Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why is Sinema so afraid of criticism?

On June 19, the US House of Representatives voted 293-123 on the Massie amendment to the National Defense Authorization Appropriation NDAA bill.

The amendment will limit the legal authority of the NSA to spy on Americans.

Of the nine members of Arizona's delegation, eight were in attendance and voted. Five voted AYE,

  • Schweikert
  • Grijalva
  • Pastor
  • Gosar
  • Salmon
Three voted NO.
  • Franks
  • Barber
  • Sinema
Kirkpatrick was not in DC for that vote.

Since Sinema had previously voted in favor of measures intended to limit NSA spying on law abiding Americans, her NO vote troubled me.

So, I asked Sinema Congressional staffers Dana Marie Kennedy and media liaison Janey Pearl Starks, "why did Kyrsten vote NO on the Massie amendment?" 

The response was... crickets.

I asked campaign staff, including Michelle Davidson. She said talk to Congressional staff.

So, I now had two questions.
  • Why did Kyrsten vote NO on the Massie amendment? and,
  • Why does nobody respond to a question that should be extremely simple to answer?
Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) sits on the House Veterans Affairs committee. During a recent HVA hearing, Walz told a witness from the VA, "I will be your biggest supporter but also your harshest critic."

That's pretty much how I see things with Democrats these days. I know from 2012 that when I criticized Kyrsten, it took a long time before she was willing to even make eye contact with me.

I am not out to "get her." But I am out to get answers and report them. So I ask questions.

And I will ask questions that don't get asked much by corporate print or broadcast media.

And if I don't get answers, I'm going to keep asking.

Now, the smart thing would seem to be to have somebody answer the question(s) as quickly as reasonably possible. That's what transparency is about, right?

Well, I never have heard from any of Kyrsten's Congressional staff on this question.

A couple of months ago, when the VA scandal first broke into the news, I wondered aloud why Kyrsten, who represents the district where the Phoenix VA Medical Center sits, wasn't front and center letting constituents know she was advocating in Congress for them.

Her staff pretty much let me know they were going to try to cut off my access. That is probably why I got the silent treatment this time. I could be wrong. They should tell me one way or the other.

Anyway, Kyrsten subsequent to my inquiry about her VA advocacy, co-authored (with Salmon) an amendment to a VA appropriations bill that specified $1 million be designated for the VA Inspector General to conduct an audit to determine the reason for delays in VA care delivery. The amendment passed and the money was put to work.

I was actually surprised at how quickly the IG was able to determine the problem and later found out it was because VA officials in DC, in Phoenix and apparently all over the US, already knew what the problem was. But the VA has been persistently resisting calls for transparency for years.

Nevertheless, a citizen who lives in CD9 persistently pestered Sinema's staff for answers to the question about the Massie amendment. Here's what he told me,
I... spoke with Michael Brownley who had left the message for me. His response was that she agreed with the content, but voted no because it lacked an emergency provision that legally collected info could not be used to prevent an attack without a warrant that could take to long to get. I did not accept that and asked if she, or with a group of others in the House, had proposed other legislation, or an amendment to Massie that would include that. He said no. I asked why all the Dems who voted for it didn't have the same concerns as her. (emphasis mine)
He copped out by saying that he can't speak for the reasoning behind the votes of others. 
Actually, Sinema's staffer cannot speak for any other member, so I'm okay with him saying that.
He also mentioned that any information collected that is not "security" related is immediately destroyed. I stated concerns about what determines if it is security related and told him that my son who is in IT has told me that NOTHING in the electronic world can ever be truly destroyed. He didn't have an answer for that either. It ended by my thanking him for responding to me, and saying it would have been better had he responded the first time I contacted her office. He told me to keep his name and to call him back if I had any future questions. 
A fair amount of the irritation of this particular citizen can be chalked up to the procrastination on the part of Sinema's staff. I don't know whether the concern about an emergency provision is reasonable or not. It seems like there already are provisions for acting on "intelligence" that would save American lives in an emergency. Perhaps I should lend Kyrsten my copy of Glenn Greenwald's book, No Place to Hide.

The importance of this exercise, however, is in Sinema being reminded that she still needs the votes of people in CD9 in order to stay in office. If she isn't willing to answer to those voters, that's problematic.

Back to the initial question for this post, why is Kyrsten so afraid of criticism?

The only thing that could put her in "free fall" like Horne or Huppenthal might be a moral failure like those bonehead Republicans have so consistently engaged in. I'm confident at this point, Kyrsten doesn't have to worry about that.

As far as being called out for a mistake? Well, shirking in fear of attacks from the Right side of the political spectrum, or out of fear of anything, isn't the way to earn respect or re-election.

To reiterate/paraphrase the words of Kyrsten's Minnesota colleague, "I'll be your biggest supporter but I can and will be your harshest critic" when you refuse to respond.

7 comments:

  1. I think Congresswoman Sinema's problem is that she is trying to be everything to everyone and not to appear one way or the other. I think that is why she joined the Blue Dogs in the House and her evasion of answering your questions or any criticism speaks to that.

    I keep telling Congresspersons around this nation in competitive districts to be principled and not wishy-washy on the issues as Congresswoman Sinema appears to be. In 2010, the House Blue Dogs were almost made extinct because when given a choice between a Republican and someone who is Republican-Lite, the voters will go for the Republican.

    If Congresswoman Sinema wants to stay in Congress, I would suggest that she starts acting like a Democrat and have some principles. And answer the damn questions. But that is just my view.

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  2. Replies
    1. Might that have anything to do with the fact that the functional website is actually at BlogforArizona.net?

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  3. I don't think Representative Sinema is concerned about your criticism. I'm guessing she confidently expects the Democratic vote, despite her voting record. She will not receive my vote, even though this is my first opportunity to vote for a Democratic congressional candidate. Representative Sinema's actions in Congress have smacked of "I'm trying to get re-elected" from the start. Her votes abandoned people in her district in so many ways. I predict campaign ads proclaiming moderation and bipartisanship plus lots of silence when pressed for specifics, a la McSally.

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  4. Any coincidence that in opensecrets.org you'll find that Franks, Barber, Sinema and Kirkpatrick have received contributions from Honeywell International who has a vested interest in the NSA's phone-spying dragnet?

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    1. Can't tell without understanding how Honeywell has a vested interest in NSA's phone-spying dragnet.

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