John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, writes about politics for The Nation as its national-affairs correspondent. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books, and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.
Nichols is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other newspapers.
Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald’s documentary Outfoxed, and in Joan Sekler’s Unprecedented, Matt Kohn’s Call It Democracy, and Robert Pappas’s Orwell Rolls in His Grave. The keynote speaker at the 2004 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Athens, Nichols has been a featured presenter at conventions, conferences, and public forums on media issues sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Consumers International, the Future of Music Coalition, the AFL-CIO, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Newspaper Guild [CWA], and dozens of other organizations.
Nichols is the author of The Genius of Impeachment (New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (New Press); and a best-selling biography of former vice president Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: “At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift—a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history—that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country.”
With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored the books It’s the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories), Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press), The Death and Life of American Journalism (Nation Books), Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street (Nation Books), and their latest, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy (Nation Books, March 2016). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, a media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.
Of Nichols, author Gore Vidal says: “Of all the giant slayers now afoot in the great American desert, John Nichols’s sword is the sharpest.” (Photo by Robin Holland / Bill Moyers Journal)
The American Civil Liberties Union is right when it says that last week's Senate Judiciary Committee vote in favor of the restoration of habeas corpus protections "signals to the White House and the Republican minority in Congress that this is a real issue."
But that does not mean that renewal of the most basic of our Constitutional guarantees is just around the corner.
The frustrating fight to restore habeas corpus has reached an important milestone. Democrats appear to have signed on for the struggle. But Republicans, for the most part, remain wrong or silent.
The most amusing spin following the vote by a majority of US senators to prepare a "no-confidence" vote against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was the suggestion that the scandal-plagued Cabinet member had earned something of a reprieve.
Because the Senate did not muster the super-majority of 60 votes needed to schedule the "no-confidence" vote on Monday, the White House and its media acolytes suggested, the tide had turned in favor of Gonzales.
In fact, the decision of seven Republican senators to join their Democratic colleagues in taking steps to signal that the Attorney General did nothing to dampen enthusiasm for holding Gonzales to account.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer has for some weeks been calling for a vote of "no confidence" in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. And it looks like he may get one â€“ or, to be more precise, the start of a process that could lead to one -- on Monday.
But don't bet that the Senate will hold the scandal-plagued Gonzales to account.
In fact, the real issue will be holding senators to account.
Only one in five American voters believe the United States is heading in the right direction, and the overwhelming majority of them have lost confidence in President Bush to right the country's course.
Unfortunately for Democrats, the voters appear to be in the process of losing confidence in the opposition party to do much better than Bush.
According to the latest Associated Press/Ipsos poll, a mere 21 percent of those surveyed said the U.S. was on the right track.
Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate was, for the most part, a polite affair. Candidates frequently spoke of how much they agreed with their opponents. They acknowledged that, despite differences on issues as fundamental as abortion rights, they would back one another against any Democrat in November, 2OO8. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took the wind out of his mild criticisms of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain when he kept referring to his fellow front runners as "my friend."
But the candidates did not go entirely soft when it came to taking partisan potshots.
There was one Republican who suffered a trashing: George W. Bush.
Maybe the Democratic presidential candidates should rethink their decision not to debate on the Fox New Channel. It couldn't be worse than the theater of the absurd CNN organized Sunday night at New Hampshire's St. Anselm College â€“ which, it should be noted, was co-sponsored by an even more aggressively conservative media outlet than Fox: the rabidly right-wing Manchester Union-Leader newspaper.
The second major debate between the eight Democrats who would be president broke little new ground. In fairness, that wasn't CNN's fault. It's still too early for the candidates to stray from their talking points; that won't happen until the desperate days of the late fall and early winter when contenders who recognize that the keys to the Oval Office are slipping from their grasp decide to go for broke.
So Sunday's debate was, for the most part, a dull dance.
White House counselor Dan Bartlett, the man who unwittingly confirmed that President Bush participated in discussions with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and political czar Karl Rove about firing U.S. Attorneys who weren't sufficiently political in their prosecutions, is hightailing it out of the administration.
Here is the latest from the front page of the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust, the group that has been shaking down Republican donors for the money needed to maintain the convicted felon's silence until an appropriate moment arrives for him to be pardoned by President Bush:
"Former Senator Fred Thompson, a member of the Advisory Committee for the Libby Legal Defense Trust has graciously offered to host another fund raiser for the Libby Legal Defense Trust. We will be providing additional details in the coming days."
Thompson's schedule is getting busier and busier these days, as the man who reversed Ronald Reagan's career trajectory by going from the Senate into acting prepared to bid for the Republican presidential nomination.