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Drones can be a unifying bipartisan issue across a chasm of differences

I have written consistently about the potentials for unmanned aerial aircraft, commonly called drones, both as a positive and a negative. It is an issue I have been speaking about in interviews and in articles such as back in May 2013. Recent developments have made the discussion even more timely and of concern.

After 3 years of legislative effort, Rep. Hanna – my opponent – succeeded in having New York State designated as a testing zone for drones targeted to be used domestically by U.S. Agencies and local level authorities. The new testing zones touted by my opponent are part of a 2017 directive from the FAA that will ensure widespread use across the nation. But, the push for drones by the Drone Caucus (which includes Rep. Hanna) omits a critical point. The very question that was posed to FBI Director Mueller, how are drones being used, elicited, in part, this response

“…we’re exploring not only the use, but the necessary guidelines for that use.” – FBI Director Robert Mueller to Congress on 6/19/13

This of course flies in the face of evidence, reported by the L.A. Times in September 2013, that drones have been used since 2006. Thus, based on testimony given to Congress, either the FBI, DEA, and other agencies have been using drones in a roguish cowboy manner or their actual use is being kept from the American people and Congress. Pick whichever choice you like, but the result is that abuse is likely rampant and unchecked – because there is,

“There’s very little in American privacy law that would limit the use of drones for surveillance.” – Ryan Calo, assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law

Thus several members of Congress, including Republicans outside of the Drone Caucus, have sought to spend the last several years trying to pass legislation to limit the domestic use of drones. This includes: Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis), Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-TX), Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and others.

This has led me to observe the following, which was printed Jan. 16, 2014 in the Utica Observer Dispatch

“[Rep. Hanna] has put 700,000 constituents, plus the nation, at risk of future abuse and privacy intrusions — all because he failed to submit a single bill to protect the public.

That’s a job half done.”

But the issue does not stop there. As divisive as modern politics can be, as polarizing as mid-term elections always are, restricting the abuse of drones has become a unifying bipartisan legislative agenda, at least in part of the country. Most recently, in South Carolina, the State House unanimously passed H3514 – which would restrict the use of drones, preventing situations like that of the FBI.

The domestic use of drones is quickly becoming a national issue. It has bipartisan support. But it faces those Representatives, at the Federal level, that refused to restrict the NSA from arbitrarily targeting innocent Americans, and collecting their private data. It’s no surprise that those that voted against supporting the Amash Amendment have failed on similar measures to protect constituents from domestic drones.

It will be either gratifying, or terrifying, to see the outcome on domestic drone use. Political lines are being blurred for the sake of protecting the 4th Amendment, and the real question is if those that have only done half their job will have the political courage to stand by and for constituents on preventing abuses before they occur.

Sincerely

Michael Vasquez
Candidate for the NY-22 Congressional seat, 2014

Press release – 1/6/14 – Unmanned aircraft coming to New York

On Jan. 6, 2014, Rep. Hanna announced that as part of his efforts in the Drone Caucus, Griffis International Airport in Rome, NY will become a testing site for unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones.

Image of potential private drone abuses

The deal also involves drones in Massachusetts, and between the 2 States a total of $700 million in tax revenues are projected to be raised, over an unspecified time period. Estimates are that some 1300 jobs will be created throughout New York due to this deal.

Michael Vasquez, candidate for the NY 22nd Congressional District of which Rome, NY is part of, commented on the news,

“I am always happy to hear of opportunities to create jobs in New York, especially in the NY-22. We need to bring in new industries to help the State shed the title of least business friendly in the nation, while helping our nation as well as our constituents.

Still, I hesitate only in the fact that the rush to create 1300 jobs via drones, less than a tenth of a percent of the State unemployment, is not accompanied by responsible legislation to ensure that the use of drones is not abused as we have seen is the case with many Government agencies lately.”

Candidate Vasquez went on to state,

“While I commend the Drone Caucus for its efforts to bring decent wage jobs to Americans that are needed, as most of the NY-22 is in need of, the failure to create legislation over the past 3 years to ensure the privacy and 4th Amendment rights of those same Americans is a mission only half-done, in my opinion.”

To date there has been no legislation passed that addresses the use of drones domestically, and no legislation sponsored by Rep. Hanna to address this concern. Ryan Calo (assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law) has said, “There’s very little in American privacy law that would limit the use of drones for surveillance.”

2014 starts with a jolt of legal decisions

Mere hours into the start of 2014 and already there have been legal outcomes that are going to affect millions of Americans. Some will be happy, but assuredly not all. Yet, to varying degrees, all of these decisions will affect the nation. Considering that 2014 is a mid-term election year, these legal actions and their results – as well as other issues – demand that we ask ourselves 3 questions (which I will ask at the end of this article).

Starting in New York, the controversial NY SAFE Act was ruled as constitutional by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny in Buffalo. At the same time, Judge Skretny also ruled that the limitations on magazines (to contain 7 rounds maximum),

“…fails the relevant test because the purported link between the ban and the state’s interest is tenuous, strained, and unsupported in the record.”

The NY Safe Act has been seen as a model of what President Obama has been pushing to have Congress enact nationally – and part of his Executive Orders issued in 2013, circumventing Congress. The argument being that in restricting certain types of firearms the ability of the criminal and criminally insane to engage in mass shootings will be diminished (though VP Biden admitted in February 2013 that the Executive Orders will have no impact – which was sadly proven correct later that same year). This flies in the face of the fact that the overwhelming majority of shooting deaths occur with handguns (like the Binghamton Civic Center shooting) and the 2003 First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws which determined,

“The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.”

As well as the overall result of a gun restriction ban of “assault” firearms I reviewed in an investigation of the data over 30 years in an article Jan 11, 2013,

“…if the movement for gun restrictions as the primary safeguard to the public are correct, 75% of these kinds of tragedies will continue relatively unabated. Is the battle being waged against the 2nd Amendment, as some claim, and opposition like the NRA worth potentially stopping 1 – 2 events per year? To the families that have lost a loved one, of course. But if we are trying to increase the safety of the nation, shouldn’t the focus be on what is motivating the majority of these hateful crimes? Shouldn’t the resources be poured in to finding the root cause and eliminating it?”

As I have stated before, the delusion of safety by restricting certain arbitrary definitions of “assault weapons” and reducing magazine size is both misleading and unequal to the infringement on 2nd Amendment Rights. I agree with Judge Skretny that the magazine ban is unsupported and tenuous, as I presented in an article published on March 13, 2013

“… actively misleading the public into a false sense of safety based on pipe dreams and wishful thinking is as dangerous as any firearm ever made. We must also clearly state that using a preposterous fallacy meant to target the fear and emotion of the public to enact a politically motivated outcome is a tactic more akin to those wishing to shackle freedom than embracing or protecting it.”

Surely the debate over the NY Safe Act is not over, and will reach higher courts. Other States and the Federal Government will be watching closely, with a slew of laws to follow the ultimate outcome. Whether or not this has any effect on mass shootings is debatable, and historically leans towards being ineffective. But the impact on the 2nd Amendment may be irreversible.

On a larger scale, also on January 1, 2014, there is the news that the Government has been blocked in forcing the birth control requirement of the Obamacare law. US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor enacted an injunction in the late hours of Dec 31 2013, that prevents enforcement of this provision of the law. The reason is the infringement of religious freedom that is being argued Obamacare restricts.

This is yet another factor that is adding to the obtuse and ever more convoluted impact of the Affordable Care Act. With each passing month more groups and classes of those required to be affected by Obamacare are being delayed or excluded from inclusion. This of course alters the projected mix of population that healthcare insurers have calculated into premiums, and projections of an increase in costs continue to become more reliable.

This is yet another example of the rushed and poorly thought out ramifications of the Affordable Care Act long-term. It may well be just another factor that helps to establish that Obamacare will fail in its purported primary mission of reducing health care costs. The full impact of cancellations, the massive and still existing problems with the Healthcare.gov website, the yet to be determined inclusion of businesses (or their decisions to opt-out of providing healthcare), and the less than projected sign up of millions of Americans as well as other provisions of the law have yet to be felt in earnest.

It is fair to say that as courts address the underlying components of Obamacare, and those excluded are mandated to be included in the wide berth of the law, the reality of what this law will mean to freedoms and costs will be seen later in the year. I hold little hope of clarity or price reductions.

Lastly there was the decision in Florida, by Judge Mary S. Scriven of the United States District Court in Orlando, to strike down the requirement of drug screening for those seeking welfare.

Judge Scriven stated,

“The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied.”

This of course will impact many States (29 States have considered such laws and 9 have enacted similar laws) as there is a growing view in the populace (who themselves are faced with drug tests to be employed) that such a requirement is valid and worthwhile. Many feel that those seeking public assistance should be held to the same standards as those paying for the assistance via their taxes (which I agree with). In addition, supporters point to the safety and welfare of the households where drug use does exist, that can potentially be aided by the enforcement of these drug tests as a condition of public aide.

At the core of this argument is National Treasury Employees Union v. von Raab., US Supreme Court, 1989. This was the case that the Supreme Court reviewed and upheld that drug testing of Federal employees was constitutional. This lead to the widespread use of drug testing as a requirement in the private sector.

I believe that the Supreme Court decision explains why drug testing of welfare applicants is valid – though the ruling had no private sector applications at the time. [emphasis added]

“Petitioners’ contention that the testing program is unreasonable because it is not based on a belief that testing will reveal any drug use by covered employees evinces an unduly narrow view of the context in which the program was implemented. Although it was not motivated by any perceived drug problem among Service employees, the program is nevertheless justified by the extraordinary safety and national security hazards that would attend the promotion of drug users to the sensitive positions in question. Moreover, the mere circumstance that all but a few of the employees tested are innocent does not impugn the program’s [489 U.S. 656, 658] validity, since it is designed to prevent the substantial harm that could be caused by the promotion of drug users as much as it is designed to detect actual drug use. Pp. 673-675.”

If you substitute “Welfare recipient” for “service employee” and remove “national security hazards” – almost the the same way that the private sector has done in its interpretation of the law to require drug testing – the reasoning remains intact. Thus the law, in my non-attorney opinion, is a valid law and Judge Scriven is wrong.

As 2014 moves forward, and the number of those seeking public assistance increases (as has been the trend) – placing an ever larger burden on States and the taxes of residents of those States – there will be more focus on this ruling by the Supreme Court and how it applies to the private sector as well as those seeking public assistance.

As a result of all 3 of these events, as well as many more issues, the nation will face tough decisions in 2014. Decisions that will affect the economy, freedoms, and pursuit of happiness of all Americans to some degree or another. The questions that I ask you are simple.

  • Where does your elected politicians stand on these important issues?
  • Is the position they hold the one that you (and a majority of constituent) have?
  • If it is not, why did you elect that politician?

    These 3 questions are the core reason of why I am running for the New York 22nd Congressional District seat in 2014. Many other politicians will be up for election in the mid-terms this year. But the key to re-election, in my opinion, should be the answer to these 3 questions – as opposed to the campaign promises and 30 second polispeak ads that are sure to fill airwaves.

  • Candidate Michael Vasquez interviewed by Bob Joseph of WNBF News Radio on 11/19/13

    The following is the unedited audio of the interview that was on-air 11/19/13 at 9:30am. This was made into 2 videos due to time constraints of Youtube, no other change has been made.

    Candidate Michael Vasquez interviewed by Bob Joseph of WNBF News Radio – part 1

    Covers: Flip-flops by politicians, Government shutdown, Obamacare, reasons for running for election

    Candidate Michael Vasquez interviewed by Bob Joseph of WNBF News Radio – part 2

    Covers: 4th Amendment, drones (unmanned aerial systems), donations and fundraising, Obamacare fixes

    Meet and greet with voters and potential supporters Oct 26 2013

    I just wanted to publicly thank attorney James Sacco for putting together a meet and greet of potential supporters at his home in Vestal, NY. I also thank everyone that attended, for their time and questions about the 2014 New York Congressional election.

    It was a great night, speaking to a couple dozen voters, discussing their concerns and questions about how the representation for the New York 22nd Congressional District can be improved. The conversation covered everything from by background, experiences, and motivations; as well as where I stand on issues including immigration, the national debt, taxes, drones, the 2nd and 4th Amendment among others.

    meet and greet in Vestal NY, at home of attorney James Sacco

    coffee and doughnuts meet and greet in Vestal NY

    It was a great opportunity to hear from more of the public on what they really want to see address on the floor of Congress, and understand what they believe is not being done to represent their views currently. I continue to see a consistent theme of issues that neither Congress nor our current Representative are focused on.

    I look forward to speaking at several more meet and greets at the homes of supporters and potential supporters, as well as other events. It’s important to be connected to constituents, and this is a significant way to do so. If anyone would like to host a similar event for me to appear at, please contact me at Michael@ElectMichaelVasquez.com.

    That email can also be used for those that want to volunteer directly in helping spread the word about the 2014 NY Congressional race. Those that would like to donate $20, $50, or whatever amount up to the limit of $2600 for individuals can do so online via paypal at https://electmichaelvasquez.nationbuilder.com/donations
    or mail a check/money order made out to Friends of Michael Vasquez at PO BOX 515, Binghamton NY 13902.

    More news is coming in November!

    Sincerely

    Michael Vasquez

    Twitter post from July 2013 – @electvasquezny

    The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

    There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

    15 Jul ‏@electvasquezny

    Share this with friends, family, and anyone interested in a Congress that earns more than a 15% approval… http://youtu.be/LqbX1pqSFkk?a

    Do you know the difference between Congress and a casino? http://youtu.be/pdPr0UY9CJE?a

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    16 Jul @electsqueznvay

    When was the last time you heard a politician mention cutting corporate taxes? http://youtu.be/-C_JFhEtW48?a

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    21 Jul @electvasquezny

    I want to thank everyone that supported “Rock the House” fundraiser yesterday. A donation of $125 is being made to Wounded Warrior Project.

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    22 Jul @electvasquezny

    While President Obama urges more of the same, a real solution stays on the backburner http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1q

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    25 Jul @electvasquezny

    Rep Hanna voted for Amash Amendment – well not quite. http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1u

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    29 Jul @electvasquezny

    AP reports 15% in poverty (46 million), 79% economically insecure. But “jobs are priority one”. Perhaps time for a responsive government

    CNN Political Ticker http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/29/will-your-congressman-retire-richer-than-you/?sr=sharebar_twitter … this is really not the way it should be. Especially w/o debt, unemployment solutions.

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    30 Jul @electvasquezny

    Pfc Manning deserves all 150 years of prison.

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    31 Jul electvasquezny

    @WSJ could.this be one of the sources behind the anti-fracking movement?

    Sen Wyden, 7/30, says problems with NSA compliance worse than reported. Yet Rep Hanna voted against Amash Amendment. How is public served?

    Are 12 (or even 54) defeated terror plots, as claimed so far, equal to 4th Amendment rights of 300 million Americans? Sold too cheap maybe?

    August 2013 – Facebook comments

    Often there are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent formats to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or have as open an access to these formats as the internet in general. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

    The following can be found on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ElectMichaelVasquezNY – ask to be added to my friends list to be up to date daily) from the month of August 2013:

    August 2

    I support the LIBERT E Bill – H.R. 2399. Along with 48 members of congress (Rep Hanna is not one of them) I believe that the NSA should not blanket collect US citizens phone and internet transactions. What do you think?

    H.R.2399 — LIBERT-E Act

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    If its so great and beneficial, why the exemption? Besides, isn’t Obamacare supposed to let them keep their insurance if they like it? Or was that just polispeak to cover passing the law?

    Congress: ObamaCare for thee, but not for we; Update: Boehner: Only solution is “full repeal”

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    August 4

    I could say I just want one to piss off the anti-gun people, but to be honest I really just want to own it because it’s so unique.

    SSK produces largest caliber rifle ever, one round costs same as tank of gas

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    August 7 -

    So after an hour long discussion (on my part, the other side was just going for personal attacks), it again has become clear that some people will reject all scientific proof – from State and Government sources, collected over years and rechecked – because they don’t like the answer. Then I get the threat that I won’t get their vote.

    Good. No one should vote for someone they don’t believe in. Ever. But I won’t change my views to pander to the public just to get an extra vote. That’s what I dislike in Congress and Government now. That’s why things are so screwed up.

    You don’t have to agree with me 100%, just vote for whomever you believe is sincere and honestly trying to represent the people. If we all do that, America will be better for it.

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    August 8 -

    YNN announces Cheasapeque Energy walking away from leases. With 9% unemployment, the loss of income to landowners and loss of potential business to small biz owners in Southern Tier bodes poorly for the area. The same anti frackers may be happy, until the negative economy and business unfriendliness impacts there livelihoods. But then they will blame someone else most likely.

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    August 9 -

    What happens when Congress fails it’s job and does not read laws that it passes? Cities, Counties and employers all scramble to the detriment of the public.

    “The Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] would have been a hit to our budget,” says Mayor John O’Reilly [of Dearborn, MI], a Democrat. “It has imposed on us an obligation that we didn’t anticipate. I’m a supporter of the concept (of the ACA), but as we move forward and identify the unintended consequences, I’d like more flexibility.”

    Obamacare leading to part-time nation

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    For all the things President Obama said about changing the parameters of the NSA, what troubles me is what he did NOT say. Will the NSA continue to keep records already collected of tens of millions of innocent Americans? What is the NSA doing with those records? What about PRISM, which are the records of all internet actions of all Americans?

    Barack Obama FULL Press Conference: NSA Surveillance, Putin, Russia, Edward Snowden – 8/9/13

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    August 10

    As I understand it, and I am no lawyer or UMCJ expert, Article 94 – sedition, applies and is punishable by death. So does Article 104 – aiding the enemy, 166 – breach of peace, 118 (1) – murder, and Article 134. With Article 134, which covers everything, acts of terror could be addressed and charged.

    Victims angry, but experts cite legal reasons why Fort Hood shooter not charged with terror

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    August 15

    Aren’t you glad that Rep Hanna voted against restricting the NSA?

    NSA Surveillance Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times Per Year: Report

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    August 19

    Let me know what you thought about the discussion with Bob Joseph today. What would be the one thing that you would ask president Obama

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    Full audio and transcript of my conversation with Bob Joseph of WNBF Talk Radio 1290 will be available later this evening.

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    Part 1 of Michael Vasquez and Bob Joseph of WNBF, discussing President Obama, fracking, Congress, and more.

    Bob Joseph of WNBF and Michael Vasquez discuss Pres Obama coming to Binghamton NY

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    Part 2 of 2 – Michael Vasquez and Bob Joseph of WNBF discuss the potential from President Obama visiting Binghamton, NY

    Michael Vasquez, Bob Joseph of WNBF discuss Pres. Obama in Binghamton

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    August 20 -

    According to the Obama Administration the NSA can violate the 4th Amendment. According to efforts by the drone caucus (which Rep Hanna is a member) unmannes aerial systems need no laws and can violate the 4th Amendment. Now, as the Washington Post reports, the Obama Administration supports warrantless cellphone searches. Maybe it’s time we get people into Congress that are willing to defend our freedoms rather than sell them on the cheap.

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    August 21 -

    So if no one is responsible for the Benghazi attack, was it just an accident or act of God? Is no one to blame as it was unforseeable or impossible to prevent? Only if pigs fly.

    Analysis: No one is being held responsible for Benghazi

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    August 22

    Why is it that when President Obama wanted change to immigration laws and gun restrictions he circumvented Congress, but for college tuition he is waiting for Congress to act. Are his convictions not as strong? Is this just a smokescreen issue meant to distract?

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    August 25

    With your donations, we can get this on TV across the 22nd Congressional District of New York. Share, Like, spread the word and don’t forget to donate whatever you can. Let’s make Congress accountable in 2014.

    Voiceover by Jimmyjohn McCabe

    NSA, 4th Amendment, and the 2014 NY election

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    August 28 –

    I’m so tired of the re-write. MLK wasn’t looking for minorities to be given jobs that didn’t exist, he was fighting for Right not to be denied a job just because a minority applied. The job still needs to be earned to be worthwhile.

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    August 29 -

    So why is Rep Hanna silent as 100 Republicans and 18 Dems agree w Senator Obama that President needs Congress approval for Syria?

    More than 100 lawmakers ask Obama to seek congressional approval on Syria strikes

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    Rep Hanna position not so surprising considering flip-flop on Libya in 2011 -

    81 Republicans Flip-Flop on Libya Opposition Votes

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    British are no go on bombing Syria. Seems they don’t see a point in doing something with no benefit to them and potential long-term negatives. Think that will sway president Obama? Not if you recall Libya.

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    August 30

    Britain has supported every military action by US that I recall, even if they didn’t like it. But on Syria they are out, and the powerhouse of France is backing us. When was the last time France won a military action? Napoleon? Is this really the only support we are getting. Shouldn’t this give pause as maybe something is wrong.

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    I think you can find the answer on what to do about Syria in the following quote from December 20, 2007…

    “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

    As commander-in-chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

    Barack Obama’s Q&A

    Is the Internet the end of political waffling? Not quite

    Long ago politicians earned the moniker of being 2-faced and envisioned as “oil can Harry’s”. But in the age of the Internet, where the public has almost instantaneous access to voting records, video of speeches, and transcripts of campaign pledges one might assume modern politicians would be more straightforward. You may recall what happens when you assume.

    Case in point, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY22). In just the last few months he has either supported both sides of an issue and/or directly reversed his position or ignored constituent concerns. This justification of his ranking as the 5th most moderate Republican member of Congress [Bipartisan Policy Center - July 2012], though he ran in 2010 as a Tea Party conservative, has been achieved through careful wordplay and the assumption that voters aren’t paying attention to the details, in my opinion.

    Here are some facts:

    March 2013 -

  • The Drone Caucus (which Rep Hanna is a member) fails to mention legislation protecting 4th Amendment Rights in its 5 mission statements – http://unmannedsystemscaucus.mckeon.house.gov/about/purpose-mission-goals.shtml
  • 25th – Rep Hanna is pushing to get Unmanned Aerial Systems in sky by 2015 to promote job growth – http://wrvo.org/post/hanna-optimistic-upstate-new-york-will-land-drone-test-site

    April 2013

  • 24th – Rep Hanna skips Joint Economic Committee meeting on solutions to long-term unemployment – http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/the-poorly-attended-hearing-on-one-of-the-economy-s-toughest-problems-20130424
  • 24th – Rep Hanna publishes article promoting immigration reform to provide visas to foreign workers to gain STEM jobs – http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/science-technology-engineering-math-education-immigration-90517.html

    May 2013 -

  • 10th – Rep Hanna raises concern about impact of immigration reform on the unemployed seeking a job – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/10/heres-the-economic-advice-congress-is-getting-on-immigration/
  • 16th – CBS News reports 32 States considering legislation to limit drone use, 4 other have passed laws (not New York), Rep Hanna makes no comment – http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57584695/lawmakers-move-to-limit-domestic-drones/

    June 2013

  • 18th – H.R 1917 receives NO vote from Rep Hanna, who is on record as against late-term abortions. H.R. 1917 would deny abortions as late as 20 weeks unless the life of the mother is at risk – http://hanna.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3536&Itemid=

    July 2013

  • 24th – H Amnd 413, the Amash Amendment to restrict NSA from blanket gathering of phone and internet domestic data of general public, was voted on – Rep Hanna voted NO – http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/113-2013/h412
  • 25th – H.R. 2397, Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014, passed. Rep Hanna, in discussing his vote YEA, states he also voted for restricting NSA – http://hanna.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3557&Itemid=

    4th Amendment, abortion, immigration, and jobs all in just the first half of 2013. Plus pushing for technology to invade privacy without regulation and taking credit for a vote on an issue popular with the public that didn’t happen – a full roster of questionable actions. No matter what position a voter may have on these issues, Rep Hanna appears to have covered every base without actually taking a position that might endanger re-election hopes one may infer.

    The question should be asked if the lack of political fortitude stems from a lack of connection to constituents and their concerns on these issues? Is it shrewd political calculations to help fend off 2014 election challengers? Or is it a lack of understanding of the ramifications for the issues and legislation at hand?

    With all the advantages that modern technology affords it is still difficult enough for a voter to understand 2000+ page laws, secret courts, new technologies that are unaddressed by current law and so on. It is infinitely worse when elected politicians live up to the popular negative stereotypes that contribute to a 75% DISSAPROVAL rating of Congress.

  • What did you get for your vote in 2012? Video

    Congress has a 16% approval rating, and political gridlock is running rampant. Scandals fill the airwaves, as Government overreach attacks the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendments. Yet incumbent Representatives are re-elected 93% of the time – in 2012 it was a 90% re-election rate. The problems are obvious, and the solution can be as well.

    We expect more than special interest favorites and political party preferences. Congress needs to reconnect with the public. We need Representatives that will work for constituents and fulfill their obligations in office as well as live up to campaign promises.

    Let’s remind voters that there is a choice in 2014. Let’s work together to tell Congress that they can’t just sit back and get re-elected for doing nothing. With your donation and support, we will put this video advertisement on televisions across the New York 22nd Congressional District.

    Share and like the video. Donate* via Paypal at http://exploratory.electmichaelvasquez.com/contribute/, or mail a check/money order (payable to: Friends of Michael Vasquez) to

    Friends of Michael Vasquez
    PO Box 515
    Binghamton, NY 13902

    Every dollar, like every vote, counts!

    *Donations are not tax deductible.

    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.