Monthly Archives: January 2007

This Is What Happens When Congress Doesn’t Read the Bills

The power and discretion to prosecute individuals in federal court is easily abused. That’s why, until recently, Presidential appointments to the office of U.S. Attorney have always required Senate approval. This check on the executive branch helped ensure that U.S. Attorneys were qualified, competent, and ethical. The President couldn’t staff his Administration with unqualified lackeys – at least not without Senate approval.::::::Since last March, however, U.S. Attorney appointments no longer require Senate approval. Now, the President can fire U.S. Attorneys at will and replace them with whomever he wants. The terms of office of these new appointees expire at the end of the President’s term.::::::How did a law providing for such a drastic change in the appointment process get passed? Why would Senators voluntarily give up their advise-and-consent power?

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We won!

Todaay’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .::::::We won!::::::Late last night the Senate voted 55 to 43 to strip the grassroots regulations out of S.1.::::::This is a major victory for the 1st Amendment, for Downsize DC, for our coalition partners, and for small grassroots groups all across the political spectrum. It is a major victory for YOU!::::::As little as three days ago this stunning success seemed impossible. So what happened?

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What (should) unite us

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .::::::In response to our editorial earlier this week, “What Divides Us,” a reader suggested that we address OMB Watch, and their ilk, directly — explain where they are wrong about the grassroots lobbying provision of S.1. ::::::Our opponents at groups like Public Citizen, Common Cause, and OMB Watch, want to make this a partisan/ideological issue — to divide and conquer. They want to regulate so-called “Astroturf” groups (a funny play on the word “grassroots”), which they maintain are “fake” groups. ::::::The thesis of the recent OMB Watch report, as well as the central claim of an open letter from Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen, is that the new regulations they propose won’t _prohibit_ speech and political activity. ::::::This is an instance of correct facts organized in a fashion that creates the wrong impression. These new regulations may not out-right prohibit, but they will definitely abridge and hurt small, upstart groups. They will chill political participation at the grassroots. AND YOU CAN VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION HERE.::::::Yet, as we’ll explain later in this piece, they won’t really do much to the so-called Astroturf class of groups. ::::::On a more fundamental level, it doesn’t matter whether or not the regulations “prohibit.” We all agree that the Constitution excluded the ability to prohibit the rights in question. But the Constitution goes much farther than that. ::::::And what should unite us is our Constitution and our desire for a healthy democracy where not only the rich and powerful can play, but where everyday Americans can petition their government without reservation. ::::::And so today, I want to make the ultimate argument: I want to break this down to a fundamental level that every American should respect — a Constitutional argument. And we’ll conclude by offering a real solution to the problems these good government groups desire to address.

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Civil Rights & Grassroots Lobbying

The Senate could vote today, tomorrow, or Friday on the new grassroots lobbying regulations (Section 220 of S. 1).

As we’ve explained before, these regulations will create a new, expensive burden for DownsizeDC.org — in order to limit your ability to corrupt Congress.

Yes, you are responsible for Congressional corruption by involving yourself with an organization like DownsizeDC.org. Bet you didn’t know that.

We’re supporting Senator Bennett’s Amendment 20, which would remove the regulations of Section 220, which deal specifically with grassroots groups like DownsizeDC.org.

Winning this vote in the Senate is important because

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What Divides Us

Today’s message is part DC Downsizer philosophy and part open-letter from Downsize DC President Jim Babka to an organization called “OMB Watch.” Take the time to read it, and you’ll see the connections between where it begins and where it ends. And maybe you’ll even want to send a message to Congress. (NOTE: Anyone republishing this article should remove this introductory paragraph)

“What Divides Us”

Late last year an armed man put his children on a school bus, then walked into a schoolhouse in another part of town, took young girls hostage, and proceeded to shoot and kill them. The world watched in the days that followed as those “odd Amish” invited the killer’s wife to their daughters’ funerals, and even more odd, how they attended the killer’s funeral — to support his widow.

There was no tit-for-tat — no cries for vengeance. Odd indeed. Yet the world marveled.

Several years ago, an Irish man lost his son due to IRA violence. He sought out the IRA leaders, but not to get his shot at them. He had a simple message: “It stops with my son. I don’t want your children to be next.” 

Again, the world marveled. 

We have . . . 

* Too much tit-for-tat in our politics.
* Too much revenge motivation.
* Too much political tribalism, which leads people to think if our guys do it, it’s ok, maybe even great; but if their guys do it, it’s stupid, illegal, or evil.

Political tribalism is a poor substitute for listening, for gathering facts, and dare I say it, for thinking.

Frankly, our political tribalism is killing us. The politicians

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Change of plans

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .::::::We’re going to change our plan, by going back to our original plan. ::::::If this Dispatch had a theme, it would be “first things first.” So in keeping with that . . .

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National media appearance

Accent Radio Network host Jerry Hughes welcomes me back for my regular Friday appearance.

This show is a great opportunity to spread the DC Downsizer message. Jerry’s audience is getting to know me and that means they’re getting to know Downsize DC.

So today’s action item is

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Senate opportunity!

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .::::::More progress! There’s an amendment in the Senate to strip out the grassroots regulation provisions from the lobbying bill. If we can pass this amendment we’re half-way home to complete victory on this issue.::::::Let’s do it!

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It begins!

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .::::::It begins!::::::What is “it?”::::::”It” is . . . Operation Everywhere, our plan to buy advertising to make the “Read the Bills Act,” and other Downsize DC proposals, seen-and-heard” by everyone, everywhere, everyday.::::::We won’t realize this ultimate goal overnight, but the first steps in that direction can begin now, as in TODAY.

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Politicians harm disabled workers

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .::::::Several states, including the State of Arizona, have just raised their minimum wage. I’m told that the Arizona newspapers have been full of stories during the past week about how organizations that employ disabled workers are now having trouble making ends meet.

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