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SPECIAL REPORT: Mic Check, Dec. 12, 2017



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SPECIAL REPORT: Mic Check, Nov. 12, 2017



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The Resistance Starts Now!

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2017 Gandhi Peace Awards

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

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

"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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Trump Nominates Big Pharma CEO for Health and Human Services Secretary

Posted Nov. 15, 2017

MP3 Interview with Wendell Potter, author and former health insurance industry executive, conducted by Scott Harris

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President Trump has nominated Alex Azar, a former top pharmaceutical executive to be named Secretary of Health and Human Services. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned as HHS Secretary in September after it was disclosed that his questionable trips on private jets had cost taxpayers more than $1 million. Azar served as president of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company’s U.S. division for five years, and prior to that was HHS general counsel in the George W. Bush administration.

Azar has condemned the Affordable Care Act, supports converting Medicaid from an entitlement program to state block grants and opposes Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to working families meeting income guidelines. Healthcare advocacy groups and Senate Democrats are doubtful that Azar will pursue policies to rein in the run-away price of prescription drugs, although during his campaign Trump favored negotiations to lower drug prices. The National Nurses United union condemned Azar’s nomination saying, "It’s like employing a lion to herd your sheep".

While Azar led Lilly USA, the company’s Humalog brand of insulin more than doubled in price. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Wendell Potter, a former health insurance industry executive turned whistleblower and author, who’s just launched a new investigative news platform, Tarbell.org. Here Potter explains why he believes that Azar, if confirmed as HHS Secretary, will be a disaster for millions of consumers who already are unable to afford critical prescription medicines.

WENDELL POTTER: Well, not only is he truly representing the pharmaceutical industry, I think he'll be representing the special interest broadly in health care. He was also serving as treasurer of this organization called "The Healthcare Leadership Council" which sounds like a useful organization and one that might have some benefit to consumers and patients. But what it is, is an organization that represents the interests of pharmaceutical and insurance companies and big hospitals, and medical device manufacturers. When I was in my old corporate job, I used to work that organization and it often was the place that would send out press releases in a space in Washington, create campaigns to benefit the industry. So, bottom line here, we have an individual who is very deeply in his career in supporting private enterprise in the health care business – the whole reason for the existence of the Healthcare Leadership Council is to fend off any kinds of government regulation out of the fear that any kind of regulations would hinder profits.

So he's very much a company man and I just don't think that we'll see much in terms of any attention being paid to reducing the cost of medications.

BETWEEN THE LINES: What I've read about Alex Azar since his nomination by President Trump is that he is a firm opponent of any form of price controls on pharmaceutical drugs, which of course seems normal for a former CEO of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies. But Wendell, what do we know about his position on some of the proposals to constrain prices for people who really depend on these drugs to maintain their health?

WENDELL POTTER: What we know about his time at Lilly, the company increased its prices of some of its medications significantly. We also know that he is on the record as saying that he thinks that rather than the government being involved to control costs, that it should be done at the private level. He has suggested that insurers and pharmaceutical companies should work more closely together to do that. My response to that is, "My gosh, they've had decades to do that. What does he think is going to give them the incentive to do that now? How is he going to do that?" Because reality is that neither health insurers nor pharmaceutical companies want to make less money.

And they had this game going of pointing the finger of blame away from themselves and toward the other. But they have a very symbiotic relationship. So it's just foolishness to think that the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry would ever do anything to bring costs down.

In fact, they worked very cooperatively – they did very cooperatively, as a matter of fact, when the Congress was considering the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and it was written by lobbyists for insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, so in that sense, they did collaborate with members of Congress and as a part of that, Medicare was prohibited from negotiating for lower prices. So the insurers and the pharmaceutical companies got a very sweet deal out of that. But not so much the taxpayers.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Wendell, you understand the games that go on in Washington and I'm wondering as you look at the nomination process for Alex Azar to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services, what are the prospects that he can be effectively challenged at least by the Democrats within the Senate?

WENDELL POTTER: And I do think that they need to challenge him and find out what he actually proposes to do about high drug costs and what his strategy would be, or at least what he would as a leader of that department, which of course, includes the Medicare and Medicaid programs. What are his plans for those programs? Would he continue to resist efforts to give Medicare the ability to have lower costs? What's he going to do in many different areas that pertain to the Affordable Care Act? He's looking very negatively of that law, which does certainly have its flaws, but has been a lifesaver for many people. It's brought so many people into coverage.

So there are a lot of questions members of parties should be asking, the Democrats in particularly should be very concerned about what he likely would do with regard to both jurisdiction over pharmaceutical companies and the price of drugs as well as the Affordable Care Act.

Find more commentary on Alex Azar's nomination to be the next Health and Human Services Secretary by visiting Wendell Potter's website at wendellpotter.com and Tarbell Investigative News Platform at tarbell.org.

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