Monthly Archives: November 2007

Is Reality Negotiable?

Quote of the Day:::::::“I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know a lot about Cuba’s health care system. Is it a government-run system?”:::- Sen. John Edwards, would-be president::::::Subject: Is reality negotiable?::::::We do a lot of reading here at Downsize DC. Behind every 800-word Dispatch we send you there are usually many thousands of words of research we’ve read before daring to open our mouths. Were that not so you would see many more campaigns from us, and many more mistakes too.::::::Often, we are not fully satisfied until we’ve found arguments that challenge our views, and sometimes we are surprised, learning that things are not what we assumed them to be. ::::::This commitment to challenging pre-conceived notions is largely missing from the public debate, and desperately needed. Our state-run schools teach too much dogma without stopping to consider conflicting evidence and alternative theories that might better explain that evidence. ::::::No, we’re not talking about the evolution debate. We’re talking about history and law and economics. The deeper we look the more we find that most of what passes for conventional wisdom in these areas is pure rot, and the rot extends from our schools to the media and straight-up to the latest roster of would-be presidents.::::::For instance . . .

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Incentives

Today’s Downsizer Dispatch . . .::::::Subject: Incentives::::::The headline on Politico.com reads “Lobbying lucre awaits Lott.” That sums it up. Senator Trent Lott, the Minority Whip, is almost certainly retiring a year earlier than expected because he has an incentive to do so.

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The One Subject at a Time Act

Today’s Downsizer Dispatch . . .::::::Recruit friends to support the “One Subject at a Time Act.” Share this with others.::::::Subject: The One Subject at a Time Act::::::Congress routinely passes unpopular laws by combining them with completely unrelated bills that have majority support. For example . . .

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Downsize DC Conference Call – November 18, 2007 edition

This episode was previewed here.::::::My guests were Jason Kuznicki and Jon Rowe, of the blog PositiveLiberty.com. As of early November, I’m also a commentator there, and Positive Liberty is now part of our Read the Bills Act Coalition. ::::::We also did our Gun Owners of America update about the Law of the Sea Treaty. ::::::We had three callers and one emailer. You can listen to the show by downloading the mp3 “attachment” at the end of this blog post.

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Warrantless Spying and Telecom Immunity

Congress is still attempting to fix and perfect the Protect America Act (PAA). We opposed this bill back in August. In haste, it was passed. It was a terrible bill that undermined the already tissue-paper thin privacy protections that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court provided.
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:::Some of you are sticklers for detail. That’s good. You should be. But the details in this case are a jumbled mess, full of technicalities. And we would be the first to admit, we don’t understand every detail. But we’ve posted a report on our blog that goes into greater detail about what just happened on the Senate side.
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:::But there’s good news, overall. We’re winning!
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:::Until last week, leaders of our coalition thought we were on the ropes. They thought a bill nearly as bad as the PAA was going to pass, with immunity for the major telecoms that permitted vacuum sweeps of their networks likely to pass as well. The immunity part was particularly discomforting because we’ve defeated this several times over the last two years.
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:::But then,

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Senate Judiciary Improves But Doesn’t Perfect FISA Amendments Act

This message supplements and enhances today’s Downsizer-Dispatch (and so we recommend you read it first). ::::::THE SENATE… ::::::The Senate Judiciary Committee completed their “markup” of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) last week, and issued a bill. The Chairman, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, made a “strong move,” using his power as Chair, to amend the language on his own.::::::Leahy and the Judiciary Committee deserve some applause. Together, they adopted a series of amendments to the FISA Amendments Act that made significant improvements to the bill. Yet they rejected every amendment offered to weaken the civil liberties protections in the bill. Here are some of the improvements:

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Don’t check out yet

Today’s Downsizer Dispatch . . .::::::Quote of the Day:::::::“It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.”:::

— Justice Robert H. Jackson, U. S. Supreme Court, “American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 442” (1950)

::::::Subject: Don’t check out for Thanksgiving quite yet::::::We know everyone’s thoughts and energies are turning toward Thanksgiving. Ours too. But please don’t check out quite yet. Here’s why . . .

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Blogging on the Radio

Today’s Downsize DC Conference Call, my one-hour, Sunday radio show, could be called “audio blogging.”
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:::Earlier this month, I joined the team of bloggers at PositiveLiberty.com
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:::It gives me an outlet to comment on things that are outside of Downsizing DC, as well as another outlet for telling others about Downsize DC. And I’ve been having fun.
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:::Two of my co-bloggers, Jason Kuznicki and Jon Rowe will be my guests for the hour. And this should be a different kind of show. You see, none of us listened to that sage advice to avoid discussing religion and politics. And to make things interesting tomorrow, none of us see eye-to-eye on religion, and although we basically agree on politics, we have some surprising differences.
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:::I expect to learn something new tomorrow. These guys teach me things all the time. I hope you’ll join me, not only by listening, but also by calling.
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:::Check out Jason’s and Jon’s posts at PositiveLiberty.com and then call with your best questions. The toll-free number is 1-800-259-9231. You can email the show at CALL at DOWNSIZEDC dot org.
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:::Of course, we’ll also have a Gun Owners Update.
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:::The show starts at 4:06 PM Eastern (3:06 PM Central, 2:06 PM Mountain, and 1:06 PM Pacific).
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:::And the best way to listen is at GCNLive.com.
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:::Happy Listening,
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:::Jim Babka
:::Host
:::Downsize DC Conference Call
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:::P.S. On Monday morning I’ll be on Freedom Rings with host Kenneth John, on WRMN 1410 AM, Elgin, IL. My interview begins at 9:15 AM Central, and I’ve been told you’ll be able to hear it online by clicking on the words “Listen Live!”

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Downsize DC Conference Call – November 11, 2007 edition

This show was called How to End the Income Tax with my guest Michael Cloud who, along with Carla Howell, is petitioning for a ballot initiative in Massachusetts to end the state income tax. It was previewed here. ::::::You can listen to an mp3 of the episode by clicking on the “attachment” at the end of this post.

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Downsize DC Conference Call – October 28, 2007 edition

Sorry for getting this show posted sooo late. My bad. ::::::This episode was called Potluck, and was previewed here. ::::::And you can hear it by clicking on the “attachment” below.

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