Yearly Archives: 2005

It’s time to be wise… about government

It’s time to be wise… about government

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Patriotic Procrastination and “What is to be done?”

We got what we wanted, and then we didn’t. Key Senate Democrats and Republicans blocked a vote to extend the Patriot Act by threatening to filibuster. So far so good. But the very next day they struck a deal to extend the Patriot Act by six months so that it wouldn’t sunset on New Year’s eve.::::::What will the six month extension accomplish? Supposedly, the “defenders” of civil liberties in the Senate want to create a “review board” to prevent the Executive Branch from abusing its Patriot-Act-powers. ::::::Funny. I thought we already had a review board — the independent judiciary. You know, the guys who issue warrants based on evidence sufficient to establish probable cause. Why isn’t that review board good enough? ::::::Is said independent judiciary too independent perhaps? ::::::All of this conjures in my mind an image of some stereotypical “Boss Tweed” Senator sneering, “We don’t need no stinkin’ checks and balances.” And another hitching up his belt and saying, “What we need is more government. Another commission. Another board. Another bureau. Another budget line item. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”::::::Sigh. ::::::What is to be done?:::

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How can I oppose the Patriot Act? Quite easily, actually…

How can I oppose the Patriot Act?

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Viola… Payola (More on Doug Bandow)

Viola… Payola (More on Doug Bandow)

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Patriotic Delay

Today’s Downsizer Dispatch…::::::We got what we wanted! A combination of Democrat and Republican Senators stalled a vote on the renewal and extension of the Patriot Act in the Senate. ::::::Sadly, this is not the end of the fight. What the Senators want is another layer of government to serve as a watchdog over Executive Branch use of the powers granted by the Patriot Act. Assuming they get what they want, the question must be asked: Who will watch the watchdogs? ::::::The history of government power should make it very clear that such watchdog bodies quickly fall-in-line with the wishes of the President. The problem we need to correct is not the abuse of power, but the power to abuse. The Patriot Act must be allowed to die in those sixteen sections where it is scheduled to sunset. ::::::We know that most of you are now busy with holiday preparations, as are we, but it would be very nice to send one last blast to Congress as they prepare to go on recess. Let them know that we’re not satisfied. We want permanent gridlock on those provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire December 31st. ::::::This is important, because Congress has a habit of rushing things to a vote just before they slip out of town. ::::::Action Item: ::::::Send another message to Congress telling them NOT to hold a vote on Patriot Act extension. To send your message, click here. ::::::News:::::::We have raised most of the money we needed to improve the Read the Bills Act before submission, though we are still discussing whether to include our proposed provision about bureaucratic regulation in RTBA, or to create it as a _separate_ bill. We will have more to report on all of this soon. If you would like to make a donation click here. :::

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Doug Bandow, Capitalist Hero

Doug Bandow has resigned from CATO and has had his column temporarily (likely permanently) terminated by the Copley News Service because it has come to light that he was accepting funds from the arch-evil lobbyist Jack Abramoff in return for writing positive editorials that promoted the interests of Abramoff’s clients.

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Fake News in Iraq? Are you really surprised?

Fake News in Iraq? Are you really surprised?

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Are you willing to die for your liberty?

A commentary by Jim Babka::::::Pro-war supporters are fond of saying that, “Freedom isn’t free.” They sing songs about it. They send young men and women to die for it. They revel in this notion that blood has to be shed and they honor that impulse with near-religious fervor. ::::::The politicians encourage this concept and are quite willing to sacrifice young men and women. Incredibly, ironically, it’s good for votes! The families of the fallen troops strongly support those politicians who are the most trigger-happy. ::::::Meanwhile the pro-war supporters sway side-to-side at the news of these deaths singing, “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…” ::::::But there’s a disconnect here. ::::::As I write this, there’s a debate over the Patriot Act being conducted in the House of Representatives. I’m listening to the debate. ::::::Pro-war supporters are almost universally for this bill. Those who question, or better yet oppose the Iraq war are much more likely to oppose the renewal and expansion of this civil-liberty-crushing bill. ::::::One who has consistently opposed this war is Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. He just stood up and reminded his colleagues of a famous Benjamin Franklin quote::::::: Those who would give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither. ::::::So here’s the disconnect…

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Read the Bills has a sponsor!!!!!

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch…::::::Yes, you read that right. A member of Congress has informed a DC Downsizer that they will sponsor the Read the Bills Act!!!!! ::::::When all the details are finalized we’ll tell you who it is. This could happen quickly. This will mean the ball is now in play, and it’s up to us to run the bases! But before we move forward . . .::::::We need to make RTBA even stronger!::::::We’ve been monitoring the discussion about RTBA on the Internet. People have been talking about RTBA. Everyone likes it, but many think it will be impossible to pass, and that Congress will evade it if it does pass. Our response is . . .::::::No one in Congress wants to tell the public they shouldn’t have to read the laws they pass. There are a host of tactics we can use to force every member of Congress to take a public stand. And those who dare to say no must get special attention. All we need is enough supporters and enough resources to apply the pressure. ::::::Is this possible? If it isn’t, then what is? ::::::If something as obvious and universally popular as RTBA is impossible to pass, then what chance is there for less popular methods of controlling our oppressive, out-of-control government? None it would seem. And all the scholars, pundits, and advocates calling for smaller government are simply wasting their time – whining and complaining about big government to no purpose. ::::::We take the opposite view. Instead, why not propose a concrete change that millions of people would actually support? That’s the approach we’ve taken. That’s what the Read the Bills Act is. ::::::But those who are wondering how Congress would try to evade RTBA are on the right track. RTBA needs to have teeth! ::::::So far we’ve heard only one reasonable idea for how Congress might evade the restrictions RTBA would impose on their behavior. Here it is . . .:::

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Support the filibuster

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch…::::::Action Item::::::Six Senators (3 Democrats and 3 Republicans) are willing to filibuster in the Senate when they start considering the Patriot Act extension on Wednesday. Please support them by letting your Senators know that you strongly oppose the Patriot Act extension. To send your message click here. ::::::But don’t stop there. We’re at the last hour, and the need is urgent. Please call – especially if you’ve already sent a message. The phone numbers for your Senators are located on the campaign page, once you’re logged in. ::::::Keep the call simple. Say you want to leave a message for the Senator. Leave your name, city, and a simple statement. You can say, “I want the Senator to vote against cloture, support the filibuster and oppose any Patriot Act reauthorization bill.”::::::Then, when you’re done, tell us how the call went at our blog. Go to this link and leave a comment. ::: :::News::::::DownsizeDC.org reached two major milestones over the weekend. Check out our blog to learn what they are. ::::::Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.::::::Gary Nolan:::Board Chair:::DownsizeDC.org, Inc. :::

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