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Between The Lines Archive
For The Week Ending Feb. 23, 2001


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below or click on an individual segment below. (Segments in RealAudio, needs RealPlayer 7 or 8.)

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

Election of Ariel Sharon to Israeli Prime Minister Diminishes Hopes for Mideast Peace
Rabbi and editor of Tikkun magazine advocates Palestinian right to self-determination as a precondition toward long-term stability in the region
Interview by Scott Harris.

With the Oslo Peace process all but dead and newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promising no new concessions to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, prospects for peace in the Middle East look very bleak. Amidst the violence of the latest Palestinian Intifada, or uprising ,that has claimed over 400 Palestinian lives, Ariel Sharon, the leader of the right wing Likud party, easily defeated incumbant Labor Party Prime Minister Ehud Barak. While Sharon received 62 percent of the ballots cast, the turnout in this election was the lowest in Israeli history. A deadlock in the Israeli parliament has pushed leaders of both Labor and Likud into negotiating a future national unity government.

Many observers fear that former general Sharon, widely condemned for his complicity in the 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Beirut, will aggravate the current crisis with his hard line policies and quite possibly trigger a dangerous regional war.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine, a bimonthly Jewish critique of politics, culture and society, who takes a critical look at newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Contact Tikkun at (415) 575-1200 or visit their Web site at

President Bush's Plan to Deploy Star Wars System Will Launch New Global Nuclear Arms Race
Far more than just missile defense, U.S. plan is to control the "ultimate high ground of space and dominate the planet below" with high-tech weapons and a space corps
Interview by Scott Harris.

As promised during his campaign, George W. Bush is marching full speed ahead to build a 21st century model of the Reagan-era "Star Wars" program. The drive to construct the multi-billion dollar national missile defense system comes as Russia, China and many European nations are voicing strong opposition, expressing the fear that a U.S. intercept missile program will abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and spark a new global nuclear arms race. The weapons program -- justified by its supporters as necessary to defend against sneak attacks by so-called rogue states like North Korea, Iran and Iraq -- has been condemned by scores of arms control officials, scientists and 50 Nobel laureates.

The technical viability of "Star Wars" has also come into question after multiple test failures and allegations that aerospace corporations attempted to cover-up or minimize the system's malfunctions. Before becoming the Bush administration's secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld chaired the commission to assess U.S. national security space management. Hinting at a long range plan going far beyond mere missile defense, the Rumsfeld Commission advocated that America embark on a comprehensive program to establish military superiority in outer space.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with investigative journalist Karl Grossman, who examines the drive to build a national missile defense system and the danger that it will undermine global and regional strategic balance and stability.

Contact the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space at (352) 337-9274 or visit their Web site at

Related articles and interviews

Congressional Progressives Propose Alternative to Bush Tax Plan
Interview by Scott Harris.

As the nation enters into debate on the Bush administration's $1.6 trillion dollar tax cut proposal, Democratic party leaders have yet to announce details of their alternative plan. But members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have put forward an initiative that they call "The American People's Dividend." The plan calls for a simple $300 dollar across-the-board tax rebate for every American man, woman and child. The Progressive Caucus estimates that their tax plan will cost about $900 billion over 10 years.

Critics of the Bush plan, including the conservative Wall Street Journal, have pointed out that the Bush proposal reserves 40 percent of the tax benefits for the wealthiest one percent of the population and will spend a projected budget surplus that years down the road may not materialize.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Congressman Kucinich describes the Progressive Caucus tax plan, which unlike the Bush Administration tax proposal will provide the largest share of relief to working class families and those on limited incomes.

Contact the Congressional Progressive Caucus at (202) 225-5871 or visit their Web site at

This week's summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon and Rich Fraser

  • Proposed New York state drug law reform to reduce harsh sentences for nonviolent offenders; increase drug treatment availability in prisons; and increase stiff penalties for drug kingpins. (upcoming Westchester Weekly)
  • Urban-suburban sprawl leading to suburbs more fragile than "center cities," once they start to decline. (The Nation, Nov. 20, 2000)
  • Tejano session musicians say entertainment industry bilking them of their share of profits by circumventing labor protections afforded Anglo musicians. ("Latin Music's Dirty Little Secret," Mother Jones Newswire, Feb. 6, 2001)

Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
News writer: Rich Fraser
Program narration: Arch Currie
News reader: Nigel Reese
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

WPKN Special Update on GOP National Convention Defendants
Columbia Law School Graduate and ACT-Up Activist Speak Out About Their Upcoming Trials

Between The Lines/WPKN Counter-Inaugural Protest Archive (in MP3):

"'Stolen Election' Outrage Unites Progressive Coalitions with Mainstream America" Interview with John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies, at the counter-inaugural protest coalition press conference in Washington D.C., Jan. 19, 2001.

" Political Shocks of Electoral College Decision and U.S. Supreme Court Coup Spurs New Era of Activism" Interview with Ronnie Dugger, founder of Alliance For Democracy, Jan. 19, 2001. He spoke at the counter-inaugural protest coalition press conference in Washington D.C.

"Dems and GOP Two Branches of Washington, D.C.'s 'Company Town,'" Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, interviewed at Washington, D.C. Dupont Circle inauguration protest.

Post Inauguration and Electoral Reform Resources

"Making Every Vote Count", The Nation Magazine, Special Section

"Hailing the Thief," The Nation Special Web Exclusive Report, by Ben Ehrenreich

Between The Lines/WPKN Report on Pacifica Network Radio-WBAI, N.Y. Crisis
Interviews with Utrice Leid, Leslie Cagan, and Bernard White

Between The Lines/WPKN 'Profiles Bush Cabinet Nominees' Archive:

"John Ashcroft Sought White Supremacist Political Support"

Interior Department Nominee Gale Norton at Odds with Public Support for Protecting the Environment

"Attorney General Nominee's Career Marked by Opposition to Reproductive Rights and Civil Rights Law"

"From Vietnam to Florida's Disenfranchisement of Black Voters: Unheroic Moments in Secretary of State Nominee Colin Powell's Career"


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