment benefits. "Even from a very kind of bedrock libertarian perspective," Hayes asks, "do you really think the people who have exceeded the 99 weeks are doing it because of misaligned incentives as opposed to an economy that‘s just thrown fallen through the floor?"
It's not just the GOP, Flanders and Carney say. It's also Nancy Pelosi and the democratic Congress who overpromised funding. "Nancy Pelosi kind of backed herself into a corner," Flanders says. "What we really need is a government job creation scheme. Government jobs. Rooseveltian kind of plan. With that off the table, they‘re in the situation of hoping that some GOPer will wise up."
"Redemption is looking at ourselves, asking what we can do better instead of blaming our leaders," says Walter Mosley, author and Nation contributor. "We can't look to corporate media for our answers," he continues, "we have to look to ourselves."
Expressing political redemption through semi-spiritual language, Mosley joins The Nation on GritTV in the studio to discuss the late West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd's varied career, which was quite possibly one of redemption. Byrd was known for shifting his politics in accordance with his country and his constituency; while he once filibustered the Civil Rights Act, he also vehemently spoke out against the Iraq war and executive power. Should he be acknowledged for his progress and "redemption," or should that credit go to his constituents?
Since their arrest last July by Iranian forces near the Iraq border, three Americans—Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd—have been at the center of a diplomatic struggle between Tehran and Washington. Esther Kaplan, Editor of the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund, has worked closely with Shane Bauer in the past. This week, the Investigative Fund and The Nation broke the story that the detained hikers were most likely arrested in Iraqi territory, not in Iran.
Esther gives us her thoughts on the ongoing fight to win the hikers' freedom and the role of investigative journalism in unearthing the full details of the situation.
In a 1995 book review for the University of Chicago Law Review, Elena Kagan described Supreme Court confirmation hearings as a "vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis.” Guest-hosting The Ed Show, Nation Washington Editor Christopher Hayes says that the hearings have only gotten worse since then. In 2005, Chief Justice John Roberts said that, "A good judge is a complete political blank slate with no views whatsoever—an umpire." In response, Hayes says, "Judges are called judges because they use their judgment...There will never come a time when our supreme court is solely populated by machines.”
During Kagan's testimony she said, "If confirmed, I will remember and abide all these lessons. I will listen hard to any party before the court and to each of my collegues. I will work hard and I will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle and in accordance to law." A pledge to be impartial, "whatever that means," says Hayes. The confirmation process is caught in a "contradiction" by never being so explicitly politicized than it is now and for having nominees who have "never been more emphatic that they have no views and certainly no politics.”
Joining Laura Flanders on The Nation on Grit TV, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center on Economic Policy Research, says that though Obama's financial reforms may ultimately result in greater transparency in the way banks and big corporations do business, the changes will do little to combat rampant economic inequality and unemployment. What is sorely needed, Baker argues, is a fundamental change in the way Wall Street operates.
Dean Baker is part of a Nation forum on inequality to be published July 1 featuring Robert Reich, Orlando Patterson, Jeff Madrick, Dean Baker, Katherine Newmann and Matt Yglesias. The forum looks at the widening inequality gap in the recession and under President Obama, and at possible solutions.
With President Obama's approval ratings down and the administration taking fire from both the left and the right, CNN's Fareed Zakaria invited what he called a "star-studded" panel of experts to chat on GPS about the president's strengths and shortcomings in dealing with the blows that the country's been dealt in recent weeks.
Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joined Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat to dissect Obama's failure to firmly establish the role of government and the country's palpable shift towards the right. "He trusts people too much," Spitzer says. Vanden Heuvel chimes in to agree with Huffington and Spitzer, explaining that the massive bank bailout should have been a trade-off in which the banks were forced to commit to real reform. But the biggest problem right now? Winning the deficit vs. investment debate, vanden Heuvel says. "Unless we win that, we are going to see long-term unemployment in this country—joblessness that I think will scar this country even worse than the Great Depression."
The Nation's Washington D.C. Editor Chris Hayes will be guest-hosting MSNBC's The Ed Show all week. The show airs 6-7ET. Topics Monday: The Kagan hearings; Senator Byrd's passing and the continuing crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. Hayes will be joined later in the week by The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel, GRIT TV's Laura Flanders and others. You can see videos here; we'll be posting highlights at TheNation.com all week.