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Friday, Oct 24th

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Were Other Congress People - Besides Harman - Also Blackmailed By Bush Administration?

We know that Jane Harman was blackmailed by the Bush Administration into supporting illegal spying on Americans.

But Dave Lindorff asks a really good question: was Harman the only Congress person blackmailed by the Bush Administration? Or were others blackmailed as well?

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US Senate panel to look at future of newspapers

"The increase in media conglomerates has resulted in an increase in agenda-driven reporting and over time, if those of us who value a diversity of opinion and ideas, and are unafraid to be confronted with pointed commentary and analysis, do not act, it is a situation which will only get worse," Kerry wrote. The senator has received political endorsements over the years from the Globe's editorial page, which is operated separately from its news-gathering operation.

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House Members Report Funding Drop

House lawmakers reported a decline in political fund raising in the first three months of the midterm-election cycle, driven largely by a drop in donations to Republicans, according to new finance reports.

The reports, filed with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, are the latest evidence that individuals and corporate political-action committees are dialing back on political contributions during the recession.

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US Senate moves to fully fund Israel aid

The US Senate included a measure to restore full funding for foreign aid to the budget it approved late Thursday, increasing chances that the pool of money including assistance for Israel wouldn't be cut.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-sponsor of the amendment, defended the move as important to advancing moderation in the Middle East.

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N.C. Sen. Burr delays vote on Iraq war veteran for VA post

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is delaying the nomination vote and swearing-in of injured Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth for a top post in the Veterans Affairs administration.

His actions angered some veterans groups Friday.

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Leahy Bails on 'Truth Commission' Plan

Those of you following the George W. Bush prosecution trail will be interested to know that Patrick Leahy’s “truth commission” is a no-go. I was in a meeting with Leahy and four other Vermonters on Monday when he broke the news to us.

We had asked for the meeting to learn why he supported a truth commission over the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Halfway through the allotted 30 minute meeting (with him taking up much of the time explaining why he was not generally opposed to prosecution, since he had been a DA for eight years and had the highest conviction rate in Vermont), he told us that his truth commission had failed to get the broad support it needed in Congress, and since he couldn’t get one Republican to come behind the plan, “it’s not going to happen.”

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TVNL Comment:  Told you so....

As New Lawyer, Senator Defended Big Tobacco

The Philip Morris Company did not like to talk about what went on inside its lab in Cologne, Germany, where researchers secretly conducted experiments exploring the effects of cigarette smoking.

So when the Justice Department tried to get its hands on that research in 1996 to prove that tobacco industry executives had lied about the dangers of smoking, the company moved to fend off the effort with the help of a highly regarded young lawyer named Kirsten Rutnik.

Ms. Rutnik, who now goes by her married name, Gillibrand, threw herself into the work. She traveled to Germany at least twice, interviewing the lab’s top scientists, whose research showed a connection between smoking and cancer but was kept far from public view.

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