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S 510 : Testor Amendment Means Nothing

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Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Testor Amendment.  – It’ll free my direct sales to consumers. Or so the “opposition” to S. 510 seems to be saying now.

Once I started reading this,  “shock kept me up all night” would be an understatement.

Attempting to understand the logic behind the argument that somehow Legislators and AgriBusiness lobbyists are now “backing down” from the onerous control methods that have been written, fought for, and negotiated since the introduction of S. 510 in March of 2009 – I became even more confused.

Why suddenly would Sally Sunshine be allowed to sell her Strawberries to Safeway with no “involvement” under S 510?

The answer in short is she won’t. The “Grocery Store” will be required to keep records of Sally Sunshine. And in the event of “reasonable belief” or  “reasonable possibility” – Sally Sunshine is going down first.

The language is included here below (partial pages 122 and 123):

(G) GROCERY    STORES.—With    respect to a
17 sale of a food described in subparagraph (H) to
18 a grocery store, the Secretary shall not require
19 such grocery store to maintain records under
20 this subsection other than records documenting
21 the farm that was the source of such food.
The
22 Secretary shall not require that such records be
23 kept for more than 180 days.
24      (H) FARM     SALES TO CONSUMERS.—The
25 Secretary shall not require a farm to maintain
1       any distribution records under this subsection
2       with respect to a sale of a food described in
3       subparagraph (I) (including a sale of a food
4       that is produced and packaged on such farm),
5       if such sale is made by the farm directly to a
6       consumer. More

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DownsizeDC: on Repealing campaign finance and opposing the DISCLOSE act

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DOWNSIZEDC.org We have two new campaigns on our wish-list schedule for next week . . .

1. To repeal the campaign finance laws that protect incumbents and cripple challengers
2. To oppose the so-called DISCLOSE Act that seeks to impose new burdens on free expression in political campaigns More

One Subject At a Time Act……DownsizeDC.org

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D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h


Quote of the Day: “The practice of combining into one Bill Subjects diverse in their nature and having no necessary connection, thereby to secure the passage of several measures, no one of which could succeed on its own merits, both corrupts Congress and endangers the American constitutional republic.” — One Subject At A Time Act, Section 2(f)

Subject: OSTA would prevent monstrosities like the Big Bailout bill

Last week we described how the bailout bill (H.R. 1424) empowered the IRS to do undercover entrapments and reveal your tax information.

What does that have to do with “rescuing the economy?” Nothing.

The bailout bill was stuffed with unrelated provisions to win the votes of pork-minded Congresspeople, and passed quickly before anyone could read it. This made it easy to add provisions that couldn’t have passed by themselves in the full light of day.

The original bailout bill was bad. The final bill was worse. This wouldn’t have happened had the “One Subject At A Time Act” (OSTA) been in force. Here are three examples of how OSTA would have stopped the Big Bailout bill . . .

OSTA says: “No Bill or Joint Resolution shall embrace more than one subject at a time, and that shall be clearly and descriptively expressed in the Title.”

The Big Bailout bill had at least 5 “subjects,” and not all of them were mentioned in the bill’s title.

OSTA says: “An Appropriations Bill shall not contain any general legislation or change of existing law provision, the subject of which is not germane to the subject matter of each such Appropriations Bill…”

The Big Bailout bill combined appropriations (buying troubled assets) with general legislation (such as the Wellstone Mental Health Equity Act).

OSTA says: “A Bill amending or revising a statute shall identify the statute to be amended by its Title or Number of Public Law, or Chapter or Section of the United States Code, and shall set forth completely each section or subsection as it would read if the amendment or revision to that section or subsection were adopted, noting clearly the proposed insertions or deletions to the existing statutory text.”

The Big Bailout bill makes at least 200 amendments to existing laws without revealing the full meaning of the changes. Here’s an example . . .

“Section 257 of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1715z-23) is amended–(1) in subsection (e)–(A) in paragraph (1)(B), by inserting before `a ratio’ the following: `, or thereafter is likely to have, due to the terms of the mortgage being reset,’;”

What does that mean? We don’t have a clue, and neither did those who voted for the bill. They would have had to research each of the 200 original provisions to really understand what they were voting to pass. OSTA would have helped them by requiring the original provision to be printed next to the amendment. OSTA would make bills understandable.

Use our Educate the Powerful System to tell Congress to introduce and pass the One Subject At A Time Act (OSTA).

Use your personal comments in your message to Congress to tell your elected representatives . . .

* It was wrong to include unrelated provisions in the bailout bill — OSTA would have prevented that!
* OSTA will help members of Congress by printing amended provisions of the U.S. Code in the bill next to the amendments
* They are failing in their duty to represent you if they do not introduce the One Subject At A Time Act

Help spread the word about OSTA by sending this Dispatch to others, by reprinting it on your blog, and by “Digging” it on our blog.

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

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org

 

DownsizeDC.org…..Should you pay autoworkers to do nothing?

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D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h


Quote of the Day: “The Constitution poses no serious threat to our form of government.” — Joseph Sobran

Subject: Should you pay autoworkers to do nothing?

If the history of the current era is ever written properly it may be called “The Age of the Government Sponsored Scam.” The examples are piling up. Here’s the latest . . .

Did you know that GM and other automakers with UAW contracts have to pay many of their employees to do nothing! It’s called a Job Bank. Laid-off workers at Ford, GM, and Chrysler are paid 90% of their previous wages to sit in a room at the factory doing nothing! 

Think of what this will mean if the politicians pass a bill to bailout GM, or Chrysler, or Ford. When you go to work you’ll be laboring part of the day to pay some members of the United Auto Workers union to sit and produce nothing.

Doesn’t that sound like a scam to you, and wouldn’t a bailout represent government sponsorship of this scam?

Do you think, perhaps, the Detroit automakers might not need a bailout if they didn’t sign such stupid contracts with the UAW union?

Do you think, perhaps, that no bailout should even be considered as long as such contracts are in place?

Do you think, perhaps, that the Democrats may ignore this problem unless they hear outrage about it from their constituents?

If you have Democratic representatives you may want to ponder whether they represent the unions, or you. Shouldn’t you ask them where their loyalties lie?

Or, if you have Republican representatives, do you think they might make an issue of this if you inform them of it?

And what about your friends, families, and neighbors? Shouldn’t they hear about this too?

Fortunately, the UAW contracts with the Detroit automakers are up for re-negotiation right now.

This is the ideal time to shout this story far and wide. Either . . .

* The UAW will have to give-up their do-nothing Job Banks, and perhaps save the Detroit automakers without the need for a bailout, or . . .
* The proposed bailout will fail in Congress if the Job Banks are still in place

Please do four things . . .

* Forward this message to your friends
* Open a Digg account and Digg this message on our blog, so more people will see it
* Use our
“No Bailouts” campaign to tell Congress that the UAW Job Banks provision makes the idea of a tax-funded bailout completely intolerable
* Use your personal comments to ask Democratic representatives whether they represent you, or the unions, and ask Republican representatives to make a major issue of this

Close the Gap Progress Report
(feel free to remove this section if you’re forwarding this message to others, or re-posting it on your blog)

Two major donors have promised to give Downsize DC $50,000 if we could raise another $39,000 from people on this list.As soon as we’ve reached the goal we’ll have next year’s entire operating budget covered.

We’ll use most of any additional money we raise to . . .

* Rent lists of politically engaged people
* Send them a letter describing RTBA and OSTA  
* Ask them to join Downsize DC for free, by subscribing to the Downsizer Dispatch
* Make a pitch for funds so we can send more RTBA/OSTA letters to more potential recruits

The Downsize DC Army will start to grow at a rapid rate.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h
is the official email list of
DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation

CONTRIBUTE to the Electronic Lobbyist project

http://www.DownsizeDC.org is sponsored by DownsizeDC.org, Inc. — a non-profit educational organization promoting the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets, and small government.

 

DownsizeDC.org….Iraqi’s need referendum on continued US Occupation

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D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h


Quotes of the Day:

“You can’t walk around unless you’ve got flak jackets, helmets on all the time, no matter where you are. It’s always struck me it’s almost like a Fellini movie, kind of unreal. The American people are told things are stable and secure, and violence is down. No American would walk outside there without a convoy!” — Chuck Hagel, upon returning from Baghdad

“At long last, the fragile state of Somalia seems to be slowly resurfacing from a searing bout of violence and humanitarian crisis. Interestingly, the light at the end of this decades-long tunnel is not burning at the behest of the United States or the United Nations; rather, it burns because Somali leaders, both within the government and without, have banded together. Frustrated by failed foreign interventions, they are now seeking sustainable Somali-based solutions. The key to success, going forward, is to keep it Somali-led. Further intervention from neighboring Ethiopia or the United States will be ruinous.” — Michael Shank, Communications Director, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Senior Analyst at Foreign Policy In Focus

Subject: Real “Change” in Iraq

Many people think the U.S. occupation of Iraq has become a non-issue, for two reasons . . .

1. Violence is down
2. The U.S. government signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to continue the occupation

We feel differently. We think the occupation is still an issue, because . . .

* American soldiers continue to die
* The factions in Iraq haven’t reached a settlement, and have no incentive to do so as long as we remain there
* Somalia and Lebanon show that stable societies are grown from within, not engineered from without
* The “agreement” to continue the occupation was signed by a U.S. government that has now been repudiated
* The public legitimacy of the Iraqi government is also highly questionable
* The dollars being spent in Iraq belong in the pockets of struggling U.S. taxpayers

This is why we think the occupation is still an issue. We still want the occupation to end. We want change.

Barack Obama won election by promising change. He distinguished himself from Hillary Clinton and John McCain by having always opposed the Iraq invasion, and by promising to leave Iraq sooner rather than later. Iraq was a key issue to millions of Obama voters. Will they get the change they sought? Consider these points . . .

* Pro-war Congressman Rahm Emmanuel will be Obama’s Chief of Staff
* Pro-war Senator Clinton may become his Secretary of State
* Robert Gates, who favors an indefinite occupation, may remain as Secretary of Defense

With top advisers like these, who needs neo-con bogeymen? Perhaps in DC-speak, “change” means “let’s fool the yokels who think elections matter, and give them more of the same.”

Are we being too harsh on Obama too soon? We think not. We think our skepticism is justified. Remember . . .

We now know that George W. Bush was already scheming to invade Iraq when he promised us a “humble foreign policy,” and “no nation-building.” He also stocked his cabinet with aggressive interventionists, just like Obama has started to do.

This is how politicians behave. They promise one thing and do another. Obama is a politician, therefore . . .

We assume the worst.

And remember, Senator Obama voted to “legalize” warrantless spying. This, all by itself, is enough to justify extreme skepticism about our incoming president, no matter how much we may like him as a person.

If we want real change we’re going to have to demand it, constantly. Eternal vigilance!

The main argument for the occupation has been, “We broke it, so we must fix it.” But what if the Iraqi people don’t want us to “fix” them? What if they don’t want us there?

We think Congress should pass a resolution asking the Iraqi government to hold a public referendum on the U.S. occupation. This resolution would . . . 

* Show respect to the Iraqi people
* Potentially legitimize the occupation, or end it
* Tell the President-elect that the American people still want what he promised — to leave Iraq

If you don’t buy the argument that Iraq has become a non-issue, and you do buy our argument that the Iraqi people must . . .

A. Settle their own differences
B. Be allowed to say yes or no to the U.S. occupation

And if you want to . . .

* Save American lives
* Save your tax dollars

Then . . .

Please tell Congress to pass a resolution requesting an Iraqi referendum on the occupation. You can do so using our quick-and-easy Educate the Powerful System.

Please also . . .

* Forward this message to others or re-post it on your own blog
* Digg this message on our blog.

Thank you for being part of our growing Downsize DC army.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h
is the official email list of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation

CONTRIBUTE to the Electronic Lobbyist project

http://www.DownsizeDC.org is sponsored by DownsizeDC.org, Inc. — a non-profit educational organization promoting the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets, and small government.

You are encouraged to forward this message to friends and business associates, and permission is hereby granted to reproduce any items herein as long as attribution is provided for articles and the subscription instructions above are included.

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D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h


Quote of the Day: “If I want to be free from any other man’s dictation, I must understand that I can have no other man under my control.” — William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) Source: “The Forgotten Man and Other Essays,” 1919

Subject: Will seven years of damage to civil liberties be reversed? 

We heard it repeatedly: “Change we can believe in.” That’s what the President-elect promised. Do you expect it?

Well, we’re going to demand it.

Our civil liberties were trashed during the last seven years.

Habeas Corpus. Torture. Warrantless spying. And more. Where do we begin? For one thing . . .

We want President Obama to tell us the magnitude of the Bush Administration’s warrantless spying on Americans. 

In 2005 the New York Times exposed the so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program.” They had to rush the story to publish the story before the Bush Administration could stop it with an injunction. The story scared the Bush administration. And rightly so.

They were breaking the law. Someone should’ve gone to jail. But the Bush Administration had cajones — big brass ones.

First, they stonewalled, misdirected, and refused to provide documents to Congress. They even subpoenaed the phone records of the investigating reporters.

Then they demanded that Congress legalize their crimes retroactively, and immunize the phone companies that had conspired with them.

It took two years, but the Bush administration got what it wanted.

First, they had to wait for an election to provide a Congressional majority of “change Democrats.” It was the Democrats who gave the president his “get out of jail free card.”

One notable “change Democrat” showed us what change really means. His name was Barack Obama. He changed from his 2006 stance and voted to give President Bush the unconstitutional powers and immunity from prosecution that President Bush so desperately wanted and needed.

Call me cynical, but perhaps the aspiring President Obama was looking ahead and decided he wanted those powers too. If so, it may be wishful thinking to hope that our “change” president will tell us where the bodies are buried — even though he could simply direct his team to do so. But actually, our hopes are more well-founded.

To begin with, we could get an accounting from whistleblowers. As our coalition partner, Caroline Frederickson at the ACLU, told the New York Times, “I’d bet there are a lot of career employees in the intelligence agencies who’ll be glad to see Obama take the oath so they can finally speak out against all this illegal spying and get back to their real mission.”

And the Times has also reported that, “New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh already has a slew of sources waiting to spill the Bush administration’s darkest secrets. ‘You cannot believe how many people have told me to call them on January 20.’ said Hersh.”

If the whistleblowers step forward, then all we need is simply for President Obama to stay out of the way. That would be sufficient “change” in this instance.

Second, there are going to be some “musical chairs” that will “change” the leadership of various Senate Committees. CQ reports, “John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., might give up the Intelligence gavel to take the helm at the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. If that happens, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. is likely to chair the Intelligence panel.”

Senator Rockefeller was too accommodating to the Bush Administration. Senator Feinstein is no friend of civil liberties, but she’s been better than Rockefeller. 

So “change” is possible, and will become more possible if we continue to push for it. Perhaps we all need to say, “Yes, we can!” 

The best way to continue to apply pressure for real change is to ask for a complete reversal of President Bush’s trashing of our civil liberties. The best way to do that is to constantly pressure Congress to pass Ron Paul’s “American Freedom Agenda Act.”

This bill is so good that it’s supported by progressives, conservatives, and libertarians.

Please use our Educate the Powerful System to send another message to your elected representatives asking them to co-sponsor the “American Freedom Agenda Act.”

Use your personal comments to remind them that the election was about change, so change it what you want. Bush’s policies were repudiated, so they should also be repealed. The “American Freedom Agenda Act” does that.

Remember, stay tuned to these Dispatches. On Friday we plan to announce an exciting new project that will increase the speed at which the Downsize DC Army grows.

And thank you for being a part of that army.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h
is the official email list of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation

CONTRIBUTE to the Electronic Lobbyist project

http://www.DownsizeDC.org is sponsored by DownsizeDC.org, Inc. — a non-profit educational organization promoting the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets, and small government.

downsizedc.org………Repeal Real ID

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   upc_v3b_icon                    Repeal the REAL ID Act

https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/30

The REAL ID Act creates a centralized federal database of personal information about all Americans. Decisions about the exact nature and scope of this program will be made by unelected bureaucrats in the Executive Branch. It seems inevitable that biometric information and electronic tracking tags will be included at some point. No one intends a bad use for this system today, but it is inevitable that it will be used in bad ways in the future.

We are promised increased personal security in return for laying this new “foundation stone” for the creation of a future police state. But those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither, and will have neither.

Many good arguments can be made against REAL ID, but they all reduce to one overpowering truth. The more information government has the less it seems to know. The more power government has the less it seems able to accomplish. Big Government doesn’t work. The federal government needs to do less in order to accomplish more. Small government is focused government. We need smaller government, not a massive new federal identification system. Please ask Congress to repeal the REAL ID Act.

Sending a message is easy. You can write as much or as little as you want. And we start with a brief sentence or two for you. We do this so that . . .

  • The most important point of this campaign is not lost on the Congressional office.
  • No one can hijack our system for a purpose inconsistent with Downsizing DC.
  • But you can still personalize the rest of your message — explain why you were motivated to send this message, or what you believe is the most compelling argument in support of your position.

Are these messages read even with so many folks sending a common first line? You bet they are! Congress cannot afford not to pay attention. And many DC Downsizers get responses from their Congressmen. If you receive a letter, feel free to share it with us at comments@DownsizeDC.org.

  • If you’ve used our Educate the Powerful SystemSM before just enter your user email address and password, and hit GO. You’ll be taken to a screen where you can add your own comments to the message to your elected representatives.
  • If you’re using our Educate the Powerful SystemSM for the first time, please fill out the form for new users. This information is used to direct your message to the correct Senators. Please provide your own password. Do not let the system create one for you. Remember your password. It will allow you to use our system easily in the future for other issues.

The REAL ID Act is a bad law passed under false pretenses. It was rejected three separate times by the U.S. Senate, and was only passed because it was added to a larger bill containing disaster relief and funding for Iraq. The Senate didn’t want it, and the American people don’t want it either. But the Republican majority leadership in Congress imposed it on us, and so now we have to fight to get it repealed.

Go here for more information:

https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/30

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