August 4, 2009
Audit the Fed and the Stockdale Paradox
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "The moment of greatest vulnerability is the instant after victory" - Napoleon Bonaparte (as quoted by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman)

Subject: Passing the Audit the FED bill

We love the fact that Ron Paul's Audit the FED bill is a lever designed to move the government in a downsizing direction. We love levers. And we're thrilled that . . .

* The bill now has majority support in the House, with 282 co-sponsors
* And growing support in the Senate, with 20 co-sponsors

This has happened because of public pressure, including vast numbers of letters to Congress from DC Downsizers.

We cheer the success, but urge caution. Many of us hope this bill will . . .

* Expose corruption and incompetence by the FED
* Cause angry taxpayers to demand that Congress close the FED and restore Honest Money

These outcomes are indeed possible, but we're also mindful that "The moment of greatest vulnerability is the instant after victory." If passing this bill fails to achieve our dreams then many who fought for the Audit may despair, and give up the fight. This must not happen. That's why . . .

* Tomorrow, I'm going to describe five different things that could happen if this bill passes, so you'll be prepared for possible negative outcomes that could result from victory
* Today, before I give you an action item, I'm going to explain how you can use something called The Stockdale Paradox to keep fighting, even in the face of disappointment 

We must learn to manage our own expectations, just as Admiral James Stockdale did when he was a Prisoner of War (POW) in Vietnam.

Author Jim Collins once asked Stockdale, "Who didn't survive the camps?"

Stockdale replied, "Oh that's easy. It was the POWs who thought they'd be home by Christmas."

Those who thought they'd be home by a certain date tended to despair and perish when they still found themselves in captivity after their expected freedom-date came and went. By contrast . . .

Admiral Stockdale survived caustic captivity for 7 years by accepting the brutal reality of his situation, and being confident of eventual release. This belief kept him going.

But he did NOT believe freedom would come by any specific date, or in any special way. This is what saved him from despair and death.

Collins, in his excellent book, "Good to Great," labeled these seemingly opposed ways of thinking the "Stockdale Paradox."

The Stockdale Paradox is...

Recognizing and owning the brutal facts, while holding the determination that you're going to win, no matter how long it takes.

It's not positive thinking. It's not fantasizing about how great things will be when everything goes your way, by the next election.
We must think as Stockdale thought.

Victory will come at some point, if we keep fighting. But we must not expect it to come by any specific date, or because of any specific victory, or to be delivered with a nice shiny bow because we passed the Audit the FED bill -- or even the Read the Bills Act.

The fight is long. Our enemies numerous, and they aren't going to go quietly. We must be mentally prepared to fight past Christmas. That's why . . . 

Tomorrow, I'll explain five possible outcomes of passing the Audit the FED bill, several of which could cause disappointment and despair. But if we think as Stockdale thought, the disappointment and despair will not happen, and we will all keep pushing forward to ultimate victory. 

Downsizing DC is a journey, not a destination. Today, let's take the next step in our journey . . .

The decision to bring the Audit the Fed bill to a vote in the House rests in the hands of the House Financial Services Committee, particularly its Chair, Barney Frank (D-MA), and its Ranking Member, Spencer Bachus (R-AL). Every member of the House should be pushing these two men to bring HR 1207 to a vote. 

So should you.

Step One:Use our Educate the Powerful System to ask your Representative to urge Frank and Bachus to bring HR 1207 to a vote. Note openly that you're COPYING your Senators on this message because you want them to actively support the Senate version of this bill, S 604.

Step Two: Call Chairman Frank and the Ranking Member Bachus. Ask them to hold immediate hearings on HR 1207

These numbers go to the Financial Services Committee staff...

The Chairman, Mr. Frank - 202-225-4247
The Ranking Member, Mr. Bachus - 202-225-7502

They won't say much, and they'll very politely make note of your call. Here's what you should be prepared to say (pause after each point, and give them time to ask you questions, but if not, proceed)...

* I'm a citizen, and I'd like to leave a message for (the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee OR the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee)
* My message is that I'd like him to start hearings and bring HR 1207 to a committee vote
* My name is (give your name, and then spell your name if necessary)
* I live in (state/district, or do as I did, just used my Congressperson's name)
* Thank you very much. Have a nice day. (remember, be very polite - this is just a staff person doing their job, but they have some sway with their bosses, and we want to leave a good impression)

If you get a voice mail system that asks you to press numbers for extensions, you can just hang up and redial until an actual human answers. That's what I did.

Please tell us if you made these calls by sending an email to (PLEASE use this email address for this purpose only.) 

Thank you for being a part of the GROWING Downsize DC Army,

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

P.S. DC Downsizer Amy Lamb has designed her own Audit the FED/Demand Honest Money T-shirt. On the back, she uses, with permission,'s "Strike at the Root" logo. If you'd like to sport this conversation-starting T-shirt, Amy has a web page. We encourage you to check it out.

Blog commenting is currently under construction. In the meantime, you can send an email if there's something you'd like to tell us.

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