Roseanne Barr Responds to Questions

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I. Introduction

What is your occupation?

Actress, comedian, television producer, director, screenwriter, author, and macadamia nut collective farmer

Where are you from?

I grew up in a working-class Jewish family in Salt Lake City. I currently live in Hawaii.

Briefly describe your educational background, any past political campaigns, and any work you’ve done as an activist.

I’m self-educated. Barbara Ehrenreich called me a working-class spokesperson representing “the hopeless underclass of the female sex: polyester-clad, overweight occupants of the slow track; fast-food waitresses, factory workers, housewives, members of the invisible pink-collar army; the despised, the jilted, the underpaid.” I brought working class issues to millions of viewers weekly for nine years. I always refuse to use the term “blue collar” because it masks the issue of class.

My entire life has been one activist campaign for justice, peace, and freedom. I have incorporated these values into every aspect of my professional and personal life.

Describe how your candidacy would promote the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP), and how you expect the PFP to promote your candidacy.

Millions of people look to me for the real deal about a world that oppresses them from all sides. I can reach that audience and ask them to consider socialism and registering in the Peace and Freedom Party or starting one in their state. I hope that would help the party maintain its ballot status as of 2014. I would expect the party to join with me in creating and promoting joint events to register voters and raise funds for the party and the campaign.

What attracts you to the PFP? What past involvement have you had with it?

We don’t have the PFP in Hawaii yet, but I’m interested in starting one. I like that the party is socialist and very committed to its principles. I like the platform and agree with it.

Do you have any experience that would be particularly useful to you as a presidential candidate – such as public speaking experience, union organizing experience, teaching experience, or the like?

I reached 40 million viewers for nine years with my TV show. I have 40 years of experience crafting messages for, and carrying them to, working class people. I continue to speak to nationwide television audiences on a regular basis.

II. Specific Topics.

The following topics and questions highlight areas of concern to the PFP and its registrants. Please answer them in any form you deem appropriate, and in as much detail as you wish. We hope that your answers will reveal who you are, what you believe, how you would represent the PFP, what you would say to voters during your campaign. Although we would like to know about your particular brand of socialism, these questions are not framed with a socialist slant; they are phrased as if by the mainstream media, since that is what you are likely to encounter during your campaign. We hope your answers will help us distinguish you from other candidates seeking the PFP nomination, as well as from the candidates of the other political parties.

1) Foreign Policy. Please tell us what you think the foreign policy of the United States should be. In your answer, you may choose to address one or more of the following related questions:

a) What changes do you propose to the current defense budget?
b) How would you decide whether or not to use U.S. military resources in
any particular foreign conflict?
c) Should the United States use economic sanctions to advance its foreign policy? If so, under what circumstances?

Human Rights and implementing the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at home and abroad should be a priority of U.S. policy. This will lead to an improvement in the quality of life of U.S. and world citizens. Accordingly, the Pentagon budget would be severely slashed, because “national security” would no longer be about counting bombs and missiles and nuclear payloads and throw-weights, but instead about harmonizing a humane lifestyle with the needs of Planet Earth.

Economic sanctions, an act of war, are not appropriate tools to advance the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the ALBA concept of the inherent rights of the planet itself (see I support the concept of a Department of Peace. As President, I would transform the Pentagon to such a Department to demonstrate to the world and to U.S. citizens the seriousness with which my Administration takes the issue of peace, as well as the justice on which a lasting peace must be built.

2) Economy. What would you do to achieve socialism in the U.S.? You may choose to address the following related questions in your response:

a) What sort of welfare programs do you think should exist in the U.S.? Do you support a guaranteed annual income for all U.S. citizens?
b) Do you support the nationalization of any industry?
c) What do you think should be done about our nation’s foreclosure crisis?
d) What steps would you take to reduce unemployment?
e) What specific legislation would you support to improve workers’ rights?

Mario Savio led the way for us when he told us that there comes a time when the machine becomes so odious that one cannot even passively take part in it. Many in the United States have reached this point, but have no idea of how to proceed in a way that serves their interests. Therefore, we need to explain to the people of this country exactly what socialism is. Because of the reach of my voice, I can be of particular help with that task. I will use my voice to help familiarize people with socialism as something not to be feared, but enjoyed by all. After all, Wall Street and Big Pharma have already been taking our public funds for their private profit; it’s time for the public to benefit from socialism!

I support a United States government policy that seeks first to meet the basic needs of the people as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Privatization and out-sourcing have swept even the most hallowed of government responsibilities. I would put an end to such practices immediately and hire unionized workers to serve the needs of the people of the U.S. I would also support legislation ending so-called “Right to Work” laws. The Taft-Hartley Act should be repealed in order to restore the freedom of workers to organize for their rights.

I would make derivatives trading illegal and end the bailouts of the banks that sold trillions of dollars of worthless derivatives. Banksters gamed the system with illegal activities that sent profits in the financial sector skyrocketing. However, those profits were built on a house of cards that was sure to collapse on millions of U.S. home owners. To blame the current economic collapse on low-income home buyers who were illegally discriminated against is a further political crime of class slander, to which the victims cannot equally respond. It’s time for the justice system to work by rendering justice to those who have been illegally foreclosed on. A foreclosure moratorium is needed now; and those responsible for erecting that house of cards should face of jury of the people. Iceland is an example in this regard.

3) Health and Health Care. Please outline your approach to health care. In your response, you may wish to address the following:

a) Should there be a national health care policy? If so, what should it be?
b) What are the key problems with health care in the U.S. today?
c) What are your positions on abortion, contraception, and stem cell research?

I believe in Medicare for all. That includes abortions consistent with Roe v. Wade, contraception for young adults, a nurse in every school, expansion of public health centers, and treatments that result from stem cell research. Adequate medical care should be accessible to everyone, and this should prioritized over the profit of pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

4) Civil Rights. Please outline your approach to civil rights. In answering, you may choose to answer any or all of the following:

a) What parts of the Patriot Act should be eliminated and what, if anything, should be retained?
b) What do you think the chief aims of the criminal justice system should be, and what are your views on the death penalty?
c) What is your position on “gay marriage,” and what can the President do to facilitate the adoption of that position?

Discrimination rears its ugly head in many forms and must be stamped out by leadership, example, and policy. Feminism, turning back white supremacy, and eliminating intolerance for LBGTQ and ability discrimination are the best ways to ensure the civil rights of all. I support marriage rights for loving adults.

I support repeal of the Patriot Act, the Secret Evidence Act, the Funding for the War Against Terrorism Act as a way to safeguard civil rights and civil liberties in this country. I would delete the exceptions carved into Posse Comitatus for fighting the drug war and during national emergencies. I would end surveillance by drones over U.S. cities and the U.S. military on U.S. streets. I would delete Operation Garden Plot and Rex 84 from U.S. planning. I would publicize the COINTELPRO Papers and expose their current practice.

The Justice Department should administer justice–it currently does not. I oppose the death penalty for people and support it for corporations that commit capital offenses against the people.

5) Immigration. Please outline your approach to immigration issues. In answering, you may choose to answer any or all of the following:

a) What would the goals of your immigration policy be?
b) What is the appropriate role of the Federal Government in regulating, policing, and/or tracking immigration into the U.S.?
c) What should the federal government do with regard to the millions of people now in the U.S., often labeled “illegal immigrants”?

A U.S. foreign policy that promotes human upliftment consistent with ecological wisdom is a prerequisite to a sane immigration policy that respects human dignity and the right to life. I believe in open borders and reject the notion that any person is illegal.

6) Education. Please outline your views on how to improve the educational system. You may choose to answer any or all of these questions in your response:

a) What obligations does the federal government have with regards to providing education the people within the U.S. borders?
b) Should state and/or local governments be able to regulate the content of public school curricula?
c) How should education in the U.S. be paid for?

Because education is an important aspect of national security, education to completion of a terminal degree should be paid for from the general fund with national minimum standards in teacher compensation, a maximum permissible student-teacher ratio, and adequate remediation and disability funding. Local funding should also come from the general fund on a per-pupil basis and not from property taxes that exacerbate inequalities even within single school systems.

7) Environment. Please outline your approach to environmental issues. In answering, you may choose to answer any or all of the questions below:

a) As president, what would you do to limit pollution and preserve our natural resources?
b) Would your actions described above negatively impact industry?
c) Do you advocate a national energy policy? If so, please describe it.

The ALBA countries of Bolivia, Venzuela, and Ecuador have paved the way with Nature’s Rights. I would support legislation in the U.S. to protect the rights of the ecosystem. I would support an end to oil subsidies and aggressively promote solar conversions wherever possible. In our colder climates, I would support geothermal retrofitting. I would eliminate nuclear power subsidies and shut down all nuclear power plants. I would also shut down U.S. energy labs that produce nuclear weapons and institute massive clean-up policies. I would end war, which is the cruelest insult to the environment. I would encourage and subsidize the creation of community farms in every neighborhood using organic and bio-dynamic technologies. I would outlaw the genetic modification of foods, organisms, and people!

(8) Election Improvement. Please outline your approach to improving the electoral process in U.S. In your answer, you may wish to answer some or all of the following questions:

a) What is your view of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling?
b) Is “get the money out of politics” a realistic goal? If so, how do you think that goal could be accomplished?
c) What can be done to loosen the two major parties’ stranglehold on the electoral process?

We have to get money out of political campaigns. It’s become a legalized system of bribery. Obama made fine speeches to the voters about a “public option” for health care at the same time that he was assuring insurance companies that no public option would be in the final bill. The option of public financing of “clean” campaigns has worked well in the states that have adopted it and is even promoted by some of the politicians who originally opposed it.

The stranglehold of the two major parties can only be broken by creating a truly multi-partisan democracy with proportional representation. It is only fair to represent voters opinions proportionately. Our current system holds in place all the evils that a majority of the voters oppose. It allows Big Money to control the candidates of the two dominant parties and thereby subvert the will of the people.

9) Your Campaign. What are the realistic goals of your campaign, and what are your strategies for achieving those goals? In your response, consider answering the following:

a) What would you most like to teach voters about socialism?
b) What makes you more appealing to “the 99%” than Barack Obama, and how can you most effectively communicate that?
c) If you believe that socialist candidates have generally failed to live up to their potential in U.S. political history, do you have any explanation for why that is? How do you think socialist candidates could succeed in the future?

I would like to teach voters that socialism is for us, the people. I would like to reclaim the word from all the lies and negative propaganda about it. I know how to reach “the 99%” and have done so for 40 years.

I think the problem with past socialist candidates has been an inability to reach the wider audience that most needs to hear about socialism. If socialists only appeal to intellectuals, they deprive those most in need of their message.