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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

Jeremy Scahill keynote speech, part 1 from PROUDEYEMEDIA on Vimeo.

Jeremy Scahill keynote speech, part 2 from PROUDEYEMEDIA on Vimeo.


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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

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Unchecked Development and Deregulation Exacerbated Hurricane Harvey’s Destruction in Texas

Posted Sept. 6, 2017

MP3 Interview with Robert Buzzanco, professor of history at the University of Houston, conducted by Scott Harris

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Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane when it slammed the southeast Texas coast on Aug. 25. But when Harvey downgraded to a less powerful tropical storm, it then dumped torrential rains that flooded the region with a record 52 inches in some areas. After countless homes were flooded, more than 53,000 Texans were forced to seek shelter with the aid of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. According to news reports, FEMA expects nearly one million applications for aid stemming from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston, America’s fourth largest city is now drying out, but municipal, state and federal officials say that it will take years to fully recover from the storm that killed 60. President Trump has asked Congress for an initial $7.9 billion for Harvey recovery efforts. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott estimated that the cost of recovery could be as high as $180 billion.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Robert Buzzanco, professor of history at the University of Houston, who examines how the absence of zoning laws, unchecked development and deregulation of the fossil fuel and chemical industries in the city contributed to the scale of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey and endangered public health.

ROBERT BUZZANCO: In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison, which was the worst until this one hit, between 2001 and 2010, 167,000 acres of green space were plowed under and turned into asphalt and so that's really kind of the way Houston kind of reckons with these things. We have more – they keep on using the word "development" – I don't like that word, it's Orwellian. But you can see maps. The local paper had map of Houston, you know, over the last 5 years, the last 10 years, the last 15 years, the last 20 years. In areas where there was once parks or greenspace, or whatever, which are now basically concrete, so there is nowhere for the water to go.

There are two reservoirs west of Houston, Addicks and Barker and those are rated One, which is the lowest rating by the (Army) Corps of Engineers. In both cases, they were ready to break and they had to do controlled releases and deliberately flood neighborhoods in order to avoid them breaking, which would have been utterly cataclysmic. When these things happen, you hear a lot of you know, kind of hand-wringing and people's alarm. But nothing gets done. And in fact, the regulations become even easier to build, and you see more construction and more strip malls, big apartment buildings and townhouses and things like that going up. So, if you look at the data, if you look at the topography, we actually have a lot less green now than we did, even though these storms get incrementally worse.

It's a recipe for greater disaster, obviously.

BETWEEN THE LINES: I've read that the city of Houston, the fourth largest city in American has no zoning regulations. That there's just unchecked development as far as the eye can see with no restrictions for flood plains, and other critical infrastructure that most cities take into account when allowing buildings to go up in certain vulnerable parts of the city.

ROBERT BUZZANCO: It's true. Usually when you read these, you take them with a grain of salt. But it's true. There's no zoning, there's really no regulation. No one's unaware of the problem here, and there's an outcry about it in the immediate aftermath of these, and then it just gets stopped. I call it cowboy capitalism here in Texas. You know, the government's bad; we don't want people telling us what to do, we don't regulations. It's going to cost us jobs.

Texas has touted itself as different and kind of an economic miracle, and you know, a lot of time when the rest of the country is suffering really bad economic downturns, they're less severe here. But that kind of becomes the excuse to do nothing, because things are going well and if we start caving in to "treehuggers," we're going to lose jobs and the economy is not going to be as good. As so then inertia sets in and nothing gets done, and it's like the old joke. You got a hole in your roof, when it's raining you can't fix it, and when it's dry, it's as good as anybody's roof. That's kind of the way they look at things.

BETWEEN THE LINES: There are these eight trailers of organic peroxides that we've all been reading about that have caught on fire and extremely noxious and toxic smoke is going far and wide around the town of Crosby there. Then Lt. Gov. Abbott, who's now serving as the Texas governor had put in place some regulations that allowed chemicals like Arkema to keep secret what they have in their chemical plants. Any my question, you've got a lot of people living in this region who they themselves, or their children are being exposed to this, yet the government and these corporations are conspiring with each other to keep it secret and not allowing some kind of transparency so people can protect themselves. It seems another case where self-interest is being trumped by corporate interests.

ROBERT BUZZANCO: Absolutely, I mean, I don't know what to say. Even the first-responders, when they first got there, they didn't know what to expect. So about 21 of the first wave ended up in the emergency ward of the local hospital.

Yeah, they are aware of what's going on. I mean, you know, I don't who owns it, but I'm pretty sure it's a French company, so the owners probably aren't there. Even the local managers probably don't live next to the plant, and it's just not in their interest. I think if all of these 500 facilities told everybody in the neighborhoods where they're located what was there, I think a lot more people would be a lot more concerned.

But the governor, as you said, after the explosion in West Texas, actually made it easier for them to withhold this information. Once toxic chemicals are emitted into water, they can go anywhere, they're not confined. But we always say, "Well, this is the one that's going to force people to act," and let's hope it does. But, if you live in Texas– I've been here for over 20 years now – I've heard that many times. I heard it after Allison in 2001. "Well, we're going to have to do something now." And you know, actually, what they did was pave up even more land ,you know, in the interests of these corporations, especially the petroleum and chemical industry. You know this is one of the most industrialized cities in the world, and really, the kind of the world capital for what they call energy. You would think in their own self-interest, right, to maintain their own stability, they would do something – maybe this time they will. But we've heard this before. Those of us who live there.

Video interview with Robert Buzzanco on Hurricane Harvey at vimeo.com/231443737.

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