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Get FISA Right: draft scripts up … feedback please!

First-draft scripts for a few different options for our next round of ads are up on the wiki:

  • Better watch those nuns — and their friends too
  • Obama’s cell-phone records breached
  • Congratulations. Now, get FISA right.

Feedback welcome!  Discussion thread here …

jon

PS: in case you missed it, I posted a Get FISA Right update earlier today.

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Get FISA Right: quick update

Executive Summary

Details

Even though it’s the holiday season, it seems like the group’s energy is really starting to ramp up after the election, so I just wanted to take a moment to update people on what’s happening.  I realize that our communications are very, um, challenging right now and appreciate everybody’s forbearance.  One of the important things going on is a plan for improved communications in 2009; please have a look and see what you think!

Our short-term priorities are the Ideas for Change competition, working with SaysMe.tv on our next round of cable TV ads, and continuing our 2009 strategy planning.   And there a bunch of civil liberties questions on change.gov’s new Open for Questions, including a FISA-related idea with a great backstory.

Read on for more …

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Get FISA Right: Proposed 2009 strategy

After discussions with people in Get FISA Right as well as others (including EFF, ACLU, privacy advocates, and journalists), I’ve put together a proposal for a 2009 Strategy.  There’s also a Strategy Backgrounder, with a brief history, and a discussion of our strengths and challenges — as well as challenges for the anti-FISA forces in general.

This is the first published draft, so it’s far from final.  Feedback, suggestions, criticisms, all very welcome!  There’s a thread on the wiki here; replies to to this post are welcome too.

A quick overview:

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Get FISA Right: Proposed 2009 communication channels

In response to the consistent feedback that we need to simplify our communications mechanisms, there’s a proposal up on the wiki.  A summary:

  • to stay informed:
    • check the website/blog at getfisaright.net
    • OR get action alerts and daily(ish) newsletters on any one of the channels listed in the “Broadcasts” section below (email, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • for discussions: use the discussion forum on the wiki — anonymous participation okay (until we get overrun by trolls)
  • for more active organizing and collaboration: join the wiki

More details on the wiki page.

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FISA: How will the Obama administration respond on immunity?

Justice Department attorney Carl Nichols didn’t get through his first full sentence defending the constitutionality of retroactive immunity for spying telecom carriers before U.S. district judge Vaughn Walker interrupted to ask about President-elect Barack Obama.

“We are going to have new attorney general,” Walker interjected in Tuesday morning’s hearing in a San Francisco courthouse. “Why shouldn’t the court wait to see what the new attorney general will do?”

— Ryan Singel, Obama Will Fight For Wiretap Immunity, Bush Lawyer Tells Judge, Wired’s Threat Level

Unsurprisingly, Nichols did his job and responded by saying that the Obama administration would defend the constitutionality of the statute, noting that “The Department of Justice rarely, if ever, declines to defend the constitutionality of a statute.”   Well, yeah, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

In reality, it’s very difficult to predict how the new administration will react.  Prominent Catholic Obama supporter Douglas Kmeic, quoted in Carol Williams’ LA Times article, describes the tensions:

“They would want to get rid of these cases, to move on,” Pepperdine University law professor Douglas W. Kmiec said of the incoming administration. “But I also think there will be a proper impulse within the Obama Justice Department to get the law right. It’s one thing to have a clean worktable, and another to have a clean worktable where the laws have been brushed to the floor and all lie broken and scattered.”

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change.org/MySpace “Ideas for Change in America” top 20

Updated info available at the top ideas list on the change.org site

Ideas for Change in America is a citizen-driven project that aims to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama Administration and 111th Congress can turn the broad call for “change” across the country into specific policies….

The top 10 rated ideas will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009 as the “Top 10 Ideas for America.” We will then launch a national campaign behind each idea and mobilize the collective energy of the millions of members of Change.org, MySpace, and partner organizations to ensure that each winning idea gets the full consideration of the Obama Administration and Members of Congress….

The Ideas for Change in America FAQ

A week after the official launch of the site, and with a month to go until the first round of voting ends, it’s still early days for the contest … but as any sports fan knows, you don’t have to the wait until the playoffs to start watching the standings!

The top three ideas in each category advance to the second round, and the site makes it easy to see who’s leading in each category — for example, the Criminal Justice page currently has Jose Torres’ Legalise the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana in the #1 position,* followed by my Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and Paul Lange’s Fair Investigations of Bush Administration, with change.org blogger Matt Kelley’s Provide Alternatives to Incarceration only a few votes out of the top 3.

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Get FISA Right and Change.org’s Ideas site: Rupert Murdoch as civil rights sugar daddy?

Nancy Scola’s Ideas for Change, and a Roadmap in techPresident’s “Daily Digest” discusses Change.org’s Ideas for Change in America:

The social-action hub has just announced that the project now has the backing of MySpace and a broad coalition of supporting partners, including techPresident, the Sunlight Foundation, Netroots Nation, VotoLatino, GOOD Magazine, Change Congress, Campus Progress, and People for the America Way…. once the top ten ideas are identified, “we will then build a national campaign to advance each idea in Congress, marshaling the resources of Change.org, MySpace, and our dozens of partner organizations and millions of combined members.”

Sounds intriguing.  It’s hard to know just what the “national campaign” will look like, but these are certainly great groups to be partnering with. If Get FISA Right (and all the other pro-civil liberties groups out there) can get our act together and Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties is one of their top 10, then we’ll recruit some significant allies.  Seems worth a try.

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Constitution Day: Can we please talk about it?

ACLU's I'm a Constitution Voter button

Constitution Day has arrived without major statements from Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain on the need to restore this country’s commitment to the rule of law.

— John Nichols, Constitution in Crisis, Candidates in Denial, The Nation

At the risk of showing my age, I grew up with the impression that the Constitution was supposed to guide us 365 days a year … ah well.  Times change.

In Get FISA Right: on the air in St. Paul I lamented the lack of discussion of Constitutional issues in the election campaign.  Turns out that Dahlia Lithwick and I weren’t the only ones who are disturbed by this:

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Get FISA Right: on the air in St. Paul!

Get FISA Right logoDuring the past 8 years, the Bush administration listened to Americans’ phone calls and read their emails without a warrant. If elected President, John McCain would do the same.*

Get FISA Right ad, scheduled to air on Fox News in St. Paul today

Update: check out Nick Juliano’s Anti-FISA group targets GOP delegates in St. Paul on The Raw Story

We’ve got at least 9 Get FISA Right ads scheduled to air on the cable news networks during the Republican National Convention. With the live documentation of journalists in handcuffs and demonstrators teargassed and pepper-sprayed in St. Paul, a prime time Fox News ad defending the Constitution for only $123 feels like money very well spent — a great chance to reach all the media looking for convention stories to cover as well as the personal satisfaction of bringing up an issue I know none of the speakers will touch. I know it’s been said a lot recently, but SaysMe.tv’s ability to let individuals air cable ads is really a game-changer.

For Against
Republicans 46 1
Democrats 5 44
July 9 Senate vote on telecom immunity

It’s been a really difficult 8 years for civil libertarians, and although there’s a sense of change in the air and I’m increasingly confident that we’ll win when the FISA battle resumes early next year, nobody at last week’s Democratic National Convention seemed to want to talk about the damage that’s been done to the Constitution. Is it really possible that issues like the Fourth Amendment, the rule of law, and the underlying Nixonian Article II/”unitary executive” theory aren’t going to be on the table this election? It’s appalling on at least a couple of levels. As an American, I really feel like we should get to vote on whether or not we continue a slide into fascism. And as an Obama supporter, how can an otherwise-intelligent campaign throw away such a huge potential advantage?**

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Towards a rebirth of freedom: activism on social networks, part 1 (DRAFT)

Get FISA Right logo

DRAFT!

Revised version posted at Pam’s House Blend and (under a different title, and minus the introduction ) Open Left.

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Get FISA Right: A night of Facebook action

It’s been a wild few days with the Get FISA Right activism campaign. Our bare-bones media room is the best place to get a quick summary of all the stuff going on; here are a few hightlights: over 22,000 members in the myBO group, and 1700+ on Facebook; we delivered our response and our asks to Obama’s Senate office today (and of course have emailed them as well); and much much more.

We’ve gotten tons of coverage, including an article featuring me by Sarah Lai Stirland on Wired’s Threat Level blog, a call to action and video by Daniel Ellsberg on antiwar.com, and an article by Ari Melber in The Nation that puts this in the context of net movements in general. Will it be enough?

With the vote tomorrow, it’s time for a final push. Announcing: a night of Facebook action

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It’s the Fourth of July, and we’re fighting for our civil liberties

Originally sent to the Senator Obama – Please, No Telecom Immunity and Get FISA Right mailing list.

I certainly don’t mean to trivialize the situation. There’s a huge amount at stake and the anger, frustration, and disappointment so many of us (including me) feel comes through in every post. Realistically, the odds are still against us.

Still. We have a chance. We’re in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and in a conversation with Barack and his aides. Like the vast majority of us who have weighed in so far, I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the content of his response, and I wish it had come out earlier in the day, but even so … we’re managing to get our voice heard. We’re not out of it yet.

We could turn the tide; and even if not, at the very least we’ve succeeded in getting our message out. There are a lot of people in this country who care about civil liberties, and we are getting very tired of telecom donations being put ahead of the rule of law.

It’s the Fourth of July, and we’re fighting for our civil liberties. How cool is that?

jon

To celebrate Independence Day, the Get FISA Right wiki is currently featuring fireworks. I heart wikis.

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