Incredibly, the Senate actually plans a vote soon on S. 2685, the USA FREEDOM Act. S. 2685 would amend Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act so the NSA can't just collect all your phone records willy-nilly. S. 2685 would also require law enforcement to produce an actual search term when they're trying to collect massive amounts of records, would create a special advocate to argue on behalf of civil liberties before the FISA court, and would mandate that the NSA report how many folks they're watching without a warrant. That's certainly not everything we would want -- where's the bill outlawing warrantless wiretapping, for example? -- but it's been decades since our government passed a law actually taking away some power of the National Security Agency, so S. 2685's passage would represent progress. Of course, no law of physics prevents you from demanding more progress, so the Electronic Frontier Foundation helps you tell your Senators to enact the most vigorous government spying reforms possible.
Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has asked for another $5 billion for its air-strike war in Iraq and Syria, but Congress has not voted, or even debated, on an authorization for the air strikes the Administration has already conducted. And why does the Defense Department need another $5 billion? Perhaps, instead, it can track down some of the $8.5 trillion it can't account for since 1996, or cut spending on weapons systems that either don't work or don't respond to the changing face of war. Hence Just Foreign Policy joins with MoveOn to help you demand that Congress cut off Iraq/Syria war funding until it has voted on a new Authorization to Use Military Force and until the Pentagon can justify its sudden need for more money. Spoiler alert: once Congress starts debating, we'll press them to vote against any new AUMF for Iraq and Syria and stop the bombing. But I'm appalled when Congressfolk yammer on about their love for the Constitution and then neglect their Constitutionally-mandated duty.
Finally, though the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill became law in 2010, the relevant federal agencies have been a little slow writing vigorous rules to implement its reforms. Such is the case with Section 956 of the bill, which requires financial service corporations to disclose executive pay to shareholders so those shareholders can decide if that pay is excessive -- and also prohibits executive compensation arrangements that reward reckless behavior like that we witnessed in 2008. This is the shareholders' money that pays these executives, so what could be the problem with that? That big corporate executives want to keep redistributing wealth upward to themselves, that's what. So Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell our government to finalize vigorous rules enforcing Section 956 of Dodd-Frank. Of course, the best incentive for banksters to pay themselves less is the return of the 91% tax bracket on millionaire income, which would keep banksters from paying themselves like no one else on Earth matters a damn. But short that, we'll take Dodd-Frank's mandates, vigorously enforced.
UPDATE. My apologies -- S. 2685 fell to a filibuster last night, at around 7.30 pm; the cloture vote failed 58-42, meaning, of course, that "only" 58 Senators voted in favor of ending debate and proceeding to a vote on the bill. That fraud, Sen. Rand Paul, joined the filibuster, which also means that Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) outclassed him by voting to actually do something about runaway NSA spying. Anyway, I should have been on top of that development, and I have no excuse for that; I'll do better in the future. I suppose there's no harm in calling your Senators anyway and telling them you still support S. 2685 -- just because they want to be done with government spying doesn't mean we're done with government spying.