John Nolte

Dear John Nolte: Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Techno-Futurism’ Is Technocracy, NOT Fascism

A recent article on Breitbart by Editor-at-large John Nolte concluded that  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ (D-NY) Green New Deal is Fascism:

In order to grab more and more control over our lives, she’s selling a lie about being able to organize and control human nature through altruistic automation and altruistic taxes and an altruistic government that knows what’s best for you. There is another name for this…

Fascism.

Thank you, John, for not calling it Communism, but it isn’t Fascism either.

It’s Technocracy.

Nolte writes,

Later in her talk, Ocasio-Crazy reveals what she means by this buzz-phrase “infinite resources:”

“Capitalism is based on scarcity and what happens when there is enough for everyone to eat, what happens when there is enough for everyone to be clothed, then you have to make scarcity artificial. And that is what has happened. We have created artificial scarcity and that is why we are being driven to work 80 hours a week when we are being our most productive at any point in American history. We should be working the least amount we’ve ever worked if we were actually paid based on how much wealth we were producing. But we’re not. We’re paid on how little we’re desperate enough to accept, and then the rest is skimmed off and given to a billionaire.”

This is even beyond socialism and capitalism, which are based on the idea the “workers” are in charge.

Ocasio-Crazy wants to sell us the snake oil of a world where workers are no longer necessary, where if we surrender to automation, we won’t have to work. You see, the robots will produce the goods we need, complete the services we need, and the government will support us by taxing the robot-staffed companies producing those goods.

The idea of ‘”infinite resources” comes directly from the original Technocracy economic model dreamed up by Columbia University engineers and scientists in the 1930s. It was crackpot then, just as it is crackpot today.

However, OCM is channeling Sustainable Development directly from the United Nations. It is obvious that her talking points parallel the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) In my books, Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation and Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order, I extensively document how Sustainable Development is also warmed-over Technocracy from the 1930s: Both are resource-based economic systems designed to replace Capitalism and Free Enterprise.

In fact, there has never been an alternative economic system in the world designed from scratch to replace the price-based economic system – except for Technocracy.

You have one observation that is exactly correct, John, and that is “Ocasio-Crazy’s America is one where no one has to do anything; the machines and the government do it all.” That’s Technocracy, pure and simple.

Americans rejected Technocracy in the 1940s, and we can do it again, but not if citizens don’t have a clue as to what it is.

John, I would be happy to send you copies of both of my books on Technocracy and you can judge for yourself what Ocasio-Crazy is up to.

Just fill out the contact form here…




mind reading

Zuckerberg: Facebook Wants To Build A Mind-Reading Machine

Just wait until police get ahold of this technology and require you to ‘don the helmet’ during routine traffic stops. Oh wait, this is only Facebook, not the government. ⁃ TN Editor

For those of us who worry that Facebook may have serious boundary issues when it comes to the personal information of its users, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent comments at Harvard should get the heart racing.

Zuckerberg dropped by the university last month ostensibly as part of a year of conversations with experts about the role of technology in society, “the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties.” His nearly two-hour interview  with Harvard law school professor Jonathan Zittrain in front of Facebook cameras and a classroom of students centered on the company’s unprecedented position as a town square for perhaps 2 billion people. To hear the young CEO tell it, Facebook was taking shots from all sides—either it was indifferent to the ethnic hatred festering on its platforms or it was a heavy-handed censor deciding whether an idea was allowed to be expressed.

Zuckerberg confessed that he hadn’t sought out such an awesome responsibility. No one should, he said. “If I was a different person, what would I want the CEO of the company to be able to do?” he asked himself. “I would not want so many decisions about content to be concentrated with any individual.”

Instead, Facebook will establish its own Supreme Court, he told Zittrain, an outside panel entrusted to settle thorny questions about what appears on the platform. “I will not be able to make a decision that overturns what they say,” he promised, “which I think is good.”

All was going to plan. Zuckerberg had displayed a welcome humility about himself and his company. And then he described what really excited him about the future—and the familiar Silicon Valley hubris had returned. There was this promising new technology, he explained, a brain-computer interface, which Facebook has been researching.

The idea is to allow people to use their thoughts to navigate intuitively through augmented reality—the neuro-driven version of the world recently described by Kevin Kelly in these pages. No typing—no speaking, even—to distract you or slow you down as you interact with digital additions to the landscape: driving instructions superimposed over the freeway, short biographies floating next to attendees of a conference, 3D models of furniture you can move around your apartment.

The Harvard audience was a little taken aback by the conversation’s turn, and Zittrain made a law-professor joke about the constitutional right to remain silent in light of a technology that allows eavesdropping on thoughts. “Fifth amendment implications are staggering,” he said to laughter. Even this gentle pushback was met with the tried-and-true defense of big tech companies when criticized for trampling users’ privacy—users’ consent. “Presumably,” Zuckerberg said, “this would be something that someone would choose to use as a product.”

In short, he would not be diverted from his self-assigned mission to connect the people of the world for fun and profit. Not by the dystopian image of brain-probing police officers. Not by an extended apology tour. “I don’t know how we got onto that,” he said jovially. “But I think a little bit on future tech and research is interesting, too.”

Of course, Facebook already follows you around as you make your way through the world via the GPS in the smartphone in your pocket, and, likewise, follows you across the internet via code implanted in your browser. Would we really let Facebook inside those old noggins of ours just so we can order a pizza faster and with more toppings? Zuckerberg clearly is counting on it.

Read full story here…




Tim Ball: Technocracy Is A Data-Fed Frankenstein Monster

At its root, Technocracy is based on Scientism and Logical Posivitism that invalidates all knowledge except scientific knowledge. See Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation for a detailed examination of these errors. ⁃ TN Editor

The rise of technocracy is intertwined with data and data collection. These activities are the very heartbeat of our technocratic society. We are now members or rather slaves of the technocrat’s dream, a number. Everything and everyone is quantified, a number registered in a technocrats computer in which they are maneuvered and manipulated, usually without their knowledge. Think about a society in which a family who adopt a child end up knowing more about the child than natural parents. For those of you who think that is important, consider that people raised children of their own and those of others throughout history without that information. Being a parent and raising children has nothing to do with numbers and everything to do with humanity and retaining your soul. So much literature is about the struggle people have with that retention. Increase in this type of literature reflects the growing battle and sadly indicates we are losing.

Application of numbers to society began with the introduction of statistics in the early 20th century. I will use climate as a good example of this development but link it across the wider society.

Many scientists deride the involvement of social scientists in climate studies. They claim it is a math and physics number problem, with no need for ill-informed social scientists. Despite that claim, the application of physics and numbers has not improved the accuracy of forecasts.

Ironically, science brought this on themselves when they used science to defeat religion. More narrowly, they used Darwin’s theory of evolution, although Darwin, as an atheist, likely would support the move. By replacing religion, in this case Christianity, they removed God and the reason for people being so remarkably different than all the other species. Academia filled the intellectual vacuum this created with an entirely new faculty called the Social Sciences. It joined the Humanities and the Natural Sciences but became a single focus faculty with detailed studies of people and their behavior. I call it human navel-gazing.

It was already the largest faculty on most campuses by the 1930s but suffered a justified inferiority complex as a shallow and unnecessary development in learning. For example, somebody said about sociology that they were trying to prove scientifically what your grandmother already knew. The title “Social Sciences” and the word “scientifically” underscores their problem. Scientists say it is not a science and Sociologists tried to make it a science by applying statistics. They were so inept they had to create a book of statistical tests titled Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. (SPSS). All you had to do was plug in the data without any knowledge of what was needed or what the results were telling you.

The big difference that really distinguishes the Social Sciences as unscientific is in the ability to predict. Science is easily and completely defined as the ability to predict.  If, your predictions are wrong your science is wrong. In Social Sciences a prediction invalidates itself. For example, if an economist does a study of a community and makes predictions on the findings, the leaders in the community will read it and make adjustments that invalidate the predictions. That cannot happen in science.

In climate, application of statistics began with averages. Climate is the average of the weather in a region or how it changes over time. and explains what it is in a region. That was the first application in society. Suddenly, we saw and heard about averages everywhere. People were identified as above or below average with glory or stigma applied. Bureaucracies and businesses began to group the people for planning purposes. Already, the individual was subsumed as just one component of the average. Consider the information that appeared at the time that there are, on average, 2.6 children per family. I am proud to be the 0.6 child in my family. Emotionally, it is better than being the ‘middle’ child.

The next development came from a need to make predictions for planning and social engineering as modern postwar societies evolved. It was the evolution of simple trend analysis, a pattern that still dominates as the recent assumption that house prices and stock markets would continue to trend upward, proves. What’s interesting is how this mentality persists despite recent evidence of downturns or upturns. The application of trends to climate data began in the 1970s with the prediction of a coming ice age as temperatures declined from 1940. When the temperature turned to warming in the mid-1980s we were told, again simplistically and incorrectly, it would continue unabated. In addition, they now knew human CO2 was the cause and since it would continue to increase because of human additions the upward trend was certain to continue. Like all previous trends it did not last as temperatures trended down starting in 2000. Instead of recognizing that this was a normal statistical trend they chose to change the name from global warming to climate change.

The most recent trend in climate change allowed them to accommodate the third variable of statistics, variation. In recent years, weather has become more variable particularly from month to month and year to year. Authorities exploit this pattern to say, incorrectly, it is evidence of their claim of human-caused global warming. No, it isn’t. It reflects that there is pattern of climate not seen for 60-years.

One of the objectives is to adjust the data so that it masks evidence or confirms or appear to confirm its political position. A good example is the practice of smoothing the graph. You see this practice in almost all graphs and a climate one illustrates the major problem.

The figure shows two measures of atmospheric CO2 for 2000 years between 7 and 9000 years ago. The one on the left is the record from bubbles in the ice. The other is the measure from fossilized tree leaves. They actually measure the size of the holes in the leaf called stomata. These are like your nostrils and their size varies with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Even though they are a more precise measure they are made to look better because a 70-year moving average was applied to the ice core data. It removes all the variability and all the important and unique characteristics of the data.

The application of numbers and statistics to everything quickly reached a peak in the early 20th century with a philosophical movement called logical positivism. In simple terms, it implied that everything could and should be quantified and measured. It created a brief intellectual opposition with scientific philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead. The latter produced a quote that summarized their views.

“There is no more common error than to assume that because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain.”

Russell’s observation is frighteningly applicable in today’s world.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

And so, we stand on the verge of having capsules with electronic identity numbers injected under our skins as if, out of sight out of mind, it will make us lose sight of the danger to our freedoms. Of course, there are benefits to the identifiers and to the collection of data. However, this is always the major argument to cover the removal of individual power.

Governments expand their voracious need for data and subjugation of the individual constantly. In Canada the fine for not completing the census is $500 and 3 months in jail. In the US the fine is $100 but a form of emotional blackmail was attached.

“Originally, the census was meant to be a way to count everyone so that the members of the House of Representatives could be allocated properly to the states. Every 10 years there would be a count, and states with more people got more members in the House.”

The idea was they needed the information for planning and for the benefit of the people. It was taken a long way from that over the years to the point of almost total control of the people by the technocrats for the benefit of the government. I am not making a comparison about control with any present government, but we must never forget that the ultimate subjugation of people in history was symbolized by a tattooed number on the arm.




Green New Deal

Green New Deal Draft Text Proposed For 116th Congress

Radical Green New Deal supporters have wasted no time in their attempt to take over the legislative agenda in the House of Representatives. It is radicalized Sustainable Development and more extreme than anything seen in Congress before. ⁃ TN Editor

DRAFT TEXT FOR PROPOSED ADDENDUM TO HOUSE RULES FOR 116TH CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

SEC. [_____]. COMMITTEES, COMMISSIONS, AND HOUSE OFFICES.

(a) Establishment of the Select Committee For A Green New Deal.—

(1) ESTABLISHMENT; COMPOSITION.—

(A) ESTABLISHMENT.—There is hereby established a Select Committee For A Green New Deal (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “select committee”).

(B) COMPOSITION.—The select committee shall be composed of 15 members appointed by the Speaker, of whom 6 may be appointed on the recommendation of the Minority Leader. The Speaker shall designate one member of the select committee as its chair. A vacancy in the membership of the select committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(2) JURISDICTION; FUNCTIONS.—

(A) LEGISLATIVE JURISDICTION.—

(i) The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan shall: (a) be prepared in consultation with experts and leaders from business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, academia and broadly representative civil society groups and communities; (b) be driven by the federal government, in collaboration, co-creation and partnership with business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, research institutions and civil society groups and communities; (c) be executed in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of such Plan; (d) provide opportunities for high income work, entrepreneurship and cooperative and public ownership; and (e) additionally, be responsive to, and in accordance with, the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality set forth in paragraph (6).

(ii) In addition to preparing the Plan as set forth in paragraph (2)(A)(i), the select committee shall prepare draft legislation for the enactment of the Plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “draft legislation”), in accordance with this section. Such draft legislation may be prepared concurrently with the development of the Plan, or as the select committee may otherwise deem appropriate, provided that such finalized draft legislation shall be completed in accordance with the timing set forth in paragraph (5)(B)(ii).

(iii) The select committee shall not have legislative jurisdiction and shall have no authority to take legislative action on any bill or resolution, provided that the foregoing shall not affect the select committee’s ability to prepare draft legislation in accordance with paragraph (2)(A)(i) and (2)(A)(ii).

(B) INVESTIGATIVE JURISDICTION.—In  furtherance of the mandate set forth in paragraph (2)(A), the select committee shall have the authority to investigate, study, make findings, convene experts and leaders from industry, academia, local communities, labor, finance, technology and any other industry or group that the select committee deems to be a relevant resource. The select committee may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.

(3) PROCEDURE.—

(A) Except as specified in paragraph (2), the select committee shall have the authorities and responsibilities of, and shall be subject to the same limitations and restrictions as, a standing committee of the House, and shall be deemed a committee of the House for all purposes of law or rule.

(B)(i) Rules [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees) and [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Procedures of Committees and Unfinished Business) shall apply to the select committee where not inconsistent with this resolution.

(ii) Service on the select committee shall not count against the limitations on committee or subcommittee service in Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees).

(4) FUNDING.—To enable the select committee to carry out the purposes of this section—

(A) The select committee may use the services of staff of the House and may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, use the services of external consultants or experts in furtherance of its mandate;

(B) The select committee shall be eligible for interim funding pursuant to clause [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] of Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Interim Funding – Organization of Committees); and

(C) Without limiting the foregoing, the select committee may, at any time and from time to time during the course of its mandate, apply to the House for an additional, dedicated budget to carry out its mandate.

(5) INTERIM REPORTING; SUBMISSION OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL; SUBMISSION OF DRAFT LEGISLATION—

(A) The select committee may report to the House  or any House Committee it deems appropriate from time to time the results of its investigations and studies, together with such detailed findings and interim recommendations or proposed Plan or draft legislation (or portion thereof) as it may deem advisable.

(B) (i) The select committee shall complete the Plan for a Green New Deal by a date no later than January 1, 2020.

(ii) The select committee shall complete the finalized draft legislation by a date no later than the date that is 90 calendar days after the select committee has completed the Plan in accordance with paragraph (5)(B)(i) and, in any event, no later than March 1, 2020.

(iii) The select committee shall ensure and procure that the Plan and the draft legislation prepared in accordance with this section shall, upon completion in accordance with paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii), be made available to the general public in widely accessible formats (including, without limitation, via at least one dedicated website and a print publication) by a date no later than 30 calendar days following the respective dates for completion set forth in paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii).

(6) SCOPE OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL AND THE DRAFT LEGISLATION.—

(A) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed with the objective of reaching the following outcomes within the target window of 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:

  1. Dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources;
  2. building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;
  3. upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
  4. eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from  the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;
  5. eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water;
  6. funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases;
  7. making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

(B) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan (and the draft legislation) shall:

  1. provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one;
  2. diversify local and regional economies, with a particular focus on communities where the fossil fuel industry holds significant control over the labor market, to ensure workers have the necessary tools, opportunities, and economic assistance to succeed during the energy transition;
  3. require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment;
  4. ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution;
  5. protect and enforce sovereign rights and land rights of tribal nations;
  6. mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level);
  7. include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism; and
  8. deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment.

(C) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that innovative public and other financing structures are a crucial component in achieving and furthering the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality and cooperative and public ownership set forth in paragraphs (2)(A)(i) and (6)(B). The Plan (and the draft legislation) shall, accordingly, ensure that the majority of financing of the Plan shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate, in order to ensure that interest and other investment returns generated from public investments  made in connection with the Plan will be returned to the treasury, reduce taxpayer burden and allow for more investment.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why do we need a sweeping Green New Deal investment program? Why can’t we just rely on regulations and taxes alone, such as a carbon tax or an eventual ban on fossil fuels?

  • Regulations and taxes can, indeed, change some behavior. It’s certainly possible to  argue that, if we had put in place targeted regulations and progressively increasing carbon and similar taxes several decades ago, the economy could have transformed itself by now. But whether or not that is true, we did not do that, and now time has run out.
  • Given the magnitude of the current challenge, the tools of regulation and taxation, used in isolation, will not be enough to quickly and smoothly accomplish the transformation that we need to see.
  • Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs); we also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment. In the same way that a company that is trying to change how it does business may need to make big upfront capital investments today in order to reap future benefits (for e.g., building a new factory to increase production or buying new hardware and software to totally modernize its IT system), a country that is trying to change how its economy works will need to make big investments today to jump-start and develop new projects and sectors to power the new economy.
  • The draft resolution sets out a (non-exhaustive) list of several major projects that need to be completed fast. These include upgrading virtually every home and building for energy efficiency, building a 100% greenhouse gas neutral power generation system, decarbonizing industry and agriculture and more. These projects will all require investment.
  • We’re not saying that there is no place for regulation and taxes (and these will continue to be important tools); we’re saying we need to add some new tools to the toolkit.

Why should the government have a big role in driving and making any required investments? Why not just incentivize the private sector to invest through, for e.g., tax subsidies and such?

  • Two main reasons: (1) scale and (2) time.
  • First – scale. The level of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.  For example, the “$1 trillion over 10 years” plan for investment in the green economy that has been floated by some policy makers has been criticized by climate experts as a wholly inadequate level of investment – $1 trillion is the entire market cap of Amazon, one of the biggest companies of all time (and it is far ahead of its closest competitors in terms of market size).
  • Second – time. The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time required to jump-start major new projects and major new sectors.
  • Time-horizons matter in another way – by their nature, private companies are wary of making massive investments in unproven research and technologies; the government, however, has the time horizon to be able to patiently make investments in new tech and R&D, without necessarily having a commercial outcome or application in mind at the time the investment is made. Major examples of government investments in “new” tech that subsequently spurred a boom in the private section include DARPA-projects, the creation of the internet – and, perhaps most recently, the government’s investment in Tesla.
  • We’ve also seen that merely incentivizing the private sector doesn’t work – e.g. the tax incentives and subsidies given to wind and solar projects have been a valuable spur to growth in the US renewables industry but, even with such investment-promotion subsidies, the present level of such projects is simply inadequate to transition to a fully greenhouse gas neutral economy as quickly as needed.
  • Once again, we’re not saying that there isn’t a role for private sector investments; we’re just saying that the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and that the government is best placed to be the prime driver.

How will the government pay for these investments?

  • Many will say, “Massive government investment! How in the world can we pay for this?” The answer is: in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.
  • In addition to traditional debt tools, there is also a space for the government to take an equity role in projects, as several government and government-affiliated institutions already do.

Why do we need a select committee? We already have committees with jurisdiction over the subject matter e.g. Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology.  Just creating another committee seems unnecessary.

  • This is a big problem with lots of parts to it. The very fact that multiple committees have jurisdiction over parts of the problem means that it’s hard for any one of those existing committees to generate a comprehensive and coherent plan that will actually work to transform America’s economy to become greenhouse gas neutral in the time we have left.
  • Not having a full 360° view of, and approach to, the issue (and only having authority over a part of the issue) means that standing committee solutions would be piecemeal, given the size and scope of the problem. A Democratic administration and Congress in 2020 will not have the time to sort through and combine all those solutions in the brief window of opportunity they will have to act.
  • Select committees, in the Congressional Research Services’ own words, serve the specific function of “examin[ing] emerging issues that do not fit clearly within existing standing committee jurisdictions or cut across jurisdictional boundaries. ”(see: https://www.senate.gov/CRSpubs/312b4df4-9797-41bf-b623-a8087cc91d74.pdf)
  • The challenges that the Select Committee For A Green New Deal is mandated to meet fit squarely within this space.
  • This does not need to be a zero sum proposition between committees. Just as Markey-Waxman was collaborative between the head of the Select Committee and standing Energy & Commerce committee, this can also be collaborative. More is more. A select committee ensures constant focus on climate change as the standing committee deals with that and many other issues of the day — such as wild fires in California, Infrastructure, clean water issues, etc.

Why should we not be satisfied with the same approach the  previous select committee used (i.e. the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming)? Why do we need a new approach?

  • The previous select committee did not have a mandate to develop a plan for the transformation of our economy to become carbon neutral. It mainly held hearings to draw attention to the problem of climate change. That was already too little too late in 2007-11 when the committee was active.
  • The previous select committee’s work can be summarized as follows (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-resolution/5/text, the old select committee is established in Section 4 ):
  • The “sole authority” it did have was to “investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, technologies and other innovations, intended to reduce the dependence of the United States on foreign sources of energy and achieve substantial and permanent reductions in emissions and other activities that contribute to climate change and global warming.”
  • From March 2007 to December 2010 – a full 3.5 years – they did the job that they were tasked to do and held hearings and prepared reports (see: https://www.congress.gov/committee/house-energy-independence-and-global/hlgw00 and https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/index.html (in fact, they held 80 hearings and briefings)
  • Per their website, they “engage[d] in oversight and educational activities through hearings, reports, briefings and other means intended to highlight the importance of adopting policies which reduce our dependence on foreign oil and our emissions of global warming pollution.”
  • So there has already been a select committee that did the investigating to highlight that it was important to have some action on this issue – it’s now time to move on from investigating and reporting to action.
  • The old select committee also had (even within its limited investigative mandate) the limitation that it focused on strategies for reducing foreign energy dependence and reducing emissions – rather than treating climate issues as the integrated social, economic, scientific challenge that it is.

Why does this new select committee need to prepare draft legislation?  Isn’t investigation, hearings, briefings and reporting enough?

  • The old select committee was mandated merely to investigate and  prepare reports for other people and House Committees to read and act on.
  • The idea was that (as per the old select committees website) “each Member of the Select Committee sits on legislative committees which process legislation and amendments affecting energy independence and global warming issues in other committees” and presumably, that those members would take the work of the select committee and come up with legislation in their own committees.
  • However, this approach did not make a big impact relative to the scale of the problem we face. The one piece of legislation that eventually came out of the old select committees work – the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/legislation/index.html) was a cap-and-trade bill that was wholly insufficient for the scale of the problem.
  • The House had a chance (from 2007 to 2010) to try a version of a select committee that investigated an issue and then passed along preparation of legislation to other committees – the result of that process doesn’t inspire any confidence that the same process should be followed again if we wish to draft a plan to tackle the scale of the problem we face.
  • The new select committee will also continue to have investigative jurisdiction, so the new proposal isn’t taking anything away from the old one – it is adding things on to make the select committee more effective.

What’s an example of a select committee with abilities to prepare legislation? Does the new Select Committee For A Green New Deal seem to fit on that list?

  • Recent examples for select committees in the House include: Ad Hoc Select Committee on the Outer Continental Shelf (94th-95th Congresses), Ad Hoc Select Committee on Energy (95th Congress), Select Committee on Homeland Security (107th Congress), and Select Committee on Homeland Security (108th Congress).
  • The Congressional Research Service notes (in discussing these four recent select committees with legislative jurisdiction) that “The principal explanation offered in creating each of the four select committees with legislative authority was that their creation solved jurisdictional problems. The proponents in each case indicated that multiple committees claimed jurisdiction over a subject and that the House would be unable to legislate, or at least to legislate efficiently, in the absence of a select committee.” (see: https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R40233.html#_Toc228679963)
  • The proposed subject matter and mandate for the Select Committee For A Green New Deal sits squarely within this general description for a select committee with the ability and mandate to prepare legislation.

Doesn’t this select committee take away jurisdictional power from the other (standing i.e. permanent) committees that have jurisdiction over at least part of the issue?

  • All of the relevant standing committees will be able to provide input to and make their wishes known to the select committee during the creation of both the plan as well as the draft legislation, and then in a future Congress, when it comes to crafting and passing the final legislation, that Congress can take a decision on the best mechanism for bringing that final legislation to a floor vote and passage.
  • Allowing the select committee to draft legislation doesn’t take any jurisdiction away from current standing committees, it is entirely additive.
  • The legislation developed by the select committee would still need to be referred to and pass through the permanent House Committees that have jurisdiction over parts of the subject matter.
  • For example, the legislation drafted by the Select Committee on Homeland Security needed to pass through the permanent committees on Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Energy and Commerce; Financial Services; Government Reform; Intelligence (Permanent Select); International Relations; Judiciary; Science; Transportation and Infrastructure; Ways and Means (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/5005/committees)
  • The benefit of a select committee in this case would also be that there would be a single forum that could act as a quarterback in working through and resolving any comments or issues brought up by the other House Committees, which would streamline the process of drafting this legislation.

But a select committee only exists for the congressional session that created it! So even if this select committee prepares legislation, it likely won’t get passed in this session by a Republican-held Senate and White House, so why does having a select committee now even matter?

  • The proposed new select committee would work in two stages (which wouldn’t necessarily have to be sequential):
  • First, they would put together the overall plan for a Green New Deal – they would have a year to get the plan together, with the plan to be completed by January 1, 2020. The plan itself could be in the form of a report or several reports.
  • Second, they would also put together the draft legislation that actually implements the plan – they could work on the draft legislation concurrently with the plan (after they get an initial outline of the plan going) and would need to complete the draft legislation within 90 days of completing the plan (i.e. by March 1, 2020 at the latest)
  • The select committee is also required to make the plan and the draft legislation publicly accessible within 30 days of completing each part
  • The plan and the draft legislation won’t be developed in secret – they are specifically required to be developed with wide and broad consultation and input and the select committee can share drafts or any portions of their work with the other House Committees at any time and from time to time, so their work will be conducted in the open, with lots of opportunities to give input along the way.
  • The idea is that between (a) developing the plan and the draft legislation (and holding public hearings and briefings along the way as needed), (b) the plan coming out in Jan 2020 and (c) the draft legislation coming out in March 2020, the relevant permanent House Committees, House members, experts and public will have time to engage with, discuss, revise the draft legislation between March 2020 and the end of the 116th Congress so that, by the end of this congressional term, there is a comprehensive plan and enacting legislation all lined up as soon as the new (Democratic) Congress convenes in January 2021.

What’s wrong with the other proposed legislation on climate change? Can’t we just pass one of the other climate bills that have been introduced in the past? Why prepare a whole new one?

  • The shortest and most accurate response is that (1) none of them recognize the extent to which climate and other social and economic issues are deeply interrelated and (2) even if looking at climate as a stand-alone issue, none of them are scaled to the magnitude of the problem.
  • Of the other proposed legislation, the OFF Act could be a good starting point

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Pope Francis Unites All Religions Over Sustainable Development

Pope Francis promotes “the sacredness of our earth” to woo other religions into uniting with the Catholic church in order to fulfill his dream of a united global religion. ⁃ TN Editor

In 2015 Pope Francis addressed the UN General Assembly in New York shortly before member states unanimously adopted Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Fast forward to 2019 and the Pope was in the Vatican on Friday where he greeted participants taking part in a two day international conference entitled, “Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Listening to the cry of the earth and of the poor”.

Listening to all voices

Pope Francis got straight to the point by telling those gathered that, “when we speak of sustainability, we cannot overlook how important it is to include and to listen to all voices, especially those usually excluded from this type of discussion, such as the voices of the poor, migrants, indigenous people and the young.”

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Pope said, “were a great step forward for global dialogue, marking a vitally “new and universal solidarity”. But he noted, “for too long, the conventional idea of development has been almost entirely limited to economic growth.”

The Pontiff emphasized that, “this has led the modern economic system down a dangerous path where progress is assessed only in terms of material growth, on account of which we are almost obliged to irrationally exploit the environment and our fellow human beings.”

Economic and political objectives, Pope Francis stressed, “must be sustained by ethical objectives, which presuppose a change of attitude: what the Bible would call a change of heart. Already Saint John Paul II spoke about the need to “encourage and support an ‘ecological conversion’”, he said.

The Pope underlined that what was needed was a commitment to “promoting and implementing the development goals that are supported by our deepest religious and ethical values.” He also expressed the hope that concrete solutions and responses would emerge from the conference.

Religious Dimension

Noting the importance of the religious dimension to this gathering, Pope Francis said that “those of us who are religious need to open up the treasures of our best traditions in order to engage in a true and respectful dialogue on how to build the future of our planet.”

The Pontiff also underlined, that “if we want to provide a solid foundation for the work of the 2030 Agenda, “we must reject the temptation to look for a merely technocratic response to the challenges, and be prepared to address the root causes and the long-term consequences.”

Indigenous Peoples

During his address, the Pope made particular mention of Indigenous Peoples saying that, “in a strongly secularized world, such peoples remind us all of the sacredness of our earth. Their voice and their concerns, he added, should be at the centre of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and at the heart of the search for new paths for a sustainable future. I will also be discussing this with my brother bishops at the Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region, at the end of October this year.”

Injustice that brings tears to our world is not invincible

Concluding his address and quoting his encyclical Laudato Si, he told those present that, “three and a half years since the adoption of the sustainable development goals, we must be even more acutely aware of the importance of accelerating and adapting our actions in responding adequately to both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

He added, “the challenges are complex and have multiple causes; the response, therefore, must necessarily be complex and well-structured, respectful of the diverse cultural riches of peoples.”

Expressing his understanding for the task that can at times seem all too difficult, the Pope offered words of encouragement. “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start”.

“I encourage you to continue the fight for that change which present circumstances demand, because the injustice that brings tears to our world and to its poor is not invincible.”

The Conference is being jointly organized by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and runs until March 9th.

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