Democracy Now! February 6, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! February 6, 2002
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9:01-9:06 HEADLINES 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:20 AMERICAS MOST POPULAR POPULIST, JIM HIGHTOWER, RAISES HELL ABOUT BUSH, ENRON AND CORPORATE POWER Enrons lead investigator testified yesterday that former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay told investigators that he should have paid more attention to his company's bookkeeping but felt "betrayed" by others at the company who kept information from him. In four hours of interviews with the special board committee investigating the company's collapse, Lay indicated that he knew the company was using Enron stock to protect investors in its off-the-books partnerships. That unusual strategy helped Enron hide large debts and losses. Yesterday President Bush rejected a call by Senator Ernest Hollings for a special prosecutor to investigate Enron, saying his Justice Department could do the job. Enron was a major contributor to the Bush presidential campaign and has ties to a number of administration officials. In the wake of Enrons collapse and the disclosure of the company's political contributions and close ties to prominent government officials, many reports have been focused on the prospect of untoward -- or even illegal -- behavior on the part of elected officials. Many are calling for officeholders to return Enron contributions, and some officials have already done so. Meanwhile yesterday, War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked the Senate Armed Services Committee to approve the largest proposed increase in defense spending since the Reagan administration and heard not a word of protest from Democrats or Republicans. Rumsfeld said the budget proposal is designed to accomplish three main goals: winning the so-called war on terrorism, modernizing the military, and modernizing a small but significant part of the armed forces to counter new threats, from cyberwarfare to chemical, biological and nuclear attacks. Concerns about homeland security permeate virtually every facet of proposed federal spending as the Bush administration moves to redefine the government's mission in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Today we are joined by one of the countrys greatest muckrakers, a native Texan. He is known as Americas most popular populist, to talk about Bush, Enron and corporate power. GUEST: GUEST: JIM HIGHTOWER, writer, radio commentator, public speaker, and author of If the Gods had Meant us to Vote They Would Have Given us Candidates. Hightower publishes a monthly populist political newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown," which recently received the Alternative Press Award for best national newsletter. He is also the author of There's Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos; Eat your Heart Out; and Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times.CONTACT: 9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 DESIGNER BABIES, GENETIC DISCRIMINATION, AND THE PATENTING OF HUMAN LIFE: THE PERILS AMIDST THE PROMISE OF THE BIOTECH REVOLUTION With the Enron scandal showing no signs of disappearing, politicians have begun sounding the call for legislative reform. In Congress, representatives have renewed their push for a campaign finance bill, and just last week, the President called for new safeguards for pension plans. He also raised his voice for corporate accountability. But amidst all these calls for change and responsibility, at least one issue, central to Enron's collapse, has gone largely un-addressed. That issue is deregulation. Despite growing evidence of energy deregulation's failure for consumers as well as stockholders politicians have consistently avoided mentioning it. No bills have crossed the Senate floor, and the President has remained its staunchest supporter. The hard questions of the Enron debacle questions like what happens when you privatize an industry and then loosen controls have simply not been asked. Well, today on Democracy Now! we are going to examine some of these questions. But, in an expansion of the discussion beyond Enron, we are going to look at them through the lens of the biotech industry, one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Many are calling it the new frontier, the industry that will pick up where the dot-com revolution left off. In June 2000, scientists announced that they had successfully "decoded" the human genome. The genome is the collective genetic make-up of human beings, and its "decoding" has been heralded as one of the great scientific breakthroughs in recent history. With it comes the promise of early diagnosis of disease, new and safer treatment therapies, and cures for illnesses like cancer and diabetes. But with the decoding of the genome there also come dangers. In the absence of public oversight and careful controls, the potential for misuse of these new biotechnologies grows frighteningly real. Two days ago, a group of scientists, community advocates, and policymakers came together to discuss some of the perils of the genomic revolution. They came from across the country for the Human Genetics, Environment, and Communities of Color: Ethical and Social Implications. We go now to a speech from this conference by Dr. March Darnovsky. Its subject: Cloning and Beyond: Social Justice and Species-Altering Technologies. GUEST: MARCY DARNOVSKY, PhD., program director, Center for Genetics and Society. The Center for Genetics and Society is a non-governmental information and advocacy center committed to encouraging socially responsible governance of the new human genetic and reproductive technologies. (pre-taped speech) CONTACT:, 9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 DESIGNER BABIES, GENETIC DISCRIMINATION, AND THE PATENT ON LIFE CONTD GUEST: REBECCA CHARNAS, Council for Responsible Genetics: No Patents on Life Campaign. She is getting her doctorate in molecular biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MUSIC: 9:06 - Oh My Goodness, Look at this Mess by Sweet Honey in the Rock from the Still the Same Me CD 9:20 - Pretend We're Dead by L7 9:40 - Two Little Hitlers Elvis Cosello and the Attractions End - Pretend We're Dead by L7-- 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
February 6, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
February 6, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. February 6, 2002
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