30 September 2008

The Presidential Candidates: "Mad Max" Riekse

Nice nickname, Riekse: that's exactly how I'd want my President to be called. But let's not judge the book by its cover, even if the cover infringes on someone else's intellectual property. The man has a website and we may as well look at it.

Riekse establishes the stakes as he sees them right away: "If Mad Max is not elected President of these United States and our Republic in 2008, the next four years will see Congress continue to tax our hard earned Social Security, pass legislation raising taxes, fail to protect our borders, give amnesty to over 25 million illegal aliens, ban and confiscate all guns and ammo, and continue the Wars, along with starting yet another war with Iran.Now what part of that don't you like or understand?"

With over 32 years of experience as an active-duty and reserve soldier, Riekse is a veteran of both the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the more recent episode, he served as a public communications officer and a deputy commander responsible for intelligence and security for the Iraqi oil infrastructure. He had his picture taken with President Bush at a Baghdad Thanksgiving dinner in 2003, but don't jump to conclusions. On his "Profile" page, Riekse reflects on George Washington's farewell warning against "entangling alliances."

The same people who will be heading the Republican and Democratic party ticket[s] in 2008 and 2012 will continue our many entangling alliances: favor some nations over others; punish others with sanctions and invasions; continue to meddle in the internal affairs of nations around the world where we have no business. And continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; along with starting a new, needless and expensive war with Iran.

This is a man who scanned the dust jacket for Gen. Smedley Butler's War is a Racket onto one of his web pages. If anything, it makes you wonder why he didn't throttle Bush when he had the chance. For the record, Butler, who learned the "racket" while fighting in American interventions in Latin America in the early 20th century, offers three steps to "smash the war racket:" take the profit out of war; let those who'd have to fight decide if we fight; and limit the military to a size sufficient for defense only. Riekse served in Iraq despite believing that "Both of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are illegal from a United States Constitutional standpoint." He holds that Congress cannot delegate its duty to declare war to the President.

Riekse composed a sprawling "Take Back America" platform last March. Much of it quotes favorably from Rep. Ron Paul, with Riekse adding his diagnosis that "Those that are doing their utmost to turn our Constitutional Republic into a perverse form of democracy, manipulated by an elite, wealthy few, at the expense of the majority of Americans, are traitors to the American dream and the future of our children, great grandchildren and generations thereafter. "

We can infer Riekse's opinion of the Paulson bailout plan from this plank of the platform: "Do we really need to bailout Wall Street and international bankers from time to time with our tax dollars when they make bad loans secured by the U.S. Government? That’s us folks! And who gave the President the authority to forgive foreign governments their bad loans of billions of dollars to these Wall Street bankers with the American taxpayers picking up the tab? "

Riekse wants to restore the country's manufacturing sector with support from protective tariffs and renegotiated trade deals all around. He prefers fair trade over free trade and doesn't seem to like the idea of trade with "Red" China at all. Riekse is a partisan of the Tibetan independence movement; I suppose since those people don't actually have a country of their own this doesn't count as an entangling alliance. While supporting Tibet might seem like a neocon stance, Riekse despises the neocons for their propensity to entangle us in alliances and their apparent enthusiasm for enriching China at America's expense through free-trade policies that encouraged outsourcing and factory relocation.

As a member of the National Rifle Association, Riekse is gun-nutty. He affirms an individual right to bear arms and would abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He blames violent crime on illegal immigrants rather than on gun ownership. Again, lest you presume the type of guy he is, he throws you a curve by citing Black Panther leader Huey Newton: "An unarmed people are slaves or are subject to slavery at any given moment." On the other hand, would Newton say that an unarmed person is a slave or subject to slavery? There is a difference.

There's a lot more where this came from: a lot of libertarian, states-right sentiment, a little conspiracy theory here and there, a reasonable amount of concern for the environment, and the perhaps not so paradoxical combination of being pro-military and anti-war. In short, it's a hodgepodge of good ideas, common sense, and occasional craziness, with no hint of how "President Mad Max" would build relations with partisan legislators to enact any of his agenda. He'd have to do that since he has no supporting congressional candidates and has endorsed none (except, implicitly, Ron Paul) that I know of. Indeed, you almost get the impression that, if elected, he'd just turn the Oval Office over to Paul while reserving the right to schedule events for such festive occasions as Robert E. Lee's birthday.

It's all moot, I suppose, since Riekse has apparently sworn fealty to Frank E. McEnulty and the New American Independent Party, for whom he serves as a regional vice-presidential candidate. But in most places people can write in whom they will, so judge the relative merits of Riekse and McEnulty for yourselves.

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