DownsizeDC.org
May 2, 2012
The CISPA Swindle
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "You need to read the bill because many times people are shocked, ‘I can’t believe that this bill is having this unfortunate, unintended consequence!’ What are you talking about? That’s what the bill said when you signed it." - Ed Begley, Jr., from Jerrol LeBaron's film Fools on the Hill

Despite growing protests, the House passed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) last Thursday, 248-168. The House ignored you and bought the hype. You can see how your Representative voted: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll192.xml

The bill, and the process in passing it, was a fraud. And, like the Iraq War and NDAA, it seems the House EAGERLY WANTED to be lied to about CISPA.

Your so-called "representatives" are monkeys who can see no evil and hear no evil (they can still speak evil, unfortunately).

But our numbers are growing, and the fight isn't over. Let's get to the root of the issue, as we DC Downsizers are prone to do.

DownsizeDC.org's Read the Bills Act protects you from Congressional fraud.

As it turns out, we NEEDED it in the fight against CISPA.

And that's why I wrote this letter to my Representative and Senators...

The Read the Bills Act would have exposed the lies that led to the House passing the CISPA "cybersecurity" bill (HR 3523).

I'll name just two of the lies.

Lie #1: The House Majority Whip's website said that the CISPA vote would take place on Friday, April 27. (http://majorityleader.gov/floor/weekly.html)

Instead, on Thursday, the vote was unexpectedly moved up to that evening, less than an hour after amendments were passed.

Why the rush?

Isn't this exactly the kind of stunt Republican leaders used to complain about when the Democrats controlled the House?

Yes, it is.

Lie #2: CISPA is about cybersecurity.

The Quayle Amendment exposes this lie. It essentially changed the very purpose of the bill, by expressly permitting the federal government to use the information it collects to investigate certain crimes that have absolutely NOTHING to do with cybersecurity.

At first impression, the Quayle Amendment seemed to set some limits on the feds. But in reality it broadened CISPA's purpose and scope. (http://bit.ly/J0k5N7). This means...

If you voted for the Quayle Amendment and for the bill as a whole, you have admitted that CISPA was never really about cybersecurity at all.

CISPA is a scheme to allow the feds to collect and use more of my personal data.

How, then, can I trust the legislative process?

How can I trust anyone in Congress?

And if you voted for it, how can I trust you?

I can't. You can begin to redeem yourself by introducing and passing the Read the Bills Act.

Under RTBA, final votes on bills will be voted on at least seven days after all amendments have been considered -- instead of mere minutes.

And, the seven-day period gives the public time to express their opinions to you. Final versions of bills would be posted online.

Most importantly, it would give members of Congress time to read bills. In fact, it would require that they have read the bills for which they intend to vote YES. After all, why should I be accountable to know and follow laws that you haven't even read?

The RTBA might well have prevented swindles like CISPA. If you'd like to earn my trust, introduce the Read the Bills Act.

END LETTER

I urge you to tell Congress to introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act. You may copy from or borrow from the above letter, and send it through DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

DownsizeDC.org keeps track of bills passed by Congress. Go to our blog to see what the Senate and House passed, as well as the number of pages of the bills. Today we have posted the bills for:

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

P.S. Jerrol LeBaron is the "star" of "Fools on the Hill," a movie about how legislators do their jobs. He focuses on how they don't read their bills, and he's charged up about making them do just that. The film contains powerful ideas, including...

  • State legislators are in the minor leagues; someday, some of them will be members of Congress.
  • Not only do they fail to read the bills, but in a stunning scene, you'll see they don't even vote for the bills.
  • Bills are written, with multiple subjects, to buy votes, then rushed through so opposition lacks time to organize.

Jerrol's non-fictional character is a political everyman. The story is told with a healthy mix of celebrities and media figures, and it's designed, from start to finish, to share these ideas with people who aren't overtly political.

You can view a trailer and learn how to order the DVD at FoolsOnTheHillMovie.com.

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