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May 23, 2011

URGENT! Senate Debate on Patriot Act Extension TODAY

Quote of the Day: “That is what the Surveillance State, at its core, is designed to achieve: the destruction of privacy for individual citizens and an impenetrable wall of secrecy for those with unlimited surveillance power.” – Glenn Greenwald

Last Tuesday, we asked you to call your Representative to oppose James Sensenbrenner’s bill that would extend two expiring provisions of the Patriot Act for six years and make another permanent.

Pressure works. Your calls had an impact, but it was only marginal. By Friday, Congressional leaders hatched a “deal” to extend three provisions of the Patriot Act for FOUR YEARS.

That’s still a very rotten bargain. We need to continue applying the pressure, and we need to be LOUD and we need to act NOW, because . . .

The Senate is scheduled to debate it TODAY, Monday, May 23. Senator Reid wants to stop debate with a cloture vote by 5 pm.

The good news is that the bill will require bi-partisan support to pass. This means that OPPOSITION is also bi-partisan, and there are also undecided votes in both parties.

That’s why we ask you to call your Senators. You can find their phone numbers when you are logged-in at DownsizeDC.org’s Repeal the Patriot Act Campaign.

And if you open this email late in the day, it’s NOT too late to take action . . .

* The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday; and if it passes . . .
* Then the House will vote on Thursday

You do not have to say something fancy. This will do . . .

” I oppose S. 1038, the Reid-Boehner bill that would extend three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act for another four years. I don’t believe the federal government needs these powers to stop terrorism. I want these provisions to expire, and I want Congress to REPEAL the rest of the Patriot Act.”

You can also send a letter, and you may borrow from or copy the text below . . .

I called my Senators today to express my opposition to the Reid-Boehner agreement to extend three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act for four more years.

* The “roving wiretaps” provision empowers the FBI to go on “fishing expeditions” where the conversations of innocent Americans are monitored
* The “library records” provisions opens up individuals’ personal records to FBI inspection — even if they aren’t terrorism suspects
* The “lone wolf” provision has never even been used

I don’t like that Sen. Reid wants to cut off debate today, when initially a whole week of debate was planned. I also don’t like that no amendments will be allowed.

I want the Patriot Act to be repealed. This bill, however, will make it less likely that the Patriot Act will even be reformed. For instance, it was shown by the FBI’s Inspector General that the “National Security Letters” provision has been abused thousands of times. By passing this renewal bill, I fear that ANY attempt at reform, let alone repeal, will be delayed another four years. 

That’s four more years of Fourth Amendment violations. That’s four years too many. OPPOSE S.1038!

END LETTER

You can send you letter using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

Remember, if Congress doesn’t hear from you and your like-minded friends, Congress won’t know where you stand.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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