Oct 12 2012
Our weekly edition is a nationally syndicated one-hour digest of the best of our daily coverage.
This week on Uprising:
* Biden Goes on the Offensive, Ryan Tacks Toward Center: Analyzing the Vice Presidential Debate
* Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America
* California Considers GMO Labeling
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Biden Goes on the Offensive, Ryan Tacks Toward Center: Analyzing the Vice Presidential Debate
A week after President Barack Obama’s debate with Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, Americans tuned in on Thursday night to watch Vice President Joe Biden square off against his Republican challenger, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The debate, which was paid for by a number of major US corporations including Anheuser-Busch and Southwest Airlines, was held at Centre College in Danville Kentucky. Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent for ABC News, moderated the lively 90 plus minute long debate.
The Vice Presidential debate stood in stark contrast to last week’s subdued affair between Romney and Obama. Biden, aggressively defended Obama’s record on Libya, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, and Syria as well as domestic issues like healthcare, tax cuts, Medicare and Social Security.
Ryan tried to appeal to middle class voters by promising to tax high earners but Biden managed to criticize the more controversial statements made by Romney during the campaign which President Obama had failed to mention last week. Biden brought up Romney’s notorious videotaped comments, where Romney had said that 47 percent of Americans believed they were “victims” and demanded entitlements. Biden also mentioned Romney’s interview with 60 minutes where he declared that a lower tax rate on capital gains was “fair”.
Biden never discussed Bain Capital’s offshore tax havens or challenged a statement made by Raddatz that Social Security was going broke, but he did manage to distinguish himself from Ryan by taking a strong stance on a women’s right to choose when it comes to abortion.
GUESTS: Imara Jones is the Economic Justice Contributor to Colorlines.com, Gareth Porter is an award winning investigative journalist who specializes in national security policy and is an Afghanistan expert
Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America
With less than a month left until the presidential elections, President Obama stopped by Kern County, California this past week during his campaign trail, to dedicate a national monument in honor of the famed labor leader Caesar Chavez. The 105 acre national monument is located near the founding headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW), which also served as Chavez’s home for 20 years in the area known as Nuestra Reina de La Paz.
Critics say that the dedication is an attempt on the part of the Obama administration to pander to Latino votes. Polls show 70% of Latino voters have said that they will be supporting Obama. Organizations like the Center for Community Change and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement have been working to register newly naturalized Latinos to vote in November.
During a recent interview with Univision, Obama said that his biggest failure was not coming up with comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Immigration reform for those who came to the United States without papers and their advocates is a top priority, much like the DREAM Act which gives undocumented students an opportunity to attend college. In June, in response to the prolific activism of DREAM Act students, President Obama approved the Deferred Action Plan which temporarily protects some young immigrants from deportation and allows them to have a work permit.
Now, a new documentary called Harvest of Empire, tells the history of Latino immigration to the US. The film is based on the acclaimed book by the same name, written by award winning journalist and co-host of Democracy Now, Juan Gonzalez. Published more than ten years ago, Harvest of Empire is required reading in many schools and colleges and chronicles the political and economic forces that pushed people out of their home countries in Latin America and into the US. The book also profiles many “Latino pioneers” living in the US. It is now out in a brand new revised and updated edition.
GUEST: Juan Gonzalez, is a columnist for New York Daily News and is co-host of Democracy Now. He won the 1998 George Polk Award for excellence in journalism and the Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award. Juan, of Puerto Rican background is also one of the original founders of the 1960s Young Lords.
California Considers GMO Labeling
On November 6 Californians will decide if their state will become the first in the country to require the labeling of genetically modified foods or foods using genetically modified organisms. Prop 37 or the Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Initiative would mandate that grocers identify products as either “Genetically Engineered,” “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering,” or “May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering,” based on how much genetic tinkering took place during the food’s production. In addition, Prop 37 would prohibit the use of the word “natural” in the advertising and labeling of genetically modified foods.
Prop 37 opponents claim that labeling is unnecessary pointing to a lack of evidence that consuming genetically modified foods is unhealthy or dangerous. A recent study published in the scientific journal “Food and Chemical Toxicology” caused controversy when it found that rats fed a herbicide resistant variety of corn developed by Monsanto corporation were more vulnerable to cancer and had shorter lifespans. The study is one of the few examples of research into the health effects of genetically modified foods that is independent of the agricultural industry.
Prop 37 has provoked a well funded opposition backed by some the country’s largest processed food manufacturers and agri-businesses including Pepsi-Co, Monsanto, and DOW Chemical, just to name a few.
Combined these corporations have given over $25 million to defeat the proposition, more than 10 times the amount raised by the proposition’s supporters. Despite this disparity in funds, the initiative is likely to pass by a 2 to 1 margin according to a September USC/LA Times poll.
Surveys have shown that measures to ensure the labeling of GMO products enjoy overwhelming public support nationwide, in some cases with up to 90% approval from respondents.
GUEST: Michele Simon, a public health lawyer and author of the book, Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, and president of Eat Drink Politics, an industry watchdog consulting firm
Read Michele Simon’s writings at www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/
Sonali’s Subversive Thought for the Day:
“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” — John F. Kennedy