One of the big stories late last week was how the Senate successfully thwarted efforts to extend key PATRIOT Act provisions by even one day (that last item falling to a unanimous consent objection from Sen. Paul). Sen. McConnell has called the Senate back to work this coming Sunday afternoon to hammer out a PATRIOT Act extension in advance of the midnight expiration; we haven't come this close to victory since Tom DeLay broke House rules so he could strong-arm enough of his caucus to vote down a PATRIOT Act reform about 11 years ago, but let's not get complacent: both Roots Action and CREDO help you stay on your Senators to let the PATRIOT Act wither and die. With the Roots Action alert, you'll also be addressing the German government, which has, apparently, greatly aided the American spying effort, Chancellor Merkel's alarm at NSA monitoring of her own calls notwithstanding. In either or both of these tools, you may want to mention your support for H.R. 1466, the Pocan-Massie Surveillance State Repeal Act, which would repeal both the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act.
In less inspiring news from the Senate, Mr. McConnell did manage to get a "free" trade "fast-track" bill through the Senate, but now that bill goes to the House, where it should have a tougher time passing, with weak Democratic support and (supposedly) weak Republican support on the right flank. That's how it should work, anyway, but it's not how it will work until we speak loud enough, hence both Public Citizen and Food and Water Watch help you tell your House Rep to reject "free" trade "fast-track." In case you were wondering how Fox News hacks were selling a corporatist trade deal supported by both Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell, they're calling "fast-track" "bipartisan legislation...to strengthen President Obama's hand in global trade talks." Think about that: Congress's stated intention to abdicate its duty to amend and debate legislation on our behalf "strengthens" Mr. Obama's "hand." You would think the threat of Congressional power on the people's behalf would strengthen his hand when he goes to negotiate trade with other nations, but not in our media's up-is-down world.