Who needs the ACLU when you’ve got the CCR?

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

For reals. The ACLU completely stabbed the animal advocacy community in the throat when it failed to take a stand against the AETA. Even now, 2 1/2 years later, a search of the ACLU’s website turns up one pithy reference to AETA – this despite the government’s use of AETA, as feared, to prosecute First Amendment activities. Like, WTF, ACLU?

Luckily, the BORDC has had our backs from the beginning, and since the persecution of the AETA 4, CCR has become increasingly vocal in its opposition to AETA as well (as evidenced by their latest action alert, which I’ve included below).

So, seriously, who needs the ACLU when you’ve got the BORDC and the CCR? Yawn. ACLU, I’m so over you.

If you’ve got any extra money to throw around and would like to make a donation to a civil liberties group, please consider supporting our real allies, namely, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Center for Constitutional Rights – as well as the Civil Liberties Defense Center, which is listed as an ally on abolishtheaeta.org – and/or drop them a note to let them know you appreciate their solidarity.

Further recommended reading/agitating:

Green is the New Red

Coalition to Abolish the AETA

Support the AETA 4

The Good Time Bill

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ACLU: The Third Annual Stand Up for Freedom Contest

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Via the American Civil Liberties Union:

The Third Annual Stand Up for Freedom Contest

If you’re between the ages of 17 and 29, we want you to produce a video PSA or a podcast about how the government is abusing its power. Make it funny, slam it, turn it into a documentary–this is your chance to make some noise about the news that bugs you. StandUp. Get creative.

Another great chance to harp on that whole AETA thing. Contest rules and additional details here.

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ACLU: Sign the Petition – Restore the Constitution

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Please take a moment to sign this petition from the American Civil Liberties Union:

JOIN THE CALL TO RESTORE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

For almost seven years, George W. Bush has repeatedly violated the Constitution and stripped away the fundamental rights that define our country. Congress and the American people have let it happen.

The time has come to restore our America.

Add your voice to the ACLU’s Campaign to Restore Our Constitutional Rights. As part of this all-out effort we are bringing together people from across the nation for a Day of Action to demand the restoration of our rights and a return to the values embodied in the Constitution.

Start today by adding your name below. Your voice will be heard as we come together in Washington to demand change. Our petition will be hand-delivered to your members of Congress in Washington, D.C. during our day of action on June 26, 2007.

When you get to Question #2, “What’s the issue that matters most to you?”, be sure to drop in a snarky-but-serious line about AETA. Yeah, I’m still sore over that one.

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ACLU: In 2007, Let’s Move Freedom Forward

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

The ACLU’s got a new petition to Congress up; here’s the full-text:

It’s the beginning of a new year, the beginning of a new Congress and time for us to look ahead at where we want our country to be a year from now.

In the coming year, I will ask you to take a number of steps to enhance freedom and fairness for everyone in America. This year, my New Year’s resolutions include working with you to help:

1. Restore habeas corpus and due process
2. End torture in secret prisons
3. Stop warrantless eavesdropping on innocent Americans
4. Fix the Patriot Act and bring it in line with the Constitution

I hope you’ll make these resolutions a priority for 2007. By doing so, you and the Congress can reassert your Constitutional role as a check on the executive branch and ensure oversight of the president and the administration.

They also invite signers to “Tell us, and Congress, your own resolutions for moving freedom forward in 2007. What matters most to you?”

Please take a moment to sign itbecause it’s the fun thing to do – and then, in the comments section, leave a polite rant about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Ask Congress to repeal it post-haste, and chastise the ACLU for their failure to oppose it.

New to easyVegan.info? Find out more about AETA here.

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AETA News Roundup

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Given the disheartening lack of coverage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) in the mainstream media, I thought a roundup of recent news coverage might be helpful. (Of course, there’s always Green Is the New Red for breaking updates!) Though AETA never should have passed through the House OR the Senate, the good news seems to be that opposition is growing.

Prior to the House vote, the Institute for Humanist Studies included an anti-AETA article in their newsletter, Humanist Network News. It’s a great piece, and the fact that it doesn’t come from the “animal terrorist” sector makes it that much more impressive.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

(More below the fold…)

Now *that’s* rich.

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

A little holiday ditty via the ACLU. You know – the so-called “defenders of civil liberties” who, shall we say, “tacitly” supported the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).

An Overdue Visit

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the nation
Friends of Freedom knew it was a special occasion.
Lady Liberty stood taller just off the shore
Her torch shining brighter than a few weeks before

But it wasn’t the flame turning her cheeks all rosy
It was thoughts of Snowe, Feingold and Nancy Pelosi
And leaders from every side of the aisle
Who would soon bring the Bill of Rights back into style.

The Amendments had all hurried out of their beds –
Which was no easy task, they were nearly in shreds –
And they rushed to the window on papery feet
As a jolly old man flew right over their street.

“Could it be!?” they inquired as the roof shook and trembled
And they crept toward the mantle, peaceably assembled,
Just as someone emerged from the chimney with flair
In a shiny red suit, with a shock of white hair

And a top hat, and pants all in red, white and blue –
“Wait a minute,” the Amendments exclaimed, “Who are you?”
“Don’t be frightened my children,” he said, “it’s no scam.
“You can’t have forgotten your old Uncle Sam!”

“Holy crap!” said Free Speech. “Stop right there!” yelled Bear Arms
And Privacy cried “Who shut off the alarms?!”
The Fifth remained silent, but Uncle Sam said
“We’ve been having some trouble, but Freedom’s not dead.”

The Amendments were cautious. “It’s just been so long
“We’ve seen Liberty lost, we’ve seen so much go wrong.
“The President’s trying to mangle and warp us,
“The Fourth is in tatters, so’s Habeas Corpus!”

The old man sat down – he had had quite a ride –
But he told them “Don’t worry, the Law’s on our side,
“‘Cause the nation’s fed up and more people are crying
“For Justice and an end to illegal spying,

“And secret abductions by the CIA,
“And laws that would take women’s choices away,
“And Gitmo tribunals and secret detention,
“And other intrusions too numerous to mention – ”

“Not so fast,” said a grinchity voice from above
And Don Rumsfeld pushed past the Fourteenth with a shove.
He was covered in soot and he looked kind of scary.
It seemed like his Christmas had not been so merry.

The Amendments said they weren’t happy to see him:
“You tried to throw all of us in the museum!
“You’ve done so much the Constitution forbids!”
“And I would have gone on, but for you meddling kids!”

Uncle Sam told him “Rummy, your plans just won’t do,
“So we’ve got a brand new timetable for you!”
And as Rumsfeld retired and crept into the night
The Amendments cried out “Have a good secret flight!”

From the distance they heard him reply with a snort.
“Bye-bye, Rummy!” they answered, “we’ll see you in court!”
Uncle Sam rode the chimney up out of the room
And, like Frosty, he said “I’ll be back again soon.”

But they heard him exclaim “Oh, and just one more thing!
“This year, when the holiday bells start to ring,
“Try to honor religion. Honest faith can’t be wrong.
“It’s America, can’t we all just get along?

“So, on Christian,” he cried, “Muslim, Hindu, and Jew!
“On Quaker! On Shaker! And Atheist too!
“On Buddhist! On Taoist! And to show we’re not chickens
“We’ll file a few lawsuits defending the Wiccans!

“Your belief is your right, so get out there and savor it.
“Uncle Sam’s not a preacher, and he doesn’t play favorites!”
So this holiday season, whatever you do,
Warmest wishes for Freedom, from the ACLU.

Just as long as you don’t – *gasp* – agitate for animals.
In that case, g’luck at Gitmo, sucka.

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Farm Sanctuary: Additional Actions Against AETA & More

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Even though AETA was signed into law by GW yesterday, Farm Sanctuary has further suggestions for opposing the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

The following is excerpted from their website:

You Can Still Help!

Thank you to all who previously took action against the AETA by demanding that First Amendment activities such as demonstrations, leafleting and boycotts, should not be criminalized by calling such legal activities “disruptive” to business. However, rest assured that animal advocates shall persevere undaunted. Also, remember that that there is language in the sloppily-drafted bill which would make it difficult for prosecutors to overreach and chastise First Amendment-protected activities.

* Let House Judiciary Chairman Sensenbrenner, who spoke in favor of AETA, know how you feel about his attempts to criminalize animal advocates.

* Thank Rep. Dennis Kucinich for being the sole voice on 11-13-06 by speaking out that HR 4239 was voted on without more representation by the House. Urge others to do so as well.

* Please contact your U.S. (not State) Representative and express your disappointment, especially if they are co-sponsors of the bill.

* Contact your U.S. Senator and express your disappointment with her, or his, vote. Let your Senator know that compassion should not be a crime!

* All legislators may be contacted through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121. To identify your Congressperson, go to http://www.house.gov or http://www.senate.gov, or simply enter your zip code at http://www.vote-smart.org.

I’d also like to add the following:

* Contact the ACLU and politely express your disappointment/frustration/anger at their last-minute withdrawal of their opposition to the bill. A history of the ACLU’s stance re: AETA is available here; detailed contact info for the ACLU is listed here (scroll to the bottom of the post).

* Contact the BORDC and thank them for opposing AETA (and defending our First Amendment freedoms) when the ACLU would not. More on the BORDC here and here.

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The ACLU, On Notice

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

After doing some more digging re: the ACLU’s position on AETA, I’m now convinced enough that they screwed us to do the previously unthinkable: put them On Notice.
 

The ACLU, On Notice

 
And – if they don’t watch their sorry arses – they may soon be Dead To Me. Assuming I can find a Dead To Me generator.

Anyway, back to that Kinship Circle alert for a moment. Rumor #4 involves the ACLU’s opposition – or lack thereof – to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).

The whole section, verbatim:

4. QUESTION/RUMOR: The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) didn’t take a stand for free speech by opposing AETA.

4. CLARIFICATION

From D. Barber, Correspondence Manager, American Civil Liberties Union:

The ACLU Letter to Congress Urging Opposition to the Animal Enterprise Act, S. 1926 and H.R. 4239 (3/6/2006) can be read at www.aclu.org/freespeech/gen/25620leg20060306.html.

If you are not already an ACLU member, we encourage you to help support our aggressive work on the issues you care about. To join please visit www.aclu.org/contribute/contribute.cfm or call 1-888-567-ACLU. Once again, thank you for your interest in the ACLU.

Sincerely, D. Barber, Correspondence Manager, American Civil Liberties Union

11/14/06, from Karen Dawn, news [at] dawnwatch.com:

Actually, Sensenbrenner lied about lack of opposition from the ACLU. Sigh. ACLU did not oppose the whole bill but did ask for changes: www.aclu.org/safefree/general/27356leg20061030.html.

After contacting Kinship Circle for clarification, I was told that they were simply providing information regarding the ACLU’s stance on AETA, and leaving it to KC readers to draw their own conclusions.

My conclusion: at best, the ACLU is being duplicitous in their replies to animal advocates who dare to criticize the ACLU’s actions on AETA. Worst-case scenario – they totally sold us out.

Let’s have a little looksee at the facts, shall we?

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Kinship Circle: Questions/Rumors: ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

My take on “rumor” #4 to follow.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] brick.net
Date: Nov 16, 2006 1:03 PM
Subject: Questions/Rumors: ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT

KINSHIP CIRCLE – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST

11/16/06: Questions & Rumors About The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

A lot of questions and rumors are circulating the internet regarding the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and its passage on Monday, November 13, 2006. I hope you find the information below useful, as animal advocacy and social justice orgs regroup for the continuing fight. Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle

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BORDC on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

The following is an excerpt from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee’s November 2006 newsletter. I’d never heard of the BORDC until a commenter on GreenIsTheNewRed.com pointed it out (so thanks, commenter Sheila!). My understanding was that the next step was for AETA to go to Bush’s desk for signing (something that’s probably futile to protest – Bush doesn’t exactly *heart* civil liberties), but according to this alert, the “suspension calendar,” which includes AETA, still has to be voted on by the House. So please take a moment to write your rep and ask that s/he vote against the “suspension calendar” – and explain why.

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

On November 13, the House passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as part of a list of “non-controversial” bills that will be voted up or down in one bundle. The bill is considered a threat to activists, because it expands the definition of terrorist, and could impinge on First Amendment activities. Heidi Boghosian, director of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), said the bill “sets a dangerous precedent for going after people based on the content of their speech.” NLG President Marjorie Cohn said, “The AETA could lead to the prosecution of undercover investigators, whistle-blowers and other activists as ‘terrorists.’” The Senate unanimously passed its version of the bill in September so if the House votes “aye” on its “suspension calendar,” the AETA will become law.

What you can do: Contact your Congressional representative at 202-224-3121 and ask that she or he vote no on the “suspension calendar”—which is the bundle of bills which will be presented to the House of Representatives for an up or down vote. Tell your representative the “suspension calendar” contains a toxic bill which interferes with First Amendment rights.

Kinship Circle also sent out another email regarding AETA today, this one dealing with common questions/myths. One concerns the ACLU’s support/opposition of the bill; KC’s conclusion is that the ACLU did oppose it. Given what I’ve read – both on GreenIsTheNewRed.com and from the ACLU itself – it still looks to me as though the ACLU rescinded their opposition to AETA somewhere between March and October of 2006. In other words, they screwed us. But I’ll refrain from posting the Kinship Circle alert and my comments until I hear more. As a longtime ACLU supporter, I so desperately want to be wrong.

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For Shame!: AETA Passes the House

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

As I mentioned earlier, AETA passed the House yesterday afternoon; out of the House and the Senate, the only Congressperson who voted against it was Dennis Kucinich.

As described by Dr. Alex Hershaft (FARM’s President/Founder and co-founder of the Equal Justice Alliance), the voting process was nefarious, to say the least:

Today (11/13/06), a dozen of us from Equal Justice Alliance, FARM, League of Humane Voters, and Compassion Over Killing spent five hours visiting Congressional offices and urging them to vote against AETA, which had been scheduled over the weekend for a sudden vote at 6:30 pm. We were carrying suporting statements from the National Lawyers Guild, the New York City Bar Association, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. At each office, we were told that the mail and calls were running overwhelmingly in our favor.

Around 3pm, one of the legislative aides said that the bill was just being debated on the House floor. He gave me a pass, and I rushed to the Capitol across the street. I was astonished to see only about six House members present. House Judiciary Chairman Sensenbrenner spoke in favor of AETA, quoting Jerry Vlasak’s and other’s past extreme statements. Dennis Kucinich joined in abhorring violence, but noted that the bill infringed on civil liberties of people conducting civil disobedience or undercover investigations. Sensenbrenner invoked lack of opposition from the ACLU. Then the chair called for a voice vote, and Kucinich cast the only no vote. It was all over in 15 minutes.

(More below the fold…)

Final push against AETA

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Calling all activists – just a reminder that the House is expected to hold a vote on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) today! If you haven’t already, please take a moment to contact your Representative and urge him or her to vote against this blatantly unconstitutional legislation. (If you have, call/email/fax her a second, third, or fourth time!)

Over 160 animal welfare/rights and other progressive organizations oppose AETA, including the ACLU. If AETA becomes law, there’s no doubt that it will be challenged in the courts, wasting valuable taxpayer money. Explain this to your Rep. If you voted for her last Tuesday, tell her why: did she receive the endorsement of Humane USA, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), the League of Humane Voters, the Sierra Club, and/or the League of Conservation Voters – all animal rights/welfare and environmental groups that could be labeled “terrorists” under AETA? If you voted for your Rep. because she’s been an ally of activists groups in the past, AETA would undermine her (and your) progressive politics. Tell her so! On the flip side, if your Rep. overwhelmingly sides with Big Business (and their corporate abuses), then remind her that Americans voted last week – and we voted for change! Citizens are sick and tired of politics as usual, and those politicians with little regard for average Americans are on their way out. Remind your Rep. that she’d better get with the times, or prepare to be voted out next election cycle!

Past action alerts concerning AETA are available here. Many, such as those from No AETA.com, the PCRM, Kinship Circle, and NAVS, contain sample letters to get you started. Please personalize these (with some of the points raised above, as well as your own thoughts) to double your impact. Talking points also abound, should you wish to phone your Rep. (Try to do both if possible.) Finally, please pass this along to your friends, family, and fellow activists. AETA may single out “animal terrorism,” but it affects activists everywhere.

The Equal Justice Alliance is lobbying against AETA today from 10 AM to 2 PM EST. Details are available here: http://www.noaeta.org/lobby.htm:

Meet at the Longworth House Office Building at Independence Ave and C Street, SE (orange map icon ).

Meet in the cafeteria between 10am and 2pm for lobbying materials and instructions. Please dress conservatively. Capitol South Metro (blue and orange lines) is closest metro. Click here for metro map.

Call FARM/Equal Justice Alliance at 800-632-8688 for details, or call Dawn Moncrief onsite at 202-468-4834.

Please consider joining them if you’re in the area – and stay tuned to http://www.noaeta.org for breaking news.

Inspirational artwork after the jump.

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