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Guest blog post for change.org
|A draft-in-progress of a guest blog post on change.org's Criminal Justice blog, promoting our Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties idea.|
Length: 400-500 words.
A first crack at the 3 (ish) key points we want to make with this post ... see the thread below for discussion
- the issue: most people there probably don't know about FISA or how it relates to the PATRIOT Act
- the 2009 landscape (reference to Liberty and Security, ACLU's, and EFF's documents) and our strategy (which will include background on Get FISA Right and our social network focus)
- why Ideas for Change (especially the collaboration with MySpace and other partners) is key
- What should be done:
- The Liberty and Security coalition's Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress
- EFF’s What Obama Can and Should do to Stop Telecom Immunity
- ACLU's transition plan
- What's wrong with FISA: The script for our Don't let our Constitution Die ad is the most succinct statement
- What's the current landscape? Jon Pincus' How will the Obama administration respond on immunity? links to analyses of Obama's likely actions, as well as reports on the most recent court hearings
- Our most recent correspondense with President-elect Obama: His July 3 response to us (and discussion), and our Our July 9 open letter after the vote
|Note from Jon: hah! 500 words, not counting footnotes. Third time's a charm! Feedback welcome! Discussion thread here.|
2009 presents 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.
The PATRIOT Act was passed hastily and almost-unanimously in the aftermath of 9/11, and then re-authorized in 2006, once again with bipartisan support. It gives the government huge wiretapping and other surveillance powers, including the odious “National Security Letters” which allow the government access to business and library records without a warrant.
FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was originally passed in 1978 as a reaction to Nixon-era government spying. Over the years, its safeguards have been steadily weakened.* In July 2008, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), further broadening warrantless wiretapping powers and including a “telecom immunity” clause shielding companies that may have broken the law from accountability.
Senator Obama voted for FAA but in response to an open letter from Get FISA Right, he restated his opposition to telecom immunity and support for the rule of law. There's a lot he could do to live up to this commitment, as The Liberty and Security coalition's Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress, EFF's What Obama Can and Should do to Stop Telecom Immunity, and ACLU's transition plan all make clear.** Will he invest the political capital to act?
More significant reform relies on Congress. The roving wiretaps and business records sections of the PATRIOT Act expire at the end of the year unless reauthorized (although many other horrible clauses remain), and Senator Reid has spoken of his desire to have a broader discussion of wiretapping in this context. Our country's facing a lot of other important problems, and so if Washington continues business as usual and the press continues to ignore this issue, there will be a temptation to sweep these issues under the rug -- unless there's an outcry.
|In 2008 civil liberties supporters made significant progress: the progressive/libertarian partnership of Strange Bedfellows, the coordinated blogosphere actions in February and June/July, Get FISA Right’s social network activism campaigns, initial forays into cable TV advertising working with SaysMe.tv. Still, there’s a long way to go. As Get FISA Right's strategy-in-progress highlights, working with change.org, MySpace, and the partner organizations could make a big difference here. |
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.
PS: Thanks to Matt Kelley for the opportunity to guest-post here!
* Deborah Pierce's FISA: A brief history gives an overview and links out to more detailed discussions.
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, Dec 11 2008, 1:48 AM EST
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|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|JonPincus||Discussion of draft blog post for change.org?||0||Dec 8 2008, 2:46 PM EST by JonPincus|
|JonPincus||Key points for change.org guest post?||6||Dec 5 2008, 12:39 PM EST by JonPincus|
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