Friday, September 6, 2013

Swalwell’s Finger To The Wind Relationship With Privacy Rights

ILLUSTRATION/Steven Tavares PHOTO/Shane Bond
CONGRESS//15th DISTRICT/PRIVACY | Last April, during the first few months of Rep. Eric Swalwell’s first term in Congress, he voted for a bill allowing tech and manufacturing companies to fork over your Internet traffic information. The stated purpose of the bill was meant to stem the increasing prevalence of cyber attacks against government and private companies. Aside from privacy hawks and tweeters on the far sides of the political spectrum, Internet privacy was not yet on the minds of every American. However, some Web sites went black in protest of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Undaunted, Swalwell and 287 other members of Congress voted for the bill, which the U.S. Senate never bothered to tackle. Then Edward Snowden happened.

By May, Snowden’s incriminating government documents showing wide-spread infringement of privacy rights by the government led to a rash of blistering articles in The Guardian, Washington Post and The New York Times. Suddenly, the whispers of the government spying on its citizens with a scope never before proved, made fears of Big Brother-style intrusion a hot-topic issue.

The damning evidence provided by Snowden caught the Obama administration flat-footed as it did for many Beltway officials. Last July, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash proposed an amendment to next year’s defense appropriation bill expressly forbidding the National Security Agency from collecting phone records of Americans as detailed in secret documents provided by Snowden. Amash’s amendment was lauded by progressives and libertarians as a strong response to the government’s breach of privacy, but was voted down in the House. Swalwell, who has crafted an image for himself as a young politician savvy with the protocols and potential of the Internet, supported the Amash amendment and celebrated his stand for privacy rights on social media. However, Swalwell struggles to explain the disconnect between voting for CISPA while also supporting the Amash amendment.

Swalwell last March in Hayward.
PHOTO/Shane Bond
An informed young man in his 20s attending a Swalwell town hall meeting Aug. 20 in Union City zeroed in on the congressman’s flip-flop. How can you explain supporting a bill in February allowing the government to collect Internet browser information and then backing an amendment strongly prohibiting the culling of phone records? Unfortunately, Swalwell never tackled the question with any substance that night. In fact, Swalwell uses an ingenious method to sidestep tough questions like the one posed by the young man. Instead of answering each query one-by-one, Swalwell takes three at time. His answer to the privacy question was creatively stuffed between two less controversial subjects.

Swalwell said the nation is far more vulnerable to cyber attacks on public utilities and financial institutions than a large-scale 9/11-type attack. With nearly 95 percent of computer networks in the hands of private corporations, some unwilling to be forthright about the number of attacks it absorbs, he added, there is only so much the government can do. The comments obviously were meant to defend his vote on CISPA in February, but he never defended the Amash vote, only saying, “I’m troubled about what we learn everyday about the NSA.”

The young congressman’s pro-defense stance on privacy concerns, however, is not surprising. He sits on the House Homeland Security Committee and has shown strong support in the past for military drones, defending Israel and local law enforcement initiatives. His record regarding government intrusion suggest his vote for the Amash amendment amounted to gauging the winds of short-term public sentiment. In contrast, Alameda County's other member of Congress, Rep. Barbara Lee maintain continuity in her progressive stance by voting against CISPA while supporting the Amash amendment.

The votes also represent a huge opening for opponents to exploit in the next year’s re-election campaign. For a moderate like Swalwell straddling between two distinct voter pools in the Hayward area and the Tri Valley, issues like privacy which has unified both progressives and Tea Party types with vigor, makes for an interesting political battlefield for Swalwell to navigate. State Sen. Ellen Corbett, who is challenging Swalwell next year, would appear to hold an upper hand on the issue. In the past, she has battled online privacy concerns when it comes to protecting minors from the dark side of the Internet and raised the ire of social media giants like Facebook for her advocacy.

As for the young man who tried to pin down Swalwell on his voting record, he was left unsatisfied. Upon realizing his question had been glossed over, he furrowed his brow, pursed his lips and then let out a small sigh of exasperation.


I asked him that question so thanks for the write up. Unfortunately, I looked around the room as he answered my question and most people were nodding in agreement with his fear mongering. I was hoping he would apologize for his vote for CISPA since the NSA scandal wasn't yet public but he doubled down on defending the need for the government to collect people's private data, which of course is in complete contrast to his stance on the NSA.

Another huge mistake for the corrupt kid--can't wait for the election to throw him out.

The vote doesn't bother me as much as the fact that he can't defend it. A Congressman who takes positions I disagree with is one thing; a Congressman who doesn't know why he takes the positions he takes is quite another.

In general, Swalwell can't tell his ass from a hole in the ground. Hopefully he will be gone next November.

Dream on. He's the only congressional rep. to agree with bombing Syria. That works for me.

I can see it now, Tea Party types lining up to vote for Corbett.

Yes indeed, they'll probably dismiss her vote to put non-citizens no their juries.

You bet, Corbett is going to grab the far left and the far right. Sounds so very plausible.

Swalwell's a corrupt idiot--one term and out--good riddance.

You said it. Corbett's a corrupt idiot--no terms and never in--good riddance.

Corbett, the only challenger in November, has simply positioned herself too far to the left for too many years.

The top-two system puts her at a extreme disadvantage that she never had to deal with in past elections.

Like Pete Stark, she'll do well West of the hills, but will be completely out done in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin where she needs to appeal to moderates and conservatives.

The math no longer works as it did for decades.
You can't vote for things like putting non-citizens on juries and then expect it to not portray you as out of step with main stream voters in the district.

Clearly, Swalwell aides and interns posting comments about non-citizen juries. Pathetic.

It shows how scared they are of Ellen. Swalwell's a smuck and decisions like this one will cost him the election. Corbett will defeat him in 2014. She is more mature and much wiser than the green behind the ears kid. LOL

Swallwell is not a consevative or a moderate or a liberal. He's an idiot. He belongs to the "Stand for Nothing" Party. He's blowing in the wind.

Eric only believes in Eric. If you're name is Eric too you can believe he stands for you too.

While a few snipe at Swalwell here, I just watched him featured on KTVU 2 News, (Saturday), holding a Hayward event to explain the Obamacare bill and it included experts to let the people of Hayward know the facts and details. Additionally there were health and dental screenings offered at the event. The residents appeared grateful for the opportunity to learn the details.
(Oh, no mention of Corbett in the news report.)

But of course the sniping here will reach a audience many times greater than the favorable report seen by district residents on KTVU News.

Seems the "green behind the ears kid" is hitting on all cylinders, while Corbett is pedaling a sputtering moped.

I wish Swalwell's staffers would quit writing and posting on this blog. They always try and change the subject and pump up the idiot kid. Ellen has many bills pass both the Assembly and Senate that are sitting on the Gov.'s desk for signing that will benefit most of us. Most importantly she's not making mistake after mistake almost every other day like Eric. The kid is an embarrassment in way over his head who stands for nothing. Ellen Corbett in 2014 for Congress will be a major improvement for our district.

Swallwell=flip flop, flip flop, flip flop, flip flop, flip flop, etc. What a panderer.

Corbett, the only challenger in November, has simply positioned herself too far to the left for too many years.

The top-two system puts her at a extreme disadvantage that she never had to deal with in past elections.

Like Pete Stark, she'll do well West of the hills, but will be completely out done in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin where she needs to appeal to moderates and conservatives.

The math no longer works as it did for decades.
You can't vote for things like putting non-citizens on juries and then expect it to not portray you as out of step with main stream voters in the district.

Well this is odd.

The post above -- September 8, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Is identical to the post -- September 6, 2013 at 9:15 PM

But I posted the one on September 6, while someone else reposted it on September 8th.

How about you make up your own post?

It's Swallwell's staffers again, who have nothing to offer on their own, copying other posts. They are as lame as Eric and make as many mistakes as he does. He isn't competent, so how can he hire competent people. LMAO

Flip, Flop------Flip, Flop-------Flip, Flop He stands for nothing!

Can we all please agree that Missy is old news, past it, and really needs to start some serious baking?

That's her job.

Anon-above---What a sexist comment you chauvinistic pig! Your mother would be ashamed of you. Eric will be old news after 2014 when Ellen Corbett beats him.

Get with the 21st century, ho. In your dream world.

Keep up your sexist comments if you think it will help Swallwell. It will probably help Ellen get more votes from WOMEN. Thank You

What a dumbshit the above poster is. Has no grasp of Spanish. The dufous is saying 'thank you' to the original person who wrote 'thank you.'

These asshole posts go from dumb to dumbest.

At least we know Ellen Corbett isn't a flip flopper. Like her chances in 2014.

It's only her middle name.

All politicians 'evolve.' Just look at Obama.

By MW:

Concerning the post of 8:56AM on September 7:

While I do not know enough about Swalwell's history, positions, and philosophy to comment on that post as a description of Swalwell, however it sounds like the perfect description of Oakland mayor Jean Quan.

NOTE: Concerning the recent election, I was not really for or against Swalwell. But I was strongly against Pete Stark, and in fact would have voted for virtually anybody other than Stark, and including since I believe Stark for at least few years now has been suffering from fairly extreme cases of both senility and dementia.

I too voted for Swallwell against Stark, but will vote for Ellen this time.

My household of 7,876 all voted for Eric last time and we will be doing so again.


Anon 2:51--what a ridiculous post. Are you that stupid? Now we will probably get a post saying their household of 8,000 will all vote for Ellen. Why waste our time? What a doofus!

Lets face it, in the November 2014 general election, east of Hayward and Castro Valley, Corbett is like the lost soul wandering in a barren desert.
She won't do well east of the hills and would have to build up a 65% to 35% lead in Hayward, Fremont, and Union City to offset her outcome in Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Livermore.

Try explaining to folks out there why you voted to place non-citizens on juries for the first time in the USA.----(even if they have been in the country for only 30 or 60 days)

This article is about Swalwell's finger to the wind. (nice try by a staffer to change the subject). Eric also gave his finger to his district. Swalwell=flip, flop-flip, flop-flip, flop-flip, flop. He's a panderer. No principals! That's why Ellen Corbett will win and his staffers so worried.

Ellen, I'm the Willie Brown pimp, Whorbett!

If you like what I did for Boss Brown, just let me in so I can screw-over you and the district!

As the real Ellen, I will gladly extend my middle digit to the district each and every time so that you know what I really think about YOU!

agree with anon 9:57. I wish Swallwells staffers would stay off this blog. They don't even try and defend their candidate because they know that he is a flip-flopper who has his finger to the wind and has NO principals. Even if I don't agree with everything Ellen Corbett does, I TRUST her more than the flip-flopper. Plus, his staffers are very sexist.

9:57 and 6:01 are one in the same.

These are Corbett cheer leaders who try to dominate.

Old-time cronyism is alive and well with Ellen Corbett!

So says the Swalwell staffer who has half the posts on this string. He/she is just as wrong as Swalwell because one knew how to spell Swalwell 9:57, and one didn't 6:01. Once again he/she is trying to change the subject. The article is about Swalwell and his flip-flopping ways. Talk about a cheer leader. All your posts won't be able to save an immature kid who stands for nothing .

We're going to make sure that the public knows how corrupt she is. Pimpin' for ol' Boss Brown.

Change the subjet? You bet. Going to make sure the public knows the truth about this sinner.

What's the matter, stooges? Afraid the public might learn the truth about this old girl crony who is into making backroom deals on behalf of slimy characters?

You Swalwell staffers are getting more desperate as your candidate makes more and more mistakes. Flip-flop, flip-flop-----like a fish on land. LOL

My name is Wendy Bain from Pleasanton. I am a volunteer staffer for the Ellen Corbett people. I can't sit back any longer while the following goes on.

We have been smearing Ellen on our own and then casting blame on congressman Swalwell. The fact is that neither he nor anyone associated with his campaign has been targeting Ellen.

This has been a dirty, disgusting smear campaign that I can no longer take part in. I am finished.

11:29 Interesting concept. Of course everyone posting here is unknown.
I suppose if there is anything to your claim, you'll make it public to a newspaper or even Steven Tavares.
As biased as he may be in certain races, I'm sure he'd be more than happy to write about your concerns on the record.

Why not contact him or a local paper?

Then again, we have no way of knowing if your claim is just a double-reverse in this arcane thread of claim and counter claim.

We await a public statement from anyone willing to go on the record with identity confirmed.

11:29 is total B.S. and just another Swalwell staffer dirty trick.

I have to laugh at the conspiracy fans here.
They suggest that a hoard of Swalwell staffers are buzzing around this board and loading up the anti Corbett comments.

Now think about it. How many people who read this site are persuadable to the point they'd change their vote?
Perhaps 1 person, possibly 2 people, over several months of effort.

Now compare that waste of effort with simply getting on the phone, or walking door to door, helping Swalwell in some capacity.

The thought that there is a organized effort by Swalwell staffers is simply laughable UNLESS they are the biggest pack of idiots, willing to waste their time trying to convert or subvert a few Corbett supporters.

Do any of you conspiracy types ever consider the issue of "productivity" and how it would be a monumental waste of time to invest one's efforts here?

No, what you see going on here is just a small handful of folks engaging in school yard banter.
Back and forth silliness. Someone needs to smack them on the head with a ruler.

I'm not sure it's a conspiracy theory. We know for fact Swalwell interns, volunteers routinely posted snide comments here during the last campaign. Ask the dread-locked guy. In addition, you should know this site just passed 1.2 million visitors in its history.

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