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Posted March 3, 2010

Between The Lines
For The Week Ending March 12, 2010

healthcare lede


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This week we present Between The Lines' summary of under-reported news stories and:

Endgame: Democrats' Health Care 'Reform'
a Windfall for Insurance Industry

 RealAudio  MP3

Interview with Dr. Andrew Coates,
national board member
of Physicians for a National Health Program,
conducted by Scott Harris


The results of President Obama's Feb. 25 health care summit were predictable. Democrats and especially Republicans robotically stuck to scripted talking points aimed at the television audience. Although the meeting of congressional leaders, President Obama and members of his Cabinet was billed as a last ditch effort to negotiate a bipartisan formula for passing health care reform legislation, the meeting broadcast live on CSPAN only served to provide a platform for posturing in the lead up to the November, 2010 mid-term congressional election. When supporters of single-payer health reform, or "Medicare for all," were excluded from the summit, protesters staged their own "sidewalk summit" outside the official meeting.

In advance of the meeting, President Obama presented an 11-page document outlining a proposal to find common ground between the different health reform bills passed by Democrats in the House and Senate. Among the new planks in the president's plan was the establishment of a panel that will assess insurance company rate increases. Rate hikes became the focus of public anger after Anthem Blue Cross announced premium increases of 39 percent in California and similar amounts in other states.

Overall the president's plan would cost an estimated $950 billion over 10 years and would extend health insurance to 31 million out of an estimated 47 million people currently without coverage.

With the Democrats' defeat in the Massachusetts special election and the loss of their supermajority in the Senate, congressional leaders are prepared to use the budget reconciliation process to avoid a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Dr. Andrew Coates, an instructor at Albany Medical College and a national board member of the single-payer advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program. Dr. Coates assesses the results of the White House Health Care Summit and takes a critical look at legislation Democrats hope to pass in the coming weeks.

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Dr. Andrew Coates is a shop steward with the Public Employees Federation AFL-CIO. Visit Physicians for a National Health Program website at

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Obama's Support for Nuclear Power
Won't Mitigate Climate change

 RealAudio  MP3

Interview with Kevin Kamps,
radioactive waste watchdog
with Beyond Nuclear,
conducted by Melinda Tuhus


President Barack Obama in recent weeks has signaled his strong support for a resurgence of "safe, clean nuclear power," touted as a way to address climate change, since the production of nuclear power does not release greenhouse gases. After he praised it in his State of the Union speech in late January, he followed up by proposing a budget that includes $55 billion in federal loan guarantees for companies building nuclear plants, and in late February, he went to Georgia to pledge $8 billion for what he said would be the first new nuclear plant built in the U.S. in three decades. America now gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, a ratio that has held steady for at least 20 years.

Obama also recently fulfilled a campaign promise to shut down Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the nation's long-term nuclear waste storage facility, citing safety concerns. Instead, he appointed a high-level panel to research alternatives, which includes many key promoters of nuclear power, but no nuclear opponents.

Against this backdrop, the Vermont legislature voted last week to shut down the almost 40-year-old Vermont Yankee nuclear plant when its license expires in 2012, due to safety concerns. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste watchdog with Beyond Nuclear, a non-profit group that links the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Here, he discusses some of the myths surrounding the advertised advantages of nuclear power.

Contact Beyond Nuclear at (301) 270-2209 or visit their website at

Related links:

Justice Department Clears Bush Torture Architects

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Interview with David Cole,
Georgetown University professor of law
conducted by Scott Harris


After a five-year investigation into misconduct by Bush administration lawyers who authorized torture of U.S.-held prisoners, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has recommended no disciplinary action be taken. The inquiry focused on two Bush attorneys, John Yoo, who now teaches at the University of California, Berkeley and Jay Bybee, now serving as a federal judge, originally recommended that state bar associations undertake a disciplinary review of the two men. But that recommendation was overruled by Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, who stated that the two men had merely shown "poor judgment" and should not face disciplinary action.

In a series of memos written in 2002, Yoo and Bybee provided legal cover to President Bush and Vice President Cheney to subject U.S.-held detainees to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods considered war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law. During the inquiry, Justice Department investigators encountered serious obstacles such as a large number of missing emails written by John Yoo and former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft's refusal to cooperate.

If the U.S. government refuses to hold officials who authorized torture accountable, Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, who indicted Chile's General Augusto Pinochet in 1998, is prepared to intervene. Garzon is conducting his own investigation of Yoo and Bybee, based on the U.S. torture of Spanish citizens held at the American detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with David Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University, who assesses the Justice Department's investigation and considers the options for holding Yoo, Bybee and other Bush administration officials accountable for torture.

David Cole is author of "The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable." Visit Coles's website at

Related links:

This week's summary
of under-reported news

 RealAudio  MP3

Compiled by Bob Nixon

Executive producer: Scott Harris
Segment producers: Scott Harris, Melinda Tuhus
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Last Week's Program

Between The Lines Week Ending 3/5/10

Between The Lines' Blog

"Reading Between The Lines"

U.S. Politics

"Rahm Emanuel: Obama's Chief Of Sabotage," by Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post, Mar. 2, 2010

"Senate votes to revive programs after Bunning relents," McClatchy Newspapers, Mar. 2, 2010

"Like Crist-Rubio for GOP, Lincoln-Halter Race Could Define Dems," by John Nichols, The Nation, Mar. 1, 2010

"Reform Déjà Vu: Democrats Follow Failed Health Care Strategy and Preemptively Surrender on Consumer Financial Protection Agency," by Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post, Mar. 1, 2010

"GOP to the Unemployed: Drop Dead (You Bums)," by James Ridgeway, Unsilent Generation, Mar. 1, 2010

"Obama Must Assert Democratic Control Over Economic Forces," by Michael Sandel, Huffington Post, Mar. 1, 2010

"Ralph Nader Was Right About Barack Obama," by Chris Hedges, TruthDig, Mar. 1, 2010

"Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin Are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America," by Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet, Mar. 1, 2010

"Who really gets hurt when GOP's Bunning blocks this bill?," McClatchy Newspapers, Mar. 1, 2010

"Some lawmakers said no to stimulus bill, but not its cash," McClatchy Newspapers, Feb. 28, 2010

"Socialized Medicine: The Cure That Dares Not Speak Its Name," by Robert Kuttner, Huffington Post, Feb. 28, 2010

"GOP Sen. Bunning blocks unemployment benefits extension," McClatchy Newspapers, Feb. 26, 2010

"Protecting Workers, Not Corporations: Obama's Labor Department Stands up For Workers' Rights," by Mark Engler, Yes! Magazine, Feb. 25, 2010

"The Missing Voices at the Healthcare Summit," by John Nichols, The Nation, Feb. 25, 2010

"Why Are Democrats Ignoring the Next New Dealers?," by E.J. Dionne, TruthDig, Feb. 24, 2010

"Socialists get newfound attention as 'red-baiting' draws interest from youth," Courier-Journal (Kentucky), Feb. 23, 2010

More newswire ...


"Profiting From Recession, Payday Lenders Spend Big to Fight Regulation," Keith Epstein, Huffington Post, Mar. 2, 2010

"New Ghost Towns: Industrial Communities Teeter on the Edge," USA Today, Mar. 2, 2010

"IMF-Style Austerity Comes to America," by Ellen Brown, Counterpunch, Mar. 2, 2010

"The Fall of Greece," by Diane Johnstone, Counterpunch, Mar. 1, 2010

"The Case Against Bernanke and Greenspan: Why They Should be Indicted," by Mike Whitney, Counterpunch, Mar. 1, 2010

"Goldman Board Rejects Shareholder Demands on Pay," Reuters, Mar. 1, 2010

"Abandoned foreclosures a mounting crisis in Manatee," Bradenton Herald (Florida), Feb. 28, 2010

"The Debt is Not the Threat," by Mark Weisbrot, Counterpunch, Feb. 26-28, 2010

"Bust Up the Health Insurance Trusts," by Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog, Feb. 24, 2010

More newswire ...

Bush Accountability

"The Torture Memo John Yoo Should Have Written," by Stephen Rohde, Daily Journal, Mar. 2, 2010

"Senate Torture Probe Uncovers Missing Emails," by William Fisher, Inter Press Service, Feb. 27, 2010

"The Fundamental Trick: Pretending That 'Torture' is a Technical Term," by David Luban, Balkinization, Feb. 26, 2010

"What If They DID Use Mock Burial with Abu Zubaydah?," by Marcy Wheeler, Firedoglake, Feb. 25, 2010

"Prosecuting Bush for War Crimes," by Russell Mokhiber, Counterpunch, Feb. 25, 2010

"More Investigations for the Torture Lawyers," by Scott Horton, Haper's, Feb. 25, 2010

"Justice Department protects the torture lawyers, persecutes the ethical," by Stephen Soldz, OpEd News, Feb. 24, 2010

"Torture Bored: How we've erased the legal lines around torture and replaced them with nothing," by Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, Feb. 22, 2010

More newswire ...

International Affairs

"Too Much Bang, Bang: The Need to Demilitarize US National Security," by Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout, Mar. 1, 2010

"Obama Considers New US Nuclear Strategy: Report," Agence France Presse, Mar. 1, 2010

"Report: Netanyahu approved Dubai assassination in early January," Haaretz/Israel, Feb. 21, 2010

"The Specter Haunting Iran," by Danny Postel, Tehran Bureau, Feb. 26, 2010

"Latin America's path to independence," by Mark Weisbrot, Guardian/UK, Feb. 25, 2010

More newswire ...

"Postwar" Occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan

"Uproar Before Iraqi Elections: The Sectarian Genie," by Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch, Mar. 2, 2010

"Sliding Backwards on Iraq?," by Raed Jarrar and Erik Leaver, Foreign Policy in Focus, Mar. 2, 2010

"Iraqi vote shows deep divides still facing country," Associated Press, Feb. 27, 2010

"US winds down Afghan assault but bigger one on way," Agence France Presse, Feb. 27, 2010

"Guesthouses Used by Foreigners in Kabul Hit in Deadly Attacks," The New York Times, Feb. 26, 2010

"Sunrise or Sunset for Iraq?," by Frida Berrigan, Foreign Policy in Focus, Feb. 25, 2010

More newswire ...

Civil Liberties/ Human Rights

"The Black Hole of Guantánamo," by Andy Worthington, Future of Freedom Foundation, Mar. 1, 2010

"Two Legal Foes Unite to Fight -- for Same Sex Marriage," by Michael Winship, Common Dreams, Feb. 27, 2010

"Obama signs one-year extension of Patriot Act," Associated Press, Feb. 27, 2010

"Judge orders another Guantanamo detainee freed," McClatchy Newspapers, Feb. 25, 2010

"Broken ICE," by Jacqueline Stevens, The Nation, Feb. 25, 2010

"Military Monitored Planned Parenthood, Supremacists," by Kim Zetter, Wired, Feb. 25, 2010

"Can Obama Assassinate Americans?," by Nat Hentoff, Cato Institute, Feb. 25, 2010

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Environment and Sustainability

"EU Authorizes GMO Potatoes," Agence France Presse, Mar. 2, 2010

"Rulings Restrict Clean Water Act, Foiling E.P.A.," The New York Times, Feb. 28, 2010

"EPA Drastically Underestimates Coal Waste Pollution," by Joshua Frank, Truthout, Feb. 28, 2010

"Environmentalists question coal's place in Obama policy," McClatchy Newspapers, Feb. 26, 2010

"The Attack on Climate-Change Science : Why It's the O.J. Moment of the Twenty-First Century," by Tom Engelhardt & Bill McKibben, TomDispatch, Feb. 25, 2010

"The U.S. Chamber: A Record of Obstruction on Climate Action," by Shaun Goho, Yale Environment 360, Feb. 23, 2010

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Media Issues

"Small foreign news staffs threaten US democracy," by Tom Fenton, GlobalPost, Mar. 1, 2010

"Glenn Beck, Radical Hit Man for the Tea Partiers, Is Breeding Potential Violence," by Les Leopold, AlterNet, Mar. 1, 2010

"THE NYT Veers Neocon," by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Feb. 28, 2010

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"Coffee Party wakes up US radicals," Guardian/UK, Mar. 2, 2010

"Labor and the Democrats: What Does $400 Million Buy You These Days?," by David Macaray, Counterpunch, Mar. 2, 2010

"Organizing Against Empire: Where Left and Right Meet ... Amicably," by Paul Buhle, Counterpunch, Mar. 1, 2010

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