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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

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

Katrina vanden Heuvel on Election Insurrection in Midterms 2010

In a Town Hall forum moderated by NBC's Dan Abrams and organized by The Common Good, The Nation's editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel joined a panel of journalists, writers and political strategists to dissect the Democrat's prospects for this year's midterm elections.

Vanden Heuvel disagreed with other members of the panel that Obama has lost his base. Instead, vanden Heuvel pointed to the ways that corporate money has corroded the political system and aided the attempts of the Tea Partiers to "roll back the social and economic progress that we've made in the twentieth century."

"There are a lot of people in the progressive community...who during the presidential election, thought that Obama walked on water. Politicians don't walk on water." According to vanden Heuvel, rather than blaming Obama, progressives "need to organize to move this country in a decent common sense direction."

To view the full panel discussion, visit the Common Good Network's Channel.

—Joanna Chiu

Katrina vanden Heuvel and Nick Gillespie on Bickering Inside the Beltway

Last night, Katrina vanden Heuvel squared off against Reason.com's Nick Gillespie on CNN's Parker Spitzer. When Spitzer asked about the possibility of compromise in Washington, vanden Heuvel said that even Tea Partiers "support [strengthening] Social Security benefits" and referred to a transpartisan alliance between libertarian Ron Paul and progressive Barney Frank to suggest that there is potential for compromise in Washington.

However, the conversation soon turned into a heated debate about Wall Street, big business, health care and government spending—aptly highlighting issues that those on the right and  left have trouble finding consensus on. Vanden Heuvel and Gillespie disagreed about whether there is uncertainty on Wall Street and in the big business community—with vanden Heuvel arguing that "they are sitting on $2 trillion in investments and they're not investing in rebuilding this country" and with Gillespie saying that companies are cautious about hiring because of uncertainty "about tax rates come January 1."

—Joanna Chiu

Katrina vanden Heuvel on Coalition Building in Washington

Should progressives be disappointed with the first two years of Obama's presidency? "It takes more than one election cycle to change the order of things," argued The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel today on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "I think progressives need to be as pragmatic, clear-eyed, tough about our President Obama as he is about us."

The problem, says host Joe Scarborough, is that the president can't govern as a progressive because he ran as a moderate: "It's so much easier to run as a conservative Republican for president, and if you look back, conservative candidates win. Moderate Republicans don't win. But if you're a Democrat, you have to run as a moderate." But for vanden Heuvel, the anger surrounding the banks bailout, Wall Street's fecklessness and threats to social security make the moment ripe for across-the-aisle political relationships: "In this country today, you could craft some true transpartisan coalitions and run...without any of the labels you just applied."

Sharron Angle vs. Joy Behar: It's On

Nevada's Sharron Angle has been running a racially charged anti-immigration campaign ad, and Joy Behar is fuming. Things got heated on The View this week, when Behar challenged Angle to try coming out to the South Bronx and talking smack about immigrants.

Nation correspondent Ari Melber and MSNBC's Chris Jansing sat down with Lawrence O'Donnell to take apart what this might mean for longtime-Nevada Senator Harry Reid's chances on November 2, and to discuss more broadly the ways Tea Party candidates have been interacting with—and avoiding—the press.

Watch the clip for more on campaign craziness, Democrat infighting and what Harry Reid needs to do to counter punch in the last days before the election.

Braden Goyette

What Are The Dems Doing Wrong?

As election day draws near, progressives are looking anxiously to the polls, trying to gauge whether Congress will really take a huge rightward swing after November 2. 

This morning on Democracy Now!, Nation contributing writer Ari Berman explained the dynamics at work behind the Democratic Party's loss of momentum since the 2008 election. Berman makes the case that the Democrats aren't doing enough to address the needs of their core voters—minorities, young people and women—at a time when conservatives are profiting from a newly energized base.

Alongside FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver, Berman spoke with Amy Goodman about what to expect in the next few weeks, the changing tone of the national political conversation, and how the rent is just too damn high.

Ari Berman is an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of the book Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics.

—Braden Goyette

Jeremy Scahill: Inside the WikiLeaks Torture Documents

The latest WikiLeaks document dump proves that the Pentagon has known for a long time just how bad the situation is in Iraq, says The Nation's Jeremy Scahill. What's worse, they lied to the American public about the full scope of civilian casualties in the country—all while accusing the media of publishing exaggerated figures. Scahill, author of the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army and of the recent article "WikiLeaks and War Crimes," sums up the case on The Countdown with Keith Olbermann: the Bush adminstration "was lying, supporting death squads, turning a blind eye to torture  by Iraqi soldiers to Iraqi detainees] and [committing] torture themselves."

Scahill says that the Obama adminstration needs to stop protecting people such as Donald Rumsfeld and hold members of the Bush adminstration "accountable [for] the serious crimes" that they committed. The latest WikiLeaks dump also provides further evidence that Blackwater killed Iraqi civilians, and Scahill says that the question for the Obama adminstration is: "Why continue to use a firm with such a criminal record track record...of shooting civilians...in Afghanistan when the US is trying to win hearts and minds?"

—Joanna Chiu

Learning From Lou Dobbs's Hypocrisy

In a piece published on the Guardian's website today, The Nation's Isabel Macdonald writes that Lou Dobbs is not exceptional for hiring undocumented workers. The real lesson to take away from the former CNN host's hypocrisy is just how important and how far-reaching comprehensive immigration reform could be to the future of the US economy. In fact, fighting for the labor rights of undocumented workers will improve the working conditions for all Americans.

In her recent article for The Nation, "Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite," Macdonald reported on the severely curtailed lives of the undocumented workers who tend to Dobbs's horses and estate. But beyond Dobbs's fences, an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants are working in similar conditions all across the country. Fearing losing their jobs or being deported, these immigrants are forced to work in a legal limbo that imposes a terrible toll, not just on their own wages and working conditions. According to Macdonald, the US worker's real enemy is not the undocumented immigrant, but the exploitative system that keeps these immigrants in the dark: "If undocumented workers could leave bad jobs, and protest terrible working conditions, employers might be forced to offer higher wages, and improve working conditions" for all Americans.

Robert Scheer Takes Down the Architects of the Financial Crisis

The financial crisis robbed thousands of Americans of their savings—yet somehow, the men who engineered the crisis haven't been held responsible. In his new book, The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street (Nation Books), veteran investigative journalist Robert Scheer lays out the whos, whys and hows of the country's economic meltdown.

In an October 18 review in the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Kirsch says that Scheer's book is "a strong dose of black coffee—bracing and eye-opening." According to Kirsch, Scheer is "not only willing but downright eager to name names, including such now-dubious gurus as Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Alan Greenspan, among others," as he takes readers through the ways that policymakers carried out the biggest white collar heist in recent memory.

—Braden Goyette

The Dobbs and Pony Show: Snapshots of America's Immigration Hypocrisy

When Isabel Macdonald first broke the story of undocumented workers tending to Lou Dobbs's horses and properties with her Nation piece, "Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite," mainstream networks were eager to invite Macdonald to speak about her findings. But all this coverage has focused more on Dobbs's double-dealing than on the ways that undocumented workers continue to suffer from America's unjust immigration policies.

In her October 16 follow-up article for the Huffington Post, "The Dobbs and Pony Show," Macdonald writes that Dobbs does deserve criticism for the shameless contradictions between his rhetoric and the reality of his actual lifestyle, but it is far more important to pressure the Obama administration to follow through on promises to reform immigration policy.

"It is President Obama's failure to practice what he's preached on immigration," Macdonald argues, "that concerns these workers far more than the spectacle of Lou's hypocrisy."

—By Joanna Chiu

Homophobia Shouldn't be the Norm in America

In the past weeks, a wave of gay teen suicides, a horrific hate crime in the Bronx and New York Governor-hopeful Carl Paladino's much-talked-about anti-gay remarks have thrust America's struggle with homophobia back into the spotlight.

Nation senior editor Richard Kim recently wrote that despite all the media attention given to anti-gay bullying, the coverage largely misses the bigger picture of pervasive homophobia in American society. Most commentators, he writes, are pointing fingers at the individual bullies, rather than confronting the homophobic culture that's still the norm in this country—even in liberal circles.

Kim speaks with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez about how even with the positive news of yesterday's court ruling essentially ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, all these homophobic incidents contribute to an increasingly unsafe climate for LGBT people. "[Paladino's] comments don't necessarily have a policy implication, but it's much broader than that," Kim explains. "It engages in systematic dehumanization of gay and lesbian people, and that's absolutely related to the attacks that happened in the Bronx and the incidents of anti-gay bullying that we're seeing across the country."

Watch this clip to hear about the ways politicians on the right continue to support America's culture of homophobia—on a policy level and an ideological level—and what can be done to oppose it on an everyday basis.

—Braden Goyette

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