Posts tagged Senator
Senator to Snowden: ‘You have done the right thing’
While some current members of Congress continue to rally for the prosecution of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, a long-serving United States senator has sent a letter of support to the NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower.
According to correspondence published Tuesday by the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, former two-term senator Gordon Humphrey (R-New Hampshire) wrote the exiled Mr. Snowden to say, “you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution.”
Snowden, 31, is currently in Russia where he has applied for temporary asylum while he awaits assistance in traveling to one of the Latin American countries that have approved similar requests. He is wanted for espionage and other charges in the US after fleeing in May and providing Greenwald and other journalists with classified NSA documents detailing vast surveillance programs operated by the US government.
The US Department of Justice has asked Russia repeatedly to return Snowden to the US, and his revelations and conduct have caused commotion across Washington and the rest of the world. But while the administration of President Barack Obama continues to insist Snowden is sent back to the US to stand trial, Humphrey has words nowhere near as harsh.
“Having served in the United States Senate for twelve years as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee, I think I have a good grounding to reach my conclusion,” the former lawmaker wrote.
“I wish you well in your efforts to secure asylum and encourage you to persevere,” Humphrey added.
When contacted by Greenwald for verification, Humphrey wrote a second letter, which has since been shared by the Guardian journalist.
“Yes. It was I who sent the email message to Edward Snowden, thanking him for exposing astonishing violations of the US Constitution and encouraging him to persevere in the search for asylum,” Humphrey wrote Greenwald.
“To my knowledge, Mr. Snowden has disclosed only the existence of a program and not details that would place any person in harm’s way. I regard him as a courageous whistleblower,” he continued.
“I object to the monumentally disproportionate campaign being waged by the US government against Edward Snowden, while no effort is being made to identify, remove from office and bring to justice those officials who have abused power, seriously and repeatedly violating the Constitution of the United States and the rights of millions of unsuspecting citizens.”
“Americans concerned about the growing arrogance of our government and its increasingly menacing nature should be working to help Mr. Snowden find asylum. Former Members of Congress, especially, should step forward and speak out,” he concluded.
In a letter sent in response from Snowden to the former senator, the NSA leaker thanked Humphrey and wrote, “I only wish more of our lawmakers shared your principles,” adding that “the actions I’ve taken would not have been necessary” had these conversations occurred years earlier on Capitol Hill.
“The media has distorted my actions and intentions to distract from the substance of Constitutional violations and instead focus on personalities,” Snowden wrote. “It seems they believe every modern narrative requires a bad guy. Perhaps it does. Perhaps, in such times, loving one’s country means being hated by its government.”
“If history proves that be so, I will not shy from that hatred,” he wrote. “I will not hesitate to wear those charges of villainy for the rest of my life as a civic duty, allowing those governing few who dared not do so themselves to use me as an excuse to right these wrongs.”
F2C2012: Aaron Swartz keynote – “How we stopped SOPA”
Published on May 22, 2012
Aaron Swartz keynote – “How we stopped SOPA” at F2C:Freedom to Connect 2012, Washington DC on May 21 2012.
Flashback: Dem Sen. Dianne Feinstein, “I Carried A Concealed Weapon, If Somebody Was Going To Try And Take Me Out, I Was Going To Take Them With Me”…
Hard to believe this is the same woman who is now leading the Democrats gun control efforts.
“I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms. I walked to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon and I made the determination if somebody was going to try and take me out, I was going to take them with me.”
By William Amos
From NBC NY:
New York state Sen. Shirley Huntley says she expects to be arrested Monday amid a continuing investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into state grants she provided nonprofit organizations.
The Queens Democrat is facing New York City Councilman James Sanders Jr. in a tough Sept. 13 Democratic primary. Schneiderman is investigating nonprofit social service and education groups that Huntley funded in part with state grants. Indictments accuse some of the groups’ executives of theft. Huntley has denies wrongdoing.
By Jonathan Terbush
An Iowa woman who was running for a state Senate seat has dropped that bid after deciding the U.S. government is a sham, and has instead unilaterally declared herself a U.S. Senator from the Republic of Iowa in an alternative government, the Republic for the United States of America.
As Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register first reported, the candidate, Randi Shannon, had been running for the state’s 34th Senate district. However, she recently came to believe that the real U.S. government was replaced with an illegal one after the Civil War so, rather than continue her state-level pursuit, she dropped that bid and named herself a Senator of the what she thinks is the true government.
In a letter fittingly posted to her campaign’s Facebook page on July 4, Shannon wrote that the country was founded as the Republic for The United States for America in 1787, and that it remained as such until the 1860s, when it was abandoned during the Civil War. Once the war ended, she wrote, the government was replaced by the, “UNITED STATES CORPORATION,” [sic] which has endured to this day as the nation’s farcical governing body.
By Cora Currier
ProPublica, June 13, 2012
This morning, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, faced a Senate hearing over more than $2 billion in bank losses caused by risky hedges that blew up. Dimon said that the hedges—investments meant to protect the bank—had grown into “complex and hard-to manage risks.” The losses “let a lot of people down, and we are sorry for it.”
Many lawmakers are holding up the losses as evidence of the need for stronger financial regulation. The chairman of the Senate banking committee, Tim Johnson, D-S.D., in his opening remarks, asked for “a full accounting” of JP Morgan’s losses.
But through campaign contributions and well-connected staff, JP Morgan appears to have already taken its own accounting of the Banking committee. Here’s a picture of connections between the company and the committee:
Do you like eating natural, raw, or unprocessed food?
Republican Senators Corker and Alexander in Tennessee have just voted against food freedom by allowing the FDA to raid farmers, natural food stores, and people who sell/posses raw unprocessed foods at gunpoint!!!
Small-government Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky offered an amendment which would prevent the FDA from carrying firearms or making arrests during raids without a warrant. Senators Corker and Alexander voted AGAINST Rand Paul’s amendment by voting to table it.
Senators Corker and Alexander must think it is ok for the FDA to point a gun at you if you like eating healthy food.
If you want more details read these two blog posts:
Watch Senator Rand Paul’s speech on the FDA and raw foods:
Here are videos of actual raids that have taken place by the FDA – don’t think it can’t happen to you:
Reason.tv: Rawesome Foods Raided… Again!
Zach Weissmueller | August 4, 2011
A little more than a year ago, Rawesome Foods, a health food co-op based in Venice, California was the target of an armed raid by several agencies, and the resulting video went viral.
On August 3, 2011, Rawesome experienced another multi-agency raid, but this one resulted in the arrest of the establishment’s owner James Stewart.
Stewart, and Sharon Palmer, the farmer who supplies him with raw goat milk, are being held on bails in excess of $100,000 and are each charged with four felonies and several more misdemeanors. Some examples of the charges are “processing unpasteurized milk,” “improper labeling of food,” and “improper egg temperatures.”
The government has kept pursuing Stewart and his club for years, despite a lack of any reports of illness or injury from consumption of his foods. Rawesome members argue that they are part of a private club, not subject to government regulation, and that they are being persecuted for their alternative lifestyles.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office would not comment for this video, but offered this press release and also released a list of the charges against Stewart and Palmer.
Reason.tv covered the first Rawesome raid shown below.
Reason.tv: Raw Foods Raid – The Fight for the Right to Eat What You Want
Zach Weissmueller | November 17, 2010
This summer armed government agents raided Rawesome Foods, a Venice, California health food co-op. What were the agents after? Unpasteurized milk, it turns out.
Raw milk raids are happening all over the United States. The Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk consumption can cause health problems, but a growing community of raw foods enthusiasts are ignoring government recommendations and claiming that they are getting tastier, more nutritious food by going raw.
Reason.tv visited Rawesome to examine the circumstances of the raid and discovered that this particular raw foods case stretches across county lines and involves at least five separate government agencies, despite the fact that not a single member of Rawesome has complained or been harmed by the raw foods. In fact, members have to sign a contract stating that they understand and accept the risks of consuming raw foods before they are allowed to step inside.
If members of a private club sign a waiver stating that they want to drink a certain type of milk, why is the government getting involved? As Jarel Winterhawk, a manager at Rawesome, puts it, “This is America. How are you going to tell me what I can and cannot eat?”
Though no charges have yet resulted from the raid, Rawesome is threated with shutdown due to the involvement of yet another government agency, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, and the club’s raw goat milk supplier, Healthy Family Farms, has had its dairy license suspended.
“Raw Foods Raid” is written and produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Alex Manning and Weissmueller. Senior Producer is Ted Balaker. Music by Jami Sieber, Five Star Fall, and Kammen and Swan (Magnatune Records).
Individual liberty is what makes us great, let us support it.
Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!
Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!
Written by Alex Newman
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) missed a flight to Washington, D.C., this morning after being detained by screeners with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for refusing a full-body pat-down, his staff said. The incident happened at the Nashville, Tennessee, airport when a so-called “naked-body scanner” found some sort of anomaly around the conservative Senator’s knee.
Sen. Paul offered to go through the scanner again to resolve any concerns TSA screeners may have had. He also exposed the relevant portion of his leg to prove that there was nothing there. But the TSA insisted on the full-body pat down.
Sen. Paul refused to submit to what he has in the past referred to as an “invasive” procedure. And the TSA refused to back down.
According to Paul, he was briefly detained by TSA screeners in a small cubicle. He was also prohibited from catching his flight to Washington, where he was supposed to speak at the March for Life rally and vote in the Senate later in the afternoon.
The freshman Senator was eventually escorted from the area by local police, a TSA official told CBS News. He was finally allowed to catch a later flight after a subsequent TSA screening was conducted “without incident,” according to the agency.
Sen. Paul spoke out about the incident at the scene, explaining that he did not have any medical issues that would have set off the TSA scanner. “There is no problem. It was just a problem with their machine. But this is getting more frequent, and because everybody has to have a pat-down, it’s a problem,” Sen. Paul told reporters at the airport, noting that he did not want special treatment because he is a Senator. “I think we need to treat everybody with dignity.”
As usual, the TSA offered few details about what is quickly growing into another scandal for the embattled screening bureaucracy. The agency also claimed Sen. Paul was not “detained” but was merely prevented from boarding his flight.
“When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed to the secure area of the airport,” various TSA spokesmen were quoted as saying in statements e-mailed to the press. “Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling.”
Sen. Paul and his father, GOP presidential contender Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), have both been vocal in their opposition to the TSA and its policies. In June of 2011, Sen. Paul grilled TSA boss John Pistole for conducting an inappropriate pat-down of a six-year-old Kentucky girl and for a broader pattern of abuses.
“I feel less safe because you’re doing these invasive exams on a six-year-old,” Sen. Paul told Pistole during the hearing. “It makes me think you’re clueless, you know, that you think she’s going to attack our country and that you’re not doing your research on the people who would attack our country.”
Sen. Paul also told Pistole that he thought the TSA — part of the sprawling Homeland Security bureaucracy erected after September 11 — should abolish its random pat-downs. “It really just shows that no one is thinking,” he noted, saying that the American people were increasingly fed up with the procedures. “We need to be doing better police work and doing less of the universal giving up of our freedom to live our life the way we would like to live our life.”
News about the incident in Nashville was quickly reported by Sen. Paul’s staff and his father, Rep. Ron Paul. “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming,” read a statement issued on Ron Paul’s Twitter account. A similar statement was posted on Ron Paul’s Facebook profile, and Sen. Paul’s staff also confirmed the incident via social media and press statements.
Following Sen. Paul’s troubles with the TSA, his father’s presidential campaign issued a statement blasting abuses perpetrated by the screening agency. “The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities,” Ron Paul said. “The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”
Rep. Paul, whose presidential campaign has attracted a broad and enthusiastic base of supporters that helped him become a serious contender despite blatant media bias, also noted that his “Plan to Restore America” would — in addition to shaving $1 trillion in spending the first year — abolish the TSA.
“We must restore the freedom and respect for liberty that once made America the greatest nation in human history,” Rep. Paul concluded in the statement posted on his campaign website. “I am deeply committed to doing that as President of the United States.”
The Obama administration, meanwhile, sided with the TSA in its bizarre treatment of a sitting U.S. Senator. “I think it is absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe,” White House spokesman Jay Carney was quoted as saying by The Hill.
A damning congressional report released late last year revealed that despite spending around $60 billion on the TSA, screening is based on “theatrics” and the agency has failed to catch a single terrorist. Meanwhile, according to the investigation, passengers and crew are still the most effective line of defense. And air travel is no safer than it was before September 11
Users of the social news site have started a campaign in hopes of ousting Senator Bob Corker, one of 40 co-sponsors of the Protect IP Act.
By Ian Paul | PC World
Reddit users, emboldened by their efforts to get Go Daddy to drop its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act, want to use their newfound political momentum to force a sitting senator out of office. The campaign, dubbed “Operation Cork Screw,” hopes to oust Senator Bob Corker, one of 40 co-sponsors of the Protect IP Act, the Senate version of SOPA.
“Let’s pick ONE Senator of [sic] voted for NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act)/SOPA and destroy him like we’re going for GoDaddy,” the Reddit thread that sparked the idea says. The Tennessee Republican, currently serving his first term, is up for reelection in 2012.
Users of the social news site are hoping to dig up enough negative information on the senator to turn public opinion against him during the upcoming election. The online activists may also campaign for Corker’s eventual opponent. The movement against Corker has already created a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account to publicize its actions, as well as a wiki covering Corker’ career in the Senate.
Group members are also using Reddit to drum up ideas on how to put their political ideals into action such as looking at Corker’s campaign contributors and links to Corker’s past news coverage. In addition to the more serious discussion threads, users are also offering some juvenile ideas such as playing dirty tricks on the senator’s campaign and coming up with online viral memes to distribute their anti-Corker message. These ideas, however, have largely been ignored by the group.
There also seems to be some concern among the group’s members about targeting a Republican, while not going after a Democrat who supported the Protect IP Act. The legislation was, after all, initially sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont.
Can they keep going?
It will be interesting to see what happens with this new online activist campaign. Reddit users may have been successful in helping to promote the idea of dumping Go Daddy as an online registrar among the more tech-savvy. But that action was relatively easy since the barrier to active protest was spending $10 or less to move your domain name away from an online registrar.
But active involvement in a political movement that hopes to unseat a sitting senator requires far more organization and momentum than just a few posts to an online forum. History may also compound the online activist’s problems; Tennessee has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Al Gore more than 20 years ago, according to USA Today.