Third Party & Independents Archives

Exclusive Interview With Green Party Congressional Candidate Michael Berg, Part Two

I recently had the chance to speak with the Green Party’s at large Congressional candidate in Delaware, Michael Berg. What follows is second part in the transcript of that conversation.

Rhodes: The War on Drugs gets little media coverage. Many argue that our nation has an endless list of higher priorities. Both major parties have been complicit in this seemingly never ending war. Yet to this date this year when combining federal and state dollars spent our nation has spent over 22 billion dollars on the war on drugs, we have arrested over 700,000 citizens for drug offenses this year, of which over 330,000 were cannabis offenses. What are your thoughts on the war on drugs, the implicit racism it stands for, and the continued arrest of responsible non-violent cannabis offenders?

Berg: I think that the War on Drugs is just another euphemism for the war on the poor in this country. I don’t think that there is a War on Drugs at all; I think there is a war on people. Once again if you have enough money to go visit a psychiatrist, or a regular physician, and get a prescription you’re allowed to be on drugs. If you don’t have enough money you have to buy your drugs from a person on the corner.And that’s the way it is.

Alcohol is a terrible drug, caffeine is a terrible drug, and nicotine is probably the worst drug of them all. And yet these drugs are legal, yet the drugs that the people on the street prefer are illegal. The whole difference between alcohol and marijuana is a matter of class, and some say racial preference yet I don’t think there is a racial preference but some people say there is.Marijuana has been cracked down upon disproportionately for years.

I don’t think that drugs are a good thing; I don’t think that drugs are a good thing at all. I personally do not take any drugs at all except for an artificial hormone and a vitamin, and I never have. Now that’s not to say when I’m sick that I don’t take what I have to take. But I don’t take aspirins from year to year, that’s how much against drugs I am, I probably haven’t had an aspirin or any drug in five years.

I really think that the War on Drugs has to really start with correcting the conditions that cause people to use drugs. We have to find a way to help people that are on drugs, but not by criminal prosecution. Of all the crimes that there are, taking drugs is the one that lends itself most readily to restorative justice. People can be cured of their desire for drugs, and we don’t try this but this is something we need to try to do.

Rhodes: So do you support the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana?

Berg: I support the decriminalization of all drugs. I support the decriminalization of the use of all drugs. I do not support the decriminalization of the sale of drugs. My plan would be, and I’ve thought about this a lot, to have the federal government take over the dispensing of all drugs. So, therefore, no individual could make a profit selling drugs, because the government would be the only one with access to drugs, and the government would sell them at a cheap enough rate to make enough money to fund rehabilitation programs.

So by the government selling drugs at a really inexpensive rate than there would be no way for people to sell drugs illegally. I think that this would solve a lot of problem. Most of the problems associated with drugs; the violence associated with drugs comes from the fact that it is very profitable to sell drugs.

If you made bicycles illegal and than someone sold them and a black market developed there would be violence around the sale of bicycles. And whatever the government makes illegal ends up developing in the black market, and many black markets themselves are what are dangerous.

Now I am not saying that drugs aren’t dangerous and I am not saying people should be encouraged to use drugs, but the government would not be pushing drugs they would be supplying them to the people who were incapable of getting by without them. And they would use the money from this to make rehabilitation programs available.

Rhodes: We are the sole modern western nation which does not offer national health care to its citizens. Why do you think this is?

Berg: First of all, let me say that this is a disgrace. The reason this is, is that there is a war going on, and I don’t mean the war in Afghanistan or Iraq there is a war going on in this country between the wealthy and the rest of us. And that is why a Green candidate is the only candidate, or another third party candidate, to represent those who are not wealthy, because all the Democrats and Republicans in government are wealthy and represent the interests of the wealthy.

We don’t have national health care because rich people can afford their own health care, and it is rich people who are in office. There is nobody in office that is representing the poor. They give themselves national health care, our Congressmen and women are the only people in this country, along with other government workers, who have national health care. But they won’t give it to the rest of us.

They don’t want the rest of us to have national health care, to have access to health care; they want the rest of us basically to have shorter life spans. It’s a disgrace, and some of the very people who would benefit from it the most are not benefiting from it because its not there. Immigrants have not taken away your national health care plan; Congressmen and women in suits in Washington, DC are the ones that have taken it away from you.

Rhodes: It seems like every time I turn around Congress is approving a new pay raise for itself yet the minimum wage has been virtually stagnant for years. The idea of a living wage for Americans is hardly ever discussed, except for by a very few members of Congress. Where do you stand on Congressional pay raises seemingly being more important to Congress than instituting a fair living wage for all Americans?

Berg: I think that is a disgrace. I want to tell you about something that happened in Pennsylvania, the state where I used to live. About two weeks ago they had a primary, and last summer at 3am in the morning the Pennsylvania state legislature passed itself a huge pay raise. The people in the state of Pennsylvania were alarmed and appalled, and the pay raise was eventually repealed. During that primary two weeks ago 49 incumbents were challenged, this is not even the general election this is the primary election and 49 incumbents were challenged during their primary election.

Twelve incumbents were unseated during this primary election. So the people spoke, and they succeeded in twelve cases. In the most conservative county in all of Pennsylvania, Chester County where I used to live, there was a special election and the Democrat, Andrew Dinniman, beat his Republican opponent for State Senate.

The day is coming when the people who are approving raises for themselves and not approving raises for working people will have their comeuppance. I know people who are not making enough money to get by, and at one point in time I was one of those people so I know what its like. If I am elected a part of my initial effort will be to get a livable national wage, a livable national wage, and I know it will have to be well above ten dollars an hour

Michael Berg is the Green Party's at large candidate for Congress in Delaware. His campaign's website can be found at: http://bergforcongress.us

Posted by Richard Rhodes at June 19, 2006 1:06 AM
Comments
Comment #159004

Richard…

Could you ask your Candidate how he intends to enact his policies without any allies should he be elected?

How will his being the lone Green limit his ability to help his District?

Posted by: Aldous at June 19, 2006 2:25 AM
Comment #159005

Aldous: See Bernie Sanders, that is my answer.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 19, 2006 2:31 AM
Comment #159048

Thanks for showing us all what an idiot Berg is.

Once again the Green party has associated itself with the lunatic fringe and has made itself the laughing stock of national politics.

Posted by: jwl at June 19, 2006 8:50 AM
Comment #159064

Richard:

“no individual could make a profit selling drugs, because the government would be the only one with access to drugs, and the government would sell them at a cheap enough rate to make enough money to fund rehabilitation programs.” (Michael Berg)


If I understand Berg, his drug policy would be to have the government sell enough drugs to fund the drug rehabilation that would be required as the result of selling the drugs.

All I can say is, “WOW”.

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at June 19, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #159087

JBOD, its a user fee. You know, like those Republicans have been so fond of since Reagan, when he instituted user fees for National Parks. Those who use them, pay for the government’s cost to support them. Nothing foreign in this concept.

I am shocked that you are shocked! This is right up conservative’s philosophical alley.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2006 11:25 AM
Comment #159103

David:

I’m amazed that someone of your obvious intelligence would be so wrong about what other’s think. Perhaps you havent been listening, or perhaps your perceptions are distorted by your own thoughts.

It’s always dangerous when your own thoughts of what people are thinking supercede what people are actually thinking. It leads to closemindedness, where you don’t even need others to participate in a discussion, because you are misled into believing you already know what they would say.

Kinda subverts the entire Watchblog rationale, if you ask me.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 19, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #159112

I agree with just about everything he said, except for the whole state funded illicit drug program. That doesn’t sit well with me. That is a FEMA sized disaster waiting to happen (although i am positive GW would have no problem finding a friend to head the DFFA - Drugs for Free Agency).

I do agree with decriminalization of the use of all drugs, since prison will not cure the addict.

He is right that there is a war between the wealthy and the poor, spot on.

Posted by: tree hugger at June 19, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #159115

This is part two, part one can be found at: http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003820.html#more

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 19, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #159246

Tree Hugger said:

I do agree with decriminalization of the use of all drugs, since prison will not cure the addict.

Right-of-Way responds:

So, let me understand this…

We should decriminalize the use of all drugs because putting the offenders in jail won’t cure them.

Do I have that right?

OK, let’s change that statement slightly and see if it makes sense.

“I do agree with decriminalization of arson, since prison will not cure the arsonist.”

“I do agree with decriminalization of rape, since prison will not cure the rapist.”

“I do agree with decriminalization of murder, since prison will not cure the murderer.”

Naaaahhhh… I just don’t see the logic.

Do you think prison is about “curing” the criminal?

Its not.

Its about protecting the rest of us from the criminal.

Our right to personal safety and security is more important than his “need” to rob, rape, murder or shoot up.

If it makes you feel better, think of prison as a “really long time-out for larger kids.” :-)

Posted by: Right-of-Way at June 19, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #159250

Now to say something related to the original posting…

Mr. Berg is certainly entitled to his beliefs and to run for public office if qualified. And, if elected to promote those beliefs on behalf of his constituents.

And I am just as entitled to believe that pacifism as a response to terrorism is an excellent method to ensure the death of more innocent people like his son.

May God bless and keep those who protect all our freedoms.

Posted by: Right-of-Way at June 19, 2006 6:37 PM
Comment #159260

Right of Way: You fail to recognize that the use of drugs is a offense that has been criminalized which has no victim. It is a victimless crime. Rape, murder, arson all have victims. Taking drugs, and I am talking about the use and not the sale here is a choice of the individual, as same as the choice to drink is.

If you look at my question I note that 330,000 arrests have been made for marijuana, over 90 percent of those were for non violent users. How do these people hurt society on the level that rape or arson or the other crimes your trying to compare them to do?

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 19, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #159321


While I do not agree with Berg’s notion of having the government sell the illegal drugs, the war on drugs is seriously corrupting our local police forces. Many house burglars are let off if they provide names of drug dealers.

Burg’s other ideas are excelent and I would vote for him if I could. This is not saying a lot because mean Jean is my representive and she came right out of type casting for the part of the wicked witch of the west.

Posted by: jlw at June 19, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #159473

Richard Rhodes, you said…

“You fail to recognize that the use of drugs is a offense that has been criminalized which has no victim. It is a victimless crime.”

What planet are you from? More people die from DUI traffic accidents in one month than have died in the entire Iraqi conflict! Are you trying to say the innocent men, women and children that have died as a result of some pot smoking driver are NOT victims? You are starting to sound like Ann Coulter.

What about those users that graduate to other more dangerous drugs and wind up dead because of overdose? What about the memory loss of long term users of pot? What about the deaths associated with smuggling? If they are not victims, what are they? Collateral damage?

If the government made pot legal and took over its distribution, the number of deaths associated with the illegal trade would probably go down. However the number of deaths associated with its use would increase. The creation of a sub-culture of drug users would emerge and we would find ourselves in the same boat as the Dutch in Amsterdam. Do you really want our parks and playgrounds filled with pot smoking and dealing welfare recipients?

Posted by: jwl at June 20, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #161548

Drug use is a victimless crime?

Are you guys stoned?

Go visit the south and west sides of Chicago. Or, the South Bronx… or South Central LA.

Then come back and convince me that drugs haven’t been the ruin of those communities.

Ask a drug addict’s family, if drug use is a victimless crime.

Better yet, ask a recovering addict if drug use is a victimless crime.

And really, how do you decriminalize drug use while making the sale of drugs a crime?

You guys criminalize smoking cigarettes, but, think toking up is OK.

Liberals/Lefties never cease to amuse me.

Posted by: Right-of-Way at June 25, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #161837

Michael Berg;
I felt bad for your son getting killed in Iraq, but what do you expect to happen when you are in a war zone. President Bush did not kill him he killed himself by being there. Also, don’t blame Bush for the trouble over there but rather Israel for the trouble in the Middle East. If it wasn’t for them we would not have had 9/11
Warren
Las Vegas Nevada

Posted by: warren at June 26, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #204208

Overdose deaths can be intentional or unintentional, and they can result from both licit and illicit drug abuse. Drugs commonly implicated in overdose must be in public lists! WBR LeoP

Posted by: Leo at January 20, 2007 8:05 PM
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