Posts Tagged ‘Downsize DC’

Do You Want A Congressional Pay Cut?‏

November 12, 2010

Quote of the Day: “I leave symbolism to the symbol minded.” — George Carlin

Some people are calling for a Congressional pay cut as a symbolic gesture.

The idea will be wildly popular, but I don’t care for it.

The proposed pay cut isn’t tied to performance, so it will do NOTHING to change Congressional behavior.

A one-time pay cut won’t, in any way, create an incentive for change. It’s just a token.

If you read the story behind the link above you’ll find that the word “symbol” is used six times. The word “gesture” also appears. That’s a bad sign. Symbols are for suckers. Gestures are for losers.

The right way to manage Congressional pay is tie it to performance, PERPETUALLY.

We must not respond to token populism, like eager lap-dogs settling for table scraps. We must instead hold out for real reforms that address the crucial problem of Congressional incentives.

That’s the problem with The State. Politicians have too many incentives to say “yes” to more spending, taxing and regulating. We need to replace the incentives for “yes” with even more powerful incentives leading to “no.”

This should be the principle . . .

If Congress runs a deficit, then, BY LAW, they take a pay cut, EVERY term they do so. And that’s why we made the Fiscal Responsibility Act one of six bills that comprise our Downsize DC Agenda.

Please support this REAL REFORM. Here’s a sample letter you can send to your member of Congress . . .

I hear talk about a Congressional pay cut. I’m not fond of this idea because it dismisses a genuine reform in favor of a one-time symbolic act.

Tokens won’t change anything.

Representatives Deal, Gingrey, Westmoreland, Linder, and Paul have introduced a bill that isn’t merely a gesture. They’ve tied Congressional pay to performance.

After all, the problem isn’t that you want us to like you — it’s that you spend too much!

If Congress runs a deficit, it should see a pay cut. This shouldn’t happen just once. It shouldn’t be a token. It should be the law.

Every term that you run a deficit, you and your colleagues should have your pay cut. If you feel a deficit is good for the country, if you support such “sacrifice,” then I’m sure you’ll be more than willing to take the lead.

Leave symbolic one-time pay cuts to the symbol-minded. I demand something more effective. Bring HR 4336 to the floor and vote for it.

END LETTER

You can send your letter to Congress using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h

URGENT: Food Safety Vote Next Week‏

November 12, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Given sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.” — Woody Page, Denver sports columnist

S. 510 will make your food more expensive and less safe. It will drive many small farms out of business. The leaders of the “lame duck” Congress want to pass this falsely named “food safety” bill NEXT WEEK, but . . .

They’ll need 60 votes to break Sen. Coburn’s “hold” on the bill.

That means we can defeat S.510 with just 40 votes, but we must apply the pressure now!

Please send a letter right now telling your Senators to oppose S. 510.

You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .

S.510 will crush family farms and small businesses with excessive regulations – even though they were NOT the source of recent food safety problems.

S.510 also violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing the FDA to invade and search farms and food producers without court permission.

If you think the FDA will use this new power responsibly, think again. David Gumpert reports that the FDA shut down two raw-milk cheese-makers for the presence of the pathogen listeria, even though . . . http://tinyurl.com/2e5x2sq

* Nobody got sick
* The FDA almost never shuts down companies for the mere presence of pathogens – even when people DO get sick
* Companies have previously been allowed to clean things up, rather than shut down.

If the FDA is starting to behave like this now, just imagine how abusive it will be under S.510?

Finally, it must be stressed that big agribusiness has been the source of most recent food safety problems. S.510 will make this problem worse by burdening small producers, and driving them out of business. This will make our food supply more centralized, less diverse, and more dangerous.

Please STOP S.510. This Congress must NOT pass any food safety bill. Remember, the voters have repudiated this Congress, and it’s heavy handed ways.

END LETTER

You can send your letter through DownsizeDC’s Educate the Powerful System.

Remember, Congress DOES read your letters. They DO have an impact. The more letters they receive, the more we’re likely to succeed.

So please forward this, share on your social networks, and retweet this message: http://twitter.com/#!/DDCDispatch

And thank you for being a DC Downsizer!

James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h

Official email newsletter of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation.

“The Rubber Band Syndrome vs. The Mental Depth Charge”

September 28, 2010

This piece from Downsizer is great!

Quote of the Day: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

Surely you’ve had this experience . . .

* You marshal your evidence
* You deploy powerful arguments
* And you thereby convince a friend to drop his or her support of some government policy.

But then, you don’t see your friend for a while . . .

* He or she is left for weeks or months, swimming in the river of Statist propaganda that streams from every media outlet
* So that when you meet again you find that his or her mind has snapped back to where it was before

It’s as if the two of you had never talked. He or she has completely forgotten . . .

* The evidence you marshaled
* The arguments you used
* The fact that he or she ended up agreeing with the case you made

Jim Babka calls this the “The Rubber Band Syndrome.”

* Visualize yourself stretching a cartoon brain to a larger size
* Visualize the brain snapping back to it’s former shape as soon as you walk away

This Rubber Band Syndrome makes a mockery of our persuasion efforts. It causes us to waste time, energy, and money. But here at Downsize DC we consider it part of our mission to prevent wasted effort, to make difficult things easy, and to constantly accomplish more with less. That’s why . . .

We want to find a cure for The Rubber Band Syndrome.

Is there a cure? We think there is. In fact, we think there may be two cures . . .

Cure #1:

It seems clear to us that we have to equal the river of Statist propaganda that streams from every media outlet every day. One way to do that is something we talk about constantly . . .

Operation Everywhere.

For those who are new to this list, Operation Everywhere is our plan to reach a size that will enable us to make our ideas seen and heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. In other words . . .

We can solve the problem of minds that snap back to their previous dimensions as soon as our arguments are no longer being heard, by creating conditions under which our arguments are ALWAYS HEARD. This is clearly a full-proof solution to the problem, BUT . . .

It’s not an easy solution. Operation Everywhere will be hard to execute. It will take time to get there. So, this particular cure doesn’t meet one of our most important criteria . . . making difficult things easy. Which brings us to . . .

Cure #2:

This Oliver Wendell Holmes quote is very famous: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” But the experience we’ve all had with The Rubber Band Syndrome tells us that it’s actually very difficult to stretch a mind in such a way that it REMAINS EXPANDED. So what we need for Cure #2 is obvious . . .

* We need ideas that are so large and powerful that they do not allow the mind to shrink back to its former dimensions.
* We need ideas that EXPLODE the dimensions of the human mind to vast new boundaries.
* I call this kind of idea . . .

The Mental Depth Charge

You’ve probably had this experience too . . .

* You say something powerful to someone, but it seems to have no immediate effect
* Days, or months, or sometimes years pass, until . . .
* Eventually the person you said the powerful thing to comes to you and says . . . “I’ve only just now understood what you said way back when, and . . .

Understanding it changes everything.”

You see, your idea needed time to sink-in, just like a “depth charge.”

But for this to happen the idea has to be something that will actually stay in your friend’s mind for the time required, and not be popped out by The Rubber Band Syndrome.

We’ve all had these experiences. We’ve all laid mental depth charges in the minds of others, and had them placed in our minds too. Often these explosive ideas come about by accident, in the flow of conversation, but the trick we want to master is to create Mental Depth Charges by design!

This means we need a laboratory to conduct experiments, and a factory for production.

I have good news! If financing permits, we’re days away from unveiling our new factory/laboratory for creating Mental Depth Charges. This is the first of the 43 new tools we’ve promised to create, each of which is aimed at helping us to add at least 1 new net recruit per day to the Downsize DC Army. As you can see . . .

Our aims are modest. We believe this new tool can accomplish even more, but we don’t want to over-sell it. After all, it’s an experiment — a laboratory. Fortunately, it’s also something that can be funded with TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donations, because the new tool we’re about to unveil is also . . .

A new home for our non-profit educational organization, The Downsize DC Foundation!

To be clear, most days, the Downsizer-Dispatch comes from DownsizeDC.org, Inc. But this new project is part of the educational mission for the Downsize DC Foundation.

We’ve put our staff and vendors to work so that we can deliver this exiting new tool, quickly. Thus, part of the team needed to complete this project is is already hard at work. Now, we need to activate the rest of the team — and that’s YOU.

Organizational forward progress and timely delivery of this new tool requires about $6,400 in new income. Look . . .

That amounts to just twenty one cents per member of the Downsize DC Army. Or, just one person could pay it off in one big bite by contributing $6,400. More likely, we will need something like the following . . .

* 2 people to give $1,000 = $2,000
* 4 to give $500 each = $2,000, bringing us to $4,000 total
* 4 to give $250 each = $1,000, bringing us $5,000
* 10 to give $100 each = $1,000, bringing us to $6,000
* And a few dozen 10s, 20s, and 50s to round us out at $6,400

Thanks to monthly pledgers, we’re able to get started. But to keep growing, we really need 21 new pledgers. Please consider making or increasing a monthly pledge.

Can you be one of the people who make this happen?

If so, we will publicly say “Thank you,” by publishing your name in an upcoming Downsizer-Dispatch, as well as on the new website. Of course, if you wish to remain private, you can indicate so on the secure contribution form.

Thanks in advance for your confidence and support.

Perry Willis
Vice President
The Downsize DC Foundation

The brief essay contained in this message is copyrighted by Perry Willis — (c) 2010. Permission to re-distribute or reprint this message for non-profit educational purposes is granted and encouraged, as long as proper attribution is given, and you provide a link to the original source. Permission to use this message for commercial purposes is denied.

What does immigration amnesty have to do with defense spending?‏

September 21, 2010

Some years ago we, as in Colorado Libertarians, succeeded in getting a “Single Subject” law passed. After the idea was co-opted by the Republicans. The same thing needs to be done on a Federal level. Read on…

This week the Senate will debate a defense spending bill that will cost your family over $7,000.

The Senators ought to debate how much of this money is really needed to keep you safe, but they will instead focus on distracting and divisive issues like gays in the military and abortions in military hospitals. Even worse . . .

Majority Leader Reid shows signs of wanting to attach an unrelated immigration amnesty bill to the defense measure. This immigration bill is called the DREAM Act, and it has us DREAMing of our proposal for a One Subject at a Time Act.

DREAM’s primary purpose seems good. Undocumented youths who were raised in the United States, and graduated high school, would be eligible for a 6-year path to legal citizenship that requires completion of a college degree, or two years of military service. Other provisions are more controversial, but . . .

Whether you like this bill or not, there is NO PLACE for DREAM in a Defense bill. Reid knows he doesn’t have the votes to pass this as a stand-alone bill, and that’s why he wants it attached to the Defense measure.

This is one reason government keeps growing at such a cancerous rate. Congress constantly inserts unwanted and unneeded legislation into “must-pass” bills. DownsizeDC.org has created The One Subject At A Time Act (OSTA) to end this practice.

OSTA would require each bill to address only one subject. If you support this idea, tell Congress!

Our letter to Congress says, “Please introduce DownsizeDC.org’s “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA). You can find the text of the legislation here: http://www.downsizedc.org/osta-legislation.”

Please also add personal comments pointing to the DREAM Act and the defense spending bill as an example of why we need OSTA. You may borrow from or copy the following sample letter . . .

Majority Leader Reid’s attempt to attach the DREAM amnesty bill to the Defense bill shows why we need OSTA:

* DREAM is ten years old, but never won the votes to pass as a stand-alone bill
* Senate debate over DREAM means less time will be spent reviewing the 1000-page, bloated, $700 billion Defense bill

No responsible legislator should ever support the corrupt practice of attaching unrelated bills together. The only CONSTRUCTIVE and PRINCIPLED way to oppose tactics like Reid’s is to introduce OSTA.

END LETTER

You can send your letter to Congress using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

I’m sure you have friends who would like One Subject At A Time Act, or oppose the DREAM amendment. Forward this to them, and retweet this message!

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h

Official email newsletter of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation.

SUPPORT the “Educate the Powerful System”.

Congress is coming back…

September 14, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” – Thomas Paine, The Crisis, 1776

Congress is coming back for a brief session before the election. At the top of their to-do list is new taxes. They need your guidance . . .

Please send Congress a letter opposing any tax increases.

You can borrow from or copy my sample letter . . .

I understand that Congress will be considering whether or not to extend the tax cuts passed during the Bush administration. Please be clear about this . . .

* The problem with our economy is NOT that we pay too little in taxes, but that we pay too much.
* The cure for our economy is NOT to raise taxes, but to cut government spending and all the meddling you guys do.
* In addition, please don’t think you’ll win praise from me by only raising taxes on the so-called wealthiest Americans. These are precisely the people who finance new products, services, and jobs.
* Yes, the deficit is a concern. Address the concern by CUTTING SPENDING, not by raising taxes.

I’m paying attention to what you do.

END LETTER

Send your letter to Congress using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Obamacare is only a few weeks old…

May 14, 2010

Obamacare is only a few weeks old, but the evidence against it is mounting with every passing day. A small portion of that evidence is described in the open letter to Congress provided below.

Please send Congress another letter demanding that they repeal the recently passed healthcare bill.

You can copy or borrow from this sample letter:

Please take immediate action to repeal the recently passed healthcare bill. To understand just a few of the reasons why repeal is needed please read this column by Cato Institute scholar Michael Tanner: http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/health-246711-care-insurance.html

Here’s a partial summary . . .

A study by the RAND Corporation has now confirmed the warning Congress was given by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) prior to passing the healthcare bill. Obamacare will do NOTHING to curb increases in insurance premiums. For example, RAND predicts that premiums will rise by 17% for young people.

A recent CBO report also predicts that up to 10 million workers will lose their current insurance under Obamacare, and will either have to buy new insurance through the government-run exchanges, or be forced into Medicaid.

Remember, President Obama and Congressional leaders promised us that none of us would lose our current coverage.

In addition, President Obama has criticized U.S. citizens for spending more on healthcare than any other people in the world, while also promising that Obamacare would reduce U.S. healthcare spending. But the federal government’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, is predicting that total healthcare spending will actually increase by $311 billion over the next 10 years.

Mr. Foster also doubts that the promised Medicare savings that Congress used to wrangle a good CBO spending score will really happen, but if they do happen then the likely result will be bankruptcy for up to 15% of U.S. hospitals!

Mr. Tanner’s column goes on to highlight CBO estimates about the tax increases and penalties Americans are projected to pay as a result of the healthcare bill.

But Mr. Tanner isn’t the only scholar digging into government reports to expose the true costs and dangers of the new healthcare law. The list of problems I’m sharing with you here could easily be longer, and is almost certain to grow more extensive as the months pass. How could it be otherwise . . .

Congress didn’t read the bill before passing it. This was completely irresponsible. But now that scholars are having time to do the reading that Congress should have done, the diagnosis is increasingly clear — the healthcare bill is a cancer, and REPEAL is the only remedy. Do it now.

END LETTER

You can send your letter to Congress using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System. https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/114

Be of good cheer: What we think about what just happened‏

March 23, 2010

Leave it to Downsize D.C. to be optimistic!

Be of good cheer. There are many silver linings in what may seem to be a completely dark cloud. Let’s think about what just happened . . .

* Statist Democrats have waited three decades to take over healthcare
* Their last attempt, in 1993-94, was a bust
* And aside from those two years, they haven’t controlled Congress and the White House since the Carter years
* Now, it’s already fairly obvious that their current control won’t last long

After all . . .

* The American electorate leans conservative/libertarian and libertarian/liberal, NOT Statist Liberal
* Public dislike for Statism is why the Statist Republicans got fired in 2008, and it will likely cause many Statist Democrats to be fired too, starting this year

We think this explains the Democrats’ suicidal determination to pass their healthcare bill now, at all costs, in spite of the massive public opposition . . .

It was now or never!

Even so, public pressure, including tens of thousands of letters from DC Downsizers, forced the Statist Democrats to make major changes . . .

They had to drop their “deem and pass self-executing rule,” by which they hoped to make the Senate healthcare bill the law of the land, without ever voting for it.

You made the House Democrats do something they didn’t want to do. You made them cast a direct vote for the hated Senate bill.

Tax-funded bribery is also becoming a major issue. Witness the furor over the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase. Public pressure made the Statist politicians retreat on this issue as well.

You also killed the so-called “public option,” which would have put us on the fast track to fully Socialist healthcare. As it stands now, the bill Congress actually passed more resembles Socialism’s kissing-cousin, Corporate Fascism. This is why . . .

We find it both amusing and a bit nauseating that the Statist Democrats claim they’ve struck a blow against the health insurance industry. In reality, they’ve just forced every American to become a customer of the insurance industry! This bill is . . .

* A bonanza for the big insurance companies, NOT a strike against them
* A system of crony capitalism with government in control but corporations pocketing the profits
*Which is most accurately called Corporate Fascism

Perhaps most important, but little noted, your opposition forced the Statist Democrats to jury-rig their bill, so that various provisions start at different times. They had to do this in order to hide the bill’s true costs, but this has also left their scheme more vulnerable to repeal! In other words . . .

* The bill may be the law now, but . . .
* Its various programs, mandates, fines, taxes, subsidies and regulations don’t all get started now, so . . .
* After the election, just 7 short months away, some or all of these things may be reversed

But that’s not all. Our Constitution’s robust system of checks and balances is also about to swing into action . . .

* Many state governments are rebelling against this corporate fascist healthcare bill
* And many legal challenges are being crafted for the judicial branch to consider

It could be that our country is about to have a major discussion about the proper Constitutional role of the federal government, and that could lead us to win a far larger battle than the one we think we’ve just lost. Remember . . .

* State governments, playing their proper role in our federalist system, have so far saved us from having to carry federally controlled national id cards (under the REAL ID Act)
* And the court system, though far from perfect, has often acted to restrain Congressional over-reach (with our recent campaign-finance victory being just one positive example)

But that’s still not all. There’s one more major force to be considered, before any final verdict can be rendered about the ultimate fate of this Statist healthcare scheme. And that force is the most powerful one of all — the market!

Please take note . . .

* Moody’s has warned that the U.S. credit rating may be downgraded from AAA in response to our government’s orgy of Statist spending and borrowing
* And the bond market is already hinting at this outcome through prices indicating that U.S. government bonds are becoming more risky than many private bonds

Remember what Clinton’s adviser James Carville said back in 1993: “I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president, or the pope, or a .400 baseball hitter, but now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.”

Carville’s point was correct then, and it applies now. The bond market can veto this scheme by raising the cost of funding it to an un-payable level. If this happens it won’t be bad news, it will be good news, because then the politicians will have to economize, just like you and I do.

So here’s what we think. We may have lost a battle, but we’re far from losing the war. Indeed, this seeming defeat may sow the seeds of ultimate victory. Be of good cheer, and continue to fight. There are many things we must do. For instance . . .

We need to get more candidates to adopt the Downsize DC Agenda in the coming election. If you’re a candidate running for Congress, endorsing the entire Downsize DC Agenda, we want to hear from you. FRONT-RUNNING U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, who is having a money bomb today, endorsed four parts of the Downsize DC Agenda, in an interview with me, which you can watch at his website. Just look for the video titled, “Rand Paul and DownsizeDC.org.”

We ALSO need to spank the current Congress for passing the healthcare bill, and pressure all of them, Republican and Democrat alike, to repeal it. Please send Congress a letter for that purpose here: https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/114

You can borrow from or completely copy this sample letter . . .

I’m very angry that the healthcare bill was passed. It costs too much and regulates too much. It will harm healthcare, not improve it. Please introduce legislation to repeal this bill immediately. Those who voted for it may think the issue is now settled. It is not. I will continue to pressure you until you stop COERCING me to live according to your dictates. Please obey your Constitutional oath of office. You can only do this by introducing legislation to repeal the cancerous healthcare bill that Congress just passed.

END LETTER

You can send your letter using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

Enumerated Powers Act: Answering Critics‏

January 26, 2010

The Enumerated Powers Act (EPA) requires that every bill must specify its source of Constitutional authority. Since our previous report in December, four more Representatives have signed on as sponsors of the EPA.

You can find the 60 House sponsors here.

And the 22 Senate sponsors here.

The problem is, many in Congress don’t want to be bothered with this simple requirement. They think that anything Congress passes must be Constitutional. Let’s persuade them to change their minds, with our arguments and our pressure.

You can use this letter as an example . . .

I think I know why so many in Congress want to ignore the Enumerated Powers Act (EPA). The attitude was expressed by Sen. Burris and Rep. Anna Eshoo in replies to constituents published at DownsizeDC.org. http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/enumerated-powers-act-some-congressional-responses

Sen. Roland W. Burris says, “I believe the genius of our Constitution rests in its timeless applicability. There is no better example of this than the Necessary and Proper Clause, also known as the Elastic Clause. Instead of the powers of Congress being confined to outdated principles and issues, the Necessary and Proper clause expands the authority of Congress to all areas tangentially related to one of its enumerated powers.”

Burris’s position is scary. “Tangentially” means “Merely touching or slightly connected; Only superficially relevant; divergent.” http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tangentially

How can the “superficially relevant” be necessary and proper?

Indeed, the Necessary and Proper Clause does not give Congress the sweeping authority Burris imagines. It instead authorizes Congress “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing (i.e., “enumerated”) Powers.” The Enumerated Powers Act doesn’t overrule the Necessary and Proper Clause, it only demands that the appropriate “enumerated power” be cited in the bill.

Burris goes on: “As your Senator, I can assure you that Congressional power is only used to make decisions that are intended to benefit the American people.”

Sen. Burris believes that the Necessary and Proper Clause means Congress can do whatever it wants because its intentions are good.

If the federal government was to be unlimited in its powers as Burris suggests, then why didn’t the Framers give Congress absolute, unlimited powers to begin with?

Rep. Eshoo’s response isn’t much better. “H.R. 450 would require Congress to adhere to the perspective that unless something is specifically enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, it is prohibited. Based on my understanding of the Constitution . . . I disagree.”

But H.R. 450 doesn’t adhere to a “perspective.” It just requires a citation of the Constitutional clause that authorizes the new law.

In this sense, passing the Enumerated Powers Act is actually in Congress’s best interest. If Congress won’t explicitly state the source of the Constitutional authority for a law they pass, why should Congress expect the Supreme Court to uphold it?

She goes on: “America’s Constitution has often been described as a ‘living, breathing document,’ specifically designed by our forefathers to allow flexibility to manage our nation within the rule of law.”

I’m sorry, but this “living, breathing” business is code for “the Constitution gives us as much power as we want to have.” This is not “within the rule of law,” this undermines the rule of law. The Constitution is only supposed to change by amendment, not by Congressional dictate.

Rep. Eshoo asserts: “The original U.S. Constitution never anticipated industrial factories, let alone airplanes and the Internet.”

Actually, as written it did make room for such things. It gave Congress jurisdiction over *interstate* commercial air traffic. It gave Congress jurisdiction over the *interstate* shipment of goods.

And she says, “I assure you that I would never sponsor, cosponsor or support a bill that I considered unconstitutional in nature.  I also would not support legislation that weakened one branch of government in favor of another, thereby undermining the very premise of the “checks and balances” concept which was crafted so carefully by our forefathers . . .”

But by what other standard does she consider bills constitutional or unconstitutional, aside from the text itself? She doesn’t say.

The responses of Burris and Eshoo scare me. They believe they can do whatever they want with my life, liberty, and property, and they’ll call it Constitutional.

If you don’t sponsor and vote for the Enumerated Powers Act, then, frankly, you scare me too.

END LETTER

You can send your letter using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

REAL ID: Show Congress you’re paying real close attention to REAL ID

October 20, 2009

Congress exhibits yet another example of broken clock politics…

REAL ID: Congress is cutting the appropriation for the REAL ID national ID card — by $40 million. That’s good! But they’re still planning to spend $60 million on it in 2010. That’s bad!

Please send Congress a letter objecting to any further funding for REAL ID.

You can copy what I said in my letter to Congress . . .

I’m upset that Congress just appropriated $60 million for the REAL ID national identification scheme. I’ve asked you repeatedly to repeal REAL ID, and replace it with nothing. I’m repeating my request today.

I do not want a centralized national ID system. It lays the foundation for a police state, and will do little or nothing to improve security. Instead, it will subject me to increased risk of identity theft, and eventually entangle me in new Congressional schemes to do things like control my health care decisions.

I also object because the REAL ID Act was passed under false pretenses. It was rejected three times by the U.S. Senate, and was only enacted because it was added to a larger bill containing funding for disaster relief and Iraq. REAL ID never could have passed on its own merits, but now that we have it, we can’t seem to get rid of it. But you, as my representative, can do something about this . . .

Please introduce legislation to repeal REAL ID and replace it with nothing. I’m paying close attention to how you represent me.

END OF SAMPLE LETTER

You can send your letter to Congress here.

Please take additional steps to spread the word, recruit more DC Downsizers, and increase the heat on Congress:

* Ask other people to send a letter to Congress — forward them this message
* Digg this message on our Blog
* Contribute so we can reach more people

Jim Babka, President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Check out these recent posts on our blog:

President Obama keeps a promise http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/a-downsize-dc-victory
Congress responds to Constitutional questions http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/how-they-responded
Chatter about the “Read the Bills” idea http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/read-the-bills-roundup

Clearing up a misconception

September 14, 2009

Quote of the Day: “There are some bills we don’t need to read, we already know how we’re going to vote.” – Rep. Henry Brown

Does DownsizeDC.org agree or disagree with this statement? The answer may surprise you . . .

Subject: Clearing up a misconception about the Read the Bills Act

The partisans on both sides are using “reading the bill” as a sign of moral superiority. They’re jabbing each other over who’s read the healthcare bill more carefully, as the Joe Wilson controversy indicates.

As originators of the Read the Bills meme, we consider this a sign of progress. It means that public pressure in support of our idea is both working and growing. Now, if only the Democrats and Republicans in Congress would stop using our idea to grandstand, and would instead pass DownsizeDC.org’s Read the Bills Act (RTBA)!

But the debate over which side has read the healthcare bill more carefully raises a question: should members of Congress who intend to vote AGAINST a bill still be required to read every word of it?

We think it would be helpful for them to do so, especially when it comes to debating why the bill should be defeated, but we don’t think those who intend to vote NO on a bill should be required to read it.

No one needs to justify opposing a bill that will invade your life, your liberty, or your property. Opponents don’t have to prove they know every clause and subsection.

One bad clause may be sufficient to put down the bill and go vote against it.

The onus is always on those who support a bill to justify it.

This gives us an opportunity to clear up a common misconception among members of Congress . . .

Several of them think that DownsizeDC.org’s RTBA would require all members to read every word of every bill that comes to a vote. It doesn’t. It only requires those who vote in favor of a bill to have signed an affadavit affirming they have read the bill, or heard it read.

Those who oppose a bill because they think its key points are bad, aren’t asked to sweat the details.

The RTBA’s purpose is to force a bill’s supporters to have a basic knowledge of what it is they’re passing. This basic knowledge can only come from reading the bill. This simple requirement would . . .

* Prevent politicians from blithely supporting bills just because they sound like they have good intentions
* Require politicians to take responsibility for their vote — they could no longer hide behind the excuse that they “didn’t know that was in the bill”
* Make politicians more concerned to make sure that a nice-sounding bill won’t have unintended consequences

We therefore agree with the Quote of the Day above — at least in one sense. If Representative Brown already knows he’s going to oppose a bill, the RTBA won’t require him to read it. But he, and all members of Congress, must read every bill they intend to support.

Use our Educate the Powerful System to tell your Congressional employees to pass DownsizeDC.org’s Read the Bills Act.

Use your personal comments to tell them that, contrary to their possible misconception, the RTBA only requires them to read bills they support, not bills they oppose. Also remind them that if they pass the healthcare bill without reading it first, they will pay a steep political price.

You can send your letter to Congress here.

Thank-you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. To see how fast your Army is growing, please check out the Keeping Score report below my signature.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org

KEEPING SCORE REPORT

Your Downsize DC Army grew by 22 net new members since our last report. This brings our total growth for the year to 3,802. The Downsize DC Army now stands at 28,148, nearly 15% of the way between 28,000 and 29,000.

YOU can make the army KEEP GROWING by following our quick and easy instructions for personalized recruiting.

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