Cover of March 23-30, 2015 Issue


True Grit?

Nation contributor and TV host Laura Flanders isn’t the first feminist to face down some gun-toting cowboys, but her battle is a little unusual. Since 2008, Flanders’s GRITtv has broadcast the voices of marginalized experts and grassroots activists on cable, satellite and public television, as well as online. “I interview people with grit,” Flanders explained in a phone interview. But last summer, she received a phone call asking if she was aware that there was another Grit TV station in town. Flanders jumped online, where she discovered the new Grit (, an “action-oriented” digital channel targeting men between 25 and 54 (sexagenarians, beware!). Launched on August 18, the new Grit is “built around the classic male hero, with a focus on western, war and action movies,” said Jonathan Katz, president and CEO of Katz Broadcasting, which operates the network. Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50! No sane person is likely to mistake Harrison Ford for Naomi Klein—but viewers might find it difficult to separate the near-identical branding. Flanders says her voicemail and e-mail have been filled with messages from viewers frustrated with the quality of Grit’s digital signal. Viewers confuse contact information on her website for Grit’s—and even the programming. One disgruntled viewer wrote to Flanders: “Your channel showing war films is propaganda!” Last fall, GRITtv’s lawyer sent Grit a cease-and-desist letter. GRITtv has applied for a trademark; Grit has, too. Legally, Flanders’s longtime prior use of “GRIT” gives her the right to the brand. The Grit guys have yet to acknowledge the consumer confusion, but even a cowboy could tell you that intellectual property law no longer resembles the Wild, Wild West. That frontier mentality goes by another name now: theft. Read Next: Greg Grandin on Venezuela after Chávez Read More

Snapshot: Protesting Assassination in Moscow

Russian protesters hold signs with the image of Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition leader murdered in Moscow on February 27. A physicist and former governor of Nizhny Novgorod province, Nemtsov was an ally of the late Russian president Boris Yeltsin. His body was found just blocks from the Kremlin, shot six times in the back. Read More




Walk, Don’t Run? George Zornick’s great article on Senator Elizabeth Warren [“Waiting for Warren,” Feb. 23] reminds me of the months before the 1968 primaries. Antiwar liberals and progressives wanted Robert F. Kennedy to announce his candidacy for president. He held back, and Senator McCarthy jumped in, rolling up impressive totals against Lyndon Johnson and demonstrating how damaged the president was. RFK entered the primaries, forced Johnson out and no doubt would have gone on to victory in November. Is Bernie Sanders playing the role of Eugene McCarthy, and is the hesitant Senator Warren playing that of Robert Kennedy? Impressive margins against Clinton in the early primaries could send a clear message that the base of the Democratic Party is sick and tired of corporate Democrats. Run, Liz, run! William F. Johnston tacoma, wash. I am a liberal Democrat, and I am not waiting for Warren. What is wrong with The Nation and other liberal groups? Why are you trying to destroy Hillary? Liberals should unite around Hillary, who is liberal enough for most Americans. It would be difficult for the Democrats to win the presidency three times in a row. Hillary is the best hope. I don’t want to push her to the left. I want her to be in a position where she can win. Reba Shimansky new york Progressives who are crying for Elizabeth Warren to run for president are succumbing to the craving for a woman on a white horse. Warren, if I read her comments correctly, is looking at the long game. If she were to be elected president in 2016, her political career would be over by 2024, which is not long enough to make the changes we need. If she stays in the Senate, she can look forward to two or three decades working for progressive causes, and by 2024 she might be majority leader. Bear in mind that Barack Obama had limited success in implementing his agenda, not only because he didn’t try all that hard, but also because he was saddled with Harry Reid, possibly the most ineffectual Senate majority leader in recent history. A progressive president without effective allies in Congress is just a celebrity. Ted Kennedy accomplished more as a senator than he likely would have if he had become president. Liz, don’t run! Tim Connor portland, ore. I was aggrieved to read George Zornick’s article in The Nation about the MoveOn–Democracy for America campaign to draft my senator, Elizabeth Warren, to run for the presidency. Zornick states that there are no other politicians “being drafted by the party’s grassroots.” But there are! Progressive Democrats of America and other groups have been organizing our “Run, Bernie, Run—as a Democrat” campaign since last May. We have nearly 20,000 signatures on a petition, and have worked with Senator Sanders at house parties around the country. Indeed, Sanders has talked to enthusiastic crowds in New Hampshire and Iowa. I continue to wonder why two of the country’s largest progressive groups would blow several million dollars on a candidate who has said numerous times that she will not run. This push for a noncandidate will ensure the nomination of Hillary Clinton. Run, Bernie, run! Russell Freedman lanesborough, mass. Elizabeth Warren openly supported Israel’s scorched-earth tactics against Palestinians and condoned the massacre in Gaza. She is no progressive, and if somebody were to tell me she is not running for president, I would savor that news with a sigh of relief. Sasboy Warren in Verse Lizzy Warren told the facts And gave ol’ Wall Street forty whacks The banksters shuddered and did wail: This woman wants us all in jail! The SEC did dish out fines (a pittance to their bottom lines) When Gitmo’s empty of its guests Let’s fill it with these greedy pests. Bob Kenyon batavia, ill. The Odd Couplet There are only 40,000 publishing poets in the United States, which means that I can think of a good 39,999 less inappropriate to the pages of The Nation than The New Criterion’s William Logan [“Snow,” March 2/9]. What next? Rick Santorum filling in for Katha Pollitt? At least Calvin Trillin doesn’t have to tack on an unnecessary “perhaps” just to make his rhymes work. Ron Silliman paoli, pa. Heard It Here First Many thanks for bringing a great American laureate to bear on the “efficacy” of air power as an instrument of US foreign policy [John Ashbery, “Forget Where I Heard It,” March 2/9]. Our poetry appreciation club has just voted to adopt the central line of this trenchant critique as our motto: “Otherwise, as coma says, my beans, my peas, my coma….” John S. Harris st. louis Stranger Than Fiction Alice Kaplan omits an important fact from her discussion of Albert Camus’s story “The Guest” [“Camus Redux,” Feb. 23]: the fact that French colonial policy, between the 1870s and 1940, replaced Algerian wheat fields with vineyards. As Philip Naylor writes in his history of France and Algeria, this was “a stark repudiation of the colonized’s identity, given the Muslim proscription of alcohol.” Furthermore, the land that this policy left to Algerians “was usually poor” and could be cultivated “only by traditional methods that hastened erosion,” leading to soil exhaustion and, ultimately, “starvation.” This fact clarifies the plight of the prisoner in the story, a nameless Arab reduced to murder in a fight with a kinsman over grain. As Kaplan recognizes, the Arab (or the story) “speaks the truth” in questioning whether, in the midst of a famine, any European has “the right to judge the Arabs,” and whether it was “too late for a European to break bread with his Arab brothers.” But “The Guest” also challenges its readers to remember or discover the history behind this truth, a history that must have been well-known to Camus and to the brothers of the nameless prisoner in his story. Anita E. Feldman new york Correction In Michael T. Klare’s “2, 3, Many Vietnams” (March 16), the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of main-force US troops into Vietnam was mistakenly identified, through no fault of the writer, as February 1965. The correct date is March 1965. Read More


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