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May 29, 2008

A Free Newsletter For You

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“The quotes on your emails keep me checking back. — E.K., SD

“Thank you for the information you are continuously giving. I wish everybody would read it.” — M.B., CA

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Subject: A Free Newsletter For You

Do you value the Downsizer-Dispatch? We want each of these messages to be informative to you. In today’s Dispatch, for example, you’ll learn something new about ethanol and solutions to the challenge of CO2 emissions.

We devote a great deal of time and thought to these Downsizer-Dispatch messages. We strive to present you with the most essential details, using lively and direct sentences placed in crisp paragraphs.

I guess you could say we’re on a constant quest for clarity. Issues must be clear to us before we can make them clear to you. This can be difficult, and we don’t always hit our mark.

Agriculture subsidies are a case in point. The issue itself is clear. Subsidies are bad. But the legislation that generates these subsidies is huge and incredibly complex. We found it challenging to dig out the essential facts and arguments. Even more surprising, that digging led to an unexpected place — a campaign against ethanol subsidies.

But even an issue as seemingly clear as ethanol subsidies is fraught with complexities.


Many people, who agreed with our opposition to subsidies and mandates, wrote to argue that mass-produced ethanol from cellulose would eventually become economically and environmentally viable. We wrote a Dispatch saying that we agreed, only to learn that even the future of ethanol from cellulose is cloaked in doubt.

There are some studies indicating mass conversion of cellulose to ethanol, using things like switchgrass, will cause massive soil depletion that can only be corrected through steps that will consume huge quantities of fossil fuels.

But here’s the important question: Do you think the members of Congress know or consider these kinds of relevant complexities before they vote on legislation? 

This is why DownsizeDC.org tackles only a few issues at a time. We’re painfully aware that our ignorance is vaster than our knowledge, and that our ability to relieve that ignorance is limited.

We wish Congress would be so prudent. Things like the “Read the Bills Act,” the “One Subject at a Time Act,” and the “Write the Laws Act,” would go a long way toward forcing them to be prudent, in spite of themselves.

Meanwhile, we face the prospect that Congress, and our next President, will design a top-down “solution” to the possible dangers of CO2-induced global warming. Ethanol subsidies were one such scheme. The new plan they concoct will impact everything and everyone. Will they get it right? Will they contemplate and understand all of the relevant complexities? 

We anticipate a cure that will be worse than the disease, or that won’t help at all, or that may actually increase CO2 emissions through weird side-effects that no one anticipated.

Meanwhile, through no conscious plan of any one person or group (such as the 535 members of Congress), the issue of CO2 emissions may be eliminated through a combination of . . .

  •  New-model nuclear power plants
  • Cheap new solar cells
  • Improved batteries for plug-in hybrids
  • Or, some other completely different combination of developments of which no single person has yet conceived

And who knows? Maybe someone will figure out how to make ethanol part of the solution as well.

But Big Government is the problem; not the solution. Private solutions will flourish if we Downsize DC. And in order to keep doing this work, we need your help.

We offer this pro-FREEdom newsletter for FREE to the world. But just like Freedom, the Downsizer-Dispatch isn’t free… to produce.

We presently need to raise $15,000 per month, each month, to keep moving forward. Our fundraising costs are minimal. Our results are real.

Now, we could raise $30,000, if we stopped spending so much time on these Dispatches and then spent two-thirds of that income on expensive fundraising methods. Fewer Dispatches and less Congressional action would be two likely outcomes. 

But we rely on monthly pledges and simple appeals, attached to these information-rich, action-motivating Dispatches, as a very low-cost way to raise funds. Instead of fancy fundraising schemes, we invest our time in messages that you can proudly share with your friends and family. Instead of applying high pressure to our donors, we apply high pressure to Congress. And we don’t want to relent. 

But I’ll be honest, our plan isn’t working great at this moment. Like ethanol, maybe my ignorance is showing. Less than 5% of our subscribers make contributions over the course of a year. We just missed budget last month. And with just 3 days left in May we still need another $3,071 to pay our May bills.

We could really use a champion at this moment — someone capable of giving $1,000 or more. And we need lots of smaller contributions of varying size. Please go to our contribution form and give what you can.

Who else can we ask, if not the people who know us best — the people who read the Downsizer-Dispatch?  

Thank you for reading the Downsizer-Dispatch,

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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