Yearly Archives: 2008

While our attention is elsewhere . . .

Quote of the Day: “A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left.” — William O. Douglas, (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Source: New York Times, 20 January 1980

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Subject: While our attention is elsewhere, the sins of the past become entrenched

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Can you remember when our biggest concerns were . . .

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  • The war in Iraq and the threat of war with Iran
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  • The Patriot Act
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  • Torture
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  • Habeas corpus
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  • Warrantless spying
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  • The REAL ID Act
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It was just a few months ago.

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Do we still care about these things? We should. These issues are now more dangerous than ever, because . . .

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What is a troubled asset?

Quote of the Day: “[The bailout] was socialistic in every way. It  rewarded market failures. It ripped off average families for the sake of billionaires. It was the worst form of Keynesian planning. It was an open conflict of interest, as the ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs funneled vast sums to Goldman Sachs. It had exactly zero chance of helping the economy. In fact, by draining productive private resources necessary for economic recovery, it makes a bad situation worse.” — Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. 

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Subject: What is a troubled asset?

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When Congress passed the Big Bailout they thought they were giving the Treasury Secretary nearly a trillion dollars to save the credit markets by purchasing and re-packaging bad mortgage securities.

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Secretary Paulson didn’t deliver the plan he sold. Instead, he invested $250 billion in the nation’s largest banks. 

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And now Paulson has declined to spend the final $350 billion of his authorization.

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This means that only $100 billion of the original $700 billion Bailout will have gone to purchase bad mortgage securities.

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Don’t get us wrong. We like it when the government doesn’t spend our money. But we won’t applaud Paulson for “fiscal responsibility.”

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The Great Citibank Robbery of ’08

It’s been said that, “Taxation is theft.” Perhaps then, this is a parable about government bailouts…
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:::The government gave Citibank (CITI) a bailout package of $306 billion — $20 billion in cash, and the rest in loan guarantees to cover the last 90% of their losses.
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:::The stock itself closed at $3.70 on Friday November 21. One week later, “Black Friday,” it closed at $8.29.
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:::And the only thing that changed was the government bailout, which drove up the price of CITI stock. . .

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November results

Quote of the Day: “Utopia is not one of the options.” — David Bergland 

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Subject: November results

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November was a good month. We . . .

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  • Recruited 654 new Downsizers, up 350 from November of last year.
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  • Sent 27,398 messages to Congress, up 21,075 from the same time in 2007.
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In addition, we’ve already covered a huge chunk of our 2009 operating budget of $186,000. We have …

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  • Top-down pledges from major donors of $10,801
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  • Bottom-up monthly pledges with an annualized value of $2,020
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  • Add in our wonderful current monthly pledgers and the promise to finish-off the campaign with $50,000 by two major donors.
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  • That means we’re ONLY $26,179 away from having all of basic 2009 expenses paid for!
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  • Nearly every cent above that amount will be focused on OUTREACH and RECRUITMENT
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But all is not completely rosy with our scenarios.

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We Interrupt Your Holiday Shopping Spree

Quote of the Day: “You can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent.” – Morton Blackwell

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Subj: We interrupt your holiday shopping spree to bring you this important message.

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This month we have focused on funding the entire operating budget for 2009.

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We believe our “Close the Gap” campaign will enable us to have a real breakout year. After two years of Presidential campaigns, we’re quite excited about the prospect of no longer worrying about monthly budgets. We’re thrilled by the ability to begin real, direct-marketing outreach that should accelerate our growth.

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But we focused on this “Close the Gap” project at the expense of present needs. Here’s our situation. We still need to raise $4,902 THIS month.

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All new donors get…

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We’re About to Go Dark

Subject: We’re about to go dark . . .

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. . . for the Thanksgiving holiday. But before we go we’d like to ask you to conduct a thought experiment.

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Remember, this is a thought experiment — we’re not asking you to actually do this. Quite the contrary. Here it is . . .

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If you had the time and energy to go door to door in your neighborhood, explaining to your neighbors the benefits of the “Read the Bills Act” and the “One Subject at a Time Act,” how many of them do you think would say . . .

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“Hey, I like that.”

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And of those who responded positively, how many do you think would be willing to support RTBA and OSTA by signing up for a FREE membership with DownsizeDC.org, and a FREE subscription to the Downsizer Dispatch?

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* The number who would like RTBA and OSTA would probably be huge
:::* The number who would want to join Downsize DC would be a subset that

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But how much of a subset? More importantly, how many would have to say yes for you to feel good about asking?

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More important still, how many would have to say yes in order to be significant to your Congressperson?

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They could do this instead

Quote of the Day: “Today’s political candidates are proposing a new fiscal spending stimulus, when what we really need is a “deregulatory stimulus.” We need to roll back the regulatory state and free up the wealth-creating sector. We cannot afford today’s bull market in government regulations.” — Clyde Wayne Crews & Ryan Young

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Subject: They could do this instead

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The Big Three automakers came to Washington last week, begging for $25 billion in loans.

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The Detroit automakers can’t say why they need so much, how they would spend it, or that they won’t be back again, asking for more. After the bungled handling of the banking bailout many lawmakers are reluctant to give the automakers what they want. As of now, there’s no deal, but the danger hasn’t passed.

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Proponents of a bailout argue that without it the money will instead be spent on unemployment checks and income tax losses when one or more of the Detroit 3 file for reorganization under the bankruptcy laws. So why not just go ahead and do the bailout?

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We need to push our own counter-arguments. Let’s start with a few startling facts . . .

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We’re in the top 100

DownsizeDC.org has been mentioned in a top-100 list of libertarian blogs!

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Major Progress Made

Special Note: Jim Babka is scheduled to appear on Straight Talk, w/ Jerry Hughes, this afternoon at 3:06 PM Eastern. Listening details are available at our blog.

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Quote of the Day: “The essence of political action is a compromise over who wins and who loses. The essence of politics is pretending that such actions benefit everyone.” — Russell Roberts

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Subject: Your Downsize DC has made major progress

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A majority wants smaller government and lower taxes. It’s been that way for a long time. We demonstrated this last weekend using a variety of polls conducted over several decades.

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It’s frustrating. We ought to be able to get what we want — smaller government.

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Instead, we are faced, in election after election, with a choice between two candidates, both of whom want larger government, in one way or another.

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In terms of what the candidates say . . .

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* One of them always seems to want to trash our economic liberties
:::* While the other one always seems to want to trash our civil liberties

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And in terms of what they do when elected, as opposed to what they promised in order to win our votes, everyone we elect always seems to trash all of our liberties all of the time.

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The choices before us in electoral politics are always bad ones. We can either choose a candidate who is only promising some of what we want, but who is likely to deliver all of what we don’t want, or we can vote for a minor party candidate who is so overwhelmed by legal and structural impediments that his or her vote total will always be microscopic.

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Things are the exact opposite of how they should be.

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But to change this we must focus on the central problem…

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Real “Change” in Iraq

Quotes of the Day:

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“You can’t walk around unless you’ve got flak jackets, helmets on all the time, no matter where you are. It’s always struck me it’s almost like a Fellini movie, kind of unreal. The American people are told things are stable and secure, and violence is down. No American would walk outside there without a convoy!” — Chuck Hagel, upon returning from Baghdad

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“At long last, the fragile state of Somalia seems to be slowly resurfacing from a searing bout of violence and humanitarian crisis. Interestingly, the light at the end of this decades-long tunnel is not burning at the behest of the United States or the United Nations; rather, it burns because Somali leaders, both within the government and without, have banded together. Frustrated by failed foreign interventions, they are now seeking sustainable Somali-based solutions. The key to success, going forward, is to keep it Somali-led. Further intervention from neighboring Ethiopia or the United States will be ruinous.” — Michael Shank, Communications Director, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Senior Analyst at Foreign Policy In Focus

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Subject: Real “Change” in Iraq

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Many people think the U.S. occupation of Iraq has become a non-issue, for two reasons . . .

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1. Violence is down
:::2. The U.S. government signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to continue the occupation

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We feel differently. We think the occupation is still an issue, because . . .

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