Today's Downsizer Dispatch
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Quote of the Day:
"The voice of protest, of warning, of appeal is never more needed than when the clamor of fife and drum, echoed by the press, and too often by the pulpit, is bidding all men fall in and keep step and obey in silence the tyrannous word of command. Then, more than ever, it is the duty of the good citizen not to be silent."
-- Charles Eliot Norton
Subject: One million messages sent
Sometime soon, perhaps today, but almost certainly by Monday, DownsizeDC.org will reach a major milestone -- one million messages sent to Congress since our founding!
This means that the members of Congress have heard from DC Downsizers an average of 1,869 times each!
Congress have always heard what lobbyists want. Now they're hearing what taxpayers want, too. But they need to hear from us a lot more, because the latest news from Washington is pretty bad . . .
The Director of the FBI has just reported to Congress that his organization has achieved its fourth straight year of privacy abuses. According to the Associated Press . . .
"An audit by the inspector general last year found the FBI demanded personal records without official authorization or otherwise collected more data than allowed in dozens of cases between 2003 and 2005. Additionally, last year's audit found that the FBI had underreported to Congress how many national security letters were requested by more than 4,600."Now, the audit for 2006 shows the same pattern of abuse!
What does the FBI Director propose to do about this? He promises what the FBI has promised before -- to stop breaking the law. Supposedly, the FBI Director now has a new rule requiring his agents to . . . get this . . . follow the rules.
But why should this make any difference? Why should anyone in government ever follow the rules, when it is very clear that the rules apply strongly to you, but rarely to them? It's so important to understand this . . .
Government fails because it pays no price for failure. Hardly anyone ever loses their job. No one loses money. Rarely does anyone go to jail. Government is a monopoly, so there is very little ACCOUNTABILITY
And how did the Senators who heard these latest abuse disclosures respond? Most of them said nothing. Why should they? What does it matter to them? They can content themselves with promises to do better because they never pay any price for failing to fulfill their promises. Here's another example . . .
The Government Accountability Office is supposed to conduct oversight on the National Security Agency. They even maintain an office at the NSA for this purpose. But this office is NEVER USED because Congress has NEVER SHOWN ANY INTEREST in tracking what the NSA is doing, despite repeated promises that they would protect us from abuses by government spy agencies!
Promises, promises. Shouldn't it be crystal clear, as we pointed out yesterday with regard to health care, that all government promises should actually be viewed as threats?
Sadly, the evidence for this just keeps mounting. A whistle blower has reported to Wired magazine that . . .
The FBI has direct access to all phone traffic that is routed through the network of at least one wireless phone company. They have this access without any warrant, or any controls, or even any record keeping of who they are spying on. It's a surveillance superhighway
! According to the whistleblower . . .
"The (FBI) circuit was tied to the organization's core network. It had access to the billing system, text messaging, fraud detection, web site, and pretty much all the systems in the data center without apparent restrictions."
This is in violation of the supposed protections Congress PROMISED
us when it passed things like the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, and even FISA, way back in 1978. Let it become a mantra . . .
A promise from government to protect us, is really a threat to abuse power.
And now a new threat is looming . . .
Congressman Reyes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has renewed negotiations to potentially grant immunity to the telecommunications companies who have helped the government engage in warrantless spying on Americans. Tell your elected representatives that . . .
People who violate the Constitution must be held accountable.
- You know Congressman Reyes is holding these negotiations
- That you want no negotiations on this subject
- That you want no immunity for the telecoms that broke the law, ever!
The Democrats finally did something good when they let the "Protect America Act" sunset. Now they need to stick to it. Encourage them to do so. Use your personal comments to make the above points about Congressman Reyes' negotiations. You can send your message here.
Please also consider starting a monthly credit card pledge to help Downsize DC grow. You can do that here.
Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.