Tag Archives: Ron Wyden

‘Shocking’: FBI Director Admits Agency Purchased Geolocation Data of Americans

“Congress must fix this before considering any reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act this year,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 3-8-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Plann on Pexels

Privacy advocates on Wednesday said testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray at a U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing offers the latest evidence that Congress must take action to keep the government from performing mass surveillance on people across the United States, as Wray admitted the bureau has purchased cellphone geolocation data from companies.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Wray at a hearing about national security threats whether the FBI purchases “U.S. phone geolocation information,” showing the location of users. Continue reading

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Congress Just Passed $858 Billion Military Budget, But GOP Is Blocking $12 Billion to Fight Child Poverty

“This isn’t using our taxpayer dollars wisely,” said one analyst. “It’s robbing programs that we need.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 12-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Sen. Mike Crapo, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Photo: USDA/flickr/CC

Congressional Republicans happily teamed up with Democrats this month to authorize $858 billion in military spending for the next fiscal year, but the GOP is refusing to even consider proposals to revive the Child Tax Credit expansion that lifted millions of kids out of poverty last year—even though bringing the program back would cost a fraction of the Pentagon outlay.

A spokesperson for Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told HuffPost earlier this week that Republicans have thus far been unwilling to negotiate over the Child Tax Credit (CTC) boost, which they unanimously opposed when it was enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan last year. Continue reading

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Tom Cotton Blocks Senate PRESS Act Designed to Protect Journalists

“Sen. Cotton’s hostility to press freedoms demonstrates exactly why these protections are needed,” said one advocate, calling for inclusion of the bill in an end-of-year spending package.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-14-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton on Wednesday blocked the passage of a House-approved bipartisan bill that’s been heralded by advocates as “the most important free press legislation in modern times.”

The Senate had in recent days faced mounting pressure from journalists, press freedom groups, and others to follow the House’s lead and approve the Protect Reporters From Exploitative State Spying (PRESS) Act, spearheaded by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). Continue reading

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Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of ‘Game-Changing’ PRESS Act

“The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs,” explained one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: AFGE/flickr/CC

Free press advocates this week urged people to contact Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office and ask the New York Democrat to pass legislation protecting journalists from government abuses during the closing days of the current Congress.

“The time between an election and the inauguration of a new Congress—or the lame-duck, as it is affectionately known—is ironically a time when things can happen on the Hill, in part because departing members don’t have to worry about reelection,” Emily Hockett, a Technology Press Freedom Project fellow, wrote for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Continue reading

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‘Straight Up Fraud’: Data Confirms Private Insurers Use Medicare Advantage to Steal Billions

“The move to privatize Medicare,” said one expert, has “been very profitable, in part because insurers are good at making their patients seem sicker.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10=9-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: K Whiteford/Public domain

Insurance giants are exploiting Medicare Advantage—a corporate-managed program that threatens to result in the complete privatization of traditional Medicare—to capture billions of dollars in extra profits, Saturday reporting by The New York Times confirmed.

The newspaper’s analysis of dozens of lawsuits, inspector general reports, and watchdog investigations found that overbilling by Medicare Advantage (MA) providers is so pervasive it exceeds the budgets of entire federal agencies, prompting journalist Ryan Cooper to call the program “a straight up fraud scheme.” Continue reading

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US Lawmakers Want to Bar Using Espionage Act to Target Journalists

“When one journalist is prosecuted for doing his or her job, that’s a threat to all journalists,” said Rep. Ro Khanna.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A trio of congressional lawmakers reintroduced the Espionage Reform Act on Wednesday to prevent reporters from being prosecuted for publishing classified information—a common journalistic practice used to expose government wrongdoing.

Unveiled by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), the measure aims to narrow the scope of the 105-year-old Espionage Act and similar laws enacted during the First World War—ostensibly to protect the United States from spies but, according to critics, to criminalize anti-war dissent, resulting in the imprisonment of nearly a thousand people, including leading socialist Eugene Debs. Continue reading

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Just 27 Billionaires Have Spent $90 Million to Buy GOP Congress: Report

“They’re counting on that ‘small’ investment in anti-tax Republicans to save them billions in taxes,” said Americans for Tax Fairness, which conducted the analysis.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of Blackstone, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2018. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

A few dozen billionaires are spending tens of millions of dollars on the 2022 midterm elections—mostly to support Republican candidates, including many who have parroted the dangerous lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen—in a bid to ensure that Congress is full of lawmakers willing “to make their wealthy benefactors even richer,” according to a fresh analysis.

Titled Billionaires Buying Elections, the report from Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) details how “billionaires are increasingly using their personal fortunes and the profits of connected corporations to drown out regular voters’ voices and elect hand-picked candidates who further rig the nation’s economy—especially the tax system.” Continue reading

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‘Bombshell’: Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an “in-plain-sight national security threat,” one expert warned that “a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-3-2021 by Common Dreams

Photo: Unsplash

Multiple news outlets revealed Friday that Apple notified at least 11 U.S. State Department officials that their iPhones were recently hacked by an unknown party or parties with spyware developed by the private Israeli firm NSO Group.

The “bombshell,” first reported by Reuters, comes after Apple sued NSO Group last month in an effort to protect iPhone users from its Pegasus spyware, which the Israeli company claims to only sell to government law enforcement and intelligence agencies and was the focus of a major reporting project earlier this year. Continue reading

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Big Pharma Spent ‘Horrifying’ Sums of Money to Weaken Drug Price Reform

The industry is expected to break its lobbying record after spending tens of millions of dollars to undermine a popular proposal to reduce prescription drug costs.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 11-5-2021 by Common Dreams

Photo: Daniel Foster/flickr/CC

While progressive advocates are still optimistic that a limited drug pricing provision will be included in the Build Back Better Act, the Washington Post on Friday detailed the “massive, months-long advertising, lobbying, and political donation blitz” that Big Pharma and its allies carried out to kill a stronger and overwhelmingly popular proposal that would have done more to protect Americans from the industry’s deadly price gouging.

As Common Dreams has reported, pharmaceutical corporations and private health insurers spent $171 million on lobbying through the first nine months of the year, the most of any industry. Big Pharma’s 1,600 lobbyists outnumber members of Congress by a ratio of three to one. Continue reading

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