Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Idaho Hometown Cancels "Welcome Home" Celebration as Backlash Grows

    Bowe-town

    The backlash over the prisoner swap involving U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and five members of the Taliban continues to grow. In Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, community members have a canceled a celebration of his release over public safety concerns. In recent days, angry phone calls and emails poured into Hailey City Hall and local organizations over the town’s support for the soldier. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in 2009 shortly after he left his military outpost in Afghanistan. Some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers have described him as a deserter. They have also said at least six soldiers died while searching for him, a claim the Pentagon rejects. We discuss the Bergdahl controversy and its local impact in Idaho with Larry Schoen, a county commissioner in Blaine County.

  • Veteran: Politicians Using Freed POW Bowe Bergdahl as "Chess Piece to Win Political Matches"

    Brockmcintosh

    The Obama administration is seeking to contain a congressional backlash over a prisoner exchange that saw the release of American soldier Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders. On Wednesday, top intelligence and military officials held a closed-door briefing for the entire Senate showing them a recent video of Bergdahl in declining health. The administration says the video helped spur action to win his release over fears his life was in danger. Opponents of the deal say the White House failed to give Congress proper notice, and may have endangered American lives by encouraging the capture of U.S. soldiers. The criticism has exploded as news spread through right-wing media that Bergdahl may have left his base after turning against the war. We are joined by Brock McIntosh, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who served in Afghanistan from November 2008 to August 2009. McIntosh applied for conscientious objector status and was discharged last month.

  • Seattle’s Socialist City Council Member Kshama Sawant Hails Historic Vote for $15/Hour Minimum Wage

    Kshamasawant

    Seattle made history this week by passing the $15-an-hour minimum wage — the highest rate in the country for a major city, and more than twice the federal minimum. The raise will be phased in over time. Seattle businesses will have three to seven years to implement it, depending on their size. The plan also includes several loopholes for businesses, which were fought until the last minute by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the first Socialist to be elected to the council in a century. Sawant ran for City Council last year on a platform of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She joins us from Seattle.

  • EPA Moves to Cut Coal Pollution, But Critics Say Plan Falls Short on Real Emissions Reduction

    Coalplant

    New environmental regulations unveiled this week are being described as the U.S. government’s most sweeping effort to date in curbing the emissions that cause global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking a 30 percent reduction of carbon emissions from 2005 levels at coal-fired power plants by the year 2030. But many environmentalists are urging the United States to take greater action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The Guardian reports some of the most coal-heavy states, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, will be allowed to maintain, or even increase, their emissions under the EPA plan. Meanwhile, the European Union said the United States must "do even more" to help keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. We are joined by Janet Redman, director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies.