Tuesday, December 13, 2005

the well

Please see A on events in Australia. The news, or should one say "the newscycle," from everywhere, was unbearable today. The tone of course was set early enough. Three times this morning, just myself and my visible breath, hand-making wreaths in the greenhouse smelling of balsalm and sap (yes, I'm a hardened farmer these days), my eyes well up with tears. How else to describe that feeling of despair; a resevoir suddenly tapped. I lean on the table for a few seconds, and put my head on my arms. There are sizes of despair. These waves were semi-pleasant; warming far more than crippling, and they didn't last long. Just checking in, my heart. Tinged with the familiar feelings of profound powerlessness and ineffectivity. Also a glimpse of another sort of well, in the return to...inoperativeness and im-potentiality. For maybe the second time this year, NPR was good a bit better than too little too late. How refreshing to hear genuine outrage, people calling on Bush by name, calling him a liar. People not intimidated by the latest Patriot Act, obviously (and how poised we are, to repeat that movie...I don't usually do this but, sign the motherfucking petition, please.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear MoveOn member,

Last night we learned that the Defense Department has been secretly collecting intelligence on small peace groups, like one gathering at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida.1 It's a jarring reminder of the ongoing erosion of our civil liberties. This Friday, the Senate is expected to vote on a new and even more dangerous version of the Patriot Act.2

A bipartisan group of senators have agreed to fight the Patriot Act—by filibuster if necessary. The law currently goes too far in curtailing our freedoms and they're fighting back. This is the time to act.

This is a huge moment. Senators from both parties are standing together to protect privacy and liberty in a time of war—and they're ready to go all the way. It's important to support them and to show those who are still on the fence how important this issue is to you. Will you help us reach 250,000 signatures on our petition so we can hand deliver them in time for the vote?


If this filibuster holds, Congress could vote to temporarily extend the Patriot Act as it stands—allowing time to craft a new, better version that addresses the big problems in the law. This would be a huge victory for those of us who believe that liberty is non-negotiable.

In 2001, only one senator voted against the Patriot Act. Since then, people from all across the political spectrum have come to realize that the Patriot Act strikes a blow to the fundamental rights, liberties, and privacy of all Americans. Protecting freedom is something that all of us—progressives and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans—can agree on.

That's why a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans Larry Craig, John Sununu, Lisa Murkowski and Democrats Russ Feingold, Dick Durbin and Ken Salazar, have been working to fix the Patriot Act. They have vowed to fight the most egregious provisions and filibuster reauthorization if necessary. We need to show them that we have their backs.

The Patriot Act that the president wants them to pass now goes too far and doesn't protect the privacy of innocent Americans. It doesn't address some of the biggest problems in the law. For example:3

* The government can obtain your private records, like medical, library, school, and other records—without showing any connection between your activities and a suspected foreign terrorist.
* Some 30,000 National Security Letters ("NSLs") are issued each year to obtain private records,4 and the recipients of those NSLs are under a gag order that is almost impossible to overturn. But the Patriot Act does nothing to address these abusive powers.
* The government is allowed to get "sneak and peek" search warrants to search a home or business and doesn't have to tell the owner of the premises for a month. This power can be used in cases that don't have anything to do with terrorism.

Right now, the Patriot Act is just bad law about to get worse—and leaders in the Washington are actually willing to try to block it. We can't let our only chance to fix it slip away without a fight.

Hundreds of thousands of signatures on a petition like this will show the Senate how serious Americans are about protecting their constitutional freedoms. Will you sign the petition and show your support for filibustering a Patriot Act that doesn't include privacy protections?


Together, we can make sure we're safe—and our freedom is safe, too.

Thanks for all you do,

–Eli, Nita, Ben, Jennifer and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Wednesday, December 14th, 2005


1. "Is the Pentagon Spying on Americans?" MSNBC, December 13, 2005
2. ACLU: Reform the Patriot Act

3. ACLU: Summary of Patriot Reauthorization Act Conference Report

4. "The FBI's Secret Scrutiny," Washington Post, November 6, 2005