Tuesday, February 8, 2011

House To Look At Extending Patriot Act Today And, Sadly, Likely To Renew It

Three controversial elements of the PATRIOT Act that expire February 28 are sadly likely to be renewed, at least temporarily, and probably more permanently. Democrat Diane Feinstein of California wants it extended until 2013. This plan has the support of the Obama administration. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans want it renewed permanently. But the original sponsor of the Patriot Act, Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner, wants a temporary extension while hearings are held before a long-term or permanent extension. In any event, three troubling provisions are likely to be extended and, as the ACLU notes, it seems they purposely waited until the last minute.

Three sections of the Patriot Act — the so-called ‘library provision’ that allows a secret court to issue orders for anything deemed relevant to an investigation; the roving wiretap provision that allows the government to get a wiretap order that doesn’t specify the person or place to be tapped; and the ‘lone wolf’ provision, which permits intelligence wiretapping of people not connected to a terrorist group — are scheduled to expire on February 28.
For almost 10 years, the Patriot Act has given the government too much leeway to pry into our private lives. It’s long past time for Congress to stop making excuses and sneaking through reauthorizations and start making meaningful reforms to the Patriot Act.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

PATRIOT Act vote today - Take Action!

Remember the PATRIOT Act?
A message from Shahid Buttar, Executive Director
Passed immediately after 9/11 by a nearly unanimous vote in the Senate, the PATRIOT Act was the most visible of many blows that our privacy and civil liberties have suffered over the past decade. Police and intelligence agencies gained broad powers to spy, pry, and access private information about innocent people without a warrant or any checks and balances.

Multiple government and independent reports have documented widespread abuse of these powers, as well as profiling according to race, religion, national origin, and political viewpoint. These problems have particularly affected Muslim Americans, Arabs and South Asians of other faiths, and activists working for peace or environmental justice. But because our Constitution belongs to all of us, all Americans have been affected.

Several provisions of the PATRIOT Act are up for renewal in February.

Call your congressional representatives today.
Take a moment to review our talking points. Then, call your senators and your representative and ask them to stand up for our rights:
  • Vote NO on Reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act until it is amended to add strong protections for civil liberties.
  • Rein in the FBI and COINTELPRO 2.0: Congress must conduct more careful oversight and prevent the FBI from monitoring innocent Americans without any evidence—or even suspicion—of a crime; or profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion or political belief.
  • Cut spending: When addressing the bloated federal budget, start with wasteful programs justified in the name of national security that offend both fiscal conservatism and constitutional rights.
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
8 Bridge Street, Suite A, Northampton, MA 01060

Telephone: 413-582-0110

Inviting posts

Please join us in commenting on independent electoral activity for the 2011/12 campaign season.

Example: Jim Burns a Libertarian for President 2012 will deliver a book to you if you will give him thirty minutes or so of your time or organize a meeting during the 2011/12 campaign season.

His web site www.jimburnsforpresident.com needs improvement if you can help.