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Demand JUSTICE, not the PATRIOT Act!

It’s time to go on the offensive! Here’s the action alert Bill of Rights Defense Committee just sent out. Please help by using POPVOX to support the reintroduction of the JUSTICE Act, and getting the word out widely in email, via Facebook, and on Twitter. The House is expected to vote again early next week so now is a critical time to make some noise!

– jon


Ten years after passing the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress is again debating this enormous expansion of government power. With three provisions set to expire at the end of this month, and Tuesday’s revolt in the House against fast-track reauthorization, there has never been a better time to insist that Congress restore constitutional rights.

Take action now. Demand that your congressional representatives support meaningful reforms through the JUSTICE Act.

A law so extensive that many members of Congress admitted to having never read it, the USA PATRIOT Act has been in place for too long—and there has been too little debate on its dramatic expansion of executive power—to allow a reauthorization without debate.
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Patriot house alert breaks heads: found art from Twitter

Images from Twazzup’s Patriot Act page as the House prepares to vote again on the Patriot Act extension.  The refrigerator magnets on the top are the most common words and hashtags.

patriot house alert breaks headspatriot act live

You can weigh in on the head-breaking yourself via POPVOX, Demand Progress, ACLU, EFF, Downsize DC or the phone. Julian Sanchez’ Now what? and the ACLU’s letter describe why you should ask your Representative to oppose HR514, the sneak attempt to extend the Patriot Act without a debate.

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Patriot Act renewal: building on an unexpected victory (DRAFT!)

Draft! Work in progress! Feedback welcome!

Talk about a shocker!  24 Republicans (including 8 new members) joined with 124 Democrats to stand up for civil liberties and defeat an attempt to sneak Patriot Act Reauthorization through the House.  Here’s what EFF, Wired, and the Washington Post have to say about this unexpected victory.

Thanks to everybody who joined in the flash activism campaign and made some noise!  It was a great multi-partisan campaign that broke through the media blackout and got some attention.  So let’s take a moment to celebrate!

Okay, now back to work.
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Patriot Act renewal: Time to make some noise. Fortunately, there’s an app for that!

Update, February 11: The House will be voting on HR 514 again soon.  Keep making noise!  Shahid Buttar’s Demand JUSTICE for the PATRIOT Act has the latest.

Key provisions of the Patriot Act will sunset unless Congress renews them by the end of February. The Obama Administration is working with its allies in Congress to extend Bush Administration policies including National Security Letters , “sneak-and-peak”, and warrantless wiretapping.  On February 8, the House unexpectedly stood up and defeated HR 514, which would reauthorize the odious clauses until December.  It’s back for another vote, though.  With there are three bills in the Senate, and Congress is on recess the last week of the month, it’s not a pretty picture.

Time to make some noise.

Fortunately, there’s an app for that!

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#mooreandme and #p2: learnings for progressives on Twitter (REVISED DRAFT)

Draft, work in progress. Feedback welcome!

Last updated February 5.

#p2 logo

Twitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”. Demographically and stylisticly, Twitter is far less male-dominated than the big blogs of the progressive blogosphere …

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter, February 2009

Twitter is, quite possibly, the best available medium for this particular kind of protest. The format has a number of features that level a playing field that tends to push women into the outfield.

How #Mooreandme Worked, Lili Loofbourow, December 2010

Twitter was an instinctive choice for #MooreandMe, because it made the target of the protest accessible and ensured that he could hear us. But I liked it as a medium for #DearJohn too, because it was really equalizing, it wasn’t hierarchical, it ensured that voices and perspectives could influence the conversation regardless of how well-connected or well-known they were, and it was a very visible, trackable way to register dissent.

– Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, interviewed in where is your line?, January 2011

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Calls to Boycott Amazon over Wikileaks: #amazonfail 2.0?

Boycott Amazon for Dumping Wikileaks (screenshot of Facebook page via Kurier.at)Heading into the busiest shopping time of the year, Amazon is suddenly facing threats of a boycott over censoring Wikileaks.   Seems like a good time to dust off the #amazonfail hashtag.

It started last week, after a hacker took one of Wikileaks’ sites down with a relatively weak attack.  Wikileaks moved their online base to Amazon, which from a technology perspective makes a lot of sense: their services are reliable and very scalable.  So it was all good.  Briefly.

Yesterday, after a public request from Senator Lieberman (and rumors of pressure from DHS), Amazon shut Wikileaks’ sites down for “unspecified violations” of their terms of use.  I think EFF’s Kevin Bankston speaks for a lot of us when he describes it as “disappointing”.

Unsurprisingly, there are calls for a boycott.  From Austria, Kurier has a great screenshot in Wut weil Amazon Wikileaks fallen ließSeattle Weekly has a good roundup including links to the Facebook page and the #amazonfail hashtag.

Hey wait a second.

Where have I heard that before?

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Resources for National Opt Out Day

Wednesday, November 24, is National Opt Out Day. We Won’t Fly, a grassroots organization that’s taken the lead in organizing, describes the goals

The goal of National Opt Out Day is (1) to educate the traveling public about airport naked-body scanners and the new “enhanced” TSA groping so they can make an informed decision; (2) force positive change on the TSA by slowing down their security theater with creative protest; and (3) show the airlines our consumer power so that they will lobby the government on our behalf to get the naked-body scanners removed and the TSA abolished. The government has failed us. We’re taking our message of real security, dignity and privacy to the airlines until they get on our side.

An important clarification on point #2: the goal is not to interfere with other passengers getting to their destinations. As AP’s Ray Henry describes in TSA chief: Resisting scanners just means delays, the government is trying to convince travelers not to exercise their rights. But as We Won’t Fly’s George Donnelly discusses, Opt Out Day could make security lines move faster by reducing the number of people flying and giving travelers better information than the TSA is providing.

Whether or not you’re planning on opting out, it’s important to know your rights — and to know what your options are if something goes wrong. Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources out there. Here’s a quick guide:
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Constitution Day 2010: We’re all talking to each other

A lot of these people that are upset in this country are upset with big government, and for a lot of the people, including these Tea Party people, they don’t like the PATRIOT ACT.  There is a constituency out there that is not just on the left, but is also on the right and in the middle, that knows that this bill had some very serious problems. So, I am looking at organizing with people of all different backgrounds and political ideologies, to fight for the rights of perfectly innocent Americans, which are being violated and continue to be violated, by some of these provisions, even of the Obama administration

— Russ Feingold, interviewed by Glenn Greenwald on Salon

September 17 is Constitution Day.  This year it’s in the wake of major court victories for marriage quality, right in the middle of the Bradley Manning Support Network‘s International Days of Action, and next week we’re expecting votes on the DREAM Act and an attempt to break the McCain filibuster on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. There’s a lot to pay attention to here.

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An open letter to President Obama on the Patriot Act (DRAFT)

Draft! Work in progress!  Feedback welcome!

The open letter will be published Monday evening, and this will be one of many posts announcing it.

Final version intended for Pam’s House Blend

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Social network activism and the future of civil liberties

Also posted on The Seminal and Pam’s House Blend

The most recent skirmish on the Patriot Act reauthorization battle ended badly for civil liberties.   Despite passionate speeches all around in the Senate Judiciary Committee public hearings and classified briefings, in the end, only Senators Feingold, Durbin, and Specter stood up for the Constitution. As Marcy Wheeler says, we got rolled.

At the same time, though, the social network activism I discussed in Can Skittles fix the Patriot Act? and on the Get FISA Right blog highlights the opportunity to broaden and recharge the civil liberties community.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Care2, OFA and other social network sites:

  • provide a way to engage with Millennials and other diverse groups of people who care a lot about the Patriot Act — but are not currently involved with civil liberties activism.
  • make it easy for people to let their politicians know their feelings — and recruit their friends in the process.
  • allow civil liberties organizations to get beyond the media blackout and provide accurate information to everybody.
  • complement in-person local campaigns like People’s Campaign for the Constitution’s local ordinances and good ol’ fashioned letters-to-the-editor

It’s a powerful narrative.  Social network sites epitomize the wave of the future, Obama’s strength in 2008, and youth.  They’re overwhelmingly in favor of civil liberties.  And civil liberties supporters are getting organized there.  As we continue to make progress, every political consultant and politician thinking about a primary or general election challenge in 2010 or 2012 will be paying attention.

Social network activism for civil liberties has made great progress so far.  Some simple steps from organizations and bloggers can take things to the next level.  Before getting to the suggestions, though, I’d like to discuss the diversity aspects in a little more detail.
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Social network activism and the Patriot Act (DRAFT)

DRAFT Work in progress! Feedback welcome!

Final version intended for The Seminal and Pam’s House Blend

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National Equality March: some highlights via Twitter

Some screenshots from the #nem hashtag via Twazzup:

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