Three congressional challengers very worth supporting – Salon.com

5 Apr

Glenn Greenwald has been looking for Congressional candidates worthy of support, candidates who see the world clearly and want to change the game. He’s found three. As Charlie Keil says,l they’re “EXAMPLES of INDEPENDENT thinking toward nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament, stopping wars/empire/ETC.” They’re Truth and Traditions kind of people.

… there are a few new candidates for Congress who are both genuinely exciting and viable, and thus very much worthy of attention and support.

My research assistant, Columbia Law student Jessica Lutkenhaus, and I spent the last several weeks examining a dozen or so Congressional challengers, obtaining their answers to a questionnaire we prepared about vital issues that receive far too little attention, and determining as well as we could which were actually viable candidates to win in their districts. The search was not restricted by party affiliation or any considerations other than quality of positions, independence and viability. From that process, three candidates emerged who I really believe are worth highlighting and supporting: Norman Solomon in California, Franke Wilmer in Montana and Cecil Bothwell in North Carolina. All three have a long, established record of genuine independence and outspoken advocacy on difficult issues, and I’m positive that none will simply become loyal foot soldiers to Party leadership or blend into the rotted D.C. woodwork.

via Three congressional challengers very worth supporting – Salon.com. More below the fold.

Norman Solomon

The long-time anti-war activist, co-founder of the great media criticism group FAIR, and author of “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State” – a critique of America’s decades of militarism and the role which its media plays in perpetuating it — is about as close to a perfect Congressional candidate as it gets. He’s written 11 other books, including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death”: the title speaks for itself. He’s running in the heavily Democratic California district being vacated by the retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey. A newly released poll from an independent Democratic pollster shows him with a serious chance to win (there is an open primary in June, and the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, will then face each other in a November run-off). …

Solomon demands diplomacy, not threats of military force, to resolve the current disputes with Iran. He decries the lack of criminal prosecutions for Wall Street defrauders and Bush torturers as a violation of the rule of law: “I thoroughly reject the convenient notion that we can’t look forward if we are also looking back to prosecute official crimes committed in the previous administration. On the contrary, our nation cannot move forward unless we address the crimes and abuses of the past.” He supports the legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage,”significant” military cuts, and vocally opposed the Wall Street bailout before it happened. Simply on principle, he has refused to take a dime of corporate PAC money or accept contributions from lobbyists.

Franke Wilmer

This Montana candidate’s biography is almost as impressive as her views on key issues. In the 1980s, Wilmer was a single mother raising her daughter, working as a waitress and a carpenter while putting herself through college. Typically working two jobs at the same time, it took her 16 years to finish. Now she’s a full professor at Montana State University, a third-term state legislator, and an author who specializes in solving international problems without resort to war. She spent substantial time in the former Yugoslavia as it was falling apart. …

Wilmer compares current threats to militarily attack Iran with the attack on Iraq, arguing that both are examples of invalid “preventive war” dogma; “instead,” she argues, “what we need is to invest time and resources in the development of an effective and enforceable international non-proliferation regime based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty.” She questions the legality of unmanned CIA drones (“Under international law weapons must be able to discriminate between civilian and military targets and drones do not do that“), and argues that drones are “military weapons” and thus “should only be used in military operations, and military operations, in turn,necessitate a declaration of war by Congress.“ She decries the lack of Wall Street prosecutions: “I don’t believe the investigations have been rigorously pursued, nor have those responsible been held accountable.”

Cecil Bothwell

Bothwell’s western North Carolina political career is nothing short of amazing. An avowed atheist (he actually prefers the term non-theist), he was told he had no chance to win a seat on the Asheville City Council. When he won, coming in first place in the at-large race, religious activists tried to bar him from taking office based on the (obviously unconstitutional) North Carolina law disqualifying anyone from holding elected office who “shall deny the being of Almighty God.” When he announced his candidacy for Congress, he originally decided he would run as an Independent, and expected that he would be challenging the right-wing, Blue-Dog Democratic incumbent Rep. Heath Shuler, but when a poll showed Bothwell within striking distance if he ran in the Democratic primary, Shuler suddenly announced his retirement (to take a job as a lobbyistof course). That leaves Bothwell, now running as a Democrat, with a real chance to win.

As a City Councilman, Bothwell has been pushing for the de-militarization of the local police force, and proposed a sweeping civil-liberties resolution that would include clauses against racial profiling, surveillance of political advocacy groups and helping federal officials in immigration enforcement.” He also advocates subjecting America’s political and military leaders to the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction.

He unequivocally supports an “end to the war on drugs,” arguingright on his campaign website: “Prohibition has failed and failed again for more than a century. Our drug war has destroyed lives, destroyed families, wrecked communities, increased crime and increased the quantity and availability of the drugs it supposedly intends to eliminate. I concur with the international panel on drug policy which has just submitted a report to the United Nations recommending an end to the global war on drugs.”

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