Sunday, April 25, 2010

Response from David Arnold, Candidate for US Representative - District 3

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1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed, for this position?

The key role is Public Service. This requires an inherent obligation, belief and ability to serve the public interest even in cases where one's own personal interests conflict or are not the same. I demonstrated this in Rock Hill as the Chief Petitioner for a Missouri State Audit of Rock Hill by now Senator, then Auditor, Claire McCaskill.
The US Constitution defines the role for the US Representative and it is, in short, to make and repeal laws (consistent with the US Constitution and its valid Treaties), and to bring charges of Impeachment (as required by the Constitution), and to advise and consent in presidential appointments of high office. Other roles must come second to these first responsibilities, I believe.
Too many serving representatives seem to have lost track of the US Constitutional restrictions on their actions, and the responsibility to abide by the US Constitution.
The oath of office requires the representative to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;"
Because I have a passport I have already taken an oath to: "... support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic." That is exactly what I intend to do.
Part Two:
Attributes key to this position: integrity, curiosity, back bone, willingness to explain one's self, ability to understand differing and opposing positions, subjugation to public service as a calling above self-interest, and a certain resistance to intimidation.
The entire role is further explained in the Constitution's very short Preamble and somewhat longer Article One, Section 8, 9 and 10, which together very clearly specifies the representative's job.
The below is included for context only. My answer is above.
(Please note the lower case "united" in the original, emphasizing State's rights.)

Preamble: We the People of the united States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the united States of America.
Article I Section 8: [1] The congress shall have the Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the united States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the united States.
[2] To borrow money on the credit of the united States;
[3] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
[4] To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalizations, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the united States;
[5] To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
[6] To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting teh Securities and the current Coin of the united States;
[7] To Establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
[8] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
[9] To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
[10] To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on teh high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
[11] To Declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and to mke Rules concerning the Captures on Land and Water;
[12] To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to the Use shall be for a longer term than two Years;
[13] To provide and maintain a Navy;
[14] To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
[15] To provide for the calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrection and repel Invasions;
[16] To Provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the united States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
[17] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of Government of the unites States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in Which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; -- And
[18] To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for the carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the united States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section 9 and 10 Pretty well say what NOT to do.

2. What experience / attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

First, I have a sense of exactness which helps me split hairs at important points and refocus on the issue. For instance, the legal qualifications for election to this position are citizenship and age so I qualify by definition. Many politicians change the question to avoid answering it. I hope to be known for changing the question so as to answer the intended question. That may be backwards right now, but that is what I want in a representative.
Why would you want to elect me to this position of service?
As Chief Petitioner for a audit of Rock Hill (March 31, 2004) I had unique responsibilities and exposure in a position of public service with no pay and no personal gain imaginable. Frequently I was called on to stick my neck out to do things in this role. The whole process took years. The result was to document both errors to correct and crimes. A criminal conviction was obtained by others in Rock Hill after I had served out my role. This demonstrates an ability to stick with something for years, the ability to subordinate myself and my own wishes for an explicit public service role, to work with others and maintain legally protected confidentiality, and yet to work for a real return to the rule of law that matters, and to collaborate effectively toward a valuable goal. The guilty party was ordered by the court to return about $30,000 to the city of Rock Hill.
What else? Problem solving and implementation. That means figuring it out and doing it. My professional work with computers and people with disabilities has prepared me to handle the kinds of problems our nation faces today: problems that are technical and have huge human consequence. How so? Because I must combine an ability to understand and quick study very technical subjects and an ability to appreciate the very human considerations from different people's perspectives and to work with those things to overcome technical and personal challenges so people can work, learn, and participate in quality of life activities despite disabilities and technological limitations, job requirements, and various prejudices. This requires that I collaborate with people in several different institutions, with different priorities and opportunities. I think we need more collaboration in Washington, DC.
Today some rightly say we face unique problems as a nation. They are technological, political, and have interested parties on more than one side, often more than two sides. I deal with unique and constantly changing technologies. People also change with time in abilities, problems, their goals and aspirations. Working the solution requires an ability to investigate, document, observe, listen, collaborate with many others in many roles, propose and modify as the situation and need requires. Some of the specifics of my work are covered by confidentiality laws, which I respect. Don't you think this is the kind of background we need representing us in Washington DC?

3. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s) (if applicable)?

I think it has helped me to have clients in rural Missouri and in the major cities; to have clients with no high school diploma and with Ph.D.s. and/or M.D.s and the full range between. I think it has helped me because to succeed in my work I have needed and depended on everyone from the loading dock and front line worker all the way to the chief executives and presidents of those same companies. I understand employees, employers, and the conflicts that seem inevitable even as we all work to provide for our families, and to contribute to our society, and to conduct our lives honorably from our individual positions.
Some might think that the only opponents in the Democratic Primary are other democrats, but with the practice of crossing party lines to influence primary elections, I think it is more responsible to understand that the Republicans are also part of this dance, and therefore so are the leading Republican candidates.
I need to say that the incumbent Russ Carnahan has always been proper and considerate in our personal interactions. I have no ax to grind personally. I have even seen fragments of ideas from books I brought to the attention of his office in speeches Mr. Carnahan has given. And Ed Martin has always been open and appropriate with me every time we have spoken personally. So my criticism really isn't about the person, but it is about the beliefs and performance revealed so far.
Ed Martin has correctly stated that the Federal Reserve needs to be audited, but he also said he tries to stay just half a step in front of where the people are. It is a common belief that if an elected official admits to or acts on anything further ahead of the majority of people than a half step that is a bad thing. What if the people need leadership on an issue to bring to their attention what they don't already know? Who's job is that? Ed Martin knows that an audit of the Federal Reserve would ignite most people in all out rage. But he's not willing to bring the people along? I don't think that is the right way to serve. I think that republican US Representative Ron Paul's book "End the Fed" is a good place to start an understanding the very real problems with the Federal Reserve and our current monetary policy.
Russ Carnahan has repeatedly voted for ever larger military expenditures when the fact that military solutions could not fix non-military problems was widely understood. Our military spending is already greater the than rest of the world combined. Who needs that much military? No honorable nation.
The entire debate concerning the impact of our current high rate of medical cost bankruptcies, international competitiveness of American companies, and financial solvency of businesses and earned pensions would be completely handled by the huge amounts of money being misdirected to maintain and enlarge an overly large military. Add to the public numbers the hidden “black budget” expenditures we can't calculate and it is clear we are spending grossly out of balance with the needs of our nation: a sound monetary policy, a constitutional war policy, and an adjustment of our ideas concerning social responsibilities (education, job training that actually translate into worth while work!) is needed now.
TARP is a crime waiting to be fully exposed as are the other insider bailouts. These are serious errors that I am sure do not pass these two principles of representative governance: constitutionality and responsibility to our citizens including always our most vulnerable. Our Bill of Rights are not just for the rich, the strong, the bully... most of these rights are for everyone within our boarders, whether citizen or not. This is what makes our nation so very special so deserving of respect: it is a reflection of the respect we hold for others.
The Patriot Act is unpatriotic and should be repealed immediately, as is FISA and its related measures. Russ supported these too many times. These are grave errors I will not make.
My great-grandfather homesteaded in Texas. Everyone showed up at barn raising to help build a barn. And everyone came to help put out a barn fire if it caught fire, because everyone understood the sense in which it was a part of the community, a community resource. And the barn was privately owned. So that is not socialism because the State does not own the barn. But it is socially responsible and it is practical. That is the kind of thinking we need more of in Washington DC.
I think the next person to hold this office needs to have the courage to lead some people, to confront wrongs, and to uphold the constitution. I think the fact that I see, know and say this is important, even essential.

4. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office? (please be specific)

President Eisenhower famously identified a threat to our government and way of life when he spoke of “...undo influence whether sought or unsought of the military industrial complex.” This remains one of the most controlling issues of today.
Our government was formed 200 years ago to throw off tyranny. Recently we have been embarrassed by our Executive and Legislative and Judicial branches approaching tyranny by small steps.
And mean while the economy and job market are manipulated to keep us from paying attention. I like the bumper sticker I saw “If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention.”
Our voting systems have gotten worse and worse. The key parts of our right to vote include: one voter, one vote; the opportunity to cast a vote and to have that vote correctly counted; a secret ballot; integrity of the ballot and elections verifiable by audit of the ballots. With congressional hearings to prove the charges, our recent voting systems since 2000 have been shown to be vulnerable to fraud and error like no systems before. We must have the ability to trust our elections and the voting systems that produce them.

5. What plans do you have for addressing these issues? (please be specific)

Exposure and collaboration can address these serious issues. It isn't very complicated: oppose rewarding companies for exporting jobs, oppose unconstitutional laws, really return to core values of the American republic. Expose the “bait and switch” that manipulates the public against itself. Monetary policy impacts or controls almost everything: it must be addressed directly, openly, and honestly.
Our Bill of Rights has been shredded over the years and needs to be restored by supporting appropriate measures and strongly opposing those Acts and questionable Judicial judgements that take away individual and State's rights. It is the process not the specific wording that determines what we get and where we go. We can use any variety of specifics to restore the US Constitution. It is doing it instead of not doing it that has the impact.
The most specific thing I would hope to do is to be able to expose to the district what some of the real conflicts are in Washington. And I hope to support people here in the district who want and need to have town hall and other meetings to hear and understand each other, and to work out acceptable solutions. It is rarely the proper job of a republic to force anything on anyone.

For instance, I think the recent “Tea Party” protests and the way they have been handled are both wrong. The protesters need to present actual facts, and they need to be afforded time and space in which to be heard in the presence of those who do not agree with them. Things need to be worked out and worked through, not bull dozed.

6. What particular strengths would help you defeat other party opponents (if applicable) in the November general election?

This is a trick question. I don't think we should be defeating each other. I think the better approach for the time should be embraced by those who appreciate it. So I think my strong Constitutional respect, and my real and sincere embrace of public service over self service in office should win the day. I no longer seem to fit into the two available categories: liberal or conservative. Both are needed and for the most part both seem absent today. The balanced approach should win against the same old same old. Like the saying goes: if we keep doing what we have done, we will keep getting what we have gotten. I for one want better and I think that cuts across the party lines of today.

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