Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein brought her message of “People, Planet, Peace-It’s in Our Hands” to Milwaukee where she spoke about issues and her platform, answered questions, and laid out her plan to win the nomination at Art Bar in the Riverwest neighborhood.
Admittedly, I attended with the goal of speaking with Dr. Stein about the ongoing case of political prisoner Reverend Edward Pinkney in Michigan. But, I had seen Dr. Stein interviewed many times, and I appreciated her passion about taking care of people, her desire to decrease America’s huge military budget and her tough talk on our government’s imperialistic, anti-regime stance that has killed innocent people, created more terrorism and destroyed viable countries.
I spoke with Dr. Stein briefly prior to her introduction and then more at length just before she left to watch and comment, via @DrJillStein, about the Democratic debate held in New York that night (Stein has been shut out of all debates). Stein held a press conference last April at one of Rev. Pinkney’s hearings after his sentencing, and she was genuinely glad to hear that his Appeals Hearing will be heard on May 11.
Stein is soft-spoken yet passionate, knowledgeable and full of ideas about how to improve America and “make the White House Green.” She didn’t dodge any questions, unlike the other candidates, both GOP and Democrat. All of her points supported her message that we are not in recovery, we are in a state of emergency, and we do need a “political revolution,” but with the Democratic Party firmly planted in establishment politics, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will be stonewalled as has historically occurred within the Democratic party because, in her terms, “while the Democratic party fakes left, it continues to march toward the right.” She explained that a change in the rules must be enacted because super delegates and Super Tuesday are designed to elect establishment candidates. She cited campaigns that were thwarted in the past including Jesse Jackson (smeared when accused of being anti-Semitic) and anti-war Dennis Kucinich (redistricting in his northern district of Ohio pitted him against Marcy Kaptur, a less progressive Democrat, who retained her seat easily).
Here is how Stein stands on issues as voiced during the rally:
Police brutality– Proposes the establishment of a Police Review Board for all communities that would immediately investigate any citizen’s death by police.
Black Lives Matter – Supports this movement as a voice to improve civil rights and end poverty. Supports increasing the minimum wage to $15 and believes all Americans have a right to a living-wage job and access to basic human rights: water, food, housing, healthcare.
Refugees – Refugees are fleeing their countries as a result of US policies; welcome them and offer them a path to citizenship.
Immigrants – Supports a path to citizenship and immigration reform and does not support deportation that splits up families.
Trade Agreements – Opposes any new trade agreements, such as the TPP, that puts corporations in control, reduces citizens’ freedoms including tremendous loss of jobs, and promotes the violation of human rights.
War – She wants to drastically reduce military spending and stop going to war over oil rights. America must stop sending funds to Middle East countries.
Terrorism – Believes that CIA, Saudis, other western allies have helped create ISIS. Stop funding terrorism. Demand that Turkey close its borders to terrorists, not refugees. Establish a weapons embargo to the Middle East.
Climate Change – Promotes a “Green New Deal” that will turn USA 100% dependent on renewable energy by 2030. She wants to ban all additional fossil fuel infrastructure (Keystone pipeline, fracking, nuclear, etc.) to help the planet Earth and make wars for oil obsolete. Stein says her plan will mean less pollution of our food, air, and water and the savings in healthcare costs will help pay for the transition to green.
War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration – Believes we must stop incarcerating individuals for minor infractions (such as marijuana possession that has taken a huge toll on the young Black male population), end the war on drugs, and treat the mentally ill instead of imprisoning them.
Education Reform – She is against privatization of public schools and other Democratic institutions (such as the USPS and prisons) and believes that we must publicly fund education, strengthen families, and end poverty as “poverty is the biggest obstacle to a successful education.” Stein opposes union-busting, over-testing of students, and criticism of our nation’s public school teachers stating “education reform is a farce!”
Voting – Allow “Rank Choice” voting which could be implemented, according to Stein, “in the blink of an eye.” Rank choice allows voters to vote their top three choices, not just one. This would mean the most popular candidate would win, not the choice of the electoral college.
Wall Street and Banking – Stein supports a Wall Street sales tax, and she proposed that even a .5% tax would provide billions that could be used to implement her plans. She supports public banking and the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall. Stein told the audience that she agrees with the philosophies of attorney/author Ellen Brown, founder of Public Banking Institute, and William Black, the former bank regulator who was instrumental in exposing Congressional corruption of the federal savings and loans crisis in the late 1980s. (note: Black is also an economic advisor to Bernie Sanders.)
Healthcare and Patients’ Rights – She believes that healthcare decisions should be between patient and provider only, and she supports a Medicare for all, public single-payer plan to provide coverage for everyone at minimal cost.
Money in Politics – Stein believes all campaigns should be publicly funded with no private money, super pacs, corporate funding, or self-funding allowed, and she would fight to overturn Citizens United.
Free College – She supports free college and forgiving current student debt for everyone.
This is one major issue where Stein is similar to Sanders, but goes further by removing the chains of debt from individuals who have been putting off life events, such as marriage, home-buying, and starting families, in order to pay off their student debt.
According to Stein, “for every $1 we put into free public higher education, we reap $7 in return.” Like Sanders, she talked about needing a minimum high school diploma to succeed in the 20th century, but a college degree is a must for 21st century success. Stein emphatically stated, “We bailed out bankers with $17 trillion and $4 trillion in quantitative easing; now it’s time to bail out students and abolish their debt. That $21 trillion used to bail out bankers is three times what we would need to abolish current student debt.”
During the question-and-answer period, questions were asked relating to Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11, terrorism, HIV/AIDS treatment, mass media coverage of campaigns, affordable housing/homelessness, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve.
So, how will this third party candidate win the nomination? Stein knows it will be a monumental task, but she seems to be up to the challenge. Awaiting the FEC to approve matching contribution funds (the FEC approval came through in mid April), Stein’s plan is to take a specific message to those 43 million Americans in student debt to vote Green in 2016 and, according to Stein, if everyone with student debt were to bring one other person with them to vote Green, then she would become our next president.
In addition to their votes, she beseeched the younger generation, particularly, to get the word out because “young people have the power to take over the election. We don’t have to vote the lesser evil.”
Since Stein's appearance in Milwaukee, she has held numerous interviews, and she recently sent a letter to Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders asking him to "consider joining me in a conversation to explore possible collaboration, in this hour of unprecedented crisis and potential for transformative change".
Stein is hoping her motto “People, Planet, Peace - It’s in Our Hands” speaks to anyone seeking change in our political system. She encouraged everyone to take over the election, stop believing the propaganda of the GOP and Democratic establishments that tell us we are powerless, stop buying into the idea of only two parties to choose from, and understand that politicians and mass media are corporate-owned propaganda machines. How? By voting Green!