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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

Location: All Material Copyrighted, United States

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stop the Patriot Act

Stop the Patriot Act

And give some love to Rep. Conyers while you're at it. From spearheading the effort at holding shrubCo accountable on the Downing Street Memos to demanding no pardons for anyone indicted in LieraqGate, the man is simply tireless in his efforts to right the wrongs of this (mal)administration.

His latest undertaking is focused on stripping the Patriot Act of its most egregious offenses. Once again, he needs our support.

I wanted to provide you with an update on the status of the Patriot Act. The House and Senate are in conference to resolve the differences between their separate versions of the bill to renew and, in some cases, expand the Patriot Act. The House version contains far more egregious provisions than the Senate version, and I voted against it in the House.

Among other things, the House bill does little to limit the government's ability to snoop into library and bookstore records to ascertain the reading habits of law abiding citizens, has no clarification on the use of "national security letters" (it has recently been reported that these letters are being used to excess), and a near-permanent ten-year extension of the Act. The Senate version is only slightly better.

Let's be clear: the Patriot Act simply has no redeeming qualities. It's just that some are less loathsome than others. These FBI "national security letters" are among the more loathsome set.

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

So please spend a few minutes at Congressman Conyers' Patriot Act resources page and choose an action item or two or three or four. The country cannot afford a ten-year expansion of this intrusive legislation. More from Conyers' website:

The conference committee had its first meeting Thursday and the Republicans are seeking to rush to an agreement and a final vote on the bill later this week. I am fighting against efforts to pass a bill that does not place checks and balances on the Patriot Act, but I need your help. This could be our last chance to put the brakes on the Patriot Act.

Another fun project to strive for is to lobby your city council to denounce the Patriot Act, as New York City has. If you ask me, it's very telling that even 9/11's Ground Zero is opposed to this monstrosity. I am also happy to report that my city council also passed such a resolution:

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Portland:

1. AFFIRMS that the fight against terrorism requires city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies to cooperate in efforts to investigate, prosecute, and prevent acts of terrorism such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001.

2. AFFIRMS that the fight against terrorism must not be waged at the expense of the essential rights and liberties of the residents of this state, as contained in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the State of Oregon.

3. AFFIRMS our concern that portions of the UPA may violate the rights and liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the State of Oregon, and implores the United States Congress to correct provisions of the UPA that unduly impair or infringe on civil liberties and oppose any pending or future federal legislation to the extent it infringes on civil liberties.

4. AFFIRMS strong support for the First Amendment right of public demonstrations, vigils, protests, marches and similar forms of protected expression of ideas and views without fear of prosecution under federal terrorism laws.

I'm also thankful for my good Senator, Ron Wyden, and his agressive opposition to this bill.

"You can fight terrorism ferociously without throwing people's rights in the trash can."

- Sen. Ron Wyden, 5/26/05


Anonymous Catseye ( (!) ) said...

As an Oregonian,I sleep easier at night knowing I'm represented by Ron Wyden. He consistently looks out for freedom and rights.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Cedwyn said...

indeed...he's one of the good ones.

4:44 PM  

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