Sep 02 2014

Daily News Flash with Robert Jensen on US-Turkey Targeting of Kurds, Obama’s Labor Day Speech, and Detroit’s Bankruptcy Hearing

Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, an author and professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:

The US and Turkey are working closely to target and kill Kurdish separatists, a new exposé reveals. The Intercept, in collaboration with the German paper Der Spiegel, published revelations on Sunday that the killing in 2011 of 34 members of a Kurdish caravan was a group of smugglers, not the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The report was based on documents from Edward Snowden. The PKK has for years been designated a terrorist organization by the US. The news of the US’s close coordination with Turkey against the PKK comes at a time when the US is supporting Kurdish groups like the PKK, in Iraq, with air strikes to push back against the Sunni rebel group, ISIS. Interestingly, the documents from Snowden also reveal that the US spies heavily on Turkey itself, a nation considered “the NSA’s oldest partner in Asia.” Click here for The Intercept article about the story.

President Obama took the occasion of Labor Day yesterday to reiterate his support for raising the federal minimum wage and claiming that the economy has greatly improved for ordinary people under his tenure. Giving a fiery speech in Wisconsin – the epicenter for a failed fight over union worker rights – the President signaled that he and the Democratic Party were ready to take on Republicans over wage increases as mid-term elections loom. Meanwhile, fast food workers, not waiting for Congress to act, continue to push for $15 an hour and the right to unionize, with an announcement to strike for a day this Thursday. The one-day walkout is expected to be the largest since the campaign began and will span many cities around the country. Click here for an Al Jazeera article, and here for a Guardian article about the story.

And finally bankruptcy proceedings for the city of Detroit started this morning. Detroit and its auto industry have symbolized the worst impact of the Great Recession and is struggling as emergency manager Kevin Orr has imposed austerity policies to revive the city’s flagging economy. Orr’s plan, which is apparently a compromise signed off by unions and pension plans representing city workers, is being opposed by insurance companies. The “plan confirmation hearing,” as it’s called, will determine whether to go ahead with Orr’s measures, or start over. Meanwhile, thousands of the city’s poorest residents have continued to face water shutoffs this summer. Click here for a USA Today article about the story.

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