DownsizeDC.org
December 26, 2007
Radio ads!
By Perry Willis
Today's Downsizer Dispatch . . . Subject: Radio ads! In our last message before Christmas we asked you if you like Congressman Ron Paul's "American Freedom Agenda Act. Remember, the American Freedom Agenda Act would repeal . . . * Torture. * Rendition. * Detention without due process. * Warrantless wiretapping. * Punishing Whistleblowers. * Presidential Signing Statements. We also asked . . . If you were going to do the most good for Congressman Ron Paul's American Freedom Agenda Act, how would you do it, where would you do it, and when would you do it? Here are our answers . . . We want to see additional, Congressional co-sponsors for the American Freedom Agenda Act (HR 3835). Provided we can obtain the funding, we're going to run radio ads. A draft script for one of those ads comes later in this message. We want to run the first of these DownsizeDC.org ads in the Detroit, Michigan area, home to the largest community of Arab-Americans in the country -- a community that understands the loss of these liberties. It is our hope that these ads will attract supporters to DownsizeDC.org. So we want to get these ads on air as quickly as possible. However, a radio ad that so much as mentioned a presidential candidate's name within 30 days of a primary was illegal under the McCain-Feingold law. This was the "electioneering communications" provision of that law. Many DC Downsizers will remember that WE, along with Ron Paul, challenged the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold. We took our case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. DownsizeDC.org remains on the cutting edge of campaign finance law. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court accepted a challenge to the electioneering communications provision of McCain-Feingold. We co-signed an amicus brief in that case. In a majority opinion, written by the Chief Justice, the Court found that organizations (like DownsizeDC.org) should be able to speak out on issues, regardless of what time of year it is, so long as they aren't clearly supporting a candidate. The new Federal Election Commission regulations, based on that Supreme Court decision, were published today, and now that they're published, those regs are considered the law. Therefore, DownsizeDC.org is the first 501(c)(4) organization in the country to launch a radio ad project under the new rules. Together, DC Downsizers are exercising our remaining First Amendment rights regarding issues -- issues we all care about, passionately. DownsizeDC.org does not endorse candidates for public office for both legal and long-term strategic purposes. Legally, we cannot endorse candidates. And our strategic purposes for NOT doing so are spelled out in a 16 page report we call, "The Downsize DC Vision." We send copies to all donors. You can get one by giving. But it is most unfortunate that unconstitutional regulations remain. We wanted to launch this project five weeks ago. But we had to consult, extensively, with attorneys. And now, we must go out of our way to establish that we're not endorsing or supporting any candidate (once again, just to be clear, we're not). Plus, we must report, to the Federal Election Commission, any contributions to this project of $1,000 or more, in much the same way a campaign must report those contributions (Madison continues to roll over in his grave). We've also found it necessary to establish an entirely separate contribution structure, complete with new accounts and new systems. If you want to contribute to run these ads you can do so, using that new account, here. On top of that, we might need to be financially prepared for a legal challenge after the ads have aired -- a challenge to see that we dotted every "i" and crossed every "t." So why are we going through all of this trouble? Because Ron Paul has only two co-sponsors for the American Freedom Agenda Act (HR 3835) -- Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Peter Welch (D-VT). But the Presidential campaign season has a way of focusing the attention of our fellow citizens. This is a unique opportunity to draw attention to one of the very most important bills in Congress. We at DownsizeDC.org believe the American Freedom Agenda Act should have dozens of co-sponsors -- not just Kucinich and Welch. And if people hear about it, theyll come to DownsizeDC.org and demand their representatives join Ron Paul and co-sponsor the American Freedom Agenda Act. Frankly, we find this all a bit unfortunate. We don't appreciate this seasonal frenzy. Nor do we value the "cults of personality" that election campaigns create. We're a watchdog group that tends to not trust politicians, regardless of party. We believe it is more efficient and of greater importance to hold the feet of incumbent politicians to the fire. That's what we do, all year round, and were relentless about it. These ads will help us hold incumbents accountable, just in a different way. These ads will, hopefully, help get co-sponsors for this vital bill -- the American Freedom Agenda Act (HR 3835). These ads will also help us do the thing that matters most (long term) -- attract new DC Downsizers to our growing Army. Now, we head to the studio to make the ads. Here is a draft script for one of the ads (each voice is marked, concluding with mine). . . Narrator (N): It's been said that, "America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, it will cease to be great." To be good America must be more than just a Homeland. It must be . . . #1: An ideal. #2: A shining city on a hill. #3: A beacon of hope to the world. N: Out of fear, America has turned its back on greatness. Now we have . . . #1: Torture #2: Warrantless wiretapping. #3: Permanent detention without due process N: Out of fear, Congress has handed Czar-like powers to the President . . . #1: Crackdowns on whistleblowers. #2: Secret evidence in Secret Courts. #3: Signing statements. N: One bill promises to undo these evils, restoring American goodness . . . #1: The American Freedom Agenda Act N: Introduced in Congress. . . #2: By Ron Paul. N: The American Freedom Agenda Act is supported by conservatives and progressives. #3: It restores the American ideal. N: But it needs more support in Congress. Use Downsize DC dot org to tell your representatives to co-sponsor Ron Paul's bill. #1: Tell Congress to pass this bill at Downsize DC dot org. JB: DownsizeDC.org is responsible for the content of this advertising and no candidate or candidate's committee authorized this message. Everyone who contributes to this project will receive a copy of our 16-page, glossy report, "The Downsize DC Vision." In addition, those who contribute $76 or more, specifically to air these ads, will have their name listed in the left hand, green strip on the Radio Ad page for the "Support Ron Paul's American Freedom Agenda Act." Donors will be listed in rank order, with the largest donor getting the first line -- the slot we call the "John Hancock line." But if we don't raise sufficient funds, we'll use the money for other projects. There's no shortage of opportunities right now. On the other hand, if contributions flood in, we'll expand and broadcast ads in other cities. So your contribution is urgent. Please give all that you can. Even if you're mailing a check, please use the contribution form. Checks that arrive without this form will be deposited in our general fund. NO EXCEPTIONS. So please print out the form, fill it in completely, and enclose it with a check made out to DownsizeDC.org, Inc. The mailing address is listed on the bottom of that form. And whether you can send money or not, you can send a message to your represenatives in Congress, urging them to co-sponsor HR 3835, the American Freedom Agenda Act. Thank you for being a DC Downsizer, Jim Babka President DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
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