Between The Lines

News and Analysis
For The Week Ending Aug. 11, 2000

Listen to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking here or any of the individual interview segments below (All in RealAudio, needs RealPlayer G2, 7 or 8).

Click here to listen to protest speeches and interviews with activists during the GOP Convention July 31-Aug. 3. (Audio files in MP3 and RealAudio formats.)

For breaking news coverage of the GOP Convention Protests, see the Philadelphia Independent Media Center Web site at:

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

Big Business Bankrolls Both Major Party Conventions: What's the Quid Pro Quo?
Interview by Scott Harris.
Although street demonstrations and civil disobedience actions stole the show at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, the corporations that provided millions of dollars to fund the GOP convention -- and to the Democrats for their upcoming gathering in Los Angeles in August--.are sure to get their money's worth.

The 2000 GOP convention cost more than $50 million dollars while the Democrats are expected to spend about $35 million. Federal matching funds will provide each party with $13.3 million for their respective soirees, with the rest coming from corporations hoping to influence policy decisions in future legislative sessions.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Larry Makinson, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, who analyzes what favors these corporate donors were looking for when they wrote those six figure checks.

Contact the Center by calling (202) 857-0044 or visit their Web site at

A Candidate Praises Maine's New Clean Money Campaign Finance System
Interview by Scott Harris.

The citizens of Maine were the first in the nation to implement a system to publicly finance elections for state office when they approved the Clean Elections Act ballot initiative in November 1996. The act gives candidates for state office the option to refuse all private money, limit campaign spending and fund their elections through limited amounts of public financing.

Although the ballot measure was challenged in federal court, advocates of campaign finance reform in Maine won and moved on to initiate the Clean Money option for candidates competing in the state's 2000 elections. Since the success of Maine's ballot initiative, voters in Vermont, Massachusetts and Arizona have approved similar plans to overhaul their campaign finance systems.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Shlomit Auciello, a candidate vying for a seat in Maine's House of Representatives this year, who explains how that state's new public financing laws enabled her to run for public office for the first time.

Contact Public Campaign, a group working for campaign finance reform across the country by calling (202) 293-0222; or visit their Web site at
Shlomit Auciello may be contacted at (207)273-3065 or visit her Web site at

The FBI's "Carnivore" Threatens Civil Liberties
Interview by Scott Harris.

Press reports recently revealed the existence of a new FBI computer surveillance system with the capability to covertly search e-mail messages of suspects targeted in criminal or political investigations.

Before eavesdroping on a suspect's computer communication, the FBI and police agencies must first obtain a court order in a way similar to acquiring legal authorization to install telephone wiretaps. But in monitoring digital communication through a designated Internet service provider, law enforcement now has unrestricted access to every customers' e-mail, online banking and Web surfing data.

Pointing to documented abuses of the past, the American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates have urged Congress to update electronic privacy laws made obsolete by the development of the Internet and other new communication technology.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Deborah Pierce, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who examines the civil liberties implications of the FBI's Carnivore surveillance system.

Contact the Foundation by calling (415) 436-9333 or visit their Web site at

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

  • Serbs and gypsies targeted in continued ethinic violence in Kosovo. (In These Times: June 12, 2000)
  • U.S. funds anti-government groups in Cuba.(The Nation, July 3, 2000)
  • HIV-positive inmates denied proper medical care. (The Progressive: July 2000)

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