BTS 5/25/09: Returning Vets; Cheney and Torture; Workers and Economic Crisis

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On Memorial Day we revisit the way our returning vets are treated –medically and otherwise –with Joshua Kors, who broke the story twice in The Nation, and went on to receive recognition and awards for exposing the scandal. We’ll ask him if vets are getting a better deal under the new administration.

We then turn to the very public issue of torture and Guantanamo that occasioned a major speech by President Obama on Thursday, followed by what was in effect a rebuttal – played on all the mainstream media—by former VP Dick Cheney, the man John Nichols said was President. Was Cheney simply trying to protect himself and others from prosecution? We’ll talk to Shayana Kadidal from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the organization which has consistently fought and challenged every aspect of the Bush administration’s shredding of the constitution – from stripping habeas corpus, to illegal torture and detention, extraordinary rendition, immigration sweeps and more.

And finally, on this Memorial day, we talk about what it means to be a worker in this disastrous economic climate with Michael Yates, who has a new book out: In and Out of the Working Class, and tells the tale of what it is to be a worker, says work is hell, and analyzes the economic crisis from the point of view of what it means for workers today. He also asks the crucial question: How can we live in a world like this?

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Joshua Kors is an investigative reporter for The Nation, where he covers military and veterans' issues. He is the winner of the National Magazine Award, George Polk Award, IRE Award, National Headliner Award, Casey Medal, Mental Health Media Award, and the Military Reporters and Editors Award.  Kors earned national attention for his work uncovering the veterans' benefits scandal.  His two-part series showed how military doctors are purposely misdiagnosing soldiers wounded in Iraq, labeling them mentally ill in order to deny them medical care and disability pay. In July 2007 Kors testified before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, which convened to investigate his reporting.  His testimony led to the creation of several bills in Congress, including a new law governing military discharges signed by President Bush in January 2008. You can find links to his articles and interviews at

2. Shayana Kadidal has been at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) since 2001. Shane is senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at CCR. In addition to supervising the Guantánamo litigation, he also works on the Center’s case against the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program, CCR v. Bush, and its challenge to the “material support” statute, HLP v. Gonzales. Shane has testified before Congress on the material witness statute and is a contributor to the Center’s book Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, 2006. He graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

3. Michael Yates is Associate Editor of Monthly Review. His most recent book is In and Out of the Working Class. We last talked to him about his terrific book Cheap motels and Hot Plates: an Economist's Travelogue. He also wrote Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy among many other works all published by Monthly Review. Press. Michael also spent 30 years teaching economics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.