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 Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, forthcoming from Nation Books this fall, as well as 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 US death toll in Iraq now stands at more than 3,200.
The first 3,000 of those deaths can reasonably be said to be the responsibility of President Bush. He, Vice President Cheney and their aides manipulated intelligence in order to frame a case for invading and occupying Iraq. As their deceits began to be exposed, they sought to punish those--such as former Ambassador Joe Wilson--who tried to tell the truth to Congress and the American people.
When that truth became clear, the people elected a new Congress. Last November, Democrats were given control of the US House and Senate. Their mandate was as simple as it was clear: Bring the troops home in a smart, responsible and rapid fashion. And they had the ability to do so, as the Constitution clearly gives Congress the authority to use the power of the purse and other means to conclude an unwise and unnecessary war.
The House Appropriations Committee deliberations on whether to advance an Iraq War spending bill that includes provisions seeking to extract U.S. troops from the conflict by next year points up the challenge faced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the coming week.
Pelosi, who voted against authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq, has been clear about her desire to bring the war to a conclusion. As Pelosi said this week: "Any U.S. military engagement must be judged on three counts -- whether it makes our country safer, our military stronger or the region more stable. The war in Iraq fails on all three scores."
Yet, to Pelosi's view, the only way to do that is by providing the money for continuance of the war over the course of at least another year. This is a painful political calculation, she says, arguing that the neither the Democratic caucus not the full House is not prepared to back a quick exit strategy.
Henry Waxman knows a thing or two about the Constitution, and the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee displayed that knowledge at the opening of Friday's extraordinary morning of testimony by outed CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.
While appropriate attention will be paid to the remarks by the woman whose identity was exposed in a pattern of leaks that appears to have been coordinated by Vice President Dick Cheney's office, what Waxman said at the opening of the hearing sent the essential message.
"It's not our job to determine criminal culpability," the congressman said of the committee he heads, "but it is out job to determine what went wrong and insist on accountability."
Forget about John McCain and Chuck Hagel.
If you are looking for a maverick Republican in the Senate, consider Oregon Senator Gordon Smith.
Smith made headlines last December when he bitterly denounced the Bush administration's management of the Iraq war on the Senate floor.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he is not going anywhere.
Never mind that he is caught up in the biggest scandal involving a sitting Attorney General since the sordid days of the 192Os.
Never mind that the scandal that plagues Gonzales involves the same sort of concerns about the politicization of the Department of Justice and the federal bureaucracy that ultimately forced Richard Nixon from office in the 197Os.
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies in the chamber's Democratic leadership initially accepted that spending legislation designed to outline an Iraq exit strategy should also include a provision barring the president from attacking Iran without congressional approval, they opened up a monumental discussion about presidential war powers.
As such, the decision by Pelosi and her allies to rewrite their Iraq legislation to exclude the statement regarding the need for congressional approval of any military assault on the neighboring country of Iran sends the worst possible signal to the White House.
It is not too much to suggest that Pelosi disastrous misstep could haunt her and the Congress for years to come.
"O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth!"
-- Tom Paine
"I can relate to Thomas Paine. When he wrote Common Sense, he was trying to stir people up, get them thinking. And he did. Paine's words -- 'These are the times that try men's souls' -- became the battle cry of the American Revolution. I can relate to a person like that, who has this calling and does the work."
George McGovern has a word for Vice President Dick Cheney: "Resign."
Responding to Tuesday's conviction of Cheney's former chief-of-staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to the FBI -- after a trial that revealed Cheney's intimate involvement with a scheme to discredit a critic of the administration's war policies -- the former congressman, senator and presidential candidate said it was time for the vice president to go.
"What we have learned about how he has conducted himself leaves no doubt that he should be out of office," McGovern says of Cheney. "If he had any respect for the Constitution or the country, he would resign."
When Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, a Republican with reasonably close ties to President Bush, asked if there was any additional business to be considered at the town meeting he was running in Middlebury, Ellen McKay popped up and proposed the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The governor was not amused. As moderator of the annual meeting, he tried to suggest that the proposal to impeach -- along with another proposal to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq -- could not be voted on.
But McKay, a program coordinator at Middlebury College, pressed her case. And it soon became evident that the crowd at the annual meeting shared her desire to hold the president to account.