30 July 2008

The Presidential Candidates: Rick Fleharty

Among the independent candidates there's a lot of railing against the establishment, the politicians, and the "new world order," but Fleharty strikes a different note:

Everybody seems to think that the problems in this country today are caused by our elected officials or some other group. The problem is the American people themselves, they are only concerned about themselves. President Bush says that the American people are addicted to oil, they are not. They are addicted to themselves and their own ego. Whatever has happened to this country can only be blamed on ourselves. The American people do more damage to their own people and this country everyday than all the other countries/terrorist combined could or have done. We think we have the best form of government and others are bad. There is no bad form of government; each form of government has its good and bad points. It is the people and its leaders that make the system good or bad. The people of this country and its leaders forgot to be Americans and have become this country’s own worst enemy.

Fleharty is a 50 year old Navy veteran who has worked in the engineering and electronics fields for the past twenty years. He's decided to run for President because "this country’s leaders and its people are no longer working together for a better and safer world. The people have been violated by their leaders to the point that they just don’t care and that is a very sad day in the life of this country."

He realizes, however, that deteriorating conditions have made it more difficult for someone like him to get his message across. "When the people of a country no longer have faith in their own leaders, how can someone gain their trust with just words so they will listen to that person? "

For the moment, Fleharty depends on his website and on radio ads, though he did participate in a Pennsylvania forum for independent candidates earlier this month and has announced plans for a campaign tour starting in August.

On his site, foreign policy doesn't seem to loom large as an issue. On the Project VoteSmart questionnaire, he advocates pulling out of Iraq and from most foreign commitments. He comments: "This country has a way of sticking it's nose in everybody business and yet can not even take care of itself. You can not do for someone that they can not do for themself. You can only help someone so far, then it becomes a form of welfare."

On taxes, his website simply features a list of taxes to illustrate the cumulative oppressive effect, with a historically inaccurate comment that taxation dates back to World War II. At Project VoteSmart he mentions a Flat Incremental Step proposal with six taxation categories, but doesn't really go beyond what I've just told you. He wants to do away altogether with taxes on alcohol, cigarette, inheritances and capital gains. At the same time, he proposes funding a universal health care system with sales taxes.

Fleharty thinks Americans have grown overdependent on cheap immigrant labor and have become decadent and lazy. He's also worried that "When the percent of immigrants gets to a certain point and they hold certain positions, they will take control of this country. It will not matter who you are, rich, in high political positions, Native Americans, young or old. They will control this country and we will loose it all. There will be nothing we can do about it. This country will wake up one morning and this country will be controlled by some other race and country and not Americans."

He proposes a drastic reform of the criminal justice system. Here are the basics:

1: Reduce the number of laws on the books and make them more simple. Not every wrong needs a law for it.
2: Make court cases last no more than one or two weeks with one month to prepare for it.
3: If found guilty, have the punishment fall into 5 categories by the vote of the people of that state which will house them,1. You get a warning and no parole.2. 1 year in prison3. 3 years in prison4. 5 years in prison5. Death

Overall, Fleharty gives the impression of someone less interested in becoming President than in simply getting his concerns and ideas heard and considered by others. Somehow he's found himself out of the loop, and only a play for supreme power seems to suffice to get people's attention. If we had a system that gave people like him a fair chance at being heard, at least on the local level, without anyone necessarily agreeing with him, it might moderate some of Fleharty's harsher views. Like too many independents, his website suffers from spelling and grammar lapses, but his overall presentation is fairly articulate and sometimes achieves a rough eloquence. You can find out more at his website, where you can also sample a series of radio commercials he's created.

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