Monthly Archives: June 2008

Keith Olbermann’s FISA Flip-Flop

Quote of the Day:
:::
:::”Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so preoccupied with staying in the saddle that they can’t bother about where they’re going.”
:::– Joseph Schumpeter
:::
::: Subject: Olbermann, Obama, & FISA
:::
:::Part of our strategy for combating the new FISA bill will involve doing doing some new things. One of the things we want to do is pressure Barack Obama to step-up and lead the fight against warrantless spying and telecom immunity. The other thing we’re going to do is pressure Keith Olbermann of MSNBC.
:::
:::It appears that Mr. Olbermann is going to use one of his “Special Comments” tonight (Monday, June 30) to make an argument for why it’s okay for Obama to support the new FISA bill. We want to urge Olbermann to NOT do this. Here are the details . . .
:::
:::Five months ago Olbermann was quite critical of George W. Bush for promoting “textbook fascism” designed to “immunize corporate criminals.” The fascism to which he referred was the telecom immunity provision of the FISA Amendments Act. He had similar rough words for the way the bill would eviscerate the Fourth Amendment.
:::
:::Well, on Friday night Olbermann announced that he was going to do another one of his trademark “Special Comments.” Specifically, he said . . .
:::
:::”Speaking of FISA, following up on what he said here last week, John Dean has reviewed the newest version of that bill and again concluded, nothing in it gives the telecoms criminal immunity, only civil immunity. So Monday on Countdown, a brief Special Comment on FISA: How Senator Obama can have his cake and eat it too.”
:::
:::It isn’t difficult to figure out Olbermann’s plan for the presumptive Democratic nominee to both have and eat his cake. He’s been hinting at it for the past week. Here’s Olbermann in his own words . . .

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2nd & 4th Amendments

2nd & 4th Amendments

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Good Numbers!

Quote of the Day:
:::
:::”If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.”
:::– Carl Schurz, (1829-1906) German born U.S. Senator and Union Army general during the US Civil War
:::
:::Subject: Good numbers for June!

:::
:::DownsizeDC.org has grown in all directions this month. Here’s the breakdown . . .
:::
:::Pressure on Congress
:::
:::In March you, DC Downsizers, sent more than 50,000 messages to Congress for the first time, setting a new record of 51,390.
:::
:::This month you’ve soared passed 60,000 messages for the first time, setting yet another record — 67,470 messages as of this morning!
:::
:::Overall, DC Downsizers have sent 298,635 messages to Congress in 2008, which is 104,784 messages ahead of last year’s pace.
:::
:::Recruitment
:::
:::Also, as of this morning,

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The AMA Writes the Laws

QUOTES OF THE DAY:
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:::”It would be unconstitutional for Congress to create a statute stating that it was a crime to engage in conduct forbidden by the AMA, or by particular HCBPs, or by the health care industry as a whole. This is because neither the AMA, nor the HCBPs, nor the health care industry more generally are governmental entities, and Congress does not have the power to delegate law-making authority outside of the government.”
:::- DEFENDANTS JOINT MEMORANDUM, United States v. Stephen J. vs. Linda K. Schneider
:::
:::”Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”
:::- Sir Thomas More, in Robert Bolt’s “A Man For All Seasons”
:::
:::SUBJECT: The AMA Writes the Laws
:::
:::Should the American Medical Association (AMA) have the power to write laws? Some bureaucrats think they already do.
:::
:::DownsizeDC.org proposed the “Write the Laws Act” (WTLA) to prevent unelected bureaucrats from writing regulations that have the force of law. Only elected representatives should have that power. We believe there should be “no legislation without representation.”
:::
:::Sadly, we’ve just learned that the problem WTLA seeks to fix is even worse than we thought. Unelected bureaucrats in the Justice Department have now taken to treating the standards of a private organization, the AMA, as if they had the force of law.

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We have a Filibuster!

Quote of the Day:
:::
:::”It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men. “
:::– H. L. Mencken
:::
:::Subject: Feingold will filibuster the warrantless spying bill
:::
:::Good News on FISA
:::
:::Yesterday DC Downsizers bombarded the Senate with thousands of messages requesting that their Senator’s filibuster to block the “FISA Amendments Act of 2008.” Last night word came that Senator Russ Feingold will do exactly that!
:::
:::Thanks to Senator Feingold we will now need only 41 nay votes to defeat this bad bill.
:::
:::With a little more work we can . . .
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:::* Preserve the 4th Amendment’s protections against warrantless spying on American citizens
:::* Force the telecoms that collaborated with previous illegal spying to defend themselves in court
:::
:::We may also have some breathing room. The Senate is trying to leave town, and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid announced last night that they probably won’t have time to deal with the FISA bill before they go. We’ll be coming back to this campaign. In the meantime . . .
:::
:::It would be nice to call Senator Feingold’s office — particularly if you are registered to vote in Wisconsin — and praise him for having the courage to filibuster the “FISA Amendments Act of 2008.” You can call his office at 202-224-5323.
:::
:::National Animal Identification System

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Filibuster!

Quote of the Day:
:::
:::”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an action, but a habit.”
:::– Aristotle
:::
::: Subject: Ask your Senators to filibuster the warrantless spying/telecom immunity bill
:::
:::Victory is still possible in the fight against warrantless spying and immunity for the telecom companies that collaborated in previous illegal spying. Just this morning the Politico reports that . . .
:::
:::Senate leaders may split the warrantless spying and immunity provisions into two separate bills, and hold two separate votes.
:::
:::This is a sign of significant divisions in the Senate that we may yet be able to exploit to defeat the Senate version of HR 6304.
:::
:::The divisions are deep enough that there still isn’t a Senate version of the House bill, or a bill number. And there are still multiple ways we could win this fight.
:::
:::One strategy is to find a Senator willing to filibuster, and thereby block a vote.
:::
:::MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reported last night that there’s pressure on Presidential candidate and Senator Barak Obama to filibuster — to show he can lead his party and stand up to the Republicans. Senators Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold have stated strong opposition to this bill and are also strong potential candidates to filibuster.
:::
:::Toward this end we’ve changed the message to the Senate on our old campaign against the “Protect America Act”, to read as follows . . .

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‘Thank or Spank’ Your Congressperson

Quote of the Day:
:::
:::”Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
:::~Ambrose Redmoon (James Neil Hollingworth)
:::
:::Subject: More urgent action needed

:::
:::The Senate is likely to vote tomorrow on the bill that . . .
:::
:::* Legalizes warrantless spying
:::* Grants immunity to the telecom companies that cooperated with previous illegal spying
:::
:::Please send a message to your Senators telling them to vote NO on this bill. Please note that the Senate is rushing forward on this and there is no bill number yet. You can bet that the Senate won’t even read it before they cast their votes. Just tell your Senators to vote NO on the Senate version of HR 6304. You can send your message here.
:::
:::We’ve adjusted our old campaign on the “Protect America Act” so that your message will go to your Senators ONLY. Please let them hear from you on this issue AGAIN today. Use your personal comments to tell them you object to what the House did, and that you expect them to vote NO on the Senate version of HR 6304.
:::
:::THANK & SPANK
:::
:::You may think this is a lost cause, but it isn’t. Even if we lose the vote in the Senate, as we lost the vote in the House on Friday, it’s important to remember the example of the REAL ID Act. Congress thought this issue was settled when they voted to pass REAL ID. They thought that was the end of it. But it wasn’t the end. It was only the beginning.
:::
:::Hundreds of groups, starting with DownsizeDC.org, and thousands of people have joined together to fight for the repeal of REAL ID. And because of this REAL ID is dying a death of a thousand cuts.
:::
:::The same thing must be done with warrantless spying. We must show Congress that they cannot steal our rights with impunity. We must convince them that when they attempt to do so, they will never hear the end of it. We must show them that this fight isn’t over until WE say it’s over.

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Harry Browne & Habeas Corpus

Quote of the Day:
:::
:::Some people say our program to reduce the federal government goes too far, that it throws the baby out with the bath water. But we have no choice — this is Rosemary’s baby we’re talking about.
:::- Harry Browne, Downsize DC co-founder, “Liberty A to Z”
:::
:::On today’s (Sunday) Downsize DC Conference Call, my two hour radio show, my guests will be . . .
:::
:::* Pamela Browne, wife of the late Harry Browne
:::* Ed Brayton, blogger, Dispatches from the Culture War
:::
:::Our subjects will be . . .
:::
:::* Lots of stuff now available from the Harry Browne archives. I’ll give you a specific example in a moment.
:::
:::* The Supreme Court’s recent Habeas Corpus ruling. Lots of misinformation is circulating about this decision. If you listen, you’ll get the straight story.
:::
:::* And, as always, we’ll have an update from our sponsor, Gun Owners of America. A great new bill is being introduced. You can help GOA get it passed.
:::
:::My show starts at 3:06 PM Eastern (2:06 PM Central, 1:06 PM Mountain, and 12:06 PM Pacific). And you are encouraged to participate!
:::
:::Phone:  1-800-259-9231
:::Email:  CALL at DOWNSIZEDC dot ORG
:::NOTE: I present the email address this way to avoid automated spam harvesters. If you just hit “Reply” to this Dispatch it won’t make it to me by show time. Please use the “call” address ONLY.
:::
:::You can

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Another Urgent Action Item

ANOTHER URGENT ACTION ITEM
:::
:::Subject: Stop Congress from fomenting another war
:::
:::We rarely send you action items on Saturday. We’re doing so today because the House appears likely to vote on a bad resolution early next week. If you oppose starting a war with Iran then we must act now to oppose House Concurrent Resolution 362.
:::
:::This resolution has 169 co-sponsors, including 77 Democrats and 92 Republicans. The resolution calls on President Bush to . . .
:::

    :::

  • Create an international blockade of Iran to prevent it from importing the refined gasoline it needs to run its economy
  • :::

  • Subject all cargo entering or leaving Iran to stringent inspections
  • :::

  • Tighten economic sanctions against Iran 
  • :::

  • Violate international treaties by prohibiting Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program from travelling abroad.
    :::
  • :::

:::If another country took such actions against us, we would consider it an act of war.

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Congressional Criminals

We generally start our messages with a Quote of the Day. Here’s what the Dow Jones news service quotes Senator Kit Bond as saying with regard to warrantless spying and immunity for the law-breaking telecom companies . . .
:::

“I’m not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I’m sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do.”
:::

This is a perfect expression of the criminal mentality of many in Congress. YOU must obey the government laws, but those in government have no obligation to do so. YOU must do what the government tells you, even if what they’re asking is illegal.
:::
:::Many in Congress think its okay for the President, the Attorney General, and the major telecoms to violate the law and the Constitution — particularly the Fourth Amendment. And so . . .
:::
:::The House is scheduled to vote today to grant immunity to the telecoms, as well as to make it easier for the President to spy on Americans without a warrant. All the Executive Branch will need to do is write a letter. All the telecoms will need to do is show that letter when challenged in court. If you didn’t send a message yesterday opposing this, please do so now. 
:::
:::We will publish the list of Congressional criminals, as reflected by their vote, in an upcoming Dispatch.
:::
:::If you did send such a message yesterday, and lots of you did, then

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