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Progressives Challenge Pelosi Fundraiser

Progressives Challenge Pelosi Fundraiser


JAISAL NOOR: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center reveals
that while a majority of Democrats opposed government spying under the administration
of George W. Bush, they do support spying programs put in place by the Obama administration.
However, a group of displeased Democrats recently broke ranks to protest the NSA surveillance
programs at a fundraiser for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, targeting her for her
staunch defense of the Obama administration’s spying programs. Here’s a clip of that protest. CROWD: First Amendment, Fourth Amendment,
Fifth Amendment, yes. Second amendment, Second Amendment, that’s how you protect the rest.
Fifth Amendment yes. First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, yes. NOOR: Now joining us to talk more about this
protest and the reasons behind it is Norman Solomon. He’s the founding director of the
Institute of Public Accuracy, cofounder of RootsAction.org. He cochairs the Coalition
for Grassroots Progress, which sponsored the July 13 protest against NSA surveillance that
picketed a high-dollar Democratic Party fundraiser honoring Nancy Pelosi. He’s the author of
a dozen books, including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to
Death. Thank you for joining us, Norman. NORMAN SOLOMON: It’s a pleasure. Thank you. NOOR: So talk about the reasons behind this
protest and why target Nancy Pelosi. SOLOMON: Yeah. The protest is really a reflection,
I think, of growing disquiet among many people, no matter what their party identification,
with the Obama administration’s continued effort to defend the NSA surveillance program,
really violating the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments. And we had here in the North Bay, just north
of the Golden Gate Bridge, just a few days’ notice after we learned that a private fundraiser
for the Democratic Party was headlining Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in the House,
who has been really clear in her defense of the Obama administration’s NSA surveillance
program. So here basically we have the most powerful Democrat in the House in our backyard
raising money, somebody who’s defending the indefensible, these terrible violations of
civil liberties. So we gathered into this very expensive, wealthy neighborhood, somewhat
obscure in location up these winding roads, and we had about 70 people actually picketing
at and near the house where the fundraiser was taking place. NOOR: So, Norman, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed
out in his articles discussing the fallout of this, of the NSA leaks, it’s been the Democrats
that have been the staunchest defenders of the Obama administration’s spying and the
fiercest critics of Edward Snowden. Specifically, Nancy Pelosi herself, she spoke out at Netroots
conference, a progressive conference, in defense of the spying programs. Here’s a clip of what
she said a few weeks ago. NANCY PELOSI: –welcome the challenges that
people pose, because I think that those answers–those questions must be answered. And as far as
Snowden, he did–you know, I may be in disagreement with you–he did violate the law in terms
of releasing those documents. We don’t know. [boos] I understand. I understand. I understand.
But it did violate the law. And the fact is that, again, we have to have the balance between
security and privacy. NOOR: So, Norman, what’s your response to
what Nancy Pelosi was saying or trying to say in that clip? SOLOMON: Well, yes, she was floundering trying
to remember her talking points. Really, this is symptomatic of the top Democratic Party
national leadership, where you have not only Pelosi; you have Henry Reed of the Senate,
you have the upper strata of the Democratic Party folks in Congress–here in California
Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee–even more vociferous
in defending this unconscionable surveillance. And I think it goes to the fact that it’s
the Obama administration which is perpetrating and extending this kind of surveillance that
was really boosted by the Bush administration. And this is a sort of circle the wagons around
our own party sort of response by so many Democrats in Congress. There is, I think, growing fissure which needs
to grow a lot more between the top Democratic Party leadership and a lot of people who call
themselves Democrats and who are rank-and-file or activist leaders around the country. One
example is that at our Marin County protest picketing Nancy Pelosi at this fundraiser
days ago, among the speakers was Caroline Banuelos. She is the chair of the Sonoma County
Latino Democratic Club. She’s the Northern California chair of the California Democratic
Party’s progressive Caucus, which is the largest caucus of the largest state Democratic Party
in the country. So that is a reflection, I think, of what’s involved here. We had on short notice a fairly small but
I think high-impact picket where we were literally and figuratively not supposed to go, where
a bunch of rich people were gathering to support the Democratic Party’s congressional campaign
funding to the tune of up to $32,400 per couple. And what I think needs to happen now on this
issue in terms of the grassroots is that people around the country challenge those who are
in Congress who are of the party of the administration that is perpetrating this horrendous violation
of our civil liberties. And that, I think, is an opportunity here in late summer. In
the month of August, you have members of Congress fanning out to their home districts around
the country, doing town halls or trying to avoid doing authentic town halls, but they’re
doing public appearances. And I would really urge people. Everybody’s got a congressperson
of whatever party, but perhaps of particular importance if they’re Democrats. They should
be challenged. They should be nonviolently confronted. This needs to be made a huge issue
in late summer. NOOR: And a lot of those leaders you mentioned,
I bet they were protesting President Bush’s spying when he was carrying them out. SOLOMON: Yes. Well, you know, not enough,
but there was a lot more pushback and rhetoric against the surveillance by the NSA and so
forth, phone wiretaps domestically, when it was a Republican in the White House doing
it and Democrats could sort of make some political hay. This is really part of the terrain we’re
in now, and many issues are of crucial importance. A bedrock of our capacity to develop democratic
action is civil liberties. I mean, you look at not only freedom of the press, which because
of the monitoring and surveillance of the phone records of Associated Press and so forth
have been abrogated. Then you’ve got the Fourth Amendment. The whole thing is being violated
as a whole by the Obama administration, and then due process of the Fifth Amendment. So
this is the kind of assault on basic freedoms that is just not acceptable. And this is the
summer of our discontent that more opposition needs to be vocally and visibly launched against
these kind of programs coming out of the White House. NOOR: And so we don’t know how much the NSA
spends on these surveillance programs, but we do know it’s a massive amount and that
government contractors are making a killing off these programs. How much influence do
they have over the Democrats in supporting and defending these programs? SOLOMON: Well, these are basically bipartisan
programs. And as you say, massive amounts, billions of dollars, are being doled out to
private megacompanies, for the most part. The division between or separation between
the government and corporations when it comes to so-called intelligence, that’s disappeared
just about to the vanishing point. By most accounts, up to 70 percent of the tax dollars
going to intelligence and surveillance and so forth is going directly to contracting
private firms. And what we have is really one hand washing
the other. When you think about it, we now have a military-industrial-digital complex,
where the cutting edge is overwhelmingly in the private sphere. And so these huge conglomerates
such as the one that Edward Snowden was working for, Booz Allen Hamilton, when he was able
to divulge this vital information, these folks are way ahead technically of the government.
And so the government is paying them huge amounts of money and boosting profits, which
is, after all, what the corporate capitalist enterprises are really about. And in turn,
those corporations are giving to the White House and the administration and the government,
the so-called intelligence agencies–what they want is the capacity to use tighter surveillance
through digital means to tighten political control. And so we have this fusion of government
power and corporate power that has to be challenged directly. And that’s why I really urge people to directly
challenge those in office and say these violations of civil liberties are unacceptable. I have
to say that I’m very proud, together with Jeff Cohen, having cofounded RootsAction.org.
We have now several hundred thousand members who have been responding to our appeals for,
for instance, hands off Edward Snowden, to insist that the U.S. government should not
abduct, kidnap, or otherwise grab hold of Edward Snowden as he seeks political asylum.
And folks who want to be part of that process can go to RootsAction.org, sign our appeal,
and be part of this effort. NOOR: Norman Solomon, thank you so much for
joining us. SOLOMON: Thank you. NOOR: Thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

  • The Democrats are looking just as bad as the Republicans.
    They both take money from the same interests
    The deadlock in Washington is by design.

  • I remember pass the Health Care Bill now WE can read it later. Has she read it yet. She is a JOKE. All this spying will aid the New World Order.

  • Theycan only get away with this because the narcotized and stupid American public tolerates and even defends it. If we had a million people in the streets of Washington, things would be different. Look at Turkey and Brazil. Mass movements with specific demands get things done.

  • The three " T's" implemented against the American people by the establishment : Tyranny, Treason, Terrorism, The establishment will not stop until the people unite to stop them. From the water we drink, to the air we breathe they control it all. They attack our health first, and go for our souls later. This didn't happen over night, they corrupted the whole system and everyone in it. We are headed for a serious trainwreck once the ppl have no choice but to fight back, UNITED WE WILL PREVAIL

  • Pelosi is the worst ,she wants to FEEL SORRY and give middle class who paid for their benfits food stamps she said " we will give everone a little and take Care of the poor so folks who put in next to nothing we will give our hard earned dol;lars so the lazy can ear while we accept her charity we want our money!!!!! Not a gift while you take our money in goive it to the poor!!!

  • Pelosi could have taken all that taxpayer money she used in flying her cronies out to Copenhagen…and used it to spread knowledge about gov employees abusing their gov issued credit cards.
    Pelosi and Rubio would b best.

  • Government power + corporate power= CORPORATISM/CRONY CAPITALISM

    People confuse this with Capitalism. Learn the difference.

    If you say corporations spending money on gov. officials is Capitalism (false), then why not say when these corporations build parks, playgrounds, and help people out 'Capitalism' as well? Capitalism is the means by which you make the money…not necc how you spend it.

  • That's the free market. On the market everything is for sale, including politicians. The bottom line of capitalism is money and profit. The lines simply blend into each other. In capitalism you'll always have people bending or breaking the rules to their own advantage.

  • The elite, the 1%, NeoCons/NeoLibs, know what's coming& don't even want to lessen their wealth for the sake of the Earth or mass of people, so they maintain the Patriot Act, NSA, Military Industrial Congressional Privatized Complex. Read "Who Will Tell the People" by William Greider. Research American history before, during, & after the Great Depression & the fall of Nixon. Focus on those who opposed correcting the System.

  • Vounteerists are also capitalists but have nothing in common with your otherwise perceptive comment. Ck. it out & become active in a growing political movement. Federalism is incapable of reform, especially with its monopolistic 2 party political system. Be, at least, an advocate for proportional voting results & that will help with your problems & everyone else's except the Dems & the GOP.

  • All elected & appointed government official take an oath to defend the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendments, etc. So their job duty is pretty straight forward. Now Mrs Pelosi stands there & says they need to balance security & our Rights "There is no balance here Nancy!" You've sworn to protect US Constitution. Remember
    Rule #1- Defend US Constitution.
    Rule #2- When creating national security policies they come to the realization that it clearly violates our Constitution, GO BACK TO RULE #1.

  • Just because an individual takes on 'oath/pledge' etc. is meaningless as it has become so very acceptable in this country to worship the mantra of do what thou wilt. Not one of these crims in office is for anyone, save themself. I have yet to see them provide true benefit to humanity at large

  • "The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. " — Franklin Roosevelt

  • Based on all the various acts of congress that have taken place since 9/11/2001, that have led to this national surveillance state, I think it's time we all make it known to each of our local representatives that theirs no more need for the Patriot Act being renewed.
    We are more likely to hurt ourselves falling down in the shower, than being attacked by some Islamic , so called… terrorist !… we should however… beware of those who so-called… represent us.

  • Sounds more like Corporatism to me. No bid contracts, being able to buy junk food with food stamps, paying private contractors enormous amounts of money (compared to what it would cost the military) are not examples of Capitalism.

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