Wikinews interviews Frank Moore, independent candidate for US President
Saturday, March 1, 2008
While nearly all coverage of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third party candidates. These parties represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.
Wikinews has impartially reached out to these candidates, throughout the campaign. We now interview independent Presidential candidate Frank Moore, a performance artist.
Why do you want to be President?
- I have been running for president for about a year now. I started running basically because none of the prominent candidates are talking honestly and directly about the state of things, are committed to fundamental change, and have a clear plan to create a humane, sustainable, and just plain enjoyable society. So I took on that role. When everyday people in the “real world” hear about my candidacy, they become extremely excited. They don’t see a performance artist in a wheelchair. They don’t check the odds of my winning. Instead they see someone who they could excitedly vote for… somebody who shares their dreams, talks deeply about what really affects their lives. And then they read my platform. Then they got more excited at how possible it is to bring our dreams for our society into reality… to remove fear and isolation; to get the boot of big corporations off our neck; to provide everyone health care, life-long education, a minimum income, and a livable wage; to restore our rights and freedoms; and to bring our troops home now! We everyday people know the real state of the union! But more importantly, we have the sense of what is possible! We need leaders who share our dreams and who do not sell us short. Or sell us out!
- I am running to raise the bar, to raise expectations, to expand the possibilities, to replace fear with hope and joy. I am running because what we want is within our grasp. I am running to get results. Things can work. Truth is political power is based on things not working. This is why things do not work. I am not running for political power, but to get things to work. That simple!
Have you ever run for political office before? Have you ever been a member of a political party? Have you ever campaigned for another political candidate?
- Well, the only thing I ran for before was president of the student government in college. I almost won…which freaked the other candidate out because he had spent $900, while I spent $25! This is the same story in this campaign. The only public office I have held is when I was appointed to the rent board in Santa Fe after a successful rent strike in the early 70’s. I helped to found the San Bernardino chapter of the Peace and Freedom Party in the late 60’s.
- I have always been dumb to what is impossible. So I just figure how to do the “impossible.” I have been doing this all my life! I am 61. I was born with cerebral palsy. I communicate using a laser-pointer and a board of letters, numbers and commonly-used words. But I am the host of a popular public access TALK show. Go figure it! So now I am setting my sights, as president, on eliminating poverty, hunger, war, etc. Impossible, eh?
- When I was born, doctors told my parents that I had no intelligence, that I had no future, that I would be best put into an institution and be forgotten. So the struggle for freedom, and against the powers-that-be has been my life. And it has been a continuous struggle, struggling with schools to let me in, etc. I have always been a radical. But that became obvious when I was 18 and invented my head pointer with which I type and communicate…I started writing political columns for the high school paper…as well as putting out an underground paper. I was in the first special class placed on a regular high school campus so that the disabled students could be in regular classes and be a part of campus life. I was involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements. This was 1965…before it was popular to be against the Vietnam War. In the school paper I got into a debate with a GI in Vietnam. I was sat down and told that, because of my political philosophy and activities, I was hurting the chances of the disabled students who would come after me. I replied that the goal was to get the rights for the disabled [and for all people] to be complete and equal…and that included the right to be political. I would not surrender that, or any other, right.
- So I started doing political columns for underground newspapers, joined Students for Democratic Society. Did political pranks…such as rolling in my wheelchair into the Marines Recruiting Office to join, offering to push the BUTTON with my head pointer. But after the Kent State killings, I switched from straight politics to art, performance, and community building as my tools for effecting social change. In the early 90s I and five other performance artists were targeted by Sen. Jesse Helms in what is commonly seen as the first battle of the cultural wars. This placed me in a great position to fight for our freedoms!
What is your current job? What skills or ideas do you bring from this position, or previous positions, that will benefit the Oval Office?
- “Artist” covers a lot of different “jobs”…and “performance artist” is even vaguer! I am a performance artist. I work outside boxes, using improvisation to draw people into the state of community where they can reach their potential. This is what I will do as President.
- Because I came from a suppressed group…the so-called “disabled”…I know how to struggle successfully for equality, freedom, justice, etc. I do have this disability of not knowing what is “impossible.” So, I just figure out how to do it. When I was born, the doctors told my parents I had no IQ. Obviously the doctors were wrong. So I don’t pay any intention to the supposed limitations. I just do what is needed. When I was growing up, I struggled to get educated, struggled against discrimination and prejudices. I really enjoy the righteous struggle. This enjoyment of struggle gives me an advantage when struggle is needed. When Senator Jesse Helms tried to blacklist me, when the Berkeley City Council tried to ban my public access cable show… there have been so many struggles! My enjoying righteous struggle has been a winning element. I also enjoy when struggle is successful. I’m looking forward to the huge struggle of taking away controlling power from the big corporations, of reclaiming the rights and freedoms that have been stolen from the people of this country, of creating a new post-oil social order in which we will eliminate fear of getting sick, of getting old, of the future, of the Other.
- I know how to get things done. In the 70s, I developed an extremely successful relationship counseling practice. This created a community with both many thriving businesses and artistic projects…one of which was my caberet show, the outrageous beauty review, which ran for years. The 80’s found me publishing the zine the cherotic ®evolutionary, giving artists, writers, and photographers a home. I also started d.u.d.e., a free distribution service for the small press and indie musicians. When the internet arrived, I used it to further this community building on www.eroplay.com. But when I started our web station www.luver.com over 9 years ago, a genii was released. Not only did we pioneer streaming media, but luver quickly became a powerful uncensored channel for dangerous ideas, voices, dreams!
- We need to stop listening to people who keep telling us our dreams are impossible!
Obviously, the next American President and his or her administration will face many diverse issues. But if you were to narrow identify the three most important issues, what would they be? How will you address these issues?
- We need to kick the military addiction and the greedy addiction of huge corporate profits and invest the savings into the real welfare of people, thereby creating a new sustainable society for the coming post-oil era.
- We invaded Iraq on lies or blunders…take your pick. Almost everyone…with a few notable and impeachable exceptions…now agree that we should not have invaded Iraq. I would bring our troops home now. If someone tells you that s/he will stay in a failed marriage to avoid admitting mistakes, hoping things will somehow improve…you would rightfully question that person’s judgment.
- I will change this country’s self-image from that of THE SUPER POWER/ WORLD LEADER to that of a member of the global community. I will cut our military budget by at least half.
- We need to stop supporting dictators. On the nuclear issue, we need to get rid of double standards. We need to treat all nations with the same expectations, be it Pakistan, Israel, France, the U.S., Iran, etc. In other words, my policies would be even-handed. I will join the rest of the world in pressuring Israel to live up to treaties, and to dismantle its nuclear arms. I will use the “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S. to motivate Israel to do this.
- I will work for the global shutting down of all nuclear reactors and dismantling of all nuclear [and biological and chemical] weapons. I will start this in the U.S. All countries should be expected to live under the same rules….not one set for the “super powers” and another for the “developing” nations like Iran. I will push for a global development of clean, safe energy sources as alternatives to nuclear power.
- We have been robbed during the recent years of many of our rights and freedoms. I will have repealing parties in the White House, scrapping all the rules and policies in every department and agency that infringe on our rights, freedoms, privacy, health and welfare. We will have similar parties in both houses of Congress to repeal bad laws such as the so-called Patriot Act. We will return to the common English language in which “torture” means torture. I will declassify documents that were classified to hide questionable actions rather than to protect the real national interests. I will push the Justice Department to investigate the war on The Left by the F.B.I. since the 60’s. Terrorism is a criminal matter. It should be dealt with as such, not as a war. We shouldn’t abandon our principles, freedoms, rights, The Constitution and The Bills of Rights to live in fear. Whenever there is an attempt to fudge the limits of power for convenience of “safety,” we the people get screwed.
- I’ll do away with welfare, medicare and social security. Instead, every American will receive a minimum income of $1,000 a month. This amount will be tied to the cost of living and will not be taxable.
- We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.
- The universal health care would include all medicine, medical equipment and supplies, long-term care, personal attendants, etc. There will be no pre-authorization ritual. So your doctor will be free to prescribe whatever you need. There may be a review of treatment afterward if there are any questions. Everybody will have the same care as the President now has. Preventative medicine will be stressed and the so-called alternative medicine will be included. You will notice that health insurance companies are not in this picture!
- I’ll do away with all tax deductions for over $12,000 income. Instead, there will be a flat tax of 10% on annual income of less than one million dollars for an individual and less than five million dollars for a corporation. But the flat tax will jump to 75% on annual income exceeding these limits.
- The guaranteed minimum income of $1,000 a month adjusted to the cost of living is meant to be a safety net rather than a replacement for work. I think most want to work…in an expanded concept of work. But to get a true feeling of what it would be like if you had to live on your minimum income, you have to crank in that you wouldn’t pay for health care, education, mass transit, etc. It all adds up. The combined minimum income couple…or a single parent with a child…would be $2,000 a month. This should provide a realistic basic living. This allows the single parent the option of being home doing the important work of raising a child. But free childcare provided by the universal free education system would open a whole host of new possibilities to the single parent.
- The minimum income would encourage people to form the cooperative communal family [of all kinds] groupings who pool their incomes together…using their minimum incomes as a base to create more nourishing homes, to start and maintain small businesses. These communal groupings will be much more financially stable, emotionally nourishing, and environmentally friendly than today’s common isolating model of living.
- It is all about caring and choice. If a senior wants to stay in her own home, the $1,000 a month will make that possible as will the home attendants provided by the healthcare system. This is also true if she wants to live with her family or in communal housing. This will actually be much cheaper than the scary mess we have now. The warehouse nursing home will be a thing of the past. Seniors will be an important, active element of every part of our society. We need everyone actively involved. We simply cannot afford on any level to warehouse portions of our population. It is a waste of potential! If we are to survive, we need to end hunger, poverty, and fear.
- Basically the problem is not a lack of money, but what we have spent our money on…war, pork, waste, etc. It has been a standard trick to distract us with supposed waste, fraud, etc. in the social programs while milking us out of billions in military waste, corporate welfare, etc.
- Again, the minimum income of $1,000 a month for every citizen will give people money to spend, save, invest, or pool with others to create more effective financial communities which will open up a wide range of opportunities for the average person…to start small businesses, to stay on the family farm, to do art, to raise kids, etc. Free health care [which will include long-term care, home attendants, medicine, etc.], free life time education [including child care], free mass transit, etc. will in effect put more real money in the pocket of the average person. But more importantly the fear of the future will fade, releasing what is now horded away for old age, for when your health fails you, for your kid’s education…releasing the knot in your belly of knowing that no matter how much you manage to save [if any] it will not be enough.
Campaigning for the American presidency is one of the most expensive exercises in the world. How do you deal with the cost and fundraising?
- Well, it doesn’t have to be. I probably will have spent around $1,000-$3,000 for the 2 years of the campaign. I’m use to doing things without much money. Is it effective? You asked me to do this interview! And I have a waiting line! This kind of campaign is made easier by the internet, the indie media, public access cable tv, etc. And it will probably get easier to do this kind of campaign in the next few years. European mainstream press has covered our campaign quite a lot. I expect that the mainstream press here will discover our campaign via Europe after the conventions.
- So our campaign has no paid ads, no paid staff, no travel expenses [I tie my campaign appearances to my performance tours], etc. Our biggest expenses are things like buttons, bumper stickers, and booths at street festivals.
- Historically the goal of independent and third-party candidates is not to “win.” Realistically the process is rigged to prevent us from “winning.” The function of such a candidate as I is to introduce ideas, to induce change, to raise the bar. Within this context, my campaign is extremey effective. But on the other hand, I JUST MAY WIN THIS SUCKER!
Do you have a running mate yet? Who are they? What are you/were you looking for in a running mate?
- My vice president is Susan Marilyn Block, Ph.D.
- Part philosopher, part therapist, part humorist and part-time horny housewife, Dr. Susan M Block is a world-renowned sex educator, best-selling author, award-winning documentary filmmaker, art dealer, cable TV host and political activist. A familiar face on HBO's late-night programming through her #1 Nielsen-rated show, Radio Sex TV and her episodes on Real Sex, she also hosts The Dr. Susan Block Show, rated by The LA Weekly as “The Best of LA Phone-In Shows,” airing weekly on cable TV stations around the world, from Hollywood to the Holy Land.
- A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University (BA, Theater Studies, With Distinction), Block went on to study at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State, receiving her masters and doctorate in philosophy with an emphasis in psychology from Pacific Western. Her first book, Advertising for Love, forecast the current online dating explosion. Her second book, Being A Woman, a popularization of her doctoral thesis on Dr. Toni Wolfe’s theory of feminine psychology, became a NY Times bestseller. Her third book, The 10 Commandments of Pleasure has been published in 15 countries (coming soon to Israel, where her cable TV show is a big hit). Creator of the award-winning documentary series, Encyclopedia of Sex, Block is an active member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She has been featured in numerous documentaries and appeared on multiple radio and TV shows, from Oprah to Today.
- Chosen as one of "America's Greatest Thinkers" (twice) by the Great American Think-Off, and dubbed "the Erin Brockovitch of the Bonobo" by Salon, Block is an active advocate of the extremely endangered bonobos, using their highly sexual, non-violent and gender-egalitarian "lifestyle" as a prototype for her philosophy of Peace through Pleasure. She is a visiting lecturer in the Human Sexuality Department at University of Southern California (USC), and at her alma mater Yale University, as well as a founder, coordinator and regular lecturer at “Sex Week at Yale” (now in its fourth season). Also a consultant to the LA Public Defenders' Office (Sex Crimes Division), her columns on sex, health, politics and culture are published in various print and online magazines, from Counterpunch to Perfect 10.
Can you win the 2008 Presidential election? Can any third party or independent candidate ever win?
- Realistically it is impossible for any of us independent/third-party candidates to win…and for that matter candidates such as Edwards whom the mainstream media labels hopeless. It is not really about a lack of money.
- First of all a large number of states either out-right ban write-in candidates or make it virtually impossible to qualify to be a write-in candidate. These states throw out the entire ballot with a write-in on it. This disenfranchises the voters in those states from the full choices. It freezes in place not only the 2-party system…which is a product of evolution, not of the Constitution…but the two parties that happen to be the major parties at the present moment. This has to change before we will have a chance of winning. One effect of my campaign has been forcing several states to clean up their write-in processes.
- The mainstream media wants to simplify the story down to as few candidates as possible as fast as possible…focusing on the candidates the closest to the corporate interest and painting the rest as fringe….and hence not worth coverage or be included in debates.
- But the indie media has developed as a meaningful alternative to the mainstream media. And it will get much more powerful in the coming years as a hammer breaking down the monopolistic control of the corporate media. Both Wikinews and www.luver.com are part of this movement. This in-depth interview is an example of what is excluded in the corporate media. Moreover, when I received your email asking us independent/third-party candidates for this interview…with all the addresses of the candidates…I switched my candidate hat for my luver hat and offered my fellow candidates luver as a platform to get their messages out. We have created a weekly show, from the margins, for that purpose. It is politics of inclusion rather than of exclusion.
If you can't make it into the Oval Office, who would you prefer seeing taking the presidency?
- Ralph Nader. I have always used my vote as a way to inch society to what I know is a better place. I always vote for the candidate who represents our dreams.
What should the American people keep in mind, when heading to the polls this November?
- It will be an exciting, fun four years! Just imagine a world in which somebody like you or me could really become president. Now keep imagining it and we just may win! Do not throw your vote away on a candidate who does not share your dreams, who is not committed to bring your dreams into reality! Go for it! It is the only practical thing to do because if we don’t go for it, we will never get what we need, what we want, what we are dreaming. Hey, it just makes sense… right? So go to www.frankmooreforpresident08.com and read my platform. If you like what read, get involved! Print out the platform and give it everybody! Become an elector for me! Do whatever you can think of to get the message out.
- And then write Frank Moore in on Election Day!