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The battle to preserve the rights of minority political factions - and the public interests those factions represent - is about to be fully joined. Here are the simple steps you need to take to gear up for the fight to save the filibuster:

  1. Sign up for text message alerts on your cell phone with People for the American Way. This way, you'll know instantly when we need to take action and what you need to do.

  2. Regionalization is becoming increasingly important - elected officials always respond more eagerly to their constituents, and good local media coverage is key. BlogPAC is helping to organize state-by-state efforts, so if you haven't yet signed up there, do so by clicking here. If you have a blog of your own, be sure to input that in the appropriate field. (Non-bloggers should sign up as well.)

  3. MoveOn PAC is organizing citizen filibusters - along the lines of the tremendously successful Princeton filibuster - tomorrow at noon. Click on over to their site to find a location near you. If you go, be sure to take a digital camera or a camcorder and post pics or videos online when you get home. Thanks to inflation, pictures are worth even more than 1,000 words these days.

  4. When things really, finally go down, everyone needs to be able to contact as many people as fast as possible. We need people to hear our unfiltered message from friends and family and co-workers and neighbors before they hear the sterile and misleading he-said/she-said version on the news. So people need to pull together email addresses for everyone they know before it happens so that our message can immediately spread virally.

We don't know exactly when Frist will try to go nuclear, but people need to plan to drop everything and get in front of a computer. The process of breaking the rules to end the filibuster won't take that much time. We need instant mobilization and widespread distribution. With everyone's help, we can win this in the Senate - and on the local level.

All hands on deck!

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:59 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've tried 3 times ... (none)
    to get throught to Senator Warner's office... phone busy.  Hope this is a good sign.

    "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

    by VA6thDem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:57:06 AM PDT

  •  I'm hfiend (none)
    and I'm reporting for duty!

    Get a running start on the Stem cell battle!

    by hfiend on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:59:19 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful! (none)
    Let's keep this structure in place... because our country is going to need us more and more as the days wear on.

    Of course he's written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's the Antagonist.

    by ultrageek on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:01:02 AM PDT

  •  We are doing a 24 hour protest (none)
    I got this email from our Democratic Chair for our small county in PA. Our county seat is very small, one stop light in the town but we are still protesting.


    Please join me at the Middleburg Courthouse tomorrow to stage our own filibuster protesting the Republican's attempt to change the rules of the Senate.

    The plan is to stage a 24-hour filibuster of our own.  Can you sign up for a one hour time slot tomorrow?  If so, please respond to the email and let me know when you can make it.

    It should be a fun event.  You can either stand there or you could make up your own speech or you could read from material that I have:

    Declaration of Independence
    Constitution of the United States
    MoveOn's 50 Ways to Love Your Country
    JFK's inaugural speech
    FDR speech
    Eleanor Roosevelt - Struggle for Human Rights
    Obama 2004 Democratic Convention speech
    Famous Supreme Court cases (e.g. Brown v. Board of Ed)
    Script from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    Thurgood Marshall speech
    Federalist papers
    The Supreme Court decision freeing the Amistad prisoners
    Hillary Clinton - Women's Rights are Human Rights
    de Tocqueville
    Frederick Douglass' speech on the Dredd Scott decision
    Lincoln Inaugural Addresses
    Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" speech
    Gettysburg address
    Cesar Chavez's speech on the Lessons from MLK's life
    Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce describes his first visit to Washington, DC
    Speeches by Martin Luther King

    We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

    by wishingwell on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:01:16 AM PDT

  •  Local Media important (none)

    Local media is as important as national (especially if youre in a state with a swing vote like PA, VA, ME, etc.)

    We should flood local radio talkshows with calls, write letters to the editor expressing our outrage if they succeed.

    That said:

    If you were a bettin' person, where would you lay your life savings down on this one?

    At this point I'd put it on them succeeding in ending the filibuster- I think some Rs are gonna cave to Dobson.

    Bush will be impeached.

    by jgkojak on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:01:20 AM PDT

    •  Yes! (none)
      Our local media may cover our protest because not much exciting or political happens in our neck of the woods...LOL>

      We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

      by wishingwell on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:04:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Show up (none)
        Well, that's exactly it - a citizen filibuster probably DOES provide good copy (or video) in almost any small-ish local region. If a filibuster is taking place in your area tomorrow, call your local newspaper or TV station and alert them. They might very well show up!
  •  We can and should mobilize (none)
    on the Nuke option.

    we also can't let ourselves be suckered into ignoring other fronts - apparently they're planning a committee move on PATRIOT 2 as well tomorrow - perhaps "under the cover" of the Nuke debacle?

    More phone calls to make listed in this diary by scorpiorising

    I support Soulforce - seeking Justice for God's GLBT children. Please join us.

    by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:01:38 AM PDT

  •  Resource Center (none)
    At The Next Hurrah.

    We're going to have regular updates at Swing State Project, including a debunking of Christopher Chantrill's swipe at Kos

  •  Work needed to get message out (none)

    "Drama on the Hill: Americans shrug

    As the Senate nears a showdown over filibusters, the answer to which party is winning the PR battle may be 'neither.'

    By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

    CHICAGO - In Washington, the showdown is looming. Republicans and Democrats are filling their PR arsenals and spinning the news before it occurs, trying to liven up arcane subjects like cloture and calling their opponents names that range from Hitler to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the latest Star Wars villain.
    Inside the Beltway, it's shaping up to be the Great Filibuster Battle of 2005. The rest of America, however, seems to be giving the face-off a collective yawn. Many voters don't even know it's occurring, and many of those who do, don't care - or, worse, see it as more proof that Congress is wrapped up in its own partisan bickering when it should be dealing with issues that matter."

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:07:34 AM PDT

  •  DavidNYC (none)
    Just to let you know, I ran across some of your other sites such as swing state project.  Just wanted to say nice work.  I was putting together info on the upcoming Dayton vacancy.  Just wanted to  give you some praise for your work.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Closet VB Coder on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:08:55 AM PDT

    •  Thanks! (none)
      Thanks very much for your kind words! These days, though, at least 90% of the credit for the SSP goes to Bob Brigham and Tim Tagaris. They've been especially relentless on the nuclear option. I tip my hat to them!
  •  My question: (none)
    If the Republicans go "nuclear" today or tomorrow, why would a single Democratic Senator show up for work the next day?  Why would they bother?
    •  Constitutional Crisis (none)
      Exactly! Why would the Democrats show up for work the next day? And aren't Frist and Cheney really playing around with fire here? If the Republicans arbitrarily overrule the Parliamentarian and bully through the Nuclear option via fiat, won't that precipitate a constitutional crisis? What's to keep them from declaring anything they want via this method? This will be essentially a mini-coup. I know that Sen. Biden said if the Senate goes nuclear, we would be on a precipice. But the precipice of what? Couldn't the whole Senate, and therefore, the whole government, collapse?

      I can imagine the Democrats walking out and Cheney/Frist et., al. declaring that they have to take extraordinary measures to keep the country running. That really would be a dictatorial coup.

      Government is a tenuous thing, it's continued existence relies solely on the goodwill of the people in government to follow established procedures and precedent. There is no enforcement for the Senate majority breaking the rules. I haven't heard much discussion of what happens after the Nuclear scenario other than some vague 'we'll slow the Senate down.....'

      Are people actually underestimating the importance and implications of this? Is there any discussion that I've missed? Am I correct to be so worried?

      •  You are not underestimating this. (none)
        This is against the rule of law, and it is illegal.  Unfortunately, it is also extra-judicial.  The courts will not step in on this one.

        The only solution is political.

      •  Take a deep breath ... (none)
        The Democratic Senators take a powder?  Cheney seizes control of the government?  Our republican democracy collapses?

        I don't think so.  If the Republicans win this fight, as they most certainly will, the business of the people will continue as usual.  The only consequence is that the majority will have chipped away and destroyed another tool the minority used to keep the majority honest.  It is certainly not the end of the world.

        •  How many chips? (none)
          I dunno, why is it called the "Nuclear" option? Sen. Biden was the one who used the word 'precipice.'

          How many chips does it take until we're living in a banana republic completely and utterly controlled by the right wing? How will it be business-as-usual if the Repubs so blatently disregard the rules and hammer through a criminal, extra-constitutional, rule change?

          They have the executive branch, both houses, and a majority on the courts. They've arbitrarily decreed that they can start "preemptive" wars at any time, without the Congress declaring war. They've arbitrarily decreed that they can forgo convention obligation and torture anyone that they want. They've worked hard to be able to arrest anyone they want without obtaining just cause.

          There's very strong evidence that they've been stealing elections. We know that they have Diebold.  They don't seem to be worried, as many are arguing, that there will be a time when Democrats will be back in power and what goes around will come around.  I'm not sure that they believe that they WILL ever be out of power.

          The filibuster in the Senate is the only thing, as far as I can see, that's standing between these power-hungry right-wingers and their ultimate goal.  If the top courts get stacked with their yes-men I think the games pretty much over. I'm not sure that taking a deep breath and going about our business is the correct response?

    •  Following that logic... (none)
      why do Dems bother showing up at the House?

      If nothing else, they can drag out the conversation... which
      (a) points out particularly bad GOP legislation that the NY Times and the WPost wouldn't notice
      (b) slows down the GOP machine, so they can't shove as much bad government down our throats as they could otherwise
      (c) it is their job...

  •  Washington state (none)
    Diary here:

    WA Action

    you're only two clicks away easy to use e-mail forms!

    What's the phone number Franken's been using for the switchboard?

    Proud member of the Social Security google-bomb project.
    Be proud. YOU'RE A LIBERAL.

    by changingamerica on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:21:39 AM PDT

  •  resident of Maryland (none)
    There's not much doubt on how Senators Sarbanes and Mikulski will vote. I know a lot of you are in the same situation (whether Senators who will clearly vote against the nuclear option, like mine, or Senators who will clearly vote for it). Any tips for people in that situation?
    •  LTTE (none)
      you can still bring the situation up in your local papers.

      Call out of state Senators that are on the fence or have expressed concern on the Nuke.

      If your Senators are for the Nuke thengo on record as opposing them.

      Get a running start on the Stem cell battle!

      by hfiend on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my solution (none)

      Roll Call is reporting that it comes down to 4 "swing" votes.  Warner (VA), Hagel (NE), Dewine (OH), Specter (PA).

      I've been calling their offices directly, even though I don't live in their state.  If you dial *67, then 1+area code+number, it blocks the call recipient from seeing your number on caller id (some offices don't accept anonymous calls, though.)  Then I just say that I'm calling from somewhere in that state.  It's a white lie, but I have no doubt that the opposition would engage in massive dishonesty to achieve their goals.  So I'm not feeling guilty.

      Contact numbers on the linked diary.

  •  Contact Republican Senators. (none)
    Contact Republican Senators -- even hard right Republican Senators -- with one of two messages. Frist, (er first) what goes around comes around. Second, without the Filibuster and the rest of Senate tradition we might as well abolish the Senate, because it simply becomes the junior house.
  •  Filibuster Sticker! (4.00)

    Buy here.

    Will donate $1.00 to for each sticker purchased.

    (D/B/A Barnes Landing, East Hampton, NY 11937)

    Get out of control, but appear under control. It's not bad to alarm other people, though - it's good for them.
    - Hunter S. Thompson

    by bisenbek on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:36:06 AM PDT

  •  Let it Happen (none)
    The Republicans should go ahead and execute this nuclear option.  Then when we get in power after they hoist themselves on their own petard we'll have more power to undo all the crap they pass in the next 3 years.

    "I for one welcome our new insect overlords." - Kent Brockman

    by pawlr on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:38:38 AM PDT

  •  What to do.. (none)
    We need to contact as many people as fast as possible... in order to do what, exactly?

    What am I and all my friends and family going to do at the very moment the Repubs go nucular?  Drop everything and go in front of a computer to.... again, do what?

    •  big mailing list (none)

      I control a listserv of about 2500 grassroots activists in Southern California.  Presuming that both of our Senators vote against the rule change (you never know about Feinstein anymore...) what should I send to my list when this happens?  It's not as if we'll be calling to yell at their staffs, and what will we be able to do after the fact?

      (Oh, and it takes about 2.5 hours for a message to get out to everyone on my list since I'm limited to 1000 emails/hour.)

    •  last effort (none)
      to contact the senate and express our feelings in hope that when Frist/Dobson decides to go nuclear the volume of objection will reach any wavering Repub and save the filibuster.

      Idealy, this should have already been taking place the last few weeks but this would be a final plee for a fair Senate, complete with a check on the executive branch and minority rights.

      Get a running start on the Stem Cell Battle!

      by hfiend on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:58:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Being practical (none)
      You're absolutely correct.  There's precious little we can do -- it's a Senate issue, and I don't think Hegel, Specter, Warner and Voinovich are going to be swayed by e-mails and phone calls and demonstrations.

      That's the problem with Democrats; if we don't like something, we stage a protest.  When the Republicans don't like something, they get lots more of them elected and change it.

      When will we learn our lesson?

  •  Is there going to be a demonstration in DC? (none)
    Does anyone know what time and where it will begin?
    Please provide link.
  •  "BIPARTISAN" (none)
    I have not heard this word nearly enough in regards to the nuclear option vote.

    There is a BIPARTISAN effort underway to defeat the nuclear option. Whether or not this effort succeeds or fails, we have ALL Democratic senators and many Republican senators UNITED against the power-grabbing, illegal, rule-breaking action being considered for tomorrow by Frist/Dobson.

    There is a bipartisan coalition united to preserve the ideals of the Senate.

    "You're a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay. Your hands are shaking. You badly need another drink."

    by thirdparty on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:50:40 AM PDT

  •  talking points (none)
    Can someone post a compilation of our talking points on this issue?  Obviously, there's the minority rights argument, but I don't find that to be terribly strong.  Maintaining the collegiality of the Senate as a deliberative body where the minority's voice has always been heard doesn't seem to resonate.  Then there's the fact that they want to change Senate rules with only a majority, something that's never been done before, correct?  Can someone elaborate on this?  Then there's the idea that Republicans blocked Clinton nominees as well, but did it in committee, correct?

    Thanks in advance.

    "When people think, Democrats win." - Bill Clinton

    by Todd Beeton on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:54:36 AM PDT

    •  suggestions (none)
      • What the GOP is doing amounts to breaking the rules to change the rules. If the GOP really believes in following rules, then the rules themselves should get a fair hearing and an "up or down vote." Rules aren't made to be broken.

      • The Senate is supposed to be an advisory body giving its consent when it chooses. It was never intended to be a rubber stamp for the administration.

      • Those who advocate changing the rules for individual cases, such as the approval of a few judges, will eventually create chaos when every case demands a new rule.

      • What is convenient now for the GOP may not be what they want in the future. A Democratic Senate would now be fully justified in 'playing rubber stamp' for a Democratic administration.

      • The proposed rule change blurs the line between the Administration and the Legislative Branch. Senate refusal to automatically agree with Presidential appointments constitutes one of the Checks in the Checks and Balance system.

      • The Senate has a long tradition of respecting the voice of the minority, which is one of the reasons it is unlike the House of Representatives. There are strong constitutional traditions that recommend this, illustrated by George Washington's notion that the Senate was meant to be the "saucer in which the passions are cooled."
      •  for use among friends and others (none)
        * Do you want judges who would go along with politicians getting involved with the Schiavo case?
      •  Excuse me, but ... (none)
        ... exactly how is the Senate being a rubber stamp, and the line between the Legislative and the Executive blurred, when a majority of the Senate votes to approve a nomination?

        Don't get me wrong -- I've got no use for these nominees.  They're "activist judges" for an ideology I find repulsive, and technically incompetent to boot.  But if fifty-five Republican Senators vote to approve the nominations, and are able to because their party beat the heck out our party in elections and GOT fifty-five Senators, exactly how is this turning the Legislative branch into a rubber stamp?

        You're 100% right in your arguments regarding the filibuster being a minority tool to keep the majority honest, but I just can't join you in opposing the nuclear option based on it turning the Senate into an automatic approval machine.

        •  my argument (none)
          such as it is, goes this way:
          In a majoritarian system your point is the perfectly obvious one. If the party in power has the majority, then the minority party can do nothing to stop any action at any time.
          In the traditional operation of the Senate, it seems to me, that the filibuster was the answer to the majoritarian system. That is, if a significant minority is so concerned that an action is harmful or an appointment so egregious, then they have recourse to the filibuster, and it would take a supermajority to break it.
  •  suggestions? (none)
    I'm currently living overseas (Bahrain) and have two (I hope) strong pro-filibuster Senators (Boxer & Feinstein)... any suggestions on what I can do to help?
    I'm happy to email or do whatever I can. Phone calls are prohibitively expensive.
    If nothing else, I'm sending you all my love and moral support. Thanks for all your hard work.
    •  Fax is cheaper (none)
      To those overseas (expensive phone calls) or with senators already on board to stop nuclear option:

      You can call the white house and give Bush's operators your point of view: 1-202-456-1111 or 1414

      Tie up white house fax machine with your one-page letter if you are on high price rates:

      To everyone else, calling and faxing is better than emailing by far. If emailing be sure you make your position clear in subject line and you should use webform or it will just bounce.

      •  thanks (none)
        for the info. Faxes are about $1 USDollar/page here, but I'll be at the internet cafe bright and early tomorrow morning (~midnight DC time) to send my little hand-written faxes. I figure a few dollars and an hour or so of my time is nothing compared to the possible consequences. Thanks again.
  •  I want this to go through. (none)
    Really. It will backfire on them spectacularly. Then, when we take back congress and the WH in a few years. They won't be able to block any Dem nominees. He who laughs last...

    "I am not a crook" - The Honourable Richard M. Nixon

    by tricky dick on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:58:22 AM PDT

  •  Red State media... (4.00)
    I live in north Alabama - not far from the Tennessee state line - in one of the reddest areas anywhere. Over the weekend, I watched our local television news to see how they were covering Tuesday's vote.  The announcers invariably framed the issue by referring to Frist et al as calling for "a historic vote to revolutionize the Senate."

    It sounded like they were saying: What a really positive thing the GOPs are doing!  

    I called each of the stations to challenge their choice of words and asked them if they would change their report to read "a historic vote to  overturn 200 years of democracy in the Senate."

    I think my comment fell on deaf ears, but at least I tried.  (I'm just an average person... and wish I could be as articulate as all of you.)  Any ideas?

  •  Reid to address nation tonight (none)
    The Carpetbagger Report is reporting Harry Reid will address the country tonight in a 90 second address.

    On the eve of the historic vote in the United States Senate, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will address the nation about the importance of the critical check in our democracy's system of checks and balances - a Senator's right to filibuster.

    The majority of Americans agree that our Constitutional checks and balances must be preserved, and the independence of our judiciary must be protected. Senators Democrats have worked hard to reach out to their Republican colleagues and to look for compromise to protect the Senate from this abuse of power. With a little more than 24 hours until the historic vote, Senator Reid will discuss the real consequences of this historic vote to the strength of this country and to the daily lives of all Americans. The Alliance for Justice is sponsoring this important address to the nation.

    CNN at 9pm (Eastern)
    Fox News at 7:50pm (Eastern)

  •  Just called Spector's office (none)
    Call the local one. I got through instantly to the 215 number.
  •  Students unite to "Filibuster Frist" (none)
    Although the Princeton 384 hour filibuster is done, many many campuses nationwide have taken up the challenge and have begun filibuster protests.  Over 50 filibusters have begun, among those an ongoing protest at Iowa State which is nearing its 100th hour.

    All the details at

    There's still time to help save our Democracy, call your Senator or join a protest today!

  •  CALL THE VOTE!! (none)
    I thought the Republicans had the high ground.


    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. - Mark Twain

    by Liberal AND Proud on Mon May 23, 2005 at 11:33:20 AM PDT

  •  A message lost in the fluff (none)
    I don't have the facts handy right now, but I seem to remember that the 45 Demo senators got more votes than the 55 Repub senators -- doesn't that argue even more strongly against this notion of "letting the people speak through their elected representatives (and have an up or down vote)"?

    It's ironic that the bastion of minority rights has to use its procedural protections to protect the majority (Demo voters)?

    I will accept this president when he accepts me as a citizen of his country.

    by nycliberal2004 on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:48:17 PM PDT

  •  Blog for Coffee (none)
    If you are around the Chicago area:

    On May 24th the US senate will take of the issue of eliminating the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees. We find this to be an unacceptable abuse of power which only serves to stifle debate and serve the interests of extremists partisans.

    We understand that many in the blogging community will be following these events closely. Therefore, Pickacup will be offering a free wireless Internet Services and a free bottomless coffee to any blogger needing a base on May 24th.

  •  Kos on MSNBC (none)
    has the video of MSNBC quoting David's Diary

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