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Between The Lines Archive
For The Week Ending Feb. 16, 2001


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 7 or 8.)

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

Diverse Coalition Must Continue to Oppose Republican Policies After Failed Campaign to Deny Ashcroft Attorney General Post
Former Missouri senator will be presidential advisor in choosing federal judges and Supreme Court justices
Interview by Scott Harris.

Despite vocal opposition by many progressive groups across the country, the U.S. Senate confirmed John Ashcroft as attorney general by a 58 to 42 vote. Although the Senate Judiciary Committee examined Ashcroft's association with white supremacist groups and a history of opposition to abortion, civil rights and gay rights, eight Democrats voted to confirm the former Missouri senator, apparently believing his pledge to uphold all the laws he has spent his entire career working to overturn. The Democratic leadership spun their defeat as a warning to the Bush administration that with their 42 votes they will have the ability to obstruct future extremist nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As attorney general, John Ashcroft will supervise 130,000 employees at the Justice Department and advise Bush on future appointments to the federal bench as well as the Supreme Court. Ashcroft will also have vast power over federal enforcement of reproductive rights laws, the hate crimes statute, racial profiling, the death penalty and drug sentencing disparity.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with author and commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who assesses the significance of the failed campaign to deny confirmation of John Ashcroft as attorney general and the battles that lie ahead over the next four years.

Contact Hutchinson's group, the National Alliance for Positive Action at (310) 672-2542 or visit their Web site at

Progressives Battle Corporate Conservatives for Soul of Democratic Party
For the first time since 1955, GOP controls all branches of government as Democratic Leadership Council tries to move party further to right
Interview by Scott Harris.

The corporate media and many Democrats are tripping over themselves to heap praise on President Bush's first weeks in office for what they say is his promotion of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill. The Bush charm offensive, however, is viewed by many as camouflage for the hard right political decisions made in the controversial nominations of John Ashcroft as attorney general, Gale Norton as interior secretary and a collection of Cold Warriors in national security posts. Despite opposition from Senate Democrats, all the Bush nominees were eventually confirmed. Owing an important political debt to the Christian Right, Mr. Bush's first executive order cut federal funding to overseas clinics that offered abortion counseling or services.

Meanwhile, the Democrats were assessing the political landscape, which for the first time since 1955 saw the Republican party in control of the White House and both houses of Congress. The conservative Democratic Leadership Council, with which Bill Clinton has long been associated, concluded that their party lost the White House because Al Gore campaigned on an outdated, populist platform that was too liberal for most Americans. The DLC also concluded that votes cast for the progressive agenda of the Green Party's Ralph Nader were insignificant.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with John Cavanagh, executive director of the Institute for Policy Studies, who takes a look at the post-election battle between conservatives and progressives within the Democratic Party and the nation at large.

Contact IPS by calling (202) 234-9382 or visit their web site at

Related Web page and transcript

Federal Probe Targets Right-wing Cuban-American Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart for Alleged Violations of Campaign Finance Law
Interview by Denise Manzari.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Florida congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart's campaign accepted thousands of dollars in excessive and prohibited campaign contributions, with an additional $114,000 dollars unaccounted for.

Cited with nine violations over the last four years, Diaz-Balart is the first member of Congress whose re-election campaign faces thousands of dollars in fines for failing to file contribution disclosure reports under new rules authorized by Congress.

In April 2000, the FEC placed the report on the public record. The investigation showed that since 1993, unlawful contributions were made to the Balart campaign and tens of thousands of dollars have since had to be refunded. The 13-page report reveals a money trail fraught with irregularities and a congressional office that was uncooperative and perhaps even deceitful. The Miami-Dade Republican congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart has been a long time anti-Castro advocate. He has backed all efforts to tighten the U.S. embargo against Cuba, including the recent decision to codify the travel ban prohiting U.S. tourists from visiting Cuba. His most recent appearance in the media spotlight occurred when he accompanied Elian Gonzalez to Disneyland and presented him with a puppy. Elian is the 6-year-old shipwreck survivor sent back to Cuba in June, 2000 after a seven-month international custody battle.

Dan Christensen is an investigative journalist with the Miami-based Daily Business Review. He spoke with Denise Manzari about his ongoing investigation into the campaign finance irregularities of right-wing Cuban-American congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. For more information, search the archives at

Related article

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

  • White separatist political groups gaining new support in U.S. southern states. (World Press Review)
  • Supply-side Republicans wonder if new Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has enough fire to lead the charge for Bush Administration's $1.6 trilion tax cut. (The Nation, Jan. 29, 2001)
  • Parents concerned over schools selling out to sugar-laden soft drink companies. ("Schoolhouse Rot", Mother Jones Newswire, Jan. 10, 2001)

Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
News writer: Rich Fraser
Program narration: Denise Manzari
News reader: Elaine Osowski
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Producer: Denise Manzari
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

WPKN Special Update on GOP National Convention Defendants
Columbia Law School Graduate and ACT-Up Activist Speak Out About Their Upcoming Trials

Between The Lines/WPKN Counter-Inaugural Protest Archive (in MP3):

"'Stolen Election' Outrage Unites Progressive Coalitions with Mainstream America" Interview with John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies, at the counter-inaugural protest coalition press conference in Washington D.C., Jan. 19, 2001.

" Political Shocks of Electoral College Decision and U.S. Supreme Court Coup Spurs New Era of Activism" Interview with Ronnie Dugger, founder of Alliance For Democracy, Jan. 19, 2001. He spoke at the counter-inaugural protest coalition press conference in Washington D.C.

"Dems and GOP Two Branches of Washington, D.C.'s 'Company Town,'" Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, interviewed at Washington, D.C. Dupont Circle inauguration protest.

Post Inauguration and Electoral Reform Resources

"Making Every Vote Count", The Nation Magazine, Special Section

"Hailing the Thief," The Nation Special Web Exclusive Report, by Ben Ehrenreich

Between The Lines/WPKN Report on Pacifica Network Radio-WBAI, N.Y. Crisis
Interviews with Utrice Leid, Leslie Cagan, and Bernard White

Between The Lines/WPKN 'Profiles Bush Cabinet Nominees' Archive:

"John Ashcroft Sought White Supremacist Political Support"

Interior Department Nominee Gale Norton at Odds with Public Support for Protecting the Environment

"Attorney General Nominee's Career Marked by Opposition to Reproductive Rights and Civil Rights Law"

"From Vietnam to Florida's Disenfranchisement of Black Voters: Unheroic Moments in Secretary of State Nominee Colin Powell's Career"


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