Candidate for U.S. Congress, District 2:
Civil liberties is everything.
My fellow citizens (and let's stop this divide between citizens and those in public office who are supposed to represent us), I propose to use what we have left of our republican democratic voting system to pick someone who will admit that we as a country are bankrupt, so that we can start fixing it. The problem is not just pensions that cannot be met at the government level or special health care systems that cannot be maintained, but wars that cannot be sustained (please see details in the web page) and so-called intelligence operations that fail at the expense of billions of dollars, such as Homeland Security.
You will find a lot of serious content on this website. Some might call it overly dense. I make no apology for this, considering the dire situation our country is in right now. Every topic was developed in response to questions I was asked. I sincerely want to know what you are thinking -- about the positions I am taking or any matter of concern to you. Please e-mail or call me at 443-414-6539 with your comments or questions.
I was born in Havana, Cuba in 1949 and received my early education in Christian Brothers schools. I came to the United States with my family on October 21, 1961, locating in Baltimore in June 1963. In 1973, I became a United States citizen. I attended parochial school in Baltimore City, finishing high school in the third graduating class of Cardinal Gibbons School. After high school, I attended Loyola College and Towson State University, majoring in history and political science, returning to college again in the 1980's to study psychology at the University of Baltimore.
I have held jobs ranging from language teacher (during five years in Haiti), car salesman, and director of development for my old high school. I am currently working in the security business to support my activities as a citizen politician. I am fluent in English, Spanish and French, and conversant in Haitian Creole. A Maryland Libertarian Party officer, I worked with the Coalition for a Democratic Maryland and Marylanders for Democracy to ease the stringent ballot access requirements that have effectively kept independent and third party candidates off the ballot for the last 30 years. I am a founding member of the Human Values Network and former member of the Board of Directors of the Environmental Crisis Center, which provides food and shelter to the homeless of Baltimore City. I am active in the Cliftmont Community Wesleyan Church, where I have mentored young people of the Belair-Edison community.
I share my life with my mother, my wife of 35 years, New York City native Susan Jacobson Gaztaņaga, and my black, 20-pound cat, Lord Baltimore.
I am qualified for this office as someone who works for a living, and who has spent his own time and money for 18 years helping to break down the legislated regulatory barriers that have kept alternative parties as well as independents from being offered as viable choices to the citizens and voters of Maryland. It is time that we elect people who are not connected with the monopoly power - people who understand that government service is just that - government service, and not a career opportunity.
The first step is to have people in Congress who are free and unburdened by years of feeding off a system that uses them at the same time that they use it. This first step also requires congressional representatives who are predisposed to being accountable, and who will insist that others be accountable as well.
I am convinced that I am one such individual, and I want to serve you, my fellow citizens of the Second Congressional District, as your Congressman.
1. To be elected by the citizens of your district is a great honor. What is the reason that caused you to decide to run for Congress?
2. The work habits and rare appearances of congressmen and congresswomen in their districts seem to peak near election but the rest of the time you rarely hear peep. What type of session schedule for Congress would you like to see? How would you schedule your appearances in your district and what would you focus on?
3. Becoming a congressman is a position where great trust is placed in you. What changes in ethics rules that govern Congress would you work to change?
4. One of the toughest decisions Congress must make is whether or not to authorize the President to go to war. The two current military operations, Iraq and Afghanistan, are obviously two different situations. Would you have authorized the President on either of those situations? And why or why not?
5. The size and scope of government is absolutely gigantic and needs to be reduced. What programs, departments, and process would you look to begin eliminating by reducing the funding or just cutting the program all together?
6. The Constitution is under attack from beginning to end. What steps when crafting or opposing legislation would you take when executing your oath to protect it?
7. Term Limits is an off again on again issue. Do you believe that federal legislation should dictate congressional term limits or should the individual states make that decision?
8. The Federal Government and the Supreme Court often ignore the Tenth Amendment when it comes to states rights. The authority of this amendment was severely undermined in the Civil War and the outcome strengthened the power and authority of the Federal Government. What steps do you think can be taken to restore the authority of the Tenth Amendment?
9. The United States has one of the highest tax rates on her workforce in the world, especially on businesses and business owners. Abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and the complicated Tax Code has been offered as a solution and to be replaced with a "Fair Tax" system. What do you feel is the best solution for the mess that the tax system has become and what avenue do you believe the government should use to raise revenue?
10. Illegal Immigration has been a very divisive issue over the last twenty years. The Immigration system is broken. We have over 12 Million people living in our country illegally and undocumented. Where do you see Congress needs to begin to fix this problem?
Before I get to my complete answer, let's knock down one myth-that these illegals don't pay taxes. They pay the same sales taxes that we all pay. The ones that are here using forged papers, including social security numbers from dead people, etc., are also paying income tax, which of course, the IRS in its infinite goodness doesn't mind or care about, as long as it gets its cut. What to do about the 12 to 14 million illegals here? Well, you find them. A government that knows everything about everybody living here should be able to find where they're working, go to these work places where illegals have been determined to be found, and fine the employers-but not to the extent of closing the business just to make the enforcers look good. There are many reasons for hiring illegal immigrants besides cheap labor. Some of them are very good workers.
Then, confront the illegal individuals and give them an ultimatum: a one year visa to stay in the country so long as you have work, which can be extended to two years as long as you're gainfully employed. If you do not accept or meet the criterion for that first year visa, you go back. A three year extension can be applied for after the two year extension, as long as you are gainfully employed. As long as you remain gainfully employed, after ten years you can apply for an indefinite period work visa. During this time, after five years of legal residence, you can begin the process of naturalization. There will also be a $50 fine for every year that you were here illegally before you were found out.
This is how to deal with the people who are here illegally now. Much like the Arizona law, for which I don't blame Arizona (my only concern is the possible violations of the fourth amendment), it would be a psychological deterrent to coming here illegally. Now, what do we do about changing the current immigration law? Well, you can come to the border peacefully and get a work visa at the border for $500 and proof that you have a job waiting for you. You can keep this visa until such time as you're no longer gainfully employed. A $500 processing fee is very reasonable, considering that poor people are paying thousands of dollars to criminals to get them across the border-coyotes who murder them in the desert or leave them to die in hot, unventilated trucks. In the United States, employers who are interested in hiring these folks could actually initiate contact with them in their home countries. This would be an easy matter in this age of the internet and cell phones and an entrepreneurial spirit that wants to rise above a calamitous economy. Job banks could easily be created in the countries of origin to match potential employers with potential employees. This should be managed as a private enterprise, not as a government service. The role of government is to ensure that people are not being abused or defrauded. Since they would be here legally, they would be able to report cases of abuse and fraud to the appropriate authorities. Any one of these immigrants will be treated as citizens or legal residents. If convicted of a crime, they will serve out their sentence here. If they have no job waiting for them after serving their time, they will be deported.
No fixed immigration policy can be complete without understanding the need for assimilation, and I know a thing or two about that personally. I am from Cuba. I'm very proud of my ancestry. I speak, read and write Spanish, my first tongue, fluently. My favorite dish is still Cuban black beans with white rice and pork chops. None of that has stopped me from loving my adoptive country, or from learning its language. Of course, I am fortunate, because when I came here, school systems were not trying to balkanize and separate Latin American immigrants and refugees by teaching them courses in Spanish that should have been taught in English, delaying their assimilation. The number of politicians back then who were trying to keep these immigrants as dependents of the government by keeping them apart and separate was not as large as it is today. This needs to change.
Lastly, concerning the virtual war that goes on along the southern border of the United States: we cannot separate the effects of the so-called War on Drugs from the mayhem along the border. To try to do so would be like separating the "H2" from the "O" and still thinking you have water. There's more, of course. I welcome questions and comments on this and all the other issues I've laid out here. Remember:
Often questionnaires on the health care issue sent out to candidates are set up to reply either in favor or against the federal government's running health care, so the statement below should cover them all.
The federal government has messed us up in Iraq. The federal government has messed up the Veteran's Administration. Two friends of mine were grossly misdiagnosed by the VA and only survived by the grace of God. So, what we need to do is get the federal government out of the whole health care thing. After all, the federal government is probably the most incompetent administrator of health care - so why do we want to give it power over our health care?
Let's have America's working people keep the most money possible in their pockets and purses and encourage non profit health coops for the working poor and the middle class so that they can put money aside tax free to get check-ups and health care for themselves. Let's have genuine tax free accounts for catastrophic health situations. Let's look into ways to provide for the truly needy in truly charitable ways that do not make bureaucrats wealthy but actually help those in need.
I find many proposals for health care to be the antithesis of help for the poor, instead promoting wealth for the health care provider.
Where do I stand on Iran? I happen to think that talks with the government of Iran should have begun 15-20 years ago, so as far as the suggestions from former Secretaries of State regarding unconditional dialogue are concerned, to me it's a no brainer. I find the sabre rattling regarding invading Iran symptomatic of middle aged and old men who willy nilly go for wars that are going to be fought by young people - a centuries old disgusting spectacle.
I'm not a pacifist. If self defense is needed, I believe in self defense. Preemptive action such as attacking Iran is out of the question - obscene, really.
The theme of my campaign is "Civil liberties is everything" (or "everything is civil liberties"). The so-called war on terror is farcical. Terror is an emotion. You fight terrorists who are criminals, who commit criminal acts. You seek them out as you would a serial killer. You don't invade countries. (A caveat: Afghanistan was where the terrorists were residing at the time, but we lost that advantage because we were in Iraq.) Invading Iran would only make matters worse.
The Iranian young people who are sick and tired of the oppression of the corrupt, so-called mullahs need to know that the government and people of the US are their friends, not the ones who are going to bring further misery and pain.
First of all, I reject the notion that government defines marriage. In my view, marriage is defined by faith and the agents of faith, for instance, churches. I happen to think that the entire discussion of so-called homosexual marriage or heterosexual marriage approved by government is a canard hoisted against the ability of consenting adults to enter into legal contracts.
Let churches decide who or what constitutes a marriage. Let secular government uphold contracts between or among consenting adults. The issue is far greater than who marries whom. I think that the reason why we are in this whole ridiculous discussion in the first place is because of things like my own personal situation. My wife Susan (a woman) and I live with my mother. Why cannot my elderly mother be part of the same health care insurance plan that my wife and I share? Instead, she has to be stuck with the phoney-baloney Medicare.
It is absurdities of this sort that fuel the fictitious argument of government approved marriage. Government has no business approving marriage, unless people are forced into marriage or any kind of union, in which case government must defend the rights of the person who is being forced.
First of all, I'm not a pacifist. I believe in self defense. The invasion of Afghanistan had a specific target - the Al Qaeda minions who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon - and was therefore justifiable self-defense.
On the other hand, the war in Iraq, which was labeled from the beginning as a preemptive action, was wrong at the time and is wrong now on all counts. First of all, you do not do preemptive wars. Preemptive wars are wars of aggression, and that is beneath what this country is supposed to stand for - or common decency, for that matter.
Secondly, the reasons given for the war in Iraq, if not outright lies, were distortions, and Exhibit A of our multi-billion dollar intelligence apparatus' unfathomable ineptitude. The war in Iraq didn't happen only because of an incompetent (to be kind) president and his party, it was also the collusion of members of Congress, who now parade themselves as being anti-war. This is one of the reasons I'm running. The current holder of the Second Congressional District, Dutch Ruppersberger belongs to that group of legislators who colluded with the President in allowing an illegal war and now pretends to be different.
Even the war in Afghanistan, with a legitimate target, Al Qaeda and its host the Taliban, might have been completely unnecessary if our intelligence apparatus had heeded the warnings of competent field operatives who were suspicious of foreign nationals learning how to fly planes but not land them. After all, all Al Qaeda did was to copy the kamikaze pilots of the Second World War, striking buildings instead of ships.
I believe in a foreign policy that aims for peaceful dealings with other nations while maintaining a strong defense that is just that - defense, not preemptive attacks. We need a streamlined, patriotic intelligence operation, which is not what we got. The incumbent, Ruppersberger, has never spoken on this, because he can't.
The current rise in gasoline and fuel prices is being blamed on supply and demand. Well, there's some truth to that, but the real sticking point is the devaluation of the dollar. If our dollar were today on a par with the Euro, we would be paying, maybe $2.20 per gallon at the pump instead of $3.99 - $4.20. For Euro currency countries, the price of the oil barrel has barely doubled, while, for our dollar based economy, it's working on quadrupling the cost. Why? It's not because we demand necessarily much more than the Europeans. It's because our federal government and all of its parts, including Congress, through the Federal Reserve monopoly, have gone on a printing spree of money as if it were confetti. In fact, what the Fed has done regarding the printing of money is tantamount to the printing of counterfeit money, except that their counterfeit dollars are deemed to be legal. Without a substantial commodity to back it up, our fiat money is being destroyed and so is our economy.
There's more that I would like to say on this, but I'm trying to be brief, so I'm sticking to the central points on the economy right now.
I am not going to pretend that we humans do not affect our environment - our water, our air, etc. Of course we do. Nor am I going to ridicule people who have a concern for global warming, or climate change. I'm no expert on any of this, but unlike Al Gore, I'm not going to pretend that I am. From what I've read and listened to, the planet earth is much like any living organism. It undergoes changes and responds to the environment in which it is.
Back in the tenth and eleventh centuries, our planet underwent a warming period. (And remember, back then, there were no carbon producing engines.) This event allowed Norse colonists to settle in Greenland, where they raised crops, had animal husbandry, and a relatively good and prosperous life for that time period, much like Maryland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
When this warming trend ended a couple of hundred years later, the Norse settlers failed, died, or had to eventually evacuate, because they failed to adapt. They had a model of adaptation right in front of them - the earlier colonists of Greenland, the so-called Eskimos, who knew how to live in cold weather. They refused to adapt, and they failed. To me, climate change sends this message - we have to adapt, whether it's colder or warmer, we have to adapt, and to be always mindful that if I pollute my neighbor's air, water or soil, I either have to pay to clean it or give my neighbor the money to clean it - and then stop my nasty ways. That is how we should deal with the environment today, by applying English common law - the basis for our legal system.
I believe in free trade. Free trade does not include corporate welfare, does not include treaties the size of several major cities' phone books (like NAFTA). It can be conducted simply and efficiently, being always mindful of fraud. In spite of all the regulations in banking and lending, we've ended up with the subprime mess which is essentially fraud. Lies were sold and lies were bought, yet we were unable to deal with this fraud with all the myriad regulations requiring armies of lawyers to remain in compliance with them We need an entrepreneurial labor force unfettered by all the oppressive regulations, and only watched closely with the purpose of preventing and punishing fraud.
Regarding liberty and democracy in the United States, I would like to refer to the oft told tale in which Benjamin Franklin, coming out of the Constitutional Convention, was asked by a woman, "What kind of government have you given us, sir?" He replied, "A republic, if we can keep it." We are a republic, meaning that we elect representatives to whom WE give the right to govern - not the other way around. We use a democratic process to elect those representatives - or we're supposed to - and a majority of voters decides who gets to represent us. I have to admit that I would like to see in our legislative chambers proportional representation based on ideas, rather than race and gender as has been suggested by some over the last decade or so. Ballot access should be virtually unrestricted, and to those who say that you would have too many people on the ballot and it would be confusing, I would simply say that the value of our liberty, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights and certainly our Declaration of Independence does deserve time and effort from citizens to learn who in the heck is running and what they stand for, and to vote for the one they most agree with as their civic duty. Voting for the lesser of two evils is a game of losers. We're supposed to be winners in this country, not losers.
Our liberties are under siege by many things: attacks on the Second Amendment, free speech zones set up so that the politically privileged ears will not be hurt by dissent, and the one most onerous thing of all - the so-called "Patriot Act," insult of insults - a law so vile that I think even John Adams, second president of the United States, who lost his second bid on account of his anti sedition acts, might find repugnant.
The term "education" is a misnomer, by and large. Our young people need to be proficient in reading, writing and arithmetic by the fifth grade, and be encouraged to pursue the things they like from that point on. Education is a life long process, much like gaining wisdom. You don't gain wisdom in a classroom, you can only encourage learning. The government has a role in encouraging parents (through leadership and "jawboning") to take care of their children's education. Rather than taking the educational authority away from parents, devolve the education authority back to the parents, with the understanding that many parents don't know what they're doing. This potential problem can be offset by applying the true concept of village child rearing - a community of individuals working together voluntarily to achieve the best outcome for their children, without government involvement.
See questionnaire above.
Click for a report with commentary about the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment, with an interview of Lorenzo Gaztaņaga, by Stephanie J. Henry
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Lorenzo at Rally to Help the Politically Homeless on September 23, 2010 in Rockville (with Mark Grannis and son); putting out the Quiz across America door hangers.
Left to right: Dr. Ignatius Ukpabi, retired epidemiologist with the District of Columbia government, Robert Broadus, Republican candidate for US Congress, 4th District, Jerry McKinley, Libertarian candidate for US Congress, 3rd District, Jeff Robinson, Republican candidate for House of Delegates, District 13, and Lorenzo.
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The booth; Lorenzo Gaztaņaga administers The Quiz.
Candidate signs at the booth; Lorenzo Gaztaņaga.
Lorenzo Gaztaņaga at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.
Lorenzo Gaztaņaga at Vote the Power 2008 in Aberdeen. It was organized by the Grassroots Steering Foundation.
Bill Barry, prominent Baltimore City Green, offered Lorenzo Gaztaņaga the use of his space at the 15th Annual Hamilton Street Festival and Car Show. Bill and Lorenzo shake hands for clear, honest, and transparent governance, and ending the Iraq War and the Patriot Act.
Four Libertarians, Darlene Nicholas, Bill Buzzell (a.k.a. McGuyver, basically the man who's ready for anything), my wife Susan, and yours truly, showed up between 7 and 7:30 a.m. on July 4 to march in the Dundalk Independence Day Parade. We decorated Bill's car with as many liberty messages as possible and all kinds of doodahs. Bill drove the car. Darlene Nicholas, candidate for US Congress, Fifth District, helped Susan carry the Maryland LP banner, and I walked behind the car, which had my campaign banners on each side. As it happens, Dundalk is in my congressional district.
Lo and behold, there were people along the parade route that knew me. They happen to live there, and knew me from work. Pretty lucky. But the important thing was the eye contact that I was able to make. A lady said to me, "O'Malley is a sissy; thank you for being here." I said, "You're welcome." Two fine looking, middle aged American women who happened to be black were holding up Obama signs. I looked at them and acknowledged them in a positive way. Why? Because if we can transcend the thing we see - the physical color - then we have a chance of transcending what we cannot see - the ideological discussion. Exactly. There was the man with the sign that said, "Drill here and drill now." I nodded to him. I believe in that nod, not because it's going to solve the whole energy thing, but merely because it's a foot in the door, and, besides, technology has advanced to such a degree that, yeah, drilling in ANWR can be done properly, so long as government stands where it's supposed to be - no force and no fraud. What a concept!
I felt a powerful connection to the people lining the parade route. Whatever their ethnicity, I glimpsed in them the true America - people who deeply want this to be a united country, a peaceful country, a happy and prosperous country. At times I was almost moved to tears. At one point during the parade, four youngsters with T-shirts promoting a barbecue place came to me and asked, "Can we walk with you?" I said, "Sure, you can hang with me." They ranged in age, I guess, between nine and fourteen or fifteen. Suddenly, the four or five people who had said they would be joining our parade unit but didn't show had been unofficially replaced. These kids kept shouting, "Vote for Lorenzo!" and "Happy Fourth of July!" At one point, they even brought me a bottle of water.
Independence and the free market. What an experience for a guy who's run for office so many times and never even gotten close. I am the possessor of a dubious title. At this point, I've run for office more often than any other Maryland Libertarian, and I've never gotten in. People might argue that that is a losing streak, but I'll tell you this, the real losers are the ones who cower.
In liberty, your friend,
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