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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Declare yourself hopeful

Patriotic oldies you should list to while you read this, preferably aloud.

Modified from an e-mail from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee:
Dear Friends, Independence Day 2006 is here! As we celebrate 230 years of liberty and democracy, we must reclaim the spirit of our founding principles and stand up for the freedoms that we've lost in recent years. Let's bring awareness to our communities about the erosion of constitutional protections and insist that our representatives help us fight to restore the Bill of Rights. We have compiled some suggestions from a recent conference call with community activists. BORDC will post all of your events on our website, so others in your town or around the nation can see what’s happening in your area. Please send your Independence Day event information to Linda Stone or to Hope Marston*Here are Independence Day ideas for reclaiming the message!
Meet with your Congressional representatives. While Congress is in recess, July 1-9, it’s a good time to set up local meetings, or attend their town hall meetings. Take lots of allies! Find Congressional contact information here We'll also exchange tips and challenges to setting up appointments with members of Congress.
Connect with Independence Day events already occurring in your area. Pass out flyers at parades and community gatherings. Flyers. Carry placards in your local parade. Placards. Distribute Bill of Rights book marks. Bookmarks. Pass out BORDC "Dissent is Patriotic" buttons and bumper stickers. Catalogue.
Ask your local officials to hold public hearing/fact-finding sessions. Public utility commissions and attorney generals can hold such sessions to determine local reaction to domestic surveillance, and whether local and state laws have been abridged. In many states, the ACLU has already begun this process.

Recent News coverage:
Oregon 1
Oregon 2

If your community has not yet passed a resolution affirming civil liberties, draft a petition to demonstrate support for a local resolution and circulate it at local July 4th events.

Convert your community resolution into an ordinance, which has the force of law. Take a look at the following ordinances from eight communities: Ordinances Start work on a statewide resolution. State toolkit
Get petition signatures at local events for a resolution based on this model resolution: Resolution
Call on your local public utilities to disclose whether or not they are releasing customer phone records to the government’s domestic spy program.
Send a letter to the Federal Communications Commission demanding the FCC investigate AT&T and Bell South's role in domestic spying for the NSA at a time when these two companies are seeking approval for a merger.
Send a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission:FCC

Start a Circle of Scribes for a Letter to the Editor campaign. If you are part of a BOR (or related) group, plan a get together to write multiple letters. Workshop

Organize a "FOIA Request Party." Since the government seems so interested in gathering data on political activists, let’s flood them for requests for information about what they’ve found! Gather a group to fill out forms for Freedom of Information Act requests to find out what information is in your government files, as the Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Committee is doing in conjunction with the local ACLU. You may contact Dean Gerber of the Pittsburgh BORDC for more information. Info

Oregon attorney Dan Stotter, who has a website to guide you through the process, will provide an initial consultation at no charge. FOI Advocates

Keep in mind, however, that the FOIA process is a marathon, seemingly designed to test your endurance. If you really want to get the documents from the government, you have to be willing to run the entire marathon, and work the paper trail. BORDC plans to engage volunteer organizers in a phone workshop on this subject in the near future. Let us know if this is something you’d be interested in participating in!
Another important part of any event is to have good media coverage.Please let us know if you would like some help drafting a news release.
Thanks for all you do!
Linda Stone
Hope Marston
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
413 582-0110; 541 683-1604 BORDC
A variation on the theme.
A video, Henry Rollins: A Love Letter To Ann Coulter
Greg's take on "values"
A strange perversion on the concept, here and here

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