I’m shocked and a little shaken by something going on in a Congressional district far, far away from my own, here on on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t decided a couple of weeks ago to follow @MikeFlynn14. I don’t remember why I chose to follow Mike, or how our paths crossed, but it was clear to me his politics were sympatico to mine, in the #occupyWallStreet domain of the spectrum. A couple of nights ago, this Tweet from Mike caught my eye:
That certainly looked like a slur to me from this David Secor, whoever he was. I clicked through to Secor’s Twitter page expecting to find a Tea Party member and was surprised to find a Congressional candidate instead. For some reason, Secor doesn’t make his party affiliation terribly clear in his self-description (“House Candidate CA D-50.” You can easily miss the D there, as I did) but the politics he promotes there (“End Gridlock, Xtremist Control. GetMoneyOut! I take NO $ over $100! JOBS, ProtectRights4ALL,Women+,Vets+,PubEd+,Build USA RTs a +”) were confusingly left of center for someone who seemed to have just sent a homophobic taunt over Twitter.
I tweeted to Secor:
@davidsecor2012 @mikeflynn14 You’re really running for Congress? From CA? With an attitude [like] that? So you even have a chance?
It turns out the offender was indeed running for Congress in California’s 50th district, which lies in San Diego. Secor won a primary in June to run as a Democrat against one of the most reactionary and entrenched members of the Republican House delegation, Duncan Hunter, best known for his rabid anti-immigration and pro-military stances. If I were from San Diego and didn’t know any better, I’d have no trouble pulling the lever for Secor. Unfortunately for the Democrat, I do know better now.
What precipitated this schoolyard taunt, I learned from combing over the timeline, was a conversation Flynn was having with others about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, a subject that I imagine would make a lot of Democrats and Obama supporters who know about it uncomfortable–for good reason. Included in the act is the notorious Section 1021, which affirms the authority of the president to detain, as Wikipedia has it
any person (including U.S. citizens) “who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners”, and anyone who commits a “belligerent act” against the U.S. or its coalition allies in aid of such enemy forces, under the law of war, “without trial, until the end of the hostilities authorized by the [AUMF]”. The text authorizes trial by military tribunal, or “transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin”, or transfer to “any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity”.
Soon after Obama signed the act into law last January, a group of activists that includes Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and Chris Hedges, sued to overturn it in U.S. District Court in New York, arguing that the language was unclear and could easily invite an overly broad interpretation. The presiding judge in that case, Obama appointee Katherine Forrest, was sympathetic. The day after the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, Judge Forrest ruled Section 1021 unconstitutional. This invited the wrath of the Obama administration’s Justice Department, which won a temporary emergency stay of Forrest’s ruling by a three-judge panel. According to Nick Pinto of the Village Voice:
The appeals panel listed several reasons for granting the stay this week: Firstly, the explicit confirmation by the government in its motion for a stay that “based on their stated activities,” plaintiffs, “journalists and activists[,] . . . are in no danger whatsoever of ever being captured and detained by the U.S. military.” That explicit commitment had been conspicuously absent in arguments before the lower court.
The panel reasoned that though the NDAA allows for the indefinite detention of citizens without civil trial, it doesn’t affect our rights, because it says it doesn’t.
Lastly, the panel writes that Judge Katherine Forrest’s original ruling goes beyond overturning the NDAA provisions to actually affect the original Authorization for Use of Military Force, signed the week after 9/11. Government lawyers have argued all along that the NDAA and the AUMF are functionally identical. Judge Forrest had taken pains in her ruling to distinguish the two, noting critical language that’s brand-new in the NDAA: it’s application to people who have “substantially supported,” or, later, “directly supported,” Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.”
This fresh decision is on the minds of a lot of people on Twitter, on left and right, among Marxists, peace activists and Ron Paulists. To raise awareness about it beyond the anti-imperial “fringes,” Anonymous hacktvists planned (I’m not sure if they succeeded) to hijack some tweets about last night’s presidential debates (which apparently set records) and land #NDAA2012 and links to videos about it in the “trending” list on Twitter user’s home pages.
My friend Mike Flynn was conversing with a Twitter member who calls him or herself @NDAA2012 [Update: In a comment below, NDAA2012 identifies himself as Randy L. Dixon Rivera] when CA-50 Congressional candidate David Secor, out of the blue, chimed in, ” Gents – I’m running 4 Congress vs Duncan Hunter (CA D-50). He was on committee shaping NDAA 2012. Dope.” Were it I who had been approached out of the blue by someone saying he was running against Hunter, I’d have been quite a bit more interested than Flynn, whose reply was, “Yeah, so?”
Flynn explained his cool reception to the unfortunate interloper this way (multiple tweets condensed into one for easier reading, all spelling and grammar in the original):
“3 words that make my walls fly up and instant mistrust ‘I’m runnuing ‘4’ Oh wait! lemme guess. Your a good guy and American. and since we were gov’t bashing you jus had to jump in and try to campaign us? Is that it? That’s very, VERY political of you. No, that’s NOT a compliment. Just so your know….the American gov’t is in the process of falling. If you want to be a part of that knock yerself out… but please go do that someplace else. Unless you can give me usable info go campaign someplace else. I’m in interested. Had you actually done your research and put some thought into it you would have realized BAD time to interject.
Since your kind like polls so much lets do a instapoll..HEY Anyone on twitter want to have David campaign them Anyone at all”
I don’t know if Secor interjected another word to that point until his offensive reply reproduced above. “@MikeFlynn14 Since your kind likes poles go to your favorite gay bar and enjoy.”
I don’t think anyone can accuse Flynn of lacking a sense of humor. I don’t know if the same can be said for Secor. But after the candidate had shoved off, blocking Flynn (and me) from his Twitter account, it began to sink in, as Flynn put it, that Secor had just told him “to go get fucked! ROFLMAO (ohh if only I could)”
Just today, I learned from Flynn that Secor e-mailed him an “apology” (reproduced in toto below):
I do apologize for the intensity of my response. My only reason, not to be confused with excuse, is I take this entry into politics, the incompetent ideologue we now endure and may well continue to endure, very seriously.
I do feel for the guy, groping his way through the dark on this, his first (apparently) political campaign, but after making a homophobic taunt to a stranger, is this really a sufficient response? (David Secor, Google Jason Alexander for the model of an apology for homophobic miscommunication.) It honestly pains me to think about what a mess he got himself into with so little thought and care, and it’s painfully apparent how little thought and care he’s continuing to give it. I know he can’t be a bad guy–no one who has the kinds of values he talks about on his website can be all bad. But it’s this ugly little hidden value that came out in a moment of anger that is coming back to bite him now. And he’s just dug himself even deeper. To Flynn’s unsympathetic reply –after calling him a “a power grubbin’ money pilferin’ politician,” (which may have been a little heavy handed, Mike ;-) ), he implored Secor “to get back on twitter and apologize [to] the LGBT community” (of which Flynn is a member, it should be stated clearly)–Secor came back with this inexcusable vitriol:
It doesn’t matter to me what you say, think or as here, imagine. You leave the impression that prior to you saying so, I could possibly have known or even guessed that you are gay. I would not direct such a comment to a man I knew was gay.
This may come as a shock to you, but straight men do throw such comments at each other. I don’t suppose there is anything similar occurring in the gay community. You are not the “victim” you pretend to be. You’re just a howling childish ass.
David, I’m straight and don’t throw and never have thrown such comments at anybody, though I know it’s prevalent among my confreres. And just because it’s prevalent doesn’t make it ok. If you’re running to represent all of the people of San Diego, including the LGBTQ members of it, you really should know better. (Especially if your stepson is gay, as you told Mike Flynn, you should know better!) But if you want another chance in politics, one thing you definitely should not do is write anyone anything like the following paragraphs:
Your initial unsolicited responses to my tweets deriding me, and dismissing my campaign against Duncan Hunter II (who an un-informed self-possessed taunt-addict like yourself wouldn’t know, is a genuine front-line homophobe), show that regardless of your sexual orientation, you are just an egocentric yet self-loathing, derisive worm.
A 44-year-old adult of any persuasion that acts like a 15-year-old is not worthy of respect. A gay man behaving as you do is harmful to the LGBT community, which I am sure does not endorse nor appreciate an adult member mindlessly throwing juvenile barbs on Twitter for his personal enjoyment. Both straight and gay cyber-bullies are the same – the first to attack, actually seeking out opportunities to insult and demean. You and your kind, gay or straight, are who need to be held accountable. I pity any young person coming out who might encounter someone like you and adopt your acerbic attitude, juvenile behavior, and venom-filled worldview. You are a sick man.
Toward the close of the correspondence, Secor offers advice to Flynn that he really should take himself:
I’m finished with you. You may respond if it is therapeutic, but I won’t read your responses. It’s best, easiest to write one more good one, pretend I read it and was filled with remorse, guilt and shame. Then let it go, and start on someone new.
That’s all I care to reproduce from candidate Secor’s communication. He may be surprised and chagrined to know it’s now public record. If so, welcome to the 21st century.
It doesn’t look like Secor has much of a chance against Hunter anyway. The whole mess is depressing to me, emblematic of our diseased nation’s diseased heart. It’s depressing because nothing is going to change with this election. Hunter, who not only supports and has power to help enact federal homophobic policies like the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but who also is one of those most responsible for the NDAA’s Section 1021, is not going anywhere. His Democratic opponent, no matter how good his other values, is careless and thoughtless enough to get himself deeply involved in petty battles on the Internet wielding homophobic words as a weapon.
But there is a bright side. There’s the work Mike Flynn and @NDAA2012 are involved in on Twitter, talking about the evil that our constutional government does in our name and carrying on the struggle against it using the power with which they’ve endowed themselves: the power to act.
WOW powerful blog! It’s OK for people to use my whole name: “Randy L. Dixon Rivera” AKA @NDAA2012 ;) aka @dujaa74 too. I’m proud to stand up & defend the US Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights! ~ It’s my #OATH and duty. ;)
Randy, Thanks for coming to the blog and reading this piece. Thanks also for taking your stand. And thanks very much for your comment! I appreciate it.
As one of the two principals in this story, I’m highly impressed with the coverage of the story, thank you for truly being fair and balanced
Thank you for that. I’ll be curious to see what comes of this, if anything. I’d also be very curious to hear from the other principal, to whom I did try to be fair. I do know there’s a human being in there.
If Flynn reads this, read on and create your own model of an apology for a politophobic miscommunication.
My “intrusion” into a private discussion ON TWITTER! was NOT campaigning, as instantly panty-twisted Flynn claimed. (Randy never jumped, I can only assume because he’s not a self-possessed misanthrope.) My comment, as any human can see was simply to INFORM that there was a person running for Congress against Duncan Hunter, one of the members of the joint committee that formalized the language for reauthorization of the NDAA, and, even worse, had said he “looked hard” at the language permitting indefinite detention of citizens under the nebulous finding of having committed a “belligerent act,” and found nothing wrong with it.
Had 44-year-old teen Flynn been as interested in the NDAA as he was in carrying on a personal conversation with Randy Dixon Riviera, he would have either said, “Good,” or just ignored the interruption. Instead he replied “Yeah, so?” I DID NOT RESPOND to the intentional slight. Flynn felt compelled, with no prevarication by me, to then vomit forth his hatred for ALL politicians. Like all anarchists ignoring the fact that NDAA will ONLY be struck down by politicians – tweeting to me “Since YOUR KIND likes polls so much let’s do an instapol.. HEY anyone on twitter want David to campaign them Anyone at all”
Note I had NOT responded to Flynn’s “Yeah, so?”
Since that didn’t provoke me, anarchist Flynn threw another, stronger barb, saying without doing HIS homework, that I was a “power grubbin’ money pilferin’ politician.” (Had Flynn done his homework he would know that I support term limits for Congress, and take NO contributions over $100.)
It got a response. And NO, christof, despite your presumption, I did not even notice Flynn’s avatar, as the words NDAA were my focus. I was unaware until Flynn took such offense, that he was gay. My response was not directed at a gay man, it was directed at a man – period – a man who had without any provocation, attacked me personally, and branded me a co-conspirator with Obama, Hunter and the other cowards in Congress who passed NDAA. I was among protesters who picketed Hunter’s office over his NDAA treason.
I did not apologize to Flynn for slamming him. He more than deserved it. I apologized for the hyperbolic invective brought on by his unprovoked attack. Being gay is not a license to attack or demean at will. And any cyber-bully, regardless of orientation, over the age of 15 (I actually thought Flynn was just a 15-year-old jerk as my email said) that gets what he gives and continues to cry fowl, deserves no respect. He did not hold back attacking me. You may take some words as out of bounds, I take being called a power grubbin money hungry The for Flynn or other readers can’t see the difference. Flynn is, as his language shows, a gutless provocateur – “Shoot first . . . and second . . . and ask NO questions.
My use of the words “Since YOUR KIND likes poles” AFTER his use of “Since YOUR KIND likes polls” was mirrored words that was not true when FLYNN used them – I never have used or read any poll on the D-50 race, and, apparently, according to Flynn, not true when I used them. Fine, BOTH were personal and unfounded attacks. EXCEPT the gay man who LIT THE FIRE initially is the only burn victim! And the gay slur is the only one we notice. Being called power grabbin’ and money pilferin’ wouldn’t send you reaching for your gun. I’m not you – as you may notice at the end of my comment.
Flynn instigated this back-and- forth bashing, you all contend it’s the PERPETRATOR of the bashing, Flynn’s rage, that’s justifiable. He launched a verbal attack, and got a worse one back. Moral: If you don’t want a no-holds-barred fight, don’t start one.
I blocked you cristof not out of disrespect, but in case you were an innocent bystander who would be drawn into this trumped up incident – rushing to the defense of a hurt friend. I did not want you to embarrass yourself trying to defend the indefensible. Unfortunately, you did it anyway. I am just as pleased as you that your errant blog is public record.
You Flynn can stay where you are, a prisoner of your mindless rage.
And Randy, if you are as opposed to NDAA as @NDAA2012 would indicate, you should have the sense to know that my (and other citizens’ dedicated to repealing NDAA) election to Congress, will have more potential real impact than a million rants against “the system.” The only difference between you and me is I had the nerve to walk into the cage of the big dogs. (If you are one of the young anarchists all over these days, (been there, done that), you needn’t bother trying to decipher the rest.
Cristof, after you wrote “That’s all (of Secor’s communication) I care to reproduce,” readers might be interested to know that I had further written, that my 32-year-old stepson is gay, and far more mature than the 44-year-old juvenile Flynn, and regarding Flynn’s irrelevant off-topic comment about young people’s difficulties with coming out, I wrote that I pitied any young person coming out who might encounter Flynn himself, and be seduced into believing, or worse adopting, Flynn’s attitude, his ego, and the obvious self-loathing that, upon hearing a totally benign reference to politics, instantly drives him to become a contemptuous and venomous ass toward others.
(Flynn is like the fear-based at Salem who felt driven to attack “witches,” but their VICTIMS were human. Flynn is driven to attack “politicians” but his VICTIM is human.
Cristof, you also omitted, but I further wrote that I cc’d my response to Flynn’s non-probative rant to the very same place Flynn, in a vindictive, pitiful attempt to frighten me, and put some controversial air in his hole-filled balloon, had cc’d his.
I also wrote, as you know, that I’d be happy to meet with any leader in the LGBT community here who couldn’t see that Flynn, like many people they must know, is simply an egoistic bombthrower pretending to be the “victim” of an unprovoked assault.
Cristof, in doing your “homework,” you hit on a few truths about me, but decided to minimize, dismiss, or omit them entirely. You went with your bias. It’s your blog. It’s your privilege.
The quality, accuracy and propriety of your conclusions, however, each reader will judge for themselves. As you say, both your argument and mine are public record. I am satisfied. You may comment, or better for all, return to a private chat on the internet. As each of us has had our say, I will not read, and so naturally not respond, to further comments.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, for any readers interested in politics, here’s the story:
I entered politics because, like most, I had become disgusted with the corruption, and with the ceaseless attacks on our civil liberties. I did not want or need to march into the cesspool that is American politics (DEM AND GOP) today. (I have a pension of $24K/yr and will have Social Security.) Rather I felt compelled to move past bitching and personally attempt to end the Hunter Dynasty that has plagued this district and it’s people for 32 years. All thinking people in this district, regardless of party, understand that only after Hunter II is gone can the people here get true representation in Congress.
My only “ins” with the majority non-Dems whose votes I need to win in this conservative district is that I am not a machine Democrat (the party did not make me a candidate, and did not endorse me until they were forced to when I beat 3 others in the June primary), and I take no bribes (all other candidates in all other races in the county do), only contributions under $100. For those reasons, non-Dems at least listen to me. That’s all I can ask.
I’m not in this race, as politicophobe Mike Flynn slanders, to pilfer money. Besides not taking bribes, I further pledged to donate 20% of my salary to non-profits and education in District 50.
I’m not in this race, as politicophobe Mike Flynn projectilely vomits, lusting for power.
If elected, and Hunter II does not rise from the grave, I will retire from Congress, let someone else take over, and return home where I would prefer to be.
The difference between you and me is that I stood up, put my life where my mouth is, and acted. I may lose the election, but I will know that I did something even the Democratic Party would not attempt to do this year – take on this county’s political Goliath. (Of the four congressman in this county, only Hunter II was unopposed.)
I did not want to enter politics. My odds couldn’t be longer. But, as Dr. King said,
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular. Yet he must take it. Because conscience tells him it is right.”
Had you done your research you would have found I was very vocal in my wishes to not have the government on twitter campaigning on any level.
I know my First Amendment conflicts with your First Amendment. That does not negate either of our rights to do so. Sadly, your debate skills are just good enough to include personal attacks and nicely worded vulgar thoughts.
Tell me David, with all the illegal wars, hunger and homelessness, NDAA, drones in US airspace, and all the other unmitigated corruption in our government lately how can one not be “politico-phobic” in this day and age? Your awfully willing to enter our government (serious corruption) for not wanting to run for office.
If you don’t like my “your kind” comments then you shouldn’t be entering the very system who created the us V them politico-atmosphere we presently have. Our police forces arn’t police forces. They are paramilitary forces created to protect people like you from the average population whose anger against the government of America grows by the day and we’re FORCED to pay for all of this to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars.
I still question all of your energy in to some one you thought was a 15 year old boy. There is no way you can miss seeing someone’s Twitter icon. Especially with all of the back and forth we had on this issue. That’s diversionary at best. I’m sorry you so clearly lack the skills for the position for which you are seeking. In true governmental fashion, the other scum bag that ran against you wasn’t any better than you for your position.
I’m really not sorry my First Amendment got in your way. While I am sorry I’m not surprised at your seriously unprofessional replies and attacks.
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