Road Map to Peace or Road Map to War? Just one week after President Bush met with the Israeli and Palestinian Prime ministers, 25 Israelis and Palestinians were killed in suicide bombings and Israeli military attacks in one of the bloodiest days in the region in years; Pentagon Advisor Richard Perle on North Korea: "We Should Always be Prepared to go it Alone, if Necessary. Perle says the U.S. should be prepared to unilaterally and preemptively attack North Korea to destroy its nuclear facilities; The House Votes on Whether to Include Some of the Nation s Poorest Working Families in President Bush s Tax Cut. A debate between freelance reporter Aaron Schatz and Chief Economist for the Americans for Tax Reform, Dan Clifton.
8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: Israeli army radio is reporting the Israeli army has been ordered to use whatever means necessary to completely wipe out the militant Palestinian group Hamas. Every member is a legitimate target, from the top leadership to the lowest member. This comes after one of the bloodiest days in the region in years. Yesterday, a Palestinian suicide bomber boarded a rush-hour bus in Jerusalem and detonated a bomb, killing 16 people. More than 100 were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing. Immediately afterwards, the Israeli military launched a missile attack on Gaza City. Two Hamas members were killed including a senior commander, Tito Massaoud. The Israeli Ha aretz reports six bystanders were also killed and 25 people were injured. The deadly suicide bombing came just one day after Israel attempted to assassinate Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a top political leader and spokesman for Hamas. Rantisi was injured, but at least two others were killed. According to the Guardian of London, there is an uncommon consensus ranging from the Israeli far right to the Palestinian leadership that the assassination attempt on Rantisi is bound up in Sharon s reluctance to start down the Bush administration s so-called road map to peace. Foreign diplomats and Israeli newspapers are asking of the assassination attempt: why now? Just last week, President Bush met with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers in a historic peace conference in Jordan. Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen pledged to exert full efforts to ending the armed intifada. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state is in Israel s interests and pledged to dismantle some unauthorized outposts. * Gideon Levy, Israeli journalist working for Ha aretz. Speaking from Tel Aviv Link: http://www.haaretzdaily.com * Michael Tarazi, PLO legal advisor Link: http://www.nad-plo.org 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40: The House is set to vote today on an explosive issue which has led to widespread condemnation of Republicans by the mainstream media and Democrats, and an embarrassing rift between President Bush and House Republican leaders, and protests. At issue is whether or not some of the nations poorest working families should be included in the sweeping tax cut legislation President Bush signed last month. The tax cut package includes an increase in the child tax credit. This means millions of families will soon receive a check for $400 per child. But the controversy started when the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and child advocacy groups discovered that working families who barely make the minimum wage would not receive the kickback. Senate and House Republican leaders had cut these families out of the bill at the last minute. The same day papers around the world reported that Bush had signed into law the much-touted tax cut, The New York Times reported on its front page that some of the nation s poorest working families had been cut out of the deal. Other news outlets followed the lead, and Democrats denounced the Republicans. Within days, the Senate voted 94 to 2 to extend the tax credit to the low-wage families. (They took the opportunity to extend the tax credit to wealthy families as well.) House Republican leaders refused to do the same. House Majority leader Tom Delay said the House would approve the tax credit only as part of a broader tax-cut package that could even include the permanent repeal of the estate tax. Enter the White House. At a press conference on Monday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked what President Bush would say to Republican lawmakers who disagree with the Senate bill. He ordered the lawmakers to "Pass it." Fleischer said: "His advice to the House Republicans is to pass it, to send it to him, so he can sign it." But the Republicans refused to back down. Tom Delay said: Ain t going to happen. When he was reminded of Fleischer s demand that House republicans pass the Senate bill quickly, Delay replied: The last time I checked, he doesn t have a vote. Delay said the House would include the working poor into the tax credit only as part of much broader tax-cut bill one that will cost $82 billion dollars 8 times as much as the Senate bill cost. On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the budget deficit will exceed $400 billion this year. That would be the biggest deficit in U.S. history. The non-partisan office said this is due to the war in Iraq, the weak economy and the series of tax cuts. * Aaron Schatz, freelance reporter * Dan Clifton, Chief Economist for the Americans for Tax Reform 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: Pentagon advisor Richard Perle said yesterday the U.S. should be prepared to unilaterally and preemptively attack North Korea to destroy its nuclear facilities. Perle added, "We should always be prepared to go it alone, if necessary. Perle also suggested North Korea may attempt to help Al Qaeda. He said: "I think we must assume that if they had a nuclear weapon, and if al Qaeda wished to purchase a nuclear weapon, it's a deal that could be done. Perle s comments come a week after the U.S. announced that it would pull back it 37,000 troops stationed along the North Korea-South Korea border. By removing the troops from the demilitarized military zone, some analysts say the U.S. is making its troops less vulnerable to an attack or counterattack from North Korea. Meanwhile in South Korea, candlelight vigils are scheduled across the country tomorrow to mark the year anniversary since two South Korean middle school girls were run over by a United States armored vehicle. The soldiers who had been driving the vehicle were acquitted of negligent homicide by a U.S. military court. Thousands are expected to take part in memorial services in Seoul and other major cities nationwide. The protesters are demanding the U.S. reverse the acquittal and for President Bush to issue an apology. In Seoul, participants plan to march toward the U.S. embassy, but the Korea Times reports that 10,000 police officers will be deployed with orders to block protesters from bringing in U.S. flags and effigies of President Bush. * John Feffer, author of the forthcoming book North Korea, South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis (Seven Stories). He is also the editor of Power Trip: U.S. Unilateralism and Global Strategy After September 11 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press, Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.