May 27 2011

Weekly Digest – 05/27/11

Weekly Digest | Published 27 May 2011, 12:00 pm | Comments Off on Weekly Digest – 05/27/11 -

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vermontOur weekly edition is a nationally syndicated one-hour digest of the best of our daily coverage.

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This week on Uprising:

* Vermont Makes History with Single Payer Healthcare Law
* Supreme Court Orders California Prison System to Relieve Overcrowding
* Dilip Hiro on Miscalculating the Pakistan-China Connection

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Vermont Makes History with Single Payer Healthcare Law

The state of Vermont made history on Thursday when its Governor, Peter Shumlin, signed into a law a bill that would establish a single payer healthcare system. Advocates for equitable health care reform have for years, been organizing for such a system, which is modeled on the government’s Medicare program, but where everyone is eligible regardless of age. During the major healthcare reform battle of 2009, the option of a Single Payer system was left out early on, even though Candidate Obama was a supporter of it during his Presidential campaign. The Affordable Care Act that finally emerged and was signed into law allows for states to experiment with their own healthcare systems, but not until 2017. Earlier this year President Obama supported moving that date up to 2014. Vermont’s bill establishes a board of 5 members charged with coming up with a payment plan for the single payer system by January 2013. The healthcare under such a plan would be called Green Mountain Care and would be offered to Vermont residents as one of many existing options that include private health insurance plans. Green Mountain Care would be available even for those who are currently enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. In order to fully implement the bill signed by Governor Shumlin, Vermont needs a number of waivers from the federal government.

GUEST: David Himmelstein, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program

Supreme Court Orders California Prison System to Relieve Overcrowding

prisonsIn a 5-4 ruling the United States Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court’s decision mandating action from the state of California to reduce state prison overcrowding. That previous decision by a three-judge court required the State to “[decrease] its prison population to 137.5% of design capacity within two years.” The state can achieve the required result through a number of measures: building more prisons, moving prisoners from state to county facilities, and releasing inmates. California’s state prison system is designed to hold just under 80,000 individuals. It currently houses about 143,000 prisoners, down from a recent high of 165,000 – about twice the intended capacity. The Supreme Court case was 20 years in the making, and encompassed the consolidated complaints of two class action suits. Filed in 1990, Colman v. Brown held that mentally-ill prisoners did not receive adequate care. Plata v. Brown, filed in 2001, held that inadequate access to medical treatment violated prisoners’ 8th amendment right prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. Together the Plaintiffs argued that reducing overcrowding would be the only effective remedy for the violations. The plaintiffs cited numerous problems resulting from overcrowding including 50-odd inmates forced to share 1 toilet, waiting lists to see a doctor up to 700 prisoners long, and mentally-ill prisoners held in telephone-booth sized cages. The Supreme Court gave the state of California two weeks to submit a plan for reaching the required population target in two years.

GUEST: Ruthie Gilmore, Professor of Geography at CUNY Graduate Center, co-founder of Critical Resistance, author of Golden Gulag

Miscalculating the Pakistan-China Connection

pakistan chinaThe killing of Osama bin Laden has sparked a wave of attacks in Pakistan by the Pakistani Taliban. The latest attack came on Wednesday as a suicide bombed drove a car laden with explosives into a police station in Peshawar. Five police officers and one soldier was killed. The site of the attack was just half a mile from the U.S. Consulate office where a car bomb was detonated a week earlier, aimed at a consular convoy. Two Americans were among the dozens wounded in that attack – one man was killed. Meanwhile, a new publication by Wikileaks, of a 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable reveals that the Pakistani military has been inculcating its top officers with an anti-American bias. Military training courses were found to instill views highly critical of the Pakistani military’s foreign benefactor. While the Pakistani Taliban has unleashed its fury, relations between the Pakistani government and the U.S. have also come under very serious strain in the wake of bin Laden’s fatal raid. According to Dilip Hiro, author of “After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World,” the Obama administration may have miscalculated its Pakistan strategy because it is underestimating the influence that China has wielded on Pakistan.

GUEST: Dilip Hiro, political writer, journalist, historian and analyst specializing in the politics of Asia and the Middle East, author of more than 30 books, including “After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World”

Sonali’s Subversive Thought for the Day

“Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.” — Albert Einstein

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