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

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.

There are several different media angles: Obama vs. principled members of house; populists vs. establishment; a cool new tool POPVOX; and of course individual members’ stories at the district level.  Not clear where the resources come to make progress here.

There was a lot of other interesting stuff discussed as well; here’s the detailed notes.  We’ll meet again Friday or Monday (or perhaps over the weekend) depending on how fast events move.  Stay tuned!  And as always, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Action items

– Sally and Kelli : Obama quotes
– BORDC refining landing page
– All: driving traffic to POPVOX
– Jon: write up Facebook processes
– Sally to put up blog post from Mark
– all focus on #patriotact hashtag on Twitter
– GFR: to vote on whether or not to endorse S.193
– Sally to verify that POPVOX has fixed “commercial address” problem
– Jim to follow up with Marci on “add a comment” use case

Thanks again to everybody who was there, and keep fighting the good fight!



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

  1. jonpincus says:

    Please help get the word out:

    On Facebook, please ‘like’ and share the story on the Get FISA Right wall.

    On Twitter, please tweet

    RT @GetFISARight: #patriotact organizing update: Action items and notes from today’s phone call at

    And if you haven’t already voiced your opinion via POPVOX on HR 514, please do!

  2. […] in the middle of another Patriot Act battle; trying to building on an unexpected victory with grassroots activism.  As always the odds are stacked against us … hey, if changing the world were easy, […]

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