Open Letter Suggested Tweets

November 30, 2009

By: Harry Waisbren

Our Open Letter has been released, and now it is our job to promote it to ensure it is heard far and wide! Below you will find our latest suggested tweets for spreading the letter and promoting the different ways to sign:

Ask @BarackObama to support #patriotact reform! http://act.ly/1fp Please RT

You can sign our Open Letter to @BarackObama to fix the #patriotact at @BORDC: http://bit.ly/8Pzd4o

You can sign our Open Letter to @BarackObama to fix the #patriotact at @Change: http://bit.ly/7T02BS

You can sign our Open Letter to @BarackObama to fix the #patriotact at @care2: http://bit.ly/7ctiyd

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Open Letter is Released: Time for Action!

November 24, 2009

By: Harry Waisbren

Our tweetchat is over, our Open Letter has been released, and now is the time for action! We must work to amplify our collective voices to both ensure President Obama hears us and compel him to respond.

With that in mind, here are the various ways you can join us by signing on to the letter:

Furthermore, democratic discourse is inherently an act of activism, and it is our duty as citizens to speak out about the issues that matter to us. Quite fortunately, the Thanksgiving holiday is a time in which families and friends come together with precisely the opportunity to have this conversation.

The bipartisan, ideology-crossing nature of the fight for civil liberties is just the sort of topic that could bridge divides that might occur in other areas. The more people engaged in this fight and discussing it in the public sphere, the better the chances for us to force this issue into our national conversation.

So have a wonderful thanksgiving, and as you’re giving thanks, consider mentioning those little old civil liberties as something to be thankful for…


Tweetchatting the Word Out

November 24, 2009

By: Harry Waisbren

Our tweetchat held in our Patriot Act Action Hub was quite successful and much fun! It acted as a solid launch event for our Open Letter to the President, helping us make traction on all the various ways we have available to sign, i.e. through BORDC, Change.org, Care2, and Twitter. However, it’s greatest utility came through how it exhibited the degree to which our national discourse is missing the message in regards to the Patriot Act and civil liberties.

It is the void of this conversation that has inspired our letter, and the expert commentary from Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute and Shahid Buttar of BORDC exhibited the degree to which the “experts” in our mainstream media could do a better job. I’d encourage anyone to read through the transcript, but members of our 4th estate in particular would do well to take advantage of this on the record discourse.

Fortunately, new media tools such as Twitter serve as distribution outlets that can bypass the media filter to get the word out. Even better, it does this while simultaneously alerting those outlets to the groundswell of demand that there is for such coverage.

And why shouldn’t there be such a groundswell, considering the kind of bombshells dropped even to activists well-versed on this issue from these experts. This is why we’re encouraging more retweeting, and below you’ll find some highlights to consider if you choose to do so:

Shahid of @BORDC: The long & short of this unfortunate story reflects an about-face by the Obama administration #patriotact

Shahid of @BORDC: struck by sheer ignorance within DC of the widespread rejection of these #patriotact authorities across the country

Shahid of @BORDC: Over 400 cities & towns, as well as 8 states, passed resolutions opposing the #PATRIOTAct over the past several years

@normative: Conyers bill watered down in a rather mendacious way. #patriotact

@normative: sea change in the way we conduct surveillance—a macro shift that eclipses all the specific policy points. #patriotact

Shahid of @BORDC: great 2 see so many voices, from so many political perspectives standing together 2 defend liberty & #privacy! #patriotact

Julian Sanchez aka @normative: We are not surveilling people anymore. We are surveilling populations. #patriotact

@normative: Minority Report fantasy u’re going 2 pluck potential terrorists from national pool of credit card records is stupid. #patriotact

@normative: totally irresponsible to act like we’re still doing old-school target/suspicion/investigation intelligence work. #patriotact

The tweetchat closed with Jon inspirationally describing where civil liberties activists go from here. He cited the need for these issues to impact elections, potentially through primary battles, and that the connections we’re making and the techniques we’re pioneering are the basis from which this future can begin.

Last summer, we took quite a big step towards this future through the innovative nature of our open letter. Now, we are trying to take another step again with our new letter, and we hope you join us as we push forward!

For now though, thank you to Julian, Shahid, Korkie, Jim, Mark, Amy, Triv33, Emily, Brandon, Amagi, Jenny, and Jon for joining us in the chat, to everyone who RT’d, and to anyone else following along. We hope you all enjoyed, and that you join us in the future as we continue to build on this model for 21st century activism that we are establishing.


Blog posts about the open letter

November 24, 2009

Here’s a quick list of the posts about the open letter so far … if you write a post about it — or you see somebody else’s post that isn’t here already — please add it to the list!



Suggested Tweets

November 23, 2009

By: Harry Waisbren

Here are our latest suggested tweets for the launch of our Open Letter to President Obama and our tweetchat in the Patriot Act Action hub this Tuesday 8am PST/ 11 am EST:

RT @GetFISARight: Ask @BarackObama to please support #patriotact reform! http://act.ly/1fp Please RT

RT @jcool493: The Patriot Act: turning citizens into suspects since 2001
#patriotact

RT @GetFISARight: We are proud to present our now completed open letter
to Obama: http://bit.ly/8Pzd4o #patriotact #p2


Final Draft of our Open Letter to Obama

November 22, 2009

At long last, we are proud to present the final draft of our open letter to our President. This letter would not have been possible, much less at the high caliber of quality it exhibits now, if it weren’t for the help of all of you that gave us your input in ways big and small.

Thank you again to everyone who took part in this collaborative project, and you can find our completed letter below.  We’re working with BORDC on a page to allow people to sign on, and will send the link out once it’s ready!

Dear President Obama,

In your response to Get FISA Right’s July 2008 Open Letter on my.barackobama.com, you promised to run “a White House that takes the Constitution seriously, conducts the peoples’ business out in the open, welcomes and listens to dissenting views, and asks you to play your part in shaping our country’s destiny.”  With Patriot Act and FISA reform once again before Congress, Get FISA Right would like to accept your invitation.

Last July, you told us of your intention to direct your Attorney General to “make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.”   Once Patriot Act reform legislation was introduced, Attorney General Holder talked about “a conversation that can be had” about civil liberties concerns.   So far, the conversation has been disappointing. Your administration opposed long overdue and badly needed protections for civil liberties and urged their eventual rejection by the Senate.  Absent this intervention, the legislation emerging from the Senate and House Judiciary Committees would likely include greater civil liberties protections.

We ask you and your administration to take a strong stand to support significant reform of key sections of the Patriot Act, including National Security Letters, Section 215, Lone Wolf, Sneak and Peek, and material support.  Legislatively, we ask for your public support of HR 3845 and 3846, and amendments adding similar protections to S 1692.

In spite of your promises for an open and transparent government, much of the conversation around this issue has been behind closed doors or via unnamed participants. We ask that you remember your promises and respond in an open and transparent manner.  With your background in constitutional law, and insight into the complex trade-offs you must make as President, you are uniquely qualified to help all Americans see beyond the false trade-off between national security and civil liberties. Please continue the discussion with us, and other voices supporting civil liberties, even when we disagree.

President Obama, the Organizing for America caption still reads, “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I’m asking you to believe in yours.”   We believe, and hope you do too.

Americans of all stripes have grown increasingly wary of giving up liberty for the illusion of security.  Get FISA Right’s 23,000 community organizers are the largest grassroots issue-oriented group on Organizing for America, and we are only one of many organizations across the political spectrum working to restore our civil liberties.

If you join us, you can inspire the same wave of grassroots energy that propelled you to the Presidency.  Together we can reject the politics of fear, and turn the page on the abuses to our constitutional rights during the last eight years.

Signed,


Revised Draft of Open Letter to Obama

November 21, 2009

Update, November 22: thanks once again for the great feedback!  Please check out the final draft!

We received some really fantastic feedback from our proposed open letter to Obama and have revised it accordingly — for example, this draft is about 40% shorter. We’ve tried to incorporate everybody’s perspectives … please have a look at this version and see what you think:

Dear President Obama,

In response to Get FISA Right’s July 2008 Open Letter, you promised to run “a White House that takes the Constitution seriously, conducts the peoples’ business out in the open, welcomes and listens to dissenting views, and asks you to play your part in shaping our country’s destiny.”    With Patriot Act and FISA reform once again before Congress, we woiuld would like to accept your invitation.

Last July, you told us of your intention to direct your Attorney General to “make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.”   Once Patriot Act reform legislation was introduced, AG Holder talked about “a conversation that can be had” about civil liberties concerns.   So far, the conversation has been disappointing. Your administration opposed long overdue and badly needed protections for civil liberties and urged their eventual rejection by the Senate.  Absent this intervention, the legislation emerging from the Senate and House Judiciary Committees would likely include greater civil liberties protections.

We ask you and your administration to take a strong stand to support significant reform of key sections of the Patriot Act, incuding National Security Letters, Section 215, Lone Wolf, Sneak and peak, and material support.  Legislatively, we ask for your public support of HR 3845 and 3846, and amendments adding similar protections to S 1692.

Just as importantly, in light of your promises regarding open government, we ask you to respect the people’s passion regarding our rights as citizens and to respond in an open and transparent way.  Much of the conversation has gone on behind closed doors or via anonymous sources, rather than out in the open.  With your background in constitutional law, and insight into the complex tradeoffs you must make as President, you are uniquely qualified to help all Americans to get beyond the false tradeoff between national security and civil liberties.

President Obama, The Organizing for America caption still reads, “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I’m asking you to believe in yours.”   We believe, and hope you do too.

Americans of all stripes have grown increasingly wary of giving up liberty for the illusion of security.  Get FISA Right’s 23,000 community organizers are the largest grassroots issue-oriented group on Organizing for America, and we are only one of many organizations across the political spectrum working to restore or civil liberties.  If you join us, you can inspire the same wave of grassroots energy that propelled you to the Presidency.  Together we can reject the politics of fear, and turn the page on the abuses to our constitutional rights of the last 8 years

Signed,