Jill Stein vs. 'Too Lateness of America's Fate-ness'
Paraphrasing Jill Stein from a workshop in NYC 3-23-13:
There are 40 people on one side of a road. There is one person on the other side of the road.
A bread truck pulls up and the driver gives the one person -- standing there alone (perhaps impatiently tapping a Gucci-loafered foot and checking his Rolex) -- 40 LOAVES OF BREAD. Then the driver gives the group of 40 people, in varying states of dress and hunger, ONE LOAF OF BREAD to share among themselves. He drives off.
Dr. Stein used this scenario to illustrate how the top 1% of our citizenry controls 40% of the wealth of this country. The bottom 40% controls only 1% of the wealth.
One loaf of bread pathetically to be divided among 40 people? Something is terribly wrong.
According to Dr. Stein the political establishment that got us into this economic quicksand, and keeps pushing us in deeper, will not get us out of it. The citizens must organize in a third party non-corporate system to reclaim their future.
In the last election Jill Stein got half a million votes. One out of 300 people voted for Stein’s moral and renewing vision for our country. 299 out of 300 did not! It is the serious number of faux-”progressives” who enable and commit their power as citizens to the status-quo, corporate-captured political matrix steadily destroying our country as well as our planet instead of exercising what Stein calls “The Politics of Courage.”
On the night of the third presidential debate at Hofstra University on Long Island, Jill Stein unceremoniously was handcuffed to a folding chair in a temporary holding cell for eight long hours along with her vice-presidential candidate Cheri Honkala for having the nerve to protest for her right to participate as leading third party candidate in the national TELEVISED debate. To force the debate to seriously include CITIZEN issues. The media deigned not to mention this, of course, or the other times Stein has been arrested fighting against environmental and economic gross governmental injustices.
Despite harsh odds, Jill Stein’s spirit is indomitable. One of her favorite quotes is from Alice Walker:
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”
Another one is from Frederick Douglass:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
Dr. Stein and her Green Party campaign crew of activists have begun organizing Green Party “campaign schools” across the country. The idea is to share lessons from her 2012 presidential campaign and to brainstorm with local branch members of the Green Party.
On Saturday, March 23, 2013, New York area Greens gathered with Dr. Stein. The day-long workshop focused on such issues as assembling a campaign team and goals, handling financial issues and addressing the role of a candidate.
Also there was the opportunity to be further informed and inspired by the charismatic and insightful Dr. Jill Stein.
In a keynote address at the end of the forum Dr. Stein declared: “Up until now, Greens have been ahead of the curve. The curve has caught up!” “This is our time,” she announced. “The window is closing!” “We want to rescue the economy, the climate, and our democracy.”
Dr. Stein sees the Green Party as needing to lead not only a political movement but a social movement. Stein insists our citizenry and very planet are “IMPERILED” and the situation is rapidly becoming worse.
Stein maintains this scenario is FIXABLE. That there are simple and immediate ways to attain “a just and sustainable prosperity, rescue the climate and make wars for oil obsolete.”
She celebrates that the majority of citizens recognize and are ready to support effective solutions to our grave problems. The bottleneck, of course, is a political “establishment” -- OF BOTH CORPORATE PARTIES -- that has proven to be UNCOMMITTED to the real needs of the American people.
1 in 2 Americans, according to Stein, is now living near or below the poverty level. Children, students, the elderly and people of color are hardest hit.
49 million Americans have no health insurance.
Over 6 million people have lost their homes through foreclosure.
Over 7 million people, largely poor African American and Latino men are under “correctional supervision”, a number 10 times greater than in 1965 thanks to the spread of poverty, hopelessness and a failed war on drugs.
37 million college students and recent graduates are trapped in student loan debt.
25 million Americans are unemployed or unable to find full time work.
ON THE OTHER HAND:
The TOP 1% – large corporations and the wealthy – HAVE NEVER BEEN RICHER!!!
Big corporations enjoy historic profits. They contribute less taxes for America’s infrastructure maintenance (infrastructure which THEY rely on) since before World War II.
Big banks that crashed the economy are BIGGER than ever thanks to the political establishment that REFUSES to rein them in.
Stein is disgusted with the present political, hypocritical OBSESSION WITH AUSTERITY.
Stein called out the colossal nerve of both parties to impose austerity on us “everyday people” while, “they continue squandering trillions on endless wars, Wall Street bailouts, and tax breaks for the wealthy.”
Stein in her Green Party State of the Union speech:
“The President is very much part of that establishment. Having campaigned on a populist platform of taxing the rich, saving Social Security, and making the economy fair, the President has once again morphed into an invaluable ally of the economic elite, willing to throw you under the bus.”
“In his recent fiscal cliff deal, he did not tax the rich. He largely gave them the store. And he’s now once again looking to cut Social Security – and Medicare and Medicaid.”
Obama is preparing to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, a profound betrayal of the Democratic Party. Robert Kuttner recently referred to those programs as the Democratic Party’s “crown jewels.”
$83 billion a month is handed over for bank bailouts by the Fed. Trade agreements continue to send our jobs overseas to depress wages at home. Adequate healthcare is inaccessible for many. Obama has supported “drill-baby-drill” energy policies, has given short shrift to international climate accords. Obama has engineered draconian levels of immigrant deportations, expanded wars for oil and drone usage as well as assaulting our basic civil liberties.
The Democratic Party did not rescue America after the horrific Bush administration. Instead it has intensified the destruction of our constitutional republic and the welfare of its citizenry.
About Social Security, Stein declared:
Social Security is not in crisis and does not need to be cut to be saved. The best thing for the long term stability of Social Security is to simply lift the payroll tax cap – and include capital gains and dividend income in the Social Security payroll tax pool.
We can lower the deficit in the long run by creating jobs that generate revenue, and in the short run, by taxing the rich, cutting the bloated military, and ending private health insurance waste through Medicare for All insurance system.
Dr. Stein dramatically conveyed the enormity of the GLOBAL climate crisis, dangerously minimized by the present administration! Stein mentioned how just in the past year there have been record heat, fires, storms, floods, sea level rise, drought and rising food prices. Stein declared that Antarctica and Greenland are melting five times faster than just 20 years ago. This alone will lead to an estimated 6 feet sea level rise -- probably more -- by the end of the century. Already hundreds of thousands of lives are lost each year due to climate change she pointed out. The global economic cost per year of climate change is over $1 trillion. Stein mentioned as an example the recent devastation of Superstorm Sandy in the New York City area.
Stein stressed that since there are already such serious environmental ambushes from a rise in temperature of 1 degree Celsius, we must take seriously what a rise by 6 degrees will entail, estimated to arrive by 2100. Heat waves then will be 125 degrees she explained. “People will go down like flies. Livestock will be wiped out, causing additional stress to U.S. and world food supplies which would be drastically reduced (40%) to start with in markedly warmed climate.”
Stein pointed to a geographical tipping point to “an unstoppable acceleration of warming. ... Once that happens, it will render our climate incompatible with civilization as we know it, and potentially incompatible with human life as well. The worrisome thing is that some of these tipping points - such as the disappearance of polar ice caps and the melting of frozen methane deposits – are already happening.”
Stein showed a map at one point of projected devastation of the Boston area. As she pointed out how the Cambridge area would be underwater perhaps in the next few decades, one of us New Yorkers asked her why hadn’t she brought a map of NYC. Stein turned to him and announced gravely, "Well, by this time NYC would be totally under water."
Another member of the audience would later query Dr. Stein about the emotional courage required to be a Green candidate. Stein drolly replied that any nervousness she had to contend with as a candidate was profoundly eclipsed by her nervousness over potential global disaster!
Stein insisted we can STOP our social, economic and environmental crises effectively if we address them NOW and boldly. That it is time to RECOVER as a nation.
Stein asserted that the political establishment's agenda of providing tax breaks for corporations to generate jobs is an indirect, expensive and INEFFECTIVE tool. We have got to grasp that finally.
Jill Stein discussed the Green New Deal which she insisted could generate 25 million jobs. Sustainable jobs which would involve clean renewable energy and conservation, improvements in agriculture, public transportation, infrastructure improvements, as well as sustainable jobs addressing our social needs: teachers, nurses, child care, after school, home care, drug abuse and violence prevention and rehabilitation. Stein would like to see an expansion of public sector jobs and establish a modern Conservation Corp and Public Works Administration.
Stein had an answer to how all these programs could be funded:
1) by cutting the bloated military to year 2000 levels;
2) by taxing the rich;
3) through savings we get by eliminating health insurance waste through Medicare for All;
4) by jumpstarting the green economy with a carbon fee, phasing out dirty energy sources;
5) by ending student debt;
6) by making public higher education free;
7) by respecting “immigrant rights as human rights;
8) by creating fair trade agreements;
9) by ending the war on drugs;
10) by ending "the wars for oil and other resources that have created a state of permanent, immoral and unaffordable war”;
11) by restoring our civil liberties by repealing the NDAA and the Patriot Act;
12) by working toward eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons;
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a government led by leaders who are genuinely responsible -- ABLE TO RESPOND -- to OUR, our fellow foreign human beings, and the planet's REAL and now desperate needs?
Remember Alice Walker’s words:
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”
Obama, the Democrats AND the Republicans are working for the same master, the ruling class elite, much as the media loves to pretend they are on seriously opposite sides.
Jill Stein and the Green Party are determined to help us, the seriously politically ignored 99%. It’s time to go for CHANGE that we, the 99%, SHOULD believe in. It’s time for so-called progressives to stop contributing their deadweight to the “look how hard we are trying” hypocritical, ineffective, corporate-enabling, critical problems ignoring and minimizing Democratic Party, and join those in the Green Party advancing a courageous and REAL solution.
The "politics of courage" can win out over "the politics of fear"! The window is closing but there is still time!
[cross-posted at open salon]