Sunday, June 23, 2013

How Do You Figure Out Who To Vote For? How Do You Figure Out Where Politicians Stand On Ed Snowden?


The easiest-- and laziest-- way to vote without following exactly what our political elites are doing every day, is to just vote against all Republicans and for all Democrats. It's certainly what Democratic Party leaders like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Steve Israel, Steny Hoyer and Michael Bennet want you to be... but those are all people who I would never vote for in a million years, not even against the worst Republicans conjured up from the pit of hell. But I do follow what our political elites are doing every day.

Another way to figure out who to vote for and who to vote against would be based on an issue. Say you're a student with a Stafford Loan, for example, is a few days you may have to drop out of college because conservatives are forcing the loan rate to double. You can't just vote against all Republicans and for all Democrats. 4 Democrats, for example, voted with most Republicans to increase the rate: Jared Polis (New Dem-CO), Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY), Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL) and Scott Peters (New Dem-CA). And 8 Republicans voted against the awful bill, although most of them-- Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Tom Graves (R-GA), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR)-- voted against it because it doesn't inflict enough pain on students. Only Walter Jones (R-NC) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats because they realized John Kline's bill was unfair and harmful to the country. Still, most Democrats proved good on this and most Republicans proved bad. That's normal.

Like in the case of raising the minimum wage. That was defeated in Congress and it was defeated by Republicans, right/ Well, yes but... there were six Democrats who hate working people as much as Republicans do and voted NO: John Barrow (Blue Dog/New Dem-GA), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog/New Dem-NC), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog/New Dem-OR) and Bill Owens (New Dem-NY). If raising the minimum wage is important to you, you don't want to be caught dead voting for those 6 reactionaries. Safe voting against every single Republican, though. Not even one voted to raise the minimum wage! So again, most Democrats were good, all Republicans were bad. But that isn't always the case. When it comes to trade policies, war and peace and other issues involving the Military Industrial Complex and civil liberties, the political elites move out of the partisan divide assumptions. If these are important issues for you, you can't just vote for Democrats. Tons of them-- not a handful-- as bad as Republicans.

Last April, after the CISPA vote in the House, I asked a simple question: who betrayed us? CISPA passed 288-127, 92 mostly conservative Democrats joining all but 29 Republicans. Nancy Pelosi and Grayson rallied 98 Democrats against it. Even Obama opposed it! Among the Democrats making common cause with Boehner and Cantor Thursday were many of the usual suspects, Blue Dogs and New Dems, led by Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel, Jim Himes, Allyson Schwartz and Ron Kind. So 92 bad Democrats and 98 good Democrats... a little close for comfort, isn't it? Allyson Schwartz (New Dem-PA) is running for governor of Pennsylvania now. You want to trust her? There are much better Democrats in the primary. Colleen Hanabusa (New Dem-HI), a very corrupt shill for the Military Industrial Complex, is running against progressive Senator Brian Schatz. He opposed CISPA and she was for it. There's no Republican in the equation, just one good Democrat and one very bad one. Steve Israel and Steny Hoyer were able to lead a lot of conservative freshmen and cowardly freshmen along with them as they crossed the aisle. Do you want to vote for them next year? Some, like Patrick Murphy, Scott Peters, Kyrsten Sinema and Sean Maloney, have a clear pattern across issues of always voting with the Republicans and need to be defeated. Others, like Hakeem Jeffries, Joyce Beatty, Tony Cárdenas, Marc Veasy and Lois Frankel are usually pretty good and shouldn't be judged on just one bad vote.
Ron Barber (New Dem-AZ)
Joyce Beatty (OH)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Julia Brownley (CA)
Cheri Bustos (IL)
Tony Cárdenas (CA)
Tammy Duckworth (IL)
Bill Enyart (IL)
Bill Foster (New Dem-IL)
Lois Frankel (FL)
Pete Gallego (Blue Dog-TX)
Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL)
Steven Horsford (NV)
Hakeem Jeffries (NY)
Robin Kelly (IL)
Derek Kilmer (New Dem-WA)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Ann Kuster (NH)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM)
Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY)
Sean Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Grace Meng (NY)
Patrick Maloney (New Dem-FL)
Donald Payne (NJ)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Brad Schneider (New Dem-IL)
Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ)
Eric Swalwell (CA)
Dina Titus (NV)
Juan Vargas (New Dem-CA)
Marc Veasey (TX)
Filemon Vela (New Dem-TX)
Or you can play a mental game. Take something that matters to you and guess where your congressman would stand on it. For example, Saturday, Julian Assange, writing from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London explained how Ed Snowden's ordeal is just beginning. Congress hasn't voted on it yet. A couple dozen have spoken out against Snowden's persecution and quite a few have been screaming for his head, few as grotesquely as Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Rogers (R-MI), but lots... and on both sides of the aisle. Read Assange's letter and figure out where your congressmember would stand.
It has now been a year since I entered this embassy and sought refuge from persecution.

As a result of that decision, I have been able to work in relative safety from a US espionage investigation.

But today, Edward Snowden’s ordeal is just beginning.

Two dangerous runaway processes have taken root in the last decade, with fatal consequences for democracy.

Government secrecy has been expanding on a terrific scale.

Simultaneously, human privacy has been secretly eradicated.

A few weeks ago, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on an ongoing program-- involving the Obama administration, the intelligence community and the internet services giants-- to spy on everyone in the world.

As if by clockwork, he has been charged with espionage by the Obama administration.

The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off.

It is getting to the point where the mark of international distinction and service to humanity is no longer the Nobel Peace Prize, but an espionage indictment from the US Department of Justice.

Edward Snowden is the eighth leaker to be charged with espionage under this president.

Bradley Manning’s show trial enters its fourth week on Monday.

After a litany of wrongs done to him, the US government is trying to convict him of "aiding the enemy."

The word "traitor" has been thrown around a lot in recent days.

But who is really the traitor here?

Who was it who promised a generation "hope" and "change," only to betray those promises with dismal misery and stagnation?

Who took an oath to defend the US constitution, only to feed the invisible beast of secret law devouring it alive from the inside out?

Who is it that promised to preside over The Most Transparent Administration in history, only to crush whistleblower after whistleblower with the bootheel of espionage charges?

Who combined in his executive the powers of judge, jury and executioner, and claimed the jurisdiction of the entire earth on which to exercise those powers?

Who arrogates the power to spy on the entire earth - every single one of us-- and when he is caught red handed, explains to us that "we’re going to have to make a choice."

Who is that person?

Let’s be very careful about who we call "traitor."

Edward Snowden is one of us.

Bradley Manning is one of us.

They are young, technically minded people from the generation that Barack Obama betrayed.

They are the generation that grew up on the internet, and were shaped by it.

The US government is always going to need intelligence analysts and systems administrators, and they are going to have to hire them from this generation and the ones that follow it.

One day, their generation will run the NSA, the CIA and the FBI.

This isn’t a phenomenon that is going away.

This is inevitable.

And by trying to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges, the US government is taking on a generation, and that is a battle it is going to lose.

This isn’t how to fix things.

The only way to fix things is this:

• Change the policies.
• Stop spying on the world.
• Eradicate secret law.
• Cease indefinite detention without trial.
• Stop assassinating people.
• Stop invading other countries and sending young Americans off to kill and be killed.
• Stop the occupations, and discontinue the secret wars.
• Stop eating the young: Edward Snowden, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Aaron Swartz, Gottfrid Svartholm, Jacob Appelbaum, and Bradley Manning.

The charging of Edward Snowden is intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights.

That tactic must not be allowed to work.

The effort to find asylum for Edward Snowden must be intensified.

What brave country will stand up for him, and recognize his service to humanity?

Tell your governments to step forward.

Step forward and stand with Snowden.

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