Fifty-Two Tough Questions & Answers

FIFTY-TWO TOUGH QUESTIONS MOST CANNOT ANSWER

These questions have been asked since 2006 and modified in 2012.  There is no candidate now running other than Robert David STEELE Vivas who is willing to be comprehensive or truthful, in detail, about the need for holistic policy.

1.  Will you support and demand Electoral Reform Legislation to pass within 180 days of entering into office?  If so, what eleven elements of reform would you include?

If NO, get out of race right now.

  • If YES:

–       01  Process – election integrity

–        02  Ballot Access – same for every candidate

–        03  Voting for People – hand marked hand counted

–        04  Voting for Issues – national ballot initiatives

–        05   Debates – open to 3rd, 4th, and 5th party nominees

–        06   Cabinet – name all designees 90 days prior, participate in debates

–        07   Representation – proportional representation

–        08   Districts – end gerrymandering, tightly-drawn districts

–        09   Funding – end corporate personality, public funding for all candidates

–        10  Legislation – all proposed legislation published in advance

–        11   Constitutional Amendment – commit to move forward on this

For more details on the above, see Electoral Reform page.

2.  Can you explain why voting needs to take place on a holiday or week-end?

  • The working poor, and especially those who have to hold two jobs to make ends meet, cannot vote easily, and especially so if they have to use mass transit.
  • We do not have an honest electoral system today.  Apart from controlling ballot access and gerrymandering, States can manipulate the number and kind of machines available and actively discriminate against the neediest members of our society who have legitimate grievances.

3.  Can you explain why today’s presidential debates are rigged, not honest, and must be changed?

  • The Republican and Democratic parties—the leadership, not the members—conspired to displace the League of Women Voters from their long-standing role as an honest broker, for the specific purpose of excluding third, fourth, and fifth parties, and controlling the debate process to avoid substance backed up by budget numbers.
  • The debates must be open to all parties, shown on all public stations, and also offered free online.

4.  How might we improve our ability to understand who you would appoint to your Cabinet, and what policy perspectives they would apply on our behalf?

  • We must demand that all Presidential contenders, in both the primary process and the general election, name at least three Cabinet positions in advance: the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General.
  • Cabinet debates must alternate with Presidential debates.
  • Eventually candidates will realize they must both appoint their Cabinet and produced a balanced budget in order to qualify for consideration by a smart engaged public.

5.  Even if we did nothing else, what one change could be legislatively mandated in time for 2012 that would assure a better voting experience for all citizens?

  • Pass the legislation introduced six times previously (four times by Ron Paul) to mandate that all active national parties (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Reform) must appear on all state ballots for all federal elections; that Electoral College votes must be forwarded apportioned by party instead of winner take all; and that all active national parties must be given a spot for their nominee in all debates pertaining to federal offices.

6.  Most Americans today no longer identify with the leadership of either of the two traditional parties.  How can we migrate toward full and balanced representation of all political points of view in our legislatures?

  • House of Representatives seats can be apportioned across the entire political spectrum, ending the winner take all and “party line” poison that have destroyed our democracy.  Tightly drawn districts combined with deliberate apportionment will not change the number of Members in the House of Representatives, but it will end the two-party bi-opoly and the grid-lock that two-party bi-opoly has spawned.
  • See also Question #7.

7.  Apart from full and balanced representation in the House of Representatives, how can we improve localized representation from District to District?

  • After ascertaining the correct mix of seats (for example, out of ten, 5 might be Republican, 3 Democratic, 2 Libertarian, and 1 each Green and Independent—this will change over time toward broader mixes), then tightly drawn districts, ending gerrymandering, will be assigned based on the closest possible affinity between the party affiliation and the political inclinations of each district.
  • Local needs will always take precedence over party “lines.”

8.  How to we eliminate corruption in the legislature and the executive at all levels, and free our representatives to spend 100% of their time on the People’s Business?

  • First, we must include in all grants of spectrum and airwave licenses the condition that the public airwaves be offered free in prime time to all candidates for office.  .
  • Second, we must pay our public servants, including public safety, health, and education employees, a solid middle class wage, and provide public financing for all elections while demanding complete financial transparency of our public servants.
  • In an election, information is the only public good that should be in play.

9.  How do we impose on every legislator at every level the lesson that Davy Crockett learned, that the public funds are not theirs to give?

  • Secret earmarks and obscure legislative language are the means by which Senators and Representatives have used the public treasury to transfer wealth to the already wealthy contributors to their campaign.
  • By demanding that all legislation be written in explicit plain English, and posted online at least seven days in advance of consideration in both Committee and on the Floor, we can have open legislation with full public consultation.
  • End the Federal Reserve and end the practice of printing money that is not backed by tangible assets–as with local communities, national bond issues must have the consent of the governed via the National Ballot Initiative.

10:  The White House and Congress have run the economy into the ground, imposing an enormous debt burden on us all.  How do we fix that?

  • First, we restore the Constitution and end the practice of government borrowing from banks.  The Constitution provides for the issuance of monetary currency backed by the full faith and credit of We the People.
  • Second, we eliminate income taxes to get We the People back on our feet, and substitute the Tobin Tax, a tiny .0006 fax on every Federal Reserve transaction, combined with a severe tax on products whose “true cost” in oil, water, child labor, and tax avoidance is unsustainable.
  • Third, we join Brazil, Cuba, China, Thailand and other pioneers in licensing generic drugs that cost 1% of what we pay in the US, 10% of what Canadian drugs cost.  That wipes out the future unfunded Medicare and Medicaid obligations imposed on us by a corrupt Congress that forbade the Executive to negotiate drug prices.

11.  Can you name, in priority order, the top ten high-level threats to Humanity and our Republic as identified by LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcroft and the other members of the High-Level Threat Panel?

  • 01 Poverty
  • 02 Infectious Disease
  • 03 Environmental Degradation
  • 04 Inter-State Conflict
  • 05 Civil War
  • 06  Genocide
  • 07 Other Atrocities
  • 08 Proliferation
  • 09 Terrorism
  • 10 Transnational Crime

12.  Senators and Representatives used to brag that they did not need a passport because nothing that happened overseas mattered to their constituents.  Do you have a one line answer for why that is so wrong?

  • None of the ten high-level threats to humanity, but especially the top three, recognize national borders.
  • The near pandemic that was stopped by alert monitors of Chinese web sites who sounded the alarm on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), could have exploded out of Hong Kong and gone world-wide because the Chinese government was concealing the problem.
  • All ten of the threats are intimately linked and must be addressed as a whole system, not one at a time.
  • The US Government is a prime cause of many of these threats through its policies and investments that are disconnected from both the will of the public and the real world.

13.  Why is poverty more of a threat to the Republic than any other threat including war?

  •  Poverty breeds disease, crime, and conflict.  It is a cancer that can destroy civilization and humanity if it is not addressed immediately and comprehensively.
  •  In the case of the Republic, poverty is what drives illegal aliens to risk death or prison in order to find work.  Eliminating poverty elsewhere is the best way to eliminate illegal immigration.
  • At the same time, incentives for illegals must be eradicated–no leasing or employment, no healthcase except emergencies followed by deportation, no sending money via Western Union without proof of legal status.

14.  Why is Infectious Disease the second greatest threat to Humanity and the Republic?

  • Infectious Disease has killed over 20 Popes, Presidents, and Prime Ministers.  Just as the rich in New York City discovered that public health was needed to protect them from epidemics spawned amidst the poverty of the ghettos, so also must we recognize that infectious disease can wipe out entire countries.
  • Our indiscriminant use of antibiotics and pesticides had led to an increase in mutating and new diseases leaping from animal to human hosts, coincident with a reduction of the human immune system.

15.  Name the five largest exporters of weapons used in inter-state conflict and civil war.

  •  The USA, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia are the largest arms exporters and also indiscriminate and irresponsible in selling to known dictators and warlords.
  • The USA sells three times more weapons than the United Kingdom, five times more than Russia, in any given year.

16.  Describe in general terms the root causes of Civil War.

  • Corruption and competition for scarce resources fuel civil wars, genocide, and other atrocities.
  •  A million  dollar bribe can “buy” the land containing a rich harvest of gold or diamonds, but because of the bribe, the value of that harvest will never be realized on behalf of the people who have lived there for centuries.
  • In most civil wars, the only perceived path to wealth, women, and wine is found through small arms and violence.

17.  Name at least four countries with on-going civil wars.

18.  Name as many on-going genocides are you can.  For extra credit, name two acts of war by the US that comprise mass murder (in WWII).

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of The Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Sudan
  • Uganda
  • Extra Credit: fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo, nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

19.  Name at least two types of crime against humans that are included in Other Atrocities.

  • Kidnapping of young women to supply the sex trade
  • Kidnapping of individuals to harvest their body parts

20.  What Nations are active in the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons?

  • Albania,  Algeria, Argentina, Australia
  • Brazil, Canada, China
  • France, Germany
  • India, Iran, Iraq
  • Israel, Japan, Netherlands
  • North Korea, Pakistan
  • Poland, Russia
  • South Africa, Syria
  • Taiwan (ROC)
  • United Kingdom, United States

21.  What’s wrong with the Global War on Terror or GWOT?

  • Terrorism is a tactic.  You cannot defeat or make war on a tactic.

22.  How big a problem is Transnational Crime?

  • It is a $2 trillion a year industry, in comparison to a total global economy of around $7 trillion.  It is a huge problem, in part because it diverts revenue needed by governments and it undermines the overall culture.

23.  Can you list, in alphabetical order, the twelve policies that must be harmonized by each level of government, and among all nations?  For extra credit, what is the single greatest threat to our economy?

01 Agriculture 02 Diplomacy 03 Economy 04 Education
05 Energy 06 Family 07 Health 08 Immigration
09 Justice 10 Security 11 Society 12 Water
  • Extra Credit: National Debt & Future Unfunded Known Obligations

24.  Before we take each policy in turn, just to provide a sense of urgency and context, can you name the eight demographic players that will determine the future no matter what the USA and Europe do?

  • 01 Brazil
  • 02 China
  • 03 India
  • 04 Indonesia
  • 05 Iran
  • 06 Russia
  • 07 Venezuela
  • 08 Wild Cards such as:

–      Congo

–      Malaysia

–      Pakistan

–      South Africa

–      Turkey

25.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Agricultural Policy.

  • 01  Restore Local Farming for 85% of the domestic market space, and achieve 50% organic in five years, 75% in ten years, 100% in fifteen years.
  • 02 Dramatically reduce the amount of food grown for the animal industry, which will in turn reduce animal waste entering the water and animal antibiotics entering us.
  • 03 Restore family and community owned farmed, eliminating absentee ownership in 25 years.
  • 04 Migrate to Deep Root Farming over the next 25 years.
  • 05 Outlaw the patenting of food and other natural processes, and specifically outlaw, internationally, all seed that does not reproduce.

26.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Diplomatic Policy.

  • 01 Dogma kills, get back to the facts and reality-based diplomacy.
  • 02 Draw down our 750 military bases overseas and redirect at least $100 billion a year from waging war to waging peace.
  • 03 Create the Open Source Agency called for on page 413 of the 9-11 Report, but under diplomatic auspices with an Office of Information Sharing Treaties and Agreements.
  • 04 Accelerate OpenBTS to provide $2 a month and in extreme cases free cell phones for the five billion poor, combined with a global network of 100 million volunteers with Internet access able to teach them “one cell call at a time,” and national or regional call centers that can harvest early warning calls (e.g. farmers calling in dead animals or plant diseases) while supporting the global free education network.  Educating the poor is the fastest way to create almost infinite wealth.

27.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Economic Policy.

  • 01 End the severe imbalance between the wealth concentrated among the 1%, and the severe impoverishment of everyone else, including a vanishing middle class.
  • 02 Eliminating all income taxes for individuals at all levels, and end the inflation tax.
  • 03 Over the next fifteen years, achieve full employment of all citizens before allowing non-citizens to take jobs in the USA.
  • 04 Severely tax imports to reflect their “true cost” in terms of water, energy, child labor, and safety, and localize our entire supply chain for goods and services.  Make “Made in America” the heart of restoring full employment and national resilience.
  • 05 Revist the National Population Policy developed in the year 2000, and develop educational and other non-intrusive non-regulatory approaches to stabilizing and sustaining our demographic balance.
  • 06 End the Federal Reserve, audit all of t he regional Federal Reserve activities, and create a national network of community banks holding community wealth backed by tangible community assets.

28.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Educational Policy.

  • 01 Free online education all the way to a college degree, with proctored open book examinations.
  • 02 Mandated apprenticeships from Middle School onwards, in the trades though high school, in the professions through college.
  • 03 End rote memorization and competitive examinations, do more team or project learning and learning to learn, individual proficiency certification with team scores.  Allow children to move at their own pace while maintaining discipline.
  • 04 Do not teach what children can learn on their own–optimize child-driven education by accrediting and certifying independent studies of proven value.
  • 05 Eliminate the Department of Education in its present form, while integrating Education, Intelligence, and Research under a Secretary-General who reports directly to the President.

29.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Energy Policy.

  • 01 Incentivize sustainable design and green to gold capitalism.
  • 02 Create the two-way grid featured in WIRED Magazine the month Dick Cheney was meeting secretly with Enron & Exxon to plot the occupations of Afghanistan & Iraq.  This means an end to centralized energy creation and broad distribution (which loses 50% of the energy enroute, and the implementation of localized energy creation grids appropriate to the specific natural and community circumstances.
  • 03 Federal and state governments switch to hybrid cars for all new purchases, while radically reducing the number of cars needed in the out-years through reductions in government size and implementation of the national high-speed rail and local public transportation grids.
  • 04 Complete independence from foreign oil within two years through improved exploitation of existing natural gas and other resources, while eliminating corn as a fuel source, and eliminating fracking projects that cause earthquakes, and tar sand projects that require extraordinary amounts of scarce drinkable water to flush.
  • 05 Eliminate the Department of Energy in its present form, while restructuring a Whole of Government approach that better integrates state-based capabilities and the use of information to voluntarily harmonize investments.

30.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Family Policy.

  • 01 Return to the one-income family and incentivize multi-generational living so the young can bear children but the wiser grandparents can help to raise them.
  • 02 End overtime until we achieve full employment.
  • 03 Stop building malls and bedroom communities, incentivize neighborhoods, bike paths, community transit, and community centers.
  • 04 Reduce the work week to 35 hours and legally prohibit forced labor above 35 hours, such as account executives expected to work 60 hour weeks.

31.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Health Policy.

  • 01  A Nation’s best defense is an educated and healthy public.  Through universal service (Armed Forces, Peace Corps, Homeland Service Corps) we will ensure all individuals are fit as they start life as young adults.  Physical fitness as well as the arts and music will be restored to all schools that have dropped these offerings.
  • 02  Employers and transport companies will be required to assure clean air free of toxins or harmful bacteria.
  • 03 Public health will be free and of high quality, equivalent to public safety and education (the latter will be doubled in quality).
  • 04 Natural and alternative cures will pre-empt medication & surgery wherever possible.

32.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Immigration Policy.

  • 01 We will enforce the law and demand that all employers and landlords verify legality before employment or rent (and one family per dwelling).
  • 02 We will encourage global labor unions and standards, and reject all products that do not meet those standards–Free Trade is bad, Fair Trade is good.
  • 03 We will redirect 25,000 positions from the Department of Defense to the Border Patrol.
  • 04 We will seal the borders and demand two years national service of all those now here who wish to be citizens.

33.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Justice Policy.

  • 01 We will pardon all marijuana offenders after they serve two years in national service (Armed Forces, Peace Corps, or Homeland Corps).  Marijuana will be legalized and regulated the way alcohol is regulated.
  • 02 We will wind down the prison-slavery complex and terminate all Halliburton detention centers and all secret United Nations armed forces within our borders.
  • 03 We will eliminate corporate amnesty under the personality clauses intended for freed slaves, and hold corporate officers accountable as individuals.
  • 04  We will not allow the President to pardon Presidential staff for high crimes and misdemeanors.

34.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Security Policy.

  • 01 We will move $100 billion from the Pentagon’s inflated budget to a new budget, Waging Peace.
  • 02 Over the next 25 years, we will reduce the military-industrial complex, and replace it with a peace & prosperity complex.  We can do this on a job and revenue neutral basis District by District.
  • 03 The core ingredient for the future is connectivity: We will accelerate OpenBTS and very low cost as well as free cell phones for the five billion poor (making this affordable for their own governments, not at US expense) and help recruit 100 million volunteers able to teach them “one cell call at a time,” while also creating multiple national and regional centers for multinational information-sharing and sense-making.
  • 04 Morality is central to our future.

35  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Society Policy.

  • 01 We will implement universal service as a civic duty, offering three choices: Armed Forces, Peace Corps, and Homeland Corps.  The PRIMARY reasons for restoring universal service are two: to help create a national culture; and to avoid politicians going to war without intense scrutiny by the entire public.
  • 02 Public Health will be free, as are Public Security and Education.
  • 03 English in the national language and Christianity, with tolerance of other faiths and a strict separation of church and state, is the national religion.

36.  Name at least three long-term objectives of your Water Policy.

  • 01 Water will be sold at it’s true cost, and a nation-wide water conservation policy begun immediately.
  • 02 We will create a Global Manhattan Project to restore aquifers and push salt water back, beginning with the Middle East and Israel.
  • 03 We will incentivize regional Water Authorities both at home and overseas.
  • 04  We will make water desalinization a national and global priority for investment.

37.  Why is Brazil important to our future?

  • It is one of the seven demographic powers that will determine the future regardless of what the USA and EU do.
  • It is energy independent and central to Latin America, Africa, and southern Asia

38.  Why is China important to our future?

  • It is one of the seven demographic powers that will determine the future regardless of what the USA and EU do.
  • It has major energy and water shortfalls and is also an epicenter for infectious disease.  If China implodes, America will suffer.

39.  Why is India important to our future?

  • It is one of the seven demographic powers that will determine the future regardless of what the USA and EU do.
  • Other than Indonesia, it has the largest Muslim population on the planet, stands between Iran and China, and while it has major problems, is potentially a focal point for creating wealth through knowledge that will stabilize that entire region.

40.  Why is Indonesia important to our future?

  • It is one of the seven demographic powers that will determine the future regardless of what the USA and EU do.
  • It is the largest Muslim nation that has maintained a secular government and contained radical Islam elements, rich in natural resources and a potential leader in southern Asia.

41.  Why is Iran important to our future?  For extra credit, how have we wronged that Nation?

  • It is one of the seven demographic powers that will determine the future regardless of what the USA and EU do.
  • It is the largest Shi’ite Muslim nation, offsets the corrupt and perverted Saudi Royal family, in the true representative of the Persian civilization, and a key actor in stabilizing the Middle East
  • Extra Credit: The US overthrew their democratic government to keep the Shah in power.  We were wrong to do this.

42.  Why is Russia important to our future?

  • It is one of the seven demographic powers that will determine the future regardless of what the USA and EU do.
  • It is the largest land mass spanning Europe and Asia, a critical offset to Chinese power, and potentially a major contributor to European, African, and Asian peace and prosperity.

43.  Why is Venezuela important to our future?

  • It is one of the seven demographic powers that will determine the future regardless of what the USA and EU do.
  • It has the largest reserves of petroleum in the Western Hemisphere; together with Brazil, it could determine not only the future of democracy in the region, but also whether China is or is not allowed to take over the entire region through an emigration policy that gradually displaces indigenous peoples.

44.  Why are Wild Cards important to our future?

  • The Earth is like a delicate aquarium, where balance must be maintained if we are to have a sustainable future.  There are no borders when it comes to the spread of disease or well-being.
  • Countries like Malaysia and Turkey are essential branches of Islam at peace; countries like Pakistan or the Congo are potentially violent and contagious.  Countries like Chile, Argentina, and South Africa are potential engines for regional peace and prosperity.

45.  In 2011, how much did our government spend on diplomacy as opposed to war?  What’s wrong with that?

  • Diplomacy received roughly $30 billion while the Pentagon received over $950 billion.
  • This illustrates a  government that is out of control, insolvent according to the Comptroller General, and a very dangerous over-reliance on weapons instead of reasoned policies.  We are a spend-thrift Nation, and at imminent risk of a national economic melt-down.

46.  In 2011, how much did our government spend on spies and secret satellites, as opposed to legal ethical sources of foreign intelligence?  What’s wrong with that?

  • The National Intelligence Budget is at least $80 billion a year, double what it was at its previous high point under President Reagan.  The secret agencies are optimized for stealing the 4% of the information that is secret, and spend less than a billion on open sources in 183 languages we do not speak.
  • We need to reduce the secret budget to $12 billion a year, and redirect the savings to national education & our electronic infrastructure.

47.  Will you commit to naming your Secretaries of State and Defense, and your Attorney General, prior to 4 July 2012?

  • If NO, don’t bother coming back.
  • If YES go to next question

48.  If you win the nomination for the general election, will you commit to having Cabinet-level debates?

  • If NO, don’t bother coming back.
  • If YES, move on to next question.

49.  If you win the nomination of your party, will you commit to preparing and posting online a balanced budget prior to election day?

  • If NO, don’t bother coming back.
  • If YES, move on to the next question.

50.  Can you explain the concept of transpartisanship, and if elected, commit to appointing a Transpartisan Cabinet?

  • Transpartisanship, a concept developed by Don Beck and Jim Turner, means a return to an objective balanced policy process in which facts and reality are the foundation for dialog and decision, instead of ideological fantasy and extreme partisanship.
  • Yes, we need the very best people on the Cabinet, from across all parties.  To demonstrate my commitment, if I am elected President I will ask the loser of that election to be my Vice President so we can all come together and get this great Republic back to being America the Beautiful….OR
  • Yes, we need the very best people on the Cabinet, which is why I have announced a Coalition Cabinet in advance of the election, a Cabinet whose members have been crowd-sourced and selected to public acclaim.

51.  What is America’s greatest source of strength and national power?

  • An educated engaged citizenry.  We need to draw the 100 million who have dropped out of the political process back in—that is the only way we can restore our political, social, and economic balance.

52.  What can we do to get America back on track?

  • Ask these same questions of each and every contender, and don’t let them snow you with platitudes.
  • A policy is not real until it has been put into a balanced budget.  Make all of us demonstrate we can govern before we are elected—this is too important to practice partisan politics as we have in the past.
  • Disband the Republican-Democratic Presidential Debate Commission that displaced the League of Women Voters, who should be restored as the sponsors of open honest multi-party debates aired nationally, or if they do not wish, then a new entity, one truly transparent and in the public service, manage the debates.

Tip of the Hat to Bill, whose comments helped update and refine this offering.