spread the word fast!!
As you have probably heard, a backroom PATRIOT Act "deal" has been reached among the four Republicans who filibustered the PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill last December and the White House, which gave up only minor concessions. Read the Washington Post story, <http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=81868636&url_num=1&url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/09/AR2006020902140.html>here. Karl Rove and Dick Cheney are using both the carrot (Republicans win by making national security an issue.) and the stick (Karl Rove threatened to cut off Republicans from White House reelection assistance if they criticize the administration's authorization of NSA warrantless wiretapping.).
See a summary of proposed changes at <http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=81868636&url_num=2&url=http://www.bordc.org/threats/legislation/confreptchanges.pdf>www.bordc.org/threats/legislation/confreptchanges.pdf. BORDC's press release is below.
What to do: Keep the pressure on, and ask your friends and contacts to do the same! Commit to making at least one phone call each day to one of your senators or your representative. Find contact information <http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=81868636&url_num=3&url=http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/>here, or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you. Ask for a filibuster and for the changes needed to bring the PATRIOT Act in line with our Constitution. None of the changes we listed in our national call-in day talking points have been made, so they all still apply: <http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=81868636&url_num=4&url=http://www.bordc.org/threats/call-in.php>http://www.bordc.org/threats/call-in.php. Write letters to the editor, and continue public education and local action (for helpful resources, visit <http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=81868636&url_num=5&url=http://www.bordc.org/involved/resourcesdefending.php>www.bordc.org/involved/resourcesdefending.php).
We will keep you informed and let you know when votes are scheduled.
Don't let up! Thanks for all you do.
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Bill of Rights Defense Committee calls for PATRIOT Act filibuster
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 10, 2006
Nancy Talanian, director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, 413-582-0110
Chip Pitts, BORDC board president and chairman of BORDC of Greater Dallas, 214-906-9424
Northampton, MA The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) today strongly criticized a backroom PATRIOT Act deal made in Washington, DC, for failing to address the Act’s most serious shortcomings. BORDC is calling for filibuster on the new reauthorization bill, urging its grassroots community members and allies, at the root of the 401 Bill of Rights resolutions passed nationwide, to demand that their Congress members block a vote on the bill.
"The light cosmetic changes in this deal are a slap in the face to people of this country who have worked hard in their communities to pass resolutions to protect our quickly eroding liberties," said Nancy Talanian, BORDC's director.
Talanian connects the remaining PATRIOT Act shortcomings regarding FBI National Security Letters and access to private records to the current controversy over the NSA warrantless wiretaps. “The proposed PATRIOT Act deal fails to protect private business, financial, medical and library records of Americans with no ties to terrorism from secret FBI searches, just as the current NSA warrantless wiretapping fails to protect innocent Americans’ private phone and email communications.”
Chip Pitts, president of the BORDC board of directors, agrees. “The people have spoken through the more than 400 resolutions, calling for individualized suspicion and checks and balances to be inserted into the PATRIOT Act. Congress as the people’s representative has a duty to ensure those basic constitutional standards are met.”
The minor amendments in the proposed compromise do not meet even the basic requirements demanded in this historically unprecedented expression of democratic sentiment in our country, nor do they meet the basic changes insisted upon by the nation’s leading business organizations and the broad coalition of conservative as well as progressive groups that have closely followed these issues. Under the proposed reforms, the library, bookstore, medical, business and other records of innocent Americans may still be seized without any demonstrated link to actual terrorism or crime, but merely upon a loose standard of “relevance” that will continue to allow government fishing expeditions. The purported right to challenge the otherwise permanent gag order on recipients of government search and seizure demands under section 215 applies only after a year – which is ludicrously long and no meaningful protection at all – and even then will be defeated via “conclusive” presumption upon the government’s say so.
Says Pitts, “The United States of America was founded precisely in opposition to such claims of arbitrary executive power. It is important for Americans who have been standing together regardless of political persuasion for the past four years to say no to this legislation and to support the courageous civil libertarians in Congress who are willing to filibuster until we achieve a law that conforms to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
Contribute: The Bill of Rights Defense Committee needs your support to continue expanding the grassroots movement to defend the Bill of Rights. <http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=81868636&url_num=6&url=http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=-1&url_num=2&url=http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=-1&url_num=1&url=http://www.bordc.org/donate.php>Contribute online