[IMC-DC] BTL Summary Jan. 1, 2010: Insurance Lobby Shaped Weakened Health Care Reform Bill; Failure in Copenhagen; Recovered Bush Era Emails Could Shed Light on Scandals
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sharris at snet.net
Sun Dec 27 09:43:48 PST 2009
Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Jan. 1, 2010
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THIS WEEK'S PROGRAM
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This week we present Between The Lines' summary of
under-reported news stories and:
Insurance Lobby Shaped Weakened
Senate Health Care Reform Bill
Interview with Wendell Potter,
former health insurance executive,
conducted by Scott Harris
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is poised to pass healthcare
reform legislation before Christmas Day, having overcome the threat of
a Republican filibuster by mustering all 60 votes in the Democratic
caucus. But the compromises made to achieve what some are calling a
landmark accomplishment, were high. Many progressive activists and some
legislators expressed disgust at the concessions made to win the
support of conservative Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas,
Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Joe Lieberman,
Independent of Connecticut.
Under pressure from party dissidents, the majority were forced
to scrap original provisions such as a public, government-run health
insurance option, expansion of Medicare to cover uninsured Americans
ages 55 to 64, and removing anti-trust exemptions for the heath
insurance industry. If as expected, the Senate passes their $871
billion healthcare bill, that legislation must then be reconciled with
the measure passed by the House in November , which includes a public
option, withdraws anti-trust protection and pays for the program by
taxing the rich.
Between the Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Wendell Potter, the former
head of communications with Cigna Insurance company, who now serves as
a senior fellow on Health Care with the non-profit group Center for
Media and Democracy. Applying his 20 years' experience in the health
insurance industry, Potter assesses the winners and losers in the
Senate health care battle and the value of health reform legislation
shaped by corporate lobbyists that may be signed into law early in
Contact the Center for Media and Democracy at (608) 260-9713 or read Potter's blog at www.prwatch.org
" The Health Care Industry vs. Health Reform," Wendell Potter's blog, Center for Media and Democracy, June 24, 2009
"Dean, Lieberman point to Obama for death of public option," The Raw Story, Dec. 21, 2009
"Hey, Dr. Dean, President Obama: It's Time to Get Real with Progressives," www.AlterNet.org, Dec. 22, 2009
"Kill The Bill? Some Progressives Say Nothing is Better Than Senate health Care Bill," Huffingtonpost.com, Dec. 15, 2009
"This Health Reform Bill Is Political Suicide," OpenLeft.com, Dec. 14, 2009 "Lieberman supported Medicare expansion," www.msnbc.com, Dec. 14, 2009
"Lieberman's actions on health care reform warrant removal from Democratic caucus," San Francisco Examiner, Dec. 15, 2009 "Lieberman Takes Heat for Slowing Down Health Bill," Political Hotsheet, Dec. 14, 2009
Failure of Copenhagen Climate Talks
Portends Grim Future
Interview with writer and environmental activist Bill McKibben,
conducted by Melinda Tuhus
Most governments and environmental groups believe the two-week United
Nations Copenhagen climate failed to accomplish what's necessary to
turn back catastrophic climate change. Even U.S. President Barack
Obama, in declaring his so-called, "breakthrough" on the last day of
the conference, which reached an agreement for voluntary reductions
among five key generators of greenhouse gasses, acknowledged that it's
still not enough to avert disaster, but it's a beginning.
Bill McKibben was in Copenhagen with the group he co-founded. The
writer and environmental activist spurred a global movement culminating
in demonstrations Oct. 24 in almost every country on the planet calling
for a reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million,
from the current 387 -- the level climate scientists say is necessary
to avert the consequences of unchecked global warming.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with McKibben about the role
played at the conference by small nations most threatened by climate
change as well as that of the U.S. and China, the two largest emitters
of carbon dioxide, and of his waning hopes of implementing the urgent
action necessary to save the planet.
See rush interview transcript.
Sign up for Between The Lines Q&A
For more information about the group's continuing efforts, visit their website at www.350.org.
"Bill McKibben: Proof Copenhagen is "An Elaborate Sham," Mother Jones magazine, December 2009
Climate Justice Activists Fast at www.climatejusticefast.com.
Millions of Recovered Bush Era Emails
Could Shed Light on Scandals
Interview with Anne Weissman,
chief counsel with Citizens for Responsibility
and Ethics in Washington,
conducted by Scott Harris
In 2007, two public interest groups initiated a lawsuit challenging the
failure of the Bush White House and the National Archives and Records
Administration to take any action to recover millions of missing Bush
White House emails generated between 2003 and 2005. Some of these
emails had been sought by the Justice Department and Congressional
Committees relating to their investigations of several administration
scandals, including the White House outing of CIA Officer Valerie Plame
Wilson and the suspected political motivation behind the mass firing of
U.S. attorneys around the nation.
When President Obama was sworn into office in January of this year, the
groups which initiated the lawsuit, Citizens for Responsibility and
Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive, had hoped for
cooperation from the new administration. Instead, White House officials
adopted the same defiant position as their predecessors in the Bush
administration. However, after negotiations between the groups and the
Obama White House, a settlement of the lawsuit was announced on Dec.
Under the terms of the settlement, the executive office of the
president has restored a total of 94 days of missing emails, estimated
to total 22 million, which will be sent to the National Archives and
Records Administration for preservation and eventual access. Between
The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Anne Weissman, chief counsel with
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who explains how
her group settled the law suit and the possible role the recovered
emails may play in prosecuting Bush administration misconduct.
Visit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's website at http://www.citizensforethics.org
"Deal Announced on Missing E-mails," Washington Post, Dec. 15, 2009
"Obama Administration Trying to Kill Lawsuit Over Bush White House Emails," Huffingtonpost.com, Feb. 21, 2009
This week's summary
of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon
After a monthlong hunger strike, Western Sahara human rights activist
Aminatou Haider has been allowed to return home to northern Africa. ("
W. Sahara Activist Arrives Home After Hunger Strike, "Agence France
Presse, Dec. 18, 2009; "Morocco Yields on Western Sahara Activist,"
Financial Times; Dec. 18, 2009; "Morocco Yields To Pressure, Activist Back Home," Reuters, Dec. 18, 2009.
Human rights activists have raised serious doubts about upcoming
Sudanese elections and the peace process after a series of street
protests in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. ("Sudan Lays Groundwork For
Elections, Peace,"www.oneworld.net, Dec. 17, 2009; "Sudan: Preventing
Implosion," International Crisis Group, press release, Dec. 17, 2009; "Sudan: Preventing implosion"
overview, policy briefing #68, www.crisisgroup.org; The Enough Project:
The Project to End Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity at www.enoughproject.org)
More than a year after the beginning of the financial meltdown, the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has just begun its
investigation into key players involved in collateralized debt
obligations or CDOs, which were at the epicenter of the crisis. ("Kucinich panel to investigate Citigroup tax ruling,"Washington Post, Dec. 18, 2009; "SEC Just Now Seeking Key Information On Meltdown,"Propublica.org, Dec. 16, 2009)
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