Name as it appears on the ballot: Christopher Cole
Date of birth: 1/17/64
Campaign Web site: www.votecole.us (under construction)
Occupation: contract postal worker, LSAA, Inc.
1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina and the nation? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
a. Economic instability, created by the manipulations of the economy by the Federal Reserve. I would abolish the Fed, and restore the gold standard. This would restore dependability to the dollar, and restore market interest rates, encouraging the accumulation of capital, and the stable economic growth which would arise from it.
b. International instability, created by an imperialistic foreign policy. I would withdraw from Iraq as quickly as safely possible, without leaving a permanent presence behind. I also oppose the provocation of Russia by deliberately arming allies on its borders. And finally, I would withdraw bases and stationed forces in Europe, Korea, and Japan.
c. The integration of immigrants. i would end the current punishment regime intended to control illegal immigration. Undocumented workers >are a form of labor smuggling, a black market in labor to supply the demand for low-end labor. I would eliminate it, not by demonizing immigrants or punishing employers, but by abolishing the regulations which restrict legitimate labor.
2) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals.
Elizabeth Dole is a lawyer. Kay Hagan's husband is a lawyer, and she is a longtime politician. They both derive their personal prosperity directly from expanding government. I am the only candidate in the race with a private-market day job. My personal prosperity is derived from providing a productive service.
3) How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I oppose the initiation of force or fraud for any reason. Therefore I support such things as repealing victimless crime laws, free trade, and equal treatment under the law for gay Americans.
4) The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle and North Carolina. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.
As do most Libertarians, I seek to end the Drug War. Not only is it a "war" against a voluntary activity, it is also used to justify violation of our Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. Drug prohibition has turned poor and minority neighborhoods into war zones, as gangs fight for control of the massive profits of the black market. It is also the poor and minority folks who suffer the most from the civil violations justified by the "war"; "driving while black", both deliberate and accidental break-ins by police based on anonymous tips of drug involvement.
5) Is there a stand you'll take on principle if elected, even though it may cost you some popularity points with voters?
I am a firm supporter of free trade. And I mean REAL free trade, trade without government subsidies, quotas, or preferences for politically-connected corporations. I oppose managed trade, such as NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA, and WTO.
6) If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. The war in Iraq: Did you support the '03 invasion? Do you support the continuing occupation? What's the right course for removing our combat troops from Iraq—how quickly should they be brought home? Should any remain in Iraq, and if so, for how long?
I opposed the invasion of Iraq. I don't accept that a moral foreign policy allows, much less requires, the imposition of democracy or the removal of dictators from countries that pose no threat to American security. In addition, the invasion was justified under false pretenses: "Osama bin Laden attacked us, so we should invade Iraq." That was insane! I support the withdrawl of all US personnel, as quickly as they can safely pull back. I oppose the plan for permanent bases there. Such bases would continue to provoke blowback, threatening the security of all Americans. In addition, the personnel based there would be in constant danger of attack, just as the Marines were in Beirut in 1983. Such bases would also invite Amercian involvement in the competition between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.
b. Afghanistan: How should the U.S. pursue its policy interests there and in neighboring Pakistan? Should more U.S. troops be sent there? More aid?
While the involvement of the Taliban with bin Laden is very different from the situation in Iraq, we have been there for too long. At some point, the Afghan people must step up to maintain their own freedom. Their failure to do so indicates that they don't oppose the Taliban as much as would seem logical to us. I oppose exapnding the conflict into Pakistan. I also oppose aid to the Pakistan government, because it merely subsidizes ineptness, corruption, and economic stagnation.
c. Economic inequality in the U.S.: Is a major problem? If so, what steps do you advocate to shrink the gap between rich and poor?
Economic disparity, per se, isn't a bad thing. People have different talents, different levels of drive, etc., which will always produce different levels of economic success. Where the Federal government exacerbates that is through the income tax, which cripples the accumulation of new wealth, and the minimum wage, which limits the entry of unkilled labor into the job market. I support the abolition of both, opening access to the beginning rungs of the economic ladder.
d. Universal health care: Do you support a program of universal health insurance? If so, is your model for it closest to Sen. Clinton's? Sen. Obama's? Some other plan? Or do you favor a free-market approach like Sen. McCain's?
"Universal healthcare" is an oxymoron. Unlimited demand, matched by unlimited supply, must result in unlimited price. No economy can sustain that, which is why countries with socialized healthcare ALWAYS ration medical care. It's hard enough to provide Grandma's medicine. I don't want to insert a bureaucrat deciding whether her care is "justified". And with the scandal in the VA hospitals, the federal government has already demonstrated that it is unqualified to provide healthcare.
e. Gasoline & energy costs: Do you support off-shore drilling in North Carolina's coastal waters? What are your priorities for curbing our reliance of imported oil and natural gas?
I support freedom to drill. While those supplies may not be available for as much as ten years, they would ensure supply, so that prices would drop in the short term as well. Fossil fuels provide the highest ratio of BTU's to the dollar under current technology. As alternative energy technology continues to improve, that balance will change. That is solely a market process, and I oppose government intervention for the benefit of either oil companies or the sources of alternative energy.
f. Climate change: Is it real? Is it caused by human activity? How serious a problem is it, and what should the U.S. do, if anything, to address it?
I do believe that climate change is real, and that some of it probably results from human activity. That is a scientific question, not political. Science advances with increases in wealth, which necessarily involves the consumption of resources. Limits on economic activity, such as advocated in the Kyoto protocols, are exactly the WRONG solution. Instead, we should promote free trade and economic freedom in the developing countries, which are the greates polluters per dollar of GDP.
g. Infrastructure: Should the U.S. undertake new investments—and if so, how much?—in highways, bridges, transit systems, water and sewer systems and the like?
North Carolina is a net payor for Federal transportation programs, recently increased to 92 cents on the dollar. Thus, there would be MORE resources available for NC transportation needs by eliminating the Federal role. In addition, that would eliminate the federal power to manipulate the states by threatening their Federal dollars.
h. Foreclosures: The drop in housing values and rising rates of foreclosure have many worried. What should the federal government's response be?
The manipulation of interest rates by the Federal Reserve, and Federal programs to promote home ownership created artificial demand for housing. That created a bubble in property values. The bubble burst when demand ceased to match those manipulated market expectations. Getting the government out of the housing business would restore the real market, preventing future bubbles.
i. Trade: What changes in trade policy do you advocate, if any?
I advocate free trade. The voluntary contracts negotiated by American exporters and importers are not properly the subject of government oversight. This includes eliminating subsidies, quotas, or preferences. Such manipulation gives an unfair advantage to politically-connected corporations over their competitors.
j. The falling dollar: The euro and the dollar were equal not long ago. Now, one euro costs $1.50. What's the problem, and what should be done to address it?
The problem with the dollar is that it is a fiat currency. Its value is whatever the government says it is. Before the creation of the Federal Reserve, the dollar was pegged at 20 to an ounce of gold. Now it is about 800. The value of the dollar has fallen fortyfold. This has destroyed savings, as well as the economic development that would come with capital accumulation. I would abolish the Federal Reserve and restore the gold standard. This would restore the incentive to save, create the accumulation of capital, and result in sustainable economic and income growth.
7. What is your position on capital punishment?
Since I oppose the Federal creation of crimes, as per the Constitution, I necessarily oppose the Federal use of capital punishment.
8. What is your position regarding LGBT rights? Please address whether gay marriages or civil unions should be made legal in North Carolina or as a matter of national policy; also, whether sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under federal or state anti-discrimination laws.
As an openly-gay man myself, I obviously support equal treatment of LGBT folks under the law. While I would oppose forcing any particular position on the state, I would support the equal treatement of same-sex marriages or unions under Federal tax and immigration laws.
9. Do you support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose" as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade?
I oppose Federal-level efforts to limit, promote, or fund abortions.
10. Should the nation's law-organizing laws be strengthened to better protect workers rights? If so, how?
No. In addition to being constitutionally suspect, federal labor law has given a destructive coercive power to unions. This includes informal approaches, such as "salting" (the planting of union activists in a business, then suing for "unfair labor practices") and the power to force non-union workers to accept union representation, even when they consider it against their best interest. I believe that workers rights are best protected when they are free to choose the negotiating platform that best serves their needs.