Colonialism remains alive and well


Waging war on the Democratic Party’s corruption

While every day on the campaign trail is different from the next, one thing that seems to remain true in politics is that things change quickly. We’re grateful this week to stand in a remarkably different position than we did only just a few weeks ago, when many observers still falsely presumed that Pelosi would retire, creating an open seat.

The various career politicians described as her potential replacements in the press are all committed to their careers before the issues, which is why none of them are willing to face the incumbent.

I am not afraid, because I care more about the policy issues impacting our communities than I do about my career. Can you stand with me today to defend the future from an intergenerationally predatory past?

Earlier this week, Business Insider published a profile about me and our 2022 campaign observing our long history of calling out conflicts of interest, particularly insider trading by Members of Congress.

The article explores congressional insider trading, quoting me as saying, “She spent 34 years enriching herself at the public's expense. And this is how.”

While Buttar...said he's glad the rest of the world has finally caught up, he's also apoplectic that it took everyone so long. He called Pelosi out about her finances in April 2021, inquiring on social media whether she was serving "her constituents or her $140-million portfolio."

"This is unapologetic, open corruption," Buttar said.…

"It's a conflict of interest that invites corporate influence into their substantive decision making," he said of the status quo, casting the fossil fuels distributors, drug makers, and defense contractors packed into lawmakers' financial portfolios as powerful puppeteers.

"Members of Congress are more committed to those industries than their constituents precisely because they make money off it," Buttar said. "It is that simple."

Can you join us today to continue highlighting the corporate corruption of the Democratic Party, and leading journalists to information they seem hard-pressed to find on their own?

Then, just this morning, SF Gate published a profile and lengthy Q&A making clear our position vis-a-vis the Democratic Party.

The SF Gate story was notable for several reasons. First, it reviews reports long suppressed by San Francisco journalists aligned with the Democratic Party, exposing a smear campaign orchestrated to insulate an oligarch from public accountability.

It also featured our critique of the incumbent, and the better alternatives that we offer on policy issues. SF Gate quoted me as saying:

[D]o voters want the same voice that has steered our country into a ditch for 34 years while filling her pockets at the public's expense? Or do we want an advocate who has long stood for our communities? Plenty of people who've stood for our communities get smeared. Ilhan Omar is smeared routinely. Dr. King got smeared. Malcolm X got smeared. If you stand for truth against an establishment, you get smeared. They only smear you if they fear you.

And the Democratic establishment has good reason to fear me because on six different occasions in 2020 I won things bigger than a congressional seat: We shifted the speaker of the House on critical policy issues.

While many voters have grown disillusioned with the voices of politicians who claim support for progressive principles when convenient, SF Gate also highlighted what makes me different than every politician in Washington:

I'm not afraid of a fight. I mean, they've done everything short of killing me to shut me up. Every kind of lie you could imagine, leveraging racial stereotypes and religious stereotypes….

[I]n 2022, I understand that I have to run against [Pelosi], the party, and all of its sycophants in institutions, sadly, including the press.

Can you help us continue calling out the establishment’s corruption, highlighting crucial policy issues, and explaining them to voters without the Wall Street spin that pervades most news coverage?

Power concedes nothing without a demand. I’ve always been willing to make the demands, but their force and strength depends on your support.

That’s why, together, we were able to force change on the House of Representatives in 2020 on six major policy issues. With your continued help, I’m confident that similar success is the least we can expect in 2022.

As I’m fond of saying, I’m happy to continue pushing Pelosi on policy issues…until we push her out of her seat.

Thanks so much for standing with me!

Your voice,
Shahid


Our concerns informing mass media


Labor leaders and corporate Democrats vs. rank & file workers


A victory worth celebrating

Many different vectors infect our political process with corporate influence. While campaign finance and post-election lobbying have long drawn attention, however, the widespread practice of congressional insider trading has managed to largely evade public scrutiny.

Until now.

Can you join us today to continue forcing issues to the front of the national debate, despite the interests of corporate politicians and the journalists who insulate them from public scrutiny?

I grew concerned about the corporate corruption of Congress years before ever running for office. My first case as a baby lawyer back in 2003 focused on defending the “McCain-Feingold” Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which aimed to curtail corporate money in elections. The Supreme Court flipped our 2006 victory in Shays v FEC on its head with its Citizens United decision in 2010, and Pelosi’s role as a poster child of corporate influence was largely what motivated me to shift from non-profit advocacy to politics in 2018.

Our campaign has been hammering the issue of congressional conflicts of interest for years. We’ve raised the issue on social media, with voters in our field outreach, and also in grassroots actions, including one just three weeks ago that we organized at Pelosi’s downtown San Francisco office over the holidays.

Most voices concerned about congressional insider trading have expressed alarms about how it skews the marketplace. Pelosi claims the right to participate in a “free market,” conveniently ignoring how the information to which she has unique access as a policymaker confers a massive advantage.

That’s not only theoretical: her husband’s stock portfolio is notorious for beating the market. No Democrat in Congress secured a higher return on their investments last year than their political leader. That in itself is a glaring reflection of corruption.

Can you support our campaign to win San Francisco a voice in the House more concerned with the public interest and public needs than a private stock portfolio? The incumbent is an oligarch with an intergenerational dynasty, while I’m an immigrant whose only property is a formidable record of fighting the bipartisan establishment on your behalf.

While voices concerned about insider trading are right to call it out, they frankly downplay the harms it presents to the public. It is certainly true that allowing Members of Congress to trade stocks gives them an inherent advantage, undermining the fairness and efficiency of the marketplace.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Far worse than skewing the marketplace is dividing the loyalties of policymakers, inviting the open corruption of the policymaking process by incentivizing policymakers to prioritize not the needs of their constituents, but rather whatever decision will maximize the profits of the enterprises that they own.

Put another way: the harm to the market pales next to the even greater harm to democracy, and the legitimacy of each of those spheres in the face of co-optation by an oligarch.

We need your help to defend democracy from the military-industrial complex. The co-optation of voices in Washington—including Nancy Pelosi—by Wall Street represent precisely that.

Thanks again for helping to make this victory possible! To be frank, I take Pelosi’s comment with a pound of salt, and will believe she’s sincere when I see Congress pass a law to restrict congressional insider trading.

But while there remains more to do here, the public shift in her position represents a major concession to our demands.

I’m eager to see what else, working together, we can win.

Your voice,

Shahid


Remember MLK’s radical legacy

Every year, our nation poetically recalls Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But most who remember Dr. King water down his legacy as a socialist critic of military industrial corruption. Liberals tend to recall his inspiring odes to color blindness, while conveniently overlooking his broader vision.

Can you support our efforts today to pursue the radical vision of MLK and others before him who dreamed not of a color blind neoliberal fantasy, but rather of a world actually free of economic, racial, and political injustice?

First, Dr. King issued blistering critiques of how racism, militarism, and capitalism intersect, as well as the complicity of “the white moderate” who settles for order at the cost of justice. While the civil rights movement that he helped lead is celebrated today for its victories, it was ultimately denied its most transformative goals.

Second, his experience at the hands of government intelligence agencies revealed a layer of corruption enabled by the intersecting evils that he observed. For years, the FBI monitored him, and actively worked to neutralize his voice by (among other things) blackmailing him and encouraging him to commit suicide.

Finally, King effectively forecast the climate crisis that emerged decades after his assassination. Today, humanity confronts an advancing global catastrophe that we could have averted had Washington heeded his voice instead of vilifying him.

As our nation continues to stumble into moral and policy pitfalls that he identified over half a century ago, the real legacy of Dr. King’s work grows only more relevant with every passing day.

Can you support our campaign today to breathe new life into that legacy, and continue the struggle for human rights that MLK and others began?  

Most Americans today remember the civil rights movement as a story of triumph. In this age of racial reckoning, we should remember, however, that the most pressing demands of civil rights organizations in the 1960s—like the right to be able to buy a hamburger, or to be free from foreign wars for conquest and corporate plunder—were rejected in favor of voting rights and anti-discrimination principles.

Not only were the movement’s greatest aspirations frustrated, but even the important concessions extracted from the establishment have withered in the years since then. The Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 Shelby County decision, setting the stage for today’s attacks on democracy unfolding in state legislatures across the country.

While the civil rights movement was righteous, and appealed to the best parts of our nation’s conscience, it fell on the shoals of the continuing racism that many liberals have come to recognize only recently.

Remember MLK not as a triumphant victor over injustice, but rather as a tragic victim of it whose work remains unfinished today.

Can you join us today to continue pressing to enshrine in policy the crucial human rights that MLK was killed for pursuing?

King’s experience also illuminates another dimension of white supremacy beyond racism: its aspect of preserving existing power.

Most Americans today think of Dr. King as a national hero. In his own time, however, he endured vicious attacks from our government before he was taken from us. The FBI actively spied on him. Paid government agents encouraged him to commit suicide. He faced critics from across the political spectrum who had been driven to hate him by propaganda.

On the one hand, while King’s experience at the hands of the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Programs (COINTELPRO) were secret at the time, they were eventually revealed by the Church and Pike committee investigations that birthed today’s Senate and House Intelligence committees.

And the discovery of those programs and their voluminous abuses helped prompt legal restrictions. Congress passed statutes including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), while the executive branch also issued guidance, like the Attorney General’s Guidelines put in place to avert the imposition of a statutory charter to constrain the Bureau.

On the other hand, the various legal restrictions imposed on the agencies during the Watergate era have all been watered down to once again enable similar domestic surveillance abuses. FISA was gutted in 2009 with the support of then Senator Barack Obama, while the Attorney General’s Guidelines have been diluted on at least half a dozen occasions since they were imposed in 1979.

Our government's attacks on dissent by figures including MLK inspired my work over the past two decades to address the assault on our democracy from the FBI to local police departments. No candidate for public office in the country has done more to challenge secret government surveillance over the past twenty years.

Do you want a voice in Congress who has enabled executive branch abuses for decades, or instead one who has fought for decades to expose and end them?

Beyond demonstrating the effectiveness of government marginalizing dissent, and the continuing frustrations of a movement whose aims have yet to be secured in policy, King also named the precursors to the climate crisis. It has grown to the point of global catastrophe precisely because, under the leadership of both corporate political parties, Washington chose to follow the money, ignoring his warnings.

Today, we all the pay the price. It will weigh even more heavily on the future.

In King’s era, scientists had already come to recognize the greenhouse effect. Fossil fuel companies would soon start working to suppress public awareness of its profound implications. Public concern about the climate crisis would take another generation, but even in his own time, King named its components—consumerism, racism, and militarism—as “intersecting evils.”

Millennials and Zoomers concerned about the climate crisis are right to bemoan the failures that preceded them. The world they inherit has been effectively poisoned, from the oceans to the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the slavish dedication to capital that continues to drive federal policy ensures that the plunder, for now, will only continue.

But those failures are not those of older generations. Indeed, they’re failures of not any generation, but rather a set of effectively permanent corporate institutions that outlive and co-opt them all. Dr. King championed the very same interests of today’s intersectional climate activists over 60 years ago.

History has proven King’s prescience. It grows only more profound by the day.

Do you want to be represented in Washington by a voice who is not only aware of this history, but has also worked for decades to challenge the intersecting evils named by MLK?

It’s long past time for Washington, and Americans, to finally heed the lessons that Dr. King tried to teach—as well as those we could learn from the establishment’s vicious response to him in his own era, and its continuing attempts to water down and neutralize his legacy today.

May the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. be a blessing to all of us.


What did MLK stand for?


Pelosi’s party patronage network vs the press


Tired of #AnyBlueWillDo yet?


20 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial

Twenty years ago, the Pentagon opened the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today, it continues to hold nearly 40 men there at a per capita cost of $13 million / year.

Would you rather see our federal resources spent on medicine than human rights abuses?

I’m running for Congress to force Washington to address issues that both parties have instead chosen to ignore. President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo over a decade ago, yet the facility absurdly remains open.

The bipartisan consensus enabling the Washington war machine is what drove me to seek political office in the first place. Long before ever considering serving in Congress, I explained the horrors of indefinite detention on behalf of Witness Against Torture at an event commemorating a previous anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention & torture facility.

Too many voices in Washington remain beholden to the military-industrial complex instead of human rights.

Would you like to be represented in Congress by a longstanding advocate for human rights & civil liberties who fought Washington under both Bush and Obama?

Many voices pretend that the problems in our country are partisan. And while the GOP is increasingly committed to open fascism, it would reflect ignorance of how fascism works to imagine that Democrats have not proven repeatedly complicit in it.

I pay too much attention to policy to be distracted by partisan noise. That’s why I’ve long seen through the ruse of Democratic Party politics, and also why I’ve spent decades fighting bipartisan corruption in the capital.

Can you join us today to help finally bring indefinite detention in military custody to an end?

Every Member of Congress swears an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Most don’t understand our Constitution well enough to fulfill that oath.

I do, however, and began following it long before running for office. With your support, I hope to make the oath of office mean something, and to help stop the next war before it starts.

Thanks for standing with me, and with human rights!

Yours,

Shahid