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Just the facts, ma'am. Or at least just the action items. I just thought it would be a good thing to have a site dedicated solely to taking action and leave the pithy rhetoric to other blogs. Contacts: Senate, House and a way to FAX via the web!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

URGENT ACTION: Democracy In Mortal Danger Today!

URGENT ACTION: Democracy In Mortal Danger Today!

A few months ago I first heard about something called a "Sunset Commission". I had an action item related to it in one of my action diaries, but I can't remember when it was and I can't seem to find it now through the search. Anyway, SusanHu's "Dead By Sunset: Kill it, and make it look like an accident" provides us with some background, as does jillian's, "Sunrise...SUNSET COMMISSION. Kiss Protections buhbye." With major props to SusanHu and because I simply cannot write a diary that is as good as hers, I'll excerpt a bit to remind you all of the basics.

"Buried deep in the reams of the new budget is a "sunset" provision that will permit a small commission -- it will be a commission comprised of lobbyists and corporate executives -- to kill the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, even the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The arch-assassin is Bush's longtime friend Clay Johnson, "the most influential member of Bush's inner circle whom you've never heard of," and the Director of the obscure Office of Management and Budget."

In addition to this initial diary, SusanHu also wrote another, "Rolling Stone writer answers your Q's on "Sunset Commission". The author of the Rolling Stone article, Osha Gray Davidson, actually answered some questions in that one. Very cool. You can also read the initial Rolling Stone article here.

The article lays it out for us quite nicely:

"The proposal, spelled out in three short sentences, would give the president the power to appoint an eight-member panel called the "Sunset Commission," which would systematically review federal programs every ten years and decide whether they should be eliminated. Any programs that are not "producing results," in the eyes of the commission, would "automatically terminate unless the Congress took action to continue them.""

Initially, the plan was that the President would choose the members of the Commission, but because that would violate the Separation of Powers, Republicans have decided to fix that problem by giving themselves (with their absolute devotion to dear leader) the power to appoint the Commission members.

More from the Rolling Stone article,

"As director of OMB, an obscure but powerful arm of the White House, he (Johnson) has implemented a "Program Assessment Rating Tool" to evaluate federal programs and cut funding to those that are "not getting results." In reality, though, Johnson uses PART to slash government efforts that don't fit the administration's political agenda. This year's budget eliminates twenty percent of the programs that were rated most effective, including efforts to improve the environment and education, and increases funding for programs that received the lowest possible rating -- including an attempt to reduce the number of poor people claiming a low-income tax credit. ...

The Sunset Commission would go even further. The panel -- which will likely be composed of "experts in management issues," according to one senior OMB official -- will enable the administration to terminate entire government programs that protect citizens against injury and death. Consider what America might look like if Reagan had wielded such an anti-regulatory ax twenty years ago. Abolishing the EPA would have increased air pollution, causing tens of thousands of children to develop chronic respiratory diseases. Terminating the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would have eliminated many protections we now take for granted -- including air bags, child safety seats and automatic seat belts. And getting rid of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would have forestalled workplace regulations that have prevented illnesses among millions of farmworkers."

In other words, EVERY program that we rely on to protect consumers and citizens... from laws that regulate and limit air pollution to workplace safety regulations to which drugs are safe for consumption, could be not only at risk under these Sunset Commissions, but could face utter destruction.

On a whim the Sunset Commission could simply disband the EPA, OSHA, the FDA, etc.

Yes. You read that right.

On a whim the Sunset Commission could simply disband the EPA, OSHA, the FDA, etc.

Now. What can we do?! We've got to stop this, right?!

Absolutely. We've got to make some noise and we've got to make it fast. There are 4 things you can do!!

From OMB Watch:

"Both houses of Congress are planning to vote on controversial legislation that would create an unelected, unaccountable commission with the broad authority to make recommendations to terminate or "realign" federal programs. These recommendations would be forced through Congress on a fast track, take-it-or-leave-it basis with limited debate and no opportunity for amendment."

1. Take Action: Write your representatives to vote "no" on any sunset commission legislation!

2. Click here to learn LOTS more and get info so you can write a Letter to the Editor!!

3. Click here to send a message to ALL your friends and family!!

4. Call your Representative!! General phone number and call script here!

Please take action quickly!! Leave a message if you call, call first thing in the morning AGAIN, pass this info along quickly, and if you feel this is important, please Recommend so that others read and take action quickly as well. Democracy is literally on the line here...more than usual (so sad that I have to say that).

Oh...and one more link that might be helpful for those of you in search of even more info, from Source Watch. This is yet another Norquist approved project by the way.

This is Crossposted at Street Prophets and at Daily Kos!


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