Today's Downsizer Dispatch
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Quote of the Day:
"It is incumbent on a great nation to remain confident, if it wishes to remain free. We need not be ignorant to real threats to our safety, against which we must remain vigilant. We need only to banish to the ash heap of history the notion that we ought to be ruled by our fears and those who use them to enhance their own power."
- Congressman Ron Paul
Subject: Bill to restore habeas corpus, plus, more on Iran
Senators Leahy and Specter are pushing a bill to restore habeas corpus for prisoners of the so-called war on terror. They are the ranking Democrat and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. They have the institutional standing to bring their measure to a vote.
Will it pass? Can it survive a presidential veto? Will the House follow suit? That depends on the Republicans, and what they do may depend on you.
We need a few more Republicans to return to their constitutional roots. We need their support to reach the 60 votes required for cloture in the Senate, and then a few more votes above that to provide a veto-proof majority.
The problem is fear. The Republicans have played the fear card for so long that they've created an echo-chamber among their supporters from which they now find it difficult to escape. We must give them courage by letting them know they have our support to do the right thing.
We only need a few more votes. And we are not alone. Many prominent conservatives are pushing in the same direction we are, including David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and William Sessions, a former federal judge and F.B.I. director.
We have a campaign calling for the repeal of the law that repealed habeas corpus. Please send a message to Congress asking for this. Add to your personal comments that you want your representatives to support the Leahy-Specter bill restoring habeas corpus.
If you have Republican representatives in the House or Senate please follow-up with a phone call. All you have to do is tell the person answering the phone that you want your Congressperson and/or Senator/s to support the Leahy-Specter bill to restore habeas corpus.
You could do this in conjunction with the next action item . . .
IGNORE THE SCARECROW
Yesterday's message about Iran was a long one. We covered a lot of ground, but still not everything we wanted to address.
One of the things that always comes up is Iran's crazy President, Mahmoud Akmadinejad. This man says a lot of scary things. We take what he says seriously. We think he believes the things has says, and would do the things he proposes to do, including attacking Israel, if only he had the power to do so.
Here's the crucial point: Akmadinejad has no power.
He is a puppet controlled by the real head of Iran, the Supreme Leader, Mullah Ali Khamenei. The Supreme Leader is Commander-in-Chief, controls military intelligence and security operations, and has sole power to declare war.
Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who has an excellent track record of getting things right on these issues, has the perfect metaphor to describe Akmadinejad's real role in Iran. Akmadinejad is a scarecrow. His job is to keep the Iranian people scared, and us scared too.
Strangely, Akmadinejad plays the exact same role for American politicians. He is a useful bogeyman to keep the American people afraid and compliant.
To accurately understand what the Iranian government really wants, we need to ignore the scarecrow, while accepting that he believes the things he says. Instead, we need to pay closer attention to the Supreme Leader.
What does the Supreme Leader want? It's hard to know, because he stays in the shadows to allow Akmadinejad to do his scarecrow job, but the things Iran says through shadowy back-channels provide a good clue. Among these are . . .
* The constant request for respect and recognition
* The offer to defund Hezbollah in return for a broader settlement with the U.S.
* The offer to help fight the Taliban in Afghanistan
We should take these offers seriously. We should recognize the Iranian government, for our own benefit and to achieve broader stability in the world. Above all, we should not bomb Iran.
It's important to maintain pressure on Congress until they take concrete action to prohibit President Bush from attacking Iran. It is important to recognize what the pressure points are that can enable us to achieve this goal. We must . . .
* Convince Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to bring a "do not attack Iran" resolution to a vote
* Convince a handful of Republicans in the Senate to support such a measure
That's it. We don't need to persuade everyone in Congress. We just need to persuade the leadership and a few Republicans who could provide the margin of victory. The majority Democrats will follow the lead of Pelosi and Reid.
Please do the following . . .
* Send Congress a message supporting the Leahy-Specter habeas corpus bill
* Send Congress a message opposing an attack on Iran
* If you have a Republican Congressperson or Senator/s, call them and ask for both things.
* Call Nancy Pelosi and ask for a vote prohibiting an attack on Iran. Her number is 202-225-4965
* Call Harry Reid and ask for the same thing. His number is 202-224-3542
* Forward this message to others
* Make a contribution to further our work
With just a few minutes of easy effort you can have a big impact on the future of our country, and on the world. Use your power!
Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.