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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  August 14, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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08/14/12 08/14/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> it can be said starting today, the country is no longer under military rule. egypt will become a civil state in which everyone will be entitled to their rights. >> 18 months after the fall of hosni mubarak, of common morsi rotfeld martialed tantawi, the head of the egyptian military. we will speak with sharif abdel kouddous about egypt and syria from where he has just returned as escalating violence is
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forcing thousands of refugees to leave. >> it is clear of violence is in many parts of syria [unintelligible] and savage attack by the opposition and urban centers inflicting a heavy toll on innocent civilians. >> we will also speak with prof. omar dahi. then to janesville, wisconsin. >> it basically is a perfect proxy story of what could our country become? with great potential because we have this most exceptional nation. >> with republican congressman paul ryan joining mitt romney on the ticket, his home town of janesville is in the national spotlight. general motors closed its plant there in 2008. of more than 5000 jobs were
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lost. we will speak with brad lichtenstein, director of the new documentary, "as goes janesville." all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a shooting in college station, texas near texas a&m university on monday has left three people dead, including the gunmen and wounded four others. at least one of them, seriously. the shooter, 35-year-old thomas caffall reportedly attacked a constable could come to us at -- home to serve him with an eviction notice. he killed him as well as a bystander. the shooter's mother has said she had been worried about her son was having mental health difficulties. the tragedy marks the third major shooting in the u.s. in less than a month, pushing gun control advocates to demand action. on monday, the british campaign to prevent gun violence released a letter urging presidential
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debate leaders to ask candidates to present plans for addressing gun violence. the letter notes more than 32 people are murdered with guns every day in the united states. president obama hit the campaign trail monday with a swing through iowa, unveiling a new $170 million measure to address the ongoing drought. obama called newly minted republican vice presidential candidate paul ryan a leading congressional opponent of aid to struggling farmers. >> i am told paul ryan ibm around iowa the next few days. he is one of the leaders of congress standing in the way. if you have to speak congressman ryan, tell him how in part this farm bill is. we have to put politics aside when it comes to doing the right thing for rule america and iowa. >> paul ryan campaign in iowa monday in a solo campaign debut
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as mitt romney's running mate, speaking at the iowa state fair, he was heckled by demonstrators who told him to stop the war in the middle class. >> i think it has become -- you know what? it is funny because wisconsinites and i went like to be respectful with one another and listen to each other. these ladies must not be from iowa or wisconsin. >> ryan was speaking on the same stage for mitt romney infamously told a group of hecklers that corporations are people one year ago. on the was in florida where he accused president obama of running a dishonest campaign. >> and so the record that has been as disappointing as the record and his demonstrated over the last four years, the
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president's campaign has resorted to a very unusual tactic. it's samir, it's dirt, it's distortion, it's deception, its dishonesty. it diminishes the office of the presidency itself. the kind of campaign we're going to raise is one that talks about how we can keep america strong, create more jobs, balance our budget, but americans in the homes they can afford. >> staring rebels are claimed to have shot down a syrian military aircraft for the first time. video released monday appears to show the captured pilot of a syrian fighter jet apparently downed to the syria-iraq border. syrian state media has rejected the rebels' claims, saying the plane crashed due to technical problems. the u.n. humanitarian chief, valerie amos, it is visiting syria today for talks on delivering aid to areas besieged by ongoing fighting. on monday, the head of u.n. supervision mission in syria said attacks by both sides of
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this during conflict are causing a major civilian toll. >> it is clear violence is increasing in many parts of syria. the indiscriminate use of weapons by the government and savage attacks by the opposition and urban centers are inflicting the heavy toll on innocent civilians. none of the parties has prioritized the use of civilians. >> we will speak with sharif abdel kouddous who is just back from syria and hampshire professor omar dahi after headlines. and the oil spill off the coast of southern nigeria residents have reported seeing oil deposits massing along the coastline. exxon says the size of the leak remains unclear. akwa ibom is a part of the niger
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delta region, which a u.n. report one year ago said already will need around 30 years and around $1 billion to least partially recover from environmental damage caused by major oil companies. iranian american advocacy groups are raising concerns harsh u.s. sanctions on iran will greatly hinder international donations for victims of this weekend's double earthquakes. more than 300 people were killed and thousands more wounded when the earthquakes struck northeast iran on saturday. on monday, the national iranian american council issued a statement warning the severe u.s. measures against iran raise "serious concerns that humanitarian relief will be hindered." a u.s. ban on financial transactions to iran has left donors with the sole option of hoping family remittances are passed on to victims or aid groups inside iran. the iranian government meanwhile is facing heavy criticism for its response to the earthquake. iranian president ahmadinejad has gone ahead with an overseas trip and said -- instead of
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visiting the areas affected, most of which do not have electricity or running water. rafael korea says they will release whether to grant wikileaks founder julian assange political asylum. assange has taken refuge in the ecuadorean embassy in london in a bid to avoid extradition to sweden and ultimately he says to the u.s. on monday,correa said there is headed deliberation. >> i have read reports the sake, why are we taking so long? the process has to be revised. the door be a secret tribunal over there? that there could be the death penalty? this requires a great amount of information and we have to look at international law and order to make an informed decision that is completely irresponsible and a sovereign decision. -- and a responsible sovereign
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decision. >> a u.s. army infantryman accused in the suicide of chinese-american soldier, chen allegedly took his life after he was deployed to afghanistan last october. his family says he had been abused by comrades on an almost daily basis including racist hazing with soldiers throwing rocks at him, calling him ethnic slurs, forcing him to do pushups or hang upside down with his mouth full of water. on tuesday, specialist ryan offutt led guilty to maltreatment and hazing in return for evading more serious charges of negligent homicide. he was sentenced to six months confinement and will be discharge from the military for bad conduct. reacting to the announcement, it is said that the punishment is send a message to prevent further hazing. >> this sentence will not bring back danny chen his life was cut short at age 19.
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but what the sentence and verdict can do is send a loud message to superiors that they will be punished and punished severely, including discharge from the military. that is if they engage in similar types of misconduct. >> a peace caravan led by mexican activists kicked off a month-long crossed journey and los angeles on monday to call for an end of u.s.-backed drug war. the caravan for peace is organized by mexican poet and activist javier sicilia, whose son was killed by drug traffickers last year. >> as a poet, i have always said poets are the voice of the tribe. what i think is in port is to give voice to many of the forgotten, many of the victims. and through that voice we have
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been able to put into the center of the consciousness of the country and the political consciousness, the people who are victims of this war and the necessity for justice, the need to have justice and create peace. >> los angeles was the first of around 20 stops for the peace caravan in its journey across the united states. the democratic national committee has announced plans to transfer its banking activities from the bill that financial giant bank of america to the union owned amalgamated bank. the dnc has worked with bank of america for years, but is said to be making the switch as part of an effort to reduce ties to wall street. president obama is re-election campaign continues to use bank of america and the firm is helping cover the costs of hosting the democratic-to convention in charlotte next month. janitors in houston have ended the more than a month-long strike with an agreement on a new labor contract to increase their pay. the strike began in july after
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workers making $8.35 an hour said they faced harassment and intimidation when it rejected an offer that would have raised their pay by just 50 cents an hour over five years. the service employees international union says the janitors have ratified a new contract that will raise their hourly wages by $1 over four years. nine nobel peace prize laureates are voicing opposition to nbc possibly military themed reality tv show "stars earn stripes'" sing it glorifies war and violence. the program, which was advertised during the olympics and premiered monday, has a cast list ranging from sarah palin's has been to olympic skiing gold medalist picabo street. celebrities are paired with former members of the armed forces and go through military- style training, including shooting weapons. the show has been billed as a
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way to honor veterans. but in the protest letter, archbishop desmond tutu of south africa and other laureates said the show "pays homage to no one anywhere and continues and expands on in a glorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence, preparing for war is neither amusing nor entertaining." on monday, a group of demonstrators rallied outside nbc's new york headquarters to demand the program's cancellation. >> the military spends millions of dollars trying to recruit young men and women into service. i think these kind of shows make it look more fun and interesting, and makes people want to go out there and do it. >> my son is in a real war, not a game. he does not win any prizes. if he is lucky, he will come home with his life and all of his limbs and sanity. >> those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. today we turn to syria for our first segment. earlier today, syria's prime minister riad hijab said the sirte regime is collapsing " morally, financially, and militarily." his comments come a week after he defected to jordan. on monday, united nations observers in syria blamed both government forces and the armed opposition for the increasing civilian death toll in syria. babacar gaye is the u.n. supervision mission in syria. >> i have reoriented the activities of our observers to monitor the level of violence and the use of heavy weapons. it is clear violence is increasing in many parts of syria to indiscriminate use of heavy weapons by the government, and savage attacks
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by the opposition in urban centers are inflicting a heavy toll on innocent civilians. >> in a moment, we are going to turn to syria. first, we're going to cairo, egypt, to a major shakeup. each of some of president mohamed morsi dismissed cairo's two top generals over the weekend: field marshal hussein tantawi and military chief of staff sami enan. tantawi had served as ousted leader hosni mubarak's defense minister for two decades and headed the powerful supreme council of the armed forces. to replace him, morsi appointed general and dole for talk al- sisi, the head of military intelligence. speaking on sunday, president morsi defended the move. >> to those attending and to the hon. egyptian people, the decisions i took today were not meant to target certain persons.
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nor did i intend to embarrass institutions, nor could my name ever be to narrow freedoms for those whom god created free. and it must be from the hearts of islam and the nobility and chivalry that we must be loyal to those who were loyal. and never intended to target a person or individual, nor did i need to send an negative message about anyone. my aim was to benefit this nation and its people. >> in addition, morsi quashed the army's recent constitutional declaration that had curbed the new leader's powers. thousands gathered in tahrir square to celebrate the decision. on monday, many in cairo continued to express their support for morsi's move. >> it can be said that starting today the country still longer under military rule.
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military is over and egypt will become a civil state in which everyone will be entitled to their rights. >> political analyst mohamed karzai at suggested the move increases -- decreases the power of the military, but was probably taken with the military's consent. >> the role played by the military council has come to an end. tantawi in the military peters is over. i believe there was an agreement in the last days between the military council and morsi and a choice of general al-sisi was done, i believe, buy recommendation in order to secure the military as an institution because he was the manager of 10 tolley's office for many years. and my point of view, the role of the supreme council of the armed forces is over and the military institution is gradually returning to its barracks and the president has begun taking control of the decision making process. >> to find out more about the decision, we're going to cairo,
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to democracy now correspondent sharif abdel kouddous. what. tell us about the extremely significant shift. >> we can really divide what happened on sunday into two parts. the first being a major reshuffle of the military within the supreme council of the armed forces. the most prominent of which was the chair of the supreme council of the armed forces 10 tally and the dismiss mr. for more than 20 years and egypt has been forcing him into retirement as well as the no. 2 man, the chief of staff of the armed forces sami enan. both were given what could be called an honorable exit. both have been and presidential advisers. both have been awarded medals. tantawi receive the highest honor in the country. rather than really a face-off between morsi and the military, this is speculation that this
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was part of a safe exit scenario whereby members of the supreme council will be able to leave their posts without fear of prosecution for the numerous crimes committed over the transitional time including the killing of protesters, most notably a october 9 with 27 protesters, mostly coptic christians, were killed. the departure of tantawi was probably inevitable. he is close to 80 years old. but many analysts say it was growing dissatisfaction amongst middle and lower ranks of the army with tantawi's leadership that undermines a lot of the credibility and popularity of the army and egypt. morsi, also the heads of the armed services, the air force, air defense, navy, gave them similar golden parachutes. what is most important realize,
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all the new appointments came from within the supreme council of the armed forces. these were not outsiders that came in to replace them. al-sisi is the former military intelligence chief, the youngest member of the supreme council, in his 50s. a generational shift. he is not some unknown in the public eye except for last year when he committed and defended the army's use of so-called virginity tests against female protesters in march 2011. but we can describe this really as the junior officers taking the post of their superiors. this is a personnel reshuffle, a major personnel reshuffle with in the supreme council of the armed forces, rather than any major transformative institutional change that has taken place. it is a reconfiguration of the relationship between the army
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and between the president, whereby it seems the military has protected its vast economic and business interests. there is conflicting accounts in the press whether tantawi and enan were aware or were a part of negotiations before this announcement took place on sunday. by most accounts, it is clear that morsi and the muslim brotherhood were in some kind of coordination with some ranks of the senior military or senior leadership of the military. that there were some kind of consensual process that took place between the military and the presidency. some have even describe this as a coup within the military by the junior ranks against the old guard. so of course morsi also appointed a vice president, a senior judge.
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he was a leading figure in the independent judges movement during the mubarak era. however, many have noted morsi promised to nominate a coptic christian and a female as his vice president. within the personnel reshuffle, that is one part of what happened sunday. the other major part, as you mentioned, is the announcement by morsi of 4-article constitution a declaration that he issued, which aggregates the military's constitutional the damage in june that they issued in the 11th hour as the polls closed in the presidential election that curbed much of the president's powers and handed it to the military council and also headed legislative power to the military council. so what morsi's announcement does with the constitutional declaration is in the absence of a sitting parliament, we must remember the elected parliament was dissolved by court in june, morsi has full legislative power and edition -- in addition.
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he has the power now to appoint a constituent assembly that will draft the country's constitution if the current 100-member body is deadlocked or fails to do so. morsi has near dictatorial or dictatorial power as he can rule by fiat. many points to the fact this was not done all of this sudden. morsi in the muslim brotherhood had been planning this for a few weeks. but what happened on august 5 for the attacks in sinai really paved the way for morsi to make this move. this was a militant attack. army soldiers killing 16 army soldiers, the highest death toll in the army in decades in egypt. it has been called the ramadan massacre and field criticism of the military's readiness of the breakdown in security in sinai
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and weakened the old guard's position. we can call this a major reconfiguration of the relationship between the presidency and the army with the presidency really coming out, reinforced as the senior partner and is co-marriage of governments in egypt. >> you talked about people expressing fears that president morsi may assume practically dictatorial powers, egypt's top nobel peaceer, a piece calle prize, tweeted -- this is a political analyst mohamed al-zayaat speaking monday. >> it is fear the president's assumption of political executive and military powers in addition to a legislative power will in the and allow room for
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the president act as a dictator. this will all depend on his actions but right now it is possible for him to form a constituent assembly, should the current one fail. will he hold exclusive decisionmaking authority? will he consult with other political powers? the benefit he gets out of these powers he has taken will all depend on his actions and whether or not it will allow the participation of others or will end and muslim brotherhood hegemony. >> your response? >> a couple of points, first of all, that is true. morsi does have full dictatorial power right now. but remember these powers previously were held by an unelected council of military officers who were mubarak appointees. to the extent these powers have been shifted to morsi, who is an elected official, is a move that has been welcomed by many groups
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across the political spectrum, by many revolutionary youth groups, and seen as a positive step. we're in this mess because of a broken and disfigured transitional process that was led by the military council. so because we have no sitting parliament right now, legislative powers have to reside somewhere. currently, they reside with morsi. of course, many groups that have feared the rise of the muslim brotherhood, the rise of islamists in government in egypt and saudi military as a bulwark against this rise, have decried these decisions. but much of the independent press, much of the youth groups that supported the revolution have viewed this as 's transiti. >> finally, the closure of opposition media to the muslim brotherhood and plastic armed militants killing, what was it, 16 egyptian border guards in
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sinai? >> first on the media, there has been growing criticism of the muslim brotherhood for what is seen as a crack down on the media. a newspaper on sunday had a front page, which is a very polemic newspaper that is anti- muslim brotherhood, nevertheless, it had a front- page article calling, saying the muslim brotherhood was trying to establish islamists and calling for people to support the supreme council. the issue was pulled off the stands by the morsi government. also, a tv host who can be compared to plan back in the u.s., really a shock jock kind of guy who is anti-brotherhood, was taken off the air. there's been criticism of what some journalists see as the
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stacking of the editors of the state owned newspapers with islamist sympathizers. there's the question of a kind of crackdown or a takeover of the media by the muslim brotherhood. as for the attacks in sinai, as i mentioned before, this was a very big deal in the egyptian media. 16 soldiers were killed, the biggest death toll in decades. i think it helped morsi -- a gave him an opportunity to enact these massive changes. right after these attacks, he sided with the intelligence chief and the presidential guard. less than a week later, we see these massive changers. the military has said it is cracking down on militants in sinai right now. but there's been reports by journalists in the region sing scant evidence of a real
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military offensive. that is where we stand right now. >> sharif abdel kouddous, we're going to go to a break. "democracy now!" chris von sharif abdel kouddous is just back from syria, and we want to find out what is happening in syria and also speak with hampshire college professor omar dahi. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> the title referring to both the start of the egyptian revolution in one of the top trending topics on twitter in 2011,"hashtag jan25." this is "democracy now!,", the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. earlier today, syrian prime minister riad hijab said the syrian regime is collapsing. this, it's coming a week after he defected to jordan. on monday, united nations observers in syria planned both government forces in the armed opposition for the increasing civilian death toll in syria. the escalating conflict has magnified the refugee crisis, both internally and in neighboring countries. more than 4000 people entered turkey in recent days, bringing the total number of syrian refugees there close to 60,000. there are tens of thousands of syrian refugees in neighboring lebanon as well. to talk more about the situation in syria, we're joined by omar dahi, assistant professor of economics and hampshire college. he was born and raised in syria and just returned from a research trip to lebanon looking at the consequences of the syrian uprising. still with us from cairo is "democracy now!" correspondent sharif abdel kouddous. his article on his recent trip to syria was published in "the
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nation closed on monday called, "on the ground in zabadani, a syrian town in revolt." sharif, talk about the trip he just took to syria. talk about the time you were in and what happened. >> i spent a few days in a town called zabadani, about 20 miles northwest of damascus just across the lebanese border. it is a town of 40,000, a picturesque place that is known as being a resort town for vacationers in syria, for the persian gulf, known for its striking scenery and fruits and fresh water. it has really been transformed 17 months after the syrian revolution began in to a city under siege. the town is nestled in a bowl of a valley. on the mountains above, the syrian army has tanks and
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artillery guns stationed and shelled the town every day, day or night, with indiscriminate violence from afar. what really took place and has been a lot of time of the free syrian army fighters in zabadani, it is emblematic are microcosm of what happened in syria as a whole. characteristic of this revolution, that began in the countryside, zabadani started its uprising to accept the revolution began on march 15, 2011. these were overwhelmingly peaceful protests, non-violent protests, people taking to the square calling for change. the response by the regime was similar to what happened in the rest of syria, a crackdown by the security forces, violence against demonstrators, widespread detentions and raids on neighborhoods. i made 27, a 26-year old man was
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shot in the stomach and died. he was their first revolutionary martyr in zabadani. since then, the protest grew despite the violence, but the death toll continued to climb. by august or september of 2011, young men in zabadani began arming themselves to protect demonstrations and there was an increasing rate of militarization of the revolution. their ranks swelled with defectors from the free syrian army who were from zabadani who defected with their weapons in return to zabadani -- i'm sorry, defectors from the regime's army who defected with their weapons to zabadani. they fought under the banner of the free syrian army, but really this was a catchall term for anyone who is fighting against the regime. there is no coordination with other groups.
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at first, or within the leadership in southern turkey. this battle really culminated in a major offensive by the regime on the town in january where they sought to relieve bombard the town. the rebels mounted a fierce defense. they destroyed a couple of tanks and forced the surrender regime into a cease-fire, marking the first time in the syrian war. nevertheless, many of the residents speak proudly of rene "liberated" the city. this was a brief respite. it took three weeks before the regime would turn with a massive bombardment of the city, forcing the rebels to surrender on february 11. as it stands right now, there are a few checkpoints within the city. the army does not leave those checkpoints. the city's pretty much
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controlled by the residents, by the free syrian army. however, the regime has taken to shelling the residents from a far, as i mentioned before. day and night you hear these booms as a hit residential buildings. people are killed. this is the kind of life there. as in much of syria, the town has seen massive internal displacement. nearly all of the residents of one side of the town, which is the most targeted side, have moved to the other side of town or have left syria completely crossing the border into lebanon. >> where are they getting their weapons from, sharif? >> the weapons are coming through a smuggling route from lebanon carried by young supporters. they are poorly armed, these rebels, in zabadani. mostly assault rifles and some rpg's.
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the kind of farming and support we a scene from the gulf from countries like saudi arabia and qatar that has wrapped up in the last three months and channelled mostly in the north from southern turkey to places like aleppo. they have not seen this kind of support coming in. they are poorly equipped and they have taken to not attacking military checkpoints, realizing they cannot militarily vanquished the regime. there in the stalemate and under constant shelling. >> and why did you choose to go to zabadani? >> well, i found a way in to syria. the syrian government does not really allowed journalists in on official visits, are very rarely does, so there was a way in through lebanon to reach this talent. i was hoping to reach damascus, but the number of checkpoints prevented it from happening.
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it was a very interesting and i opening experience to see this town, which basically is waiting for some kind of solution to happen and is yet really on the receiving end of the majority of the violence. >> sharif, thank you for being with this, and your bravery and just describing in "the nation" especially at the end of the peace, interviewing people and the shells are falling. "democracy now!" correspond sharif abdel kouddous speaking to us from cairo where he has just returned from syria professor omar dahi is also with us. he is speaking to us from western massachusetts, an economics professor at hampshire college, born and raised in syria, just returned from a research trip to lebanon. talk about the syrian uprising and what you understand is happening now, who is fighting, and what you feel needs to happen, professor. >> my research trip to lebanon
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on focused primarily on economic and social consequences of the syrian uprising, with a particular focus on the refugees. i think sharif describe it accurately in a sense this was something that increasingly became militarized. my research in the past couple of months was on the fallout of what is happening overall. we have seen at the economic level massive the restoration print up to 20,000 people have lost their lives, perhaps more. this does that include the people who were wounded or tortured, physically disabled or who have mental health problems which can add on to that total. about 10% of the population has been displaced. about 1 25 million people are internally displaced inside the country -- about 1.5 million
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people are internally displaced inside the country. many others in lebanon, turkey, and jordan. massive upheaval and devastation. there's some estimates before the battles of damascus and aleppo, said this is not even taking into account the latest fighting the past several weeks, is that some 20% of the gdp has been lost. you have massive capital flight out of the country, over 10 billion, which is roughly 20% of gdp. you have the destruction of land and property, in particular destruction of agricultural land, in part by the regime as a deliver punishing to the areas under revolt. you see this massive upheaval. i took a look at the refugees situation in lebanon on. eleven on, refugees are pouring
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in for more than seven -- in lebanon, refugees are pouring in for the past seven or eight months. originally, came from border towns that border the syrian- lebanese border. many of those people who left had family members don't-there's a lot of intermarriage. the distinction between syrian and lebanese is not as clear- cut. in february when there's the massive government attack on hamas, many fled and stayed with friends and relatives in lebanon. however, the numbers are swelling. they are really increasing. the u.n. refugee council has roughly 37,000 registered refugees in lebanon, but acknowledge the number is much more. many people have not registered yet. they're people living in all the time. the situation is thought ideal, but it is not -- as i mentioned,
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people are sheltered in houses and abandoned schools may be better off than the people coming now for having to pitch a tent and be an even more precarious conditions. >> let me ask you about the former prime minister, syrian prime minister's comments, the highest ranking official in the al-assad regime to defect, the experts minister riad hijab, who said in jordan that the sooner regime is collapsing morally, financially, and militarily. he said the regime does not control more than 30% of the territory and said, "i urge the army to follow the example of egypt and to asian armies, take the side of the people." the significance of these comments? >> obviously, the defection of riad hijab was the highest level defection in terms of his political ranking, the prime
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minister. it was a huge symbolic blow to the regime. it was psychologically in terms of the regime's support, it signaled that as high as the prime minister is defecting which may signal more defections to come at that level. riad hijab himself does not have the sort of military or any other mass following, so in that sense, it is not a blow in terms of the regime's strength. i agree with the assessment though of the fact the regime has lost control of a lot of the country. essentially, it has been socially and politically bankrupt. however, that does not mean it is not capable of doing a great amount of harm, and that the fighting forces may still inflict a lot of harm for months, perhaps years, absent
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some unexpected events such as an internal coup or some high- ranking defection within the military security apparatus. so the other layers of the regime, and this was in a recent international report, at the outside, political leader, all the ways in which the regime normally communicates with its people has been shed and what is left is a very strong fighting militia and fighting force. that still has some support, some social base. increasingly, they view their -- particularly true for those who support the regime -- they view this is a fight for their survival. increasingly, they may stick to the regime because they see it as an all or nothing. they fear the fact of the regime collapses, it might mean massive retaliation against them. as the dynamics of the revolts
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continue, we've seen increasing sectarian tensions, mutual sectarian killings and assassinations, and overall increasing sectarian discourse within syria that reinforces this feeling. this is not to mention the fact the coverage, i would say, by both the syrian regime media as well as the arab media such as al jazeera arabic, [no audio] >> we seem to have just lost our guest in western massachusetts. assistant professor of economics at hampshire college, omar dahi, just returned from a research trip to lebanon. we will take a break. back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we will continue that discussion on syria tomorrow. there right now, we're going to turn to wisconsin, to representative paul ryan and a
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conservative economic philosophy he brings as mitt romney's vice presidential pick. the vision is on display in ryan's hometown of janesville, wisconsin, where thousands have struggled with unemployment since general motors shut down its century-old plant there in 2008, causing mass layoffs. ryan says janesville has become a microcosm for the choices facing the nation. >> you have lots of into canoers who started all this great businesses from nothing to something to become great employers. that is, of the story of america. people, seeking to reach the potential, taking risks, starting businesses, and then turning them into fruitful enterprises and creating jobs for others to then go out and do the same. this success story of america itself is the story of janesville. going forward, are we doing what we need to do to keep that dynamic going?
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are we going to be a culture and economy and country and town of free enterprise, of risk taking, of hard work, of achieving a producing? or are we going to think those great days of our country and town are behind us and have to start managing the decline? with to go down to what i would call more of a western european social welfare state. >> that was wisconsin representative paul ryan, now the gop vice presidential candidate. that clip is from the outtakes of a new film called, "as goes janesville." the film follows the lives of laid-off gm workers to try to reinvent themselves through federally funded job training programs, or by moving to work at other gm factories a state open after the auto industry bailout. it also follows a parallel track of local business leaders aligned with republican governor scott walker as they try to promote a pro business agenda they believe will woo new companies to town. in this clip from the film, we
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'sar from laid off gm worker family. she applied for work of a gm plant in fort wayne, indiana -- almost 300 miles away. when she got the job, she made a hard decision to transfer there, leaving behind your husband and two young daughters. the clip begins with her husband. we will hear from her from the assembly line. it ends with governor walker. >> i and mr. mom. and an average day, i am up at 5:30. i closed the night before -- i ironed clothes the night before, make sure the home work is done. the only luxury is is that i am retired. i was granted disability through general motors.
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i was tearing doors from the paint department down to the body shop. i slipped on a substance and have a prosthetic ankles. so they reattached that. i take pride in combing their hair and making sure they go to school and are presentable, just as if their mom was at home. all right, little girl. >> bye. >> see you at 11:30. what does god have in his plans for us? we will survive. we always do. >> i switched places with the man. if i could do but he is doing, i would do it. and i would send him to fort wayne.
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the automotive industry, we are the middle-class. labor at a decent wage, where else is it? the middle class is still buying houses and feeling the economy, then we would not be in recession because the rich still got money and the port never had it. hey, baby1 how are you? >> good. >> i can fill your heart beating. >> i love you.
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>> it is good to be home. >> hey, governor walker. >> thank you for having me. it is good to see you. >> any chance we will ever to be completely red state? and become a right to work? what can we do to help you? we're going to start in a couple of weeks with our budget adjustment read the first that is, we're going to go with collective bargaining for all public employees. i knew lawmakers to vote on it. the key is my timing to the budget. there's no way i'll ever have
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all that critical see right on target. >> that was governor walker speaking to wisconsin billionaire. before that, the family of janesville worker. much of the recovery is due in part because of obama stimulus package. also, supporting and entrepreneurs by $1.2 million stimulus grant. the federal government is contributing upwards of $10 million to a janesville plant manufacturing medical products -- a plant that employs some 150 people. in addition, major infrastructure projects that ryan has encouraged will be reportedly financed as part of a billion dollar federal and state highway project. to talk more about how congress member ryan's attempts to scale back government's role in the economy stands in stark contrast to the lived experience of his own home town, we're joined by brad lichtenstein, director of, "as goes janesville." brad lichtenstein is an award
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winning filmmaker and the president of 371 productions for the block and to "democracy now!" talk about the significance of your film, especially now with paul ryan elevated to the republican presidential press presidential ticket. >> sure. i think paul got it right, janesville is a microcosm of america, the same struggles going on there are happening in communities all over the country. what you saw was interesting because one of the things i found is there is a divide, i think, in perception. it's sort of becomes this insurmountable gap between those who attended a more pro- business and paid a very rosy picture of what the future can be -- those who paint a more pro-business picture and pete rose a picture of what the future can be. in the clip, a banker in town, mary wilmer, along with diane
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hendricks, was co-chair of economic development group that was largely guided by pro business principles, or still is, and she always talked about being an ambassador of optimism. in the film there is a scene where she is gathered bankers to talk about how to overcome for closures throughout the community. when one of the banker says, "i think there is a lot more to come, it is going to get worse," she says, "we do not want to paint a picture of gloom and doom." that is in stark contrast to the kind of experience that cindy deegan, one of the workers to goes back to school only to get a job that is only 80% of her job that she still have at alcoa, and that made the tire rims for gm products, or gayle, as you saw, that has to leave her family behind. another woman, new jersey, leaves behind her 18-year-old son who gets in a car accident in shias ticket home and take care of him, then loses her job
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at gm. it is the union that it's her job back critics i want to go to cindy deegan, laid off from the alcoa plant that made tire rims for gene that closed in 2008 with no option to turn to another alcoa plant and elsewhere. she enlists as a medical lab training program. we hear her daughters as well as cindy and her husband in this clip. >> what class d have today? >> i don't want to talk about it. all we have is unemployment and social security. as soon as we're done with school, unemployment will be over. that has me worried. i always wanted to be a teacher when i was my daughter's age, but i did not have any financial aid or anything. i didn't have the money to go to
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college. i was military for 11 years. >> christine is going to college, or military, don't know which yet. >> an early don't think she wants to go. i think it is just the financial. i will go without before my kids go without. no matter what, my kids don't have to go into the service just for schooling. >> we will be fine. >> there have laid-off worker in janesville's program to send workers back to school. i want to turn to an outtake from your documentary. paul ryan talks about his in janesville going to community college to get a new job. >> my friend went to learn h v ac heating and cooling and got a degree. now he is working for heating and cooling firm in janesville,
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so he could stay home brigit he didn't want elite. he could have gone to our intent or somewhere else in used for wine, i think, for gm, but he went to school so he could stay. you see people really attached to the committee were trying to do what they can to stay. we should make it as easy as possible for them to do that. that is why blackrock technical institute -- -- we need to encourage. >> brad lichtenstein, can you respond to what he espouses and what is saving janesville now? >> i want to point out quickly, it was a federal earmarked grant, not stimulus funds that paid for cindy's school. in that clip, i am trying to get paul to be little more nuanced about the situation on the ground for people who are experiencing job loss, yet he describes it as a kind of choice. but a lot of the workers who
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were laid off, 11,000 dislocated workers and people affected in janesville. >> we have to leave it there.