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May 20, 2008

FISA Urgent Action Needed

Quote of the Day:

“When I was young American politics were fairly straightforward: conservatives let you keep all your money in return for telling you how to live your life, while liberals let you live as you pleased in return for all your money. Now the only difference is whether they want your money or your life first.”
D.A. Ridgely

Subject: Urgent action needed on warrantless spying bills

The deadline is two days from now, Thursday, May 22, 2008. If, by that date, we can prevent Congress from giving the President expanded powers to spy on American citizens, then we’re likely to have won a long lasting victory.

But if we fail, the damage to the Bill of Rights may also be long lasting. And there’s a new danger afoot . . .

In February the Senate passed a bill that . . .

* Gave the President warrantless spying powers
* Gave the telecom companies immunity for their past illegal spying

Bad as it is, this Senate bill hasn’t been a real threat before, because our coalition persuaded the House leadership to oppose it. Now, however, the House Republicans are close to having enough sponsors for something called a discharge petition. This would allow the Senate bill to be brought to a vote in the House, no matter what the House leadership wants.

The Republicans currently have 190 sponsors for the discharge petition. They need 218. If they can find 28 more sponsors then they can bring the bill to a vote, and it may pass, unless we stop it.

The Republicans have a potential source of those 28 additional sponsors — the Blue Dog Democrats. The Blue Dog’s are conservative Democracts from conservative districts. They often vote with the Republicans. That can be good on some issues, but it’s terrible on this one.

What’s worse is that radio spots and local media campaigns have been launched in the Blue Dog districts. The message is, if they don’t sign the discharge petition, they’re soft on terrorism and Nancy Pelosi “lap dogs.”

We need to urge the Blue Dog Democrats to stick with their fellow Democrats on this issue, by NOT signing the discharge petition. Time is short. And, as you can see, the push is on. So we need to do two things RIGHT NOW . . .

* First, send your elected Representatives a message telling them you oppose warrantless spying and immunity for the telecom companies. If you’ve done this recently, do it again. You can do so here.
* Second, if you’re represented by a Blue Dog Democrat, ALSO call him or her and deliver the same message. Please be sure to tell them that you do NOT want him or her to sign the discharge petition for the Senate FISA revision bill. Here’s the list of names and numbers for the House Blue Dogs . . .

Joe Baca (California) 202-225-6161
John Barrow (Georgia) 202-225-2823
Melissa Bean (Illinois) 202-225-3711
Marion Berry (Arkansas) 202-225-4076
Dan Boren (Oklahoma) 202-225-2701
Leonard Boswell (Iowa) 202-225-3806
Allen Boyd (Florida) 202-225-5235
Christopher Carney (Pennsylvania) 202-225-3731
Jim Cooper (Tennessee) 202-225-4311
Bud Cramer (Alabama) 202-225-4801
Lincoln Davis(Tennessee) 202-225-6831
Brad Ellsworth (Indiana) 202-225-4636
Tim Holden (Pennsylvania) 202-225-5546
Jim Matheson (Utah) 202-225-3011
Charlie Melancon (Louisiana) 202-225-4031
Dennis Moore (Kansas) 202-225-2865
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota) 202-225-2611
Mike Ross (Arkansas) 202-225-3772
Heath Shuler (North Carolina) 202-225-6401
Zack Space (Ohio) 202-225-6265
John Tanner (Tennessee) 202-225-4714

Victory is near. Let’s go the extra mile. Please send a message.

And if your Rep is on the list above, please make a call — because it will make a difference.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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