Hello Redditors. I'm a progressive Democrat running a grassroots campaign in my hometown of southeast Queens against Representative Gregory Meeks. A Reddit user contacted me in regards to taking questions here. Ask me anything you want know.

Please visit my campaign site at www.scalaforcongress.com.

Edit: Proof of identity - http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=217771194972966&id=177108979039188

Comments: 782 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

remmycool341 karma

Please list three things you like about Rep. Meeks and three things you dislike about the Democratic Party.

MikeScala642 karma

I like that Rep. Meeks opposes privatizing Social Security, stands his ground in the face of media attacks, and makes a good faith effort to explain his votes to protesters.

I dislike the Democratic Party's lack of conviction, passive-aggressive treatment of the working class, and apparent inability to communicate a cohesive message.

veyronb38 karma

Do you think "inability to communicate a cohesive message" is a communications issue or a strategic issue (is there even a cohesive message that the democratic party as a whole can rally behind)?

MikeScala13 karma

If there's a cohesive message the party as a whole can rally behind, it would be that Democrats serve the needs of everyday Americans. Of course, that'd actually have to be true for it to work (which goes to my other points).

I was speaking more to the fact that on every major issue, Democrats seem to fumble the message. Republicans -- crazy as their ideas may be -- are very skilled at messaging. For example, during the health insurance debate, the GOP beat it into people's heads that the public option was "socialized medicine" and would destroy capitalism as we knew it. Democrats should have done a better job communicating their proposal was essentially the availability of Medicare for all, which is a popular idea. During the debt deal debacle, Republicans kept saying "raising taxes on Americans" in this economy would be disastrous. Democrats should have reminded the public that what they were proposing was simply restoring the rates to what they used to be for the wealthiest Americans. They should have characterized the GOP's policy to cut taxes for the rich as "tax spending."

Democrats on the whole just aren't very effective at communicating messages that resonate with voters.

bukkakenachos188 karma

What're your opinions on SOPA and the new legislation regarding indefinite detention?

MikeScala697 karma

I fundamentally oppose both.

My article on SOPA can be found here: http://scalaforcongress.com/index.php/component/k2/item/10-we-must-defeat-the-stop-online-piracy-act-sopa

Codifying indefinite detention (NDAA) likewise offends the principles of our Constitution. I find the justification that constitutional rights are narrower in wartime personally offensive. For one, we've been "at war" our whole lives. If we're going that route, let's at least require Congress to formally declare war. As it stands now, the freedoms promised by the Bill of Rights are never guaranteed because we're in a perpetual state of war. Using the War on Terror as an excuse to restrict due process is almost as tenuous as using the War on Drugs. Weren't we told the terrorists attacked us because they were jealous of our liberties? We've responded by making our country more like theirs. Stopping the publication of ship departure dates during a war is one thing (Near v. Minnesota). Indefinite detention without trial is unacceptable.

TouchMyselfAtNight20 karma


MikeScala10 karma

You're quite welcome.

Yes, I have read all of the above. I'm finishing up law school, so I probably read these things more than I should.

[deleted]11 karma

I like you a lot. If you were running in Washington's 1st I'd vote for you in a heartbeat.

MikeScala5 karma

Thank you. Hopefully a candidate with our views will run in your district. Have you considered running for office?

SirMarxism6 karma

I find the justification that constitutional rights are narrower in wartime personally offensive.

That's the thing I don't get...nowhere does it say in the constitution or bill of rights that that is acceptable...propaganda all the way. I don't know why everyone goes along with all of that stuff, but I'm glad you at least aren't afraid to speak out against it. We retain our full rights at all times, at least according to the official documents.

MikeScala6 karma

That comes from the Supreme Court, whose decisions are implicitly made part of our Constitution (Marbury v. Madison). In Schenck v. United States (1919), the Court ruled that free speech, i.e., First Amendment liberty, was more restricted during times of war. Recent jurisprudence follows that precedent.

Of course, we can and should argue that constitutional rights should always be protected. It's especially insulting that due process, i.e., Fifth Amendment liberty, is now being restricted under the excuse that we're at war to save democracy.

alexisstoned166 karma

opinion on marijuana?

MikeScala496 karma

I think it should be treated in a similar way as alcohol. It's ridiculous that marijuana use in the privacy of one's own home is unlawful.

WealthyIndustrialist93 karma

Do you really believe that you can beat a long-serving African-American incumbent in a congressional district comprised mostly of African Americans?

On that note, do you think that your hip-hop career will give you street-cred with the voters in Queens?

MikeScala154 karma

Yes, I can and will win this race. I believe my biggest obstacle is the incumbent's access to corporate dollars. That's really what the election is about: a hometown candidate challenging the machine. Queens voters will better relate to my message, but I'll need the resources to convey it to them.

I don't know about street cred, but it's true that Hip Hop has a special relationship with Queens. It won't hurt. One thing it can do is mobilize the younger generation who may not always vote.

Tony2times2times64 karma

If you could pass just one law during your tenure (assuming your elected) what would it be?

MikeScala242 karma

I would pass a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Corporations would no longer be allowed to use the "independent expenditure" loophole to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. If we can put the power in the people's hands, the rest will fall into place.

CuriositySphere11 karma

Do you believe that corporations should be considered legal persons?

MikeScala6 karma

No. I think Mr. Romney will always be haunted by his "Corporations are people, too" statement -- and rightfully so.

DiscountPonies62 karma

Three questions :

1) Do you believe the newsletters attributed to Ron Paul from 20 years ago, which contained many statements that certain individuals may find offensive, should be as important a focus on his Presidential campaign as the media is making it out to be?

2) What is your feelings on the Occupy Wall Street movement?

3) If you could spend an entire week with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

MikeScala185 karma

1) I believe people are entitled to know the facts and make their own judgments. However, the media absolutely does tend to sensationalize these kinds of stories. I'd prefer to see greater focus on the issues. I'm more concerned about Rep. Paul's recent statements in opposition of the Civil Rights Act, for example, than newsletters from 20 years ago.

2) I support the movement and find it astounding that it's been so sustainable. This is the kind of energy I would have loved to see when the Supreme Court appointed Bush president, or when the Patriot Act was enacted. It's time to translate the movement into political action by electing frustrated citizens who recognize fundamental reforms (i.e., getting the money out of politics) are necessary.

3) At this point in my life, I'd say my father. He died when I was 19, which now feels like an eternity ago. I have my memories, but I would cherish the opportunity to spend more time with him. It's surreal to realize he never knew me as an adult.

tallandlanky58 karma

What are your thoughts on term limits for Congress?

MikeScala155 karma

Term limits become increasingly necessary as the system continues to provide unfair advantages to incumbents. If we can sufficiently curb the influence of big money on our elections and put candidates on a level playing field, we won't have a pressing need for term limits. In theory, the people should be able to elect whomever they wish. If they feel incumbents have overstayed their welcome, they can vote them out. Of course, we need to level that playing field first.

MisterHandy36 karma

Imperials or Stormcloaks?

MikeScala8 karma

Imperials. I'm not a fan of Ulfric, and I like my house in Whiterun.

inferno71931 karma

Everything you say sounds like exactly what Reddit wants to hear. It makes me a little doubtful about your honesty.

For example. You reference two articles you wrote... but both were written less than a week ago. Below:

It just seems like you're saying what we want to hear. If you really do feel the opinions you're claiming then I hope you win. However, I remain skeptical.

MikeScala3 karma

In this day and age, skepticism is well-founded.

I'm on record here, so it wouldn't be wise to state positions I do not plan to support for the sole purpose of saying what this site wants to hear. I didn't think Reddit was that monolithic, and I'm sure many disagree with my views.

I did hear about the Go Daddy protest Reddit spearheaded and was excited to learn there were some like-minded people here.

CommieX29 karma

As someone going up against an incumbent, do you believe that federal election laws/laws in your state give the incumbent too much of an advantage, and if so, what should be changed about them?

MikeScala65 karma

Yes, because the big money usually goes to the incumbents. As mentioned, Citizens United should be overturned so that corporations can't buy elections anymore. I am intrigued by the idea of publicly funded elections.

To be honest, the customs are as much a problem as the laws are. Nobody wants to support candidates unless they come to the table with a lot of money. Policy is almost an afterthought, and that has to change.

Here's an article I wrote about the influence of money in politics: http://scalaforcongress.com/index.php/component/k2/item/11-money-shouldnt-rule-our-politics

freemarket2721 karma

What right does the government have to get involved in the buying and selling of health insurance? If a buyer of HI agrees to pay an agreed upon price for the amount of insurance being sold, what right does the government have to make that transaction illegal?

MikeScala136 karma

I view health insurance the same way I do education.

If you want to go to a private school, that's your choice. But those institutions should be held accountable to prevent abuse. I also think there needs to be a strong public system in place. Likewise, if you want to buy private insurance, that's your prerogative. However, we shouldn't allow those companies to take advantage of people. And the public option, or the availability of Medicare for all, should also be in play.

I believe in the right to contract, but not when the terms are unconscionable. When it comes to issues like health care, more is at stake than with other transactions.

SeanStock18 karma

What operating system are you running?

MikeScala76 karma

The laptop I'm using right now has Vista, and it's horrible.

DanneMM3 karma

What religion do you follow or are you agnostic/atheist?

MikeScala3 karma

I'm Catholic by tradition, but I'm basically agnostic. I consider God the embodiment of everything greater than us, and I think the Bible has some good stories, but I don't necessarily take religion literally.