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January 12, 2006

McCain wants to steal your right to organize and petition Congress

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch…

When politicians break the law, other politicians impose new laws on you. It’s happened before. It’s happening again. The excuse this time is the Abramoff scandal.

Because some politicians may have broken the bribery laws Senator John McCain wants to punish you for their sins.

We have a rule here at Downsize DC. We avoid mention of partisan labels and political personalities. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about issues and principles. But we must make an exception in Senator McCain’s case.

McCain is very popular with the media and much of the public. But we don’t agree with the public’s media-driven perception of him. We think McCain is so bad that we don’t much care who we offend by saying so. If the approaching death of the First Amendment and representative government has a poster-child, it’s Senator John McCain.

Downsize DC exists in part because of him. The passage of his campaign finance law, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, followed by the narrow defeat of our suit against it in the Supreme Court, were two of the main factors that led us to create

BCRA means incumbents and establishment candidates will always have too much money, while non-establishment challengers and minor party candidates will never have enough. Voters can endorse the establishment’s approved candidates, but nothing more. BCRA convinced us that change was no longer possible through partisan political campaigns. The American ballot-box is a sham.

Do other means of change remain open? Citizen lobbying was the only option we saw still available. A massive army of citizen lobbyists could compel Congress to submit to reasonable reforms. We’re convinced it’s possible, but only if it remains legal.

Does Senator McCain want to outlaw citizen lobbying? Not in so many words. But he does want to regulate it to death, so that it might as well be illegal. His regulatory approach would create a dramatic “chilling effect” on citizen lobbying.

  • That’s exactly what he did with campaign finance.
  • That’s what he wants to do with political speech on the Internet.
  • And now, that’s what he plans to do with lobbying too.

I want to remind you that Senator McCain was a key figure in the Keating-Five scandal of the 1980s. He also used tactics to pass BCRA that were gross examples of the very thing BCRA was supposed to prevent. John McCain is a prime example of many of the things he publicly rails against. But few know this because the issues involved are complex (purposely so), and because the mainstream media is complicit in his schemes.

Senator McCain is a political opportunist of the worst kind. Whenever the media obsesses over some controversy, real or imagined, John McCain is always Johnny-on-the-spot with legislation he claims will fix the problem. But McCain’s so-called solutions always regulate the innocent public, while shielding incumbent office holders. Such is the case with his approach to the Abramoff scandal.

In the Abramoff case the anti-bribery laws apparently worked. Violators are being investigated. Abramoff has copped a plea that includes testifying against former Congressional staffers, Congressional spouses, and sitting office-holders. In fact, one of the potential culprits in the Abramoff scandal is now co-sponsoring McCain’s bill to “freeze out” public lobbying.

Prosecutions are coming in the Abramoff case. As far as we can see, no new laws are needed. But “Keating-Five McCain,” motivated by his obsessive need for more TV time, thinks otherwise. And as has been the case with him in the past, his proposed new law seeks to further insulate incumbent office holders from the public.

Buried within McCain’s new legislation is a provision that would lay the groundwork for regulating you and your use of organizations like Needless to say, we intend to fight McCain’s latest Incumbent Protection Act. We hope to begin this campaign soon. But success at defeating McCain’s new proposal, as with RTBA and everything else we’re attempting, depends on you. We need your help to grow large enough to defeat McCain’s never-ending schemes, and to pass reforms like the Read the Bills Act.

We need to start taking our case to the public through the media, especially radio talk shows, which thankfully still remain open to people not named John McCain. But we can’t do that without your help. As of 8:00 AM Eastern this morning, 22 of the 21,100+ people on this email list contributed $1,145 to put me on talk shows across America. It will take more than that.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want to leave your children a bankrupt America where representative government is a thing of the past?
  • Has anything happened that convinces you we’re going to prevent this outcome at the ballot box?
  • Do you really believe we’re going to save the future with just books and pamphlets and magazines and policy reports?
  • Do you really think the politicians will ever change their behavior without feeling overwhelming, inescapable, mind-numbing pressure to do so?
  • Is there any approach currently available that would be better at recruiting, mobilizing, and applying that pressure, than what has done, is doing, and plans to do?
  • Is there any better proposal for taking the first step toward applying that pressure than the Read the Bills Act?
  • Can the Read the Bills Act succeed at recruiting and mobilizing a large army if the public never hears about it?

Just $2 from each person on this list would give us more than enough to begin presenting RTBA to the American people through talk radio and other media. That amount would also help secure our operations so I can focus on outreach. But we’ve only received $1,145 to implement this proposal. If you would like to contribute click here.

To the 22 that contributed yesterday, thank you!

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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