Showing posts with label Jill Stein. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jill Stein. Show all posts

Saturday, November 03, 2012

My Choice for President: Dr. Jill Stein (Green Party)

 For those who knew me in my younger days when I was a Republican, all I can say is this: today’s Republican Party is nothing like the GOP I grew up in.  It has been captured by religious extremists, by hateful leaders who train their supporters in academically dishonest sound bites, and by a scary collection of people who parrot an odd mix of mean-spiritedness, cluelessness, and hypocrisy.  Today’s Republican Party is no longer a serious contender for my vote. It is no surprise that they are frothing at the mouth at NJ Governor Chris Christie's post-disaster comments about the President, wouldn't give intellect John Huntsman the time of day, and eventually saw Maine Senator Olympia Snowe leave the party in frustration. End of Discussion.

But for those who know me, and who know I have a Libertarian streak a mile wide and a Liberal soul a mile deep… there might be some head-scratching as to why I can not support Gary Johnson (Libertarian), or, as the vast majority of my friends do, Barack Obama.  

No, I support Jill Stein.

There is no question that the 2012 election will be won by either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.  And, given my dismissal of the Republicans in the opening paragraph, one could honestly ask me,

 “Why, in a close election year, aren’t you supporting Obama?  Why would you waste your vote on a candidate who can not win, and possibly ‘throw’ the election to Romney?’

Valid questions, and I am prepared to supply what I believe is a valid answer.

Why aren’t you supporting Obama?

I can not support Barack Obama because I disagree with his actions on the issues that are the most important to me.

One ‘collection’ of issues I have been writing about for several years is the growth of the American Police State: the continued loss of civil liberties, the continued shredding of Constitutional protections against the unwarranted search and seizure of Americans’ private lives, and the new surveillance state.  And Obama, in an effort to show he can be as hawkish on security as the GOP, has made that growing police state even worse.  His renewal of the Patriot Act, his support and signing of the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA, and his reversal on the issue of closing the Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp belies a willingness to sacrifice liberty in the name of political capital. The coordination of his Department of Homeland Security with local police departments in an effort to suppress the Occupy Wall Street movement evidences a view on ‘security’ that is no different than the Republicans.

On  Environmental and Energy issues, the Republicans would have us believe that Obama has squelched domestic development of fossil fuels, thus hurting jobs and our economy. In response, the Obama administration and the Obama campaign have lost a golden opportunity: rather than embrace alternative energy in a real way, they point out that domestic drilling for oil and gas is at an all-time high.  The Obama campaign has taken painstaking steps to insure that all of their literature openly embraces the expanded use of domestic oil, gas, and even coal….in addition to clean energies.  We need to reverse this, not expand it. Fracking must be ended, not 'studied.'

On related issues, Obama has appointed a notoriously pro-genetically modified food Monsanto Executive to monitor our food supply at the FDA, and coordinated raids on small local farms selling raw milk to local customers. Large Agri-Business and the Chemical industry has gained under Obama, while the family farm has been in the bulls-eye.  Obama, as a supposed liberal, is a complete disappointment on environmental issues.

And then there are wars: wars in the Middle East, and the infamous War on Drugs.  This nation continues to fight an unwinnable war, with no defined goals, in Afghanistan – troops (including National Guard members) that could have been better-used at home during times of national disasters.  Suicides among troops now exceed combat deaths, and those who dare to blow the whistle on military operations – such as Bradley Manning - are imprisoned in conditions that have drawn the condemnation of the world.  

In the meantime, Obama has killed more people in one term of office – including innocent civilians – through drone strikes than George Bush did in two. There is NO excuse for this scorched-earth, innocents-be-damned policy.

As for the “War on Drugs,” the United States now has the largest incarcerated population in the world – more than states like China where rights are minimal.  This is due entirely to a federally-fueled, failed war on drugs. Obama has increased – not decreased – this war against those who commit victimless’ crimes.  This policy has devastated families, made young people ineligible for education loans, and has caused more death and suffering than any recent military operation. 

And yet, even while Americans are showing stronger and stronger support for the outright legalization of marijuana – Obama has systematically raided medical marijuana dispensaries in states where this has been legalized.  This is not the liberal President, or the ‘hope and change’ I had hoped for.

Where we *should* declare war is on the Bank Mobsters who destroyed our economy. On the issue of Bank Regulation – an issue that is at the top of the list for me – I must point out that Democrats, as a rule, have been as bad as Republicans.  The bailouts of Wall Street were not Republican schemes – they were bipartisan.  Democrat Chris Dodd in the Senate and Democrat Barney Frank in the House pushed for the bailouts – bailouts Obama supported.  Obama added insult to injury by *stacking* the United States government financial arms with executives from Goldman Sachs, thus solidifying an interest group that has been objectively shown to habitually make money through destruction.  What Romney did at Bain, Obama’s Federal Reserve and Treasury Appointments are doing from their Presidentially-guarded positions of authority.

And today, the Banks that were ‘too big to fail’ are now bigger than they were before the crisis – with no political stomach on Obama’s part to change it.

I’m sorry, but these are not the kind of positions that I can support. 

If a Republican had taken the positions Obama took, I wouldn't consider voting for them for a second.  There is no reason I should vote for Obama just because he has a “D” after his name.

But you’re wasting your vote!  Look, Obama is not perfect, but if everyone did what you are doing, we’d be throwing the election to Romney!

No, they would be joining me in demanding change.

Historically, Third Parties have had an under-appreciated role in the American politics.  It is not just through winning elections that change is secured.

The most important political changes in the last century: Anti-Trust legislation, Women’s right to vote, the right of unionization, the advent of the social security system, the end of the Vietnam War – did NOT happen because the major parties initiated them, or because people continued to vote for the ‘lesser of two evils.’

They happened because people voted for Third Parties. Third Parties have *always* been the engines that have catapulted important change to the forefront of political discourse.

These parties did not ‘win’ the elections – but they raised the issues in ways that were much louder and much more effective.  In each case, minor parties demanded these changes – and when the major parties saw their growing numbers, they finally found the political courage to adopt those positions.

Yes, I will vote for Jill Stein for President.  The Green Party has a platform that demands an end to military adventurism, the development of clean, renewable energy, the recognition of worker’s rights, the end of the Police Surveillance State, and a change in direction on the War on Drugs (including long-overdue legalized industrial hemp).

I take my vote seriously.  When I turned 18, I went to register to vote that very morning.  I have never missed an election since then.

The Green Party (or, in Massachusetts, the “Green-Rainbow Party") supports what I believe in.  It is precisely because I take my Right to vote seriously, that I will exercise that right by choosing Green and Honkala on Tuesday.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Green Party's Jill Stein: "Winning Labor’s Battles Requires Independent Politics"

I welcome and endorse the AFL-CIO’s campaign to finally fulfill President Roosevelt’s 1944 call for a second, Economic Bill of Rights, including the rights to jobs, living wages, labor unions, voting rights, health care, education, and retirement security.

As the Green Party candidate for President, my Green New Deal platform already has specific proposals to secure these rights.

● Jobs: Employ the unemployed in public works projects and federallysupported community-controlled cooperatives and other enterprises; create 25 million green and pink jobs.

● Living Wages: Raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage.

● Labor Law Reforms: Repeal the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act, outlaw permanent striker replacements, and authorize majority card check union recognition.

● Voting Rights: Pass the Right To Vote Amendment to establish an affirmative constitutional right to vote and accurate vote counting.

● Corporate Power: Pass a constitutional amendment to repeal the corrupting court-ordered doctrines that corporations are people and money is speech and establish that corporations and election campaign finance can be regulated.

● Health Care: Enact single-payer Medicare for All.

● Education: Forgive student debt and provide tuition-free public education from pre-school through graduate school.

● Retirement Security: Eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes for high incomes in order to secure Social Security’s indefinite fiscal sustainability.

The AFL-CIO leadership are demanding that the two corporate-financed parties, the Democrats and Republicans, adopt the Economic Bill of Rights in their platforms at their conventions this year.

They must know this a lost cause with the openly anti-union Republicans. They should know that a real commitment to an Economic Bill of Rights is as much a lost cause with the Democrats, who have taken labor’s political support for granted for many decades with no significant pro-labor reforms to show for it.

If they didn’t know that, it should have been clear on August 11 when a 40,000-strong AFL-CIO sponsored rally in Philadelphia called for the Economic Bill of Rights. The rally heard by video from President Obama, who made no mention of the Economic Bill of Rights. Meanwhile, in Detroit, the platform committee of the Democratic National Convention put the final touches on the platform to be adopted over Labor Day week that has no planks to secure any of these economic rights.

The great victories of labor have always been won by independent actions that pressured the political establishment to make concessions. The landmark National Labor Relations Act, which finally established workers’ right to collectively bargain, was adopted in 1935 under the pressure of independent labor political action in the factories, shops, and streets by the ascendant union movement and in the electoral arena in the form of many union resolutions calling for a labor party. The labor party resolutions had credibility because the labor-backed Farmer-Labor and Progressive parties in the Upper Midwest already had two governors, three Senators, and 12 Representatives in their camp in 1935 and they were considering an independent presidential campaign in 1936.

But after the AFL rejected the labor party and went into the Democratic Party in 1936, labor lost its independent vision and its leverage in the political system. It was now part of a coalition dominated by big business.

The anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act passed in 1947 with majority support of the Democratic majority in Congress. Every attempt labor law reform since then has failed when there was a Democratic President with Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress.

● Under Truman in 1949, the Democrats failed to repeal Taft-Hartley in 1949. 

● Under Johnson in 1965 and 1966, the Democrats twice failed to repeal Section 14b of Taft-Hartley, the section that enabled states to outlaw union shops (so-called “right-to-work” laws).

● Under Carter in 1977 and 1978, the Democrats failed to pass one bill that would have repealed the Taft-Hartley prohibition on solidarity picketing at construction sites and another bill to reform
the National Labor Relations Board whose long delays and inconsequential employer sanctions had made it a shield for union-busting.

● Under Clinton in 1993, the Democrats failed to pass a ban on permanent striker replacements.

● Under Obama in 2009-2010, the Democrats failed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act for majority card check union recognition. Worse, unlike any previous period of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, the Democrats failed to even bring the bill to a vote.

The AFL-CIO leadership has taken a small step toward independence by saying they will not give money directly to Democratic committees and candidates but instead spend it “independently” on their behalf. Unfortunately, this often means supporting the very same Democrats who are collaborating with the anti-worker forces that dominate Washington. The words “political independence” are just that --words-- that have no power unless it involves running labor candidates who can challenge both corporate parties. Imagine if labor had spent the over $15 billion they spent on the Democrats over the last 40 years instead building an independent labor party and movement. Today we would have scores of labor party organizers in every state supporting a broadly based party of the working class majority. We would have blocks of independent labor representatives in municipal, county, state, and the national legislatures. We would have a national labor daily newspaper and labor networks on radio and cable. The two corporate financed parties would no longer monopolize U.S. politics. Democrats like Obama would not dare to force new free trade treaties upon workers. Badly needed labor reforms would be back on the table. And halting the decline of real wages and living standards would suddenly be more of a priority than protecting the big Wall Street banks.

The labor movement in every other industrial nation has formed its own party that is independent of corporate money and control. They have been able to organize the working class majority to take
political power, exercise it for the benefit of the working class majority, and secure economic rights, including universal health care, affordable public transit, free public college education, secure pensions, four to six weeks of paid vacation for all workers, paid maternity and family sick leave, and labor laws that protect their rights to organize and strike.

Labor has suffered a crushing series of political defeats in recent years and continuing a losing strategy is clearly unthinkable. It is time to practice the politics of courage rather than the politics of
appeasement. Labor unions must offer reliable support to labor candidates running against both the corporate parties. And rank-and-file workers do not have to wait for the leadership to disentangle themselves from establishment politics. They can vote this year for Green Party candidates who refuse corporate funding and are campaigning for a Green New Deal that already incorporates the Economic Bill of Rights. Vote by vote, we can raise the voices of working people until we have overcome
the corporate domination of politics, and set our country on a progressive course.

PO BOX 260217 - MADISON - WISCONSIN - 53726-0217


Friday, July 13, 2012

Green Party's Jill Stein chooses Cheri Honkala for VP

Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein announced at the Green Party National Convention this week that she has chosen Cheri Honkala, “the nation’s leading anti-poverty advocate,” as her Vice-Presidential running mate.

The Green Party expects to be on the ballot in 45 states this election, and, along with Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson,  could make the difference in key swing states such as New Mexico.  In 2000, Ralph Nader did well enough as the Green Party candidate to anger many Democrats who thought he took key votes from Al Gore, thus throwing the election to Bush.  The Green Party, with a thoroughly ‘pedigreed’ Progressive platform, may also take votes from Barack Obama, who has sought to placate liberals while keeping a Clintonesque centrist stance on many issues.

Stein and Honkala promise a “Green New Deal,” that like FDRs original New Deal, would create 25 million jobs, as well as downsize the military, restore civil liberties lost under the Patriot Act and NDAA, legalize marijuana, and guarantee college education for everyone.


Honkala is the national coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group led by poor and homeless people. She ran for sheriff in Philadelphia last year.
“Compelled by her own experience as a homeless, single mom, Honkala has spent nearly three decades working directly alongside the poor to build the movement to end poverty, and has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities,” Stein’s campaign said in its announcement.

Honkala said, “It’s immoral that children are hungry and homeless in the richest country in the world. It’s time for the 99% to stand united to serve our collective human needs instead of selfish, corporate greed. The Green Party is the only one standing up to Wall Street, and Jill Stein’s Green New Deal is the best plan for saving this sinking ship. I’m honored to fight beside her.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Green Party Qualifies for Federal Election Matching Funds

As of yesterdays’ deadline, Dr. Jill Stein has become the first Green Party candidate in American history to have raised enough 'small level' donations, in enough states, to qualify for federal matching funds.
Federal election law provides matching funds to any Presidential candidate who raises $5,000 in campaign contributions from each of 20 states.  Only the first $250 per donor counts, so no single large donor is able to ‘buy’ the matching fund threshold. The Stein campaign reached the threshold in 21 states plus the District of Columbia, exceeding the requirements. The top ten states for donations (in order) are Massachusetts (her home state), New York, California, Washington, Illinois, Minnesota, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Texas, and Arizona.  Of these, Arizona may be the most significant, as the Greens have achieved ballot access in that state, and it is considered by many observers to be a swing state in this election. The Greens have also achieved ballot access in 22 states (although these are not exactly the same as the states where they reached matching fund thresholds), and are in the process of obtaining petition signatures to gain access in 18 others.

 The Green Party Convention will be held in Baltimore, Maryland from July 12-15 this year.  While the official platform will be adopted at that time, the current Green Party platform is a decided mix of Progressive economic and environmental policies, and the probably the strongest embrace of civil liberties of any party in recent memory.  The  Green Party Website enumerates "10 Key Values," including commitments to grassroots democracy, social justice and economic opportunity, ecological wisdom, non-violence, decentralization, community-based economics, gender equity, diversity, personal and global responsibility, and a focus on the future and sustainability.  Green Party members have been active in criticizing the bank bailouts and have been active in the Occupy movement.

Dr. Jill Stein, the presumed standard-bearer for the 2012 elections, issued the following statement in reaction to the Party’s meeting the matching fund goal:

"It's been an incredible week.

Just seven days ago when our campaign began an intensive push to qualify for federal matching funds, we were only half way to the threshold.  We had reached the required $5000 donation level in only 10 of the 20 states we needed.  Today, thanks to an outpouring of support from across the nation,  we have qualified in 22 states, two more than the FEC requires.

We are now in the process of submitting a qualifying package to the FEC that will include the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Just two days ago, it looked like Connecticut,  Arizona, and the District of Columbia might not make it. But you decided that failure was not an option.  And you made it happen. I'm extremely grateful to the army of volunteers who stepped up to the plate and made phone calls and sent emails asking their friends to donate to our campaign.  They did this because they believed in what we stand for. And because this campaign belongs to us all.

I'm especially grateful for the support we received from the peace community, from Medicare for All advocates, and the drug policy reform community. They made it clear that they needed a voice in the 2012 presidential race, and that we were the only ones who could provide it.

Our achievement is another sign that the spirit of democracy and justice is alive and well in America. It is rising up in the continuing fight for health care as a human right, in student strikes for affordable higher education and the forgiving of college debt, in eviction blockades, Occupy Movement, and the fight of workers for jobs and living wages and the right to form unions, and in growing mass civil disobedience to protect our imperiled climate future. Now, thanks to your support, democracy and justice now have a voice in this presidential election as well, and we are proud to be that voice.

The surge of support in the matching funds campaign arose despite the constant diet of Obama/Romney that the corporate media is feeding the American people.  People are hungry for alternatives - they want to hear about the solutions that are being kept off the table by the establishment parties - they want real debates, not stage-managed squabbles between two defenders of war and Wall Street. They want the truth.

We are the party of no more bailouts. We are the party of a Green New Deal to create 25 million jobs that jumpstart the Green economy and make wars for oil obsolete and saves the climate. We are the party of health care the right of every American through .  We are the party of taking action to save the climate of this planet.  We are the party that save the taxpayers from the burden of the bloated, unaffordable Pentagon budget and end the use of drone aircraft for assassinations. We are the party that will solve the student debt problem and fully fund the education of our children.  We are the party that stands for sane, scientific drug policies and rebuilding our communities that have been devastated by crime and foreclosures.

Every vote for the Green Party ticket is a vote for a new direction for America. It is a vote for a Green New Deal in which solving the problems of people will be a higher priority than propping up Wall Street banks and rewarding hedge fund operators.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to all those who donated during to our campaign, who got on the phone and called their friends, who sent out emails, who posted appeals online, or who helped in any way. You are what democracy looks like. I want to thank our hard working campaign staff for whom this campaign is more than a job. With your support, we are going to change politics in America.

We're especially proud to that one of the states in which we qualified is the District of Columbia - one of America's last colonies. The United States is the only purportedly democratic nation in the world that denies voting representation in the national legislature to the citizens of its capital city. The Green Party is committed to righting that wrong. We are deeply grateful for support that our campaign has received from the voters in the District - and we will stand up for you.

Our first major goal in this campaign was to win the Green Party nomination. We appear to have done that by winning 29 state primaries and securing well over half the delegates to the nominating convention. Our second goal was to qualify for federal matching funds. Today, we have done that. We now focus our resources on completing our ballot drive efforts across America, working to win the support of people outside of the Green Party to our common cause. Our goal is to be on the ballot for more than 90% of the voters in America. Clearly, many more challenges must be met. And with your help, we will meet them.

So today we celebrate a victory. And every voter who joins us in calling for a new direction in America is a victory. Let's keep standing up for people, peace and the planet.

Thank you.

~ Jill Stein, M.D."

The Stein campaign website, which is separate from the official Green Party website,  can be found here:


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Green Party candidate Jill Stein defends First Amendment

In spite of efforts by police across the nation to silence the media during their coordinated assault on protesters, videos made by ordinary citizens and posted on YouTube have gone viral and provided all the evidence that is needed to show the excessive brutality exercised by The Police State against American citizens last night: Pepper spray used on an octagenarian who was moving too slowly, thousands of books destroyed, protesters roused and rounded up at night, press passes confiscated, individuals with official court restraining orders punched in the face by uniformed officers, a NY city Councilor beaten...and the list goes on.

The Republicans continue to dismiss the people with total disdain, while Obama's Department of Homeland Security coordinates with City Police forces to storm the protests.

In the midst of this, the Green Party alone has had the courage to stand up and oppose these gestapo-like tactics. I reprint, in its entirety, the official statement released by Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President:

"The aggressive, needless police actions across the country against Occupy Wall Street (OWS) are an assault on civil liberties and an effort to suppress a much needed movement for economic justice and democracy. The courageous protesters who have stood up to intimidation by lethal force are standing up for us all.

The use of police in full riot gear with helicopters buzzing overhead to arrest peaceful and largely sleeping protesters is frightening commentary on the militarization of state and municipal security. Unprovoked police violence against citizens practicing peaceful civil disobedience - clearly documented on videos gone viral on the internet - is deeply alarming: young women being corralled and pepper sprayed on Wall Street, students at University of California Berkeley being attacked with nightsticks, Iraq veteran Scott Olsen who served two tours of duty supposedly defending freedom, yet whose own freedom was assaulted in a police attack at Occupy Oakland that fractured his skull and rendered him unable to speak.

In conducting these raids, public officials are suppressing rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. Routinely, reporters were physically prevented from observing the raids. Many of those who managed to get in to the sites were reportedly intimidated or arrested. If access to public ways and public health and safety concerns were significant, other non-military solutions were available to deal with them. The lack of such efforts belies the excuse that these concerns justified police raids.

As the OWS protesters have said, the defenders of the 1% can evict the protesters, but they can't evict an idea. The protest is here to stay. I call upon the mayors of the occupied cities to follow the example of Green Party Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, California, who welcomed the local occupation, and to allow the Occupy gatherings to continue.

Throughout American history public assemblies by the people have been essential to the advance of our civil liberties and to the defense of our freedoms.

Coxey's Army in 1894 marched from Ohio to DC, demanding public jobs for the unemployed in the midst of a recession. In 1932, the Bonus Army of 17,000 World War I veterans and their families, in the third year of the Great Depression camped in DC demanding the immediate cash-payment redemption of their World War I bonuses that were scheduled to be paid in 1945. In 1968, the Poor People's Campaign, a legacy of recently assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King, set up a shantytown in DC known as "Resurrection City" in support of an Economic Bill of Rights, seeking full employment, a guaranteed annual income, and affordable low-income housing. In 1985-86, students erected and camped in anti-apartheid shantytowns on college campuses to protest investments in corporations in apartheid South Africa.

Some of the OWS protesters are homeless. Many more are young and jobless, often carrying unconscionable college-loan debt burdens. They are the tip of the iceberg of insecurity that is increasingly intolerable for growing numbers of the American public, with the upper 1 percent of Americans now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year and controlling 40 percent of the nation's wealth. Income disparity in the US now exceeds that before the Great Depression. Thus, the anguish that compels protesters to sleep on the cold hard ground is not going away.

The political parties of the 1% are showing signs of neither understanding the protest, nor acting to address the root economic causes. I challenge President Obama to forbid all Federal involvement in these disturbing violations of civil liberties, and to urge all elected officials to respect the right of citizens to peacefully assemble to petition their government for redress of the economic grievances caused by rule by the 1%."

Jill Stein for President Campaign