BTS 12/31/07: Health Care; Iowa Caucuses; Bush and Iran

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Tonight we pay attention to Politics, which never stop. We begin with State Senator Sheila Kuehl. She has sponsored and won Single Payer Health care SB840 in the State Assembly which was then vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. She comments on the compromise healthcare bill passed by the State Assembly.

We then turn to the Presidential Race: the Iowa Caucuses are January 3 and John Nichols joins us to comment – not on the horse race, but the issues.

And Finally on tonight’s program we talk to Chris Hedges about the impact of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran on President Bush’s war plans. Hedges says Bush is like a wounded beat – not stopped, but poised to attack seeking new rationales.

Read more for info on tonight's guests:

1. Sheila Kuehl was elected to the State Senate in 2000 and again in 2004 after serving for six years in the State Assembly. During the 1997-98 legislative session, she was the first woman in California history to be named Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly. She is also the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature. A former pioneering civil rights attorney and law professor, Sen. Kuehl represents the 23rd Senate District in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. She is the chair of the Senate Health Committee and sits on the Agriculture, Appropriations, Environmental Quality, Joint Rules, Judiciary, Labor and Employment, and Natural Resources and Water Committees. Since 2003, she has led the fight in the legislature to achieve true universal health care in California, and, in 2006, brought SB 840, the California Universal Healthcare Act, to the Governor’s desk, the first time in U.S. history a single-payer healthcare bill had gone so far. Undaunted by its veto, Senator Kuehl continues to work to bring universal, affordable, quality health care to all Californians.

2. John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. Nichols is the author of the upcoming book The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press), as well as a critically-acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press) and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books.) With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored It's the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories) and Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, the nation's media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.

3. Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He has 15 years of experience reporting from war zones in the Persian Gulf, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, the West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, the Punjab, Bosnia and Kosovo.In 2002, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times’ coverage of global terrorism. Hedges is the author of the bestselling books War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Losing Moses on the Freeway, and American Fascists.