3 months to organize

February 17, 2011

The House just passed a 3-month PATRIOT Act extension 279-143. Here’s the ACLU’s statement.

Julian Sanchez’ post from yesterday discusses why this is (relatively) good news . And as EFF tweeted, we have three months to organize.

Here’s a Doodle poll for our next organizing call. Please let us know when you can make it!

The grassroots anger against the PATRIOT Act is real across the political spectrum. So is the fear. And I agree with the politicians on both sides who said there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So over the next three months we need to do a lot of education, and get our message out in a way that’ll be heard.

And we need to make sure politicians get an earful from their constituents over next three months. The PATRIOT Act is an emblem of the kind of government intrusion the Tea Party and Libertarians loathes. So the Tea Party caucus — and every politician facing a likely Tea Party or Libertarian challenger in the 2012 primaries or general election — will be thinking very carefully about their votes. And ditto for progressives (and politicians facing progressive challengers).

There are a range of options and amendements on the table: permanent extension, a multi-year extension as requested by the Obama Administration, new safeguards, a reintroduced JUSTICE Act. And a lot of the people I heard calling in on CSPAN supported an outright repeal.*

For almost ten years, the PATRIOT Act has been an embarrassment to our country and even most of the politicians who have voted for it. One way or another, it’s time to do something about it.

Stay tuned for more.


* speaking of which, for those of you on Facebook, here’s info about a March 12 protest in DC to repeal the PATRIOT Act.

House debate happening NOW, SJC meeting at 10 a.m.

February 17, 2011

The House debate is on CSPAN.

We’re hanging out in the chat room at on http://bit.ly/feb17chat … please join us!


February 16 PATRIOT Act news update

February 16, 2011

The Senate passed a three month extension.  The vote was 86-12.  Sens. Baucus, Begich, Brown, Harkin, Lautenberg, Lee, Merkley, Murray, Paul, Sanders, Tester, Udall voted “Nay”.

Today’s House Floor Schedule includes possible consideration of the Senate’s amended version of H.R. 514 .  The Hill reports that the rule for considering the Senate bill is likely to be passed today, with the vote either today or tomorrow.

The Senate Judiciary will consider Sen. Leahy’s S. 193 (The USA Patriot Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011) on Thursday  (Feb. 17th) at 10:00am.   Watch for details on our blog, our Facebook group, and Twitter!  Here’s Senator Leahy’s statement on the 3-month extension that passed the Senate:

The bill I introduced on January 26, and that the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider this week, is based on the bill the Judiciary Committee considered and passed with a bipartisan majority last Congress.  It includes additional adjustments made at Senator Kyl’s suggestion after the Committee reported the bill in 2009.  I will urge the Judiciary Committee to report that legislation again, and I will urge the Senate to consider and pass the improvements to the USA PATRIOT Act that we have proposed, during this short, additional three-month extension.

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Senate passes 3-month Patriot Act Extension

February 15, 2011

The vote was 86-12.  The Hill has the details, and here’s the roll call vote.

On our planning call last week the consensus this was the least awful of the options.  So, thanks to everybody who got involved and made enough noise that they couldn’t sneak through something more awful!

And now, looks like we’ve got some serious organizing to do.  Stay tuned for more.

Patriot Act reauthorization passes the House — on to the Senate!

February 14, 2011

Tonight, members of Get FISA Right joined to watch live coverage of the debate on HR 514, extending 3 controversial provisions of the misnamed (to editorialize) PATRIOT Act.   The bill passed 275-144, with 27 Republicans voting no.  We were saddened by the outcome, but saw some encouragement as a number of representatives rose to speak about the necessity of preserving constitutionally-protected civil liberties, especially those protected by the first 10 amendments to the constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights.  EFF’s action alert has more details.

Now the debate moves to the Senate, which is expected to vote on Feinstein’s S.289.  Sen. Feinstein’s bill would, without introducing any new reforms, reauthorize the PATRIOT Act until 2013. Please contact your Senators and urge them to oppose S.289, and to support the reforms in S.193 (Leahy’s bill) and the JUSTICE Act (S. 1686 from the last Congress).

As always, we welcome discussion here as to what further actions we should take as a group.

We heart civil liberties: February 14 Patriot Act Update/Action Alert

February 14, 2011

It’s Valentine’s Day! And tonight at 6:30 PM Eastern, the House is once again voting on HR514which extends the PATRIOT Act until December of this year without introducing any reforms. There’s an hour of “debate” scheduled at 2 p.m. Eastern.  Julian Sanchez’ Now what? is a good overview of the issues and The Heritage Foundation on the PATRIOT Act demolishes the arguments for extending it unmodified, and GOP Rep: I made a ‘terrible mistake’ in last year’s PATRIOT Act vote highlight that civil liberties is a multipartisan issue: libertarians, progressives, tea partiers and more and more conservatives and moderates are saying “enough!”.

Please urge your representative to no, and ask her to support reintroducing the JUSTICE Act instead.  Phone your representative at (202) 224-3121, use POPVOX to say vote no on 514 and demand JUSTICE, and weigh in using email via Demand Progress, ACLU, EFF, or Downsize DC.

Get FISA Right will be getting together online during the debate and during the vote.  There’s also a Day of Action on Facebook and elsewhere.  Details on all of this coming soon — watch the blog!

Despite our best efforts,  HR 514 is expected to pass easily.  Key questions to watch: how will tea partiers vote?  What about the 66 dems who voted for reauth?  what about the three potential senate candidates the Hill wrote about?   Contact your representative now, use POPVOX to say “vote no on 514” and demand JUSTICE, via Demand Progress, ACLU, EFF, or Downsize DC

After tonight’s vote, action shifts to Senate.  The odious clauses have to be reauthorized by the end of February or they sunset, and I believe Congress is on recess last week in February.  There are 3 bills, none of which match the House.  I’ll put the details in a comment for those who are interested.   Right now though, it’s the House.  Call your representative now, use POPVOX to say “vote no” and demand JUSTICE, via Demand Progress, ACLU, EFF, or Downsize DC

Help get the word out!

We are finally seeing a lot more media coverage of the PATRIOT Act: Fox, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, and Al Jazeera but a lot of people still don’t know the deetails of what’s going on or how they can make a difference.   So please help getting the word out.  Here’s how

  • 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 at: http://bit.ly/oppose514 and BORDC’s Demand JUSTICE campaign at http://bit.ly/demandjustice
  • 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 debate vote on Monday — watch our blog at https://getfisaright.wordpress.com/ for updates.  Please join us!  You can follow the PATRIOT Act discussions on Twitter at http://getfisaright.twazzup.com.    And please:


ACTION ALERT: House PATRIOT Act vote on Monday!

February 12, 2011

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 https://getfisaright.wordpress.com/ for updates.

Have a great weekend … and make some noise!


Follow Friday for the #patriotact

February 11, 2011

It’s Follow Friday on Twitter! It’s a great chance to help highlight the organizations and people who are fighting the sneak extension of the PATRIOT Act. Please join in! And if you’ve got other suggestions, please tweet them to @GetFISARight.

#ff for the #patriotact: @BORDC @ACLU @EFF @DemandProgress @C4Liberty @Cato @DownsizeDC @PrivacyALA @GetFISARight

#ff for the #patriotact: @SenRandPaul @JaredPolis @DennyRehberg @DeanHeller @RepKucinich @RepRonPaul @normative

And if you’re not on Twitter, now’s a great time to check it out — we’re going to have a lot of activism there over the next week. Stay tuned!


Demand JUSTICE, not the PATRIOT Act!

February 11, 2011

It’s time to go on the offensive!  Here’s the action alert Bill of Rights Defense Committee just sent out.   Please help by using POPVOX to support the reintroduction of the JUSTICE Act, and getting the word out widely in email, via Facebook, and on Twitter.  The House is expected to vote again early next week so now is a critical time to make some noise!

– jon

Ten years after passing the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress is again debating this enormous expansion of government power. With three provisions set to expire at the end of this month, and Tuesday’s revolt in the House against fast-track reauthorization, there has never been a better time to insist that Congress restore constitutional rights.

Take action now. Demand that your congressional representatives support meaningful reforms through the JUSTICE Act.

A law so extensive that many members of Congress admitted to having never read it, the USA PATRIOT Act has been in place for too long—and there has been too little debate on its dramatic expansion of executive power—to allow a reauthorization without debate.

Millions of Americans from across the country—and the political spectrum—have already raised their voices calling for limitations on PATRIOT powers. Although he now supports extending the PATRIOT Act, President Obama himself joined this chorus of opposition during his presidential campaign.

Several reauthorization bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate, but none of them would put meaningful limits on any of the PATRIOT Act powers that have been repeatedly abused.

Raise your voice today! Insist that your members of Congress check and balance the Executive Branch by introducing and supporting the JUSTICE Act, instead of rubber-stamping PATRIOT powers.

Thank you for helping defend our nation’s most fundamental values.

Shahid Buttar

Patriot Act organizing: notes and action items from February 9 call

February 9, 2011

Another productive call.  Thanks to Jim, Chip, Kelli, Julian, Shahid, Sally, and Marci — and to Michelle, who wasn’t there in person but was sending us legislative updates by email.

The House will once again be voting on HR 514. in a “closed vote” (that is, no amendments can be offered), this time setting aside an entire hour for debate.  The House will vote on the rule tomorrow, and vote on the bill sometime next week.  Meanwhile in the Senate, the Republicans are positioning Feinstein’s S.289 (also known as S.149) as a compromise betweeen Leahy’s S.193 (also known as S.290) and  Grassley’s S.291.  Confusingly, none of those match HR 514’s timeline, so it’s quite possible we’ll see another Senate bill as well.

The complicated legislative situation makes it complicated for activism as well.  In the short term, we want to continue to focus opposition against HR514 and S.289.  There’s a range of opinions on Leahy: it is better than the other bills, but far short of what we want.  EFF and ALA are supporting it; Downsize DC opposes it.  Over the next few days, Get FISA Right vote on whether or not to endorse Leahy, using a similar process to our vote in early 2009 on a special prosecutor.

Bill of Rights Defense CommitteeBORDC will be soft-launching a campaign on POPVOX late this week, with a full-fledged launch probably on Monday.  One of the biggest ways people can help is by trawling through the comments on the POPVOX site, rating them with the user feedback mechanism, and sending the most powerful ones to local media and bloggers.  If you’ve got some time available, please let us know by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook wall.

We’re scheduling a “Day of Action” for Monday (great suggestion from Patrick).  Before then we’ll want to collect raw material for bloggers (for example statements and videos from Ron and Rand Paul, Kucinic who else?) and instructions for how people can help on Facebook and Twitter.   Between now and then we’ll be refining the way we’re using POPVOX: BORDC will take the lead in setting up their ‘Legislative agenda’ and landing pages, and then other organizations can use that as a starting point.

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