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Get FISA Right on Ideas for Change: only 72 hours left, five ways to help

Voting in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition closes Thursday at 2 p.m. Pacific time. Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties has just fallen to #8, and a couple of the ideas close behind us like Pass the DREAM Act – Support Higher Education for All Students have been climbing rapidly.

Now would be a very good time to start increasing our momentum.

So let’s supplement our email and blogosphere outreach with attention to Facebook.  I’m pretty sure at least half the Get FISA Right members have Facebook accounts, and while there are a lot of challenges to doing Facebook activism, it’s a great platform for person-to-person contact.*

As you get a few moments of time over the next few days, here’s how you can help.

  1. vote for the idea if you haven’t already
  2. double-check that your vote has counted:  the blue “vote” button at the top of the change.org page should turn into a brown “voted” button.
  3. email your friends and family
  4. help with the blogger outreach
  5. get involved on Facebook

Thanks much!

jon

PS: our current endorsement list is here, and later today we’re going to start voting on whether or not to endorse Bob Fertik’s special prosecutor idea.  stay tuned!

* It would be great to do more on MySpace and my.barackobama.com as well; ideas and volunteers welcome!

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Vote early, promote often: Ideas for Change and Get FISA Right

The second round of voting in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition kicked off today.  Please vote for Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties — and help promote it!

To vote, just click on the Vote here button on the widget on the right.  (If your vote doesn’t register, you may need to log in or sign up first.)

There are a lot of ways you can help promote the idea — see the list on our wiki.  A few ways to get started:

  1. Email the link to your friends and listservs.
  2. Post it to your profile and share it on Facebook or MySpace
  3. If you’re a blogger, write up a post on it and include the code for the widget (available here).  Then sign up as an “endorser” (the link’s on the right-hand side of the change.org page)
  4. As other bloggers to mention our idea and sign up as supporters

We’re having a conference call to discuss promotion on Tuesday, January 6, at 5 PM Pacific/8 PM Eastern.  Please RSVP on Facebook or MyBO if you’re interested!

Stay tuned for more!

jon

PS: and if you’ve got other ideas for promotion, please mention them in the comments

PPS: please also consider voting for Pierre Loiselle’s Repeal the Patriot Act idea.  If we decide to combine the ideas later, you can always change your vote …

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Mutual guest-blogging 2.0: an idea for “Ideas for Change”?

Last year I proposed an experiment on OpenLeft that involved “mutual guest-blogging“: four great bloggers who didn’t usually hang out there making front-page posts, and in return the OpenLeft front-pagers posting on the other blogs.  The idea was to expose bloggers, readers, and commenters to new perspectives, and hopefully build some connections that could lead to potential alliances.  It didn’t all work out exactly that way, but the underlying idea is a good one, and I think this could be a useful technique for the change.org/MySpace Ideas for Change in America competition.

A quick recap on the competition: second-round voting is January 5 to 15, and the goal is to finish in the top 10 overall.  Along with email and social network, blogs were one of the most effective forms of promotion in the first round; in the second round, bloggers (as well as non-profits) can sign up as “supporters” of an idea so their influence is likely to be even larger.

My idea, Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties has a decent shot (it finished #10 in the first round despite virtually no exposure in the blogosphere), and we’re going to be doing a lot to promote it.  (Discussion here — please join in!)  Both for Get FISA Right in particular and the civil liberties advocacy community as a whole, this is a great opportunity to reach out to a much more diverse audience than usual.  And the same’s true for any of the other ideas — many of which (for example Pass the DREAM Act Now!, End the Global Gag Rule The Family Union Foundation for Obama, Stop NAIS! ) involve situations where privacy and civil liberties issues are critical.

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On to the second round of “Ideas for Change in America”!

Also posted on the new Get FISA Right blog

Happy new year!

My idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties finished #2 in the Criminal Justice category of change.org/MySpace’s Ideas for Change in America competition, and so has advanced to the second round.

We can revise the idea over the next couple of days (suggestions please!) and then second-round voting runs from January 5 to January 15.  We’ll be promoting it actively, of course.  There’ll be a press conference on January 16 to introduce the top 10, change.org will work with each of them to help build and promote national advocacy campaigns.  With change.org’s 200,000 members, proven ability to attack media attention, and a great list of partners for Ideas for Change in America, it’s a great opportunity …

And some really tough competition.

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“President Obama, please get FISA right” approved by Comcast

Get FISA Right’s cable TV ad for the inauguration has been approved by Comcast — almost two weeks sooner than we had estimated!  So now it’s time for grassroots fundraising to put it on the air – in Washington DC, and potentially all around the country.

The ad addresses President Obama directly, congratulating him on his victory and letting him know that we want to work with him to restore the Constitution and the rule of law.  The ad’s also for a couple of other audiences: our 23,000 members, most of whom we’ve lost touch with; and the media and politicians in Washington DC.  The underlying message is the same: this issue isn’t going away, and neither are we.

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Photos wanted for the Get FISA Right “inauguration ad”

Were you one of the 23,000 Obama supporters who got together on my.barackobama.com last July to protest his stance on FISA?  If so, we’d like to include your photo in a cable TV ad we’re working on with SaysMe.tv that we’ll be broadcasting in Washington DC for the inauguration.  Here’s the script:

Even though we disagreed with your position on FISA last July, we worked for your election victory and are excited to be part of the change you’re bringing to Washington.  We’re ready to help, and look forward to working with you to restore our Constitution and the rule of law.

Congratulations, President Obama.  Please … get FISA right.

If you’d like to have your photo in the ad, please email it to matt { at } saysme { dot } tv by 4 PM (Pacific time) on Thursday, December 18.

Please understand that by submitting your picture you agree to have yourself represented on TV — and please do NOT submit a photo if you don’t want to have it used in the TV ad.

Thanks!

jon

Update:, December 23: we took the rough cut video down from YouTube so I removed it from this post

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Turning the Page on FISA (guest-blogging on change.org)

I’ve got a post Turning the Page on FISA on change.org’s Criminal Justice blog today. Here’s the beginning:

The coming year will present a unique opportunity for a broad-based activism campaign to restore our civil liberties and begin rolling back key pillars of the national surveillance state institutionalized by the Bush Administration and Congress over the last eight years. By first pressuring President Obama to follow through in the first 100 days on his campaign promises to uphold the rule of law and protect Americans’ rights and privacy, and then gearing up for a 50-state strategy to pressure the House and Senate to repeal the PATRIOT Act and reform FISA, we can turn the page on this shameful chapter in our country’s history.

It’s an unusually succinct post for me (500 words!) and describes the overall situation, including the progress the anti-FISA forces made in 2008 and the value of a partnership with change.org and MySpace.  And of course it encourages people to vote for the civil liberties ideas in the Ideas for Change competition:

So please consider voting for Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and the similar ideas such Donovan Caesar’s End the Patriot Act and Dave Warden’s stop all warrantless wiretapping (in Government Reform) and Pierre Loiselle’s Repeal the Patriot Act in Other.

Check it out! And thanks to Matt Kelley for the invitation!

jon

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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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