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Should a Pro-Pot, Anti-NSA Democrat Unseat Sen. Susan Collins (RINO-Maine)?

Nick Gillespie | Apr. 4, 2014 12:00 pm

The Daily Beast introduces readers to Shenna Bellows, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate who is taking on Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Vacationland State.

The thrust of her pitch is about a government that is doing too much, or that is at least doing the wrong things. Not repairing roads and bridges so much as spying on its citizens and collecting their data. She is calling for a full repeal of the Patriot Act and massive curbs on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. She wants marijuana legalized—not just decriminalized or used for medical purposes—and calls for full marriage equality in every state.

“What is new, what politicians haven’t done in the past is campaigned on marijuana legalization and stopping NSA spying,” she says, tugging awkwardly at the hem of her blue skirt suit.

Bellows, 39, is a former leader of the ACLU, and says she is "really excited to work on issues of civil liberties with Republicans like Rand Paul and Justin Amash."


As always, there's a catch.

“I was honored to be called the Elizabeth Warren of civil liberties,"... Bellows is sounding all the Warrenesque Democratic populist notes on economic fairness, talking up student-loan debt, and her own backstory—growing up in a house without indoor plumbing or electricity to a father who was a carpenter and a mother who was a home health aide and working herself as “Subway Sandwich Artist” to help pay her way through college. She talks a lot about climate change, too.


Exit question: If you're in Maine and you're a libertarian (note the lower-case L) or a member of the Libertarian Party (which is not running a candidate), who would you vote for?


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talk is cheap

does she have a voting record? the democrat party does not tolerate dissidence in their ranks...even less than the republican party.

well, if she was pro gun. id say she is the lesser of evils

but i think we all learned our lesson about the lesser of evils......

haven't we? cough minarchism cough lol oh i am just giving some of you guys a hard time.

Shenna Bellows on Homeland Security


We cannot afford to be the world's policemen

International involvement of the US is one of those issues that will be important on both the local and federal level. "We cannot afford to be the world's policemen," she said, and pushed for strategic international involvement and for the US. To be diplomatic first and foremost.

Source: Machias Valley News Observer on 2014 Maine Senate race , Dec 4, 2013

No spying on foreign leaders NOR on ordinary Americans

Bellows calls out Congress for NSA complicity, amid reported US spying on world leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel. Among the critics of surveiling Merkel was Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who's chaired the Homeland Security Committee and now serves on the Intelligence Committee.

Q: Sen. Collins put out a statement saying that she's not aware of a justification for collecting intelligence on Chancellor Merkel, and that she would be telling the German ambassador that "it was wrong" for the administration to do that.

BELLOWS: We absolutely need to stop listening in on phone calls of allies like Merkel. But we also need to stop spying on millions of Americans.

Q: What about the comparative attention that those two kinds of surveillance get?

BELLOWS: It's certainly concerning to international relations to learn that we were spying on the phone conversations of some of our closest allies. But it's equally important to address the issue of spying on millions of ordinary Americans.

Source: Salon.com on 2014 Maine Senate debate, "Snowden" , Oct 30, 2013

Snowden was a whistle-blower, not a criminal

Q: What's your view of Edward Snowden?

A: We need more protection for whistle-blowers so that we can have an open conversation about what's appropriate. His revelations have been a catalyst for a national conversation that we really need to have.

Q: Should he be punished?

A: Daniel Ellsberg wrote an Op-Ed about how his revelations in the Pentagon Papers would not have been possible under current law that prohibits whistle-blowers from coming forward. And the ACLU and other civil liberties groups have been involved in Snowden's defense. We have too much secrecy surrounding these programs.

Q: Do you believe that Snowden should be either charged with a crime or detained by the US government?

A: I do not think that speaking out about matters of national import should be criminalized. Snowden is absolutely a whistle-blower and should be treated as such. He revealed government illegality and abuse of authority and we as a country depend upon truthful information about what the government is doing

Source: Salon.com on 2014 Maine Senate debate, "Snowden" , Oct 30, 2013

Stop NSA surveillance on ordinary Americans

If elected, Bellows said, she would work to repeal the Patriot Act, to "stop NSA surveillance on ordinary Americans" and to halt indefinite detention policies authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act.

Collins voted for the Patriot Act, as did most other lawmakers, and defends NSA phone surveillance activities as necessary anti-terrorism tools. She voted for the defense bill but co-sponsored an unsuccessful amendment to eliminate indefinite detention of Americans linked to terrorist groups

Source: Kevin Miller in The Morning Sentinel / Press Herald , Oct 24, 2013

Stop spending billions on surveillance-industrial complex

We need to repeal the Patriot Act and REAL ID.

We need to stop the NSA and the FBI from wasting their time and taxpayer dollars spying on ordinary Americans through our cell phones and email.

We need to place limits on drones.

A reporter asked me last week why should we care if we have nothing to hide. The question suggests that we need to sacrifice our freedoms for security. But it's a false choice. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

We do not have to sacrifice our fundamental freedoms to be safe.

When the government spies on its own people, we, the people, lose trust in our government.

We can restore trust and a sense of community by restoring our constitutional freedoms.

We need to stop spending billions of dollars on a surveillance industrial complex we can't afford and start investing in entrepreneurs.

Source: Campaign kick-off speech in Portland , Oct 24, 2013