Patriot Act repeal movement gathers steam

Liberty Action of the Week" March 2,2004
Patriot Act repeal movement gathers steam
by Mary Lou Seymour

In last week's column "Campaign for reader privacy " we talked about helping in the efforts of librarians, booksellers to gather FREADom petitions to amend section 215 of the Patriot Act (the section that which stripped away protections for customer privacy by allowing federal agents to search a bookstore or library patron's reading records without probable cause consent from the court).

We've also discussed the efforts of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee to pass "Bill of Rights Resolutions" making cities, towns, counties and even states "Civil Liberties Safe Zones"; as of this writing, three states and 257 cities, towns, and counties have passed resolutions or ordinances to protect the civil liberties of their 44,860,070 residents. Hundreds more are in progress. (For a listing and current news articles, see "Main Street America Fights Back"). If you'd like to join in an ongoing "committee", the BORDC has a "local efforts" page that lists contact people throughout the country, and, downloadable action packets to start your own committee. We've pointed our readers to petition efforts from Repeal Now (an online and printable version) and United for Change, and various other groups have mounted lobbying efforts and letter writing campaigns.

The grass roots anti Patriot Act efforts have been successful to an extent, several pieces of legislation have been introduced to repeal selected sections, such as the Freedom to Read Protection Act, the Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act, S. 1709, several more have been introduced and referred to committee, like the Surveillance Oversight and Disclosure Act of 2003, the Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act, Reasonable Notice and Search Act of 2003, the Patriot Oversight Restoration Act of 2003, the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act, Citizens' Protection in Federal Databases Act of 2003, and some are still gathering co-sponsors, like the Civil Liberties Restoration Act. (For a listing of various legislation to amend part or all of the Patriot Act, see "Legislation aimed at preserving liberty and rolling back the Patriot Act.") None of these efforts have, as yet, been successful, but the sheer number of efforts shows that the meme of "repeal" has taken root and affecting even the sorry bunch we now have inhabiting our Congress.

The title of the lst bill I mentioned, he Civil Liberties Restoration Act, just about says it all. Did you EVER think we'd be living in an era when Congress introduced legislation to RESTORE our Constitutional rights? Pretty depressing, eh.

But, we must press on. The stakes are high. The Patriot Act ends this year. President Bush and his administration have already made its renewal a top priority. The proposed PATRIOT Act II would be even more intrusive than PATRIOT Act I.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to a new petition drive to Stop the Patriot Act, this time sponsored by the Libertarian Political Action Alliance (good news for those for whom the Repeal Now folks are too "lefty" and the FREADom folks too mainstream.) The LPAA "Repeal the Patriot Act" page has downloadable pdf petitions and flyers to distribute in your community. LPAA will honor those who gather more than 100 signatures on a "Page of Honor, so lets make sure we get some Liberty Action of the Week readers listed! LPAA is also looking for sponsors to endorse their campaign, and, to donate "prizes" for top signature gatherers.

And you can "meetup" with other local advocates against the USA Patriot Act through the Meetup site The next Stop the Patriot Act Meetup Day is March 8. These "meetups" generally attract lefties, but what a great way to find common cause with lefties in your community! (Take a copy of the LPAA petition and flyers with you.)

One final note. I've been unable to find any "conservative" petitions or lobbying efforts against the Patriot Act. I'd love to include these, because I truly do believe this is an issue that crosses the political spectrum and can be used to "bring us all together" (those of us on the left, right and center who still believe in the Bill of Rights an civil liberties, that is.) If any readers have info on any "conservative", "Patriot" or "right wing" type lobbying efforts/petition drives centered around repealing the {Patriot ct, let me know and i'll happily publicize them.

Till next week

For freedom

Mary Lou

PS: Don't forget to visit the website for this week's alternate actions, the Blog for updates and the Resource Directory (for premium donors) with even more actions and resources.

"Campaign for reader privacy "

Bill of Rights Defense Committees

Local Efforts & Contacts

Main Street America Fights Back

Repeal Now

United for Peace

Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157)

Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act

Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act

Surveillance Oversight and Disclosure Act of 2003

Proposed Legislation aimed at rolling back and expanding the Patriot

Repeal the Patriot Act Petition

Stop the Patriot Act Meetup Day March 8

Liberty Activist Blog

Liberty Activist Resource Directory

Liberty Action of the Week is edited by Mary Lou Seymour


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