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Baltimore Sun omits Flowers, other Greens from voter guide

1baltsunmemeMaryland Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Margaret Flowers was recently asked by The Baltimore Sun to complete a candidate survey — yet the Sun failed to post her replies or those from other Green candidates, even those competing in the three-way Baltimore Green Party mayoral primary. When asked why, the Sun said publishing the Green responses would require changing its webpage design.

Flowers posted her complete responses on her campaign website. They are reprinted below.

 

Recently Dr. Margaret Flowers was asked to complete a questionnaire by The Baltimore Sun. Here are her responses.

Q: Why are you running for office?

A: I am running for the U.S. Senate to bring my expertise, honesty and integrity to that office. I see through my work how the concerns of Marylanders are ignored by our two senators even when serious issues of public health and safety are raised. I do not accept any corporate donations and I will only accept the average Maryland income. My office will be open to constituents so that we can work together to rein in corruption, reduce the wealth divide, solve the health care crisis, move to clean and sustainable energy and end systemic racism.

Q: What is your view of the international agreement intended to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

A: I support the international agreement with Iran as a first step towards normalizing relations and I support increasing the use of diplomacy in our foreign policy in general. I also support prohibiting and eliminating all nuclear weapons throughout the world, including in the United States. The U. S. should not spend $1 trillion over the next ten years on upgrading nuclear weapons. Instead, we should use that money for pressing domestic needs and engage in multilateral negotiations with all nuclear weapon states to reach an agreement to ban nuclear weapons. I agree with my physician colleagues who understand the devastation that nuclear weapons can produce and the imperative that we end their threat everywhere.

Q: What strategy should the United States pursue to protect itself and its allies from ISIS?

A: ISIS is a symptom of the destruction of nations in the Middle East through the United States’ failed “War on Terror”. This has led to chaos in countries like Iraq and Libya that creates an opening for extremists and foments anti-American sentiment. Our first priority should be to cut off ISIS’ access to money and to weapons, which are coming from U. S. allies. And our second priority should be to provide basic support to stabilize countries in the Middle East. There is much that needs to be done to restore basic infrastructure and access to energy, food, clean water, education and more. As these states re-stabilize, they will regain the trust of their people and reduce extremism. United States’ militarism and intervention is the cause of this problem, not the solution.

Q: Do you support the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Have free trade deals generally been good for the U.S.?

A: I have been actively working for the past five years to stop international agreements like the TransPacific Partnership. Experience with similar treaties over the past twenty years shows that they drive a global race to the bottom in worker rights and wages and protection of the environment. They give greater rights to transnational corporations to sue our government if our new laws interfere with their ability to make profits in a trade tribunal that supersedes even our Supreme Court. Veolia, a French corporation that operates in Maryland, sued Egypt over a new law to raise its minimum wage. We cannot allow transnational corporations to exploit workers. Baltimore has been hurt enough by agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement that cost us our steel industry. We cannot trade away our rights. All of our trade agreements have worsened the trade deficit, rather than helping. They enrich those at the top and hurt smaller businesses and farms. Studies of the TPP show that it will have a negligible positive effect on our Gross Domestic Product over the next ten years and may actually reduce GDP. The TPP will worsen wealth inequality. It is time to end this failed model of trade and create a new model that lifts up workers and protects the health and safety of our communities and the planet.

Q: Name one thing you would do to improve the functioning of the Affordable Care Act.

A: The reality is that the Affordable Care Act continues to leave tens of millions of people without insurance and tens of millions more who have insurance but still can’t afford health care because of the out-of-pocket costs. I support improving and expanding traditional Medicare to cover everyone, eliminating out-of-pocket costs and broadening coverage to include mental health, dental, vision and long term care without requiring a spend down that drives seniors into poverty. An improved Medicare for all will reduce our health spending while covering everyone with comprehensive benefits. It will end bankruptcies due to medical costs. As a nation, we are already spending enough on health care to accomplish this. It’s time that we join the rest of the industrialized nations who treat health care as a public good, not as a commodity for profits.

Q: Are the steps Congress and the Obama administration took to increase regulation of Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis appropriate? Does more need to be done?

A: As anyone who watched “The Big Short” knows, the fraudulent behavior that was responsible for the 2008 financial crisis continues unabated. Unlike the Savings and Loan crisis in the 1980’s in which there were 30,000 investigations and 1,000 felony convictions, no top level executive responsible for the last crash has been held accountable. I have already pledged to support the 19-step plan created by financial crime experts and whistleblowers that would mostly use existing laws to rein in corruption. It would also reduce the size of the too-big-to-fail banks. I would go further to promote financial institutions that serve the public good rather than Wall Street. Like the state of North Dakota, Maryland and other states could create public banks that would serve local needs for infrastructure and investment in businesses. And we can add banking services to the United States Postal Service to meet the needs of those without access to bank accounts. We are fortunate in Maryland to have The Democracy Collaborative which is providing concrete information about how to build and keep wealth in our communities and reduce the wealth divide. I will do what I can to raise awareness of these positive solutions and assist their implementation.

Q: How would you characterize President Barack Obama’s legacy? What are his greatest accomplishments and failures?

A: The Obama campaigns and presidency have demonstrated that there is a widespread desire in the United States for real change. During his presidency, significant movements to end the corruption of government by money, to raise the minimum wage, to end the fossil fuel and nuclear era and move to clean and sustainable energy sources, to end systemic racism and more have grown. Unfortunately, many of the problems driving these movements have not yet been solved. We need leadership in the White House and Congress that are willing to take on the wealthy interests and promote policies that meet the needs of the people and protect the planet. There is already super majority support for many of these policies, but the dysfunction in our political system has made it impossible to move forward on these solutions.

Q: Do you support an increase in the federal minimum wage, and to what level? Should the federal government require paid sick time or family leave?

A: Families and individuals in the United States should have enough income to be able to meet their basic necessities. There are a number of steps that can be taken to accomplish this. A first step would be to look at the reality of the cost of living and raise the federal poverty level to reflect this. There should be a federal minimum wage that is tied to the cost of living in each area and that rises with inflation. Workers should be able to earn a living wage and have paid sick and family leave as well as vacation time. Families have emergencies and workers should not have to fear losing their job when they need time to deal with those emergencies. When workers are sick, they should be able to stay home and recover, especially when they have contagious illnesses. Families need time for recreation in order to be healthy. I would go even farther than a minimum wage to work towards a guaranteed basic income for all people. Instead of public dollars being used to subsidize the profits of big industries, those dollars should be viewed as a public investment with a public return similar to the Alaska Permanent Fund. A universal basic income would eliminate poverty and the need for many poverty programs. This would begin to correct the inequality between workers and capital that has driven the growing wealth divide over the past 50 years.

Q: What steps should Congress take to reduce the toll of gun violence?

A: The high rate of gun deaths is an urgent public health problem that has been a long time in the making and will take some time to resolve. Changes will need to be made to reduce access to guns by people who would use them to kill others or themselves, either intentionally or by accident, and to reduce the socio-economic factors that lead to violent crimes. Congress should regulate the sales of all guns and require universal background checks. Assault weapons and magazines that can carry a large number of rounds should be banned in the US, and this should be combined with a program to buy these back. All gun owners should be licensed and required to take basic gun safety courses or to otherwise demonstrate competence. This should include how to store guns so that children do not have easy access to them. And there should be mandatory reporting of gun thefts to law enforcement. Additionally, Congress should promote policies that curtail the socio-economic factors such as poverty, the failed drug war and lack of access to mental health treatment that drive gun violence towards others and oneself.

Q: Does the process by which congressional district lines are drawn need to be reformed? Should the issue be handled on the federal or state level?

A: There are many reforms that are needed to create a functioning democracy in the United States. How districts are drawn is one of them, but we need to go beyond that to remove barriers to voting, remove barriers to third parties so they have equal access to ballots, primaries and the media and remove the influence of money over who gets elected. We need to hold elections in an open and transparent way so that results are reliable and can be verified. As far as determining districts, I support the drawing of districts by an impartial commission at the state level. There are steps that need to be taken at the federal level such as universal voter registration for everyone 18 and older and Constitutional changes such as ending the Electoral College.

Q: What role should Congress have in helping cities like Baltimore?

A: Members of Congress representing Maryland have a responsibility to constituents throughout the state, including Baltimore. Constituents and local and state government officials should partner with federal legislators to create policies to support necessary solutions that can be implemented at the national, state and local levels. This could include national policies that would benefit people in the city such as putting in place an improved Medicare for all health system, supporting worker rights such as the right to organize unions, creating a basic guaranteed income and protecting our US Postal Service and other public entities that provide high quality jobs and services. For support at the state level, policies can be put in place to promote the transition to a clean and sustainable energy economy including clean transportation, to use a public health approach to drug use, to end mass incarceration and to support a high quality public education system, to create affordable housing and more. The federal government is already investigating the Baltimore police. It should compel police retraining and practices that end police violence, especially those that are done in a racially-prejudiced way. And the federal government can partner to develop policies that promote community-wealth building institutions at the local level such as public banks, support for worker-owned cooperatives, community-owned renewable energy, local food production and community land trusts for permanently-affordable housing.

2 Comments

  1. Good Day Readers! I am too a political candidate in Maryland’s 8th District who has been left off the Baltimore Sun Website. Here are My responses to their questionnaire.

    Q – What is your education background?
    B.A. in Global Affairs with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa

    WMD Subject Matter Expert with 12 years of Military and Government training

    HazMat Technician Train-the-Trainer, with 10 years of HazMat and Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Hazard Response and Defense experience.

    Q – Previous political experience?
    I am a political outsider. If it were not for the poor leadership of this country, the corrupt nature of the entire political process, the inability of our representatives to actually represent the people, I would not run for political office. I have no desire to control people, or to use political power to further my personal desires. I desire to truly offer my fellow Marylanders the opportunity to be involved with the leadership process, and to have representation that is for them, and not of monetary interest.

    Q – Why are you running for office?
    I am running for Congress because I believe that the United States, as well as the Great State of Maryland need a new political direction. I strongly feel that corruption, injustice, large money interest, and globally destructive forces are controlling our political system. It is my intent to inspire the American youth to prepare themselves for future leadership, to motivate capable and educated leaders of generation Y to begin building the future for our children, and to empower the American voter by providing them representation that they deserve.

    I am running for Congress because I swore an oath to this Nation that I would protect it against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I am seeing corruption, injustice, and oppression of the middle class citizens as the enemy. If I were to stand by silently and not run for Congress this year, I would be failing to hold to my commitment of oath to each one of you, and to myself. I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror knowing that I did not do all that I could to make the this world a better place.

    Q – Iran: What is your view of the international agreement intended to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

    I am for the Iranian Nuclear Deal, as it allows us to ensure that Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons, it ensures that an arms race will not happen in the region, and it is in accordance with America’s best interest.

    The deal will ensure that Iran only enriches Uranium to 3.67%, while 90% is needed for weapons, and but allows them to continue to have nuclear energy. In the deal Iran is going to give up 97% of its Uranium stockpile. It ensures that Iran will turn over 14,000 of its 20,000 centrifuges, and it allows inspections on its facilities, ensuring global confidence. If Iran decides to violate the agreement, the international community has an extremely high probably of detecting their deceit. The deal effectively stops all pathways to Iran achieving nuclear weapons.

    Although there is a fear of Iran using its newly released funds to further its interest in the region, the gains far exceed the risk. Ultimately this deal ensures that there isn’t a war with Iran in the near future. If there happened to be a war, it would ensure that Iran wouldn’t be able to develop a Nuclear weapon within a year time frame, giving us time to counter their efforts.

    Overall, the deal ensures that tensions are normalized for the next 15 years, giving the U.S. opportunities to stabilize the region, as well as to reinforce further peace talks.

    Q – ISIS: What strategy should the United States pursue to protect itself and its allies from ISIS?

    Let’s keep in mind that a strategy is an idea or set of ideas which are intended to accomplish specific objectives, through the use of tools or instruments of power and influence. First, we should set an end-state, which is the destruction of ISIS and their allies, with the ultimate goal of achieving regional peace in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Next, we should train enemies of ISIS in the region, providing guidance and coordination support (not weapons). We should empower our allies in the region to contain ISIS militarily, economically, physically, and ideologically, forcing them to act overly aggressive and into battles that we have preordained. We should support the forming a coalition of forces to protect safe zones, and civilians who are fleeing ISIS aggression, and with the coalition we should thwart ISIS activities. We must create a network of informants who would update leaders in the area on ISIS activities. We should then stop them from raising funds from oil and trade, isolating any nations who negotiate with them or support them in any way.

    We should use our National influence in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and the UAE to further ISIS’s destruction. Ultimately by empowering our allies in the region, we ensure that American lives are not lost. If we are successful our allies in the region will be proud of their efforts, and the U.S. will maintain regional presence, while limiting boots on the groups and financial burden.

    Q – Trade: Do you support the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Have free trade deals generally been good for the U.S.?

    I do not in any way support the TPP. The TPP will use an instrument called Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) to limit the powers that governments have over laws and regulations, allowing multinational corporations to erode laws created for protecting the public. The TPP will cause a loss in jobs in America, intellectual property rights will be threatened. Freedom of expression, due process, and innovation will be challenged.

    Although politicians may believe that their trade deals and policies have helped our nation, it has only caused our government to institute more economic control measures, and has caused harm to our partner nations. Our trade agreements are typically politically expedient, guided by short term gain without long term reckoning. Our trade agreements rely far too much on corporations, lobbyist, and special interest inputs, and doesn’t do justice to what American’s desire.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, and at present the American Politicians continue to involved themselves in actions that are not conducive to citizen approval. Today, the Real Clear Politics poll on American Congress is at 13.3%. If I were an employer and I only approved an employee 13% of the time I would reform or release said employee from that position.

    Although I recognize the subtle strategy of economic empowerment over emerging economies, the upcoming trade deals erode American sovereignty.

    In short, our “free” trade deals have unforeseen consequences not considered by short term gain politicians.

    Q – Obamacare: Name one thing you would do to improve the functioning of the Affordable Care Act.

    IF Obamacare is going to stay, we are going to have to change it in order to make it work for Americans. The very first thing that needs to change is the individual mandate penalties for not having insurance. If an American chooses not to invest in health insurance, for whatever reason, they should not be charged a penalty for doing so. This law is insulting to freedom of choice, and reflects the egregious notion that the government is the father of the citizens, instead of being by and for the people.

    Obamacare was a step into the future that many Americans desire, however it is mainly a Health Insurance program and does little to offer Americans a choice in care.

    In order to further improve the Affordable Care Act we should allow alternative treatments into our healthcare system, so people who disagree with invasive and harmful treatments are covered when they seek holistic and healthy alternatives. These ideas that I am speaking about are medicinal marijuana treatments, eastern medical treatments, diet and fitness treatments, alternative cancer treatments (Gerson therapy, Alkaline diets and plant based treatments, and other natural cancer treatments). If Americans desire universal health care coverage, we also deserve a wider amount of choices that fit into our lifestyles. Everyone doesn’t agree with destructive treatments to solve destructive illnesses.

    Q – Financial regulation: Are the steps Congress and the Obama administration took to increase regulation of Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis appropriate? Does more need to be done?

    The short answer to this question is a resounding no. The Dodd-Frank Act does not to much to stop corruption in the political process, and only created more regulations harming small businesses and local banking institutions, further consolidating financial power in the hands of the wealthy.

    As long as politicians are able to receive money from lobbyist and wall street, our citizens will continue to be pawns in the financial games played by wall street. To do this I would support the “Anti-Corruption Act” , which seeks to end corruption in politics, to empower the American public, and created more transparency in political financing.

    Q – Obama legacy: How would you characterize President Barack Obama’s legacy? What are his greatest accomplishments and failures?

    President Obama opened the door for groups of people that feel disconnected from the political process, allowing my generation to believe that we have a voice and that there is hope in change, not only America, but the World. The President gives the African American population a glimpse of what a man of color in offices of authority could look like, and helps the youth realize that they are not stuck in poverty.

    President Obama is intensely magnetic, and motivated the disenfranchised to get involved in the political process. Although the country has faced copious challenges in recent years, his smooth conversational methods continue to keep aggravated Americans patiently waiting for governmental improvement.

    Although I respect President Obama, I am horrified that our country is still in disrepair. I am awestruck that ISIS and Boko Haram are still threats to world peace, and I am equally frustrated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to produce death and destruction. I feel that American dominance and power have been weakened, and that the American dream has sunk to debt based materialistic society. I don’t blame the President for these outcomes, but I am convinced that he could have done more to further peace and justice.

    Speaking of Justice, I find it reprehensible that African Americans continue to be targeted by the Drug War, profitable prisons, and gross injustice all across the Nation. Meetings, speeches, and heart felt conversations are not enough to compensate the lives lost due to inequality.

    Q – Workforce issues: Do you support an increase in the federal minimum wage, and to what level? Should the federal government require paid sick time or family leave?

    Our national economy is in shambles, and it is primarily due to the control that the federal reserve has on the system, the creation of predatory laws against the people, and the lack of confidence & trust that Americans have toward one another. If we want to improve our economy we must foster powerful relationships between people, and we must create more opportunity for small businesses.

    At current price levels Americans, myself included, find it extremely difficult to live on work wages. I am in favor of a minimum wage increase up to $12 an hour, but I recognize that this is only a temporary solution. If we continue to use the “increase the minimum wage” logic, we will continue to chase the problem instead of finding a solution. If we only try to solve problems after they have become mountains, we may not survive any economic hardship. Our minimum wage increases could spell disaster for us in the long run, and will only need to increase further and further to keep up with cost of commodities and inflation.

    We must come together as a nation to solve the monumental task of reforming all aspects of our materialism, indebtedness, and economic slavery to financial interest.

    The federal government should encourage competition between companies, and of those competitive facets include sick time and family leave. The government should require a minimum amount of sick time and family leave time, but should also recommend a higher level for employeers.

    Q – Guns: What steps should Congress take to reduce the toll of gun violence?

    As a military veteran and gun enthusiast I believe that we need to protect the 2nd amendment in order to allow American citizens a way to protect their family and property. I pray that a day never comes where we need to protect our nation from foreign adversaries, and having access to weapons for responsible handlers will be a back up in that situation.

    Congress does however need to introduce training standards for those that want to legally obtain weapons, and they must be able to pass a weapons proficiency and handling test. This would ensure that Americans who legally obtain fire arms are capable and respectful of firearm power, while increasing the confidence of communities. With this proposition I think it is wise to offer free training and a requalification on a 5 year basis. This will also give non-weapons owners a way to educate themselves on firearm safety.

    All of these measures would not only increase proficiency of weapons handlers, it will increase safety, jobs, and overall confidence in those who have weapons.

    At the State level, we should pass gun reforms that are conducive to the states’ citizens. The Congress should provide suggestions and recommendations for laws, but the individual states are best able to meet the needs of their citizens.

    These measures would be a deterrent for criminals, would give us oversight on those incapable of handling the responsibility to handling weapons, and would provide clear pathways to gun purchasing and training.

    Q – Redistricting: Does the process by which congressional district lines are drawn need to be reformed? Should the issue be handled on the federal or state level?

    Yes. The redistricting of our states should continue to be done by the states, who choose the federal representation, however the redistricting should be completed by a redistricting commission and approved by the state legislators and governor. The redistricting should be done in a non-partisan and federally protected way, ensuring that lines are not draw for political party surety. We need to limit Gerrymandering and create a simple way for citizens to challenge how their districts are drawn.

    C.T.Galloway@galloway4congress.com
    http://www.galloway4congress.com
    240-232-6256
    @congress4ted (Twitter)
    @galloway4congress (Instagram)
    http://www.facebook.com/galloway4congress

  2. Can we have more transparency
    Secret societies led to The mess were in with the TPP for one example that we can’t vote on
    We have a lot of work to do with the corporate government
    It’s a direct attack on the American worker now
    Hope we can stop the bleeding
    Matthew Skellie

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