The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board posed the following questions to my campaign. The following is a slightly corrected version of the responses you will find at the Sun TImes Candidate Questionnaires.

What are your top priorities for the nation?

I want to reclaim our government for the people and end the corporate grip which has undermined both our democratic republic and our entrepreneurial economy. This means reining in the military-industrial cartel which now takes us into endless wars merely to enrich themselves. This means also ending the prison-industrial cartels which enriches itself off of the incarceration of the people of the United States: now over 700 per 100,000 persons are incarcerated which is by far the highest rate of incarceration in the World (except that Russia alone is a close second).

In addition, we need to stop letting corporations profit off of our public commons and manipulate our economic activity from such privileged pseudo-noble positions. The US Constitution prohibits the granting of titles of nobility, but the Federal government and many state governments have found it lucrative to ignore these Constitutional guarantees on a regular basis. Finally, we must do more to reverse the trend of income redistribution which has created an extremely perverse distribution of income in the US. This perverse distribution of income is fostered by redistributive government programs that inhibit labor unions, undermine minimum income supports, subsidize the wealthiest corporations and individuals, and allow exploitative labor practices to persist throughout our economy. The wildly perverse distribution of income which results is also a proximate cause of our national debt, our soul-crushing household debt crisis, and many of the fiscal problems facing governments at all levels throughout the US.

What are your top priorities for your congressional district?

I believe as a legislator, my role is to translate the specific needs of my constituents into abstract principles aimed at providing for the general welfare of the nation through legislative acts. So I tend to focus on these abstract principles which result from such a process. However, my platform will bring countless benefits back to the district.

My programs for energy conservation and renewable energy will wean us from fossil fuels and eliminate the Fisk and Crawford power plants which currently spew poison into the district merely to meet our air-conditioning electrical power needs. These coal fired power plants increase the incidence of cancer and asthma within the district and contribute to many premature deaths. My plan to fully fund mass transit repairs, upgrades and improvements will bring better, more reliable and more frequent transit service to the district and substantially reduce the costs of transportation for those living in the district. My energy modernization plan will drastically increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs to households and businesses within the district. Finally, my plan for economic prosperity will bring greater opportunities for working men and women in the district as we transition from an economy overly dependent on global production to one more focussed on what we can and should produce locally.

The recession continues. What are its causes and how do we end it? Do you favor more federal “stimulus” spending to create more jobs?

The most glaring cause of the current recession is our wildly perverse distribution of income. This perverse distribution of income implies that some super-rich corporations and individuals receive incomes so great that they can never possibly spend it all. At the same time, working men and women receive incomes insufficient to purchase all that they have produced. This forces our economy to depend on an engine of continuously growing debt or the economy collapses. The debt engine which drives our economy is comprised of two main components: household debt and the national debt. When household borrowing evaporates due to the understandable unease each of us feels when taking on more and more debt, the private spending plummets. Our best response in such circumstances is to increase public borrowing, to increase the deficit, and to pile on more debt for the federal government. What should have been private debt therefore becomes public debt, but the nevertheless this saves the debt driven economy from collapse. So certainly the only reasonable thing to do in our current dire straits is to increase federal spending and federal borrowing. We can also tax the super-rich and provide tax relief to those earning under the median family income to similarly fuel private spending.

When politicians speak of federal debt and the deficit as if it are fiscally irresponsible, those politicians are typically either misguiding the electorate or misguided themselves. In our current situation it is the opposite. It is fiscally irresponsible to stop borrowing and spending and to allow the necessary work of the country to go undone while leaving our otherwise fruitful human and material resources lying fallow. This would be as if these politicians told their spouse they are being fiscally responsible by leaving the cleaning and handiwork around the house undone and lying about watching TV instead. Leaving needed work undone is not fiscally responsible whether we look inside our households or the entire uS commercial sector of the economy. However, it would be fiscally responsible to transition our economy to an economy that did not depend so heavily on debt to survive. This requires an end to all of the government policies which have shifted incomes from working men and women to the super rich corporations and individuals in the US. We must guarantee workers a collective bargaining contract, provide minimum wage supports for those who cannot find work, ensure living wages for those who can find work, increase the amount of paid holiday, vacation and family leave, shorten the length of the work week, and otherwise reduce the rate of exploitation in the US. By bringing up wages and salaries for the vast majority of those living in the US, we will entirely eliminate the need for our private and public structural debt. Workers might think they do not need nor deserve to have all of these enhancements to their quality of life, but without these economic improvements, our structural debt problems will persist and grow worse.

Is global warming real? Is it man-made? What, if anything, should be done about it? And do you favor a national cap-and-trade program to put a price on carbon emissions?

There is no doubt that global warming is real and that we are contributing to it in the sense that we are taking carbon trapped in fossil fuels and de-sequestered it into our atmospheric carbon cycle which inhibits the Earth’s ability to shed heat into outer space. The question is therefore not whether global warming is occurring, as we de-sequester carbon long ago captured and sequestered underground in the form of fossil fuels  The question is only over what consequences will these elevated carbon levels bring to our planet and what, if anything, can we do about it. The problem is so enormous, many become mired in feelings of futility and nihilism over the issue. However, there are many steps we an take to try to address the problem: steps which have  other enormous intermediate benefits even if they fail to address the problem of global warming.

Placing a price on carbon emissions – particularly from fossil fuels – is merely one small measure we can take (though we do not need to allow speculative and predatory trading in these carbon permits). We can also transition our economy from a fossil fuel dependent one to a green and renewable energy economy in only a decade or two.  Moreover in doing so we will reduce other toxic pollutants and bring energy efficiency savings in the process. All of these measure will also make our nation more self-sufficient, resilient and better capable of weathering any energy crisis or fuel price shocks. By transitioning from an urban environment and transportation system heavily dependent on private vehicles we will also create far more efficient living environments where we all, once again, engage in modest physical activity in our everyday lives, and shopping trips and working commutes are shorter and more productive as commuters can safely focus on reading books, texting, conversation with friends and colleagues, and so forth rather than constantly watching the road while driving in stop and go traffic.

As a representative, would you favor changes in the health care reforms pushed through Congress by President Obama? What exactly would you change?

I support medicare-for-all healthcare (as proposed in HR676). Insurance is what economists categorize as a natural monopoly sector of our economy, which essentially implies it is a part of the commons and should be public. It also implies that as an insurance risk fund grows larger it becomes more stable and less prone to insolvency so that each insurance sector will tend to be dominated by only one or two corporations (if allowed to continue under private control). An insurance fund is merely a pool of risk for the beneficiaries of the fund. It does not involve any production though the insurance sector likes to call the policies they sell ‘products’. The premiums paid are essentially a tax on the beneficiaries of the fund to pool risk in the event of probabilistically predictable catastrophic events. So I believe, and economic theory suggests, that  all routine and common risk funds should be nationalized and operated only for the benefit of the beneficiaries without any profits skimmed off the top for the enrichment of a few. To continue the private for-profit insurance system we have today is to continue a system of institutionalized insurance fraud which grants to private oligarchs the privilege to pilfer from the fund in pursuit of private profits.

HR676 bill would provide a suitable health insurance system to meet our programatic needs for a medical risk fund, while also addressing the unique issues surrounding health insurance specifically. HR676 also calls for an end to for-profit clinics and hospitals and a return to the focus on public and charitable hospitals and clinics, not because these are natural monopolies themselves, but because the insatiable thirst for profits in this area of our economy undermines the quality of healthcare because it forces administrators to make decisions which put profits above the interests of their patients. This is an unacceptable circumstance to elevate profits over all other concerns.

What should the American military and political strategy be in Afghanistan? How would you define “success” for the United States in the war, and at what point could we withdraw our troops?

We should immediately withdraw all NATO forces from Afghanistan and work with the current government to establish conditions for peace and prosperity in the region. Some small portion of the annual funds wasted on the invasion of Afghanistan could be directed towards programs to rebuild the infrastructure of Afghanistan, support a UN peacekeeping mission, if locally desired, and support efforts to accommodate any exodus of refugees already migrating or resulting from foreign troop withdrawal. The US military-industrial cartel –  aided by the executive branch – manipulated the United States into an invasion of Afghanistan outside the purview of the US Constitution and without any true justification. This makes the activities in Afghanistan criminal acts and not the authorized acts of the United States of America.

What should be the American military and political strategy in Iraq?

Like Afghanistan, we should immediately withdraw our forces from the region and make suitable accommodations to facilitate a peaceful transition of power to local authorities. Both wars were the result of a failure of our constitutional republic and manipulative strategies of ruling elites who beat the drum for war as a way to empower themselves and line their pockets with taxpayer funds. Neither nation had anything to do with the attacks of September 11th and these wars were used as distractions from the incompetence of two administrations which both failed to investigate, seek indictments, extradite, or prosecute anyone materially supporting the nineteen suicide hijackers. To this day, we still have not even a single indictment for one of the worst criminal attacks of my lifetime. September 11th therefore revealed a complete failure of our military defenses followed by a complete failure of our criminal justice system to meet the criminal enforcement needs of the American people. While the war against Iraq involved proper Constitutional declaration and authorization for war, it is an authorization that Congress should never have provided. Such authorization should be rescinded and our troops should all be brought back home and out of harms way. We should then adopt policies – such as my proposed Tribune Branch Constitutional amendment – to ensure proper oversight of our executive branch so that these failures never happen again.

What should be done to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?

The US should reestablish diplomatic and trade relations with Iran. We should also both encourage and pressure Iran to re-conform to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty: a treaty which we have some indications Iran has violated. While the US has some obligation to provide civilian nuclear energy technology to Iran under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, my view is that we should instead focus more on establishing the US as a leader in renewable energy technology. We could therefore aid Iran in harnessing its own abundant solar, pumped storage hydroelectric and other natural, renewable, and green energy resources to relieve Iran’s mistaken assumption that it has a pressing need to pursue a policy of civilian nuclear energy. By normalizing relations we will also eliminate Iran’s primary motivation for seeking nuclear weapons capabilities (if Iran is seeking such weapons capabilities).

Will the United States ever have a comprehensive policy on immigration? What should it be? And what is your view of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and the recent federal appellate court ruling striking down its key provisions?

We have overly intrusive and overly oppressive immigration laws already. Unfortunately the last several administrations have pursued a Nazi-like strategy to scapegoat immigrants and US citizens alike in pursuit of a strategy of total dominance and demoralization of the US population and the World community. Undocumented workers are not the cause of rising crime rates  (which are falling anyway); undocumented workers did not perpetuate the terrorist attacks of September 11th nor the earlier attack in Oklahoma City; and undocumented workers are not causing our economic woes. Immigrants however are being scapegoated and treated like pariahs with the sinister subtext that they are the source of any and all of our national problems. However, our economic woes are the result of turning over public policy to the parasites from Wall Street who use economic crisis to further dominate our government and our economy.

Our immigration policy already is crafted to focus attention on employers and pursue civil damages against employers who fail to verify proper documentation of their employees. We need to return to employer focused enforcement. More importantly, we need to reverse the redistributive income programs pursued by Wall Street elites who voraciously gather all wealth into their own hands at the expense of all other Americans. I have a plan to encourage worker cooperative corporations as a way to curtail exploitation, and I also seek to guarantee a collective bargaining agreement for all other employees. By renegotiating NAFTA and expanding these worker protections and environmental protections to Canada and Mexico, we can create a truly North American Free and Fair Trade zone where any North American worker can work anywhere in North America. In keeping with the green concept of bioregions, It is far easier to patrol and control the very small Panamanian-Columbian border and the seas surrounding North America than it is to control and patrol some of the largest international borders in the World lying bordering the US with Canada on the North and Mexico on the South.

Please comment on the president’s education agenda, specifically on the Race to the Top competition that emphasizes core national standards and tests and the use of student test data to evaluate and reward teachers

My view is that these programs constitute an abuse of federal powers. Only a pathologically bureaucratic mind can imagine that a central authority can successfully reduce all possible measures of teaching and learning abilities of a diverse population to a single score or measure. To then also reward those who can teach to the test better while punishing schools which are struggling is to further degrade the educational experience of all Americans. We might as well eliminate all schools, forgo education entirely, and simply contract with Kaplan or another test-prep corporation to substitute for genuine education.

In my view, the federal role in education should be limited: 1) to ensuring equal protection, including funding such programs as Heads Start program, school lunch programs, and programs for the learning disabled; 2) some minimal and broad skeletal curriculum requirements such as civics, human rights education, Constitutional history, and US history; 3) providing support for for things which enjoy tremendous economies of scale such as my proposed federally hosted intellectual product repository which will provide a mechanism for teachers, students, parents and other educators to collaborate nationally in the development of educational materials and educational curricula.

What is your position on gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act?

I believe equal protection under the law requires governments, at all levels, to ensure all committed relationships share the same rights and privileges. In family law including family benefits, divorce law, power of attorney, hospital visitation, and all other spousal privileges, government must strive to provide equal protection under the law. Since I am committed to Constitutional adherence in all laws, I feel compelled to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Congress cannot pass an act to repeal portions of the US Constitution such as the equal protection and the full faith and credit clauses of the Constitution. Congress is compelled to comply with the Constitution and cannot amend it legislatively at its own whim even if it has garnered a sufficient number of members willing to violate their oath of office.

What should be our nation’s policy toward the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana?

The US Constitution was once amended to grant Congress the power to prohibit intoxicating liquors specifically. That amendment was later repealed, while also granting powers to the states to continue such intoxicating liquor prohibition at their discretion. These amendments never addressed any other intoxicants whatsoever. Moreover, prohibition taught us that governments have no place in enforcing the possession of such intoxicating substances. So after the repeal of prohibition, the use of other intoxicants as an pretense to prolong improper police powers, which has been a public policy disaster for over half a century. Substance abusers need substance abuse treatment. To instead create an enormous criminal enforcement drug interdiction apparatus does nothing for the people of the US. It merely empowers extreme opportunists to carve out powerful fiefdoms within our government and improperly intrude into the private affairs of all those in the US. We should immediately end the war on drugs, legalize drugs, carefully regulate and tax them, and regulate their sales to more successfully keep them away from minors. We should also make drug abuse treatment an essential part of a universal, single-payer medicare-for-all healthcare program.

The United States continues to hold “enemy combatants,” uncharged, at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Is indefinite detention without charges acceptable? If so, for how long? And are military commissions an acceptable alternative to civilian courts?

The US Constitution does not authorize indefinite detention. Nor should any republic permit such arbitrary and capricious abuse of governmental powers. The abuse of federal powers which has provided a false pretense for indefinite detentions is built on willful misinterpretations of the US Constitution. Central to this willful misinterpretation has been the deliberate conflation of two very different classes of persons: 1) enemy combatants and 2) the criminally accused. The US is empowered to detain enemy combatants by various international treaties such as the Geneva conventions. Such enemy combatants can be detained, if necessary, for the duration of hostilities between a Constitutionally conforming US military and another state power. The US has no authority under the Geneva conventions to detain foreign nationals for other reasons. Enemy combatants must enjoy the privileges delineated in the Geneva convention. I believe the US should also ensure the right of habeas corpus for any detainees who insists they are erroneously held as an enemy combatant (perhaps swept up with other enemy combatants). Such a right to hearing and trial should not require any trumped up charges that they are also war criminals (as we see with 15 year-old alleged enemy combatant Omar Khadr of Afghanistan who is being tried as a war criminal for not wearing an insignia while protecting his home from foreign invasion). The troubling problem of indefinite detention arises with enemy combatants because of the unconscionable and Orwellian problem of indefinite war, which itself is created by the military-industrial cartel’s grip over our Department of Defense driven by the pursuit of endless corporate profits.

In contrast to the power to detain enemy combatants in accordance with the Geneva conventions, the powers, obligations, rights and responsibilities related to criminally accused are all clearly defined by the US Constitution and two centuries of judicial rulings arising from that Constitution. For those accused of criminal activity in connection with the attacks of September 11th or any other terrorist attacks we have clear legal precedents which define and circumscribe our criminal justice system regarding those accused of criminal activity by the government. For those enemy combatants currently detained as a result of our unjustifiable invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, we should work to end these invasions and return the enemy combatants detained due to these unjustifiable invasions to their homes. We should not be pursuing trumped up charges of war crimes for those defending their homes from these foreign invasions.

List your educational background

  • BA Economics and Sociology, Roosevelt University 1992;
  • PhD (still ABD) Economics, University of Massachusetts;

Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong

  • W3C HTML5 Workgroup, Invited Expert;;
  • HTML4All, Founding Member;
  • Grant Park Advisory Council, founding chair;
  • South Loop Neighbors Association, President;
  • Economic Graduate Student Organization, co-chair