Posted by Thomas Nephew on January 5th, 2009
Change.org’s “Ideas for Change in America” competition is trying to get the Obama administration’s attention — and is likely to succeed:
“The Ideas for Change in America competition was created in response to Barack Obama’s call for increased citizen involvement in government. The final round of voting began on January 5 and is comprised of the top 3 rated ideas from each of the 30 issues in the first round of the competition, which collectively received more than 250,000 votes.
The top 10 rated ideas from the final round will be presented to the Obama administration on January 16th at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, co-hosted by the Case Foundation. At the event we will also announce the launch of a national advocacy campaign behind each idea in collaboration with our nonprofit partners to turn each idea into actual policy.
The idea “Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties” is among the ideas competing for the final ten slots, with the following introduction:
FISA and the PATRIOT Act strike at the core of our Fourth and First Amendment Rights and institutionalize a surveillance society — and FISA’s telecom immunity clause mocks the rule of law by not holding telecom companies accountable for any illegal actions. Beginning the new Administration and Congress by focusing on these issues sends one of the clearest signals possible that that the new government is committed to ending the abuses of the last eight years and restoring our civil liberties.
For some specific ideas on rolling back the FISA Amendment Act and “Protect America Act,” see:
- The Constitution Project: Reform of the National Security Surveillance Laws and Procedures
- EFF: What Obama Can and Should Do To Stop Telecom Immunity
- ACLU: First 100 Days: Warrantless Spying
You can vote for “Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act” using the embedded widget below (most readers will need to register with a username and password first). Voting ends January 15, and you get 10 votes to spread around to this and other good ideas.
As Jon Pincus writes in an associated blog post Turning the page on FISA:
The coming year will present a unique opportunity for a broad-based activism campaign to restore our civil liberties and begin rolling back key pillars of the national surveillance state institutionalized by the Bush Administration and Congress over the last eight years. By first pressuring President Obama to follow through in the first 100 days on his campaign promises to uphold the rule of law and protect Americans’ rights and privacy, and then gearing up for a 50-state strategy to pressure the House and Senate to repeal the PATRIOT Act and reform FISA, we can turn the page on this shameful chapter in our country’s history.
UPDATE, 1/7: The “Ideas for Change” voting process can be confusing; here are step by step instructions.
EDIT, UPDATE, 1/9: “Specific ideas” bullet list added. Other worthy ideas to vote for: