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The Alyona Show: New START Treaty on a Roll

The new START treaty is heading to the Senate for full confirmation but the treaty is far from a done deal. One can't help but wonder how a stalled effort could affect Obama's attempts at restarting US-Russia relations. Things are looking up for the new START Treaty. However, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote on START doesn’t guarantee that the treaty will be approved by the Senate as a whole, as there are still Republican objections. So if it doesn't go through, what could the repercussions be? Tom Collina, the Research Director at the Arms Control Association explained the importance of the treaty.

Then, large numbers of soldiers have been wrongly discharged with personality disorders, meaning they’re no longer able to receive medical care and forced to give back a slice of their signing bonus. But the big question is whether these discharges are valid or just a way for the Pentagon to save billions of dollars. Investigative reporter Joshua Kors from The Nation explained that this preexisting condition is discovered only when the soldiers are wounded and seek health benefits. He explained the recent case of a wounded soldier that claims the military tortured him and then he was handed a bill.

Next GASLAND director Josh Fox shared the problems of fracking, the method used to drill for natural gas, that is putting people’s health at risk. Residents have noticed contaminated drinking water and other hazards. One household even had water that could catch on fire. Increasing pressure has led the EPA to launch an investigation.

And, in an effort to curb smoking, is New York going too far? NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have lined up behind a plan to expand the current smoking ban to now include Times Square, Central Park, and the Coney Island boardwalk. Professor Jonathan Ewing, a spokesperson from the Action on Smoking and Health, explained that a majority of people support these bans. He debates with Fred Smith, President and Founder of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who argued that basic enjoyment without government sanction is being banned.

Also, the US poverty rate surged to over 14-percent last year, the highest in 16 years. RT financial correspondent Lauren Lyster explained the effects poverty will have on the shrinking middle class.