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November 10, 2006

Warning: Congress coming back in session

In today’s message, we have an action item from our partners at Free Talk Live; a growing nationally-syndicated radio show that runs Downsize DC ads and brings me on their show once per month.

But first, we want to use this Friday message to squeeze in some important items.

To start with, Congress is expected back Tuesday for a “lame-duck session.” With the change in the parties in power, we at believe the public faces tremendous danger from this lame-duck session.

The Congress must pass 10 appropriations bills.

The Republicans have one last chance to do things only majorities can do.

Democrats are looking past this session with only concerns about setting up their first 100 days will go. They want nothing to happen that will damage those honeymoon days.

This is a recipe for trouble.

The real concern is that we may not get “clean bills.” These bills may turn into Christmas trees, with gifts all over and around the tree for various interests.

One particular area concerns us — NSA warrantless surveillance both domestically and on Americans overseas. Hopefully you remember that we were successful in our pre-election objective in delaying this vote until after the election. Now, our new objective is to stop it from coming to a vote until after the new Congress is seated. If we can do this, we have probably defeated the bill.

If Congress just can’t seem to pass the Specter-Cheney compromise on warrantless surveillance, then one part of that bill may be stripped out and secretly inserted in one of these appropriation bills. The part in question is an immunity provision sought by the telecom industry for everyone, both private sector and government employees, who may have provided private information without the proper warrants or national security letters.

As it stands now, it is likely that there are people who have violated the law. The President has all but admitted this. The extent of these violations is unknown, but the American people have a right to know. If retroactive immunity is provided, we the people may lose all leverage to encourage testimony that sheds light on what happened. In fact, we might not find out what happened for decades.

We need clean bills right now. Long term, we need the Read the Bills Act.

This is going to be a tough nine days before Thanksgiving. We need all hands on deck. We need you. Please be ready to gear-up and fight on Monday.

Our second point today… you may have noticed of late that we haven’t sent as many messages as we usually do. I have been traveling and have just returned. There are lots of interesting things happening behind the scenes.

I can’t get into details just yet because I don’t know what will become of this, but during my trip I was engaged in discussions with two different entities about outside projects — side work for me. What’s important about both of these projects to DC Downsizers is that should these things come to pass, they will open up brand new doors of outreach for Downsize DC. One of these opportunities, in particular, could be a big deal for Downsize DC. But I am excited and hopeful about both, and we will keep you posted.

Below my signature is a message from Ian Bernard of Free Talk Live. I encourage you to read his message closely and take action today.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation
&, Inc.


As you may know, Free Talk Live is hosted by Downsize DC supporters. We are on eighteen radio stations and are an award winning podcast. This November, we celebrate four years on-air.

Despite all this success, we couldn’t even scrounge up 600 votes last month. As a result we finished October in 5th place in the monthly podcast voting contest at 

Being in the top ten is good and is fantastic outreach for Downsize DC. Being number one would be a lot better than number five, and would not take many more votes. The number one show had just over 1000 votes. All we need to do to be number one is double our votes this month. That means we need YOUR vote.

Please don’t presume others will take care of it. If you vote, you will help promote Downsize DC and it will only take a moment of your time.

Vote here:  Thank you for your help.

In Liberty,

Ian Bernard
Host, “Free Talk Live”

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