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H.R. 5949 and S. 3276 — Legislation Reauthorizing Massive Surveillance — is Being IGNORED. WAKE UP.

In 2008, when the FISA Amendments Act was being considered by the Congress as an effort to legalize…

— physical searches of Americans’ homes
— physical searches of Americans’ cars
— physical searches of Americans’ offices
— surveillance of Americans’ phone calls
— surveillance of Americans’ e-mails
— surveillance of Americans’ internet use
— tracking of Americans’ whereabouts and associations
without the warrants specified by the U.S. Constitution
— without any evidence that a crime has been or will be committed

… it passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law. That’s unfortunate, but at least there was an active and vocal effort to stop the bill at the time.

Fast forward four years, to 2012, and two bills — H.R. 5949 in the House and S. 3276 in the Senate — are being quietly ushered through Congress to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act for five more years — until 2017.

Is Atrios writing about this? Nope.

Is anyone at Daily Kos writing about this? Nope.

Is anyone in the mainstream media writing any news stories about H.R. 5949 or about S. 3276? Not to my knowledge — with the exceptions of a U.S. News & World Report article published June 19 and a blog post by Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle.

If you want to learn more about the creeping reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act in Congress, you can’t open your daily newspaper; the papers are ignoring the news. You can’t flip over to your favorite Democratic partisan blogs, which don’t seem to care so much about violations of Americans’ constitutional rights now that Barack Obama’s doing it.

Instead, read these, the few recent mentions of FISA reauthorization legislation that I’ve been able to find:

FierceGovernmentIT, June 20.

Wired Danger Room, June 18.

J. Clifford of Irregular Times, June 19, June 22 and June 24.

And, as a coda, the conservative blog “Right on the Left Coast” in a post on June 20:

Are Our Friends On The Left Protesting Now?

No? I didn’t think so. Of course, I didn’t think they were serious the first time they protested. They weren’t protesting warrantless surveillance of terrorists, they were merely protesting President Bush:

If it was “trampling on the Constitution” under President Bush, what is it under President Obama?

If you think that bit of conservative gloating is unfair, make it unfair.

First, read up on the FISA Amendments Act reauthorization so you know what you’re talking about.

But don’t stop there. Reading is not enough. Thinking is not enough. Waiting for Jon Stewart to tell a joke is not enough. If you want to stop FISA’s warrantless surveillance, you have to act. You have to do it yourself. You have to WAKE UP. And you pretty much have to do it now.

So moving quickly to “Second,” write privately to your friends and publicly on your blog or other platform, spreading the word about this latest volley against constitutional rights.

Third, call the U.S. Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to get in touch with your two Senators and one Representative. Tell them to vote NO against passage of H.R. 5949 and S. 3276.

If you find any additional information, or if you’d like to encourage your fellow Americans to get active, post a comment here.

5 thoughts on “H.R. 5949 and S. 3276 — Legislation Reauthorizing Massive Surveillance — is Being IGNORED. WAKE UP.”

  1. Joshua Budden says:

    Thanks for continuing to give this the attention it needs.

  2. Tom says:

    The criminals are in charge of the prison (state).

  3. Tom says:

    (via Suburban Guerilla)
    5 Signs of a Radical Change in U.S. Politics

    “(Midnight update: This item went up three hours ago with a more blunt-instrument headline than it should ever have had: “5 Signs the United States is Undergoing a Coup.” I used the word “coup” in a particular way in the longer item this was drawn from. Using it in the headline implies things I don’t mean. Through the past decade, there has been a radical shift in the “by any means necessary” rules of political combat, as I describe. Previous conservative administrations have nominated previous conservative Justices — but not radical partisans, happy to overthrow precedent to get to the party-politics result they want. That is the case I mean to make. And I hope the upcoming health care ruling ends up being evidence on the other side.)

    This is distilled from a longer item earlier today, at the suggestion of my colleagues. It’s a simple game you can try at home. Pick a country and describe a sequence in which:

    •First, a presidential election is decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms.
    •Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology.
    •Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them.
    •Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts.
    •And, when a major piece of legislation gets through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepares to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.
    How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way?”
    (there’s more)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Much appreciated. Though I have to call some serious BS on this claim:

    “Previous conservative administrations have nominated previous conservative Justices — but not radical partisans”

    Thomas and Scalia are radical partisans. So was the previous Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Back in the Gilded Age, “conservative” Justices used antitrust laws to break up labor unions and redefined the 14th amendment to protect the equality of corporations as “persons”, while denying rights to African Americans. This philosophy of radically undoing the intent of lawmakers has been labelled “strict constructionism” and “original intent”. Appointing hacks to positions in government is as old a practice as government.

  5. Jerry Thomas says:

    An extremely important post!!!! Our legislators are like ostriches with there heads in the sand or since I believe that they are intelligent, more like cohorts in the fall of our democracy!

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