John Richard (J.R.) Myers, who lives in Alaska, warns that the Russians are claiming large areas of the Arctic. He's on the ballot in the California June 7th primary and as a write-in for the Independent Party of Oregon for President of the United States. He's exploring write-in ballot access for 10 states. Failing to achieve the Constitution Party's nomination in Salt Lake City last month, he continues with his candidacy because he has a message that they aren't necessarily supporting.
JF: Tell me what your message is.
JRM: In general, I do support a return to our Judeo-Christian values and the rule of law based upon our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. In particular, I oppose unauthorized wars which are usurping Congress's authority by the executive and damaging a lot of our relationships around the world. As part of the ongoing wars, I would also include the war on drugs, which I believe has created a prison industrial complex that is a self-sustaining entity that is destroying lives, and families and communities around the nation. It's certainly a threat to our Constitution. It's a war against our liberties, basically. As all the unauthorized wars are, war is against human rights and individual dignity and liberty. I oppose those things vehemently, which would not necessarily be supported by the National Constitution Party, at least the end of the war on drugs. I'm not a prohibitionist. I think that alcohol required a limit to the Constitution for prohibition, then so too any other substances. I believe that substance use is a right reserved unto the people and to the states. That's a big difference there.
JF: What is your day job?
JRM: I work for the sovereign nation of the Kenaitze Tribe. I'm a behavioral health consultant. I'm a licensed professional counselor supervisor. I have a Master of Professional Counseling as well as a Master of Human Services and a Bachelor of Science and Liberal Arts, cum laude. I'm also in the process of being grandfathered under the Master of Addiction Counseling. I serve the native people in the area. I help to meet their behavioral health needs.
JF: Do you consider yourself an evangelist?
JRM: I wouldn't consider myself a traditional evangelist as far as evangelical type. But I do believe in the word of God and the Bible, and so I'm not afraid to talk about my beliefs with people. I think if I share my beliefs, yeah, you could say that I would be an evangelist in that respect. But I'm not a merciless proselytizer, let's put it that way.
JF: Why are you running for POTUS?
JRM: I think our system was set up for average working citizens to participate. It was never meant to be a permanent professional political class of elites that didn't have any other connections. Some of these people have never worked outside of politics. I think it's important for average citizen to be involved at all levels and to learn the system and to express themselves and the reality of their daily lives. I think any citizen that's qualified Constitutionally should feel free to run for president or any other office, and I would encourage others to do so. It's important that we all get out there and speak out. It's important that we inform the public debate through our participation and through our different perspectives and viewpoints and experiences. Being in Alaska, it's even more important to participate because Alaska is so often marginalized because of our distance from the rest of the country. I think that with Internet, social media, and that kind of thing, the distance is becoming more and more irrelevant. I'm running to show that the average person can do it. I feel it's a turning point in our nation; I think we're seeing a sea change in the political alignments.
JF: What is your international experience?
JRM: I've traveled to Mexico and Canada!
JRM: More seriously, we border Russia and we're concerned up here. Last summer, the Russian and Chinese naval fleets had joint military exercises for the first time in the Bering Sea crossing Alaskan waters. A very threatening maneuver. We need to be realistic about who our neighbors are and we need to have strong defenses and we need to support our allies in the world and we need to be wary of our enemies and not the other way around.
JF: Why do you feel threatened when they put ships through?
JRM: Because it was a joint military exercise and who else would it be directed against than the Bering Sea?
JF: But does it have to be against anyone?
JRM: It was a joint military exercise.
JF: I just don't get it; why that has to be an act of aggression.
JRM: Maybe another part of the picture you're not aware of is that there's several arctic islands that have been ceded back to Russia that were Alaskan territory. Russia has been fortifying military installations on those islands in the last few years. Russia is engaged in a very aggressive military and economic expansion, staking claim to vast areas of the Arctic now in a very aggressive move. It's all part of that.
JF: How did that happen? Did we take our eye of the ball? What happened?
JRM: I don't think it's been formally ratified by the Senate yet, but basically in essence, they just returned Wrangell Island and five other islands in the Arctic that have been part of Alaska since the 1800's, and they have ceded them back to Russia.
JF: Let's say you're sitting down with Putin. What would you say?
JRM: We need to respect Alaskan sovereign territory and we will respect Russian sovereign territory and we have actually great mutual interests and we should be friends, our nations should be in a friendly stance, not in an adversarial stance, and we need to work out our differences.
JF: Is it possible that you could partner with Russia on a climate change initiative?
JRM: I think we should partner with Russia and other nations with similar interests wherever we can: environmentally, militarily. It's in our best interests to cooperate, not be adversarial when possible, with other nations around the world, but we do have to maintain our defense. Strong defense.
JF: Let's assume, for a moment, that we all live on the same earth, and that the earth is our spaceship. (Laughs) And the spaceship is in trouble. The seas are rising, the amount of arable land is decreasing because we have severe floods and severe droughts now...
JF: We are either do or die situation on the spaceship. Do you think that maybe we could work with the Russians?
JRM: Well, I would hope we could work with the Russians. And yes, we do need to be good stewards of the planet, because it's all we have, that's for sure. It's important, yes.
JF: Do you think Obama has spoken enough in person with Putin, I mean he really hasn't done it at all, right?
JRM: No, I think that Obama has engaged in quite an adversarial stance with Putin.
JF: And maybe if we talked to him, we'd get to understand...
JRM: Get better results if we actually communicated?
JF: Yeah! (Laughing)
JRM: Fancy that.
JF: As a counselor, I understand the value of communication and of listening. Being in Alaska, we have a strong history of Russian influence, and we still have Russian speakers today. I have no innate animosity towards Russia whatsoever. They could be, and have been, great allies in the past... One of my campaign things is that the American presidency should not rightly be seen as an imperial office. Presidency, in fact, is too powerful and needs to be diminished in its power and needs to be rebalanced with the Congress. The Congress needs to reassert itself.
JF: What three things would you focus on as POTUS?
JRM: On my first day in office, I would begin the review of the Presidential executive orders and start to rescind those orders that I believe are extra-Constitutional which I believe would be the bulk of them, since the President has been legislating through executive orders which is not proper. I would try to rebalance the powers with Congress, put pressure on the Congress to assert their prerogative in budgetary and military matters. I would also re-size government and downsize, decentralize the federal government and start to return many of the federal activities to the state governments and because the federal government is strictly prohibited from engaging in all but a handful of activities, which would be national defense, Post Office, that kind of thing. Most of the powers, Constitutionally should be delegated to the states or to the people themselves. I do believe in a de-centralization of powers to the states and local levels. As I said before, it's imperative that the average citizen become involved at all levels and I think that is part of that process. I think we need to re-engage the public and break this public apathy. Part of that is campaign finance reform and Citizens United was terrible mistake which has flooded our system with corporate money, which I think is a corrupting influence. I don't believe corporations are people. I would seek to challenge the idea that corporations are people and that the expenditure of corporate funds equates to free speech, which I do not believe. Thirdly, life: we must protect life throughout the whole spectrum from conception through natural death. That means opposing assisted suicide and that sort of thing as well. For instance, the extra Constitutional drone strikes that Obama has claimed the right to execute American citizens that he deems to be enemy combatants. That's totally unlawful.
JF: It's murder.
JRM: It's murder, yes.
JF: What would you do with a Congress that blocks you? Let's just say, 'cause you're a counselor, you can relate to this: they're passive aggressive, right?
JRM: Right, yes.
JF: How do you handle that?
JRM: The president has the bully pulpit. I think that's an effective tool that the President does have, that national forum. If someone such as myself were to ever be elected President, it would reflect a sea change in the political climate, and I would think that there would be several congressmen and women who would be swept into the Congress at the same time, so there would be allies in the Congress. I think they have to be held accountable in a relentless manner and the President is the only one who can really do it. And just keep on it, that they have a responsibility, they have a duty, it's incumbent, it's their Constitutional authority. They're the only ones who can do certain things and they must do it or not. If they choose not to, then no action is to be taken through executive fiat.
JF: That's what Obama is doing. His back is against the wall and so he's decided to use his executive powers to...
JRM: Right, and I think that's wrong. The President needs to refrain from that and the President needs to continue to put pressure on Congress to act. I know it's not easy, but that's the way the system is supposed to work.
JF: It sounds to me like you're recommending that he do it in a more public way, but don't forget, he, as well as Congress, is under pressure from these corporations to not say what's going on.
JRM: That's true, that's why we need new candidates, new officials elected.