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#WeThePeople meet Jim Crary - Candidate 2nd Congressional District (OR)

Jim Crary on Gun Safety, Campaign Finance Reform, Income Inequality, Climate Change and more.

On February 26th 2018, Jim Crary, Candidate for Oregon’s Congressional District 2 (Two-thirds of the State and 7th largest district in the U.S.) was interviewed by #WeThePeople. Jim spent 2 years in the army and is a Vietnam-Era Veteran. He worked as a prosecutor and did contracts for a major corporation for more than 25 years. He lives in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Jim’s introduction video, invites peoples’ questions. He’d like to hear from everyone. There are a number of other videos on his own site discussing his stance on issues.

Jim also ran in 2016, and is a Bernie Sanders supporter. What drew him to politics? Jim tells us he didn’t want to sit around complaining when irritated by what was going on, he wanted to try to change it. Things haven’t improved since 2016 either! Health insurance, taxes, what Republicans are or are trying to do with the ACA… drive him crazy. He is retired. He has the time, his health and the inclination to do something about all of this. To John’s delight Jim has invested in technology, and here he is.

On gun control (or gun safety as Jim says): He has hunted since the age of 12 and has an army background. He has owned and used firearms almost his whole life, and is comfortable with them. He used the M16, which is the military version of the civilian AR-15, while in the army, and explains that the difference between the two is that the M16 can be put on full auto and is therefore like a machine gun. « An AR-15 is an assault weapon and it’s designed for one thing. It’s designed to kill a lot of people very quickly, very efficiently. » « We should have an assault weapon ban. There is no reason why anyone other than somebody in the military should own an assault weapon » he says, and continues « They have magazines (or clips) that hold 30 rounds (or bullets). There is no need for that. I had …one in the chamber and 3 in the magazine – that’s all you need. » Jim says that Universal Background Checks are absolutely required - including online, and that the gun show loophole needs to be closed. Some people shouldn’t be able to buy guns, because convicted of domestic violence, for example. Armour-piercing bullets are cop killers – nothing else. We should license and train people, and put them through a background check. «We should have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness over someone’s right to bear arms. » Self-protection doesn’t include an assault weapon Jim says and « Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness » is one of the Unalienable Rights that we have, according to the Declaration of Independence.

Campaign finance reform is vital for Jim: « I love how these young people down in Florida (following the School Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland) are saying, you know what? You take money from the NRA - you are complicit with these murders. And I believe that (too). » Campaign finance reform « is the only thing that will absolutely make a systemic change to the way we do things. » Unlike Greg Walden (the incumbent in Oregon’s Congressional District 2) who takes a massive amount of money from industry, Jim only takes money from individuals, he says. When he gets elected he will be there to represent the People in his district, not Greg Walden’s contributors. It is possible to run without taking all this industry money, Bernie did it! Jim Crary is certain that he will be able to raise big money after he gets through the primary…people are so sick and tired of their Representatives going to Washington D.C. to represent their contributors, and not them. « The Koch brothers are going to put 400 million dollars into this midterm election. You think the Koch brothers are stupid? You think the Koch brothers are altruistic? Heck no… That’s a 400 million dollar investment. They just got a huge return on that investment back in December when the Republicans gave a trillion and a half dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest and to the corporations, and then they gave a few little crumbs to the middle income, and almost nothing to the lower income…and they keep billing it as this middle income tax cut. Baloney…call it what it is, it’s a corporate give-away and a give-away to the wealthy - and those are the donors. »

John wonders, but for Jim, any one of the Democrats running would be much better than Walden. People are really engaged (in politics) this time around. If I had 25 or 30 people at a campaign event in 2016 – it was a good day. This time we’ve had candidate forums with over 250 people, 10 months before the election, Jim tells us! He speaks of a blue wave and change coming to D.C.

Jim is putting what he has learnt to good use now. What kept him going in 2016, were the local county democratic chairs, setting up meetings for him, etc., as he « pin-balled » around the district. This time he knows them all. He also knew he couldn’t do it by himself in 2018, and now has a committee of three helping him. They « straight talk » him when they need to, and he listens because he doesn’t know it all, he says. Jim mentions a book called « The Four Agreements »: You speak precisely. You don’t make assumptions. You don’t take things personally. You always try to do your best. Wise I’d say. He also makes four promises to those whose vote he seeks: He’ll give them straight answers. They won’t always agree with him. He will listen to them and lastly he will be open to changing his position if the facts dictate that he do so. « I have learned so much by running » he says. « There are a lot of people out there with really good ideas and they are just not being listened to… » When he answers someone’s question, he asks the person whether he has answered that question in a satisfactory way, and if not, he tries again. If they still don’t like his answer, he says to them…ask the other candidates the same question, see how they answer – is it a clear answer or not? If it isn’t then don’t penalize me, penalize them!

On the subject of the media, Jim thinks voters should insist that the announcers not let the candidates get out of answering questions. John comments that CNN is looking for ratings, not answers. Jim chooses not to react to this. John continues « We are an independent network that was created for the purpose of bringing a more correct narrative, more of a balanced narrative to the news and information… » Jim Crary answers the question asked by saying that he is definitely interested in using a platform like Uphill Media to communicate with people all over the State of Oregon, when elected. That being the case, says John, where do you stand on net neutrality? I want an open and free internet Jim replies.

On the subject of income inequality Jim has lots of ideas:

Yes we are spending way too much on the military. In answer to Jilly in YouTube chat, and off the top of my head I’d cut the military budget by at least 20% says Jim. Laura then posts the link to Jim’s website and the defence spending reform page, with his views on foreign policy.

We should then reallocate that money (here he mentions the 2015 audit of the Pentagon where 125 billion dollars of waste was identified). I am for a strong national defence but we are spending way way too much money, and I would love to see that money go into infrastructure. Let’s stop spending trillions of dollars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya … and spend it on our own infrastructure, which civil engineers gave a D plus grade! We’ve got over 4 trillion dollars of infrastructure repair and refurbishment that we need to do. Think well-paid jobs too. I would increase spending in one area though, for the coastguards who help defend our coasts.

Jim is eager and willing to share all this information and his views. It matters to him! Social Security is 100% of income for some and they barely make it as it is. In 2034, Social Security will start paying out 76 cents on the dollar if nothing is done about it, he says. Jim would propose that there be no cap on the maximum amount of taxable earnings, so that all taxable earnings are subject to Social Security tax and everyone would pay the same percentage of their earnings into Social Security. The cap at present is at 128, 400 dollars. This would go about 85% of the way towards making Social Security viable for the next 75 years. Also, Social Security applies only to earned income (which includes restaurant tips). There is also something called unearned income: corporate interest, dividends, and capital gains. Include that too, I think Jim said. Make the employer continue to pay the 6.2% Social Security tax on the first $30 000 of wages earned, but not the employee. This is the equivalent of putting $1860 in the employee’s pocket. « Trickle-up economics! » The employee will spend it and some of that money will trickle up to the corporations and the rich Jim says. « I love it », says John!

Would he invest in renewable energy jobs? Yes, absolutely, Jim says, moving on to the issue of climate change, which he says is both real and a man-made problem. His biggest concern is that we aren’t going to keep the temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius. I signed a pledge, he says, and I don’t sign many, that when I get elected, I’m going to support H.R.3671…which says we are going to get off of fossil fuels by 2035. We need a Moon Shots type program (i.e. to put a lot of resources and leadership into a project in order to achieve something major in a very short amount of time). The tax credit for an electric vehicle is $7 500, and it stops after the first 200 000 vehicles. (The Chinese give $15 000 for a tax credit!) So, increase the tax credit for electric vehicles, keep the tax credit for wind and solar (and geothermal), and put research and development into wave energy. America used to achieve all these big goals! My campaign slogan is Voice to the People*. Right now in D.C. the only voices being heard are the campaign contributors, the corporations, the Koch brothers (all of whom as donors also get to pay less in taxes). « Screw them. Let’s have a voice for the people. » He speaks of cap and trade (which was used in the New England area to get rid of acid rain - and it worked) or a carbon tax. (In British Columbia, they make the latter revenue neutral, i.e. they take the money from the carbon tax and lower other taxes). Jim prefers the latter solution, which would then be invested in renewables, tax credits for renewables and electric vehicles.*

Regarding forest management, Jim cuts, thins and heats with wood from his property. This helped two years ago when a fire broke out. Even still, it involved the fire department, a helicopter…They were very lucky that day.

Imagine, muses Jim, a solar roof over some highways? The amount of electricity we could generate!! You wouldn’t have to take land out of production. The environmental impact statement would be almost minimal.

Jim loves Elon Musk and is against pipelines. He says the way you beat oil and gas (and coal) is by making it uneconomical. At this point John intervenes to say, « You have an inside track Jim (because Jim used to be a lawyer for B.P - writing, drafting and negotiating contracts), but we’ve got a war machine that thrives on fossil fuels. Jim answers that the « how to » is laid out in H.R.3671. Remove the subsidies for oil and gas. Redirect them (to renewables). It is interesting, he adds, that it’s called a subsidy when it goes to corporations, and welfare if it goes to a poor person. Greg Walden, like the President is doubling down on oil and gas. Jim tells us that he moved to Oregon in 2006, and they put in solar energy at home. He had always been an advocate of renewable energy. B.P. when he was working there had a solar division. B.P. - which means Beyond Petroleum, Jim says, (It was British Petroleum until the year 2000) knows that oil and gas is not the future. BP and Exxon are in favour of a carbon tax because what that does is give them certainty. Those guys will work with what we give them, he says.

John now adds with passion that with regard to the fossil fuel industry, it’s not enough to take away their subsidies, not enough to regulate them, not enough to get them to move towards renewables. A lot of progressives (including John) feel that it has destroyed this planet and that those responsible need to be brought to justice. He continues, « I personally believe that every CEO of Exxon should be in prison, and that Exxon should be liquidated for crimes against humanity. How do we address the atrocities that not only have these corporations committed against humanity and every species on this planet, but our government … has committed (these) atrocities (too) in the name of war and greed? » Jim answers after a slight hesitation. « You know what John? I don’t have an answer to that one. …That’s the first time someone has asked me that question, and I don’t have an answer. » There follows a discussion about the 35 billion dollar clean-up of the Gulf by B.P. after the oil spill a few years ago. Does Jim believe that the damage has been paid for, and that there ends the matter? John eases off the subject and asks whether Jim thinks that consumers can have an effect through public pressure by way of social media campaigns against corporations. Yes! Jim again speaks of the young people in Parkland Florida to whom he wrote with words of encouragement and advice. He adds - armed teachers? What about …reducing class sizes, putting in councillors…catch the problems early on so that people don’t turn into these mass shooters.

On State-owned banks, Jim tells us that North Dakota has one and that he’s from there. They absolutely love it and it helps them. One thing they do is take student loans and refinance them. I’m for Bernie Sanders’ idea of a 1% financial transaction tax on all stocks and bond sales. This would bring in billions of dollars. Take half of it and go to the States. Offer to give them money on condition they reduce the cost of their in-state tuition. Also, I believe that if you graduate from college, or vocational or technical school, and we need mechanics, plumbers and electricians… the federal government should take your loans, and for ten years you should pay 0% interest. You should just pay back the principal.

Jim Crary was a very interesting candidate, very thankful for the opportunity to come on the show, intelligent and full of ideas to improve the world and life in general for everyone, most especially those in his district.

To help, donate, volunteer or otherwise find out more about Jim Crary, check out the links in the video description. His primary is on the 15th of May 2018.