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Posted April 6, 2010

Between The Lines
For The Week Ending April 16, 2010



Between The Lines presents
MP3 Audio of 4 Panel Discussions from the Left Forum
March 20, 2010, Pace University, New York, NY

For more details, visit

Click here to download audio files of these discussion panels:
  • Lessons from Latin American Social Movements for a US in Crisis (1:06:30)
  • Reimagining Society: The Nature of the Task (1:16:15)
  • Going Undercover: The Yes Men and Gumshoe Journalists Discuss Subterfuge and Satire in Activism and Investigative Journalism (1:06:04)
  • The Future of Labor in the U.S. (1:09:12)


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

Environmentalists View
Obama's Offshore Oil Drilling
Plan as Betrayal

 RealAudio  MP3

Interview with Nick Berning,
director of public advocacy and communications
at Friends of the Earth,
conducted by Scott Harris


In February, President Obama announced $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees to build new nuclear power plants, the first to be constructed in three decades. The president's initiative provoked the ire of environmental groups that had supported his run for the White House in 2008.

Now, less than two months later, Obama has unveiled a proposal to end a 30-year moratorium against oil and gas drilling along the U.S. coastline. Under the plan, offshore oil exploration would be encouraged in the ocean off of Delaware, south to the central Florida coast; the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic waters north of Alaska, while continuing to protect southwest Alaska's sensitive Bristol Bay. The extent of oil and gas reserves in these areas are unknown, but it will require substantial investment and an estimated 10 years to actually extract these deep-water energy resources.

Critics of the plan say this is an ill-conceived political maneuver by the president to curry favor with Republicans, whose votes he'll need to pass a comprehensive energy bill in Congress this year. Republicans greeted the new policy with little enthusiasm. Environmental groups have come out strongly opposed to the off-shore drilling plan, while applauding the administration's new goals for auto fuel economy of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, an increase of 8 miles per gallon from current standards. Between the Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Nick Berning, director of public Advocacy and communications at Friends of the Earth, who explains why his group is opposed to President Obama's expansion of oil and gas drilling along the U.S. coastline.

Contact Friends of the Earth at (202) 783-7400 or visit their website at

Related Links:

Appalachia Group Developing Alternatives
to Coal Industry Jobs

 RealAudio  MP3

Interview with Justin Maxson, director of the Mountain Association
for Community Economic Development,
conducted by Melinda Tuhus


Coal mining in Appalachia has been in the news during the past week. First, for the worst American mining disaster in the past quarter century in which 25 miners died as the result of an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, a non-union mining operation in Raleigh County, West Virginia. As of April 6th four miners remained unaccounted for.

A few days earlier an important ruling from the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency was announced strictly limiting, under the Clean Water Act, new permits allowing coal companies to carry out so-called mountaintop removal, or MTR, in which the tops of ridges are blown apart to get to the thin seams of coal within. Environmental groups and some local citizens have strongly opposed this mining practice for the destruction of waterways caused by the dumping of tons of rocks and earth into valley streams below. The Obama EPA ruling affects only new permits, not existing ones.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Justin Maxson, director of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development - or MACED - based in Berea, Ky. The group provides loans and technical assistance to low-income residents of central and southern Appalachia to create economic alternatives to coal extraction jobs, including underground and surface mining, as well as mountaintop removal. Maxson comments on the mining disaster in West Virginia, and the future of coal mining, which has national implications, since coal is burned to produce almost half the electricity used in the U.S.

Contact the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development at (859) 986-2373 or visit their website at

Related links:
  • Coal River Mountain Watch at or call (304) 854-2182

Growth of U.S. Militia Groups Explodes,
as GOP Stokes Hate and Fear

 RealAudio  MP3

Interview with journalist and author Frederick Clarkson,
conducted by Scott Harris


Not long after the angry congressional debate over health care reform ended, the federal government arrested nine members of the Hutaree militia, a self-described Christian group preparing for war against the anti-Christ.

Federal prosecutors allege that members of the Michigan-based militia had planned to kill a local policeman, and then attack other officers at the victim's funeral, with the intent of igniting an armed uprising.

Since the election of Barack Obama, America's first black president in November 2008, the nation has witnessed the rapid growth of the right-wing "Patriot" movement and associated militia groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the number of Patriot groups grew from 149 in 2008 to 512, including 127 militias, in 2009 -- a 244 percent increase.

With the U.S. economy in crisis, record unemployment and uncertainty about the future, members of conservative groups like the Tea Party movement, have been increasingly bellicose in their rhetoric - with some engaging in threats of violence against Democratic members of Congress. Two anti-government pro-gun groups have plans to stage rallies in the Washington D.C. area on April 19, the anniversary of both the Oklahoma City bombing and the government siege at Waco Texas. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with journalist and author Frederick Clarkson who has written about religion and politics for more than two decades. Clarkson looks at the connection between the recent arrest of members of the Hutaree "Christian" militia group and the rising climate of fear and hate on the extreme right.

See rush interview transcript.
Sign up for Between The Lines Q&A
interview transcripts.


Frederick Clarkson is author of "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy." Read his articles online at

Related links:
This week's summary
of under-reported news

 RealAudio  MP3

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Every year 3.6 million people, half of them children, die from water-borne diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, cholera and dysentery. ("Bad Water More Deadly than War," Inter Press Service,March 18, 2010; "World Water Day: Dirty Water Kills more people than violence, says UN," Christian Science Monitor, March 22,2010)
  • Sixteen years ago, a special fund was set up to aid small Mexican farmers under NAFTA, but tens of thousands of subsistence farmers have gone bankrupt, while a third of all farm land is now used for illict crops for drug cartels, their relatives and other well-connected people. Mexico now is a net importer of food. ("Mexico farm subsidies are going astray," Los Angeles Times,March 7, 2010)
  • A broad range of New York City housing advocates and public officials are pushing the Housing Asset Renewal Program, which gives developers cash payments to convert luxury condos from the subprime mortgage debacle, to affordable apartments. ("Gentrification Hangover," American Prospect, January/February 2010, p. 17-20.)

Executive producer: Scott Harris
Segment producers: Scott Harris, Melinda Tuhus
Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
Program narration: Denise Manzari
News reader: Scott Harris
Senior web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Web producers: Jeffrey P. Yates and Gil Gilmore
Web consultant: Gary Trujillo
Newswire editors: Hank Hoffman
Photo editor: Scott Harris
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Distribution: Anna Manzo and Jeffrey P. Yates
'Reading Between The Lines' bloggers: Reggie Johnson and Anna Manzo
Between The Lines Q&A editorial assistant: Melanie Muller
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Last Week's Program

Between The Lines Week Ending 4/9/10

Between The Lines' Blog

"Reading Between The Lines"

U.S. Politics

"How the Corporations Broke Ralph Nader and America, Too," by Chris Hedges, TruthDig, Apr. 5, 2010

"Candidates see tea party support as a double-edged sword," McClatchy Newspapers, Apr. 5, 2010

"Nowhere to Hyde," by Sharon Lerner, The Nation, Apr. 1, 2010

"Not satisfied with U.S. history, some conservatives are rewriting it," McClatchy Newspapers, Apr. 1, 2010

More newswire ...


by Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post, Apr. 6, 2010

"Watchdog Group Raises Alarm Over 'Payday Loans' at Mainstream Banks," Washington Independent, Apr. 5, 2010

"Living in economic downturn has become the new normal," McClatchy Newspapers, Apr. 4, 2010

"Flat Unemployment Rate Masks the Race Gap," New American Media, Apr. 3, 2010

"More Than 200,000 to Lose Jobless Benefits Monday With Congress Out," The Hill, Apr. 3, 2010

"Obama's Economic Brain Trust: The Guys Who Got It Wrong," by Pam Martens, Counterpunch, Apr. 2-4, 2010

"Top Fed Official Wants To Break Up Megabanks, Stop The Fed From Guaranteeing Wall Street's Profits," Huffington Post, Apr. 2, 2010

"Voluntary Foreclosure Prevention Fails to Deliver," by Greg Kaufmann, The Nation, Apr. 2, 2010

"New Tally Focuses on Expansive Role of Federal Reserve in Wall Street Bailout,", Apr. 1, 2010

"The Fed in Hot Water," by Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog, Apr. 1, 2010

"Breaking the Banks," by Christopher Hayes, The Nation, Apr. 1, 2010

More newswire ...

Bush Accountability

"Washington Post Warns That Prosecuting Crime of Aggression Might Deter It," by David Swanson, After Downing Street, Apr. 3, 2010

More newswire ...

International Affairs

"Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms," The New York Times, Apr. 5, 2010

"U.S. Lawmakers Support Illegal Annexation," by Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus, Apr. 5, 2010

"Obama Expands Military Involvement in Africa," by Daniel Volman, Inter Press Service, Apr. 2, 2010

More newswire ...

"Postwar" Occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan

"Believe It or Not (2010 Imperial Edition): U.S. War-Fighting Numbers to Knock Your Socks Off," by Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch, Apr. 6, 2010

"Allawi's Dilemma: The Post-Election Struggle in Iraq," by Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch, Apr. 6, 2010

"Fallujah's Sick Babies: The Lingering Crimes of Aggression," by William Blum, Counterpunch, Apr. 6, 2010

"Iraq slaughter not an aberration," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Apr. 6, 2010

"Covering Up Civilian Deaths: U. S. Military Kills Pregnant Women, Government Officials and Journalists," by Stephen Soldz, Counterpunch, Apr. 6, 2010

"America under attack in Pakistan," Independent/UK, Apr. 6, 2010

"How Americans are propagandized about Afghanistan," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Apr. 5, 2010

"US special forces 'tried to cover-up' botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan," Times Online/UK, Apr. 5, 2010

"The Ghost of Diem," by Scott Horton, Harper's, Apr. 5, 2010

"Karzai's Words Leave Few Choices for the West," The New York Times, Apr. 5, 2010

"WikiLeaks releases video of slaughter in Iraq," by Glenn Greenwald, SAlon, Apr. 5, 2010

"NATO admits Afghan civilian deaths in night raid," Washington Post, Apr. 4, 2010

"Glossy new front in battle for hearts and minds," by Robert Fisk, Independent/UK, Apr. 2, 2010

"Triple blasts in Baghdad embassies kill dozens," Telegraph/UK, Apr. 4, 2010

"Legality of Drone Strikes Still in Question," by Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, Apr. 2, 2010

"800 Cases Filed on Civilians Killed in US Wars: ACLU," Agence France Presse, Apr. 2, 2010

More newswire ...

Civil Liberties/ Human Rights

"Abu Zubaydah: Tortured for Nothing," by Andy Worthington, Future of Freedom Foundation, Apr. 5, 2010

"Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases," McClatchy Newspapers, Apr. 5, 2010

"Not Just Guantanamo: U.S. Torturing Muslim Pre-Trial Detainee in New York City," by Bill Quigley, Common Dreams, Apr. 3, 2010

"Are Federal Officials Above the Law?," by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation, Apr. 2, 2010

"The criminal NSA eavesdropping program," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Apr. 1, 2010

"Controversy Erupts over Deportation Quotas," Inter Press Service, Apr. 1, 2010

"McCain & Lieberman channeling Dick Cheney," by Nat Hentoff, Arizona Daily News, Mar. 31, 2010

"Robert Gibbs endorses denial of civilian trials," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Mar. 31, 2010

More newswire ...

Environment and Sustainability

"Mankind leaves mark on the planet with the end of the 12,000-year Holocene age," Independent/UK, Apr. 6, 2010

"Obama's Second Chance on the Predominant Moral Issue of This Century," by Dr. James Hansen, Huffington Post, Apr. 4, 2010

"EPA may try to use Clean Water Act to regulate carbon dioxide," McClatchy Newspapers, Apr. 4, 2010

"Grounded Ship: 3km Oil Spill on Great Barrier Reef," Sydney Morning Herald/Australia, Apr. 4, 2010

"Off-shore drilling, auto emissions, mountaintop mining from Obama administration," by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium, Apr. 2, 2010

"New regulations will put an end to mountaintop mining," by Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian/UK, Apr. 1, 2010

"Copenhagen Accord Climate Pledges Too Weak: UN," Reuters, Apr. 1, 2010

"New Contamination Found At Vermont Yankee," WMUR News (Vermont), March 31, 2010

More newswire ...

Media Issues

"What's Next For Network Neutrality?," by Jack Balkin, Balkinization, Apr. 6, 2010

"The Courts Can't Take Away Our Internet," by Megan Tady, Save the Internet, Apr. 6, 2010

"F.C.C. Rules for Broadband Fairness Set Aside by Court," The New York Times, Apr. 6, 2010

"Mike McConnell, the WashPost & the dangers of sleazy corporatism," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, March 29, 2010

"White House access is a jackpot for reporters," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, March 31, 2010

More newswire ...


"Why Can't Labor Get a Little More Help From Its Friends?," by Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, Apr. 6, 2010

More newswire ...

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