PATRIOT Act Update: After a successful call-in day, the focus shifts to Congress

Thousands of patriots fought their way through jammed White House phone lines on April 5 to call on President Obama to keep his campaign promises by vetoing any PATRIOT Act extension unless it includes substantial new protections. The timing was perfect, just a day after he launched his re-election campaign. Now, the focus shifts to the House and the Senate.

EFF logo“All day long, we received reports of phone lines being flooded with calls, so that people couldn’t even get through,” says EFF’s activism director Rainey Reitman, “In the coming weeks, we’ll look to harness this energy into future actions in the fight against overbroad government surveillance.”

The two-week Congressional recess from April 18-May 1 is a great opportunity for “in-district” meetings with Representatives. Several clauses of the PATRIOT Act will sunset unless Congress extends them by May 27. Most Democrats support reform, and more and more Republicans are coming out against overbroad legislation, so it’s a great opportunity — but on the other hand, there’s also the risk of a permanent extension. So now’s the time for action.

Executive Director Shahid Buttar of Bill of Rights Defense Committee explains, “With the Obama White House pushing a Bush administration policy, the next step is for Congress to check & balance documented executive abuses under the PATRIOT Act — and for We the People to press our congressional representatives to do their jobs.”

BORDC has some great suggestions about how to set up and prepare for a meeting — including “you don’t have to go it alone”, “outline your interests”, and “follow up”. They’ve also got a couple of optional preparation phone calls scheduled for next week. sign up on their web site if you’d like to be notified. ACLU’s Congressional testimony hearing has some great talking points, and so do Downsize DC, EFF, and BORDC.

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ACTION ALERT: House PATRIOT Act vote on Monday!

Monday at 6:30 Eastern, the House is once again voting on HR514, which extends the PATRIOT Act until December of this year without introducing any new safeguards.   So please try to find time this weekend to get involved and get the word out!

To start with:

Then help get the word out!

  • email this info to people
  • share it on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter
  • leave a comment on any blog posts, articles, Facebook groups, and message board threads discussing the PATRIOT Act and make sure to include the link to the POPVOX page: http://bit.ly/oppose514
  • and if you’re on Twitter, tweet early and often using #patriotact hashtag — some suggested tweets in the first comment

Get FISA Right will be having a chat during the vote on Monday — watch our blog at http://getfisaright.wordpress.com/ for updates.

Have a great weekend … and make some noise!

jon

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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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Following the Patriot Act battle on Twitter with Twazzup

ACTION ALERT: Ask Obama to veto the PATRIOT Act, April 5.

ACTION ALERT: Meet with members of Congress about the PATRIOT Act, April 18-May 1

Most popular linksTwazzup did a custom Twitter backchannel for Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference back in June 2009, and soon after that became the best way to follow the #iranelection protests. Later that year they were kind enough to set up getfisaright.twazzup.com and at least for me it remains the best way to follow the Patriot Act action on Twitter.

patriot congress urgent demand action
#patriotact #tcot #p2 #congress #fbThe buttons aren’t just refrigerator art, they let you see what words and hashtags are the most common … #p2 and #tcot are arch rivals (the biggest progressive and conservative hashtags) and unusually enough they’re in agreement right now: we are sick of Washington trying to sneak the Patriot Act extension past us rather than having a proper debate.

The “Most Popular Links” and “Popular Tweets” sections make it easy to see at a glance what’s going on — and you can click to translate foreign tweets into English. There’s also a useful (and pretty!) “community” section.

I wonder how many tea party freshmen are going to be voting to renew the USA Patriot Act tomorrow.

You don’t have to have a Twitter account to use Twazzup. If you want to join in the conversation, though, our If you’re new to Twitter page has some suggestions.

Please join us!
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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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It’s Goa Gil’s birthday … and we’re *still* fighting for our civil liberties!

2009-10-03_1435

… keep your eyes open for a river, once you pass the river, the driveway will be the first right after the river. There is a Scarecrow on the mailbox at the edge of the driveway. Follow the driveway to your destiny 🙂

— from the direction to Goa Gil’s birthday party

Stop me if you’ve heard this one already: I’m in the midst of a social network activism campaign — and looking forward to a psytrance party.

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New strategies for fighting FISA and the PATRIOT Act

The notes from the “birds-of-a-feather” session I led at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy are written up on the CFP Wiki. Alas, we didn’t get the online aspects to work; still, we had a dozen people there in person, including Get FISA Right members Thomas Nephew and Chip Pitts. It was a great discussion. The opportunities we identified include

  • building a broad, diverse coalition
  • focusing on cost, dignity, and human rights issues as well as privacy and the constitution
  • using anti-corporate activism against the companies supplying equipment and profiting from surveillance
  • involving the technical community and domain experts

and a lot more. We also discussed some of the tactical issues about the upcoming PATRIOT Act vote: the need for an accurate vote count; a pressure campaign on key Congresspeople like Jane Harman, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Harry Reid; and the importance of powerful visual images.

Check it out!

jon

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Feingold preparing to act on FISA (a Get FISA Right scoop)!

In a comment on What does it mean to “get FISA right”?, Ben Masel wrote:

I caught up with Senator Feingold last Sunday, at his Birthday Party/Re-election fundraiser.

He’s going to give the Administration “a few more weeks” to come up with a bill to roll back the FISA amendments, introduce his own bill if they don’t.

One more reason why Get FISA Right ♡ Senator Feingold!

— me, on the Get FISA Right blog

First of all, I haven’t seen this reported elsewhere, so it may well be a scoop for Get FISA Right.  Digg it!Please retweet!**  And please help Get FISA Right get the word out about this news on Facebook!

What do we think should be in the legislation?  Good question!  See Jim Burrows’ What does it mean to “get FISA right”? for some initial opinions — and please share your perspectives!

And from an activism perspective, now’s the time to be thinking about how we can help. There are already some initial ideas on the Get FISA Right blog … feedback and other suggestions welcome!

jon

* if you’re not familiar with digg,  we’ve got a handy intro on the Get FISA Right wiki!

** new to Twitter?  check out Deanna Zandt’s Why Twitter, anyways? and A non-fanatical beginner’s guide to Twitter and the other great resources on the #p2 (“progressives 2.0”) Twitter page.

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The ‘Team of Rivals’ road trip: change.org => change.gov

Executive summary

If you were in the finals of the change.org Ideas for Change competition and have (or know of) an equivalent idea in the Citizens Briefing Book on change.gov, please leave a link in the comments — and look for opportunities to co-promote with other compatible ideas.  Also please leave other suggestions for how we might work together moving forward.

Media note

Wow!  Less than 24 hours since the change.org competition ended and the competitors are already collaboratively building on it to influence government policy via change.gov’s similar system!  It’s almost like they’ve been practicing — and building a coalition!

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w00t, w00t! Get FISA Right finishes #5 in Ideas for Change! Congratulations and great job all!

With a late rush, Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties squeaked into the #5 position in the change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition with 12285 votes!

Alas, even though our other endorsement Bob Fertik’s Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration picked up over 500 votes this morning, it appears to have fallen heartbreaking short by just 19 votes. Still, overall, wow, what a huge success for Get FISA Right — and civil liberties!

Just think about it: despite virtually no help from the progressive blogosphere or 501(c)3s, we more than held our own against some really tough competition: big mailing lists, political allies.* It’s an incredible validation of the power of our grassroots approach and social network advocacy. Yay us! And it’s yet another clear sign that no matter what they think in Washington and the mainstream media, Americans do see the Constitution and the rule of law as a priority right up there with health care, peace, sustainability, and drug law reform.

So thanks to everybody who was a part of this. Once again, I’d especially like to acknowledge Democrats.com and DreamActivist.org for including us in their last-minute mailings … it made a big difference. Neocons’ worst nightmare, indeed! Thanks also to Jason Rosenbaum of The Seminal for a big endorsement this morning. Within Get FISA Right, it was definitely a team effort, so thanks all around — with extra thanks to Thomas and Patrick who really stepped forward in the last 24 hours.

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Neocons’ worst nightmare: net movements intersecting in Ideas for Change in America

DREAM Activists and undocumented youth, the Stonewall 2.0 LGBTQ movement, Get FISA Right and civil libertarians, peace activists — together again for the first time, along with a demand for accountability for the last 8 years.   Scary stuff.  🙂

Read on for more … and please digg it!

It’s been surprising to me how little attention change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition has gotten.  David Herbert mentioned it in the National Journal and Nancy Scola on techPresident; of course the competitors have blogging a lot (for example me, at Liminal States, Get FISA Right, and Pam’s House Blend, promoting my idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and the others I’ve endorsed).  But in the broader political, progressive or technology-in-politics blogospheres?  Very little.

Here’s my attempt to describe its importance.

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Get FISA Right: should we endorse the special prosecutor idea?

There’s a voting thread up on the Get FISA Right blog.

Current results: 18 yes, 1 no, 1 present (me, since I voted first, to avoid biasing people).

Please weigh in!

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