Mitchell Bupp, of Independent Voter Radio on Freedom Slips, hosted his second independent debate -- this time with 6 independent candidates: Denise Bedio, John "Green" Ferguson, Dr. Lynn S. Kahn, Joe Anthony, Marque Lundgren, and Dave Parker.
The first debate focused on the economy, Common Core, and Syria. In round two, Bupp covered government spending, illegal immigration, and more on the Middle East.
The theme throughout: lack of trust in government. The solution? People must do the work of governing themselves by, as Dr. Kahn suggests, running for office; and as Dave Parker, founder of the Free Energy Party is doing, bypassing conflict in our current government by working on bottom-up solutions.
How Can We Reduce Spending by Congress?
"There is no simple way," says Denise Bedio, a labor leader from Berwick, Pennsylvania. She offers 'getting rid of alphabet agencies,' refocusing government function to state and local levels, and reducing military spending. She also suggests re-defining what it means to be a congressperson by reducing pay, and enacting term limits.
"If our representatives work like regular Americans, it will increase accountability," she posits.
Joe Anthony agreed with Bedio on decreasing military spending, labeling U.S. foreign policy 'imperialistic.' He also suggested closing the DEA, and ending agricultural and fossil fuel subsidies.
John 'Green' Ferguson, founder of the Eco/Green Party, says demanding clean bills will stop lobbying and save time.
Dr. Kahn, an organizational psychologist for government for the past 32 years, put the onus on the people:
"If we want to stop tax breaks, corporate welfare, and wasteful programs, we have to vote current congressmen out. If they are running unopposed--run for office!"
She also implored listeners to vote for a candidate who knows how government spends money. Echoing part of her platform, Stop Funding Stupid, she says, "Government buys stupid things, or buys important things stupidly."
Dave Parker, founder of the Free Energy Party, was adamant that he will use the RICO Act to launch racketeering and collusion charges against government officials.
"If it is illegal to bribe police and judges, then should it be legal to bribe politicians, or ones way into government?" He said.
Parker's assertion is that lobbying is -- at its core -- bribery, and should be illegal, but can lobbying be deemed illegal?
Daniel Weiser wrote for Investopedia that lobbying is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution as part of redress of grievances, and again in a 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act. There might be an opening to change lobbying as it is, but there also hangs Citizens United, declaring money as free speech.
What Should The U.S. Do about Illegal Immigration?
Of the six candidates, only Joe Anthony didn't mention more enforcement. He blames the War on Drugs for causing conflict in Mexico and along the border. His solution?
"We should help Mexicans decrease crime and bloodshed by ending the War on Drugs," he said.
This position has abundant company from both sides of the political spectrum. The American Conservative, Washington Monthly, and several other in-depth reports cite U.S. involvement in drug trafficking as a main source of gang violence, and mass emigration away from that violence to the U.S.
Bedio chimed in with a related solution: help others make their countries more livable, so that people won't want to escape to the U.S. Parker touted his party platform of creating free energy as a source of economic stability to hedge scarcity and violence.
All other candidates echoed each other invoking mainstream views like securing the border, deporting illegals, and enforcing current laws. Kahn pointed out that refugees, like those coming from Syria, already go through a long tracking process, but those coming in with visas are much more numerous and not tracked.
"I worked in aviation during 9-11," she said. "We need to understand who is coming in, but we need less vetting of refugees, and more in the visa process."
The Middle East
Bupp asked the candidates if we are at war with Islam, and if Turkey is a U.S. ally. Every candidate but Lundgren, stated that the U.S. is not at war with Islam, and turned the looking glass back on the U.S. to ask, 'Is the U.S. acting in its own self-interest, or are U.S. actions encouraging terror?'
"Just as many want to kick us out of NATO," Kahn said. "We have killed 1.3 million civilians -- mostly women and children -- in our War on Terror."
She followed with one of her talking points, "We need to be strong to build peace, but we also need to be well respected."
Kahn questioned whether we can be strong when so few have faith in our own government. To rebuild domestic strength, she added, "We need to strengthen our values of justice, equality, freedom, and personal choice."
"We don't know what is going on," said Parker about the War on Terror. "We do know that our rights are gone."
Parker stressed that discussing the War on Terror is incendiary and volatile.
"We are more likely to die in the shower than a terror attack," he commented. He further questioned how such a threat has been overblown to the point of eroding our rights.
"We need to take a look at our government's role in fake religious and race wars for the petro-dollars," Parker said.
Anthony had the same sentiment on the War on Terror:
"We need to grow up and turn off disgusting cable news that is trying to scare us. We don't need to change the whole nature of our country in order to address this issue. [Terrorism] is going to happen once in a while -- especially if we have an aggressive foreign policy that kills innocents."
Regarding Turkey, Anthony chided, "If you think Turkey is helping ISIS, look at the U.S. We are selling horrible weapons to Saudi Arabia -- inspiration for terror is coming right out of that country."
According to a CATO institute study, China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia -- all U.S. allies -- are sponsors of terrorism.
Denise Bedio called the War on Terror a fraud.
"It creates more terrorists than it eliminates, by design, to profit the military industrial complex," he explained.
It is true that the U.S. is number one in arms sales, followed by Russia. The biggest importer of arms is Saudi Arabia, and militarization of the Middle East has grown "ten-fold in 20 years," according to the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP).
Regarding Turkey's support of terrorism, Bedio, in line with Anthony, said, "What will we do about ourselves? The U.S. has trained and supported terrorists. How are we different?"
John "Green" Ferguson observed that the whole hierarchy of the international system is changing and needs to be re-assessed."Who are our allies?" he asked. "We have everyone's back, but who has ours?"
Regarding the War on Terror, Green says it is media-generated: "The media is run by rich people pushing their own agenda -- why do we never hear a story about an independent?"
Lundgren sounded a similar alarm.
"We have to take a good long look at who our friends and allies are. We are funding our own demise," he said.
Lundgren was the only candidate to support the War on Terror.
"We have to win. People are taught to be terrorists from birth. We need to teach them love and respect," he remarked.
His solution? Seize the finances of terrorists, and then use those funds to kill them.
"They preach 'death to America' and burn our flags," he said, adding, "Russia should not be the beacon of Christianity for the world -- that is a big problem for us."
In a follow-up with Lundgren, he cited an RT article, highlighting Russian concerns of Christian persecution. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the article said, the most important Christian holy sites in the country have been destroyed and the Christian population has decreased by 1 million.
Lundgren observed that anti-Christian activities are not making headlines. The article also said that, "the outburst of this “malicious phenomenon” could be caused by the activities of various nations outside the Middle East region, especially Western countries pursuing their own interests."
In this light, there is a bit of Catch-22. The U.S. pursues its interests, and in return, creates a blow-back of terrorism. Redefining our interests, as many independent candidates suggest, might be the key.
Independents Building Momentum?
The American people don't trust government to spend taxes, regulate citizenship, or conduct foreign policy, often accusing corporations of hijacking the U.S. government. Parker calls this -- the marriage of corporations and the government -- fascism.
People also don't trust the media to fulfill their societal role of providing accurate analysis and information. With control already out of the people's hands, how can the U.S., as Kahn says, "be strong at home"?
Independents are already the majority in the U.S. The biggest challenge is setting up a system conducive to the majority of the U.S. populace that is neither Republican nor Democrat. While the infrastructure for success outside of the two-party system is not in place, it is being built by many small efforts, like Bupp's. Change is coming.
To quote Parker's mentor, systems theorist Buckminster Fuller:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”