Candidate for Utah Federal Senator
Questions and answers:
What is your stand on nuclear power plants?
Totally against. I see new designs in the labs, such as MIT, and I know they've made many strides in fusion recently, but the solar furnace we need IS right where it belongs. One astronomical unit, 93 million miles, away. It would take a very large change in technology and extraordinary proof to change my mind, and I don't see that anytime soon, if ever.
Your take on insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides?
Living in the farmlands of Shelley, Idaho, and growing many things myself, I think organic is ultimately where we need to be (I realize you can't tell what "organic" means from labels). Loved Michael Pollen's Omnivore's Dilemma, heard him speak (the best speaker I've ever heard, and I have heard many). For starters and to get from where we are now to Wendell Berry's or Wes Jackson's visions, I'd say we need to push integrated pest management to the max to get traction.
What about genetically engineered "foods"?
I've seen several views on this one. They can be remarkably dangerous in spreading genes which we have no idea regarding the ultimate effect of. I think some engineered foods may prove far safer than others, but the proof has yet to come (at least for me—another area where I am “ultra-conservative”).
Humans have been modifying foods for at least 10,000 years, since the beginning of agriculture, and we are here today because of that. I've read about lawsuits by farmers against Monsanto and, as is, we need to go MUCH SLOWER and have far more evidence of what effects will be for each and every modification. Meanwhile, we're eating genetically engineered foods every day and can't tell it from the labels. So I'd start with mandatory labeling and far more open discussion than we see now in the mainstream press.
A space program that would again be run by the federal government?
I'm not opposed to private competition here, but would like to see NASA run with clearer, more sensible goals in mind. E.g. robotic missions should replace manned missions for the foreseeable future. Focusing on things like the SKA telescope make great sense (http://www.opednews.com/Quicklink/Gigantic-telescope-could-b-in-Sci_Tech-120529-761.html). The more we learn about our place in space and time, the better, but not at the expense of starving people. The Hubble has altered our understanding of our tiny little home completely, for anyone not in a coma.
Fracking for oil and/ or gas?
Watch Gasland, if you haven't yet. Much more transparency and vastly more homework needs to be done. The free license that gas companies have been granted without adequate oversight is deplorable and utterly irresponsible.
Drilling for oil and gas in Alaska's wildlife refuge, offshore, on shore, in the Gulf of Mexico, etc.?
Alaska is our last chance to do things right, i.e., leave it alone. From my interview with the late, great David Brower: “This is our last chance to do things right the first time, rather than to do again what we've been doing for the last two centuries to make America less and less habitable. Alaska really belongs not just to the United States but to the rest of the world as well. Some of the finest unspoiled country in the world still exists there, even after the Alaska pipeline has severed important ecological lines. We will never have this opportunity again." Dave's words, but he has it exactly right.
Regarding energy generally, my source is almost always Rocky Mountain Institute, and just about everything Amory Lovins and his colleagues have to say—they do their homework, to put it mildly. Put a better plug in the bathtub and stop trying to make more hot water. Do we want to be tied to the Mideast forever? I for one do not, and know full well that we don’t need to be.
Solar and wind power--cheap solar & wind units that can be used by individuals & families, not just huge wind or solar farms, etc.?
We need more of this:
Also Google "solar airship" and follow the link mentioned. I am aware, however, of problems, ranging from storage and transmission, to dangerous and limited chemicals in batteries, large wind farms must be placed in unpopulated areas, etc. Working on improving the electric grid should be a top priority, for security’s sake as well as efficiency.
Using animals in labs, when non-animal effective alternatives are available?
My college advisor, George Russell, the best teacher I ever had, got in trouble in the late sixties for writing a booklet against vivisection. He later started Orion Magazine. He is one of my heroes.
Forced vaccinations to infants and children, of mercury & aluminum (neuro-toxins) containing vaccines, too often causing autism, retardation, etc.?
A bit of a tough one for me, as from the reading I've done, I have to conclude that many claims on both sides are hyped, and I don't know where the line should be drawn exactly. My step-daughter has autism (non-drug related), and last year I took a NAMI course for 12 weeks, listening to many folks whose loved ones were saved by drugs, which I've seen condemned elsewhere. Also, in public school, you simply cannot have non-immunized kids running around. So I favor at least certain mandatory vaccinations before entering school.
Here's a site I just Googled, http://pediatrics.about.com/od/backtoschool/a/05_shots_school.htm, and I'd have to honestly answer I'd need more info on this one (I will say that I would not vote for something I'm not reasonably certain on, and also that I make an effort to do my homework quickly and well). Answers are so often already there when all the facts are on the table.
Single payer health, medicare for all?
Absolutely. I am alive today thanks to Medicare. I've read they do far better in places like Australia. I have a Canadian wife and friends, and it sounds like a potentially good system there, if they'd clean up the bureaucracy. We have a deplorable health record in this country and it's downright embarrassing compared to other industrialized nations. http://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/blog/top-9-health-care-systems-in-the-world/
Closing any post offices?
I can think of one, when I lived in Idaho, where they had two, about two miles apart; I think I was the most frequent visitor, usually the only visitor, of the one nearest me! Other than that, from all I've read, the Post Office System has been doing reasonably well. It often seems like it would do much better if the workers got paid by their output than by the hour, but I don't see that changing anytime soon. I would not close any down, but I do believe that many need some serious oversight (e.g., Chicago).
U.S. drones, overseas and/ or here in the U.S.?
For warfare, totally opposed. I turned down an SBIR that we almost certainly could have gotten, to the tune of several million dollars, when I learned they wanted to use it to target whomever someone in Washington determined was the enemy that day. On the other hand, please see the positive uses I mention at www.hyperblimp.com. We talked to Raytheon and even did a demo for them, on the agreed premise that these airships would only be used for defensive purposes. Even that made me a bit leery. In any event, they had a bureaucratic toss-up and the fellow in charge got swapped around, while the next guy expressed no interest. Tried to get them involved in an around-the-world flight by solar airship venture (for their own image, as well as proving it could be done), but no interest.
Drones should be used to give us a better idea of what's going on on Planet Earth, and dropping food and medicine where needed. Also surveillance for disaster relief and sweeping and clearing undetonated ordinances (mine fields, etc).
Decent sized hybrid minivans, as big as a Dodge Grand Caravan?
Read more on RMI and their ideas on vehicles. Totally possible if we put our minds on it. Hunter Lovins used to talk about how she drove around in her pickup truck, a concept I wrestled with for quite a while--but later ended up with a Ford F-250 while living on five acres in Idaho, camper shell included. Hey, I'm human!
Holistic/ alternative/ natural health/ vitamins etc., being paid for by "insurance"?
I never had much luck with these things, and tried many or knew others who did. Also, I see too many hucksters out there. At the same time, I was appalled that after a heart transplant six years ago, not one doctor or nurse emphasized eating healthy. We also run into "What's cosmetic and what isn't?" My Dad's drooping eyelid surgery was recently classified "cosmetic" and thus not covered, though he needed it to see. I go back to single payer or the like, and secondly, putting very proven, competent persons in charge of what should be covered. (I do believe in turning to individuals who make sense, communicate well, and have devoted their lives to the issues involved.)
Banning factory farming, and instead allowing free-range ranching/ farming, that is also organic (no fertilizers, no pesticides, no antibiotics, etc.)?
Down on factory farming in general, but do think that Temple Grandin single-handedly raised the bar on feedlots. We way overdo fertilizers, antibiotics, pesticides, etc., and I abhor torturing animals. I am disgusted and horrified by how we raise pigs, for example. Presidential Candidate Rocky Anderson, also of the Justice Party, is a vegetarian, who happens to love meat, but won’t eat it for his beliefs on the matter; I totally respect that. Humane treatment of animals and strict attention to what we feed them, inject them with, and how we raise them are critical to any sane society.
CFL's (compact fluorescent lightbulbs), which all contain mercury, and which end up in landfills by the millions--and the use of which causes seizures in many epilepics?
I confess I did not know that. I believe that LEDs are rapidly taking over. I believe we should be headed toward "cradle to cradle” manufacturing, wherein manufacturers are accountable through the end use of products. This effects how things are manufactured and what major consideration is given to how they may be recycled and harmful components reused or done away with to the extent possible--which will be more and more, with the political will that a new breed of politicians could enact. http://books.google.com/books/about/Cradle_to_Cradle.html?id=KFX5RprPGQ0C
Conservation groups such as the Sierra Club, etc.?
My former wife and I put together the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club Newsletter in the late seventies. I did many appearances for Audubon, at energy and environmental hearings. Sometimes I think SC goes too far, and other times not far enough. But the more watchdogs, the better. I saw Long Island get largely destroyed during my childhood, as New York City spilled over it, which I'm sure accounts for many of my views. As does four years as a biology major--is there anything more important than "the study of life"? I think not. The more conservation groups, the better, near as I can tell.
PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and PCRM, Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine, both of which are against cruelly using animals in big pharma & trauma labs, etc.?
PETA harms itself with things like the proposal for Mother's Milk Ice Cream to Ben and Jerry (funny and creative as their ideas may be). I think they generally go too far, but that's ok--it makes the rest of us seem more reasonable and broadens the spectrum. I respect any and all physicians who speak out in the name of sanity—and particularly Physicians Without Borders, who donate so much of their time and energy to helping humans around the planet.
The death penalty?
Opposed. Unless you ask me within a week after my computer has been hit by the latest virus!
Using only paper ballots, to be hand counted, (no electronic voting machines) to prevent election fraud of hacking into electronic voting machines & "flipping" results?
I think this is critical, given the shenanigans we've all seen. It would be great to sit at home and click your mouse, but if humans ever evolve to that stage, we probably won't need politicians.
Absolutely. Again, critical for any sane society.
If you couldn't tell by my questions, I used to be a nurse, and I am an environmentalist who loves animals and I'm into holistic health and organic farming, and peace instead of war.
As you may deduce from my answers, I was a teacher--grades 3,4 and 6, for twenty years. Did a lot of science (kindly read my bio, if you haven't).
And for any animal lover, I encourage you to read my wife's story on Open Salon: http://open.salon.com/blog/cmgeery/2011/02/09/perfectly_imperfect I took the picture of Daphne, our Goldendoodle and love of our lives, at the bottom of the article.
What made you decide to run for a political office?
The short answer is the light in my three year-old grandson’s eyes, along with the vast and beautiful part of humanity which that represents. Enlarging slightly, I’ve been acutely aware for decades of how politics effects every aspect of our lives. I was president of a teachers’ union in the eighties and active in the environmental movement since the early seventies. Reading Energy for Survival by the late Wilson Clark was a major eye opener for me. Interviewing David Brower, considered by many to the founder of the environmental movement, certainly helped cemented things I was already becoming terribly aware of.
Why would you not use your airships, described above, for military work?
That has been a long, hard decision. I never wanted them to be used for “offensive purposes,” but as I’ve learned more through the years, and particularly been faced with this question in the last several years, I simply refuse to be part of the military industrial complex—that disturbing blight which has grown like a cancer on America since Eisenhower brought it to our attention, long ago.
Eight days of our military spending could feed starving people around the planet for an entire year. One year of military spending could provide health care for all Americans for ten years. Yet we couldn’t capture a cave man for an entire decade, and it’s still highly questionable if bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11; it’s likewise questionable if we did capture him.
In addition, one of my nieces asked me not to use my airship for military purposes. I’m 64, she’s in her early twenties, and my generation has screwed up enough that it’s high time to try to make things right.
Do you seriously think you have a chance of winning a senate seat in Utah?
Orrin Hatch came here from Pennsylvania to do just that, in 1976. I happen to represent the stated values of Mormonism more than he does, even though I believe in complete separation of church and state. A large family value for me, for example, would to spend time with my grandkids, or great grandkids, if I happen to be skirting or nearing the rim of my existence in my late seventies. The Golden Calf of the Almighty Dollar seems to hold more attraction for Mr. Hatch.
Can you give another example?
Orrin told the American people that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, claiming he knew this himself, based on reliable sources. He was on the intelligence committee, but claimed he couldn’t reveal his sources, because it would endanger them. He has yet to reveal those sources, though I have asked at least twice in the major papers here.
Those same sources led us into a war of aggression, where over a million innocent folks were tortured, maimed, and/or killed, and a whole country sent back to the stone ages. I encourage any reader to draw their own conclusion.
Those are strong words. Can you defend them?
I don’t believe I need to. It was Hatch and his cohorts who made claims of WMDs. He and his cohorts are now shouting from the rooftops that Orrin "has experience." That's true, he has some, but I don't think if I had experience starting illegal wars that killed a million people or so and depleted the U.S. Treasury Department that I would be boasting about it. I suppose he had experience selling chemicals to Saddam to gas the Kurds under Reagan, but I admit I didn't check his voting record on that. My experience has been trying to help people and will continue to be. I believe that's what we're here for.
This is not about Hatch, really, and I don’t intend to be his biographer. But I guarantee you I would not have given American taxes to the banksters of Wall Street. I’ve lost track of how many times this has been done.
My last knee-jerk here is that I now see Hatch proclaiming that he helps small businesses. I wrote to his secretary, who I’d met and had a nice talk with, suggesting that my airships, properly developed with existing technology, could be used at a small fraction of the cost to patrol our borders, in a far better way than we are doing now. Here is a potentially million or even billion dollar business that could be launched in Utah, with patent, trademark, and hundreds of proven prototypes in place. I never heard a word back. I’m not overly excited about this idea anyway, and I don’t think it’s the way to deal with immigration issues. For example, should it happen, I’d want the airships made in Mexico to help the employment situation there, which we have done so much to destroy with our corporate-favored policies.
What would you do to create jobs?
There are so many jobs that are screaming for people to do it is beyond comprehension. Fixing our infrastructure, building new and restoring old railroads, reducing carbon emissions in a thousand ways, advancing R and D in medicine and countless other areas—which Utah happens to be extremely good at--repairing and staffing decadent nursing facilities, and so on. Any American who is not comatose should be able to whip up a respectably long list in fifteen minutes of jobs that need doing.
How would you have these funded?
Military conversion projects would be high on my list. Putting an end to the crimes committed day and night on Wall Street would be up there too. Bringing a screeching halt to people making money without providing real goods or services is imperative. We have become the land of the scam, rather than the land of opportunity. We are terrorists unto ourselves, literally. I would like to help turn that around. And I believe it’s possible given what I’ve seen of the basic human decency of the vast majority of humans, both here and abroad.
Moving gradually to negative interest rates, slowly but surely, is something I’d advocate as well. The vast majority of economists seem to think there needs to be infinite growth on a finite planet. That they can’t or won’t grasp the utter illogic and absurdity of this completely stumps me. There are ways to meet everyone’s real needs with relatively minor changes in how we view our economic system, such that it will no longer be called “the dismal science,” but rather like a divine connection between people everywhere. We’ve created a false sense of scarcity that drives so much of human behavior, and furthers the destruction of ecosystems around the planet.
For a simple starter, Google Victoria Grant giving her six minute speech on YouTube, which I gather has gone viral. This Canadian girl is but twelve years old, and tells you more about economics in that short speech than a library of traditional economic books—and trust me, I’ve read quite a few.
I would also turn to economists who take into account the externalities of profit making, which are presently swept under the rug but that we all pay for—as a small example, I would cite the destruction of our forests and oceans, and the pollution of our air. We give our kids asthma and countless other health problems so that a handful of folks can get rich by polluting the commons that belong to all of us. I don’t consider that a family value.