Drones: Are .003% more jobs in NY worth your 4th Amendment Rights?

Without question the nation is in need of an economic boost. Even moreso is the fact that New York State is in need of an industry to provide new jobs. The Obama Stimulus and “green” jobs have failed to be the homeruns they were promised to become. Fracking remains bogged down in reviews and delays, with heaps of media fed bias and real concerns of the citizenry mixing to halt any progress that might be attained from that venture. Where is the answer? What are we as citizens willing to give up for any forward momentum?

Into this quandary comes the question of drones. Unmanned aerial systems are poised to be a reality in the skies over the nation, implemented by 2015 under guidelines at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the industry can create some $13 billion in revenues and roughly 70,000 jobs nationwide.

At this time, Rep. Richard Hanna (NY-22) is advocating bringing that industry to New York State. He is a member of the Unmanned Systems Caucus, along with Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle (NY-25) and Rep. Andy Harris (NY-25). They believe that some 2,000 jobs could be created – helping to fulfill the projections of 10,000 drones in US airspace in 10 years.

In a State that is the least business friendly in the nation, in Counties that exceed the official national unemployment rate (7.5%) by no less than 1.5%, in some Counties reaching 10% unemployment, every new job is a boon. Yet there is a question that is not being asked. Are we selling a portion of our individual freedoms for a few dollars and a couple of jobs?

On the pro side of unmanned aerial systems there are the benign uses: traffic control and offense punishment (running red lights, seeing potential traffic jams and diverting cars to alternate routes); fighting fires (bringing supplies to firefighters and tactics humans cannot enact); monitoring landfills and inspecting bridges or buildings for structural damage; install and potential repair of dangerous or hard to reach equipment; and so on.

But the negative side is just as dangerous to individual freedoms as are the benefits useful. It takes the concept to the British CCTV and magnifies it. As Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa states

“Just because the government may comply with the Constitution does not mean they should be able to constantly surveil, like Big Brother.”

Already Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) is seeking protections, and he is not alone. The consensus among many is that, as Ryan Calo (assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law) summarized, “There’s very little in American privacy law that would limit the use of drones for surveillance.”

It’s not just the use by Government that is at issue, but the private use as well. Corporations, drug dealers, and other criminals potential abuse of drones remains unforeseeable at this time. Applications of drones to determine if a home is occupied for a thief to break in, data mining by corporations, evading police raids, arson, peeping tom invasions of privacy, even murder are all on the table. None of which is in the realm of the FAA jurisdiction. None of which is addressed by current law.

Thus, we should wonder if the push to bring drone testing sites to New York is the boon that it is being made out to be. The 4th Amendment states, in part,

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

Domestic drone use can violate this – whether that violation is by the Government, law authorities (Federal, State and local), or your neighbor.

Perhaps, before New York State claims the title of a drone testing site and helps to proliferate unmanned aerial systems uses, the limits of this new tool for surveillance should be created. Perhaps a touch of the same desire for protections being demanded for the ground 2000 feet below us should be injected to this matter. Perhaps the .003% boost in employment can be delayed in the interest of the 4th Amendment.

At the very least, constituents should be involved with the discussion, so that their Representatives actually represent them.

Response to article: Hanna: Every day… you get to help someone

The following letter has been submitted as a Letter to the Editor of the Binghamton Press & Sun, Norwich Evening Sun, and Utica Observer-Dispatch. This is a verbatim copy.

On May 21st Rep. Richard Hanna spoke with the editorial board of the Utica Observer-Dispatch, about the objectives of his second term. While there may have been far more detail in that conversation than was reported, what was stated leaves questions that demand clarification from Rep. Hanna.

First and foremost is the question about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs. While there has been a push by Rep. Hanna to promote this, his position has been unclear.

As has been widely reported, Rep. Hanna supports promoting immigration reform that would allow foreigners to gain these jobs – clarified as a “temporary” stopgap measure until more Americans are available for those jobs. His support has been so strong that he failed to appear at a Joint Economic Committee meeting [April 24, 2013 - Lawmaker Unemployment Hearing Attended By Single Member of Congress At Opening] on resolving long-term unemployment. Instead, on that same day he provided a written support of immigration reform [April 24, 2013 - Help Wanted: The STEM workforce shortage] specifically targeting increasing H1-B Visas. Yet, in a Joint Economic Committee meeting that he did subsequently appear in [May 10, 2013 - Here’s the economic advice Congress is getting on immigration], Rep. Hanna apparently voiced concern over the competition that an increase of the immigrant workforce would naturally create.

Politics may allow for claiming both sides of an argument, but Representatives should be clear when speaking with constituents about which side they actually stand on. Further, what exactly is “temporary”?

If a greater focus on STEM education were to be enacted tomorrow, does that mean that foreigners (under the position Rep. Hanna promotes) should be favored for these jobs for the next 4 years – until current college students graduate, or 8 years – when current high school students could graduate college, or 12 years – when those high school students graduate college with advanced degrees?

Most importantly, on this issue, shouldn’t the Representative be direct enough to clarify that regardless of the path taken, the reality is that STEM jobs – which are a fraction of the jobs available in New York State and the nation – will take a long time to occur and will not effectively help the current above national average unemployment besieging constituents of the NY 22nd Congressional District.

Perhaps another question that should be asked is how this focus on STEM jobs will benefit the constituents of NY when – as stated by Rep. Hanna on January 29, 2013 [Hanna shares political beliefs and concerns at annual meeting] – “Especially in Upstate New York, where agriculture affects about 80 percent of our economy.

Rather, given the fact that New York State is consistently viewed as the most business unfriendly State in the nation (a race to the bottom in many reports versus current progressive ‘capital’ California – which Gov. Cuomo in his 2013 State of the State Address seeks to surpass), and that America as a nation is one of the least competitive due to our corporate tax rate of 39.1% [April 13, 2013 - Yes, Sen. Sanders, We Really Do Have the Highest Corporate Tax Rate in the World], wouldn’t a focus on forcing Congress and President Obama (who made a big deal of reducing the corporate rate during his 2012 election campaign) to lower the corporate rate be the best short- and long-term solution? A solution that can promote small business growth, creating a greater demand for STEM jobs in Upstate New York and the nation – which would motivate students to not only seek these fields, but to decide to stay in NY once they have gained that degree. A solution that also helps improve the national economy and long-term unemployment.

I have been speaking with many Americans across the NY-22 as part of my exploration on a run for the District, and have been following for a long time the national desire to lower the corporate rate. The benefit seems clear and generally bi-partisan (excluding the desire by some to emphasize increased taxes as a solution – that has as yet to provide the boost the nation continues to seek). Why is the focus not on this solution that can be a broad based benefit?

The answer could be the appeal of gaining part of the potential 11 million new voters that current proposals on immigration reform may provide. Understandably, from a political power standpoint, that is an issue that must be addressed. But to focus on that political ambition, via obfuscation on the more pervasive and imminent problem of unemployment and economic health, is a disservice to the constituents and nation.

If we want to truly promote STEM jobs and education, and motivate small business growth, for New York State and the nation, then a “temporary” fix will not do. We need to address the core problem, and corporate tax rates are part of that core problem. More direct discussion and action on that will do better to provide the end result than foreign immigrants and HB-1 visas.


Michael Vasquez

Note – Michael Vasquez has formed an exploratory committee to determine a potential run in the 2014 NY election for the 22nd Congressional District, which Rep. Richard Hanna represents. The exploratory site can be found at

Binghamton University Libertarians and Michael Vasquez discuss New York 22nd Congressional District

On May 9, 2013 the Binghamton University Libertarians had Michael Vasquez as the guest speaker at their meeting in the Fine Arts building on the BU campus. This was an informal discussion; to introduce Mr. Vasquez and to address the concerns of young voters.

Initially the expectation was that the meeting would only be a 15 minute speech and Q&A combined as this would be at the end of a 12 hour workday for Mr. Vasquez. But after the casual introduction, when questions were opened to the students, the passion and variety of questions offered led to almost 2 hours of discussion on issues in the minds of BU students. Issues discussed included: the economy; student loans; 2nd Amendment; legalizing drugs; Affirmative Action; Equal Rights Movement; representation by elected officials; and more.

The following videos are the total introduction, questions and answers. All answers and questions are complete and without edit.


Q & A pt 1

Q & A pt 2

Q & A pt 3

Q & A pt 4 (final)

Rep Hanna straddling immigration reform

On May 10, 2013, Rep Richard Hanna appeared at a Joint Economic Committee meeting on immigration. He stated, in an apparent follow up to the Politico article that he published supporting immigration reform to enable foreigners gaining visas for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs, that there is a concern that immigration reform will cause competition for US citizens in the workplace.

There seems to be a disconnect.

On April 24th, Rep. Richard Hanna did not attend the Joint Economic Committee meeting on resolutions to the long-term unemployment rate. Instead he wrote an article suggesting that immigration reform be used to fill the void of STEM workers to stimulate small business growth.

“But because creating a sufficiently deep and broad pipeline of domestic STEM teachers, students and workers will take many years, we also need to consider reforming our immigration laws now to allow more foreign STEM workers to fill immediate job openings. Far from taking net jobs from U.S. citizens, allowing foreign workers to join or create businesses right here will inevitably lead to innovation and invention that in turn creates more American jobs, American paychecks and American taxpayers.”

Yet on May 10th, the Washington Post quotes Rep. Hanna as concerned over the competition that immigration reform can pose to the American worker

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) asked about the widespread belief among economists that immigrants don’t really take jobs from Americans. “Much immigrant labor is highly skilled and thus presumably not differentiated,” he said. “Why would wage competition not incur in the labor market?”

Beyond the fact that the sentences are poorly worded, the Washington Post is reporting Rep. Hanna as being against the very argument that he posed 16 days earlier. So the question is, will immigration reform cause greater competition for jobs to American citizens? Rep. Hanna apparently believes that it won’t and that it will.

The New York 22nd Congressional District contains Counties that have unemployment rates which at the lowest is 9% unemployment and increasing to 11% in the most hard hit County. Small businesses, and constituents seeking employment, are sure to want to have a clear understanding on what their Representative is telling them about immigration reform. Will it grow their businesses, or will it cause even further unemployment in a State that is already ranked the worst in business friendliness.

Eloquence in speaking aside, Representatives in Congress have a duty to present the issues that affect constituents, and make the case for the best choice of action. That is the obligation whether the Representative is the most Conservative or Liberal in their own beliefs, with the responsibility to then vote the choice of the people – even if it opposes their own belief. Even a Representative that is one of the most moderate in Congress, is not allowed to argue both sides of the issue and present confusion to constituents.

Either the NY-22 is in favor of giving foreigners visas to fill STEM jobs, or they are against immigration reform that would add to the burden for those unemployed and looking for work opportunities. Only one is the choice of the people of the NY-22. The Representative in Congress should be very clear what that choice is, and stand by the will of the people.

The scandals and the silence

keep-silenceIt is amazing the silence that is occurring in the NY-22. At this moment there are the revelations that the IRS has actively and with prejudice targeted conservatives groups, the Department of Justice (DOJ) data mined the Associated Press journalists, and the continued insight into what was and was not done during and after the Benghazi attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Americans have been lied to, persecuted for enacting their 1st Amendment Right, and the press has been leeched upon with a purpose one can only assume was meant to stifle reporting of facts.

Where are the words of our Representative on this? Given there are many things that need to be addressed and the work of Congress must move forward, but what comments on these massive problems have been uttered? Where is the justified outrage on behalf of constituents, the furor of the Legislative Branch meant to signal that the American people are aware and not amused; that such abuses will not be tolerated and just retribution will be handed down.

A Google search under Rep Richard Hanna; Rep. Richard Hanna IRS; Rep. Richard Hanna Benghazi; and Rep. Richard Hanna DOJ; all will produce articles on Rep. Hanna splitting from the votes of Republicans, or suggesting that women voters donate to Democrats only, or the voting record of Rep. Hanna (as one of the most moderate Representatives in Congress).

Do the people of the New York 22nd Congressional District have no opinion on what is happening in Government? Do they have no thought on the IRS acting in a politically partisan manner – potentially at the behest of the FBI as it has done in the past? Is freedom of the press not a concern anymore? Can the Executive Branch manipulate facts and promote lies told to the public all for the purpose of political advantage, and the constituents of the NY-22 are ok with that?

Or is it that the Representative of the constituents is failing the populace by not expressing their concerns?

A wise man is silent until he has facts on which to speak about, but it is not wisdom to remain silent in the face of facts while the concerns of the people demand action.

But this is my opinion. What is yours?

America is on wrong track according to 61%

wrong trackThere may be no better example of the state of the nation, and the effectiveness of current Government, than the fact that 61% of the nation believe America is on the wrong track. The blame for the path America is on is not just partisan, its universal.

With only 27% stating that personal finances are getting better, 45% think college grads will have trouble getting a job, and 47% think a housing recovery is still 3 years away, Congress remains in gridlock. All the while the national deficit is $16.8 trillion and rising – even with $77 billion in additional taxes and $30 billion in Sequester cuts.

This isn’t really shocking though.

Government isn’t listening to the public, and the results are clear. The majority of Americans haven’t believed that America is on the right path since before 2009. Obamacare was passed against the will of the majority, and today 55% are still unfavorable towards this law. President Obama is using Executive Orders in a way that even Senator Obama would never approve. Only 15% approve of the way Congress is handling the economy, immigration, gun control, and the rest of their job.

For the New York 22nd Congressional District, the lack of connection appears to be equally apparent. In just the last couple of weeks I have been amazed by the number of people that either don’t know who represents them in the NY-22, or believe that they are still represented by former Rep. Maurice Hinchey – who retired last year. Given is the fact that so far I have only spoken to a fraction of the constituents that make up the NY-22, but with the current Representative having made 45 town hall style meetings with the public (of which only 9 appear in a Google search of “Richard Hanna meets constituents“) and a re-election, the Southern Tier – at least – remains largely unconnected to Congress.

But hopefully this will change. Already Rep. Hanna has attempted to clarify why he is in favor of immigration reform, and giving STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] jobs to foreigners. He has made sure to get the press aware that he is meeting constituents – as he did on May 1st. But he has yet to explain, that can be found via Google search, why he did not attend the Joint Economic Committee meeting on resolving long-term unemployment.

I would like to think that the challenge of a Republican primary is motivating these changes. I would like to think that the knowledge of voters having a real choice is inspiring a re-dedication to the concerns of the New York 22nd District. Especially at a time in the nation when Government, from local to national levels, is actively restricting freedoms (Executive Orders for gun restrictions, NYSAFE Act), compromising law (Executive Orders on immigration, amnesty proposals in immigration reform talks, sanctuary cities), mandating action (Obamacare, Chevy Volt), even potentially removing long-standing safeguards (FCC decency policy). Which says nothing of the on-going fiscal irresponsibility of Government.

But the trend of millionaire and career politicians has for decades been a study in doing just enough to appear invested in the constituent, right up until a primary threat or election passes. The ultimate result of which brings us back to what path 61% of Americans believe we are on.

Status quo in elections, mediocre politicians, and a lack of real connection to the issues, concerns, and daily life of constituents needs to end.

Upcoming events


Just a quick look as some of the places and times Michael Vasquez will be speaking and/or attending in the near-term. More events will be added or corrected as needed. Check back from time to time, and please spread the word!

Speaking events:

  • May 9, 2013 – Thursday – Binghamton University – College Libertarians at 7:30pm. Located at the Fine Arts Bldg, room 244
  • June 4, 2013 – Tuesday – Vestal Library – Southern Tier Tea Party and Americans for Restoring the Constitution – 7pm

    Events that will be visited:

  • Julyfest
  • Spiedie Fest

    Working on:

    Plans are underway for a great fundraising event. More details on that shortly. We will add several more speaking events as they get confirmed. If you would like to have Michael Vasquez speak at an event, or in your area, contact

  • Why wasn’t Rep. Hanna at Joint Economic Committee meeting on unemployment?

    On April 24, 2013 the Joint Economic Committee, made up of Senators and Representatives from Congress, had a meeting to discuss the resolution to long-term unemployment (roughly 40% of those unemployed at this time). Virtually all members of this committee, Democrat and Republican alike, failed to appear (as reported by Huffington Post and National Journal).

    It is not our purpose to ask why the other Senators and Representatives did not appear at this event, that is for the constituents those elected officials must answer to. We do have a question for Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents the New York 22nd Congressional District. Why wouldn’t the elected representative appear at a meeting to address a national concern – especially as Binghamton (8.8%) and Utica-Rome (9.0%) exceed the national unemployment rate (7.4%). In fact, not a single county in the NY-22 has less than 8.0% unemployment, several having as much as 11% unemployment according to the NY State Labor Dept.

    In addition, Rep. Hanna did have the time to issue a letter, to Politico, addressing the need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs to improve small business. The solution offered by Rep. Hanna was an increase in foreign visas and immigration reform.

    “There are many worthy policy proposals to consider that could help achieve this desirable end. Whether it be an increased H-1B visa cap, an automatic visa for foreign students that graduate from a U.S. college with an advanced STEM degree, or another system altogether, if Congress undertakes immigration reform without permitting small businesses to access the qualified STEM workers they are clamoring for now we will be missing an opportunity to revitalize our economy.”

    Thus we must ask, why was Rep. Hanna not at a meeting for resolving long-term unemployment while at the same time urging immigration reform to resolve STEM jobs? Is this what the constituents of the New York 22nd District believe, is this a representation of their views?

    YNN questions Michael “Vass” Vasquez

    Mr. Vasquez has stated he will be launching an exploratory committee to evaluate a run for the 22nd Congressional District – currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Richard Hanna. The announcement was made on April 23, 2013 at 2pm in Downtown Binghamton, NY. After the announcement, YNN took the opportunity to ask questions on behalf of voters.

    This video is unedited for content

    Q & A with YNN

    Further information about the exploratory committee and the efforts of Mr. Vasquez to pursue elected office can be found at

    Video of NY 22nd Congressional District exploratory committee announcement

    The following is video of the full speech given by Michael “Vass” Vasquez on April 23, 2013. The announcement was made next to the Broome County Courthouse, at 2pm. Mr. Vasquez has stated he will be launching an exploratory committee to evaluate a run for the 22nd Congressional District – currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Richard Hanna.

    Video is unedited

    Speech given outside of the Broome County Courthouse

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