Congress Kills Domestic NSA Phone Spying FISA Program

We can thank Ed Snowden for blowing the whistle on the massive NSA spying operations being executed on the American public. He is still in exile in Russia and may never set foot in America again for fear of arrest and federal prosecution. ⁃ TN Editor

Hill sources tell The Daily Beast that they won’t save a surveillance effort so abusive that the NSA shut it down.

Eighteen years after George W. Bush and the National Security Agency began secretly and warrantlessly collecting the phone records of every American, the House of Representatives is taking a major step to kill the vestige of one of the most controversial domestic surveillance programs in American history.

That step, The Daily Beast has learned, is: nothing.

In barely a month, a failed 2015 surveillance law called the USA FREEDOM Act will expire. USA FREEDOM set up a process to let the NSA obtain and query mass amounts of phone data—the phone numbers a surveillance target dialed and received, as well as all those that target was in touch with, and then all those they were in touch with—held by the telecommunications firms.

But in 2018, after collecting over half a trillion such records, all without a warrant,  the NSA purged its entire trove of what’s known as “Call Detail Records” after an over-collection so substantial the Fort Meade surveillance giant could not determine which of those records it obtained legally.

The NSA shut the program down. Its director, Gen. Paul Nakasone, equivocated over restarting it. But by August, President Donald Trump—who considers surveillance on his allies, obtained through a warrant, an abuse of power—decided he wanted to keep the Call Detail Records program after all.

Congressional officials tell The Daily Beast that won’t happen. A forthcoming bill from the House judiciary and intelligence committees will reauthorize three other surveillance measures set to expire, but will not permit the Call Detail Records program to survive. With expiration set for Dec. 15, whatever the Senate does the Call Detail Records program, barring some eleventh-hour legislative chicanery, looks like the rarest of birds: a post-9/11 surveillance activity on course for extinction.

“We would not be in this position today if Edward Snowden had not revealed the bulk collection program,” said Liza Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice.

Read full story here…

Amidst Crisis, Green New Deal Is Claimed To Be The Answer

Whatever crisis might present itself, the solution will always be Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy, which proves that Technocracy is the endgame after the demise of Capitalism and Free Enterprise. ⁃ TN Editor

If you’re feeling a mounting sense of apocalyptic unease as you wash your hands and sing “Happy Birthday” for the eighth time this morning, you are not alone.

It is perfectly possible that before 2020 is half over, we will be in a global recession exacerbated by a pandemic and an oil price crash. And it is all playing out against the backdrop of a climate emergency that is proceeding at terrifying speed whether it is on the front pages or not.

But while stock markets veer between fear and greed, some of us find ourselves ricocheting from fear to hope. (And back again.)

Beyond this week’s initial economic package, it is entirely possible that the Trudeau government will soon have to step up with a massive economic stimulus, perhaps one even bigger than a decade ago.

And while U.S. President Donald Trump seizes this crisis moment to bail out his billionaire friends in unsustainable industries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – preparing a budget and searching for a unifying second-term mission – could and should bail out people and the planet instead.

In fact, the response to this period of converging crises is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the federal government to initiate a reset of our economy and society, putting Canada on a path toward zero emissions, and bringing immediate material benefits and enhanced, 21st century universal public services to everyone – prioritizing Indigenous, racialized and working class communities – that is, the people who need them most.

In other words, this is the ideal moment for Canada to launch the decade of the Green New Deal, a sweeping vision launched nationally last spring by more than 150 climate and social justice organizations, building on momentum south of the border from U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise climate movement. Essentially, it recommends an unprecedented public investment in a justice-based transition that creates a vast number of well-paying (preferably unionized) jobs, solves our crises in housing, crumbling infrastructure, health and education, inadequate transit, and deep inequality. This kind of public investment would vastly expand the tax base and stabilize the economy at the same time.

We know this can be done in Canada. During the Second World War, under the leadership of none other than “minister of everything” C.D. Howe, this country created 28 new crown corporations to manage every aspect of the war effort. That’s the level of commitment we need for a rapid shift to a climate-safe and more equal economy.

And we certainly have the resources to do it.

As a Globe and Mail editorial said recently, Canada “can deploy fiscal stimulus worth tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars, if necessary. And it can borrow at the lowest interest rates in human history, which it can lock in for decades.”

In the midst of all these terrifying and converging disasters, this is perhaps the greatest opportunity – to shatter the shackles of austerity thinking and see the potential for government to do big things, like actually lead a democratic and inclusive response to the climate emergency at the speed and scale that science and justice require.

Read full story here…

Europe’s Green New Deal Marches On Undeterred

The UN says that “A green economy implies the decoupling of resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth”. This indicates a total ignorance the economic reality that resources are absolutely necessary for any economic activity whatsoever.

In this article, the author thinks it will all work out if only it is ‘just’ in implementation. ⁃ TN Editor

The European green agenda is key to saving the planet—but it could also save an enlightenment-based multilateral order from nationalist irrationalism.

We are about to go past the point of no return regarding climate change.

All scientists are pointing out that global warming is an irreversible reality and that it is now up to human action to set limits to it. We need specifically to mitigate the temperature increase, which causes serious damage to our way of life and could even threaten the human species.

Climate action has become a categorical imperative for all those who want public affairs to be governed on the basis of reason and scientific knowledge. It is not by chance that the extreme right and the rising identity movements have chosen to make the ecological dimension one of their battlefields—yet another aspect of the war being waged against the enlightenment.

In 2015, the international community managed to thrash out the Paris agreement, aiming to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial times and certainly within the 2C threshold of irreparable damage to the planet and those who inhabit it. This objective must be translated into actions which allow for a drastic reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions and tackle the much-needed decarbonisation of the economy—effectively, steadily and ambitiously.

Huge restructuring

Putting an end to dependence on coal is the greatest economic transformation our societies will experience since the industrial revolution. It is a huge restructuring—affecting production, distribution and consumption—and it will bring about significant changes in energy, infrastructure, transport, tax systems, financial regulation and international trade. We are facing a Herculean task, in which the planet is at stake—and our way of life with it.

This transformation, the green transition, is neither cost-free nor however without potential gains. Particularly, there are costs for industry, for workers and consumers, which need to be shared in a fair manner and through the appropriate social ‘shock absorbers’. But there are also potential benefits, in job creation and equally shared and redistributed growth.

The task of making the green transition a just and inclusive transition is the key to addressing together the two major challenges faced by democracies around the world: inequality and climate change. A just transition is the only way to make this possible, avoiding social and electoral eco-reactions which reject and prevent the important changes we must undertake in our labour market, our economy and our society.

Read full story here…