As you may know, the House defeated the Amash/Conyers anti-surveillance amendment by a mere dozen votes (217 to 205) last week -- but 205 votes is more votes than those that would have limited our involvement in Afghanistan ever got. So what do we do? Keep the momentum going! The ACLU helps you tell Congress to roll back government spying programs, as found in the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act. You remember the FISA Amendments Act? The one Senator Obama trashed repeatedly on the campaign trail -- and then voted for, citing "the grave threats we face"? The gravest threat we face is our own overreaction to 9.11 -- our own curtailment of our own freedoms, the ones Mr. Bush said our enemies "hated." But you know, in that context, we could have called Mr. Bush the appeaser -- our enemies hated our freedoms, and attacked us for our freedoms, so now we have less freedom. Victory!
Meanwhile, the Australian government mulls whether to allow the expansion of the Abbot Point port, in the province of Queensland. So what, you say? Coal mining corporations want to expand the port so that new shipping lanes out of Australia would slice through the nearby Great Barrier Reef, a.k.a. the largest living organism on Earth and one protected by the United Nations. The Reef hasn't been doing that well lately -- it's lost half its coral over the last three decades, and both the Australian and Queensland governments reported the Reef's condition as "poor" in 2011 -- and all that's mainly due to climate change. Now the government considers dredging three million cubic meters from the seabed, so it can ship out more coal, which would exacerbates climate change, which would make the Reef and those species that depend on it even sicker? That's just dumb. Avaaz helps you tell the Australian government to nix the Abbot Port expansion.