James Berges 5 min read

Act Now and Take Your Freedom Back – Repeal the Surveillance State Act

Politics Self Improvement democracy

Act Now and Take Your Freedom Back – Repeal the Surveillance State Act
”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.” -Benjamin Franklin

The United States has some of the most fearful citizens in the world.  It’s no wonder with the media spewing fear laden headlines of swine flu and color-coded terror charts. The United States carries a paranoid persona of always having to watch its own back and this is reflected by how much we spend on defense. As a country, we have prided ourselves on facing tyranny and cultivating freedom;  freedom from oppression and the freedom to have your voice heard.

However, the same governing body that promoted these truths to be self evident is now exposed as a liar.  Julian Assange was put in jail for exposing the government with Wikileaks the same year we learned that amidst controversy over privacy settings on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was named TIME Magazine’s man of the year. Like an Orwellian fantasy, the government hypocritically punishes people for revealing their high-level political corruption and criminality, casting the whistleblowers as traitors to democracy.  Many people (38%) agree with that former NSA agent Edward Snowden-who exposed the government’s massive surveillance programs- is a traitor to the country, while 33% of citizens regard him as the hero in this story, and 29% of citizens are unsure how they feel.

Snowden said of himself:

“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”

No matter how you feel about the issue, one trend is obvious:  our privacy has been and continues to decrease;  we are losing the liberties that we so proudly proclaim, as the rug of “democracy” sweeps us up from under our feet.  Well, thanks to the internet and free press, we can use the same technology the NSA and PRISM uses to track our every move, to organize ourselves and take meaningful action. A motivated person on the online forum known as reddit, posted the names of all of the state representatives who have voted in favor of increased surveillance measures.

Take a look.

The list includes congressional members’ names, party, chamber (house or senate), and their votes on the patriot act (2001), the re-authorization (2006), the Protect America Act (2007), FISA (2008), the patriot act extension (2011), the FISA extension (2012) and the Amash amendment (2013).

It then attempts to tabulate an intrusion score based on the number of bad and good votes each number has made. A high intrusion score means a member has done more damage to our privacy, and a low intrusion score means they have done less damage (or acted to protect our privacy).

See for more info this post and open this Google doc.

There are three tabs:

Master List: This is the first tab, which contains all of the data.

Key: This is the second tab, which explains the column headings in the master list.

Priority Contacts: Right now, the Holt ‘Repeal the Surveillance State Act’ is sitting in committee. I have ranked the House Judiciary Committee (roughly) by the priority with which they should be contacted, and included my reasoning and their DC office numbers. The higher the name on the list (ideally), the more worthwhile the call should be.

Now you have the names of some of the biggest power players  and their phone numbers. it’s time to really exercise YOUR power.

What You Can Do

#1. Call the names on the priority contacts list.

  • The list is in the data file linked above, and I’ve also copied the names and numbers below.
  • When you dial the number, you’ll be connected to an intern sitting in front of a clipboard or computer screen with check boxes. Wasting your breath with long-winded discussion helps no one. Keep it as clear and simple as possible, and be kind to the person you’re talking to; they control whether your message goes up the chain.
  • “Hi, I’m calling to ask representative X to support Rep. Holt’s ‘repeal the surveillance state act, HR 2818. I’m very concerned about PRISM and XKeyscore. Please pass my message along to the representative.”  Remember to call the representative by name as this is the most effective way to get their attention.
  • If you are not asked for your zip code and you are not a constituent, don’t provide it.
  • If you are a constituent, make sure they get your zip code.
  • If you are asked for your zip code and you are not a constituent, say, “I’m calling Rep. [X] in connection with his role on the house judiciary committee, where s/he is making decisions that affect me directly, and I’d like my message passed along though I am not a constituent.”

#2. Call your own reps.

Here’s the link to find their contact information.

Use the data above to let them know you’re familiar with their voting record and it will be influencing your vote. Again, keep it brief.

Ask them to support Holt’s ‘Repeal the Surveillance State Act, HR 2818’.

#3. Reach out to friends and family and get them to call.

  • This is the second most important thing you can do. Especially family that are in the districts of high priority contacts. For every person you convince to call, you are (doubling, tripling, quadrupling) your impact.
  • Every step you help them take increases the probability they will call.
  • Looking up their reps for them and sending them the phone numbers probably doubles the chances they’ll call.
  • Explaining the situation, how to talk to interns (as I explained to you above), then dialing the phone for them and sticking it in their hand probably puts you close to 100% success.

#4. Share this post or something like it.

I don’t care how you do this. The spreadsheet is public domain. This post is public domain as far as I’m concerned. Copy it, claim it’s your brilliant idea, or link people directly to this post. Change it however you want. Just share this information (StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Carrier Pigeon, Pack Mule, etc.) so others can have access to it and will be encouraged to contact their friends and loved ones as well.

House Judiciary Committee (In Order of Priority):

  1. Goodlatte 202-225-5431
  2. Chaffertz 202-225-7751
  3. Jackson 202-225-3816
  4. Gohmert 202-225-3035
  5. Labrador 202-225-6611
  6. Richmond 202-225-6636
  7. Lofgren 202-225-3072
  8. DelBene 202-225-6311
  9. DeSantis 202-225-2706
  10. Jeffries 202-225-5936
  11. Bachus 202-225-4921
  12. Chabot 202-225-2216
  13. Sensenbrenner 202-225-5101
  14. Jordan 202-225-2676
  15. Deutch 202-225-3001
  16. Farenthold 202-225-7742
  17. Gowdy 202-225-6030
  18. Amodei 202-225-6155
  19. Collins 202-225-9893
  20. Garcia 202-225-2778
  21. Gutiérrez 202-225-8203
  22. Holding 202-225-3032
  23. Marino 202-225-3731
  24. Franks 202-225-4576
  25. Poe 202-225-6565
  26. Coble 202-225-3065
  27. Forbes 202-225-6365
  28. Issa 202-225-3906
  29. Smith 202-225-4236
  30. King 202-225-4426
  31. Bass 202-225-7084
  32. Chu 202-225-5464
  33. Cohen 202-225-3265
  34. Conyers 202-225-5126
  35. Scott 202-225-8351
  36. Nadler 202-225-5635
  37. Watt 202-225-1510
From http://www.rt.com

Remember that these politicians are here to represent YOU, the citizen of a democratic society.  The country–and the world as a whole–is beginning to wake up and realize how much power the people truly have when we come together in great numbers.  Now is the moment to exercise your freedom and

have your voice heard before it’s too late!

(Ps. Don’t come up with some

bullshit excuse

, you have a phone, you have time, show some respect for the freedom our ancestors risked their lives for.)

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