Liberty / Public Safety & Homeland Security

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Liberty / Public Safety & Homeland Security

Another tragic consequence of being in a state of perpetual warfare around the world is that our fundamental liberties are being put in jeopardy. The right of privacy, in particular, is being steadily eroded by our own government in the name of national security. Enormous volumes of private conversations and other data are being collected and stored by the government "just in case." Well that's not a sufficient excuse to invade our privacy and shouldn't be tolerated.

There should be a proper balance between national security and our fundamental rights. At the moment, however, the equilibrium between these two interests is way off-balance. If we continue to let the government erode our fundamental freedoms eventually we won't have any freedoms  left.

The only way to stop this process of "creeping authoritarianism" is to vigilantly protect our liberties and make sure the government knows that over-reaching by government actors will not be tolerated. Otherwise, if left unchecked, our government will continue to abuse its power.

Actually, it's in the best interest of the government to engage citizens in a dialogue about these issues. This would not only build trust, but also make citizens more willing to cooperate with the government to combat real national security threats when they arise.

Actions taken by Congress and signed into law by Presidents G. W. Bush and Obama, such as the Patriot Act, the Patriot Act II, and the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), take away too many rights from average Americans in order to address the actions of a relatively small number of extremists around the world. As a country, we need to have an inclusive dialogue to build trust and arrive at a rough consensus as to how we can protect our nation's security while preserving our most cherished freedoms.

My opponent, Mimi Walters, supported YES on restricting no-bid defense contracts (Accountability in Contracting Act; Bill H R 1362). Walters supported YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill (Bill introduced by Lewis, R-CA; Bill HR 2561). She is not fighting for WE the People. She is fighting for her Wall Street and Billionaire Class Military Industrial Complex campaign contributors. See which industries are Walters' largest contributors here!

Walters’ Voting/Support Record:

  • YES on Patriot Act restricting no-bid defense contracts (Accountability in Contracting Act; Bill H R 1362)
  • YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill (Bill introduced by Lewis, R-CA; Bill HR 2561)
  • NOT standing up for WE the People

Varasteh’s Congressional Pledge:

  • Government out of our private lives
  • Amend NDAA & Patriot Act by stripping away government’s overreach into our private lives and never allow them to become permanent
  • Cut unnecessary waste in our military hardware spending
  • Restrict no-bid defense contracts
  • Standing up for WE the People
  • Not for sale

Privacy / Patriot Act / NDAA / Police State

A tragic consequence of being in a state of perpetual warfare around the world is that our fundamental liberties are being put in jeopardy. The right of privacy, in particular, is being steadily eroded by our own government in the name of national security. Enormous volumes of private conversations and other data are being collected and stored by the government "just in case." Well that's not a sufficient excuse to invade our privacy and shouldn't be tolerated.

There should be a proper balance between national security and our fundamental rights. At the moment, however, the equilibrium between these two interests is way off-balance. We can't let our government continue to erode our fundamental rights because eventually we won't have any rights left.

The only way to stop this process of "creeping authoritarianism" is to vigilantly protect our liberties and make sure the government knows that over-reaching by government actors will not be tolerated. Otherwise, if left unchecked, our government will continue to abuse its power.

Actually, it's in the best interest of the government to engage citizens in a dialogue about these issues. This would not only build trust, but also make citizens more willing to cooperate with the government to combat real national security threats when they arise.

Actions taken by Congress and signed into law by Presidents G. W. Bush and Obama, such as the Patriot Act, the Patriot Act II, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, take away too many rights from average Americans in order to address the actions of a relatively small number of extremists around the world. As a country, we need to have an inclusive dialogue to build trust and arrive at a rough consensus as to how we can protect our nation's security while preserving our most cherished freedoms.

My opponent, Mimi Walters, has long supported the NDAA '12 and both Patriot Acts. Walters is not fighting for WE the People. She is fighting for her Military Industrial Complex, Wall Street, and Billionaire Class campaign contributors associated with the Military Industrial Complex. See which industries are Walters' largest contributors here!

Walters Voting/Support Record:

  • YES on Patriot Act (USA Act of 2001 introduced by Sensenbrenner, R-WI; Bill HR 2975)
  • YES on Patriot Act II (USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 by Sensenbrenner, R-WI; Bill HR 3199)
  • YES on NDAA ‘12 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 introduced by McKeon, R-CA; Bill HR 1540)
  • NOT standing up for WE the People

Varasteh’s Congressional Pledge:

  • Government out of our private lives
  • Amend NDAA & Patriot Act by stripping away government’s overreach into our private lives and never allow them to become permanent
  • Cut unnecessary waste in our military spending
  • Restrict no-bid defense contracts
  • Standing up for WE the People
  • Not for sale

My opponent, Mimi Walters, has long opposed the legalization and taxation of hemp and marijuana. Walters is not fighting for WE the People. She is fighting for her Wall Street, and Billionaire Class campaign contributors. See which industries are Walters' largest contributors here!

Walters’ Voting/Support Record:

  • NOT standing up for WE the People

Varasteh’s Congressional Pledge:

  • Government out of our private lives
  • Amend NDAA & Patriot Act by stripping away government’s overreach into our private lives and never allow them to become permanent
  • Cut unnecessary waste in our military spending
  • Restrict no-bid defense contracts
  • Standing up for WE the People
  • Not for sale

In the state of California, we waste more money implementing a fiscally-irresponsible death penalty law-- $4 billion to date and $300 million per execution-- than we do on life sentences. Even the author of California's death penalty law, Don Hellar, has admitted that it was drafted without considering the fiscal consequences. Don Hellar is a Republican and a former prosecutor who now opposes the death penalty law which he drafted on grounds that life imprisonment (without parole) is not only more fiscally responsible, but "protects public safety better than a death sentence."

The Obama administration has already been taking steps in the right direction regarding criminal justice reform. Most recently, Obama banned for-profit prisons at the federal level and he should be commended for doing so. Allowing private companies to profit from incarceration is morally unacceptable and creates perverse incentives. Private companies are less likely to be accountable for actions which violate the Constitutional rights of prisoners or waste taxpayers’ money. I will work tirelessly to end this prison industrial complex in order to promote efficient government spending and protect the Constitutionality of our criminal justice system.

It's clear that work must be done to reform our criminal justice system both in California and at the federal level. As your congressman, I will make sure that we implement criminal justice reform in a sensible, fiscally-responsible way so that young Americans who are serious about contributing to our communities can do so without getting caught up in an expensive, counter-productive system of mass incarceration.

My opponent, Mimi Walters, supported NO on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society (Second Chance Act; Bill HR1593). Rep. CONYERS: “Some 650,000 men and women are leaving the federal and state prisons each year. While the vast majority of the prisoners are committed to abiding by the law and becoming productive members of society, they often encounter the same pressures and temptations that they faced before prison. More than two-thirds of them are arrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release. This exacts a terrible cost in financial terms as well as in human terms. The Second Chance Act will help provide these men and women with the training, counseling and other support needed to help them obtain and hold steady jobs; to kick their drug and alcohol habits; rebuild their families; and deal with the many other challenges that they face in their efforts to successfully rejoin society.” Walters supported NO on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons (Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA; Bill HR 4690). She supported NO to an amendment that would reduce the funding for violent offender imprisonment by and truth-in-sentencing programs by $61 million. The measure would increase funding for Boys and Girls Clubs and drug courts by the same amount. Walters supported YES on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime (Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 1501). This bill appropriates $1.5 billion to all of the states that want to improve their juvenile justice operations. Among other provisions this bill includes funding for development, implementation, and administration of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders, funds for building, expanding, or renovating juvenile corrections facilities, hiring juvenile judges, probation officers, and additional prosecutors for juvenile cases. Walters is not fighting for WE the People. She is fighting for her Wall Street, and Billionaire Class campaign contributors. See which industries are Walters' largest contributors here!

Walters Voting/Support Record:

  • NO on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society (Second Chance Act; Bill HR1593)
  • NO on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons (Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA; Bill HR 4690)
  • YES on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime (Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 1501)
  • NOT standing up for WE the People

Varasteh’s Congressional Pledge:

  • “Victim-less” criminals rehabilitated not incarcerated
  • DNA testing prior to any execution
  • Marijuana & hemp legalization and taxation
  • Standing up for WE the People
  • Not for sale

My opponent, Mimi Walters, supported YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1 (McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 2122). Walters supported YES on banning gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington DC (D.C. Personal Protection Act; Bill HR 1399). She is not being level-headed about this. She is being an extremist. Once more, she is not working for WE the People. Instead, she is working for her Wall Street and Billionaire Class campaign contributors. See which industries are Walters' largest contributors here!

Walters’ Voting/Support Record:

  • YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1 (McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 2122)
  • YES on Banning gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington DC (D.C. Personal Protection Act; Bill HR 1399)
  • NOT standing up for WE the People

Varasteh’s Congressional Pledge:

  • Support the right to bear arms by law-abiding citizens
  • Standing up for WE the People
  • Not for sale