Preliminaries

Do you meet all of the legal qualifications for this office? Yes.

What primary ballot (if any) did you pull in the last general primary? I did not vote in the last general primary. In previous primaries I have pulled a Democratic primary ballot. I am a recent, but enthusiastic, convert to the Green Party.

Why do you wish to hold this position? To shift the debate in Congress, and government more broadly, back to the needs of the people. While this is too often the typical rhetoric we hear from politicians, I mean it in all sincerity and I feel I understand the intricacies of economics, politics and government sufficiently to fulfill that promise.

Why do you feel you are qualified to run? My PhD studies in economics gives me a unique outlook and skills desperately needed in Congress to actually meet the needs of the American people. We ensure criminal defendants have an attorney to represent them rather than face the intricate and dizzying legal system alone. We likewise need economic representation for the American people who have been steamrolled by economic interests and economics jargon that they and their representatives in Congress fail to understand. I can serve as an economic attorney for the people of my district and throughout the United States.

What is the most important issue you feel needs to be addressed? There are so many important issues that have slipped through the cracks of government, but I think the most important issue to address first is a comprehensive reform of our election, campaign and news media to restore democracy to the United States and to depose the military-finance industrial complex that holds an iron grip over government.

How many hours per week can you contribute to campaigning? Thirty or more.

Does your partner/family support your run for office? Yes. My family is quite supportive of me and my campaign.

Will you agree not to accept contributions from corporations or corporate PACs? Yes. I plan to run a barebones grassroots campaign that is focussed on volunteer work and the tightest budgetary constraints.

How would you describe your current base of support? Small but potentially expansive.

Please describe any volunteer experience you have with the Green Party. My connection to the Green Party started back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when I first learned of the European greens. I quickly became enamored with the ideas and ideology of these greens. While at the time, I failed to recognize the intricate connections I would later come to see between the views of Ralph Nader and the Green Party, I was excited to see Ralph Nader as the Presidential candidate in 2000. I enthusiastically supported Ralph Nader in 2000. This year (2009), I volunteered for Matt Reichel in his special election bid to replace Rahm Emanuel in the 5th Illinois Congressional District. I continue to volunteer for Matt Reichel in his 2010 campaign bid.

Please briefly describe any other relevant experience you have had, including employment, working on other political campaigns, or other volunteer efforts:

Have you ever worked for a political campaign?  Please describe. Yes. In my younger years I worked for several Democratic candidates. I did some promotion of Harold Washington in his 1987 Mayoral campaign. I later worked for Tom Sharpe in his 1st ward aldermanic bid. In 1992, I volunteered for Carol Mosely Braun’s campaign to successfully unseat Senator Alan Dixon.

Have you previously run for and/or held a public elected office?  Please describe. No. However, I have served in many civic roles as Chair and co-founder of the Grant Park Advisory Council, as President of South Loop Neighbors Association, and on the board of Friends of Downtown. I have also been active in my Economics Graduate Student Organization at the University of Massachusetts and with the Graduate Employee Union, local 2322 of the United Auto Workers.

Please provide any other general information you feel may be appropriate.

Issues

Please briefly describe your position on the following issues:

Campaign Finance and Election Reform

Effective, transparent, and fair elections are fundamental for a healthy democracy. We need to establish voter registration and balloting policies that ease the voting process and promote the greatest genuine citizen participation. Electronic voting and electronic registration brings with it new possibilities for conducting elections free from election fraud and intimidation. Unfortunately, the election authorities have chosen to divert us from the benefits made possible by electronic systems and instead establish closed proprietary systems that guarantee a continuation of election fraud.

  • I will support strong legislation that addresses the deficiencies in our current election and campaign procedures.
  • I will support legislation that introduces improved election procedures for all Federal elections, such as instant runoff elections throughout the United States.
  • As an early step in comprehensive campaign reform, I will support a form of Federal in-kind finance through
    • direct federal investment in server farms available to provide internet hosting and technical support for official campaign communications for all eligible candidates with: easy to navigate directories; portals; and search capabilities to allow voters to inform themselves and to easily compare candidates, platforms, and referenda.
    • an automatic direct mail allotment for all eligible Federal campaigns through the US postal service
    • new requirements for satellite and cable providers to include easily navigable channel lineups to access and deliver campaign communication from Federal campaigns
    • return to and reinforcement of unbiased broadcast standards for campaign coverage and an extension of those standards to cable and satellite news broadcasts as well. These standards include equal-time requirements for all candidates and the fairness doctrine to give due coverage of alternative points of view.
  • I will introduce legislation to establish, and Federally host a project developing a hardware reference platform and open source software for voter registration, election management, and ballot casting and ballot counting. The software will include careful security measures but allow instantaneous and independent citizen audits of ballot counts as well as individual voter verification of their own cast ballot at any time online. The system will produce a secure electronic audit trail with optional electronic and paper voter receipts with all the information necessary to verify the integrity of the ballot at any subsequent time in the process (this effort could be available and developed internationally for all democratic nations).
  • I aspire to establish a new constitutional amendment to create a fourth branch of government: a federal “tribune” branch based on nationwide proportional party elections where each tribune receives tribune funding to produce partisan news and political communiqué for the party in proportion to the nationwide votes received. Each elected tribune will enjoy complete autonomy with regard to budgeting, hiring, firing, volunteers and total editorial discretion over the content produced. Tribunes may form coalitions and produce content together, establish news wire services, and so on. Tribunes may supplement their activities with volunteer labor, but not with other funds or in-kind contributions.

Energy Policy

Our irresponsible energy policy for over a century has led us down a primrose path: the pleasure has all been enjoyed by the oil, coal, and nuclear industries at the expense of the general welfare of all Americans. We face several urgent problems due to our current energy policy: 1) global warming; 2) moving beyond peak extraction of fossil fuels and other resources; 3) International wars and conflicts over these dwindling resources; 4) as we move beyond the peak deposits for fossil fuels, progressively irresponsible fossil fuel extraction and processing methods which poison our Earth’s land, streams, and air; (such as mountain top removal for coal). We must diligently avoid relying too heavily on certain biofuels where substituting fuel for food could potentially starve the people of the third-world to meet the US irresponsible energy consumption needs. Fortunately solar energy is so abundant on Earth that we can provide for all of our energy needs form solar, wind, hydroelectric and limited use of natural gas (mostly derived from methane from our waste with some supplemental fossil fuel natural gas).

  • First we must address the problem of global warming and climate change. I will sponsor legislation to establish an energy infrastructure built entirely on renewable energy sources and focussed mostly on electrical energy. To address the urgent crisis of global warming, I support an immediate focus on replacing coal and oil energy use with renewable energy.
  • We must also focus our attention toward energy efficiency measures.
  • Current renewable energy and energy efficiency technology looks capable of replacing all fossil fuels and likely nuclear as well in just a few decades when our entire energy infrastructure can be replaced by clean emission free energy
  • For a complete elaboration on my energy and climate policy see: 2020 Vision

Environmental Policy

The consequences of environmental degradation are uncertain. We should adhere as much as possible to the precautionary principle where we take every reasonable measure to avoid any pollution whatsoever. We have the technology today to reduce or eliminate most pollution whether air, water, or land. While mainstream economists will often argue that elimination or containment of all pollution is not economically sound, they base that opinion on their own personal views and not anything derived from economic science. The precautionary principle indicates we have insufficient information to know the destructive consequences of our polluting actions, but to the extent we can reasonably avoid such dangers, we should. I would therefore:

  • Establish a reformed EPA that would focus on the general welfare of Americans and not the interests of the few large industry cartels who want free reign to squander the resources we need for ourselves and our posterity
  • Transition to all organic farming. The great bulk of productivity in agriculture is due to the automation within agriculture. Such automation means in many cases one person can cultivate the land where before it required hundreds. It also means that only a few are needed to take urgent action in the case of weather and other natural disasters to conserve as much of the crop as possible.
  • I will promote greater scrutiny of all air, water, and land pollution including, greater recycling of metals, electronics, etc. Some day we might or our posterity might have to turn to mining our landfills for metals and other resources. We need to start now to divert these resources from landfills, store them in a conservative manner, or maintain them within the cycle of industrial production.
  • I will support legislation that focuses on production and distribution processes that reduce our superfluous resource consumption while easing the reuse and recycling of materials
  • I will also push for more responsible management and stewardship of national forests and other Federal lands. Currently these Federal lands are a drain on the public treasury but they should be operated in a revenue neutral or even a revenue positive fashion, thus lifting the burden off of taxpayers and also requiring industry and consumers to pay at least the minimum equitable cost of these resources.

Jobs Policy

Often our corporate focussed media has us all evaluating public policy in terms of how many jobs it creates. This myopia leads us to think in terms of make-work endeavors and seeking economic solutions that raise the burden on the American workforce. A simple way to create more jobs without creating more work is to shorten the length of the working day. The long cherished gains of workers in shortening the working day to forty hours per week represent major milestones for labor in much of the industrialized World. However we have rested on those laurels, and in the United States especially, many of those gains have been subsequently whittled away. First we need to focus on creating better and more fulfilling jobs, though with less work.

  • I would reduce the working day to 32 hours through amendment of the Fair Labor Standards Act: requiring time-and-a-half overtime beyond 32 hours for hourly and salaried employees (excluding only very narrow upper management). Encouraging worker managed enterprises. This reduction in the working day creates more jobs: sharing the work of production in our economy across more workers while also allowing for more fulfilling household production.
  • I would promote worker and consumer cooperatives and cooperative production, like that found among the Mondragon Cooperatives Corporation. Also I would work to  deploy software and automation meant to meet the needs of household-based, community-based and cooperative-based economies.
  • I will support the growth of worker controlled businesses for the largest industries: automotive, steel, processed foods, construction materials, textiles and clothing, particularly those corporations where the US Government has taken a large investor stake. This can be done through reform of corporate laws and a shift away from stock financing of corporations and toward debt financing of corporations.
  • Strengthen the powers of OSHA
  • Repeal the Taft-Harrtley Act of 1947 and a return to an environment more favorable to organized labor such as what we had under the Wagner Act of 1935

Drug Policy

Drug interdiction is an anachronistic vestige of the prohibition era, when intoxicating liquors were made illegal and certain bureaucratic agencies within the Federal Government uncontrollably grew into oppressive state agencies, bent on controlling the private lives of Americans and fostering organized crime.

  • I would sponsor legislation to treat all drug use as a medical issue: ending the drug war and the paramilitary interdiction in the drug trade.
  • While use of intoxicants in working situations is inappropriate, I would sponsor legislation to make it a crime for employers to discriminate against employees who use drug on their own time (an end to testing for prior drug use, but allowing testing for present intoxication and especially impairment).

Gun Policy

The second amendment is about the right of the people to a well regulated militia so as not to be eclipsed and overrun by the power of a standing military. Therefore the second amendment is not a consumer protection law as the gun lobbies and gun industry portrays. Rather it is about the rights currently denied American to participate in the militia for ensuring a free State: a republic.

Gun regulation is not prohibited by the second amendment; it is a central part of the amendment. I would support the power of state, county and local governments to regulate the purchase and sale of weapons as they see fit in their communities.

A volunteer willing to defend the country should not also be expected to pay for the military gear necessary to do so. So as part of my proposal to create a civilian defense force, members would be provided with the necessary gear always available at the ready, in the unlikely event our country is invaded.

Those in favor of the second amendment should join me in advocating the full spirit of the second amendment which requires a drastic scaling down of our professional standing military and the reinvigoration of our civilian militia: our civilian defense force. The second amendment is not at all about consumer protection and gun-industry boosterism. The second amendment is not about arming the citizenry in a war of all against all, rather it is about involving all able-bodied citizens to participate in the defense of the country from enemies both foreign and domestic. The second amendment is about ensuring the government never attains a military power divorced from the people. We let that happen despite all those claiming their consumerist support of the second amendment. We now face the arduous task of reversing that separated and oppressive military apparatus which acts independent of Constitutional powers as its own supra-governmental entity.

  • I fully support local communities in exercising their power to regulate the purchase, sale, possession, and handling of firearms so long as those requirements do not hinder the establishment of a Federally commanded, and tightly regulated, civil defense force (militia).
  • The Federally operated civillian defense force will already include tight control over Federally issued firearms and other provisions such as sealed ammunition, secure firearms safes, and tightly regulated firearm use
  • I support the recreational use of firearms for hunting, target practice, and the like. I also support other well-regulated firearm ownership and commerce.

Health Care

Insurance is an inherently monopolistic industry. Health insurance, therefore, is properly handled by government monopoly which can be directed by the will of a democratic people. Private monopolies and oligopoly cartels (oligarchs all of them) must not be allowed to continue to undermine our democracy. Allowing private for-profit oligarchs to usurp the power of government is completely undemocratic. Moreover, market mechanisms fail to provide the right incentives in healthcare. We are discouraged from seeking treatment when we should, even without a co-payment while we will typically do anything to extend our lives no matter how great the cost. In addition, the fee schedules for healthcare are so complicated and convoluted that we can never compare costs from one provider to another and shop based on price.
Right now our reliance on private health insurance implies that we rely too heavily on price – and ultimately income – to ration healthcare. This is inhumane since there is no reason someone should be denied treatment because they are poor or otherwise unable to afford treatment.

  • I fully support the adoption of the United States National Healthcare Act (HR 676)

Immigration Policy

Our current immigration policy is an attack on all US workers. By criminalizing otherwise lawful worker migration, we create the conditions for a hyper-exploited labor-force of “illegal” immigrant workers. This criminalization serves to lower wages and degrade working conditions for all workers, citizen and non-citizen alike. The attack on immigrant workers in its current form, is therefore an attack on all workers.

Work visa enforcement should focus exclusively on the employers who hire illegal immigrants and not on the immigrant workers themselves. If we dry up the demand for illegal immigrant workers, we will end the attempt of immigrants to circumvent our immigration laws.

However, as a way forward I would however support amnesty for existing undocumented immigrants and a path to legal resident status as well as an amnesty for businesses who have previously hired illegally workers. But moving forward I would support strong enforcement against these law-breaking employers.

If we are to have a trade pact with Mexico, we should look to replace NAFTA with a democratic and worker-centered fair trade agreement where we actually attempt to lift Mexico up to a peer with the United States and Canada. NAFTA was, in part, a response to the European Union which aspired to make Europe closer to the pluralistic trade arrangements among the 50 states of the United States of America. With NAFTA the ideals emanating from the United States itself were somehow perverted into a trade agreement where we wanted to avoid the free-flow of workers across our borders rather than an agreement that fostered workers freedoms and the free-flow of workers.

Fiscal Policy

We need to treat fiscal policy in a more systematic and long-term fashion. We do not want spending merely for spending’s sake, but a genuine focus on public investment focussed on nationwide transportation, energy, communication networks and counter-cyclical measure to bring economic stability. Accordingly, I would:

  • Establish new accounting procedures that force the Federal Government to account for durable purchases and depreciation of durables as well as cyclical spending to better determine how much of our debt is structural and how much of our debt is non-structural. The decision to hold less debt for durables is a decision to maintain fewer durables such as highways, railroads, military hardware and so forth. This decision should be clearly separated from our structural debt decisions.
  • Strengthen our counter-cyclical fiscal measures such as unemployment insurance, food stamps, WIC, Housing vouchers, and so on so that they became even stronger automatically during economic downturns, through the dedication of tax revenues in boom times determined through actuarially projected obligations.
  • Establish long-term planning that allows for the acceleration of public infrastructure projects in times of economic downturn and slows the development of such projects during economic booms.

Globalization and Trade Policy

International trade is an important part of our contemporary economy. However, we face many problems due to the uncontrolled way trade has developed. We need to foster domestic industries within the US or we face an utter dependency in the basic products involved in our social reproduction.

We must end the US imperialism around the World and instead rely on cordial and reciprocal fair-trading relations. Globalization is not the enemy of the World’s workers, rather it is the specific imperialist form of globalization that is an enemy to all workers. With imperial globalization, the might of the imperial states are used to suppress all workers, along with general dissent, and free-commerce around the globe, in favor of the interests of oligarchs and oligopoly cartels.

We need to create a more appropriate balance between some level of national self-sufficiency and specialization in the international division of labor. Environmentally it is important to reduce the quantity of shipping that takes place around the globe. The current World monetary policy that props up the US dollar is an instrumental problem in undermining US domestic industries.

The current free trade agreements constitute exploitation of labor agreements. Allowing the free flow of capital and products while constricting the free flow of labor. If we find partners suitable for opening up unfettered trade then that must include the unfettered crossing of borders for workers as well. If the partners are unsuitable for that level of free trade, then they are unsuitable for free-flow of capital and perhaps even products.

Accordingly, I would:

  • Work to establish through the UN, a global pollution tax on nautical freighters where revenues go to self-sufficiency and sustainable economic development projects around the World. The United States would not receive much of the revenues from this tax, however we would still stand to benefit considerably since the tax would induce the redevelopment of domestic production capacities here at home. The tax would also address some of the carbon emissions which are the most technologically challenging to reduce along with some other severe pollution.
  • Establish guaranteed loans for worker-directed corporations to reintroduce industrial capacities which the US no longer possesses (such as steel production, electronics, renewable energy and energy efficiency materials).

Civil Liberties and National Security

The threats to our national security are largely domestic. the unwieldy Military-finance industrial complex, dozens of intelligence and espionage agencies, parastate organizations, etc.

Our national security should be provided primarily by a civilian defense force supplemented by a reasonably sized coast guard, navy, and air force. The greatest threat to our national security has become the US military itself. We must somehow rein in this threat to our national security, depose the military-financial industrial complex, and restore democratic rule to the United States. A serious symptom of the Military’s threat to our national security was their ability to skirt all investigation of their incompetence during the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Without a thorough investigation of the utter impotence of the US military defense on that day we have no serious appraisal of threats to the United States. Is it the case that any ragtag band of a few dozen criminals, armed with box-cutters, can threaten the mighty United States of America at their whim? Is our military that weak? These types of questions need to be answered. It does no good to launch a massive surveillance scheme on the American people, if the military cannot response to actual intelligence. Instead it merely reveals the contempt the military-finance industrial complex has for the founding ideals of the United States and the US Constitution. Rather than face the culpability for their failure to defend the United States and the loss of life of nearly 3,000 Americans, they used their own failure opportunistically to further solidify their oligarchical control over our Federal government.

I would:

  • Repeal the USA PATRIOT Act which overstepped the powers granted to Congress and trampled the Bill of Rights.
  • Ensure that telecoms would always be held liable for violations of their customers privacy and the disclosure of information to criminal investigators without a duly issued subpoena.
  • Sponsor legislation requiring an immediate investigation into the attacks of September 11th culminating in actual indictments of those suspected of sponsoring, planning, directing, and executing the attacks.

Foreign Policy

For foreign policy, our focus should first be on normalization of diplomatic and trade relations to create healthy international relations and diplomacy to resolve conflicts.

I would sponsor legislation to close nearly all foreign bases. I would work to end the current wars and rein in our out-of-control military spending by voting against war appropriations. The greatest waste in government is by far in our military. The US military has become a destructive force throughout the World – including within the United States – and the American people shoulder that burden in many ways.

Expenditures on military should be viewed in a similar way as expenditures on insurance. Just as we spend money on health insurance in the possibility an unforeseen health event occurs, we should consider our spending on military as spending to insure us in the event of an unforeseen military invasion. Unfortunately we wildly overspend for such military insurance to such an extent that we create the very hostilities we want to avoid. It would be like buying so much health insurance to be able to avil ourselves of daily CAT scans and weekly exporatory surgery. The insurance becomes the source of our problems.

The only attack on the United States (non-territory) in more than a century occurred on September 11, 2001. This was the first opportunity our modern US military had to show us the actual military defense our trillions of dollars had bought us. The military response was thoroughly incompetent and impotent. The only effective defense to that attack arose from the spontaneous civilian defense aboard flight 93 where passengers cooperated to prevent their own playing from reaching yet another strategic target. We Americans were all too stunned by those events to ask how our national defense could go so horribly wrong. Though we spend as much as all the other nations of the World combined on our US military, the attacks of September 11th 2001 demonstrated those funds have bought us no defense at all.

I would:

  • advance resolutions to urge we re-establish diplomatic relations with North Korea, Iran, and Cuba.
  • sponsor legislation replacing the US military with a new US military focussed on defending the United States of America: the land encompassed within our own shores, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia and our overseas territories.

Mideast Policy

I would work to end the war in Iraq and encourage the transition to UN peacekeeping mission to help reestablish the Iraqi government and civil society. I would also work to reduce our expenditures to a fraction of the current war expenditures, but directed instead toward aid for Iraq to rebuild its infrastructure which the US military has destroyed. I would also work to normalize relations with Iran.

In terms of Israel and Palestine, I would support legislation to apply diplomatic pressure and sanctions to Israel to jettison the fascist elements of its government and normalize relations with the surrounding occupied territories.

To end the aggressive military actions of Israel:

  • We need to stop using the language of a Jewish State in Israel. Israel today is not a Jewish state it is a pluralistic state and I want to see that pluralistic state continue and thrive. However, just like the US state it has been seized by oligarchs and factions bent on military might and the profits reaped from fomenting war and the threat of war. Just as I want to see those destructive forces expunged from the US, I want to see them removed from Israel as well.
  • We also need to understand that zionism is not the same thing as imperialism. Rather imperial interests have usurped the cause of zionism to direct it towards its own militaristic interests.
  • With the 1982 invasion of the Golan Heights, Israel incorporated the region into Israel and made its residents into Israeli citizens. In the Golan Heights region citizenship has allowed Israel to avoid many of the hostilities experienced between Israel and the territories carved out by Israel’s – then hostile but now reconciled neighbors – in the 1947–49 armistice agreements.
  • promote a peace process that focusses on the grassroots political organizations living on the one hand in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (the Israeli controlled territories) and on the other hand on the grassroots in Israel – including Jews, Muslims, and others. A grassroots peace strategy circumvents the Israeli and Arab military industrial complexes that profit – in terms of both power and wealth – from the continued conflict
  • to force the peace process into a grassroots one, the United States should:
    • promise to end military aid to the Israeli state, if the Israeli attacks do not end (corresponding humanitarian aids provided to the occupied territories)
    • if Israel fails to end its aggressive attacks (i.e., attacks continue), the US should end military support entirely
    • if attacks continue, promise to cutoff all aid and even enact sanctions against the Israeli state

Short Answers

Please provide short answers, and any elaboration you think is needed, on these issues:

Abolition of the Death Penalty: SupportOpposeOther

The government is far too flawed and partisan to be involved in the irreversible decision to end a convicted person’s life. Our oligarchically controlled government especially is too narrowly focussed to ever make such decisions. However, even if we achieve a full and complete democracy, we also have such plentiful resources that allow us to easily incarcerate those convicted of heinous acts and allow them to live out their lives in confinement. The abundance of resources to confine a convict undermines the claim that the government is acting in the self-defense of the people.

Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples: SupportOpposeOther

Interference in our family relationships is one of the most invasive intrusions of government. Government should facilitate those who want to marry,, associate, divorce, separate, and other institutional arrangements, but has no place in deciding who may form associations and relationships. Federal government has an obligation to protect the human rights of the American people and treading on the rights of same-sex couples is anathema to that obligation.

Criminalization of Abortion: Support / OpposeOther

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a very private decision. Again, government has no business intruding into the private lives of individuals to such an extent.

While I understand the desire of some to treat the life of a fetus as equivalent to the life of a fully developed and cognizant human being, this view is far from universal and is therefore best left to the various persons involved to decide. Criminalizing abortion would be like criminalizing carnivores or criminalizing oil drilling. All life is precious and should be treated with the respect it deserves, however the views on this greatly vary from community to community. Life, as a metabolic process, is something we end on a daily basis. However, life in the other sense of the term – in the time spent from birth until death, we are all largely in agreement that no human life should be taken except in self-defense. Prior to a human’s birth there is far too much difference of opinion to grant a mandate to government to interfere in this moral realm.

Please provide any additional information which you feel might be pertinent.

I am a strong believer in the Green Party’s ten key values and agree with nearly everything in the 2004 Party platform as far as it goes. I hope to produce my own analysis of the 2004 platform on my campaign website in due time.