On this week’s show we focus on Israel’s war on Lebanon and how people in the U.S. are opposing it. We hear audio from a protest against Israel that took over the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday (Fred Nguyen of WBAI, producer) and a frontline report from Bilal El Amine in the south of Lebanon (Bilal El Amine for KPFA, producer). Plus local, national, and international headlines (find them after the ‘read more’ link).
The University Board of Regents approved a 5.5 percent tuition increase for the University of Michigan, with students paying on average $500 more for tuition and fees. This is a small increase from the 12.3 percent increase of last year and the overall rising tuition rates since 2001. The financial aid office states that it is committed to increasing aid with the rise of tuition, with students of middle class families receiving around $9,000 in aid. A recent report from the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee found that Michigan families put 32% of their income to pay for one year at four year- public univerisities-despite financial aid. It also showed that 56% of graduates from the university who take out loans owe over $17,000 after receiving their diploma. The university is currently in a $80.5 million deficit.
Dick DeVos, the republican candidate for governor, has spent over 16.5 million on his campaign, using $12.9 million of his own fortune and with no opponent for primary elections. Compare this to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s 11.2 million, and it makes for the most expensive electoral race in Michigan history. DeVos’s campaign includes a $12 million television and radio advertizing push, the largest ever by a Michigan office runner. Granholm, who has spent only $4.1 million on her re-election campaign thus far on staff salaries, consulting fees, and printing, and plans to hold off on major spending until closer to November 7th. DeVos has raised mroe money from more individuals than Granholm, and has a vast personal wealth to as an advantage for the upcoming gubernatorial campaign. He is the former president of Alticor, formly known as Amway Corp. Labor unions like the AFL-CIO and Michigan Education Association made significant donations to Granholm,
along with celebrities like Madonna and Phil Donahue. Polls indicate a toss up for this record-breaking expensive race, the first
gubernatorial campaign where neither candidate uses the public campaign fund that would limit how much can be spent.
### National and International Headlines:
Last Tuesday, the US Senate passed the Child Custody Protection Act 65-34. This act would criminalize any person other than a parent or legal guardian who helps a minor cross state lines to obtain an abortion. Dubbed the “Teen Endangerment Act”, advocates of abortion-rights fear that the bill would discourage young women from seeking help, increase their likelihood of putting their own lives at risk with a self-induced abortion, and escalate violence in unstable family situations. In 1996, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that one third of pregnant teens who choose not to involve their parents do so because they “already have experienced family violence and fear it will recur”. In a press statement, Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, stressed that “Restrictive legislation does not necessarily foster good family communications. This bill would endanger teens by eliminating safe alternatives to parental involvement. Aunts, sisters, grandmothers, clergy, counselors and friends could be fined or imprisoned for helping a teen who may be a victim of family abuse, rape or incest.”
In the next few weeks, Camp 6, a new permanent maximum-security jail will open at Guantanamo Bay. Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the military tribunals at Guantanamo breached US and international law and President Bush’s claim in June that he would “like to close” Guantanamo, the prison camp will be expanded by this 30 million dollar 2-story block, which was built by a Halliburton subsidiary. Commander Robert Durand, a spokesman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo, said that the Camp 6 is designed to improve the quality of life for the detainees. Yet this fails to address the hundreds of detainees who continue to be held at Guantanamo without charge or hearings. According to an investigation of military documents by Seton Hall University, 55% of the prisoners are not alleged to have committed any hostile acts against the US and of all the prisoners that have ever been held at Guantanamo since 2002, only 10 have ever been formally charged.
A Human Rights Watch report released last Thursday documents the wide range of abuse of domestic workers in 12 countries, including El Salvador, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Abuse ranges from physical and sexual abuse, forced confinement, labor exploitation, to denial of food and health care. “Instead of guaranteeing domestic workers’ ability to work with dignity and freedom from violence, governments have systematically denied them key labor protections extended to other workers,” said Nisha Varia, senior researcher for the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. At highest risk for abuse are migrants and children as domestic work is one of the few economic opportunities available to them. According to estimates of the International Labor Organization, more girls under age 16 are in domestic work than in any other category of child labor, with 700,000 child domestic workers in Indonesia and 20,000 domestic workers between ages 14-19 in El Salvador. Governments will have the opportunity to initiate change as Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women begins this week and the UN General Assembly’s High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development occurs in September. Recommendations of the Human Rights Watch include extension of labor protections to domestic workers, establishment of minimum standards of employment, and insuring accountability of employers.