People Power Can Terminate the Patriot Act and Its Ugly Siblings

Contact Your Senator NOW – An Important Victory is Within Sight

This Sunday, at midnight, the notorious Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire. Section 215 has been the basis for the bulk collection of communications of all Americans, indeed of all the world. It was born under Bush in the wake of 9/11, and Obama kept it alive in beginning in 2010 – until now. But on Sunday a stake can be driven through its heart – if WE act NOW. This is not simply a possibility but a likelihood!

Obama and his co-conspirators, both Republican and Democratic Senate “leadership” are hell-bent on keeping this Frankenstein alive. If they cannot, then they have other monsters in line to take its place. In addition to the original Patriot Act, there are on the table three other bills, all phony reforms of the U.S. Patriot Act.

Yesterday a large group of civil libertarian and other organizations sent a letter to the Senate leadership calling for the Senate to block not only Section 215 of the original Patriot Act but also all three ersatz reform bills, which are the USA Freedom Act (already defeated once in the Senate), a bill put forward by Senator Burr and another put forward by Senator Feinstein.

The stunning breadth of the opposition to all the schemes for keeping the Spy State alive is conveyed by the extraordinarily diverse list of signing organizations – from the ACLU to Tea Party Nation, from American Library Association to Gun Owners of America, from CREDO to Republican Liberty Caucus, from Electronic Frontier Foundation to Human Rights Watch. And as their letter makes clear, they want neither Patriot Act nor any of the so-called “reforms” being touted to keep it alive. So the possibility of a victory has turned into the likelihood of one. But action is required NOW.

Dustin Volz of the National Journal who has done yeoman’s work in following these developments has identified ten key Senators who can are in a position to do gravedigger’s work on the Spy State come Sunday. They are:

1. Rand Paul, R, Kentucky who has led the opposition with his filibuster last week for which he deserves extraordinary praise.

2. Angus King, I, Maine.

3. Michael Enzi, R, Wyoming.

4. Mark Kirk, R, Illinois.

5. Bill Cassidy, R, Louisiana.

6. Kelly Ayote, R, New Hampshire

7. Jerry Moran, R, Kansas.

8. Mike Crapo, R, Idaho.

9. Pat Toomey, R, Pennsylvania.

10. John Boozman, R, Arkansas.

These Senators should definitely hear from YOU.

The phone line for all Senators is: (202) 224-3121.

Email and website contacts can be found here.

(Some Senators have e-mail addresses while others post comment forms on their web sites.)

But now let me disagree a bit with this analysis of the estimable Volz. The greater likelihood is that the Democratic Senators who all voted previously for Obama’s fake reform, the USA Freedom Act, will back it or a similar measure again, as they did last week. Then they will need only a handful of Republican votes to pass such a monster.

So ALL Senators should be contacted and urged to vote in the proper way, perhaps in the end the Democrats most of all. Your Senator pays most attention to his or her own constituents.

You can be sure that there is plenty of skullduggery afoot at this very moment to round up the necessary votes. And it would not be surprising if some of the dirty data that NSA has swept up under Section 215 were being used to blackmail recalcitrant solons.

Finally, we should not underestimate what a victory like this could mean. It can easily set the stage for other victories by providing some confidence that the police state elite can be defeated. And that in turn may carry over into other crucial and related areas like the wars, which have been draining our treasure and consuming innocent lives around the world.

But it all depends on US, YOU and ME. Let’s get to the phones and emails pronto. Let the Senators know what we want them to do – and that there will political punishment for those who flout the popular will. Again, the telephone number for the Senate is:

(202) 224-3121.

Email and website contacts can be found here.

But let us act now. Victory is at hand. Only hours are left. No time to waste. NOW.

John V. Walsh, @JohnWal97469920, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for several independent media. Read other articles by John V..