Posted by Conor Kenny on May 11, 2007

It was an eventful week on Capitol Hill, as both the House and Senate tackled several high-profile issues. The House passed another Iraq War supplemental spending bill, while the Senate considered bills relating to both the FDA and the Army Corps of Engineers. For an in-depth look at the legislation considered in Congress since Monday, we again turn to Robert McElroy’s TheWeekInCongress.

Posted by Diane Farsetta on May 11, 2007

While "attending an open meeting of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities," Bruce Kushnick saw "something odd. Three guys are standing in the back by the exit door and they keep shaking the hands of the speakers, most of whom testified that Verizon should get a new, statewide franchise." The three guys were Verizon employees, and many of the speakers were from groups that receive Verizon funding. Such telecom astroturf is spreading, warns Kushnick.

Posted by Diane Farsetta on May 11, 2007

What does it mean to be a nation at war? Is it possible to exercise democratic control over a wartime government that dismisses honest criticism as unpatriotic? What should citizens do when members of their military not only commit crimes -- as happens during every war -- but also rely on propaganda to hide mistakes and to embellish or even create victories, as happened in the cases of Army Ranger Pat Tillman and Private Jessica Lynch?

Jessica Lynch testifies
Jessica Lynch testifies

Those are big questions, but a few things are clear. One is that the secrecy, deception and constraints sought by wartime administrations are anathema to the transparency, accountability and freedom necessary to democracy. As James Madison warned, "Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Another truism is that citizens retain the right to receive information and provide guidance to their government during wartime. The last is that, while security concerns may legitimately restrict what information can be shared when, maintaining civilian oversight of war operations helps ensure that human rights standards are upheld. Perhaps the most important effort to provide oversight of ongoing U.S. wars was the April 24 Congressional hearing on battlefield misinformation.

Posted by Judith Siers-Poisson on May 08, 2007

Examining and exposing the activities of lobbyists and their firms is an important aspect of the Center for Media and Democracy's work. Now you can help, via our online collaborative encyclopedia, SourceWatch!

SourceWatch has many articles related to this industry, but because the players and the issue change frequently, our resources can always use some updating. The Hill recently released a list of the most powerful individual lobbyists at

Can you help us track these influence peddlers? Go to SourceWatch and do a search for one of the lobbyists on The Hill's list. If you find an article, please add the quote from the article in The Hill by saying, "According to the April 25, 2007 issue of The Hill, lobbyist X is ...." and add the link to the article. If The Hill lists a lobbyist who is not already in SourceWatch, please create a short "stub" article on him or her (with the lobbyist's name, The Hill info, and any other information you might find on him/her).

If this is your first time editing, you can register as a SourceWatch volunteer editor here , and learn more about adding information to the site here and here. Thanks for joining the CMD truth squad!

Posted by Conor Kenny on May 07, 2007

Both the House and Senate are in session this week, with each expected to consider numerous bills and resolutions. The House is planning to vote on a measure authorizing fiscal year (FY) 2008 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security, while the Senate will likely consider a bill allowing the reimportation of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. In addition to legislation, both the House and Senate are again planning to hold a number of important committee hearings. These include one by the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works on emerging technologies and practices designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs' long-term care programs. Here, courtesy of GovTrack, is a quick rundown of all of this week’s House and Senate hearings:

Posted by Diane Farsetta on May 07, 2007

"Intimidation and harassment of the Afghan news media have come from a variety of sources," reports Pamela Constable, "including government prosecutors, police, regional militias, parliament, Islamic clerical councils and U.S.-led military forces." The Afghan parliament is considering banning "news coverage that disturbs the public or has an 'un-Islamic' theme." The measure, which is expect

Posted by Conor Kenny on May 04, 2007

Both the House and Senate tackled some hotly-debated issues this week, including federal hate crimes legislation and the Head Start program. For an in-depth look at the bills considered on Capitol Hill since Monday, we again turn to Robert McElroy’s TheWeekInCongress. His site is a great resource for citizens wishing to keep track of what their members are up to in Washington, and we urge you to check it out.

Posted by Sheldon Rampton on May 03, 2007

A new media policy restricting U.S. government scientists from speaking to the media is drawing fire from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project.



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