TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
"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.
In her latest Nation column, Melissa Harris-Lacewell quotes South Pacific, a progressive musical of its time, saying, "You have to be taught to hate and fear, you have to be taught from year to year, it has to be drummed in your dear little ear." Alarmingly, schools in Arizona and Texas have begun to incorporate Rodgers and Hammerstein's ideas into their educational policies. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently signed a bill cutting state funding to schools offering ethnic studies classes and Texas has revised its history books in a way that lionizes segregationists and questions the need for the separation of church and state.
Harris-Lacewell wonders, Are young people inherently progressive enough to disregard these official policies, or do those on the left need to realize the importance of being carefully taught?
This week, the Obama administration decided that the private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater—now Xe—is the most qualified organization to guard US consulates in Afghanistan, and has been awarded a $120 million contract to do so. This comes as the CIA this week awarded Blackwater a new $100 million contract to operate globally for the Agency. Xe officials swear up and down that they've cleaned up their act and departed from the ways that made the Blackwater name infamous, but Jeremy Scahill, author of the book Blackwater, tells Keith Olbermann otherwise during his appearance on Countdown.
"They've cleaned up their act about as much as BP has cleaned up the Gulf," Scahill says. "Who knows what they're doing around the world right now on behalf of the US government?" What's almost more frightening is America's dependence on private defense operations and the fact that among them, Xe is the leader. "If you review all of the companies and you determine that Blackwater is your best company, then you know that this country is in serious, serious trouble with its national security policy."
The Nation's Editor and Publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, will be on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS this Sunday at 10 AM & 1PM ET. (Check listings here.) The topic is the news of the week, and President Obama's relationship with progressives and the left. Are liberal supporters energized? The eclectic panel includes Arianna Huffington, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Ross Douthat of The New York Times. Tune in - we'll have video Monday.
"Do you craft family policy to fit the policies that already exist or do you try to give an ideal outcome? And if so, what is that ideal outcome?" asks Nation Senior Editor Richard Kim. "You’re not going to get a majority for these policies, so then what is your second best strategy?" answers writer Reihan Salam, co-author of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.
Salam thinks that one way to help American families is to structure our tax code "in a way that provides more assistance for parents with children." Kim also adds that much of the gay marriage debate is backed by concerns for household security. He argues that we need to take a closer look at civil unions "to reflect the diversity of families that exist in America." The debate needs to be focused less on the "what is marriage, what is not marriage; what is love, what is not love" part of the argument and more on what Salam calls the "economic anxiety" aspect.