I Get Letters

Sent to support@xmission.com:

[********@msn.com – Tue Nov 19 11:57:28 2013]:
Well there wasn’t a direct email link to Pete Ashdown so I guess I
have to go through support to reach him. I am letting you know that
I am going to start another petition in favor of dropping Xmission
internet services because their founder and owner supports
pornography. It’s people like you Pete that have the power in our
country to make a difference, but you choose to be a victim.
Pornography destroys lives no different than drug abuse. But I’m
sure you’re a big advocate for free crack Mondays at school lunch
(as long as the parent didn’t block their child In participating).
How ridiculous does that sound? Well that’s what you’re doing by
your principles in your internet service you provide. Wake up Pete
you provide service in Utah, I’m not so sure your participation in
a KSL news article was the brightest idea if you are going to take
the stand that you are.

(Name deleted)

Sent from my iPhone

My response:

Googling “Pete Ashdown” has my website as the second link: http://peteashdown.org/ –> email is on the right side –> pashdown@xmission.com

Freedom isn’t only about doing whatever you want, it is about your neighbor doing something you hate. I support individual freedom and privacy. Two ideals that that are not mutually exclusive.

My policy is to not monitor or police my customers as to what they do on the Internet. XMission cooperates with law-enforcement agencies when they serve us a proper warrant signed by a court, but otherwise we do not monitor, sell, or give access to the government or the NSA so they can monitor your activities on the Internet. That applies to all activities.

If it was technically possible to stop pornography from crossing the Internet, I would use that ability to stop trojans, viruses, fraud, and malware first. Unfortunately, it is technically impossible. No amount of petitions or angry accusations will change that. If you don’t want the potential for porn coming into your house, I suggest you throw your computer in the dumpster. If not, you may also want to dump your email provider, msn.com as well, since their policy is not to monitor or control what their subscribers email. In fact, I don’t know of any email provider who has such a policy because it is technically impossible to enforce.

Sincerely,

Pete Ashdown

Post Politics

This is my third attempt at writing this. The prior two attempts were snarky, sarcastic and called plenty of people out for their incompetence, but after sitting on the second one for a while, I decided that nobody likes being told they’re stupid, even if they are.

My experience with the Utah Democratic party this year was humiliating, saddening, and sickening. I attempted to steer away from special-interest money and lost because of that. The Chair, Jim Debakis has not done a very good job, but now he’s done recruiting against willing Democrats and running against others, I look forward to seeing who steps up as the next chair. I held my tongue since the convention because I didn’t want to be accused of trying to hurt Democrats in their races. I sincerely hope the party goes looking for new ideas, rather than trying to appease Republican voters. Find me one Democrat who won because they wouldn’t say who they were voting for in the Presidential race, or waffled on government defining marriage.

Being fully concentrated on my business again, XMission, is challenging and exhilarating. I feel like I’ve done more this year than I’ve done since 1999. I will continue to fight against warrantless monitoring and corporate control of the Internet, as I always have. I’m working on archiving 2006/2012 as you can see from the links on the side. There are probably a lot of broken links inside, so forgive me for that. I’ll fix them as I find them.

Change is Quick but Progress is Slow

My husband Pete did not receive the nomination yesterday to run as the Democratic candidate for US Senate. Pete and I are sincerely grateful to everyone who supported his cause, and I am sorry to have disappointed those who believed in the change that Pete was trying to make. We were hopeful that the delegates would understand how essential it is to lead by example. If you want to solve the problem, you can’t be part of the problem. Pete had widespread support in Utah as well as support from around the country to get dirty money out of elections. We believed that in giving people a just cause around which to rally, we could beat the special interest candidate in November.

I won’t lie. Yesterday was a big blow. Not so much for the ego part of it; I am perfectly happy to send Pete back to work at XMission on Monday. Pete did not set out to become a politician, but ran because he could not find another candidate who supported his core values. Yesterday’s loss was not a personal loss, rather it seems like a setback for those who are committed to getting corporate money out of politics. There are good, honest people in the Democratic Party, courageous individuals who are willing to put their necks out, to be called “nutcakes.” We have to keep working, regardless of the powers that be and those that say you can’t win unless you stoop to what the other guy is doing. To me, the ends do not justify the means — ever.

The question is, what now? I don’t know if Pete will run again, but I do know that we need to continue to fight to support others who are making a difference. Today my confidence is low, and I feel that I am just spinning my wheels. I want to stop feeling that the only choice we have is “the lesser of two evils.”

I think I’ll try to raise my spirits by listing some inspirational individuals and groups who are still fighting the good fight. I invite you to fill in the comments with your inspirations:

  • I am inspired by a group called Move to Amend Salt Lake, who collected 11,251 signatures for a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to clearly state that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Its success means that this citizen led initiative will be on the ballot in SLC this November. This is a credit to the everyday people who went door -to-door, store-to-store and park-to-park, to get the word out. Ashely Sanders, one of the co-coordinators inspires me in her response to the naysayers of the work, “I know the system is broken. I have no illusions about how hard it will be to fix, how many people it will require or how long it will take. I am here for only one reason: Because I believe in a beautiful, giant, unstoppable grassroots movement of everyday people. Because I used to accept that corporations control every meaningful part of my life, then [I] sat in my basement sad and paralyzed…  It is tempting to believe that our system is so broken that a people’s movement is impossible, that we have been conquered. But we cannot accept that because our history is calling to us to make it real.” 
  • I am inspired by Paul Krueger, who  recently showed what a single person can do. Mr. Krueger started a petition that, in addition to gathering nearly 35,000 signatures, it opened the discussion and called widespread attention to a problem. We don’t think that Governor Herbert would have vetoed HB363 without Mr. Kreuger’s petition and all those who joined the cause. Without their work, Utah schools would have faced sex ed not being taught in school. Mr. Krueger is a retired firefighter who now drives school buses.  He said, “I’ve never done anything like this, and it’s kind of amazing how fast this took off.”
  • CleanSlateNow.org is a non partisan group that supports candidates who forgo special interest money, creating an environment where people, not money, determine the outcome of elections.
  • Pete still inspires me. While he will continue to champion campaign finance reform and transparency in government, he has never given up his support of the local community and his integrity in business: He will keep supporting non-profits with free Internet service regardless of whether or not he agrees with their mission, he will continue to provide political candidates with free Internet services regardless of their party. Pete will continue to serve on non-profit boards and help them solve their technology problems. Through his own non-profit organization, Electroregeneration Society, Pete will continue to take old computers and teach people how to recondition them,  give those computers to people and non-profits who need them, and thus help keep e-waste out of the landfill. He will keep on contributing to his community through donating to community events, festivals, museums and other organizations that benefit us all. Pete will continue to pay 100% of his employees and their families’ health and dental benefits. He will continue to employ people in Utah instead of outsourcing to another country. Pete will continue to fight for a free Internet and individual privacy

Here is a link to Pete’s speech from yesterday’s convention. Unfortunately he was cut off before he had a chance to finish delivering it.

I remain committed to getting the corrupting power of money out of our elections and hope to continue working with those who want to take back their voice in government and get corporations out of our democratic process.

Full Text of My Convention Speech

As a child I had two interests, astronauts and presidents. I was so enamored of both that I asked for two kinds of birthday gifts. Model rockets and busts of Washington and Lincoln. I believed in the promise of America then, and I believe in the promise now. That the future is bright if we only reach for it. That our government does not need to be eliminated, but can work efficiently and do great things if good and ethical people are leading.

When I declared last November, I resolved to stand for what needed to be done to balance power in our country and lift the voice of the people. I promised to run a campaign that would make Democrats proud. I will not compromise Democratic values. I will not yield to those who wish to pollute our air and water, profiteer on the health of Americans, endanger our planet, and wage needless war. I will not prevaricate, equivocate, or discriminate on the problems of our day in order to appear appealing to all. I stand as a Democrat and I will speak as a Democrat and I will win as a Democrat.

Education, healthcare, defense, energy, the economy, equality. I challenge you to find one issue that isn’t poisoned by the influence of money in Washington. Because of Citizens United, our power is dwindling. I will not take PAC money now, nor will I ever. We can only fix the problem by not being part of the problem.

This year, out of 18 county conventions, I attended 16. Two were scheduled at the same time as other conventions. This year, this race, again I am proud to say I attended more county conventions than any other Democrat, because I want to meet and listen to each of you.

An organization in neighboring Colorado named CleanSlateNow.org is promoting candidates who have sworn off PAC donations. There are currently 26 candidates nationwide who are not accepting PAC money. I’m proud to say that most of them are Democrats. Today, I ask my fellow candidates to join with me in rejecting PAC money.

Now there are some who would maintain the status quo and preserve the imbalance of power. They mock the sincerity of our cause and the intelligence of the voter. There are some who would continue to subvert democracy in the name of greed. In the immortal words of Franklin Roosevelt, “I welcome their scorn.”

We need to run our races differently if we want to avoid the same result. We are facing a special-interest juggernaut this fall. Although I have proven I can raise considerable money within Utah, depending on Utah support alone is not a winning strategy. We must appeal to our countrymen in other states and give them a cause around which to rally. Nine out of ten Americans believe corporations and special interests have too much control over congress. We, in Utah, can lead by electing those who are willing to keep money from influencing our elections.

Four years ago, they said Barack Obama wasn’t electable. He won, not by tearing down his fellow candidates, Barack Obama won by giving people something to believe in.

If you elect me today, I swear to give it my all. I will work tirelessly and I will garner financial support from all 50 states instead of just one. I ask for your vote.

Democrats stand for privacy, balance, transparency, accountability and good government! Democrats stand for science, education, and healthcare for all! Democrats stand for equality, women, immigrants, working people, and all Americans! Democrats stand for democracy! Let us not shy away from our values, but stand tall together and be proud Democrats!

The words of Robert Kennedy guide me, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Congratulations Move to Amend!

Move to Amend Salt Lake City has collected 11,251 signatures for a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment. The amendment would clearly state that corporations are not people and money is not speech. The Salt Lake City canvassers needed to collect 9,000 signatures and they collected 2,251 more than they needed. This is the first citizen resolution to collect enough signatures to make it on the ballot in Salt Lake City. Congratulations to all involved!

If you haven’t listened to This American Life’s recent episode, “Take the Money and Run for Office”, you should. Every American would be well served to take an hour and listen to what our elected spend most of their time doing in Washington. This is why I’m not taking PAC money. This is why I want public financing of federal campaigns.

County Conventions Underway, Volunteers Needed, Upcoming Debate Video Streaming

County Conventions Underway

Millard, Juab, Kane, San Pete, Cache, Weber, Iron, Wasatch, Emery, Carbon, Summit and Utah county! I’ve been enjoying getting out and about Utah again to listen to Democrats all over the state. The energy and enthusiasm is inspiring. My apologies to Washington and Grand counties, which I had to miss due to the overlapping schedules. I look forward to seeing you all again at the state convention on the 21st.

Volunteers Needed

Get an Ashdown for Senate T-Shirt and help the campaign by volunteering for the Salt Lake county convention on the 14th and the state convention on the 21st. Three volunteers will be drawn at random to sit at my table with a guest at the Taylor & Mayne dinner on the 20th. Sign up to volunteer here, and be sure to check the “Events” box. We will contact you with more details.

Upcoming Debate Streaming Link

I hope to see as many of you in person at the upcoming Democratic Debate, tomorrow at Juan Diego High School in Draper. If you can’t make it, the event will be streamed live on the Internet. Go to this web page to view it.

Democratic Debate, April 11th

Wednesday, April 11, at 7:00 PM, The Women’s Democratic Club of Utah will host a debate between Democrats Pete Ashdown and Scott Howell, candidates for Utah’s U.S. Senate seat now occupied by 6-term Senator Orrin Hatch, who is seeking a 7th term. The public is welcome to attend.

Location:
Juan Diego Catholic High School
300 East 11800 South, Draper (accessible via 12300 South and 300 East)
Doors open at 6:00 PM
Debate begins promptly at 7:00 PM and concludes at or before 8:30 PM

Details regarding possible radio broadcast and Internet streaming to be announced.

This is a letter asking you for money.

This is a letter asking you for money. Although there are many things to be outraged about in our current political system, I am emailing you with the frank needs of a U.S. Senate campaign rather than manipulation of your emotions for financial gain.

The primary plank of my 2012 campaign is a constitutional amendment requiring public financing for federal campaigns. Passing a constitutional amendment is not possible through a U.S. Senate seat alone, however, it is essential to enable more diverse political candidates to viably run for office. This is the only way to return health to our government and allow it to serve its true purpose, representing the needs of all of our citizens. The influence of money in Washington has gone over the brink. Past efforts to limit, restrict and regulate campaign finances have only resulted in preserving incumbency. We need a constitutional amendment to repair our democracy and make government work again for the people.

Once publicly financed candidates are elected, their first concern would be governing to serve all Americans rather than just serving the wealthiest few. Many politicians start out with good, honest intentions, but the current system of campaign finance muddies the water by making elected officials indebted to wealthy donors and PACs. Right now, Senator Hatch has nearly eight million dollars, with only 1% of that figure raised by small dollar individual donors. I can run a winning race on much less, but since I have decided not to take PAC money or seek bundled corporate individual donations, I need 100% of my funds to come from individuals like you.

March 31st marks the last day of the first quarter of my campaign fund raising. My campaign’s viability will be judged by the number of donors showing support as well as by the amount raised. If everyone who reads this letter donates $100, I can cover my campaign staff budget. I understand that this economy has tightened belts everywhere, but if you support the ideals I am running on, I humbly ask you to financially support my campaign with as much as you are able to right now.

Please accept my sincere thanks for your past support as well as for what you are doing now. Together we can make a real difference.

County Conventions

All of the county Democratic conventions are on my calendar now. I am going to try and attend as many as possible. In spite of having a possible airplane ride to St. George, I think there is a distinct possibility that there isn’t enough time to do both Weber County and Washington County conventions, which start 30 minutes apart from each other. In this case, I am asking for any volunteers in Washington, Iron, and Grand counties to represent my campaign to their conventions. Please email my staff to let them know if you would be willing.

I could also use some driving help to get to some of these conventions. Also email staff if you are able. You only need a current license, I will provide the transportation and gas.

Please attend your county convention! I look forward to seeing you there!

To All Caucus Chairs and Attendees

I prepared this short video with the intention of having it played at caucus meetings throughout the state of Utah. Since I will be attending my precinct caucus meeting tonight at 7:00PM, I need to have others share information about my campaign for U.S. Senate at their caucus meetings. In this short video, I briefly outline the primary points of my campaign for U.S. Senate 2012. Please let me know if you can help me spread my message by showing this video at your caucus meeting or if you know of others who are able to.

You can either stream the video from Youtube, or download it in advance for a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Please do the latter if you are unsure of Internet access at your caucus location. It is possible that older versions of Windows will not be able to playback this video. In this case, I recommend downloading VLC and using that for playback.

Also, if you are in Salt Lake City today, please drop by the campaign office at 780 E. South Temple between the hours of 2pm and 6pm and pick up some stickers, signs, and buttons to take to your meeting. Thank you for your participation in the democratic process.

If you do not know your caucus location for your precinct, you can find it via the state’s website here.