Jon Stewart: Candidate 5th Congressional District

February 17, 2009 2:02:26 PM PST
Jon Stewart is a candidate in Illinois' 5th Congressional District.

Candidate Full Name:
Jon Stewart

US Congress

5th Congressional District


Email Address:
Candidate did not provide

Campaign Name:
Citizen's to Elect Jon Stewart

Campaign Office Mailing Address:
508 Mallard Lane
Deerfield, IL 60015

(773) 763-0178

Map of 5th Cong. Dist.

Question 1
Please tell us about yourself, your background and why you believe you are qualified to hold this office.

Answer 1
First off, let me say, thank you to WLS TV for the opportunity to write my views on many important issues that face the voters of the 5th District.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Albert Schweitzer, the notable 20th Century Philosopher who wrote, "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." It has taken me until this point in my life to finally fully understand this quote. "Service" means so much more than just the willingness to help out; to fully understand service, you must realize that life is sometimes about human suffering, and "to serve", you must figure out the best way you as an individual can alleviate human suffering.

I try to make service a daily occupation, and try to eliminate suffering, when and where I see it, from an individual and highly personal standpoint. Although I dream big, I know we have to start small when trying to make this world a better place to live in. I have been blessed with the ability to put my personal philosophy into action through the automobile dealership I own and operate with my father on the northwest side of Chicago. Our compnay has been an anchor of the community for over thirty years, and we continue to grow and thrive, mostly due to our altruistic business practices. We have an impeccable record of being fair to our customers, many of whom reside in the 5th District. Another way to look at what we do is that "actions speak louder than words", whether you're speaking as an employer, a salesman, or a friend.

One of many things that distinguish myself from my opponents is my companies standing policy to hire people who desperately need a second chance.20We have hired homeless people, ex-gang members, and people on parole. We provide more than just a job...we give our employees philosophical and material tools to help get them back on their feet. Many of these individuals have gone on to: manage other companies, marry, start their own businesses and even join the armed services. Many of my opponents talk about changing people's lives but I have personally done just that...and I have done so by helping people with MY money, not the governments.

There is a lot in the news today about the national and statewide economic crisis. In my business, we start with nothing at the beginning of the week and turn it into something by week's end. We do this through frugality, hard work and sacrifice. Sometimes we work fourteen hour days. If we don't succeed, our bills go's that simple. I would bring this strong work ethic to Congress. I don't know how to do business any other way.

In my personal life, I've learned that time is one of the most valuable commodities we have, and donating your time can mean so much more than donating your money. I have been a Big Brother and kid's football and soccer coach. I have done youth motivational speaking. As a former professional wrestler, I have been extensively involved in charity shows and promotions. I've made people happy...I've tried to alleviate suffering.

I am a big believer in term limits; I believe that over a long period of time, power corrupts and the level of service, while well-intentioned, becomes stale and counterproductive. For this reason, if elected, I promise to serve a maximum of two terms. In this time frame, I hope to accomplish the establishment of an anti-corruption coalition in Congress.

The American people have signaled that this is a new era in the history of our nation. The time of government ruled by the elite is over; the time for bi-partisan government by the citizen politician is here. If elected to Congress, I will serve the people, not from some ivory tower in an elitist, far-off place, but from right next to them...side by side, together, ending suffering where we see it, and making the State of Illinois and the United States of America a better place to live in...again.

Question 2
Please tell us your general views about the role of government and some of the most important things you would like to accomplish in office?

Answer 2
A proper government's only responsibility is to protect the rights of the individual, by banning the initiation of force, thus making all relations between men peaceful, i.e., free from the threat of violence and fraud. While in office I would like to wipe out fraud and corruption. It is fraud, corruption and a lack of oversight that has caused our current economic crisis. I would like to establish an anti corruption coalition in Congress, I would like to pass term limits, publicly funded elections and eliminate special interests groups and lobbyist from ever approaching a member of Congress other than through written correspondence. I would like to have a balance budget amendment that is enforceable other than a time of war. I believe that if the corruption is tamed, we will have the ability to mend our economy and our position in the global society.

Question 3
The current economic crisis is squeezing the middle class. What should Congress do about it? What specifically would you do if elected to Congress?

Answer 3
My proposal for the current economic crisis and the saving the middle class would consist not merely of updating or repairing the nations infrastructure, but in undertaking massive new investments that would expand the scope of American industry, and address other urgent problems in the process: global warming, over-reliance on petroleum, and the need to revive Americas domestic manufacturing capabilities?not just to provide jobs, but also to provide tradable goods that can reduce the countries current account deficit. I have favored a package that is at least twice, and even three times, the two-percent-of-GDP we are hearing about now. There is no harm in doing too much; you can take it back if the economy recovers. There is every potential for harm in doing too little.

A. My first proposal would be a Fannie and Freddie backed program to refinance mortgages at 4.00%, immediately keeping people in their homes, giving homeowners between $200 to $700 of extra cash back in their pockets every month, and keeping foreclosed homes off the market, thereby helping to curb the real estate downfall. This would also give Americans confidence that the wave of foreclosures might cease and the that the real estate foreclosure nightmare could be over and the housing market could be back on the road to recovery.

B. To have an immediate impact on the economy, distribute to every taxpayer, a $1,500 debit card that must be used by July 4th, 2009. This card could only be used on retail spending such as: restaurants, home supply stores, auto dealerships, ect. Because of the expiration clause, this would immediately put billions of dollars back into the economy...NOW. Like my mortgage proposal, massive consumer spending might stop job layoffs and give confidence in the American psyche that our economic crisis may be over.

C. Additionally, we also have to spend money on infrastructure and energy independence. Specific ally, I believe that investing in Congressman Mark Kirk's, Apollo Energy Program, would not only create millions of jobs but jobs that might last twenty to thirty years in the future. Our infrastructure spending is vital, but with the bidding process, environmental studies and coordination, it might take one to three years for our country to see the benefit of those dollars. And when the infrastructure program is completed, what do these construction companies do with all of the labor that was hired specifically for this infrastructure program? We might see a massive increase in layoffs and job losses in that sector which could lead to small recession in the housing market, thereby restarting the recession cycle. All new spending projects should be selected by the responsible federal agency according to published criteria, not by congresspersons and senators based upon favors and politics.

Question 4
What are some of the main things you would do to help create jobs in Illinois?

Answer 4
My goal for job growth in this state is to provide a fertile ground for people and companies who actually would provide the jobs that the people of Illinois desire. I would have a four year moratorium on state income taxes for any new business or corporation who moves it's corporation to Illinois. I would also market our state to every business with more than 50 employees to move their operation to Illinois and do whatever is necessary to bring their company to our state. Having the company sign a twenty year commitment would also provide the long-term job stability that our residents are looking for; we cannot find quick fixes or band aids, we must have long-term job growth.

Question 5
What do you think can be done to bring short-term stability to gas and energy prices? Also, what do you think is the best strategy - to both affordably and responsibly - provide for the nation's future energy needs?

Answer 5
Specifically, I believe that investing in Congressman Mark Kirk's, Apollo Energy Program, would not only create millions of jobs but jobs that might last twenty to thirty years in the future. It would also send shock waves to the global oil market that demand in the future might not be so abundant which would keep oil prices stable. I would also repeal ALL federal gas taxes and have more regulation with speculators in our U.S. oil markets. If we can keep our demand down, we effectively eliminate the power countries such as: Venezuela, Russia and Saudi Arabia have over our country.

Question 6
Is there anything that can be done to make health care more accessible and affordable in Illinois? If so, what would you do?

Answer 6
As a candidate for Congress, I believe that we need a type of universal coverage where the taxpayer participates based on need and ability....much like Illinois' All Kids insurance plan.

The health of a nations populace is part of the nations wealth. The poorer health and shorter life span of uninsured people can be thought of as "health capital" lost to the nation. The nation loses some $65 billion to $130 billion in health capital each year. High uninsured rates in a community can put financial pressure on certain services and institutions. Trauma center patients are more likely to be uninsured than all hospital patients. The closure of a regional trauma center or reduction in its scope of services puts the health of everyone in a community whether insured or uninsured ? at risk. Clinicians in community health centers located in areas with high rates of uninsurance report difficulties in obtaining specialty referrals for all of their patients, not just those who are uninsured.

A communities high rate of uninsurance can adversely affect the overall health status of the community. For example, under immunization increases the vulnerability of entire communities to outbreaks of measles and influenza. Childhood and adult immunization levels are correlated with having health insurance.

During 2002, census figures showed that more than 43 million Americans lacked health insurance for the entire year. Over a four year period (1996-1999), one out of every three Americans under age 65 ? or 85 million Americans ? lacked health insurance for at least one month, and 35 million were uninsured for between 25 and 48 months. In the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, this is unacceptable to me.

An agreed upon type of Universal coverage, where patient and government as both shared payers, would minimize gaps in coverage, which currently affect one-third of the population under 65 over a four-year period, interfering with therapeutic relationships, contributing to worse health, and heightening financial risks. Universal coverage makes more sense than "rescue" programs for those already seriously ill. For example, access to mammograms fosters early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Currently the uninsured are more likely than those with coverage to die from breast cancer and other treatable diseases. Universal coverage would alleviate the economic pressures on health service providers, particularly emergency departments, in regions with high concentrations of uninsured people. Public dollars that currently support uncompensated or charity care are not as well targeted to achieve improvements in health across the population as they would be if they were used for insurance-based financing for health care services.

Most uninsured persons need a substantial employer contribution, government subsidy, or tax incentive to purchase private insurance, or access to a nearly free public coverage program.

Patient cost-sharing (deductibles and co-payments or coinsurance) reduces use of health services and can deter use of appropriate as well as unnecessary services. All should contribute financially to extending coverage universally through taxes, premiums, and cost sharing, because all will benefit. Federal or shared federal-state financing for health insurance programs would distribute the burden of health care more broadly among taxpayers. The affordability and sustainability of different universal coverage strategies will largely depend on the nature of cost controls in the system, sources of revenues, the amount of patient cost sharing, and the comprehensiveness of benefit packages.

The economic value to be gained in terms of better health outcomes once those now uninsured become insured would likely exceed the additional costs of providing them with same level of services used by those with public or private coverage. If all uninsured individuals gained coverage, the estimated costs for their increased use of services range from $34 billion to $69 billion, which is between 3 percent and 5.6 percent of national spending for personal health care services in 2001.

To keep costs down, we need the following:

A. Common sense tort reform for medical malpractice, thus encouraging malpractice insurance providers to lower their premiums and encouraging hospitals and doctors to lower their fees
B. Streamline patient information and paperwork (steps already being taken by insurers and health care providers)
C. Increase funding for substance abuse programs and drug awareness programs
D. Increase funding for preventative medicine and education programs such as: fitness classes, healthy eating classes, stress reduction and smoking cessation classes

Question 7
Please state your general views about the war in Iraq.

Answer 7
The US-led war against Iraq did not begin in March 2003, as many Americans believe. In fact the US and Britain had been waging an undeclared war against Iraq for twelve years, ever since the end of the Gulf Slaughter in 1991. The aim has been the destruction of Iraqi society enabling the US and Britain to gain control of Iraq's huge oil reserves. As a result of economic sanctions against Iraq, the prevention of the delivery of much-needed medical and other supplies because of US vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, and the carcinogenic effects of depleted uranium left over from the 1991 Gulf Slaughter, over a million people (two-thirds of them children) have died (this figure is over and above the death rate which would have been expected without sanctions). This policy by the US and Britain has truly been genocidal, and no amount of hypocritical moral posturing on the part of George W. Bush and Tony Blair can disguise this.

Within hours of the attacks of September 11th, 2001, on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which killed over 3000 people, the Bush administration was blaming Osama bin Laden and his alleged Al-Qaeda network, and declaring a so-called war on terrorism. Immediately the Pentagon put into effect its already-prepared plans for massive bombing raids against Afghanistan (with the purpose of furthering American plans for an oil pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan).

At that time no suggestion was made that Iraq was in any way connected with the September 11th attacks. But in September 2002 a US government and US media disinformation campaign was launched to persuade the American people that it was really Iraq which was behind these attacks.

The propaganda campaign to make people believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the September 11th attacks was so successful that in mid-2003 the believers had grown to 70%. But in September 2003 George W. Bush admitted that there was no evidence linking Saddam to209/11.

In the weeks leading up to the attack on Iraq George W. Bush was to be seen almost nightly on television solemnly declaring in his brain-dead zombie-like emotionless cartoon-Western-sheriff manner that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction" which it was sure either to use directly against the US (a ridiculous suggestion) or to give to "terrorists" to produce more September 11ths on US soil.

Bush would lead, he declared, "a coalition of the willing" (consisting in fact merely of the US, Britain and ? to its disgrace ? Australia), which would "disarm" Iraq and thereby remove an imminent threat to the entire world.

But efforts by warmongers such as former CIA Director R. James Woolsey failed to turn up any credible evidence of links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda or other groups of "Arab terrorists", particularly prior to September 11th, 2001. Investigations by the CIA, the DIA, and the State Department failed to find any evidence of linkage between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th.

As for Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction", the problem for Bush was that United Nations inspectors had been scouring Iraq for months and had found no evidence of the existence of any. The Americans tried to concoct such evidence (such as Colin Powell's claim of a "poison factory" in Northern Iraq, later shown to be non-existent, and documents purporting to show that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger, later shown by the IAEA to be forgeries) but only ignoble and servile lackeys such as the prime ministers of Britain, Australia and Spain pretended to believe this evidence. Nevertheless the Bush administration maintained this rationale for its invasion of Iraq, and continued to do so even after it was clear to all that this was a lie.

But after the regime of Saddam Hussein was overthrown, and US forces were able to inspect any place in Iraq they wished to, where were these "weapons of mass destruction"? None were found. That's because by November 2002 there weren't any, as former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter had already told the U.N. Security Council. The US rationale was a fiction, as was eventually revealed.

The main reasons for the US invasion of Iraq were to gain control of Iraq's oilfields (so as to keep the oil in the ground and drive up oil prices), to establish military bases in Iraq from which to dominate the Middle East and eventually (by controlling oil supply) to establish control over all countries dependent on oil, and to remove the threat to Israel posed by Iraq. Of course there were also other reasons.

After control of the oilfields the next most important reason for the US's takeover of Iraq was that Iraq had begun to accept payment in euros for its oil, opening the way for all major oil producers to do this. Were this to happen then the euro would probably become the world's reserve currency, not the dollar. This would have a major negative impact on the US economy (would, in fact, cause the collapse of the US economy) and would also severely reduce its ability to pour money into its weapons programs. By gaining control of Iraq's oil the US can now refuse payment in euros, thereby maintaining the dollar as the reserve currency (though before many years it will lose this position if the European geostrategists succeed in their plans).

And war is always good for those companies which manufacture weapons (in collusion with governments). For such companies the death and destruction which results is of no concern. In this case there is an extra bonus: the profits to be made from contracts to "reconstruct" Iraq. Even before the war began the Bush administration had awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to large American companies, principally Bechtel and Halliburton (whose chief executive until 2000 was Dick Cheney). And who will pay for this "reconstruction"? The US is hoping that the Europeans and Japanese will pay most of the costs, but more likely it will be the US taxpayer who foots the bills from these American companies.

Some Australians, too, are hoping for a share of the pie. In late April 2003 their politicians and businessmen scurried off to Washington to plead for the award of "minor" contracts (and the continuation of Australian pre-war wheat sales to Iraq), which they believed was due to them as a payoff for the Howard government's disgraceful support of the US aggression against Iraq (support which was both immoral and contrary to the wishes of the majority of the Australian people).

An invasion of Iraq had been part of the geopolitical strategy of the United States for many years. It was just one element of a strategy designed to gain for the US domination of the world's economic resources. This plan was made public in the "National Security Strategy of the United States of America" which was published in September 2002.

The wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are thus the initial events in a scenario which will eventually develop into a third world war. What we saw in the actions of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz and others is the same sort of greed and madness that drove the Nazis to attack Austria and Czechoslovakia, and later Poland, France and other countries during World War II. The Nazi drive for world domination resulted in the utter destruction of Germany, despite its formidable military might at the start of the war. Similarly the American/Zionist drive for world domination will result (unless the fascist megalomaniacs now running things from Washington and Jerusalem are stopped) in the utter destruction of the U.S.A. and a place in history for it as disgraceful as that now held by Nazi Germany.

Question 8
What are your thoughts on how to deal with illegal immigration? Also, what do you think should be done about illegal immigrants who are already here in the U.S.?

Answer 8
Illegal immigration is a very important issue to me and I believe immigration has enormous economic and security ramifications on our countries future. Our governments policy on illegal's is counterintuitive, costly and ineffective. Therefore, I would legalize ALL non documented immigrants in this country. Get these people registered and on the government rolls so we can accurately account for them and TAX their WAGES. Billions of dollars go back to Mexico and yet we continue to educate and provide health care for illegal's without being reimbursed for the services through income tax withholdings. Removing undocumented workers is impossible and would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. They are already here....we let them is our job to secure the boarders and help integrate them into our society with drivers license's and social security cards.

Question 9
What ideas do you have for improving our education system and for making our colleges and universities more affordable?

Answer 9
How can I ensure access to higher education when colleges and universities, often run by liberal administrations, who refuse to lower tuition? I feel the government backed student loans, and the student loans made by large lending institutions seem to be adequately funding people's desire to attend college. We have to have institutions of higher learning lower their tuition can I or any of my opponents accomplish this task when lowering tuition costs relies solely on the administrators of the universities?

Question 10
What are your highest priorities for protecting the environment in Illinois?

Answer 10

One of the most pressing issues facing Illinois is the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. Holding 20 percent of the world's freshwater supply, the lakes are a global strategic asset and a key to our national security. They will be the basis of our regional economy for the next century. So adequately protecting Lake Michigan and preventing illegal dumping by companies should continue to be prevented. Overall, I also believe that Illinois must keep pace or exceed the EPA standards for our countries individual states and strive to do all we can to maintain our wetlands, prairies and lakes.

Congressman Mark Kirk, IL 10th CD

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