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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  August 3, 2022 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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08/03/22 08/03/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> we want to have freedom and we are not backing away from that. amy: u.s. house speaker nancy pelosi becomes a high striking official to visit taiwan in quarter of a century. china responds with military drills. we'll go to taipei to speak with
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brian hioe, taiwanese-american journalist and editor of new bloom magazine and we'll speak with michael swaine, director of the quincy institute, author of "america's challenge: engaging a rising china in the twenty-first century." senate republicans reverse themselves again and pass a bill to aid u.s. veterans poisoned by the pentagon's use of toxic burn pits in iraq and afghanistan after being shamed by veteran victims, their survivors, and comedian jon stewart. >> i will say this, i am not sure i have ever seen a situation where people who have already given so much had to fight so hard to get so little. i hope we learn our lesson. amy: president biden says toxic burn pits may have contributed to the death of his son beau
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biden who served in iraq and died of brain cancer. we will look at the impact of burn pits not only on u.s. veterans, but on iraqis as well with professor kali rubaii just back from fallujah. >> iraqi people have injured long-term exposure on their land and livelihood, so ose lo-term effects are not only limited to iraqi peop but are also global effects of war accelerating climate conditions for people are living in damaged ecosystems. america and kansas becomes the first state to vote on abortion rights after the supreme court overturned roe v. wade. voters overwhelmingly reject an antiabortion constitutional amendment. we will get an update. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. house speaker nancy pelosi has departed taiwan after a controversial visit that was criticized by the chinese government as well as some officials within the biden administration. earlier today, pelosi met with taiwan's president and said u.s. support for taiwan is ironclad. >> today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy. america's determination to preserve democracy here in taiwan and around the world remains ironclad. amy: pelosi is the highest level u.s. official to visit taiwan in a quarter century. china denounced her visit and said it was damaging to stability in the taiwan strait. china has announced plans to carry out new air and naval drills and long-range exercises in six areas around taiwan beginning thursday. taiwan said the military exercises are "tantamount to an air and sea blockade of taiwan." we will have more on taiwan
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after headlines. voters in kansas have overwhelmingly rejected an anti-abortion ballot measure. nearly 60% of kansan voters opposed adding a constitutional amendment to remove the right to an abortion in the state. the lopsided vote surprised many. during the 2020 election, donald trump won the state by 15%. if the amendment had passed, it would have cleared the way for republican state lawmakers to ban abortion. in related news, the justice department has sued the state of idaho over its near total abortion ban. attorney general merrick garland said idaho's ban violates the federal emergency medical treatment and labor act. >> it does not matter what state hospital subject to operates in. for page and comes into an emergency room -- if a patient
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comes into an emergency room, the hospital must provide the treatment necessary to stabilize that patient. this includes abortion, if that is the necessary treatment. any state law that prevents a hospital from fulfilling its obligation under mpala, violates federal law. amy: in more news on reproductive rights, president biden is expected to sign a new executive order today aimed at safeguarding abortion access. voters went to the polls for primaries to stay in arizona, kansas, michigan, missouri, and washington. in arizona, the far-right venture capitalist blake masters won the republican senate primary and will face democrat mark kelly in november. masters was endorsed by donald trump and bankrolled by his former boss, the billionaire tech investor peter thiel -- who spent $13 million on the campaign. the white supremacist site vdare has praised masters as a "immigration patriot."
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masters blamed gun violence on "black people." in other results from arizona, mark finchem won the republican primary for arizona secretary of state. finchem is a state lawmaker and a member of the far-right oath keepers who has been subpoenaed by the house january 6 committee for his actions in washington, d.c., on january 6 and for his involvement in attempting to overturn biden's victory in arizona in 2020. another election denier in arizona, kari lake, is leading in the republican gubernatorial primary, but the race is too close to call. meanwhile, rusty bowers, arizona's speaker of the house, lost his bid for state senate seat, losing to a trump-backed candidate. last month the republican party in arizona censured bowers for telling the house january 6 committee that trump and his lawyer rudy giuliani pressured him to overturn biden's 2020 election victory in arizona. in other primary election news,
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missouri attorney general eric schmidt has won missouri's republican senate primary, defeating a crowded field including missouri's disgraced former governor eric greitens. in michigan, republican congressmember peter meijer, who voted to impeach trump last year, has lost to john gibbs who was backed by trump and has claimed trump's loss in the 2020 election was "mathematically impossible." the democratic congressional campaign committee spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads to help elevate gibbs' message as part of what some see as a risky strategy of aiding far right candidates who might be more vulnerable in the november general election. in other election news from michigan, democratic congressmember haley stevens has defeated fellow democrat incumbent andy levin in the newly redrawn 11th congressional district. aipac, the american israel public affairs committee, spent over $3 million to defeat levin, a progressive pro-labor politician who used to serve as president of his synagogue.
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meanwhile, two members of the squad, rashida tlaib in michigan and cori bush in missouri, won their primaries defeating challenges from more conservative democrats. russia has accused the united states of direct involvement in the war in ukraine for the first time. a spokesperson for the russian defense ministry said intercepted communications show the united states is approving targets for u.s.-made himars artillery used by ukrainian forces. the spokesperson said -- "it is the biden administration that is directly responsible for all rocket attacks approved by kyiv on residential areas and civilian infrastructure facilities in settlements of donbas and other rions that caused mass deat of civilians." russia had previously accused the united states of waging a proxy war in ukraine. the united nations has announced an agreement was reached to
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extend a ceasefire in yemen by another two months. the initial truce went into effect on april 2 but numerous violations of the ceasefire have been reported. the u.s.-backed saudi-led war has led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. yemenis have expressed hope the truce will finally bring the war to an end. >> the people of yemen want the troops to remove. salaries to be paid, peace to return to all the people of yemen. amy: in related news, the biden administration has approved billion in missile sales to saudi arabia and the united arab emirates, two countries accused of committing war crimes in yemen. under the deal, saudi arabia will buy 300 patriot missiles made by raytheon for $3 billion and the uae will purchase nearly 100 anti-ballistic thaad missiles made by lockheed martin. the weapons sales were agreed to just weeks after biden's controversial visit to saudi arabia.
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"the new york times" reports two prominent trump supporters in arizona feared his plot to overturn the 2020 election could "appear treasonous." citing private emails, "the times" reports kelli ward, the chair of the arizona republican party, and state senator kelly townsend both expressed concerns about acting as fake electors who would claim trump won the state even though joe biden received more votes. in an email on december 11, 2020, trump attorney kenneth chesebro wrote -- "ward and townsend are concerned it could appear treasonous for the arizona electors to vote on monday if there is no pending court proceeding that might, eventually, lead to the electors being ratified as the legitimate ones." the attorney wrote the word "treasonous" in bold. despite her concerns, ward signed on to be a fake elector. townsend did not but she continued to promote trump's election lies. in more news about trump's
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attempted coup, "the washington post" is reporting the pentagon wiped data from the phones of several top pentagon officials after the january 6 insurrection, including then-acting defense secretary christopher miller and then-army secretary ryan mccarthy. key data was also wiped from the phones of top officials at the secret service and the department of homeland security. and the senate has passed bill to aid millions of former service members poisoned by toxic waste. the bill would require the department of veterans affairs to remove the burden of proof from vets who say their health problems are related to the pentagon's use of toxic burn pits in iraq and afghanistan. the measure passed with a bipartisan vote of 86 to 11. it comes just a week after senate republicans blocked the bill from advancing after senate democrats announced they reached a deal on a separate bill aimed at cutting carbon emissions and reducing inflation. we will have more on burn pits
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and iraq and afghanistan and how they affect both u.s. veterans and iraqis and afghans. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in new york, joined by democracy now! co-host juan gonzález in new brunswick, new jersey. hi, juan. juan: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: u.s. house speaker nancy pelosi has left taiwan after a series of high profile meetings that increased tensions with china, making her the most senior u.s. official to visit taiwan in 25 years. pelosi met with taiwanese lawmakers and president. it was rod casper lee online. >> it is clear while john has stent a way of taiwan participating in going to certain meetings, that they
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understand they will not stand in the way of people coming to taiwan. it is a show of friendship, support, but also a source of learning about how we can work together better and in collaboration. amy: pelosi discussed economic plans, including a possible trade deal between taiwan and the united states and met with key pro-democracy activist. taiwan's president tsai ing-wen said she welcomed pelosi*'s visit. >> to boost public confidence in democracy as a foundation with united states. amy: meanwhile, china responded to speaker pelosi's visit in rt by announcing plans to carry out new r and naval drills and long-range live fire exercises in six areas around taiwan beginning thursday. taiwan said the military exercises are "tantamount to an air and sea blockade of taiwan."
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this is a spokeswoman for the chinese foreign ministry. >> the relevant actions at the chinese military are a deterrent to the separatist forces in taiwan and are justified. you mentioned the issue of navigation in the waters. we have never seen any problems. i think you should pay more attention to how u.s. warships and military aircraft have come so far right up to china's doorstep to show offheir force. amy: this comes as the u.s. is holding a massive military training exercise in the region with indonesia, australia, japan, and singapore for the first half of august with 5000 soldiers on the island of sumatra. this is the commanding general of the u.s. army pacific charles flynn. >> with all of the technical and procedural aspects of this, it is a really important expression of our teamwork and our interoperability and our unity,
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really, as a group of nations that are seeking to continue to have a free and open indo pacific. amy: for more we're joined by two guests. in taipei, taiwan, brian hioe is a taiwanese-american journalist, and founding editor of new bloom magazine. and in washington, d.c., michael swaine is the director of the quincy institute's east asia program, longtime u.s.-china relations analyst. his books and briefings include "america's challenge: engaging a rising china in the twenty-first century." we welcome you both back to democracy now! brian, you are there in taipei where nancy pelosi, the house speaker, has just left, along with her congressional delegation. can you talk about the significance of this trip? >> it is historic in the since this has not taken place in 25
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years. what is also interesting there's been such a large sponsor under the biden administration, more of a pattern of announcing these decisions after they take place which gives china less of a window to react. news of this broke much earlier. there have been discussions. one thing to note, while taiwan would directly be in the line of fire from china, there is not panic their way there was internationally. i think there's is not a lot of attention paid to the time in these in their own -- tony's and their own threat assessment. we will see with the exercise. china claims it will only last three days. juan: brian, what is your sense of the reaction within taiwan among the taiwanese people and the government as well to nancy pelosi's efforts? there have been some reports even within the taiwan government, there were concerns about her visit. >> i think the general public
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was not aware it was taking place until recently. there's been a joke on the internet that they thought pelosi was the name of a typhoon. also questions under which circumstances it took place. there is a report from pro china outlet taking funding directly saying taiwan try to turn down pelosi fearing the danger that -- pelosi was still insistent on going. it is hard to know the ferocity of this report. juan: i would like to ask michael swaine, here we are less than a year since the disastrous end of the 20 year occupation of afghanistan, just six months
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since washington's efforts to expand nato trigger the russian invasion of ukraine and destabilize the entire world, pushed us closer to nuclear war, why would our political leaders risk at the same time a new confrontation with china? >> that is an excellent question. i'm not sure i know the answer to why they would want to do this at this time. i think the administration was not in truth terribly happy about nancy pelosi's decision to take a congressional delegation to taiwan at this time but they certainly know about it well in advance and could've done a lot more to try to discourage it by did not. i guess from what they've been saying since her visit that this is really no big deal, no difference here between what she's doing today and what has happened in the past, they think the chinese will shrug and say, ok, no big deal. that is not exactly what is happening.
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if anything, the reverse. the chinese have embarked on a series of military actions here that rival or exceed the military actions they took act in 1995, 1996. it is very hard to see how the pelosi visit has helped or advanced taiwan's security in light of this kind of chinese reaction. amy: can you give, brian, some background to the relationship between china and taiwan? i think a lot of people are watching this all over the world , the historic background, the precise nature of the relationship between china and taiwan and have similar is it to hong kong? >> it is a different set of circumstances facing the threat of china, hong kong and taiwan. taiwan [indiscernible]
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as we know today as the republic of china officially known, it is because of the defeat in the chinese civil war. 10% of the population. around 80% were from migration. this is similar to what the p.r.c. claims over taiwan. the p.r.c. did not make claims over taiwan but this issue now is contested in part because geopolitics. there is a desire for semiconductors are resources and
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that sort of thing because china is reliant on semiconductors for manufacturing supply line. amy: michael, would you share brian's analysis of the past and the relationship between taiwan and china? >> well, what brian said as far as it goes is fairly accurate, but i think the important point is to understand with the larger context is of the relationship and the understanding reached between the united states and china regarding taiwan at the time of normalization back in the 1970's and recognition in 1979. at that time, china and the united states basically reached an understanding over taiwan which was a very contentious issue at the time and in order to try to neutralize the issue, the chinese basically made a statement they would pursue peaceful unification as a top priority. they would not give up the possibility of use of force,
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however, they said we will no longer seek to liberate taiwan by forces. we will try peaceful unification and work on that. by the same token, china said, ok, we recognize china is a legitimate government, the p.r.c. is a legitimate government of china and we do not challenge the claim by china that taiwan is a part of china. they did not say that visually recognized taiwan is part of china but they said they don't challenge it. you had the one china policy, peaceful unification. what has happened since that time, a steady erosion on both sides in the level of their apparent commitment to those original pledges. and nancy pelosi's latest trip represents yet another movement away from the different understandings and stipulations and procedures that were basic to the one china policy that the united states have been pursuing
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for years. she flew over to taiwan on an official u.s. military jet that looked like air force one. she described her visit in taiwan as an official visit. she publicized it in a very major way, unlike newt gingrich who went as speaker of the house 25 years ago to taiwan. he went to beijing first, stopped in taiwan briefly, then moved on. the chinese did not like it then but now with pelosi, it is a much larger scale, much higher publicity, much more the trappings of an official visit. that is really a basic violation of the understanding the united states and china reached at the time of normalization, as i say most of their another development over the years. >> can i ask why we are talking about this figural agreement, talking about the wishes -- justifying the present actions
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china takes are somehow justified toward taiwan because of these two imperial powers, u.s. and china, deciding on the fate of taiwan? there's often a misperception. i think if you look at the way taiwanese people note, it is pragmatic sin the path a table avoid conflict. i don't know why we're talking about 50-year-old treaties. >> the point here is not so much what the taiwanese themselves are saying in this regard, what i was saying -- >> it doesn't matter. >> my point is the one china policy and the peaceful unification agreement understanding provided taiwan with decades of stability and development and that -- >> under authoritarian rule. >> issue continue and right now shifting on both sides by both the chinese and by the united
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states away from this original understanding is weakening security for taiwan. it is undermining taiwan's own security. the taiwanese don't want changes in the status quo. they want a continuation of the status quo and that is not what they're getting. >> [indiscernible] look at increasing chinese threats at taiwan. even if taiwan, -- you claim would do nothing it would be ok. that is not the case. china tries to undermine taiwan. political stunts. look at the political crackdown, uyghurs. these do not oer alternatives. china is a power that is expanding. it wishes to challenge. it is modeling itself after the u.s. why do you think that china would simply allow taiwan to let live? that is not how imperial powers
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work. >> i don't generalize two imperial powers across the board they all behave as such. i don't want to get into that argument because you get into all kinds of exceptions. in this particular case, i think the issue is security interest over time? if you assume -- >> have you talked to taiwanese -- >> whatsoever in avoiding the conflict over taiwan, they're basically preparing to attack taiwan, sees it, and hold, then we are in a different situation for the last decades and i would not assume the chinese are developing or focused primarily on a policy of invading, seizing, holding taiwan. they are not stupid. they understand that would be a huge roll of the dice. what they would prefer to do is establish a relationship with taiwan that is one in which taiwan became increasingly inclined toward dealing with the mainland in
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some political way and resolve the situation peacefully. now, the chinese have not been doing things that make tt more likely. i'm not letting the chinese off the hook here. i am saying the chinese themselves have also been doing things that have been changing the status quo. yes, raising concerns in taiwan, in the united states and the united states in turn has responded to this by doubling down on deterrence. what you have on both sides is a heavy emphasis on worst-case outcomes, very little real communication about taiwan and were taiwan status lies in how you can stabilize the country. yet this posturing going on and positioning going on between both sides. it is not serving the interest of taiwan at all. juan: if i can ask brian following up on the iue of the rest of the world not taking to account the aspirations of the taiwanese people, if the taiwan is people do wish -- taiwanese
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people do wish and if it is from china, is it the responsibility of the united states to defend taiwan's viewpoints? why should the usb the country that is constantly the policeman of where democracy is expressed in the world? >> it hasn't been. now in the present taiwan is [indiscernible] or raise the stakes for negotiations very visible under donald trump. now the present view from americans, we should fork over taiwan to china, that this is the way to keep peace. what is the outcome we hope for? not conflict on either side. there will be enormous losses based on the invasion. we cannot assume china will be a rational actor he went it is
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increasing authoritarian. provoking a crisis, tens of thousands of young people. that might be the way to expand power. it cannot be assuming the ccp will act rationally. it is hoping for taiwan to become willing to join with china. what we see is it takes a velvet love approach sometimes. drilling of the south china sea. there is that. this world is not just between the u.s. and china and we could not act as progressives seeing things in a bipolar world, seeing no other agency. we have to see a way out and i don't see that happening. juan: i would like to follow that up, michael swaine, this issue we should not see this as a bipolar world. where are the rest of the nations of the world and the
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united nations when it comes to the issues of taiwan and china and a one china policy? >> well, what we see is the majority of countries in the world have either not challenged or have explicitly except as time variation of a one china policy. that is they have recognized taiwan is part of china or they have not challenged that point. in america and its closest allies have adopted similar positions on that. for a few countries in the world recognized taiwan as an independent state. there are small handful countries. most do not see taiwan as a sovereign, independent state and they do not want to get embroiled in the china-taiwan conflagration. they want to have good relations with both so they do not want to backstop actions that could really upset the stability of
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the situation now really to crisis or conflict. unfortunately, that is the direction which we are moving the class of the kinds of calculations and worst casing and zero-sum sorts of approaches that are being adopted by both the united states and china. amy: we're going to leave it there. thank you for being with us. we will continue to follow this issue. michael swaine, director of the quincy institute's east asia program, and brian hioe, taiwanese-american journalist and editor of new bloom magazine. next up, senate republicans reversed themselves again after being humiliated by both comedian jon stewart and u.s. vets and they agreed to join democrats in passing a bill to aid u.s. vets poisoned by the pentagon's use of toxic and pets in iraq and afghanistan. we will talk about the impact of these burn pits on both u.s.
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vets and on a rackis -- iraqis. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "waiting for the crisis" by kate fagan. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. sent republicans reversed themselves again and passed a bill to say not with democrats to aid u.s. veterans poisoned by toxic waste from u.s. military burn pits in iraq and afghanistan. the measure would require the department of veterans affairs to remove the burden of proof from vets who say their health problems are linked to the pentagon's use of these burn pits. expanding health care and benefits to some 3.5 million former u.s. service members exposed to the burning toxic waste. the legislation passed with a bipartisan vote of 86 to 11. just days after senate republicans last week blocked the bill known as the packed
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act, triggering outrage for military veterans and supporters who led around-the-clock protests outside the u.s. capitol to action from the senate. many vets and their families camped out on the steps of the capitol since last week's boat. comedian jon stewart, who was an outspoken advocate for military veterans, condemned senate republicans after they blocked the measure last thursday. >> a soin't this a bitch? ain't this a bitch? america's heroes who fought in our wars outside sweating their asses off with oxygen, battling all kinds of ailments but these mother [beep] sitting in the air condition. they don't have to hear it. they don't have to see it. they don't have to understand
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that these are human beings. do you get it yet? do we see -- these aren't heroes, these are men and women, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. amy: comedian jon stewart not being so funny. the bill now heads to bidens desk. biden has said he believes toxic burn pits may have contributed to the death in 2015 of his son beau biden, who served in iraq and was then diagnosed with brain cancer. this is jon stewart again speaking tuesday, alongside veterans come after the senate approved the packed act. >> i will say this, i'm not sure i have ever seen a situation where people who have already given so much had to fight so hard to get so little.
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i hope we learn a lesson. amy: exposure from toxic u.s. military burn pits has also led to birth defects and other serious illnesses and disabilities among communities in iraq and afghanistan who are still reeling from the catastrophic aftermath of the u.s. occupation. toxic waste contaminated vast lands, water, and polluted the air. for more we're joined by two guests to discuss the promise to address comprehensive toxic act of 2022, which is packed. kali rubaii is an assistant professor of anthropology at purdue university. her work focuses on structural violence, anti-colonial feminism, health justice, and the ecological impacts of war in the middle east. she's just back from fallujah in iraq. she was studying the impact of
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the burn pits. and i washington, d.c., kelley vlahos is a senior advisor for the quincy institute and editorial director at responsible statecraft. we welcome you both to democracy now! kelley vlahos, let's begin with you, as this bill has just been passed by the senate, republicans reversing themselves again. explain what happened, what led to, well, at the beginning they supported it and then when manchin reached deal with schumer to the shock of the republicans on a totally different bill to deal with climate change and taxing corporations, they came out in what one newspaper described it a fit of pique and reverse themselves on this bill. >> senator pat toomey have been raising a fuss about this bill for weeks.
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since it passed the house, his issue was democrats were taking a $400 billion package of piece of money that was going to veterans health care and making it discretionary or making it mandatory, rather, as opposed to discretionary funding in addition to the $250 billion that was carved out for this packed act, which would also be mandatory funding. wise that important? it is important because the funding would not have to go through the regular appropriations process every year and be debated. so their claim was the democrats were creating some other slush fund in which $400 billion would be made mandatory. they did not like that. they said they had assurances from the democrats that that would be amended at the time he
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reached their desk. it had not been, so they kicked up a fuss led by senator pat toomey. as you know, killed the bill the pact act last week. as you mentioned, they were humiliated in the response. i personally thought, hey, i am all for fiduciary responsibility and oversight of funding, there is plenty of waste, fraud, and abuse in this town, but why put veterans in the crosshairs? so they were forced to turn around, except a -- accept the situation as it was and as you said, it passed with overwhelming support yesterday. juan: i would like to bring in kali rubaii on this issue. my estimate is over the last 60 years since the early years of the vietnam war, the united
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states has been pretty much involved in conflicts or occupations military war for all but maybe 10 years or so when the u.s. troops were not station and it is conflicts zones. could you talk about, therefore, these burn pits have become almost a part the process of u.s. militar -- could you explain what these burn pits are, why they are necessary, and what the military is done to protect its soldiers? >> sure. it is an honor to be here. burn pits are massive incineration fields. sometimes as big as football fields. there were many smaller ones throughout iraq and afghanistan as well in operation for over a decade and released high levels of dioxin and all sorts of unknown harmful substances into the air. they were exceptionally large in iraq and afghanistan because this was a war for profit. the people who were spending the
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money were private corporations with no-bid contracts like halliburton and that meant when a tank had a mechanical problem, it was more profitable to just throw the whole thing away. then sell a brand-new and rather than fix the problem, which leveraged a much higher material cost onto iraqi bodies and lane or afghani bodies and land. burn pits are always used to destroy any kind of materials that could be excused as a multiplier -- so you want to get rid of all of your military goods and information. but in this case, they were incredibly toxic because of this no-bid contract relationsahip that privatize the war. juan: these pits not only affect the soldiers but also the civilian populations that may be in proximity to them. could you talk about what has been reported or documented in
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terms of the health effects on the civilians near these burn pits? >> veterans saw effects. iraqis, the health effects were varied and widespread. there is evidence that living near u.s. bases in iraq and therefore near burn pits increased likelihood of giving birth to a child with a birth defect or getting cancer. those are some of the most acute long-term effects. burn pits are not the biggest figure of environmental and heth harm for iraqis. devon facing military occupation, bombings, shootings, displacements and layers of military incursion by different occupation forces since the u.s. invasion. these things all added up to collapse in public infrastructure that would be used to contend with the health effects of burn pits, poor overall health, and then damaged
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conditions for farming and fishing. i've been living with energy viewing people experiencing these effects. the effect on people's livelihoods is also impactful. i visited a farmer who lived a mile and half downwind from an air base burn pit. he had 52 cows he was taking care of before the american occupied in 2003 and now he has just two cows and that is because so many in the last decade and a half have died or were born sick. he's afraid to keep investing in them. he remembered all different colors of smoke producing different kinds of weather above his farm depending on what was being burned in the burn pits week after week, month after month. even last year he had a calf born with no legs. it lived for a few days and then died. he showed me his chickens that
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had trouble. as he was show me around his farm, some of the neighbors ce to complain about neurological problems and reporting brain cancer from having lived near their burnits. people are now having to rely on personalilters further water and air in their homes if they can afford it. when i was living in fallujah, my tap water was brown. the environmental effects of u.s. occupation are widespread and people are aware the environment itself has become a vector for their long-term health issues. amy: kelley vlahos, in the pact act, can you talk about how the u.s. military first responded to the u.s. soldiers -- a lot of denial, a lot of covering up -- and whether there's is any part of this act that deals with reparations for both iraqis and people in afghanistan? >> no. there's no reparations for anyone outside of the veterans
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community. nobody and afghanistan or iraq. there are some benefits to family members of veterans passed away due to service-connected, no service-connected injuries whether it be cancer or respiratory issues. those are the two primary injuries that veterans are suffering from today. there are some benefits to family members. most of the benefits in the new pact act which are already up on the v.a. website which i thought was incredible -- i was searching around last night online and i found out the v.a. already has a whole process set up for veterans to access these new benefits. but it expands the injuries that are now service having connected consider presumptive service-connected injuries to
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23, which is huge considering that some 80% of veterans have been thwarted in their attempts to get benefits for the burn pit connected injuries over the last 10, 15 years. so anything from cancer-related, respiratory, as well as skin injuries or skin problems and issues are now considered presumptive service having connected injuries. so veterans can access full health care now. they can access disility payments, which they weren't. also extends the presumption for vietnam veterans who have been fighting, oh, my goodness, for my lifetime to get there injuries elated to agent orange exposure. this is also in the pact act. this is monumental on so many levels. you play the comments from jon
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stewart. the one thing my heart sort of skipped a beat is when he said "i hope we learn a lesson." i hope we learn the lesson from vietnam and we did not. we did not learn the lesson in persian gulf. we have veterans still fighting for presumption of service-connected benefits to their persian gulf illnesses. now we have iraq and afghanistan veterans fighting. it seems like this is generational. just like the wars are generational come the fact that government has not learned his lesson, has not taken responsibility for the harm that put these veterans, the service members and their families in, it continues for yet another generation. juan: that is precisely the question i wanted to ask in terms of the comparisons between the fights over agent orange and during the gulf war come the first gulf war, chronic fatigue syndrome that ldiers were complaining about and there -- what has happened with the battles around those issues?
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>> they are still fighting. slowly but surely they getting recognition. and i started covering that story in the mid-to-late 1990's, it was called battle fatigue, gulf war syndrome. now it is called gulf war illness. they have basically over time through many studies have found that the combination of the environmental conditions, the dust, and some of the shots they had given, the soldiers before they went off to battle, and also the insect repellent that they had been spraying over their tents and bodies with, that combination had created a toxicity in these veterans. because it was a combination, because the illnesses and the symptoms were so vague and were different for different people
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ranging from fatigue, headaches, neurological issues, cancers, birth defects in the children of gulf war veterans, it took this long for it to get any recognition. and that is the frustrating thing. we can't point to one illness, one injury. and we see that in the iraq and afghanistan veterans. it is not just veterans who served in iraq and afghanistan. if you look at the pact act, it is covering fence across the middle east where these burn pits were deployed. we're talking about a population of 3.5 million veterans who cycled and and out of these war s, tens of thousands of whom had been in and around burn pits. we already have over 250,000, 260,000 veterans who have registered on this burn pit
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registry that the v.a. set up several years ago. amy: we want to end with kali rubaii. does the pact act in people are organizing in iraq and afghanistan for reparations? >> good question. just to add on to what kjelley was saying, distantly not just burn pits. it is certainly not just agent orange, but there is one really great way to avoid work related injury which is to not go. war is the singular cause of these health problems and these health crises and every war is a different chemical cse for the practice remains the same. the u.s. has not done environment of cleanup in a way that is accessible to those living in iraq instantly not taking responsibility to help people manage long-term health effects. almost burn pits are no longer active, they continue to have long-term effects. it could've been a joint
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struggle that included iraqi people. i would like to see the u.s. veteran community reaching out to iraqi environmental activists who are pushing for not just reparations, but basic repair at this point. managing the health costs, property loss, dismemberment, dispossession, and all of the environment health effects of warfare in general. amy: kali rubaii, thank you for being with us, assistant professor of anthropology at purdue university. just back from volusia iraq. , kali rubaii is an assistant -- kelley vlahos is a senior advisor for the quincy institute and editorial director at responsible statecraft. next up, we talked about kansas become the first state to vote on abortion rights after supreme court overturned roe. voters overwhelmingly rejected
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and antiabortion constitutional amendment. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. on tuesday, kansas became the first state to vote on abortion rights since the supreme court overturned roe.
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voters overwhelmingly rejected an antiabortion constitutional amendment. nearly 60% of kansan voters opposed the ballot measure. the lopsided vote surprised many. if the amendment had passed, it would have cleared the way for republican state lawmakers to ban the procedure. from where we get an update from journalist amy littlefield abortion access correspondent , for the nation. she was covering tuesday's vote in kansas, now joining us from boston. as you flew back, the results came in. can you talk about the significance of this first state where voters actually had a say? >> this is incredible. this is huge. i was on democracy now! yesterday saying i thought this vote was going to be close. everyone thought this was going to be a nailbiter. this is not close at all. this is a landslide.
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this is huge. i was boarding a plane and flying out of kansas as results were trickling in. right before the flight landed, i saw 60%. i thought, oh, my gosh, there must be some sort of distortion. that held throughout the night. i think people in kansas are stunned by their own enormous power right now. although i think there were signs this was coming. there was an enormous amount of energy that went into this grassroots organizing effort. i think pro-choice people i've known for a long time they are a solid majority, even in states with conservative legislatures but they have not always been immobilized majority. i think in kansas right now, we have a glimpse of what that majority can achieve when they mobilize. i think you're going to hear a lot of people giving credit to the supreme court for today's
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victory in kansas. but i think the credit belongs with grassroots organizers, the people who'd been standing on street corners canvassing under the blazing sun and pouring rain, phone banking, people who have never been involved in politics and people who have been invved for yes. this is an incredible effort that brought about. i think it is incredibly strong signal about the will of the people versus the will of state legislators and the supreme court. juan: certainly, the organizers of the no vote are to be congratulated but there is a caveat here. we're talng about a primary numeral august where probably -- do you have any sense of the percentage of the total electorate that participated? >> that is an incredibly important point. that is what republicans in the state legislature were banking on. they scheduled this for an august primary thinking, number one, turnout would be lower and, number two, there were a lot of
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exciting republican contested races so theyhought republicans would be turning out. i think the numbers are still being counted but the numbers are on par with what we have seen in the 2018 midterms. this is for an august primary, which is incredible. there were lines out the door into the parking lot. people were starting to curve around, yelling at each other, "get in the shade." one woman put on a hat because she was expecting to stand out in the sun for a long time. people waited for a really long time in line to vote. this turnout was pretty amazing. i keep thinking about this woman i met on my way around reporting yesterday. she was just standing by the side of the road. her name is kathy griffin, another comedi, former liquor store owner from wichita -- not the comedian, former liquor
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store owner from wichita. she is been out there every day since before the supreme court decision because she knew this amendment but was coming. she told me, you know this vote no, this campaign is probably going to fail, right? in her words, republicans have been pretty darn sneaky about how they have scheduled and managed this vote. i can't wait to call her today and see how she is feeling because this is just an astounding victory for her and the many people like her who have been involved in this effort. amy: the democratic governor is in the office in kansas, so the state voted by won by something by more than 15% in 2020 but the counties that passed this were many more than those who voted for the democratic governor. i mean, what an amazing sign for things to come. close to a million people
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voting. have never seen anything like this come as you said, in primary. what does this mean for the message for the november elections where there other constitutional amendments being voted on like in michigan? >> right. we saw signs with this in michigan. michigan organizers managed to get a 10th of the states population to sign on to an effort to put sweeping protections for reproductive freedoms to the voters in the november election. similar measures in california and vermont coming up will stop i think we are likely to see even more ballot initiatives aimed at expanding abortion access because i think voters in kansas just proven the will of the people can be a powerful tool to overrule the wl of a
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republican-dominated legislature. amy: amy littlefield, thanks for joining us, journalist covering reproductive health care abortion access correspondent , for the nation. former producer for democracy now! democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new yo■é■íñcñcñcñc
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(sophie fouron) there's hardly ever anyone here. it's a tiny island. a bit like a treasure island. you have to wonder what the future of montserrat holds. the dot, the lovely dot on the map. they used to be 12,000 before the major volcanic eruptions. that changed the face of the island dramatically. when you're 4,000 on an island, there's something very charming about that. it has


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