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Heartfelt Thanks to the True Patriots

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February 15, 2008

Yesterday, Americans who believe that no one, not even the President of the United States, is above the rule of law, triumphed. Their triumph? By not voting on the FISA bill, the House has listened to its constituents’ pleas and defied Bush’s fear-mongering. Tens of thousands of Americans called their House Members and let them know that it’s not okay for the President to choose protecting the telecoms over protecting the American public. They’re the true patriots, not the telephone companies that spied on you.

The House will not vote on FISA today, and it’s in recess next week, so the Protect America Act (PAA) will expire tonight! But fear not! This does not mean, that U.S. intelligence agencies will no longer be able to listen to terrorists’ phone calls or see their emails. As Caroline has pointed out repeatedly, the FISA law allows for wiretaps without a warrant under emergency circumstances: they can wiretap first, and get it authorized by the FISA court later. Additionally, surveillance orders made while the PAA is still in effect are good for a year, PAA expiration notwithstanding.

In fact, contrary s name, The Protect America Act was not “protecting” America any better than the good old FISA that it amended. In fact, all the PAA really accomplished was stripping away Americans’ crucial Fifth Amendment rights.

But now isn’t the time to become complacent! If you’ve already called your House members, implore your friends, family and coworkers to do so as well. We can’t let up-the FISA bill will have be voted on eventually, and we it’s crucial that your representative know which way you want the vote. Tell them to vote “no” on immunity for the phone companies, and “yes” to individualized warrants to spy on Americans.

For inspiration, check out Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment from last night. It’ll get your hackles up and motivate you to act.