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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

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

Obama’s ‘Hopeless’ Af-Pak Strategy

Nation Contributing Editor Christian Parenti joins Laura Flanders on GRITtv to talk about Af-Pak strategy in the wake of Obama’s conference with Karzai in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Flanders notes that Obama and Karzai both looked like they were “busy conciliating,” but she wanted to know what was really going on beneath the surface. Parenti explains that Obama’s conference was “domestic theater,” because he was “trying to appeal to the sensibilities of the US electorate and look tough and pretend to be fighting a more credible, better planned war.” But the reality on the ground, Parenti says, is “quite hopeless.”

“On the ground you have escalation without any clear strategy, particularly in Pakistan,” Parenti explains. “The war then becomes it’s own problem…The situation is sort of self-feeding.” Parenti goes on to explain that the US is really involved in nation-building but without a credible partner because “Karzai is sitting atop a massive, dysfunctional kleptocracy, and this is a matter in the mainstream news now.”

—Morgan Ashenfelter

The Final Battle: Lessig vs. Greenwald

Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court has resulted in heated debate among progressives and liberals. One such debate pits Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald against Harvard law professor and Nation contributor Lawrence Lessig, who both appeared on Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show.

On the show Greenwald made his case against Kagan’s nomination, and Lessig, who came on after Greenwald, called Greenwald's views “absurd.” Greenwald didn’t get a chance for rebuttal on the show, so he did so on his Salon blog, which prompted a response from Lessig on The Huffington Post. Democracy Now! invited both Lessig and Greenwald onto the show to debate their positions at the same time.

—Morgan Ashenfelter

A Classic Case of the "Shaggy Defense"

Nation DC Editor Chris Hayes guest-hosts the Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday and reports on the recent BP oil spill which has left those in charge—BP, Transocean and Halliburton—employing the Shaggy Defense. What is the Shaggy defense? In a 2000 hit song, “It Wasn’t Me,” from singer Shaggy, a man finds himself caught red handed in an affair. Yet with each interrogation, he responds with an excuse and a catchy refrain: “It wasn’t me.”

Likewise, the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill has those in charge using the Shaggy Defense non-stop. In a circular blame game, BP pinned the blame on Transocean, Transocean returned the blame to BP. Transocean added that the blame also falls on Halliburton—the company responsible for the cement job on the oil well.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey joins Hayes to discuss his new bill that would ensure that those responsible for the spill will be liable for all damages. Currently, BP’s liability stands at $75 million, which he believes is about $9 billion short. “When commercial fishermen are harmed, when shrimp fishermen are harmed, when seafood processing plants are harmed, when those coastal communities lose tourism and on and on and on, their liability is $75 million,” says Menendez. “That's ridiculous. So, we want to raise that to $10 billion.”

—Clarissa León

Did Kagan Discriminate Against the Military? No!

On Hardball Chris Matthews reports that conservatives are angry about Elena Kagan’s decision to deny military recruiters equal access to students of Harvard Law School while she was the dean. Matthews turns to Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Daily Beast political writer Peter Beinart to explain whether Kagan’s decision was justified. Beinart argues that Kagan should apologize to the military because she hurt the relationship between the military and the academy. But Harris-Lacewell disagrees because the American Association of Law Schools has a policy that employers who discriminate in their hiring practices should not be allowed to recruit on law school campuses. So in this case, Harris-Lacewell argues, Kagan made the right decision.

“Part of what a law school dean is meant to do is represent the values of the current legal environment,” Harris-Lacewell says. “This is precisely what you want from a Supreme Court justice, someone who has strong opinions who nevertheless provides as much access as she can…and complies by the [law].”

—Morgan Ashenfelter

United We Stand to Audit the Fed

For Tuesday night’s Rachel Maddow show, guest-host and Nation DC Editor Chris Hayes, reports on “something remarkable” that happened in Washington earlier that day. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 96-0 to add the “Audit the Fed” amendment to the financial regulatory reform bill. As Hayes explains, the Federal Reserve is the bankers’ bank and beginning in 2007 when the economy went into an “apocalyptic death spiral,” identifying how much money the Federal Reserve lent out—and to which banks—met a similar, apocalyptic death. In one instance, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke flat-out refused to say which banks received money.

“The effort to combat that secrecy, and to account for the basic facts of who is getting how much money from the Fed, on what terms, has given rise to the ultimate strange bedfellows political coalition,” explains Hayes. “The Audit the Fed alliance includes lefty bloggers like Jane Hamsher, and the über-conservative right wing anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist…And now, remarkably, the Audit the Fed movement includes all of the 96 Senators who were present today.”

—Clarissa León

Cautious Yet Troubling Pick in Kagan

On The Ed Show, Ed Schultz wants to know what the editorial board at The Nation thinks about Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. He brings in Editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel to find out. Vanden Heuvel describes Kagan as a “cautious pick” but says that there are some “troubling issues and questions that need to be raised…about her views on executive power.” But she says that the GOP notion that she is not experienced enough is nonsense.

“If you need that kind of experience to pass what we just got out of the Citizens United decision, unleashing corporate money…polluting our political system. What value are judicial robes?” vanden Heuvel asks. Attacking Kagan for her lack of experience and her praise of Thurgood Marshall shows how disembodied the Republican Party has become with from their roots, vanden Heuvel says. “It is a pale, stale party…soon going to be called the Grand Obstructionist Party.”

—Morgan Ashenfelter

Interview: Disposable Soldiers

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a generation of American veterans with physical or psychological ailments. But as The Nation's Joshua Kors has reported in his series on veterans healthcare over the last three years, returning vets aren't always given the care to match their service. In "Disposable Soliders," Kors' cover story last month, he tells the story of Sgt. Chuck Luther, who was wounded by mortar fire in Iraq but pressured to sign papers saying his injuries came from a pre-existing "personality disorder." In this interview with PRI/BBC's "The World," Kors talks with reporter Marco Werman about the status of Luther's case, and the ongoing effort to win back healthcare for misdiagnosed veterans.

 

Bloggers Weigh in On "What's Right With Arkansas"

Ari Berman's cover essay for this week's issue of The Nation is drawing some attention on the ground in Arkansas. Arkansas Blog focused on the money, noting Berman's stats that Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter has taken the "money lead" in the race to unseat incumbent Democrat Senator Blanche Lincoln. The Arkansas public affairs blog Blake's Think Tank covered Berman's day on the campaign trail with Halter, while Blue Arkansas reported that "What's Right With Arkansas" and the Halter-Lincoln race had national implications. Blogger jsamuel writes: 

[Berman's] article brings up a few questions that have been on my mind. Can progressives from the northeast and west get excited about a candidate from the south Are progressives willing to do more than donate money to and vote for someone? Progressives are well known for their online activism. Can progressives translate that into volunteering on the ground where it really matters? Have you contacted your local campaign office and signed up for a shift?

You can read Ari Berman's full story here

Los Suns Slam Arizona Law

For last night’s basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Phoenix Suns donned their “Los Suns” jerseys usually worn for their Noche Latina program. But to everyone watching, the jerseys positioned the Suns as jointly condemning Arizona’s recent anti-immigration law. Point guard Steve Nash’s interview on ESPN has now reverberated throughout the sports world. “I think that this is a bill that really damages our civil liberties,” he said. “I think that it opens up the potential for racial profiling and racism.”

Dave Zirin, The Nation’s sports correspondent, appears on Democracy Now! discussing how Arizona’s teams have taken a political stance to the law and how fans have responded in support. Yet one team—the Arizona Diamondbacks—have been publicly protested at numerous of their baseball games. The D-backs' owner, Ken Kendricks Jr., and his family gave more than $1 million to the Republicans Party Committee in 2010. John McCain and his wife Cindy McCain were also minority owners of the Diamondbacks. “He’s got to put his money where his mouth is.’ ” says Zirin. “We’re saying we want to see Ken Kendrick actually in front of cameras saying, ‘You know what? The spigot has been turned off and the state Republican Party will not get one more dime from my bottomless pockets until SB-1070 has finally been overturned.’ ”

—Clarissa León

Scahill on Olbermann, vanden Heuvel on The Ed Show Tonight

A big night for The Nation on MSNBC: The Nation's Editor & Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel will be on MSNBC's The Ed Show (6PM ET) at the top of the show tonight discussing the politics of BP - accountability and energy policy in the wake of the oil spill. The Nation's Contributing writer and new blogger Jeremy Scahill will be on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight live from Blackwater CEO Erik Prince's hometown, Holland, MI. This week Scahill exposed secret tape recordings by the reclusive and controversial Prince. Tonight's segment will likely focus on the Times Square bombing, and whether or not U.S. Special Forces were involved in the arrest of Faisal Shazad. No hit time yet for Scahill's segment; check The Nation's twitter feed for updates. We'll have video here of both appearances tomorrow. 

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