Daily Briefing - Monday September 27, 2010

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Wendell Potter is a senior fellow on health care at the Center for Media and Democracy. He has been outspoken on both the need for a fundamental overhaul of the American health care system and on the failures of American media as a watchdog for democracy. Potter moved to the Center for Media and Democracy after a long career as a corporate public relations executive for one of the nation's largest health insurers, CIGNA Corporation, where he was the company’s chief corporate spokesman. Prior to joining CIGNA, Potter headed corporate communications at Humana Inc., another large for-profit health insurer. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio has represented Oregon’s 4th Congressional District since 1987. A US Air Force veteran who has worked as a gerontologist in his professional life, DeFazio has developed a reputation for standing up against corporate interests and for personal integrity. He voted against both NAFTA and GATT, and has refused to accept pay raises while the government is in deficit spending. He has linked his take-home pay to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, and has donated the rest, $320,000 all told, to reducing the national debt and funding scholarships at five southwestern Oregon community colleges. DeFazio has recently been under attack by the Astroturf front group “Concerned Citizens of America.” On Friday, he went to the group’s Washington DC headquarters in an effort to determine exactly who has been funding those attacks in an attempt to buy his Republican opponent a seat in Congress. 

Graham E. Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA. He also served as the CIA’s Kabul station chief and as a senior political scientist at RAND. Currently an adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University, he has lived and worked in the Muslim world for nearly two decades and is the author of numerous books about the Middle East, including The Future of Political Islam and most recently A World Without Islam. He will be speaking at the Los Angeles Public Library downtown tomorrow, Tuesday, at 7:00 PM.