Announcements Announcements

SAVE THIS DATE: OCT. 8, 2016 JEREMY SCAHILL: Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker "Dirty Wars"

Jeremy Scahill will be the keynote speaker at Between The Lines/Squeaky Wheel Productions' 25th anniversary event on Saturday, Oct. 8 in New Haven, Connecticut. He'll address ongoing U.S. wars, drone warfare and other foreign policy issues facing the U.S. during this presidential election campaign and long after.

Scahill is an award-winning investigative journalist with the Nation magazine, correspondent for Democracy Now! and author of the bestselling book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," about America's outsourcing of its military.

In an exclusive interview with Between The Lines' producer Scott Harris on Sept. 16, 2013, Scahill talks about his latest book, "Dirty Wars, The World is a Battlefield," also made into a documentary film under the same title, and was nominated Dec. 5, 2013 for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category. He is one of three founding editors at the Intercept, along with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, and has a new book titled, "The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program" written with the staff of the Intercept. Listen to Scahill's exclusive interview (30:33) on Scott Harris' Sept. 16, 2013 episode of Counterpoint (

Between The Lines on Stitcher


Between The Lines' 25th Anniversary

Help Between The Lines in 2016, our 25th anniversary year, with a secure online donation through Network For Good via our 501(c)(3) nonprofit distributor, Squeaky Wheel Productions.


More information here.

Between The Lines Presentation at the Left Forum 2016

"How Do We Build A Mass Movement to Reverse Runaway Inequality?" with Les Leopold, author of "Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice," Sunday, May 22, 2016 from 10 a.m.- to 12:15 p.m., Room 8.61, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York, 860 11th Ave. (Between 58th and 59th), New York City. Between The Lines' Scott Harris and Richard Hill moderated this workshop. Listen to the audio/slideshows and more from this workshop.

Can Bernie recreate the Rainbow Coalition?

Kevin Alexander Gray, civil rights and labor organizer, author and commentator, questions Bernie Sanders' ability to mobilize minority support given his early missteps and failure to build bridges to marginalized communities before launching his campaign. Gray also assesses the state of the Black Lives Matter movement and speculates on its prospects for broadening its agenda to include the full spectrum of progressive. (MP3 audio, 54:14) Please note: Raw audio, static between 3:50-5:55.

How sustainable is the recent wave of positive change?

Robert Borosage, director of Campaign for America's Future ( addresses the question: Do the recent waves of positive events represent a sea change that will continue to gather momentum? Or are they an anomaly that will be blown away in a blast of right-wing outrage? Interview conducted by Richard Hill. (MP3 audio, 28:49)

Only Activism Can Challenge America's Rigged System to Reverse Inequality and Restore Democracy

Interview with Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent, editor and Washington Bureau chief for The New York Times (MP3 audio, 21:47)

Hedrick Smith talks about how we can restore democracy, reduce inequality and rebuild the power of the people. He is also author of many books, his latest titled, "Who Stole the American Dream?"

Between The Lines' Coverage of Ralph Nader's Convocation of the American Museum of Tort Reform in Winsted, CT Sept. 26, 2015

Convcation speeches (MP3 audio - 2.5 hours)

Patti Smith's People Have the Power (QuickTime movie-download only (raw video)

Patti Smith's "People Have the Power" (raw video)

See more information

Please call (203) 816-1409 or (203) 268-8446 if you are experiencing any disruption or have any questions.

Between The Lines' Coverage of the 2015 Left Forum

Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine held a Left Forum panel discussion:

"Successes and Challenges of Human Rights Campaigns for Publicly Financed Health Care in the U.S." on May 30, 2015

Newly added video of the health care panel

Listen to audio of the plenary sessions from the three-day weekend.

"The TPP: Capitalism on Steroids,"

MP3Economics professor Richard Wolff compares socialist and capitalist economic models, presents a new paradigm for socialist transition and debunks mainstream pundits' consignment of socialism to the "ash heap of history." He then deconstructs the argument for so-called "free trade" and analyzes the threats to working people everywhere and what is left of the American middle class by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Interview with Between The Lines' Richard Hill on May 5, 2015.

"More Lies. More War? The Truth Behind the Iran Nuclear Scare,"

MP3Gareth Porter, award-winning investigative journalist, deconstructs the web of half-truths and outright deceptions that have tainted the debate over negotiating a peaceful resolution to the Iran nuclear issue. Interview with Between The Lines' Richard Hill, on April 7, 2015.

"Mentor, Friend and Supporter Danny Schechter Will Be Missed"

Reflections on the extraordinary life of activist, author, news analyst, documentary filmmaker and Between The Lines' friend Danny Schechter, "The News Dissector," who died on Thursday, March 19, 2015

"A Conversation with Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras on Her Documentary Film, 'CITIZEN FOUR'"

Edward Snowden via video link from Moscow joined Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras discussing Poitras' new Academy Award-nominated documentary film, "Citizen Four," at a TimesTalk event Feb. 12, 2015. Listen to an audio recording of the entire one-hour event.

"TECHNO-UTOPIANISM and the Fate of the Earth"

Selected Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine audio recordings from: The International Forum on Globalization's conference, Oct. 25, 2014, Cooper Union, New York City

"UNSTOPPABLE": Ralph Nader talk, interview July 26, 2014

Listen to Ralph Nader's 75 min. talk and interview about his new book, "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State" at Barnes and Noble, Milford, Connecticut. Nader makes a compelling case for left-right alliances on majoritarian issues that progressives and conservatives agree on, acknowledging that individuals feel all too often that they are powerless against the big power structure. He notes that issues such as school prayer, reproductive rights and gun control are issues that the power structure depends on to keep the majority divided. The minimum wage, breaking up the big banks, Pentagon audits, health care, campaign finance reform, corporate tax inversions, Net Neutrality, fracking and GMOs are just a few examples of left-right issues discussed with the audience. He says just a fraction of the left and right – working together – can make a huge "unstoppable" political realignment in passing legislation, despite the "ick factor" of working with those whose other views they don't always agree with.

Listen to Ralph Nader's short interview on current events with Scott Harris before the booksigning.

Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine was at the Left Forum, May 30 - June 1, 2014, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York

Audio recordings from the Left Forum here.

PETE SEEGER (1919-2014): "Folk Music's Granddad Plays It Green"

Read a partial interview transcript with Pete Seeger conducted by Between The Lines' Scott Harris on June 5, 1994 and published in E: The Environmental Magazine in December 1994

Listen to the entire 30-minute interview here.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker "Dirty Wars"

Listen to the full interview (30:33) with Jeremy Scahill, an award-winning investigative journalist with the Nation Magazine, correspondent for Democracy Now! and author of the bestselling book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," about America's outsourcing of its military. In an exclusive interview with Counterpoint's Scott Harris on Sept. 16, 2013, Scahill talks about his latest book, "Dirty Wars, The World is a Battlefield," also made into a documentary film under the same title, and was nominated Dec. 5, 2013 for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Obama Threat Against Syria Based on Maintaining U.S. 'Credibility'

Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine at the Left Forum, June 7-9, Pace University, New York City

Between The Lines' Left Forum audio coverage (more forthcoming):

Bill McKibben, environmental activist and founder of talks about the next steps in the climate change campaign

An address by Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots climate campaign, upon receiving the annual Gandhi Peace Award from the New Haven-based group Promoting Enduring Peace on April 18 in Hamden, CT

Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with "The End of Nature" in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. The group he founded,, has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. The Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was "probably the country’s most important environmentalist."

Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece's Left Party Coalition, on "Anti-Austerity Politics in Greece, Europe and Beyond"

A talk recorded on Jan. 25, 2013 at The City University of New York, in a program sponsored by CUNY's Center for the Study of Culture, Technology, and Work.

Alexis Tsipras, a member of the Hellenic parliament, president of the Synaspismos political party since 2008, head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group since 2009, and leader of the Opposition since June 2012. SYRIZA currently leads in Greek opinion polls. Listen to the audio here.

Listen to Scott Harris Live on WPKN Radio

Between The Lines' Executive Producer Scott Harris hosts a live, weekly talk show, Counterpoint, from which some of Between The Lines' interviews are excerpted. Listen every Monday evening from 8 to 10 p.m. EDT at (Follows the 5-7 minute White Rose Calendar.)

Counterpoint in its entirety is archived after midnight ET Monday nights, and is available for at least a year following broadcast in WPKN Radio's Archives.

You can also listen to full unedited interview segments from Counterpoint, which are generally available some time the day following broadcast.

Subscribe to Counterpoint bulletins via our subscriptions page.

Between The Lines Blog  BTL Blog

"Mentor, Friend and Supporter Danny Schechter Will Be Missed" by Scott Harris, March 27, 2015

"A Travesty of Reporting," by Reginald Johnson, March 22, 2015

"GOP senators defend CIA cannibalism program," by Samuel Schmaltz, Dec. 13, 2014

"Demanding Justice for Michael Brown," by Reginald Johnson, Nov. 25, 2014

"Shut Down a Cold War Relic," by Reginald Johnson, Oct. 7, 2014

"U.S. breaking the law? Who cares?" by Reginald Johnson, Sept. 2, 2014

"Warsaw Ghetto 1943 and Occupied Gaza 2014: No Valid Comparison, but Several Haunting Parallels," by Scott Harris, July 31, 2014

"Drifting Towards War?" by Reginald Johnson, May 23, 2014

"Media on Ukraine: What Happened to Journalism?" by Reginald Johnson, May 2, 2014

"Dismantling the Corporate State," by Reginald Johnson, April 8, 2014

"Talking Tough on Russia," by Reginald Johnson, March 20, 2014

"Those Lying Russians," by Reginald Johnson, March 6, 2014

Special Programming Special Programming

MP3: Glenn Greenwald delivers a keynote address at "A Conference in Defense of Civil Liberties and to End Indefinite Detention" at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain on Dec. 8, 2012.

Glenn Greenwald is a columnist on civil liberties and US national security issues for the Guardian newspaper. He's a former constitutional lawyer, and until 2012 was a contributing writer at Greenwald is the author of "With Liberty and Justice For Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful."

Read his column at The Guardian (UK)
Between The Lines' executive producer Scott Harris conducted an interview with Glenn Greenwald at the conference.

Noam Chomsky is linguistics and philosophy professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Author of nearly 100 books, Chomsky is one of the world's most widely read progressive dissident intellectuals. He talks about his new book, "Occupy," about the Occupy Wall Street movement and the wider issues of class warfare in the America today.
Listen to this interview (June 6, 2011)

MP3: Nathan Schneider ( has been reporting on the OWS movement from its first days in August, 2011. In this April 3, 2012 interview, Richard Hill asks him to assess the on-going debate in the movement between those espousing a strict adherence to non-violence principles and practices and those advocating a 'diversity of tactics', Interview conducted by Richard Hill, WPKN

Between The Lines Progressive Resources

A compilation of activist and news sites with a progressive point of view

Share this content:


Podcasts Subscribe to BTL

Podcasts:  direct  or  via iTunes

Subscribe to Program Summaries, Interview Transcripts or Counterpoint via email or RSS feed

If you have other questions regarding subscriptions, feeds or podcasts/mp3s go to our Audio Help page.

Between The Lines Blog

Stay connected to BTL

RSS feed  twitter  facebook

donate  Learn how to support our efforts!

shop  Online Store

Responding to Nuns' Lawsuit, Supreme Court Blocks Obamacare Birth Control Provision

MP3  MP3

Posted Jan. 8, 2014

Interview with Sharon Levin, director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy with the National Women's Law Center, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


Jan. 1, 2014 marked the start date for several important provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and, despite the shaky rollout of the federal website in the fall, more than 2.1 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance through the federal and state health exchanges. That's in addition to the 3 million young adults who have been able to retain health coverage under their parents' insurance policies, and the addition of 3.9 million Americans now eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in states that agreed to expand Medicaid eligibility paid for by federal funds. Several of the new health insurance provisions relate specifically to women.

Reacting to Obamacare’s mandate that both for-profit and non-profit employers must cover the cost of birth control for their employees, the Denver, Colorado-based Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged and other non-profits asked the Supreme Court to halt enforcement of that provision. On New Year's Eve, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor responded to the Little Sisters challenge by issuing an injunction, stopping implementation of the measure, pending a response from the Obama administration.

Under the Affordable Care Act, religious institutions are exempt from the mandate to provide contraceptives, but nonprofit religious-affiliated groups, such as church-run hospitals, religious schools and charities must either provide no-cost contraception coverage or have a third-party insurer provide separate benefits without the employer's direct involvement. Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Sharon Levin, director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy with the National Women's Law Center, about both the positive new developments for women under Obamacare and the possibility that the courts could deny women birth control coverage because their employers consider such coverage to be a violation of their moral beliefs and religious liberty.

SHARON LEVIN: There are a number of provisions in Obamacare that are reallly important to help women. One is the repeal of what is called gender rating. And basically, health insurance plans were charging women higher premiums just because they were women. They were treated being a woman like it was a pre-existing condition. And Obamacare repeals that as of yesterday, so as of Jan. 1, plans can no longer gender-rate, which is really important because it means men and women will be treated equally.

Another provision that went into effect yesterday is that plans can no longer charge more for people with pre-existing conditions generally, and that was a really important provision to help women and anyone with a pre-existing condition.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Can you explain the origin of the exclusion of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions? Those seem to be the people who need insurance the most.

SHARON LEVIN: Basically, health insurance is a little bit like legal gambling. Health plans want to bet, when they take your policy, that they're not going to have to pay out on your policy, right, so the money they get in from your premiums is all profit, because if they have to pay out, they're actually losing moeny. Their goal is to get as many young, healthy people into their plans as possible, because they're betting then that they won't have to pay out. So if you get somebody on your plan who has a pre-existing condition, you're going to have to pay out for health services for them, because you already know they have a condition that requres medical attention. And so basically, the plans didn't want to spend the money and tried to keep people out of the plans that they would actually have to pay money for. That's why people with pre-existing conditions were kept out of plans; that's why, historically, a lot of plans didn't cover maternity benefits, because that's expensive. And a lot of the policies that the plans had in place before Obamacare were ironic, as you said, because (those who) most needed medical services, were being kept off insurance.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Is including these previously excluded people from coverage going to raise rates for them or for everyone, since they'll be using more health care?

SHARON LEVIN: It shouldn't. It depends on where they get their coverage, but in most group health plans, if you're getting your coverage through your employer, it shouldn't affect it.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Are there other aspects of the law that benefit women?

SHARON LEVIN: Another provision that's very important for women is a provision that went into effect in 2012 that requires a set of important preventive health services for women, including contraception, to be covered without cost-sharing. And we've heard from women all over the country who are excited that they've been able to get their pill prescription filled, for example, without a co-pay, and they've sent us copies of their receipts from the drug store that have a 0 down for how much they were charged out of pocket.

BETWEEN THE LINES: That's really good news, but speaking of birth control, there's been this big fight over which non-profits, if they're religiously affiliated or even private for-profit companies that don't approve of birth control, which ones will be exempt from having to provide that coverage? And on Jan. 2, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor stayed the implementation of the requirement for certain organizations. Can you run down the different kinds of entities and how they can be exempt?

SHARON LEVIN: There are some employers who have objected to the contraceptive coverage provision because they claim it infringes on their religious rights. And there are a couple of things to keep in mind about this. First, allowing an employee to use their own health benefits that they've earned as part of their compensation doesn't really impact employers' religious rights. It's part of the compensation a worker has earned. And basically, bosses should not be making women's health decisions. A boss should not be able to decide whether a woman can use contraception; that's a decision a woman should be making along with her health provider. In addition, employees have religious rights, and they have the right not to have their boss' religion imposed on them. You asked about the type of employers, and there are really three sets of employers. The first is houses of worship; if you're a church or a synagogue you don't have to abide by this rule; there's a regulation that exempts you. So churches don't have to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. There's a second group which are some non-profits that were really created for religious purposes and hold themselves out as having a religious purpose, and they can be accommodated, which means they don't have to provide contraceptive coverage – they have to let their insurance company know that they won't provide it, and then their insurance company provides it. So that way, the women still get the coverage they need, and that's the important thing. The third group of employers who have sued are for-profit companies, who want to get out from this contraceptive coverage provision, and it's very dangerous that a for-profit company could be able to say that they don't want to abide by a law that was created to protect employees based on their assertion of a religious right, because, as I said before, employees have religious rights, and the government has an interest in protecting the health needs of employees. We have a lot of laws out there that protect employees, and it would be a very dangerous precedent if for-profit employers could just opt out of them. And it raised a very important issue: Can a company have religious beliefs? These companies were not created to further religious beliefs; they were created to make a profit for their owners. Should a company that's in business to make a profit be able to opt out from laws that protect their employees? That's really the question at issue here.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Do you think as more people are covered by different elements of the health care law that it's going to be harder to overturn it or take up time over and over in Congress trying to overturn it?

SHARON LEVIN: Yes, I think it will make it much more difficult and I think once people begin to be able to take advantage of the health care law; they won't want those benefits taken away. The fact that we are having legal fights about contraception in the year 2014 is mind-boggling. It's a widely used form of preventive health services; the vast majority of women use it at some point in their lives.

For more perspectives on the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, visit Federal Reproductive Health Policy with the National Women's Law Center at

Related Links: