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Between The Lines coverage of the 2017 Left Forum, June 2-4, 2017

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Promoting Enduring Peace presented its Gandhi Peace Award jointly to renowned consumer advocate Ralph Nader and BDS founder Omar Barghouti on April 23, 2017.



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THANK YOU TO EVERYONE...

who helped make our 25th anniversary with Jeremy Scahill a success!

For those who missed the event, or were there and really wanted to fully absorb its import, here it is in video

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Between The Lines Presentation at the Left Forum 2016

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"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,"May 22, 2016, 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.





Listen to audio of the plenary sessions from the weekend.



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.

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Between The Lines Blog  BTL Blog

"The Rogue World Order: Connecting the Dots Between Trump, Flynn, Bannon, Spencer, Dugin Putin," by Anna Manzo (GlobalHealing), Daily Kos, Feb. 13, 2017

"Widespread Resistance Begins to Trump's Muslim Travel Ban at U.S. Airports," by Anna Manzo (GlobalHealing), Daily Kos, Jan. 28, 2017

"MSNBC Editor: Women's March is a Revival of the Progressive Movement," by Anna Manzo (GlobalHealing), Daily Kos, Jan. 24, 2017

"Cornering Trump," by Reginald Johnson, Jan. 19, 2017

"Free Leonard Peltier," by Reginald Johnson, Jan. 6, 2016

"For Natives, a "Day of Mourning"by Reginald Johnson, November 23, 2016

"A Bitter Harvest" by Reginald Johnson, Nov. 15, 2016


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New Trump Election Integrity Commission a "Sham"

Posted May 17, 2017

MP3 Interview with Jenny Flanagan, vice president for state operations with Common Cause, conducted by Scott Harris

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Not long after the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump declared that he would have won the national popular vote and not merely by the Electoral College, if it hadn’t been for millions of illegal votes cast by non-citizens in several states. In fact, Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by some three million votes and his repeated charge of widespread voter fraud across the U.S. has been debunked by numerous investigations and academic research.

Now in the wake of the controversy generated by Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, the president has signed an executive order establishing a presidential commission to examine "election integrity," based on his bogus assertions of voter fraud. The commission will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will serve as vice chair. Both these Republican politicians have a long history of supporting voter suppression measures that make it more difficult for specific groups of voters to cast ballots, groups that generally support Democratic candidates.

Since 2010, nearly two dozen Republican-controlled state governments have enacted an assortment of new voter suppression laws, many of which have been struck down by federal courts deeming them to be designed to gain partisan political advantage. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jenny Flanagan, vice president for state operations with Common Cause. Here, she examines Trump's false premise for creating the "election integrity" commission, and the danger of the panel being used as a "Trojan Horse" to justify new voter suppression measures. [Rush transcript]

JENNY FLANAGAN: There's been a lot of research and I think, notably, to stand up to what Trump and other Republicans are saying, the investigation that took place under the Bush administration – George W. Bush – also led an investigation searching. This commission seeks, too, for that needle in the haystack of some indication of non-citizens voting in our elections. And they didn't find it. The Brennan Center also conducted years-long surveys of election challenges where voters may have been subject to claims of voter fraud or wrongful voting. It is more likely to be struck by lightning than it is for someone to have committed voter fraud in this country. It's just not happening.

But it is rhetoric that moves people. Most Americans find that it is easy to vote. They make their registration when they go to the motor vehicle office; they know where their polling place is. And for most Americans that's a wonderful thing. But for many Americans, particularly those who are disenfranchised historically, in all aspects of our society – who may not drive and have that driver's license who are in and out of homes and moving locations frequently – for those individuals, it's more difficult to track down the rules and requirements in order to access your vote. And they're capitalizing on those challenges instead of making it easier.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Jenny, given the fact that Republican-controlled state governments across the country have invoked these voter suppression tactics deemed as such by federal courts, highly partisan laws that try to gain political advantage for Republican candidates – given that fact, what is the ultimate objective of this commission in your view? Is the fact that Donald Trump invoked this panel to look at voter fraud mean that the objective possibly could be to justify more repressive voter measures – make it increasingly more difficult for particular groups of voters to cast ballots in future elections?

JENNY FLANAGAN: Absolutely. All signs are pointing in that direction. And that's why we call it a sham. To put these two individuals, Mike Pence and Kris Kobach, who are both known to support these voter suppression laws in charge of a commission aimed at "voting integrity"? I think the American public need to look much more closely at what integrity means to them. To us, voter integrity means that every eligible voter can cast their ballot and have it counted accurately with confidence. And with Russian interference in our elections, there were a lot of doubts going into the 2016 election, as there continue to be doubts in terms of what kind of interference took place, whether or not on our voting equipment or trying to influence our elections in other ways. And we deserve better than that as citizens of this country. We deserve voting systems that are modern and up to date. And that's why we're working with election officials all across the country.

BETWEEN THE LINES: One last question for you, Jenny. There are efforts across the country to push back in another direction. There's automatic registration as many countries across Europe have – when you're born or get a driver's license, or become of majority age, you are automatically registered to vote. Here, there's a lot of games involved in political partisanship that goes into a lot of the regulations around registering to vote. But maybe you can conclude here by telling us how people can push back against these voter suppression laws, and certainly resist what recommendations are likely to come out of this presidential election integrity commission.

JENNY FLANAGAN: Automatic voter registration is moving in dozens of states across the country with bipartisanship support because there are more convenient, more cost-effective ways to register voters with integrity. I'm not afraid of that word. We should have integrity in our voting system. And we can do it with Democrats and Republicans alike. People who really do care about our democracy. Reforms are moving likewise, reforms like combining vote by mail with in-person voting. There are real solutions out there that election officials and civic engagement leaders and elected officials in state legislatures are advancing to make reforms.

I think the most important thing that people can do is just keep the pressure on contacting your lawmaker whether they're a Democrat or a Republican, everybody's got a role to play to stand up for our democracy. And if we lose our right to vote, that is a right through which all other rights flow. This is a civil rights issue, it is a social justice issue, it is really the fundamental core of being American – to be able participate in our democracy through voting. So it is really critical that we continue to speak up on behalf of all Americans.

Learn more about Common Cause by visiting CommonCause.org.

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