Leave Us Alone!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

An Open Letter to the Honorable Harry Reid

Dear Senator Reid:

Here's a snippet of your speech earlier this evening against S. 3930:
Second, this bill authorizes a vast expansion of the President's power to detain people – even U.S. citizens – indefinitely and without charge. No procedures for doing so are specified, no due process is provided, and no time limit on the detention is set. . . .

History will judge our actions here today. I am convinced that future generations will view passage of this bill as a grave error. I wish to be recorded as one who voted against taking this step.

(quoted by Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory)

That's great, Senator, really super. My, you're quite the orator. I'll bet you feel really good about yourself for having fought the good fight to defend the rule of law.

But what would have been even better would have been if you and the party you ostensibly lead had had the guts to filibuster this thing.

In my letter to you earlier this week, I wrote that if this bill "...makes it to President Bush's desk, you'll have a hard time convincing civil libertarians like me of the importance of voting Democratic." You and I both know that was just a bluff. I'll vote a straight Democratic ticket, as usual. But, just once, I'd like to be able to vote for the Democrat rather than against the Jesus freak for Pinochet across the aisle.

Jason Sonenshein

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Remember When Conservatives Had a Conscience?

Andrew Sullivan quotes from Barry Goldwater's book, The Conscience of a Conservative:
Our tendency to concentrate power in the hands of a few men deeply concerns me. We can be conquered by bombs or subversion; but we can also be conquered by neglect - by ignoring the Constitution and disregarding the principles of limited government. Our defenses against the accumulation of unlimited power in Washington are in poorer shape, I fear, than our defenses against the aggressive designs of Moscow. Like so many other nations before us, we may succumb through internal weakness rather than fall before a foreign foe.

If the Republicans were the party of Barry Goldwater, I'd probably be a Republican right now. Sadly, though, the Republicans have become the party of Augusto Pinochet.

Sherrod Brown Let Us Down

U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) ostensibly wants my vote, but he sure isn't acting like it. Earlier today, Rep. Brown sided with the America-hating Republicans, voting in favor of H.R. 6166, the House version of George Bush's torture bill.

I'll still vote against Mike DeWine this November, but with much less enthusiasm than before. The $50 I had intended to send to Rep. Brown's campaign will go to a more worthy Democrat. It's too bad Lisa Renee of Liberal Common Sense is no longer selling her "F*** Sherrod but I'll still vote for him" merchandise.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tell Senate Democrats to Grow a Pair

Last week, Senators Warner, McCain, and Graham capitulated to the Bush administration on the issues of torture and indefinite detention. Today Senators Craig, Murkowski, and Sununu capitulated on the domestic spying bill. Both of these capitulations show that Republicans, even those few Republicans who respect American freedom, can't be counted on to stand on principle. If the domestic spying, torture, and indefinite detention bills are to be stopped, it's up to the Democrats in the Senate.

If you have one or more Democratic U.S. senators, please contact them today and urge them to filibuster any and all legislation that would legalize warrantless domestic spying, torture, or indefinite detention without charge or a fair trial. If you live in a state with a potentially competitive U.S. Senate race, please contact Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer with the same message. Contacting the Congress makes it easy to find your senators' contact information.

Here is the text of an e-mail I sent to Senators Reid and Schumer:
Dear Senator:

Two bills currently under consideration by the U.S. Congress, S. 2453 and S. 3901, threaten the freedom and security of all Americans. S. 2453 would authorize warrantless wiretaps against U.S. Citizens. S. 3901 would abrogate our responsibility under the Geneva Conventions, and would threaten both citizens and aliens alike with indefinite detention without charge.

Not only do these bills threaten our freedom, they also threaten our security. Security doesn't just mean security from terrorism. It also means security from one's own government. While these bills purport to strengthen national security against terrorists, they actually make Americans less secure by giving our government too much power over us.

There are enough Democrats in the Senate to filibuster S. 2453 and S. 3901, and I expect Democrats to stand firm against both bills. If either bill makes it to President Bush's desk, you'll have a hard time convincing civil libertarians like me of the importance of voting Democratic.

Jason Sonenshein

Downsize DC is focusing its action on Senator Russ Feingold, figuring that if there's a Democratic filibuster, it will probably start with him. This is probably also a good idea. Go here for more information.

Why Does Congress Hate America?

R. Jeffrey Smith of The Washington Post reports:
Lawmakers and administration officials announced last week that they had reached accord on the plan for the detention and military trials of suspected terrorists, and it is scheduled for a vote this week. But in recent days the Bush administration and its House allies successfully pressed for a less restrictive description of how the government could designate civilians as "unlawful enemy combatants," the sources said yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations over the bill.

The government has maintained since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that, based on its reading of the laws of war, anyone it labels an unlawful enemy combatant can be held indefinitely at military or CIA prisons. But Congress has not yet expressed its view on who is an unlawful combatant, and the Supreme Court has not ruled directly on the matter.

As a result, human rights experts expressed concern yesterday that the language in the new provision would be a precedent-setting congressional endorsement for the indefinite detention of anyone who, as the bill states, "has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" or its military allies.

The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week's version of the bill, which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those "engaged in hostilities against the United States."

(entire article here, link via Andrew Sullivan)
This bill threatens all citizens and aliens alike with indefinite detention and torture without charge or trial, on nothing more than the executive branch's allegation that one is an "unlawful enemy combatant." Under the guise of national security, this bill would make us all less secure from our own government.

Andrew Sullivan writes:
Whatever else this is, it is not a constitutional democracy. It is a thinly-veiled military dictatorship, subject to only one control: the will of the Great Decider. And the war that justifies this astonishing attack on American liberty is permanent, without end. And check the vagueness of the language: "purposefully supported" hostilities. Could that mean mere expression of support for terror? Remember that many completely innocent people have already been incarcerated for years without trial or any chance for a fair hearing on the basis of false rumors or smears or even bounty hunters. Or could it be construed, in the rhetoric of Hannity and O'Reilly, as merely criticizing the Great Decider and thereby being on the side of the terrorists?

Act Now to Stop Torture and Warrantless Wiretapping

Downsize DC has a couple of urgent action alerts regarding torture and warrantless wiretapping. Please contact your members of Congress today and tell them to oppose S. 3901, S. 2453, and H.R. 5825. Downsize DC's petitions make it quick and easy to make your voice heard.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Internet Gambling Update

Last Thursday, I linked to a Washington Post article that reported that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is trying to use the conference committee process to sneak the provisions of H.R. 4411 into a defense appropriations bill. That bill is H.R. 5122.

Please take a minute to look at the list below. If one of your members of Congress is on the list, please take a few minutes to tell him or her not to sneak any restrictions on internet gambling into H.R. 5122. Contacting the Congress makes it easy to find your members' contact information.

  • John Warner (R-Va.)
  • John McCain (R-Az.)
  • James Inhofe (R-Ok.)
  • Pat Roberts (R-Ks.)
  • Jeff Sessions (R-Al.)
  • Susan Collins (R-Me.)
  • James Talent (R-Mo.)
  • Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
  • Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
  • Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)
  • John Cornyn (R-Tx.)
  • John Thune (R-S.D.)
  • Carl Levin (D-Mi.)
  • Ted Kennedy (D-Ma.)
  • Robert Byrd (D-W.V.)
  • Joe Lieberman (CFL-Ct.)
  • Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
  • Daniel Akaka (D-Hi.)
  • Bill Nelson (D-Fl.)
  • Ben Nelson (D-Ne.)
  • Mark Dayton (D-Mn.)
  • Evan Bayh (D-In.)
  • Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)

  • Duncan Hunter (R-Ca. 52)
  • Curt Weldon (R-Pa. 7)
  • Joel Hefley (R-Co. 5)
  • Jim Saxton (R-N.J. 3)
  • John McHugh (R-N.Y. 23)
  • Terry Everett (R-Al. 2)
  • Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md. 6
  • Mac Thornberry (R-Tx. 13)
  • John Hostettler (R-In. 8)
  • Walter Jones (R-N.C. 3)
  • Jim Ryun (R-Ks. 2)
  • Jim Gibbons (R-Nv. 2)
  • Robin Hayes (R-N.C. 8)
  • Ken Calvert (R-Ca. 44)
  • Rob Simmons (R-Ct. 2)
  • Thelma Drake (R-Va. 2)
  • Geoff Davis (R-Ky. 4)
  • Ike Skelton (D-Mo. 4)
  • John Spratt (D-S.C. 5)
  • Solomon Ortiz (D-Tx. 27)
  • Gene Taylor (D-Ms. 4)
  • Neil Abercrombie (D-Hi. 1)
  • Martin Meehan (D-Ma. 5)
  • Silvestre Reyes (D-Tx. 16)
  • Vic Snyder (D-Ar. 2)
  • Adam Smith (D-Wa. 9)
  • Loretta Sanchez (D-Ca. 47)
  • Ellen Tauscher (D-Ca. 10)
  • Robert Brady (D-Pa. 1)
  • Robert Andrews (D-N.J. 1)

H.R. 5295 Update

The Drug Policy Alliance reports:
The Student Teacher Safety Act of 2006 (HR 5295) would require any school receiving federal funding--essentially every public school--to adopt policies allowing teachers and school officials to conduct random, warrantless searches of every student, at any time, on the flimsiest of pretexts. Saying they suspect that one student might have drugs could give officials the authority to search every student in the building.

DPA supporters and others who opposed this outrageous bill called their members of Congress this week to express their disapproval. However, House leaders circumvented the usual legislative procedure to bring the bill to a quick vote. It did not pass through the committee process, but went straight to the House floor. There, it was passed by a simple voice vote, so constituents cannot even find out how their Representative voted.

The bill moves next to the Senate, but it is unlikely to be considered there this session.
(link via TalkLeft)

H.R. 5295 passed under suspension of the rules, meaning that it required a two-thirds vote. It's disappointing that so few Democrats had the guts to oppose it. However, it's important to remember that under Democratic control, this type of legislation would probably be allowed to die quietly in committee.

This kind of legislation illustrates why federal funding of education is a bad idea. As Mr. Voshell, my high school history teacher often said, "Whence comes money comes control." The search policy that H.R. 5295 would mandate would be tied to federal money. When schools take federal money, they have to play by federal rules.

Please take a few minutes to let your U.S. senators know that you oppose this intrusive, authoritarian legislation. Tell them to vote no on H.R. 5295. Contacting the Congress makes it easy to find your senators' contact information.

Help a Blogger Get Justice

The Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee illegally used a photograph without the permission of its owner, Jeff Coryell, AKA Yellow Dog Sammy, of the Ohio 2006 Blog. Now, Mr. Coryell asks for your assistance in his copyright infringement suit against the OHRCC:
Meanwhile, I need to monitor what TV stations are broadcasting the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee attack ad against Matt Lundy on behalf of Rep. Earl Martin in the 57th Ohio House District. If you have seen this ad, please let me know the station on which it aired by leaving a comment to this post, or by emailing me at yellowdogsammy-at-hotmail-dot-com.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Urgent - Don't Let Congress Strip Search Students

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote tomorrow on H.R. 5295. Please call your U.S. representative now and urge him or her to vote NO on H.R. 5295. The Drug Policy Alliance makes it easy. So do the Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

According to Students for Sensible Drug Policy,
The so-called "Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006" (H.R. 5295) would make it easier for teachers and school administrators to search students' lockers and bags for drugs and other contraband. SSDP needs your help to make sure that this bill never becomes law.

H.R. 5295 would allow school officials to search dozens or even hundreds of students based on the mere suspicion that just one student brought drugs to school. This kind of justification allowed police officers to storm a high school in Goose Creek, SC, in 2003, forcing dozens of students to the ground and pointing guns directly at their faces during a misguided raid in which no drugs were found.

This bill is nothing more than another attack on the constitutional rights of young people by the federal government. Students should never have to check their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance:
Imagine an America in which school officials could strip search every student in their school based on the unsubstantiated tip that one of them might have a joint. Congress is voting on a bill Tuesday or Wednesday that could make these police state tactics more common.

We can stop Congress in its tracks, though. Call your representative RIGHT NOW and tell them to vote against this dangerous bill.

If you don't know who your House representative is, simply call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and give them your address. They'll connect you directly with your representative's office.

Please call your U.S. representative now and urge him or her to vote NO on H.R. 5295. The Drug Policy Alliance makes it easy. So do the Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Remember that if you live in Ohio, as I do, you effectively have two U.S. representatives in addition to your own. U.S. Reps. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) and Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) are running statewide, and need the votes of all Ohioans. Therefore, they should listen to you. Congressman Strickland's telephone number is 202-225-5705. Congressman Brown's telephone number is 202-225-3401.

Finally, the main sponsor of this legislative abomination, U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Kentucky 4), is in a tight race for re-election. If you've had enough of Rep. Davis' authoritarianism, you can find out how to help his opponent, Ken Lucas.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Internet Gambling Update

Please take a few minutes today to contact your U.S. senators and urge them to oppose H.R. 4411, or any legislation that contains the provisions of H.R. 4411. The Poker Players Alliance makes it easy, providing a sample letter and easy access to your senators' contact information.

Nancy Zuckerbrod of The Washington Post reports:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is trying use a bill authorizing U.S. military operations, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, to prohibit people from using credit cards to settle Internet gambling debts.

Frist, R-Tenn., and his aides have been meeting with other lawmakers and officials in both the House and Senate to get the measure attached to a compromise Defense Department authorization bill, according to a Senate GOP leadership aide.


The bills authorizing defense programs are: S.2507 and H.R.5122.

(entire article here, link via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Another Domestic Spying Update

Please contact your members of Congress today and tell them to reject any bill that would legalize warrantless wiretapping. The ACLU makes it easy to find your members' contact information, and provides a sample letter. So does Downsize DC.

At Unclaimed Territory, Glenn Greenwald reports:

Sen. Harry Reid participated in a conference call with a dozen or so bloggers this afternoon. For the first question, I asked him about the Specter bill -- specifically, what the Democrats' strategy was for preventing its enactment (I wanted to wait until the second question but I couldn't contain myself).

Sen. Reid stated flatly and unequivocally -- and I'm paraphrasing -- that the Specter bill was not going anywhere, that it would not be enacted. I then asked him how he could be so certain about that -- specifically, I asked where the 51 votes against the Specter bill would come from in light of the support it enjoys from both the White House and at least some of the ostensibly "independent" Republicans, exacerbated by the fact that all 10 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted in favor of it yesterday (at least they voted in favor of sending it to the Senate floor).

In response, Sen. Reid explained that our system does not allow every bill to be enacted simply because a majority supports it, that Senate rules allow minority rights to be protected, clearly alluding to a filibuster. Indeed, as part of that vow, Sen. Reid specifically referenced the fact that in the Senate, one does not need 50%, but only 40%, to block the enactment of a bill. He explained that rule existed to protect minority rights. When I asked him expressly whether the Democrats are committed to filibustering the Specter bill if doing so is necessary to defeat it, he said he thought that would not be necessary, but repeated that they would make sure the Specter bill did not become law. He was unequivocal about that a second time.

(entire post here)

This is great news, but the Specter bill isn't dead yet. Remember the cave-in on the re-authorization of the so-called USA "Patriot" Act after a few minor changes were made earlier this year. If you have one or more Democratic senators, now is the time to call them and urge them to stand firm in opposition of any bill that would legalize warrantless wiretapping. The ACLU makes it easy to find your members' contact information, and provides a sample letter. So does Downsize DC.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Domestic Spying Update

The Washington Post reports:
House leaders moved yesterday to temper many of the controls that a bill headed toward rapid passage would have imposed on the Bush administration's program for wiretapping terrorism suspects without court approval.

The bill, set for Judiciary Committee consideration today, would have forced the administration to seek a warrant for surveillance within 60 days and bolstered consultations with Congress on the program. But last-minute changes pushed by senior Republicans may allow warrantless surveillance to largely continue without those controls. Instead, House Republican leaders brought their bill in line with legislation agreed to by the White House and the Senate, which would allow but not require the administration to submit the program to a secret court for a constitutional review.


"I do not think it is our intent to . . . 'rein in' the NSA," said House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

(entire article here, link via The Gun-Toting Liberal)

Meanwhile, in the Senate (also from The Washington Post):
A Senate committee today approved a bill supported by President Bush that would enable the administration to continue a warrantless wiretapping program that the White House launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The approval came after Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee blocked an amendment by Democrats that would have limited Bush's eavesdropping program and required the National Security Agency to report more often to Congress on its surveillance activities.

(entire article here, link via The Gun-Toting Liberal)
You can read the entire text of the House bill to legalize warrantless wiretapping, H.R. 5825, here, and of the Senate bill, S. 2453, here.

The Post also reports:
A competing measure, written by Flake and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), another committee member, would effectively end warrantless surveillance by insisting that a FISA court warrant remain the exclusive means to conduct domestic surveillance. It would also clarify that Congress's authorization of the use of force after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was in no way meant to authorize warrantless wiretapping, and it would require disclosure to Congress of information on all Americans subjected to the surveillance.

That bill, H.R. 4976, is currently in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. You can find the full text here.

Please contact your members of Congress today and tell them to reject any bill that would legalize warrantless wiretapping. The ACLU makes it easy to find your members' contact information, and provides a sample letter. So does Downsize DC.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

First, They Came for the Mariachis...

Those bastards! What'll they ban next?

H.R 4411 Update

Internet News reports that H.R. 4411, which would invade your financial privacy and censor the internet in a probably futile attempt to crack down on internet gambling, is a priority for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tn.):
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist targeted a ban on Internet gambling as a top priority for the U.S. Senate in the waning days of the 109th Congress.

With little more than 20 working days left before the November mid-term elections, the Senate faces a crowded agenda including 13 different funding bills to keep the government functioning when its new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have a tentative Oct. 9 adjournment date.

(entire article here, links via Dispatches from the Culture Wars and The Agitator)

At The Agitator, Radley Balko writes of congressional Republicans, "These buffoons really do want to control every facet of your life. I hope they get absolutely slaughtered come November."

Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars comments: "Great idea. Let's take away people's rights and extend governmental authority, and let's not even debate it, just slide it in under the door." In another post, Mr. Brayton writes:
I've reached the point where, for the first time in my life, I'm ready to vote for one of the major parties. I'm thinking seriously about voting Democratic this fall and in 2008, regardless of who is actually running, simply because the constituent groups that the Democrats have to please are less frightening to me than the constituent groups the Republicans have to please.

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Balko and Mr. Brayton. If you haven't already done so, please take a few minutes today to contact your U.S. senators and urge them to oppose H.R. 4411. The Poker Players Alliance makes it easy, providing a sample letter and easy access to your senators' contact information.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session," Part III

Here are a couple of legislative threats about which I posted previously. Please take a few minutes to urge your members of Congress to oppose these threats to your liberty. Go here to take action against H.R. 1415 and here to take action against H.R. 4411. For more information, read on.

H.R. 1415

Back in July, I linked to the Gun Owners of America action alert on H.R. 1415, which is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

According to the GOA, H.R. 1415, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) would require states to "make electronically available to the Attorney General records relevant to a determination of whether a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm under [federal law]" [Section 102(c)(1)(A)].

The GOA's action alert further states:
Obviously, this starts with a huge computer network of felonies and misdemeanors -- with the FBI trolling through records of bar fights or domestic disputes to determine if you spanked your kids or yelled at your husband and are therefore disqualified from owning a gun under the Lautenberg amendment. Congress should be repealing the Lautenberg gun ban, not extending it to disable even more people from owning guns.

But the problem goes much broader than that:

* Federal law prohibits illegal aliens from owning guns [18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)]. But, in order to identify illegal aliens, "relevant" records could mean that the FBI would demand state tax returns of ALL American citizens, employment records, or even library records -- all in the name of making sure that you're not an illegal.

* And did you know that veterans who have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder have been deemed as mentally "incompetent" and are prohibited from owning guns under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4)? Records of those instances certainly exist; and, in 1999, the Department of Veterans Administration turned over 90,000 names of veterans to the FBI for inclusion into the NICS background check system.

You can read the full text of H.R. 1415 here.

The Gun-Toting Liberal has more on H.R. 1415. So does David Codrea of The War on Guns.

Please contact your U.S. representative today and urge him or her to vote NO on H.R. 1415. The GOA's Legislative Action Center makes it easy to find your representative's contact information, and provides a sample message. Just go here, then enter your ZIP code to find your members' contact information.

H.R. 4411

Back in July I linked to the Poker Players Alliance action alert on H.R. 4777. Since then a similar bill, H.R. 4411, passed the House of Representatives. H.R. 4411 is currently on the Senate calendar. You can read the full text of H.R. 4411 here.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of H.R. 4411 is that it would force internet service providers to block access to certain websites, thus setting the dangerous precedent for Red Chinese-style internet censorship in America.

Please take a few minutes today to contact your U.S. senators and urge them to vote NO on H.R. 4411. The Poker Players Alliance provides a sample letter and makes it easy to find your senators' contact information.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session," Part II

The Congressional recess was fun while it lasted, but Congress will soon be back at work, threatening your life, liberty, and property. Over the next few days, I'll tell you about some legislative abominations that are working their way through Congress, and what you can do to help stop them.

S. 2453

Senate Bill 2453, a so-called "compromise" bill sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), would legalize President Bush's illegal, warrantless, domestic spying scheme. I would provide a link to the text of S. 2453, but Thomas reports that it has not yet been received by the Government Printing Office.

At Salon, Glenn Greenwald examines the details of S. 2453, and finds that:

In reality, Specter does not want to amend the mandates of FISA so much as abolish them. His bill makes it optional, rather than mandatory, for the president to subject himself to judicial oversight when eavesdropping on Americans, in effect returning the nation to the pre-FISA era. Essentially, the president would be allowed to eavesdrop at will, precisely the situation that led to the surveillance abuses of the Nixon White House and J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

Mr. Greenwald further states:

Beyond its impact on those pending cases, the Specter bill would virtually ensure that all legal questions relating to warrantless eavesdropping -- including the question of whether warrantless eavesdropping violates the Fourth Amendment's requirement of probable-cause warrants for all searches -- be decided by the FISA court, which means that 1) only one side would be present in court to argue these issues (the Bush administration) and 2) all proceedings, including the decision itself, might very well be secret.

Mr. Greenwald's entire article is available here, free of charge if you sit through a brief advertisement first. Mr. Greenwald also has more about the NSA scandal at his blog, Unclaimed Territory.

The ACLU's action center makes it easy to take action against S. 2453. Go here to find telephone numbers for your members of Congress. The ACLU also provides talking points:

  • The recent terror plot exposed in the United Kingdom highlights the need to make sure our anti-terrorism resources are focused on al Qaeda operatives and not wasted on innocent Americans who have done nothing wrong.
  • Please oppose Senate bill S. 2453, which would enshrine in federal law the president's claim of inherent, exclusive power to wiretap Americans at will without a warrant or any independent check. It's like the Patriot Act on steroids.
  • It would also empower government spies to capture and read any emails you send, as long as the government does not know whether all the recipients are physically located in the U.S.
  • Also oppose S. 2455, which also would make judicial review of each individual wiretap optional, destroying our fundamental Fourth Amendment rights.
  • Supporters claim this bill is "surveillance we can live with," but the fact is Cheney-Specter vastly expands the government's power to spy on Americans without any individualized warrant, and allows a secret court to rubberstamp surveillance without even knowing the names of Americans to be spied on or whether they've done anything wrong.

If you prefer to contact your elected officials via e-mail, Downsize D.C. makes it easy to to so.

Please take a few minutes to contact your members of Congress and tell them to oppose S. 2453.