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FISA: Whip It Good!

Christy has put in tons and I mean tons of hard work finding out where our elected officials are going to appear over the fourth of July holiday. It seems some of them (*cough Diane Feinstein cough*) are using the "terrorist threat" to refuse to let their constituents know where they will be.

National security is a convenient excuse for so very many things.

But Christy was dogged, and thanks to her efforts (and those of our fabulous readers) we now have almost 40 events set up across the country where you can join together with fellow like-minded FISA buffs and tell your member of Congress in person exactly what you think of the upcoming capitulation they plan.

Sign up here

A few suggestions for birddogging your representative:

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

  • The Senate will soon be considering immunity for companies that helped President Bush illegally spy on Americans. Do you think the President should be able to collude with corporations to cover-up his crimes—does our constitution allow the president to be above the law?
  • Will you join Senators Feingold and Dodd in standing up for our constitution by filibustering any legislation that lets president Bush and the phone companies off the hook for wiretapping American citizens without a warrant?
  • Alternative phrasing of the second bullet: We need you to show backbone and not help Bush’s cover-up. If these lawsuits get thrown out of court, Americans may never know how far Bush went in breaking the law by spying on innocent Americans. Will you join Senator Russ Feingold’s filibuster of any bill that gives retroactive immunity to phone companies that helped Bush break the law and spy on Americans?

TIPS:

  • The main goal is to get the senator to answer a question on our framing. There’s a natural 1-2 punch. First, get them to admit that it’s not ok for the president to break the law and work with companies to cover illegal activity up. Then, ask if they’ll join the Feingold/Dodd filibuster.
  • The tone of questions should be serious, but not angry. Of course we’re all very passionate about these issues but it’s important to always be calm and polite when you’re talking to your senator. If we’re seen on video as angry/disrespectful hecklers, that just helps our opponents and distracts from the Senator’s answer to our questions.
  • Keep the question short, and only ask one question at a time. The longer you go, and the more questions you bunch in, the easier it is for them to not answer your question.
  • Do follow up. If the senator doesn’t really answer your question, succinctly say, "That wasn’t really the question. The question is…"
  • If the senator answers the question in a way that leads to a natural follow up, be sure to ask that follow-up question succinctly.
  • Try to have multiple people ready to ask questions. If ground was gained in the answer to one question, the next person can use that to ask a follow-up.

Oh, and bring a video camera. We want to share your experience in all its YouTube glory.

We’ve also got some real cool tools for calling you Senator to see where they stand on stripping retroactive immunity out of the FISA bill, and a place where you can enter their response (since Harry Reid isn’t going to whip for it, I guess we’ll have to do it ourselves). If you’d like to paste the tool on your website, instructions are below:

Instructions: Highlight the code inside the box. Press Ctrl + C to copy it. To publish this somewhere, press Ctrl + V to paste the code. Sharing this image will spread the word.

Glenn Greenwald points out today that the courts are laughing at the excuses raised by our members of Congress for selling us out. It looks like someone needs to tell them in person…

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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