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September 25, 2006

Doing all we can

It is EXTREMELY rare that we send two messages in a single day. But we’re doing all we can do to fight against terrible bills being combined and passed as Congress pushes to get back to their districts and campaign. All we can do includes getting the word out through TWO RADIO INTERVIEWS — one tonight and one tomorrow morning, which I’ll tell you about in this message.

I’m going to participate in a 4 PM conference call with representatives of more than a dozen other national organizations who are fighting the NSA Warrantless Spying bill. Most of them are combatting the Tribunals bill as well.

If there is any new news to report on this issue, rather than sending out an email, I will post to the blog. Go to and click on Blog in the left-hand navigation column.

But we also need you to TAKE ACTION and I’ll get to that as well. 


Tonight (Monday 9/25) I will be on Free Talk Live with hosts Ian and Mark to talk about NSA Spying and Tribunal votes (see more below). They have 16 affiliates in a dozen states. An affiliate list is available at or you can simply listen online there. The interview will start just after 7:05 PM Eastern (6:05 PM Central, 5:05 PM Mountain, and 4:05 PM Pacific). 

Tomorrow (Tuesday 9/26) I will be on American AM with host Henry Raines to talk about these same votes. The show is broadcast on WWPR 1490 AM – Clearwater, Sarasota, and parts of Tampa in Florida. You can also listen online here. I will be on live at 8:30 AM Eastern (7:30 AM Central, 6:30 AM Mountain, and 5:30 AM Pacific).
Here’s the ACTION ITEM: New “Compromise” Bills Actually Expand Warrantless Spying, Torture, and Detention Powers.

In summary . . .

Congress may vote as soon as tomorrow (Tuesday) on bills that would expand executive branch power to wiretap Americans without warrants and to subject detainees to indefinite detention and possible torture while denying them the fundamental right to challenge their detentions or their treatment there — even if they’re innocent.

The Administration wants to rush through this new grab for unchecked power before Congress leaves for its election recess this Saturday.

Please take the following actions ASAP! Send a message ON BOTH ISSUES to your Senators and your Representative right now!

1) Go to the campaign opposing warrantless spying: “No Warrant? No Search.”
Send a message to your Senators and your Representative. Tell them to resist in every way they can the combination of this bill with the Tribunals bill. Urge them to do everything in their power to block, stop, and/or filibusters this bill. And if it still comes up for a vote, tell them to vote NO, and that you’ll be watching.

2) Go to the campaign opposing the new tribunals: “No Torture! No ‘Star Chamber’ Courts!”
Send a message to your Senators and your Representative. Tell them torture is un-American, useless, and counter-productive. Urge them to keep the warrantless spying bill separate. Implore them to do everything they can to block, stop, and/or filibuster this bill. And if it still comes up for a vote, tell them to vote NO, and that you’ll be watching.


For those of you who want more information and want to take even more action, more NEW details as reported by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee . . .

On Warrantless Wiretaps:

California Representative Dan Lungren’s amendment to Heather Wilson’s House bill (H.R. 5825) would, among other things, give the government powers equivalent to a court order or subpoena against telecoms that refuse to hand their customers’ records to the government without warrants. A similar provision has been added to Arlen Specter’s Senate bill (S. 2453).

On Military Commissions:

The so-called “compromise” on S. 3901 reached between the White House and three Senate Republicans would allow evidence coerced through torture and abuse to be used if a judge finds it credible (amazing!). As before, it denies the writ of habeas corpus for detainees—including Guantanamo detainees whose habeas petitions are pending in U.S. federal courts. Only the Administration would be able to decide when and whether to try a detainee. It would also prohibit detainees from using the Geneva Conventions to challenge their detentions or to seek damages for their mistreatment, and it would insulate the CIA from legal liability for acts of torture used in past interrogations. The bill would define “cruel treatment” narrowly so that the CIA “program” of coercive interrogation may continue. The President would have unilateral discretion over what actions besides certain defined “grave breaches” that violate the Geneva Conventions would be treated as violations under U.S. law.
On Combination of these bills:

A bill combining warrantless wiretapping and military commissions is a very real possibility. If a vote is taken on such a bill, it may be hard for some members to vote against it, especially in an election year. Urge your Senator to resist combining these proposals.

Telephone your representative and your senators right away. We must stop Congress from rushing these bills in the final days before the election recess!

 Idaho – Larry Craig 202-224-2752
 Rhode Island – Lincoln Chaffee 202-224-2921
 South Dakota – Tim Johnson 202-224-5842
 Louisiana – Mary Landrieu 202-224-5824
 Michigan – Carl Levin 202-224-6221
 Arkansas – Blanche Lincoln 202-224-4843
 New Jersey – Robert Menendez 202-224-4744
 Alaska – Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665
 Florida – Bill Nelson 202-224-5274
 Nebraska – Ben Nelson 202-224-6551
 Nevada – Harry Reid 202-224-3542
 Maine – Olympia Snowe 202-224-5344
 New Hampshire – John Sununu 202-224-2841

AND here’s a new category, ANY SENATOR RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION THIS YEAR. Anyone can call their Senator, but the list above is targeted and crucial to our success. We provide the phone numbers to registered DC Downsizers for their Senators on the “send your message” page of each campaign, once your logged-in. 

Suggested message: Tell the person who answers the phone that you have problems with bills to legalize the President’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program and detainee policy. Ask Senator __________ (or Representative _______) to do everything possible to block the NSA bill and the military commissions bill and any attempt to combine the two into a single bill. They need to be considered separately and fully and must not be rushed through.

Please forward this news widely! Send people to take action at Again, those links are:

1) “No Warrant? No Search.”

2) “No Torture! No ‘Star Chamber’ Courts!”

Remember, spread the word! And thank you for Downsizing DC,

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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