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Civil Rights

A Battle Won For Democracy: More Required

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“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be trust no man living with the power to endanger the public liberty.” 

– John Adams

Key sections of the PATRIOT Act expired last night, when Senators failed to reach an agreement on their extension. This marked the end of more than a decade of unconstitutional violations of wcitizen’s tight to privacy. The battle was won thanks to the efforts of Senator Rand Paul, who prevented efforts by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass an extension. I don’t agree with Mr. Paul on many points, but I applaud his courageous and principled stance in this instance1.

The PATRIOT Act was rammed through Congress in haste, under a climate of fear and uncertainty. Some of it was legitimate, as the nation struggled to come to grips with the tragedy of 9/11 and the capabilities of Al Qaeda. Some of it was fostered by the Bush Administration, that saw in this act the chance to expand Executive power in the run up to the war with Iraq, which had already been decided upon. Many legislators who would not have voted in favor of the PATRIOT Act, or who would have debated it and amended it, were coerce to act like sheep. It was a sad, shameful display.

This act lead to the largest expansion of Federal Authority and Federal employment since the Second World War. The Department of Homeland Security was created and extensive powers granted to our national intelligence agencies, both domestic (FBI) and foreign (CIA, NSA). These powers were so extensive that their limits have yet to be properly defined; but it is clear that these agencies have abused their power, going far beyond their remit simple “because they could”. Bad enough the existence of shadowy FISA courts and automatic warrant renewals for bulk data collection; but intelligence officials crossed even those dubious lines to warrantless searches, withholding informatiin from constituted authority and lying to Congressional investigators.

The worst of it is that we sacrifice our freedoms for nothing: intelligence officials admit that the collection efforts by the NSA and FBI have not led to any major arrests. The arrests that have occurred have been through traditional sting operations and the use of FBI moles in nascent jihadist cells. It is their professionalism, diligence and devotion to duty that is to be applauded, not the abusive power granted by this odious law. So was Benjamin Franklin vindicated when he said: “Those who sacrifice freedom for security will have neither.”

This has been a battle won, but only a Pyrrhic victory. This week the Senate will reconvene to pass the Freedom Act; yet another bill whose very name ought to be a klaxon to every freedom-loving American. The so-called Freedom Act has at least this virtue: it ends the bulk collection of telephone data by the government; but not by the telephone companies. It also provides an advocate for public privacy concerns.

This is a lesser evil without doubt; after all, Google and FaceBook have far more of our data than the government ever will and we are happy to give it to them. But these associations are voluntary and any abuses that may spring from them can be remedied by government action. What must be defended against is the involuntary collection by our own public agencies against us; for then there is no reasonable recourse to law to curb the inevitable trespasses that will occur.

The FISA courts are a danger themselves and the abuses perpetrated by the various agencies under their watch demonstrates just how ineffectual their protections are. They should be done away with: the regular courts are perfectly afequate to deal with intelligence requests and terrorism warrants. If secrecy is a concern, the government prosecutor can make a case for it and the presiding judge may allow it or not, upon the merits of the request. These are not new problems: we’ve been dealing with them – successfully – at least since Prohibition.

More is required from citizens. I strongly urge you to write your representatives and voice your concerns about the Freedom Act. Demand an amendment that abolishes FISA and places gets our court system out of the secrecy business; for secrecy is noxious to democracy. It is up to us to make our voices heard; better a 2 minute phone call than any number of e-petitions or emails. To facilitate this, I am attaching a list of Congressional representatives and their contact information. Thanks to the Office of Representative Alan Grayson for the information:

US Senators:

Alexander, Lamar – (R – TN)
Class II
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4944
Contact: www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Email
Ayotte, Kelly – (R – NH)
Class III
144 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3324
Contact: www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact
Baldwin, Tammy – (D – WI)
Class I
717 Hart Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5653
Contact: www.baldwin.senate.gov/contact
Barrasso, John – (R – WY)
Class I
307 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6441
Contact: www.barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
Bennet, Michael F. – (D – CO)
Class III
261 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5852
Contact: www.bennet.senate.gov/contact/
Blumenthal, Richard – (D – CT)
Class III
706 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2823
Contact: www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/
Blunt, Roy – (R – MO)
Class III
260 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5721
Contact: www.blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form?p=cont…
Booker, Cory A. – (D – NJ)
Class II
359 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3224
Contact: www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
Boozman, John – (R – AR)
Class III
141 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4843
Contact: www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me
Boxer, Barbara – (D – CA)
Class III
112 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3553
Contact: www.boxer.senate.gov/contact/
Brown, Sherrod – (D – OH)
Class I
713 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2315
Contact: www.brown.senate.gov/contact/
Burr, Richard – (R – NC)
Class III
217 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3154
Contact: www.burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.C…
Cantwell, Maria – (D – WA)
Class I
511 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3441
Contact: www.cantwell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-maria
Capito, Shelley Moore – (R – WV)
Class II
172 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6472
Contact: www.capito.senate.gov/content/contact-shelley
Cardin, Benjamin L. – (D – MD)
Class I
509 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4524
Contact: www.cardin.senate.gov/contact/
Carper, Thomas R. – (D – DE)
Class I
513 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2441
Contact: carper.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-senator-carper
Casey, Robert P., Jr. – (D – PA)
Class I
393 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6324
Contact: www.casey.senate.gov/contact/
Cassidy, Bill – (R – LA)
Class II
703 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5824
Contact: www.cassidy.senate.gov/content/contact-bill
Coats, Daniel – (R – IN)
Class III
493 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5623
Contact: www.coats.senate.gov/contact/
Cochran, Thad – (R – MS)
Class II
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5054
Contact: www.cochran.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me
Collins, Susan M. – (R – ME)
Class II
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2523
Contact: www.collins.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email
Coons, Christopher A. – (D – DE)
Class II
127A Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5042
Contact: www.coons.senate.gov/contact/
Corker, Bob – (R – TN)
Class I
425 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3344
Contact: www.corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailme
Cornyn, John – (R – TX)
Class II
517 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2934
Contact: www.cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm
Cotton, Tom – (R – AR)
Class II
B33 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2353
Contact: www.cotton.senate.gov/content/contact-tom
Crapo, Mike – (R – ID)
Class III
239 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6142
Contact: www.crapo.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm
Cruz, Ted – (R – TX)
Class I
404 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5922
Contact: www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=email_senator
Daines, Steve – (R – MT)
Class II
1 Russell Senate Courtyard Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2651
Contact: www.daines.senate.gov/content/contact-steve
Donnelly, Joe – (D – IN)
Class I
720 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4814
Contact: www.donnelly.senate.gov/contact/email-joe
Durbin, Richard J. – (D – IL)
Class II
711 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2152
Contact: www.durbin.senate.gov/contact/
Enzi, Michael B. – (R – WY)
Class II
379A Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3424
Contact: www.enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact?p=e-mail-sen…
Ernst, Joni – (R – IA)
Class II
825 B&C Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3254
Contact: www.ernst.senate.gov/content/contact-joni
Feinstein, Dianne – (D – CA)
Class I
331 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3841
Contact: www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me
Fischer, Deb – (R – NE)
Class I
454 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6551
Contact: www.fischer.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Flake, Jeff – (R – AZ)
Class I
413 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4521
Contact: www.flake.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-jeff
Franken, Al – (D – MN)
Class II
309 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5641
Contact: www.franken.senate.gov/?p=contact
Gardner, Cory – (R – CO)
Class II
B40B Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5941
Contact: www.gardner.senate.gov/content/contact-cory
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. – (D – NY)
Class I
478 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4451
Contact: www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
Graham, Lindsey – (R – SC)
Class II
290 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5972
Contact: lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.La…
Grassley, Chuck – (R – IA)
Class III
135 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3744
Contact: www.grassley.senate.gov/contact
Hatch, Orrin G. – (R – UT)
Class I
104 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5251
Contact: www.hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact?p=Email-Orrin
Heinrich, Martin – (D – NM)
Class I
303 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5521
Contact: www.heinrich.senate.gov/contact
Heitkamp, Heidi – (D – ND)
Class I
110 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2043
Contact: www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Heller, Dean – (R – NV)
Class I
324 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6244
Contact: www.heller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
Hirono, Mazie K. – (D – HI)
Class I
330 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6361
Contact: www.hirono.senate.gov/contact
Hoeven, John – (R – ND)
Class III
338 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2551
Contact: www.hoeven.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-the-senator
Inhofe, James M. – (R – OK)
Class II
205 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4721
Contact: www.inhofe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact…
Isakson, Johnny – (R – GA)
Class III
131 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3643
Contact: www.isakson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me
Johnson, Ron – (R – WI)
Class III
328 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5323
Contact: www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Kaine, Tim – (D – VA)
Class I
388 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4024
Contact: www.kaine.senate.gov/contact
King, Angus S., Jr. – (I – ME)
Class I
133 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5344
Contact: www.king.senate.gov/contact
Kirk, Mark – (R – IL)
Class III
524 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2854
Contact: www.kirk.senate.gov/?p=contact
Klobuchar, Amy – (D – MN)
Class I
302 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3244
Contact: www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/contact-amy
Lankford, James – (R – OK)
Class III
316 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5754
Contact: www.lankford.senate.gov/content/contact-james
Leahy, Patrick J. – (D – VT)
Class III
437 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4242
Contact: www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
Lee, Mike – (R – UT)
Class III
361A Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5444
Contact: www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Manchin, Joe, III – (D – WV)
Class I
306 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3954
Contact: www.manchin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
Markey, Edward J. – (D – MA)
Class II
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2742
Contact: www.markey.senate.gov/contact
McCain, John – (R – AZ)
Class III
241 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2235
Contact: www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
McCaskill, Claire – (D – MO)
Class I
730 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6154
Contact: www.mccaskill.senate.gov/contact
McConnell, Mitch – (R – KY)
Class II
317 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2541
Contact: www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=contact
Menendez, Robert – (D – NJ)
Class I
528 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4744
Contact: menendez.senate.gov/contact/
Merkley, Jeff – (D – OR)
Class II
313 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3753
Contact: www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/
Mikulski, Barbara A. – (D – MD)
Class III
503 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4654
Contact: www.mikulski.senate.gov/contact/
Moran, Jerry – (R – KS)
Class III
521 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6521
Contact: moran.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-jerry
Murkowski, Lisa – (R – AK)
Class III
709 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6665
Contact: www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact
Murphy, Christopher – (D – CT)
Class I
136 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4041
Contact: www.murphy.senate.gov/contact
Murray, Patty – (D – WA)
Class III
154 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2621
Contact: www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme
Nelson, Bill – (D – FL)
Class I
716 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5274
Contact: www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill
Paul, Rand – (R – KY)
Class III
167 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4343
Contact: www.paul.senate.gov/?p=contact
Perdue, David – (R – GA)
Class II
B40D Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3521
Contact: www.perdue.senate.gov/content/contact-david
Peters, Gary – (D – MI)
Class II
2 Russell Senate Courtyard Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6221
Contact: www.peters.senate.gov/content/contact-gary
Portman, Rob – (R – OH)
Class III
448 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3353
Contact: www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact?p=contact…
Reed, Jack – (D – RI)
Class II
728 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4642
Contact: www.reed.senate.gov/contact/
Reid, Harry – (D – NV)
Class III
522 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3542
Contact: www.reid.senate.gov/contact
Risch, James E. – (R – ID)
Class II
483 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2752
Contact: www.risch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Email
Roberts, Pat – (R – KS)
Class II
109 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4774
Contact: www.roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=EmailPat
Rounds, Mike – (R – SD)
Class II
4 Russell Senate Courtyard Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5842
Contact: www.rounds.senate.gov/content/contact-mike
Rubio, Marco – (R – FL)
Class III
284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3041
Contact: www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Sanders, Bernard – (I – VT)
Class I
332 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5141
Contact: www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/
Sasse, Ben – (R – NE)
Class II
B40E Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4224
Contact: www.sasse.senate.gov/content/contact-ben
Schatz, Brian – (D – HI)
Class III
722 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3934
Contact: www.schatz.senate.gov/contact
Schumer, Charles E. – (D – NY)
Class III
322 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6542
Contact: www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck
Scott, Tim – (R – SC)
Class III
520 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6121
Contact: www.scott.senate.gov/contact/email-me
Sessions, Jeff – (R – AL)
Class II
326 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4124
Contact: www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-jeff
Shaheen, Jeanne – (D – NH)
Class II
506 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2841
Contact: www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/
Shelby, Richard C. – (R – AL)
Class III
304 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5744
Contact: www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailsenatorshelby
Stabenow, Debbie – (D – MI)
Class I
731 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4822
Contact: www.stabenow.senate.gov/?p=contact
Sullivan, Daniel – (R – AK)
Class II
B40A Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3004
Contact: www.sullivan.senate.gov/content/contact-dan
Tester, Jon – (D – MT)
Class I
311 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2644
Contact: www.tester.senate.gov/Contact/index.cfm
Thune, John – (R – SD)
Class III
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2321
Contact: www.thune.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Tillis, Thom – (R – NC)
Class II
G55 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6342
Contact: www.tillis.senate.gov/content/contact-thom
Toomey, Patrick J. – (R – PA)
Class III
248 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4254
Contact: www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact
Udall, Tom – (D – NM)
Class II
531 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6621
Contact: www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=contact
Vitter, David – (R – LA)
Class III
516 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4623
Contact: www.vitter.senate.gov/contact
Warner, Mark R. – (D – VA)
Class II
475 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2023
Contact: www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact
Warren, Elizabeth – (D – MA)
Class I
317 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4543
Contact: www.warren.senate.gov/?p=email_senator
Whitehouse, Sheldon – (D – RI)
Class I
530 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2921
Contact: www.whitehouse.senate.gov/contact/

Class I

555 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6253
Contact: www.wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Wyden, Ron – (D – OR)
Class III
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5244
Contact: www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/


Sources and Notes

1 Mike Debonis and Ellen Nakashima, “Sun sets on some NSA surveillance powers as Rand Paul foils extension,” The Washington Post, 01 June 2015

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