Monday, July 21, 2003

Super-hero retailer saves the world! 

From this morning's Mile High Comics 2003 San Diego Convention Report #4 e-mail penned by Chuck Rozanski, President - Mile High Comics, Inc:
I now need to take a moment to get political. All all of you should realize by now, I am fervently in favor of free speech rights within the comics industry. I am also totally opposed to the elements of the new "Patriot Act" law which requires booksellers and librarians to provide personal reading data about their patrons to agents of the government. Here at the show I met Jeffrey Weaver, the Chief of Staff for Vermont Representative Bernard Sanders. Representative Sanders has an amendment pending in Congress next week that would act to blunt some of the particularly onerous elements of the new law. Here is what Mr. Weaver had to say:

In the wake of the September 11th attacks, Congress hastily passed a law called the USA Patriot Act which included roll backs of civil liberties protections in a number of areas. One of the most important for comic fans were changes made by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. With the new powers granted by Section 215, federal agents can go to a secret court and get a warrant to seize library circulation and bookseller sales records even where the federal agents have no proof of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the subjects of the search. Worse yet, Section 215 makes it a crime for the library or bookseller to alert their patrons that records about them have been seized. To remedy this problem, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the American Library Association, the book sellers, and other civil libertarians are supporting a bill in Congress called the Freedom to Read Protection Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The bill number is H.R. 1157. This week in Congress, Rep. Sanders and a coalition of other members of the U.S. House are expected to try to add an amendment to one of the Congressional spending bills that would restore protections for libraries, booksellers, and their patrons. Comic fans need to let their voices be heard. Even a few emails to your member of Congress could make a big difference. To send your Congressperson an email, go to www.house.gov and click on the Write Your Representative in the left hand column. The program will ask your zip code and direct your email to the right member. In your email let your member know that you want them to support the amendment by Rep. Sanders to the Commerce, Justice, State appropriations bill to restore civil liberties protections for libraries, booksellers, and their patrons. For more information on Rep. Sanders' legislation, you can visit bernie.house.gov.

At this point the decision is up to you as to whether or not to take the effort to call or write your congressman on this issue. I certainly don't feel that I have any kind of right to do anything but provide you with the opportunity to act if you feel so inclined. I will say, however, that I personally don't believe (as some would have you think...) that it is in any way disloyal to our government to dissent when laws are passed that have the effect of diminishing our personal rights and freedoms. Many of our forbearers fought and died to originally establish these freedoms for us, and I think that it is completely patriotic to object to any dimishment of those rights. During these times of increasing repression we may not win this one battle, but at least some of us will know that we took one small step in the right direction. 'nuff said.
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?