a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

“Get FISA Right” fights back in St. Paul

Posted by Thomas Nephew on September 2nd, 2008

I’m proud to have been a small part of this: we have a total of 9 “Get FISA Right” ads scheduled to air in Minneapolis/St.Paul during the Republican convention this week, including at least four on FOX News network — two are scheduled for daytime hours (9am-4pm) on September 3, two for evening hours (7-12pm) the same day.

Though another set of ads being aired are more partisan, the ones I helped place are more non-partisan — without being in denial about how the FISA Amendment Act came to pass:

For 200 years, the Fourth Amendment protected us from unreasonable searches and seizures.
On July 9, all the Republican Senators voted to allow the government to listen to your phone calls and read your email without a warrant.
We’re building a new movement that puts our Constitution above politics.
Don’t let American freedom die. Join us at

“Get FISA Right” was originally formed as response by Obama supporters to Barack Obama’s disappointing “yes” vote on the FISA Amendment Act — breaking his pledge to oppose any bill featuring telecom immunity.  As disappointing as that was, though, a great deal of the blame goes to the administration that proposed the FISA Amendment Act and the lockstep Republican Party that unanimously supported it.*  Neither party can be let off the hook for the FISA Amendment Act; we need to be building support wherever we can find it to roll back that and other infringements of our civil liberties.

Moreover, given the crackdown underway in St. Paul (see prior post), “Get FISA Right” ads may be the closest encounter Republican conventioneers have with the Constitution and free speech.  As I wrote last week, it’s “a way to take a stand for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that GOP convention-goers can’t avoid: on their TV sets.”

It’s high time, too. The Bush era assault on the 4th Amendment is threatening to become an everyday feature of the political landscape.  The right against unreasonable search and seizure is also under siege by state, local, and federal police in Minnesota, as a  Joint “Terrorism” Task Force has intimidated, searched, and arrested people, and relieved of them of their laptops, video cameras, and the like, all on far-fetched suspicions of “intent to riot” and even of “fire code violations.”

FISA and the Fourth Amendment may seem like an abstraction to some people, but what’s happening in St. Paul isn’t abstract at all.  Those are your freedoms they’re trampling on.  These ads are one way to insist that’s not OK with us.

* McCain, though absent for the vote, made clear he supported the bill.

NOTE: For other blog reactions to the ad campaign, visit this Get FISA Right wiki page (and please add your own entry!)
UPDATE, 9/2: Ari Melber, Washington Independent: Liberals Storm GOP Hotels in St. Paul
UPDATE, 9/3: Nick Juliano, Raw Story: Anti-FISA group targets GOP airwaves in St. Paul

One Response to ““Get FISA Right” fights back in St. Paul”

  1. Liminal states » Get FISA Right: on the air in St. Paul! Says:

    […] guns on McCain, Julian Sanchez, Ars Technica; the discussion thread (1, 2) is interesting, too – “Get FISA Right” fights back in St. Paul, Thomas Nephew, – St. Paul descends into police state — Get FISA Right group […]

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