Democracy Now! June 23, 2003

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Democracy Now! June 23, 2003
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Protesting the War on Women and the War on Terror. As President Bush and Karl Rove launch the largest political fundraising campaign in history, women s rights advocates join forces with the peace movement to protest today s fundraiser in NYC; USDA opens $3 million dollar biotech conference in Sacramento; agriculture ministers from over 100 countries are attending; 1000 people march in protest; Benton Harbor: where does it go from here? A week after an African-American motorcyclist died in police crash, the Rev. Russell Baker of Benton Harbor examines the impact of the recent protests and riots on Michigan s poorest city

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: President Bush and the Republican Party have launched the largest political fundraising drive in history. Last week, more than a thousand CEOs, lobbyists and other wealthy Republicans paid $2,000 a piece for access to the ballroom of a Washington hotel where they were treated to hotdogs, nachos and President Bush. Bush said: There s nothing like having a few friends over for a cocktail or two. But the event was far more than a cocktail party with unusual hors d oeuvres. It was the first event, in a first wave, of fundraising blitzes. Over the next few weeks, Bush is scheduled to make 10 paid appearances at receptions, lunches and dinners. He makes his New York City fundraising appearance today. The presidential offensive is unexpectedly early. Federal election law stipulates that the money Bush raises in these efforts can only be used through the Republican convention at the end of next summer and Bush faces no primary opposition. According to the Washington Post, Republican officials say they will use the money for television ads that will boost Bush s image and attack Democrats. In addition, several GOP strategists told the Post, Bush has directed his team not to give him "a lonely victory." He wants to create a long-term, durable governing Republican majority. Senior White House adviser Karl Rove is directing the behind-the-scenes operations. The plan will use every political and governmental strategy available, including maximizing the advantages of the war on terrorism, neutralizing a Democratic strength by adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, and potentially waging an ideologically charged battle, if a Supreme Court vacancy opens up. The Washington Post also reports the Bush team is targeting swing voters and elements of the Democratic coalition, including Latinos, married women, white union workers, Jews and what GOP officials call the growing "investor" class. Bush will face opposition. For the first time ever, Planned Parenthood today officially joins forces with United for Peace and Justice to protest Bush s appearance in New York. The protest will be outside the Sheraton Hotel, 51st and 7th Ave, where President Bush is holding his fundraiser is being held from 5:00 to 7:00pm. Next week, President Bush signs into law a ban on so-called partial birth abortions. - Carla Goldstein, Vice President of Public Affairs of Planned Parenthood, NYC Contact: George W. Bush's War on Women: A Pernicious Web : - Leslie Cagan, organizer with United for Peace and Justice. Contact: - Lisa Martens, Christian Peacemaker Team member who remained in Baghdad after several fellow peace activists were expelled. She recently returned to Winnipeg and spoke to a local audience about her experience as a human shield. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30 Bush and women, cont d 8:30-8:40: It was a week ago today that the city of Benton Harbor in Michigan entered the national spotlight. A 28-year-old African-American motorcyclist died during a police chase. Soon the city was in flames. For three nights protests and riots shook this city, the poorest and one of the most segregated in Michigan. By Thursday, 21 houses had been burned. Hundreds of police in riot gear marched the streets. One local resident said Benton Harbor looked more like Beirut than the former popular lakeside vacation spot that it once was. The problems in Benton Harbor have been growing for years. During the 1980s a team of urban affairs professors examined the city in search of a solution. The effort failed. One of those professors, Joe Darden, of Michigan State University, told the Detroit News, "When you combine segregation with the intense, concentrated poverty, hopelessness and grievances associated with police brutality, you have potential powder kegs on your hands. Guest: Rev. Dr. F. Russell Baker, First Congregational United Church of Christ 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: A Debate Between the USDA and Food First A three-day conference on biotechnology backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture opens today in Sacramento, California. The USDA is spending some $3 million on the conference, which in large part is designed to showcase U.S. agricultural biotechnology to the agriculture ministers from more than 100 countries. The Bush administration says the latest scientific breakthroughs can help to fight hunger by developing pest-resistant crops, and has been exerting intense pressure on African nations to accept GM crops. But many governmental figures in African countries, and activists, say the war on hunger will not be won until the real cause is addressed: poverty. They also say international food policy should not be decided by a select few. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Venemen is leading the conference. She served on the board of directors for Calgene Inc., which became the first company to bring genetically-engineered food, the Flavr Savr tomato, to supermarket shelves. Calgene was bought out by the nation s leading biotech company, Monsanto, in 1997. Veneman also served on the International Policy Council on Agriculture, Food and Trade, a group funded by Cargill, Nestle, Kraft and Archer Daniels Midland. Around a thousand people marched through downtown Sacramento yesterday in protest of the conference. They blocked traffic in an effort to disrupt the meeting. Around a dozen people were arrested. All of this comes just days after the Bush administration announced that talks between the US and the European Union on GM foods broke down in Geneva. The Bush administration is trying to force the EU to end its ban on GM foods. The U.S. filed suit at the World Trade Organization over the issue last month. Last weeks talks were convened to try to resolve the issue. But now, US officials say they will ask the to convene the WTO to hear the case. Tonight in Sacramento, Counsel to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture David Hegwood will be squaring off against Amadou Kanoute of the Consumers International Office Africa and Anuradha Mittal of Food First India/U.S. in the only public debate at the conference. Well right now, we ll hold a debate of our own - David Hegwood, Counsel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Contact: - Anuradha Mittal, co-director, Food First (also known as the Institute for Food and Development Policy). She co-edited Food First s new report called: Voices from the South: The Third World Debunks Corporate Myths on Genetically Engineered Crops. Anuradha Mittal, a native of India, is the co-editor of America Needs Human Rights (Food First Books, 1999). Her articles and opinion pieces on trade, women in development and food security have appeared in numerous national and international news papers and journals including, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Bangkok Post, The Times of India, Economic and Political Weekly, Seattle Times, and The Nation. Contact: Voices from the South: The Third World Debunks Corporate Myths on Genetically Engineered Crops : - Luke Anderson, Author, Genetic Engineering: Food and Our Environment 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press, Vilka Tzouras and Noah Reibel. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
June 23, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
June 23, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., June 23, 2003
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