Sen. Dick Durbin, on a local Chicago radio station this week, blurted out an obvious truth about Congress that, despite being blindingly obvious, is rarely spoken: "And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place." The blunt acknowledgment that the same banks that caused the financial crisis "own" the U.S. Congress -- according to one of that institution's most powerful members -- demonstrates just how extreme this institutional corruption is.
Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert says he learned from a CIA-connected “whistleblower” in 2006 that Bush administration officials were suppressing the existence of a wiretapped conversation between Rep. Jane Harman and a suspected Israeli agent.
John D. Negroponte, former head of the then newly established Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), had blocked then CIA Director Porter J. Goss from briefing Hastert, according to the account the whistleblower gave the former Republican House speaker.
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?
"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.
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.
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.
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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