Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 4 general election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Michael Koskoski, a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate. Democrat Brian Schatz and Republican Cam Cavasso are also running.
Name: Michael Kokoski
Office: U.S. Senate
Community organizations: Private
1. Why are you running for the U.S. Senate?
I am running for United States Senate to represent the people of Hawaii on the floor of the United States Senate. To that end, I will seek to obtain an exemption to the Jones Act, for Hawaii; I will introduce legislation to complete the federal interstate highway systems on Oahu, to connect the outer islands together via a federal ferry system called H20; I will call for a vote of no confidence in the Uniform Controlled Substance Act of 1971 (which subjects people to trial by legislature in drug cases); And I will call for an audit of the Federal Reserve Bank. I will represent the people of Hawaii with my last breath of life, because I love you, and I will do my very best to keep the federal government out of your private life. I will defend the rights of unborn children, support the poor, the homeless, the fatherless/motherless children, the aged, handicapped and the prisoners, against tyranny and against bad legislation designed to kill, imprison and enslave such people. I will be your friend in the United States Senate, and I will break every unconstitutional act of Congress that I can find, and get them off of the books so that the people of Hawaii never need fear the federal government again.
2. Do you believe climate change is real? If so, what can the United States do to control carbon emissions?
No. I do not believe that “climate change” is real, in that I do not believe that man-made carbon emissions are causing global warming. Rather, I believe that the United States has a duty to lead the world in clean technologies and to design more efficient ways to use energy, but I do not support a carbon tax, and would work hard not to burden the people with a carbon tax to be paid to the United Nations. It is my understanding that the carbon released from volcanoes contributes to the cyclical climate changes of Earth history and any release of carbon, due to man-made combustion, is rather insignificant. I would look to ending the HARP program at Alaska, as a more real approach to ending global warming. However, I will keep an open mind while attending Senate hearings on the subjects.
3. Where do you draw the line between the government’s national security needs and the privacy of its citizens?
I draw the line between the federal government’s national security needs and the privacy of its citizens at the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. In cases where authorities believe that there is an imminent danger to people or property, they may search, seize, arrest or destroy private property without any warrant, at all, and still not offend the people’s rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, rights to receive due process of law, and to trial by jury of peers. However, I do not believe that this gives the federal government power to record every text message, phone call, email and social network message/posting of private citizens, which is the reality today. Also, I do believe that any information gained via government spying on its own citizens must remain inadmissible in court, except in cases involving international terrorism.
Likewise, I notice that ending the war on drugs, and abolishing the IRS would go a long way to protecting the people’s rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure. As these are the main tools of the tyrant used to slave the people to fear and imprisonment by the political system I will be upending in the United States Senate on behalf of the people of Hawaii. Because if the federal government quit punishing people for sharing marijuana and other substances, and stopped requiring people to self-assess federal income taxes under penalties of perjury, then most otherwise law abiding citizens would have no reason to fear the federal government nor its spying on the people under the banner of the war on terrorism. I will work very hard to end the drug war; change the tax system, and stop the federal governments spying on its own citizens.
4. Under what circumstances should America go to war?
I believe that the United States should go to war based upon a formal declaration of war made by Congress assembled, only. No exceptions.
5. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — how should the government continue to support these entitlements? Are reforms necessary?
Social Security must be managed as a solvent trust, like any insurance program, and not raided by the Legislature. This is why I am in favor of privatizing Social Security and guaranteeing its solvency by the federal government.
6. Congress has struggled in recent years to reach agreement on budget deficits, the national debt and spending in general. What would be your approach to fiscal matters?
I am that guy who wants to cut federal spending by dismissing government employees. I am also the guy to end the imprisonment of millions of American citizens, because of a plant, marijuana, and I would resolve budget deficits by closing down prisons and dismissing jailers. (same with the IRS.) A temporary hemp tax could raise revenue against the national debt, and an audit of the Federal Reserve Bank might be a real game changer in the way legislators look at the national debt. I support all of the above. My approach to fiscal matters is to cut out all that offends liberty and replace it with green, renewable, revenue.
7. It has been difficult to bridge the partisan divide in Washington lately. How would you make a difference?
As the only Libertarian in the United States Senate I will control both sides of the evenly divided floor, making it impossible for Democrats or Republicans to get any hotly contested party legislation passed without my swing vote. The whole Senate will have to come to Hawaii if they want anything done in that house. And the buck will stop at me.
8. What is your policy on immigration?
I am in favor of lawful immigration into the United States. The end of the drug war will put Mexican drug cartels out of business, and stop mules smuggling drugs into the United States. This will cut down on illegal immigration and open doors for legal immigration to the United States: I will end the drug war, which, in turn will solve many immigration issues.
9. What is your view of the role of the U.S. military in the islands?
I believe the military presence should be reduced by 19,800 personnel on Oahu in accordance with the U.S. Army recommendations; and, I also support return of key bases to the state of Hawaii: Schofield, Wheeler, Makua, Dillingham, and Kolekole road.
Late in June of 2014, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Quadrennial Defense Review for 2014 (QDR 2014). DoD releases a QDR every four years as a way of articulating its strategic direction and providing end strength and force structure decisions for the services to implement over a fixed period of time. The DoD is facing ever-increasing fiscal challenges and is unable to sustain itself at current and future levels of funding projected by the Congress. In the case of the Army, QDR 2014 calls for a reduction of as many as 130,000 active duty Army soldiers world-wide. To meet this fiscally constrained personnel cap the Army identified bases within 19 states to absorb these cuts; Hawaii is one of the states on the Army’s cut list. Bases in Hawaii now being considered by the Army to meet these cuts include Schofield Barracks (16,000) and Fort Shafter (3,800).The impacts of these cuts are significant, but members of the Oahu Council for Army Downsizing (OCAD) see most of these as positive impacts that will greatly improve the quality of life for Hawaii’s people, particularly the Hawaiian community on Oahu and throughout Hawaii Nei.
The OCAD supports and actively advocates for the downsizing of Army Forces on Oahu. The OCAD does not consider the bulk of the Army’s forces on Oahu to be strategically located since these forces do not have readily available airlift or sealift to support their transport to anywhere in the Pacific as quickly as may be needed. Moreover, the OCAD believes the Army on Oahu lacks critically needed “forced entry” capability to allow it to enter hostile environments, a capability already possessed by the U.S. Marines presently on Oahu and throughout the Pacific. The OCAD believes taxpayers cannot afford to pay for redundant forces competing to do the same job and redundant, geographically isolated forces occupying critical lands and consuming valuable resources that are important to the state of Hawaii and the Hawaiian community.
The OCAD wants the people of Hawaii and Oahu to understand the goodness that can occur if the Army is downsized in the quantities proposed by DoD. The OCAD believes the cuts proposed should occur in the near term and that the following bases and geographic areas be returned to the state of Hawaii: Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield, Makua Valley, Dillingham Military Reservation, and Kolekole pass with unimpeded access on Lualualei Naval Road.
The OCAD believes the DoD’s recommendation for cuts provides a “once–in–a–century” opportunity for Hawaii Nei; if military forces on Oahu are not cut during this round of force structure cuts, then nothing will change on Oahu militarily — there will never be another round of cuts like this for Hawaii in any of our lifetimes.
10. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
After serving more than a day in federal prison due to the war against drugs, I feel that I understand what is wrong with the federal government: It’s that drug war. The Uniform Controlled Substance Act of 1971 criminalized people who shared marijuana by making it unlawful for them to share marijuana. As a result millions of American Citizens have been locked into cages, jails and prison because they shared marijuana. It has been used to turn our country into a police state where people are subject to trial by legislature. Once elected to the U.S. Senate I will end the drug war, fire lots of federal employees and do my best to keep the federal government out of your private life. If you love liberty, please vote Michael Kokoski into the U.S. Senate!