I got this in the email. I did not volunteer for it (i.e., I did not leave a comment saying "Interview me"), but, since the request came from someone whom I greatly respect and like, when asked if I would participate, I indicated that it would depend on what the questions were. Following are the questions that were submitted to me. I'm not sure whether I am supposed to divulge who is asking these questions; if you, Interviewer, intend to be known, please leave a comment for all to see. The directions are blue, the questions are red; all other words are my responses and thoughts.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEW MEME
1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Please make sure I have your email address.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Five Questions for Yankee Doodle
You put a great deal of time, thought and energy into your blog. You speak often in parables, and sometimes in riddles. What response are you hoping for?
I want people to think, to question, to disagree, to debate -- that is the opposite of what our enemies want.
Democracy is messy.
I have high standards, and I expect Americans to live up to them.
You are clearly someone with extensive experience and inside knowledge of how governmental and other institutions [mal]function. Do you optimistically think that their present degenerate state can be remedied, or are you pessimistic that 21st century ‘democracy’, US and Western style, is incurably corrupt and cancerous?
Foremost, I make no comment regarding your statement: "You are clearly someone with extensive experience and inside knowledge of how governmental and other institutions [mal]function."
Beyond that, let me focus on the United States. The United States of America is NOT a "democracy" -- the United States of America is a republic.
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the...."
The US is a republic with certain democratic principles. That means that democracy is not to run rampant, but rather is to be exercised with constitutional safeguards.
By means of contrasting example, if you go to certain places in the Middle East (not all!), and give those people a democracy, I believe they will quickly vote in a totalitarian, fundamentalist Islamic regime, which will take away their democracy.
That itself is hilarious, since some interpretations of Islam would hold that an elected Islamic government is not legitimate; it must be instituted by the will of Allah, that is, by force.
In the US, however, what we can vote to do or not to do is supposed to be kept within certain boundaries. For example, in theory, just because everyone "knows" that a US citizen is a terrorist, that is not adequate legal cause to deny that person his Constitutional right to a writ of habeas corpus while the civilian court system is still functioning; this was done to Jose Padilla. What the Bush Administration did was wrong.
But, to the point of your question:
The conquest that we face, conquest threatened not only by certain elements of the Islamic world, certainly does not mean an end to history, or even to our history. America's best days are ahead of her; an American more optimistic than I you will not find.
How do you think that the irrational hostilities currently being spread around the world by fundamentalist Christian, Jewish, and Islamic beliefs can be rendered less dangerous?
Irrationality is in the eye of the beholder.
Fundamentalist Christians are a very minor player, and then only on a local level.
Fundamentalist Jews are significant only because they hold disproportionate power in Israel. I should further point out that a major reason they hold this power is because Israel is so threatened by such incredibly hostile neighbors, and because the world does not seem to want to defend Israel. It is not necessary to agree with Israel; merely to insist that the terrorist and other attacks against Israel cease, and that differences be resolved peacefully. In the absence of that, it is a time of perpetual crisis for Israel, and in times of crisis, people give an ear to more extreme viewpoints.
All of which leaves us with fundamentalist Muslims....
And that brings us to the title of this blog.
You believe – as many do – that these opening years of the 21st century are a time of extreme danger for the USA, the West, and the world as a whole. One danger you repeatedly refer to is that of hostile nuclear weapons already on site in American cities, and maybe elsewhere. Without revealing your sources, can you say how likely you believe this to be?
I am not saying whether hostile nuclear weapons are in American cities; they may be. I am saying they are in America.
If you were US President, what [a] national and [b] international policy changes would you make?
1) I would abide by the law. In situations where I felt that to do my job I could not abide by the law, I would explain what I was doing and why. I would try to pro-actively make my case to the American people and to our Congress. I would make sure Congress understood its job of oversight of the Executive Branch, and I would prompt them to do it where I felt such prompting was necessary.
It should be noted that the supreme law of this land is the US Constitution. Congress should make every effort to not pass bills that are unconstitutional; as President, I would not sign or enforce laws that I felt were unconstitutional.
This could lead to some crises over constitutionality. However, they would be no worse than the crises that we currently face, wherein the Constitution is all-too-often abided by only when convenient in the politics-as-usual atmosphere that pervades Washington.
2) I would be honest. I would tell Americans the truth about issues, and expect them to face it as adults.
3) I would clean up corruption in Washington, DC.
In answer to a):
4) I would insist on a low, flat income tax, and eliminate as many other taxes as possible. This would create an economic boom which would get America producing, and that lower tax rate, multiplied by a more productive economy, would yield more tax dollars. I would use those tax dollars to rebuild our military, rebuild our space program, and rebuild our infrastructure, all while retiring our federal debt (currently what? $9,000,000,000,000 or so?). I would cut subsidies for those who choose not to work, and encourage them to take a more active working part in our improved economy.
5) I would stop stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund, like they all do in Washington, and I would start getting the money that has been "borrowed" from it paid back to it. I would also stop requiring working Americans to contribute to Social Security, but rather give them the freedom to opt out. (How did we get into this situation where that freedom was taken away to begin with?)
Transitioning from a) to b):
6) I would secure our borders (both northern and southern -- I'm planning a post on this). I would ensure that immigration laws can be complied with, and that those who did not comply with them were removed from our country.
7) I would immediately begin a program to get us off petroleum-based fuels, and moving towards a variety of renewable energy sources. I would transition government vehicles to use fuel made from crops grown in the American heartland, rather than fossil fuels imported from countries that sponsor terror. I would also push for fusion energy, which, unknown to the American public, is knocking on a door that certain elements in our country are trying to keep closed.
In answer to b):
8) The War on Terror is a mistake. "Terror" is an abstract noun; it is a political strategy. We need to deal with those who employ it, and we need to identify them by the ideology they seek to impose forcefully on the world. We are battling radical Muslims, and we need to say so. I am not talking about a war on Islam; there are many Muslims who consider themselves devout, orthodox believers, and who sincerely disavow the violence that threatens them as well as us. Those peaceful Muslims, and the rest of civilized humanity, have a common enemy, and that common enemy needs to be identified openly and stopped, dead in its tracks!
Specifically: I would go after terrorist funding, worldwide; and I would go after the source of much of the funding, and of much of the hatred that radicalizes the world's Islamic community, and that is in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would understand what it means to face the wrath of a superpower. I would get bin Laden, and, if I got him alive, he would be treated humanely and well, in accordance with international standards of conduct, whether or not such standards technically apply to him; he would stand trial for his actions, and his trial would be fair. Under the Doodle Administration, US Special Operations Command would take the lead from US Central Command in the war against Islamic extremists, and there would be no safe havens for our enemies.
9) I would seek better relations with China and Russia, relations based upon mutual respect, while maintaining a defensive and economic posture adequate to ensure American security and allow American prosperity. That concept of mutual respect would apply as well to countries that are smaller geographically and population-wise, and weaker militarily and economically; it's a matter of principle.
Would anyone else care to be interviewed? I will feel obligated to interview only one commentator, but may opt to interview more than one; I reserve the right to choose whom I interview, and when (it might take a while). Should I choose to interview more than one commentator, I reserve the right to do so at separate times.