Democracy Now! January 8, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! January 8, 2003
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Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduces a bill in Congress to reinstate the draft: a debate between bill co-sponsor Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and David Harris, who spent 20 months in prison for refusing to fight in Vietnam ; Vice President Cheney would save over $100,000 under President Bush s $674 billion tax cut plan, but what will it do for the poor?; UN estimates a US attack on Iraq will cause 500,000 Iraqi casualties in the initial stages: we ll talk to Denis Halliday in Baghdad; Survivors of the Bhopal industrial disaster that killed 20,000 in India travel to Europe to return toxic waste to Dow: We talk to a survivor and discuss how the chemical giant is cracking down on protests from India to cyberspace.

9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:15: President Bush unveiled his $674 billion tax cut plan yesterday. He called for the acceleration of across the board tax cuts and a $400-per-child increase in tax credits for families with children. The centerpiece of his plan is the scrapping of taxes investors pay on dividends. The White House claims 92 million Americans would gan an average tax cut this year of around $1,000 under the plan. But Democrats attack the proposal as a windfall for the wealthy. Reuters reports Vice President Dick Cheney would have saved over one hundred thousand dollars in 2001 under the plan. (Cheney himself is expected to promote the proposal in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday.) President Bush would have saved $16,000. The Los Angeles Times reports the huge tax cuts could reshape the federal government's role in society as profoundly as the tax and spending plans. President Reagan drove into law more than 20 years ago. By proposing nearly $700 billion in additional tax cuts when the government is already facing large budget deficits and projecting steady increases in military spending, Bush has laid out a fiscal blueprint that could constrict spending for years to come on the domestic priorities Democrats favor. The New York Times reports Bush s proposal is raising alarm among state and local officials. Budget experts say scrapping taxation of corporate dividends will cost state and local governments tens of millions of dollars a year. States are already facing their largest shortfall in half a century, as much as $85 million for 2004. Tape: President Bush unveils his tax plan, 1/07/03 Guest: Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Link: See the report at: 9:15-9:24: The United Nations is predicting that as many as half a million Iraqi casualties in the early stages of a war on Iraq. The total includes some 100,000 expected to be injured as a direct result of combat and a further 400,000 wounded as an indirect result of the devastation. The confidential U.N. assessment was drafted a month ago. The U.N. staff has been quietly planning for months how to cope with the humanitarian fallout from a conflict in Iraq. In addition, the UN predicts U.S. war against Iraq would cause 2 million Iraqis to become refugees and a total of 10 million would be put at risk of hunger and disease. And as many as 500,000 Iraqis could be seriously injured in the early stages of an invasion. The impact of a U.S. invasion in Iraq would likely be far worse than the humanitarian crisis caused by the Gulf War in 1991. A decade of U.N. sanctions has made the Iraqi population almost totally dependent on government handouts for survival. Guest: Denis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq and former Assistant Secretary-General. He is speaking to us from Baghdad. 9:24-9:25 One Minute Music Break 9:25-9:40 A group of 15 Greenpeace activists and survivors of the Bhopal industrial disaster were arrested yesterday in Amsterdam while giving something back to Dow Chemical: a few barrels of waste the chemical giant refuses to clean up. The action comes 18 years after a chemical plant owned by Union Carbide which is now owned by Dow -- leaked gas into the Indian city of Bhopal killing 20,000 and injuring half a million. Yesterday the activists unloaded four barrels of waste transported from India aboard the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" and delivered it to Dow's largest chemical plant in Europe, near Terneuzen, the Netherlands. The poisonous waste is only a fraction of hundreds of tons that have been strewn around the derelict pesticide plant in Bhopal since 1984. For nearly two decades chemicals have leaked into the soil and ground water in and around the factory site. According to Greenpeace children born to survivors are still suffering health problems and 150,000 people are in urgent need of medical attention. The action comes a week after Dow Chemical Company filed a lawsuit against a group of female survivors of Bhopal as well as Greenpeace for demonstrating against the company in Bhopal, India last month. The lawsuit asks for $10,000 in damages from protesters who participated in the peaceful two-hour protest, claiming the women caused Dow employees "loss of work." The lawsuit also asks that activists be restrained from holding future demonstrations within 100 yards of the Dow offices. In other Dow news, a month ago the Yes Men posted a parody press release of Dow Chemical on the 18th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster. The deadpan statement, which many people took as real, explained that Dow could not accept responsibility for the disaster due to its primary allegiance to its shareholders and to its bottom line. Within hours Dow successfully forced the internet company Verio to shut down the Yes Men s website as well as dozens of other unrelated websites on the New York server run by That was in early December. Earlier this week Verio announced it was permanently terminating its contract with potentially leaving dozens of websites without a provider. Guest: Ganesh Nochur, campaign director for Greenpeace India in Delhi. He was arrested in the Netherlands on Tuesday. Guest: Rashida Bi (pronounced like bee ), leader of India s largest group of Bhopal survivors. Her organization, a women s trade union, was recently sued for protesting by Dow in Bombay. On Tuesday she was arrested in Amsterdam. Guest: Andy Bichlbaum, member of The Yes Men which developed a mock Dow Chemical site where it posted a press release explaining Dow s inaction on the Bhopal disaster Links: Greenpeace s Bhopal protest coverage: The Yes Men: 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:40-9:58 Rep. Charles Rangel introduced a bill in Congress yesterday to reinstate the military draft. The New York Democrat says his goal is two-fold: to ensure that America s fighting forces more closely match the class and racial makeup of the nation. And to help people think more personally about the consequences of going to war. As he wrote in a The New York Times op-ed last week, I believe that if those calling for war knew that their children were likely to be required to serve and to be placed in harm s way there would be more caution and a greater willingness to work with the international community in dealing with Iraq." He told reporters yesterday, Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance." Almost no member of Congress has a son or daughter in the military. Most recent presidential candidates from the Vietnam generation managed to avoid the draft. President George W. Bush sat out the war with the Texas Air National Guard. Rangel is backed by Rep. John Conyers Jr., (D-MI), who has also opposed a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. Guest: Rep. John Conyers, (D-MI) Guest: David Harris, author who served 20 months in prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam war. He recently published two books: The Last Stand, which is the story of the takeover of the Pacific Lumber Company, and Our War, a personal memoir of the Vietnam war period in the U.S. 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogiera and Alex Wolfe. Mike Di Filippo is our engineer

Date Recorded on: 
January 8, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
January 8, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., January 8, 2003
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