Third Party & Independents Archives

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

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

Rhodes: Your thoughts on Congress passing free trade agreements, such as NAFTA?

Berg: Well I don’t think that they are free trade agreements; I think that these agreements restrict trade. I think that an open market is really what we need in able to compete. In fact I know many may be thinking well how can we do that, how can our companies compete in a free market and raise the wages of the workers? Many will say that we can’t do this and that our workers already earn more than workers in many other countries. And I will tell you the answer to that question, we need to trim down the salaries of the executives and trim down some of the profits of these giant corporations, such as Enron and other oil companies.

When they are making these large profits, I would like to know where these profits are going. Recently I heard of an executive who was fired, and when he was fired he was given a forty million dollar bonus. Now there is no person in the world who is worth forty million dollars. There is no single person in the world that is worth 400 times of what the next person is making. And yet we have people in this country who are sucking all of the financial resources out of the country. And this is depriving the rest of the people, many of which are fighting just to survive. I am against restrictive trade agreements; I think we should operate under an open and free market system.


Rhodes: Currently a bill exists in the House entitled the National Language Act which seeks to severely weaken government accessibility to those who do not speak English. In part the resolution reads, “Unless specifically stated in applicable law, no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English”. Furthermore if passed this legislation will repeal the Bilingual Election Requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. What are your thoughts on this legislation, as well on the issue of immigration in general?

Berg: Immigrants haven’t taken away your health care, or raped our schools of what they once were; immigrants weren’t responsible for forgetting to update the levy system which resulted in the tragedy that occurred in New Orleans. Although many will want you to think as such, these are people who want to use immigrants as scapegoats. This will give you an idea of where I am going with this.

The act you spoke of is not right, in fact I believe instead it should be saying that every person in this country should be required to learn another language. I think that Bush and company are using this act as an effort to divide and conquer the people in this war they have on poor people. It is a war on poor people that is being fought, and if you can divide them into groups and keep them from communicating, and than you can even keep them from voting by making the ballot only in English.

From this they will never have a person who will represent them, this further disenfranchises immigrants, and immigrants are what our country was based on. What the people who are pushing bills like this are doing is not right.

In one of your earlier questions I pointed out that all four of my grandparents were immigrants. They were proud immigrants. And this country is made up of immigrants; the vast majority of people in this country are immigrants or descendents of immigrants. I think that this language bill is just another weapon that the Bush administration has in its fight on poor people.


Rhodes: The Green Party as well as its candidates have vowed to not accept corporate contributions. If elected what will you do to promote campaign finance reform?

Berg: Very simply I don’t think any contributions should be allowed. I think that the government should finance all campaigns, I mean full public financing of campaigns. And that should function on an equal basis, so anybody who is running is given an equal amount of financial support, and also a very limited time allotted to state their position on the issues of the day.

This will allow the people to choose without being influenced by the fanfare that money can buy. My opponent here in Delaware, Mike Castle, spent 1.2 million dollars in the first quarter on his campaign. The Democrat, who is just a throwaway candidate that the Democratic Party does not care at all about, has raised so far slightly less than I have, which is right around the ten thousand dollar mark.

I’m suggesting that we let truth, not dollar power, influence the people. I think that anyone, after being bombarded over and over again with messages in the mass media can be influenced by that message. It’s like a song that grows on you. I don’t think that’s the way it should be in deciding who gets elected in this country. The truth you speak, and whether the person hearing it believes it to be truth or not, that should be the factor that decides who gets elected.

Of all the things that I think we should repeal is the provision which says that non-profit organizations may not be political. By that what I mean is this, before I became a candidate for the Green Party I used to be asked to be a speaker at peace organizations, as well as all kinds of churches and schools. Now, however, I am asked all the time if I am campaigning, and when they hear that I am they respond well sorry we can’t have you in it will jeopardize our 501C-3 status. I think that is probably one of the most regressive measures to have ever passed, in order to keep this country what they call a two party system, but what is really a one party system.


Rhodes: Guantanamo Bay stands as a symbol of hypocrisy. Our nation claiming democracy and respect for civil liberties at home while denying those detained at Guantanamo these rights. What can you say about the continued existence of Guantanamo Bay?

Berg: Like many of the answers I have given to your questions let me start off by saying that I think this is disgusting. Guantanamo Bay, and deprivation of human rights, deprivation of civil rights is what got my son killed. My son was deprived of his right to due process by being detained by the FBI and the US military for thirteen days. During that thirteen day period the nature of the war in Iraq changed and he was supposed to be allowed to come home as he had planned.

However soon thereafter the atrocities in Abu Gharib that took place were made public. Right around the beginning of April of 2004, after the atrocities at Abu Gharib, we saw a resistance develop in Iraq. We are torturing people in Abu Gharib, and Guantanamo Bay, and depriving them of their rights as human beings. It is this kind of torture and humiliation that people are undergoing there that my son was killed in retaliation for.

So I am opposed as can be to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharib.


Rhodes: It has been my experience that too often third party candidates get pigeon holed by the media as a one issue candidate. Thus I have waited to the end of our conversation to discuss Iraq. Could you explain your thoughts and your plan for U.S. involvement in Iraq?

Berg: Iraq is my first priority. I have described the situation which exists. There are issues involving Iraq that are putting your average American in jeopardy. The most immediate danger is Iraq, I support our troops and the individual people there who are doing what they think is the right thing. I disagree with them that it’s the right thing, because I think it is putting us in jeopardy.

But when all of our troops are in Iraq, we are the target over here. The reason I don’t think we should get involved in the affairs of the Middle East, and I don’t mean just Iraq, but Israel, Palestine, and other parts of the Middle East is we are in jeopardy over here. So I think that having our troops over there is causing us to be the targets.

I think that the American position, the American military position, in Iraq is weakening every day. If we were to get out today I think that we would be in a stronger position militarily to guard ourselves than we would be if we wait to leave.

One person dies in Iraq every twelve minutes. And I think that anyone that has a plan to end this war has to ask themselves about this, twelve minutes from now. Those who want us to stay are being immoral and are condemning the next person to death. John Kerry has for the longest time said that he would escalate the war, now I think he is giving us six months, that six months is approximately twenty five thousand human beings who are going to die in that six months.

So my plan is a very simple plan. Fly the airplanes into Iraq and load them up with all Americans, and all westerners, and get all Americans and all westerners out of the Middle East. And thus let the Middle East have what they are entitled to, what they deserve, what every sovereign nation deserves, and what every person within every sovereign nation deserves and that is their right to self-determination. I think that when that happens, and that when the time has come the hatred will die down. Instead of us still being in Iraq, and still being in most of the Middle East. Than I think the violence will stop. Than I think the killing will stop.

To be quite blunt I don’t give a damn if we lose our oil interests over there.

Rhodes: Could you comment on the use of Depleted Uranium (DU)?

Berg: I know a woman who was in Iraq around the same time that my son was there and who came back about the same time that my son was trying to come back. She told me, when I visited her, that women in Iraq were having an extremely difficult time getting pregnant. That many pregnancies that did take place were resulting in babies with deformations and abnormalities. And she said that these occurrences are drastically higher than before we began to use depleted uranium.

The idea of Bush being concerned about Iran using nuclear weapons is ridiculous, considering that we are using nuclear weapons, depleted uranium is a euphemism for nuclear weapons. We are using nuclear weapons; we are unleashing the most unkind weapons that a human being has ever devised on an innocent people. At the beginning of the war, George Bush liked to talk about collateral damage and smart bombs, he said that when a bomb went off it was unfortunate that sometimes people nearby got injured or killed. That is one of the biggest lies told by the Bush administration. I think we have smart bombs, but I think that the plan of George Bush is to kill so many citizens that those who are surviving will be so scared that they will try to help this thing end the only way he wants it to end right now, which is George Bush’s way.


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

Part One of this conversation can be found at:
http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003820.html

Part Two of this conversation can be found at:
http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003824.html

Posted by Richard Rhodes at June 25, 2006 1:38 PM
Comments
Comment #161790

Richard, Berg certainly has positions that run contrary to the status quo. He does offer an alternative. I am not familiar with the electorate in Delaware, but, if it mirrors middle America, Berg’s positions sound too far left of center to get traction.

Would he not be better off keeping his long term goals in his head, and setting out policy positions that would incrementalize voters away from the status quo toward his goals? Some may call that deceptive, and it is. But, this is politics, and laying all your cards on the table is ordinarily not a winning strategy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #161793

David-

I think that overall your right, and that a majority of people would agree with you, however I don’t. In fact, overall if you search for Michael Berg you will only find things that speak on Iraq, as that is his main issue. And that is an important issue.

However I purposely wanted to ask him questions about other ‘left’ issues, to get his opinions on them. Because if we, ‘the left’, do not talk about them who will. If ‘the left’ ignores national health care, the wasteful drug war, a living wage, etc etc, just because the mainstream ignores it, than it will always be ignored and no progress is made.

The purpose is to move the left as a whole forward, and thus the abandonment of the word liberal and the love for the word progressive. Progressive, moving forward.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 26, 2006 12:31 AM
Comment #161805


The democrats will attack him, the republicans will give him money and in all likelyhood he will garner enough liberal/progressive votes to give the election to the republican. If there was a far right or nationalist candidate , the reverse would be the case.

Posted by: jlw at June 26, 2006 2:22 AM
Comment #161809

jlw, not if there is a unified 3rd party-independent coalition effort to vote out DNC and RNC incumbents and vote for each other’s candidates where there party isn’t running one of their own.

Think about it. The consequences of such a coalition could be devastating for R/DNC incumbents and force them to address those coalition voter’s concerns regarding ballot access, FEC representation, and level campaign playing fields.

I can’t go into more detail, but, such a coalition is being explored and discussed at this time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 3:40 AM
Comment #161864

Richard:

“I think that the government should finance all campaigns, I mean full public financing of campaigns. And that should function on an equal basis, so anybody who is running is given an equal amount of financial support…” Michael Berg

I’d like to announce my candidacy. I intend to run for the House, the Senate, the Presidency—anything I can possibly run for. Boy, what will I do with all that money. I can only imagine where I’m going to need to campaign—-I’m thinking that Hawaii is a fertile ground, and plan to spend much time beach campaigning. :)

Seriously, I’m not against govt funding of elections, but there would need to be some pretty tight guidelines on who is eligible for the money, and how much of it, and how it has to be spent.

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at June 26, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #161873

jlw- So what if Berg gets more votes than the Democrat, which is what many are expecting. In that situation than the Democrat, according to your logic, would be the one at fault.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 26, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #161881

Richard, touche’.

jlw’s comment, not jlw themself, displays the psychological predisposition to thinking there should ONLY be the Dem and Rep parties and all others are just spoilers. Just what the DNC and RNC and FEC want everyone to think.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #161883

JBOD, federal monies are already given and the regulations are already fairly substantial. What is needed is more oversight and teeth in penalties.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #161889

Not only that, the decision that only candidates with > 10% of the vote according to the lastest POLL should be allowed into the debates is rediculous. It’s those with

Considering how hard it is to even get on the ballot my suggestion is that anyone who has a mathematical chance to be elected president should be allowed into the debates if everyone is concerned about too many different people on stage at once.

After all, we don’t want to offend those with a low attention span, do we?

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 26, 2006 2:27 PM
Comment #161899


Richard and David: I made a simple statement of fact. Do either of you have proof that a third party has done anything in the last century other than play the spoiler. As far as my politics go, I consider the democrats the lesser of two evils. I have considered voting for Ralph Nadar in the past and I have considered the green party. I came to the conclusion that they could only play a spoilers role because they don’t have the backing of enough people. I would personally like to see 5 or 6 viable parties capable of electing representatives to Congress to force compromise. So it is just as likely that both of you are phychologically predisposed to suckering progressive liberals into throwing their vote away insuring a republican victory.

Posted by: Jerome Williams at June 26, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #161908

David:

As long as there is sufficient oversight to prevent the likes of the Lyndon LaRouches of the world from continually getting funds, as he has done, then I’m okay with federally funded elections. I don’t know what regulations exist, but I’d want more if we open the door to “free” money. That always brings out the leeches in society who seem to find ways around what seem to be reasonable regulations.

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at June 26, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #161918

Jerome, they will be spoilers until they are not. In other words, if one of them supercedes (as Independent candidates have in a few districts) one of the major parties, then they cease to be a splinter party and the DNC or RNC becomes the splinter party in that district.

In a number of local races, Green and Libertarian candidates have won, making one or the other major parties the spoiler party in the next election.

One must let the past dictate the future. There is no progress in that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 4:13 PM
Comment #161921

JBOD, the RNC and DNC are the biggest leeches of all. I wouldn’t worry about occasional crackpots getting small amounts of public money as long as RNC and DNC are receiving vast quantities.

And let’s be clear. Much of the money that goes to the DNC and RNC ISN’T going to charities and other worthwhile causes, which increases the tax burden for everyone. So, indirectly, even the private money going to campaigns has an effect on taxes through diversion from causes which federal taxes do support like Katrina disaster recovery and aid.

Also, this is a democratically elected Republic, and to remain so, any candidate capable of achieving a certain amount of public support should be equal to any other candidate receiving support, regardless of their platform.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 4:18 PM
Comment #161959

When a green party candidate wins a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, it will be big news and they will recieve more support. When they win several seats, people will really start to take notice and I will consider them a viable third party alternative.

JBOD: During one of Leonard LaRoushes tv diatribes in 1984, he said that Mondale and the Queen of England were partners in the biggest drug smuggling cartel in the World. The next morning, in the little one horse town I lived in at the time, I was picking up my mail at the post office. Several old men were stand around talking about Lenny’s speach. One remarked on his inditement of the Queen and Mondale. Another announced that LaRoush could not have said it on tv unless it was true. The others nodded their heads in agreement.

Posted by: jlw at June 26, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #161960

“So it is just as likely that both of you are phychologically predisposed to suckering progressive liberals into throwing their vote away insuring a republican victory”

A perfect example as to why a 3rd party will probably never win or given a chance to win a national election.
People now fear the opposition more than they do the truth.
They are sooooo afraid of the “other side” being in power, they willingly vote for who they are told to vote for, rather than who they believe in.
You all are controlled but too partisan blind to see it.

Posted by: kctim at June 26, 2006 5:39 PM
Comment #161988


Do any of you seriously think that a republican is going to vote for anyone in the green party.If there were a green candidate running in every congressional district and every senate seat being contested this fall, every state in the union will be a red state. I wish it would be different but it won’t be. Some day the green party may have every progressive liberal in the country in their party. They would still have a hard time electing a candidate with the possible exception of a very liberal state.

Posted by: jlw at June 26, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #162005

For anyone interested check out this site, http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.asp?cycle=2006&id=DE01
it shows that the Democrat has recieved 90 percent of his funding from his own pockets, and that in actuality Berg has raised more than the Democrat, although only slightly. Thus to this point in time Berg is the best chance for Delaware to unseat the Republican incumbent.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 26, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #162025

jlw, to answer your question, NO! They would leave the Republican Party to become an Independent voter first. That is what is happening in ever greater numbers of voters disenchanted first with the Democratic Party, and having switched to the Republican Party and once again, being grossly disenchanted, are now identifying themselves more and more as Independents.

I live in what was a huge majority Democratic county which switched in the 1980’s to become a huge majority Republican county in the early 1990’s. Today, nearly half of voters in this county are now Independent voters. It is happening across the country. Independent voters numbers are growing by leaps and bounds, and they aren’t voting party ticket, but, for individual candidates, and they are very much more likely to not vote for that candidate again, if results aren’t seen in their term of office.

It’s the wave of the future in American politics, now that both major parties have so completely frustrated voters desires for a stronger, more secure, more free, and more prosperous America for their children, than they were raised in.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 9:05 PM
Comment #162027

Berg is anti-war and for most Republicans that is all that needs to be said about Berg. But for everyone else, Berg has a mixed platform that appeals to many and worries many, but, unseating the Republican is worth the gamble on Berg.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 26, 2006 9:08 PM
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