Tuesday, April 12, 2005

News Dissector Danny Schechter & BuzzFlash interviews Barbara Ehrenreich

At the News Dissector, Danny Schechter is addressing Iraq (among other issues) this morning.
Here he is speaking of Rumsfeld trip to Iraq:

He is apparently there to urge the new government not to retaliate against soldiers who served the old regime and who are now fighting the "insurgents." BBC reported from Baghdad that Washington fears payback by Shia officials against them because many were part of the post Gulf War 1 repression of a Shia uprising. The NY Times put it this way:
"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned the country's newleaders of government corruption and civil turbulence thatcould delay a constitution and national elections."

Meanwhile, Salon is reporting on a new tactic which US forces may be using in Iraq and which they are denying:
American troops were accused Sunday of violating international law by ]taking two Iraqi women hostage in a bungled effort to persuade fugitive male relatives to surrender. Soldiers seized a mother and daughter from their home in Baghdad two weeks ago and allegedly left a note on the gate: "Be a man Muhammad Mukhlif and give yourself up and then we will release your sisters. Otherwise they will spend a long time in detention." It was signed "Bandit 6," apparently a military code, and gave a mobile-phone number. When phoned by reporters an American soldier answered, but he declined to take questions and hung up."

BuzzFlash has an interview with Barbara Ehrenreich:

BuzzFlash: Your landmark book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, was published in 2001. How have things changed for working families over the last four years under the Bush Administration?
Barbara Ehrenreich: They've just gotten worse. As I'm sure you know, wages have actually declined. And with slightly higher unemployment, it's harder for workers to challenge anything in the workplace because it's so easy to replace them – replace anybody who appears to be a troublemaker. As we speak, there is an incredible assault going on, not just on the poor, but also the middle class, especially with the campaign to privatize Social Security. There's also the recent bankruptcy bill that passed, which I am aghast at, that will provide loopholes for the wealthy so they can protect their assets. But for the poor and the middle class, it's going to mean, as Paul Krugman says, there's no fresh start, and families will be tied to what he called debt peonage.
BuzzFlash: The bankruptcy bill was completely construed to make it sound like working people were abusing or gaming the system, when the reverse is true. As you said, it's actually the rich who have the ability to make risky investments but then turn around and get protection and avoid personal responsibility. The credit card industry has been working on this legislation since 1997. Why do you think progressives weren't better able to inform working Americans that their pockets were being picked?
Barbara Ehrenreich: That's the question about so many things -- the tax cuts for the rich, the coming federal budget, which is full of cuts in almost any program that has helped poor and working-class people, like Medicaid. I don't think it's unique to the credit card legislation. I don't know the reason why there’s not more outrage.

We'll have an NPR report from Ruth this evening.