Tuesday, May 8, 2012

  • Former Labor Sec. Robert Reich on Clinton’s Errors of Crippling Welfare to Repealing Glass-Steagall

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    Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich critiques President Obama’s handling of the economic crisis and the Clinton administration’s repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a key deregulatory move that ended the separation of commercial and investment banking and is widely seen as having helped lead to the financial collapse. The Clinton administration also presided over a drastic transformation of U.S. welfare laws, throwing millions off of welfare rolls. "I went outside of the White House, walked back to my office along Constitution Avenue, expecting I would see signs. ... There are a lot of people who were concerned about that issue. But there was nobody on the streets. It was deafening. The silence was deafening," Reich says of the day Clinton signed the change into law. He notes this is when he realized, "if people who are concerned about the increasing concentration of wealth and power in this country are not mobilized, are not visible, then nothing progressive is going to happen." Reich is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has written 13 books, including "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future." His latest, an e-book, is just out: "Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong with Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix Them." [includes rush transcript]

  • "We Need to Make a Ruckus": Robert Reich Hails Occupy for Exposing Concentration of Wealth and Power

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    In his new book, "Beyond Outrage," former Labor Secretary Robert Reich opens with a dedication to the Occupy Wall Street movement. He writes: "To the Occupiers, and all others committed to taking back our economy and our democracy." We speak to Reich about the success of Occupy in reshaping the national dialogue on the economy and why strong grassroots movements are needed to push elected leaders in Washington to enact a progressive agenda. Reich also discusses why austerity is not the answer to the economic crisis at home or in Europe. [includes rush transcript]

  • Justice Cheated: Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth on Failures of Guantánamo Military Tribunals

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    The military tribunal established to prosecute the five leading suspects in the September 11th attacks opened this weekend at Guantánamo Bay. During a nine-hour hearing on Saturday, the five prisoners refused to enter pleas on murder and terrorism charges, or to talk or listen to the judge, in what one of their lawyers explained was a "peaceful resistance to an unjust system." Defense attorneys say the trial for the five leading suspects in the September 11th attacks is rigged to lead to their execution. Critics say the Obama administration has set a dangerous precedent by proceeding through a military tribunal. After initially attempting to move the case to a civilian courtroom in New York, the White House caved to vocal opposition and agreed to resume the military commissions begun under President George W. Bush at Guantánamo. At least one defense attorney argues it will be impossible to present testimony against his client that is not corrupted by treatment he says amounted to torture. "Waterboarding is mock execution by way of drowning. That is a classic act of torture. Bush has admitted ordering that. There is no escaping the fact that he should be a criminal suspect, as should the other people in the room, people like Tenet, Rumsfeld, Cheney," says Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, who attended the military trial at Guantánamo this weekend. "I think President Obama has simply decided that he’s not willing to invest the political capital that would be required for those kinds of difficult trials." [includes rush transcript]

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