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Former Green Party VP Candidate Pat LaMarche interviews Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

February 16, 2013 in General, Interview, Social & Economic Justice

I met with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio this week. (You can read the full transcript of our conversation on my Facebook page.) I was excited to meet with him for many reasons. I was hoping against hope that he could clear up something about the role the criminal justice system plays in the lives of the poor. But all that aside, I thought he might answer some questions that were planted in my brain earlier on our Babes of Wrath EPIC Journey: why in the world kids in Arizona get charged a per diem for their incarceration.

Short answer? He didn’t know. No, it’s not that he didn’t know why, he just didn’t know they were charged at all. The kids are charged in Coconino County, Arizona — but it appears not in Maricopa County. It must be subjective. After all, Sheriff Arpaio decides what the kids in his jails have, including a chain gang. When we spoke, the Sheriff was boasting about his equal opportunity chain gangs. He brought up that he had male and female chain gangs because he didn’t want to be sexist. That’s when I brought up his child chain gangs. He was a little dismayed that I even knew about them, seeing as nobody has ever really protested his putting children to hard labor. When I asked if he still had them he said, “Well yeah. I thought I’d take a lot of heat, [but] nobody seemed to care.”

Read the full story at New Clear Vision.

Obama, GOP pushing U.S. in wrong direction in “Fiscal Cliff”

December 19, 2012 in Social & Economic Justice

From Jill Stein & Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s 2012 Presidential ticket:

Ending the Great Recession, not the deficit, is nation’s top priority

2012 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said today that the so-called Fiscal Cliff Talks “need to focus on putting Americans back to work while creating a sustainable economy,” and that the U.S. can do that and end the deficit by:

  • Restoring progressive taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations, comparable to rates in the Eisenhower and Nixon eras.
  • Cutting the waste and excess in the military budget.
  • Curtailing rising health care costs by transitioning to a Medicare for All insurance system.
  • Investing in a “Green New Deal” that would create the foundation for sustainable prosperity for the 21st Century.

Stein criticized Obama’s latest proposals as, “throwing ordinary Americans under the bus while continuing to reward the economic elite.” These proposals cut the cost of living adjustments for Social Security, seek $400 billion in unspecified cuts to Medicare and other health care programs, extend the Bush tax cuts for households making as much as $400,000, and fast track changes to the corporate tax code.”

“The bipartisan policies of recent decades made the rich a lot richer, pushed millions into poverty and insecurity, and created a 16 trillion dollar national debt. Now both establishment parties are using the national debt as a concocted excuse to cut critical services including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and food stamps.  While their proposals differ around the margins, both Democrats and Republicans are promoting austerity budgets that are highly likely to deepen and extend the Great Recession. We need a prosperity budget not an austerity budget. By redirecting trillions of dollars being wasted on the bloated military, Wall Street bail outs, health insurance profiteering, and tax breaks for the wealthy, we have more than enough money to fund our real urgent needs – job creation, infrastructure investments, reducing mortgage and student debt, health care as a human right, and aggressive action against climate change,” said Dr. Stein.

Cheri Honkala, the Green’s 2012 vice-presidential candidate, added “Obama’s token tax hikes of a few percent on high incomes won’t raise significant revenue and are being used as a phony progressive cover to sell the public on Wall Street’s program of cutting social insurance and public services so the super-rich won’t have to pay their taxes. The Fix the Debt crowd are willing to use their small hit on personal income taxes in order to get big cuts on their corporate tax rates, including a ‘territorial tax system’ that enables them to repatriate profits from abroad at no or very low tax rates.”

The proposal made by Jill Stein is consistent with a deficit plan that came from the Occupy Movement, The 99%’s Deficit Proposal: How to create jobs, reduce the wealth divide and control spending. “When people outside of the bipartisan consensus look at the problems the country faces, they see real and immediate solutions. It’s the establishment politicians, corrupted by billions in campaign contributions, that don’t get it.”

Stein went on, “Case in point – the military budget, which consumes more than half of  discretionary dollars, can be cut significantly by replacing private contractors, closing many of the more than 1,100 foreign military bases, and eliminating massive waste, including weapons systems that even the Pentagon says it does not need.

“The solution to the increasing costs of health care for programs like Medicare and Medicaid is not to raise Medicare age limits or reduce health benefits but to bring all Americans into an improved Medicare for All. Medicare for all would eliminate the$570 billion wasted annually on health insurance companies and control rising health care costs,” added Stein.

According to Stein, an array of progressive tax proposals should be implemented including: taxing capital gains at the same rates as wages, ending off-shore tax havens, and enacting a  ½% financial transaction tax that could raise over $800 billion in a decade.

Stein also called for a carbon tax on fossil fuel companies to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars every year in military expenditures, health injuries and environmental damage. Billions could also be saved enacting a windfall profits tax and ending tax subsidies for fossil fuels and nukes.

“We reject the austerity policies being foisted on us by both parties, which will hurt everyone, especially working people and the poor. It’s time to stand up for real solutions that will fix the deficit by creating an economy that works for everyday people,” added Honkala.

Cheri Honkala on “Rust Belt to Green Belt” Campaign Tour

October 21, 2012 in Presidential Campaign, Social & Economic Justice

Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s Vice Presidential candidate, is in the midst of a campaign swing through the heart of America, the “Rust Belt” from Appalachia to stops this week in Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Detroit.

From the Stein/Honkala Campaign:

Green Party Vice Presidential nominee Cheri Honkala has begun a tour of the Rust Belt during which she has seen first-hand the effects of the failed economic policies advanced by the two corporately owned parties. This tour has highlighted the plight of impoverished communities in the Upper Great Lakes and Appalachia.

Honkala began the tour in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia and witnessed the horrors of mountaintop removal mining. The environmentally unsound and shortsighted energy policies of both the Republicans and Democrats have left this area dependent on the harvest of coal. The local population now faces abject poverty, contaminated water sources, and the continued degradation of one of the U.S.’s most ecologically significant natural areas.

According to Honkala, “What the Great Lakes and Appalachia need is the Green New Deal. Dr. Jill Stein and I offer commonsense, time-tested solutions to the ongoing cycle of pollution and poverty in the central Appalachian mountains. We would redirect research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in wind, solar and geothermal energy. We will invest in research in sustainable, non-toxic materials, closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry. We offer a transition away from dirty coal and an escape from poisoned air and water as well as the destruction of these mountains.”

Honkala then continued to Louisville, Kentucky, Columbus, Ohio, where she witnessed the dismantling of public housing and met with displaced families and community leaders. “People in Kentucky and Ohio are suffering. The austerity programs offered by President Obama and Governor Romney offer no relief. We must end the demolition of public housing which serves to only raise homelessness rates. My number one priority, if elected, is ending homelessness in the U.S. by ending foreclosures, and placing families in abandoned housing units and creating employment by fixing them up. There are more abandoned homes than there are homeless people in this country. We just have to put the two together.”

Honkala then traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and met with leaders on the World Court of Women East which will take place in Philadelphia in October of 2013. This Court will address poverty in the U.S. using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “The Republicans and Democrats both violate the Universal Declaration on Human Rights by continuing to allow homelessness and poverty in one of the world’s richest nations. A Green presidency will end homelessness, end unemployment, and provide a living wage for all workers, which would bring the U.S. into compliance with international human rights norms.”

The Rust Belt tour continues with stops in Milwaukee on October 24, the Twin Cities October 25-27, and Detroit October 28-29. Honkala will continue to advocate for the Green New Deal which will allow these ailing economies an escape from the continued downward trend offered by President Obama and Governor Romney.

Jill Stein Supports Same Sex Marriage

October 11, 2012 in Presidential Campaign, Social & Economic Justice

From the Jill Stein Campaign:

Green presidential candidate Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala paused in their campaigning today to acknowledge National Coming Out Day, an internationally-recognized celebration honoring those who publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Today we celebrate the diversity of our people and our commitment to stand in solidarity with people of all sexual orientations and gender identities who have added so much to the life of our nation,” said Dr. Stein. “We encourage everyone to stand with the members of our LGBTQ community as they ask for the fairness and respect that they deserve, but which is not yet fully granted.”

Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala said that President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage was a positive step forward, but sharply disagreed with his statement that legalization should be left to individual states.

“Human rights are universal. We support national recognition of same-sex marriage rights, without which true equality does not exist. There is no more basic right than the right to choose whom we love and whom we call family, without the state declaring that one kind of family is more legitimate than another,” said Cheri Honkala. Read the rest of this entry →

Illinois Green Party Declares Solidarity With Striking Chicago Teachers

September 9, 2012 in Social & Economic Justice, State Party News

The Illinois Green Party released the following statement after the declaration that the Chicago Teachers Union strike would begin September 10:

We stand with the Chicago Teachers Union. Months ago we declared our unity with them, and today we reaffirm that unity.

The battle the teachers of the Chicago Public Schools are fighting is not one of their choosing. It is one which has been foisted on them by politicians who have been bankrolled by, and who therefore represent the interests of, the 1%.

Rahm Emanuel’s war against the Chicago Teachers Union is not simply about wages or benefits. It is about the future of public education in Chicago and beyond. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, with their “Race to the Top” initiative, are seeking to destroy the influence of the teachers unions, to reroute public dollars to private interests, and to undermine the core fabric of public education in America. Still, the Democratic Party is convinced that so long as President Obama says some nice things about teachers and emphasizes how evil the Republicans are, teachers will sit down, shut up, and continue to vote Democratic.

The Chicago Teachers Union is leading the way for teachers everywhere by saying that they will not sit down and shut up. Teachers are highly educated professionals, who care deeply about the well-being of their students. They are also highly politically aware, and they know that they are being mistreated by Democrats and Republicans alike. At one point the Democrats may have been their friends, but now they know that the Democrats are just corporate sellouts like the Republicans.

Many of them are also learning that the Green Party is different. We take no corporate contributions. Our presidential candidate, Jill Stein, is a staunch defender of public sector workers. Our platform calls for restoring workers’ rights which the Democrats have refused to restore, like repealing the Taft-Hartley Act. Not just teachers but other unionized workers are seeing how the Democrats do not have their backs, but the Greens do.

The Illinois Green Party reiterates its call for an elected school board in Chicago, accountable to the citizenry, not accountable to Rahm Emanuel and his corporate backers. Outside of Chicago, we call for hundreds of citizens to stand up and defend their public schools by running for the elected school board seats which exist everywhere else in Illinois, on a platform of protecting public education from corporate encroachment, and respecting the hard-working teachers all across our state.

We also call for more teachers throughout Illinois to stand up and speak out against the entrenched Democratic leadership. Embrace the Green Party as your party, as the party of working people, as the party of the 99%, as the party who joins you in caring about the future of our children.

Teachers, we are in solidarity with you.

Illinois Green Party: www.ilgp.org
Chicago Teachers Union: www.ctunet.com

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Jill Stein & Cheri Honkala on Bill Moyers (Video)

September 8, 2012 in Presidential Campaign, Social & Economic Justice

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala are solid in this 22 minute interview with Bill Moyers. Watch, listen, and share.

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on Third Party Politics from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Jill Stein: Winning labor’s battles requires independent politics

September 2, 2012 in Presidential Campaign, Social & Economic Justice

From the Jill Stein for President Campaign, approaching Labor Day:

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 federally-supported 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 is 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.
Read the rest of this entry →

Cheri Honkala, VP Candidate For Green Party, Visits “Romneyville”

September 2, 2012 in Presidential Campaign, Social & Economic Justice

From the Cheri Honkala Campaign:


The Green Party Vice Presidential candidate, Philadelphia based activist Cheri Honkala, was in Tampa on Friday, August 25, to discuss her fledgling campaign. Founder of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, www.economichumanrights.org/, Honkala was also here to talk up the group’s protest that will take place on the first day of the Republican National Convention, Monday, August 27.

Although she says that she never imagined she would be on a presidential ticket, Honkala has campaigned for office before, running for Sheriff of Philadelphia last year.

“I made the decision that I would run as a formerly homeless mother…for vice president of this country,” Honkala said, speaking from “Romneyville,” the encampment located behind the Army Navy Surplus Store on Tampa Street that currently has 17 tents up and expects possibly hundreds more by the time the convention comes to town later this month as a haven for protesters looking for a place to sleep at night.

The long time street activist, who says been arrested in her words over 200 times for civil disobedience, asked the public to get behind the candidacy of Dr. Jill Stein, who was elected to be the Green Party’s nominee for president earlier this summer, www.jillstein.org.
Read the rest of this entry →

Stein, Honkala Deplore Shooting of Unarmed Citizens

July 25, 2012 in Presidential Campaign, Social & Economic Justice

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein extended her sympathies today to the family of Manuel Diaz, the 25 year-old resident of Anaheim, California who was shot to death by Anaheim police on Saturday. The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation, but it has been reported that Diaz was unarmed at the time of the shooting. When protesting citizens appeared at an Anaheim police station during a press conference, police responded to reported bottle and rock throwing with rubber bullets, pepper spray and a police dog unleashed on the crowd, which included terrified parents and children who were peacefully protesting.

Stein said, “Shooting of unarmed people is intolerable, and cannot be allowed to become a routine feature of urban policing. And police brutality towards innocent bystanders in a protest cannot be accepted.”

Saturday’s fatal police shooting was compounded by a second police shooting death on Sunday of another Latino man, Joel Acevedo, allegedly during what police claim was a suspected car robbery in which the suspect shot at them, though the circumstances have not yet been clarified.

These deaths follow 6 additional officer-involved shootings this year, and many in previous years, in the city of Anaheim, many of which were said to involve unarmed residents.

“These incidents are deeply disturbing. Especially in the wake of recent cases of police and para-police racial brutality and profiling – including the Trayvon Martin and Kenneth Chamberlain murders, and the growing controversy over Stop-and-Frisk in NY City that targets largely African American and Latino youth for degrading searches. We join the call of the Latino civil rights group, Presente, for the state attorney to conduct a full investigation into this very troubling pattern of police-involved violence.”

“Regardless of the circumstances of any particular incident, it is clear that the police force in Anaheim, and in many other communities, have lost the confidence of the community, and we need to find new ways to re-establish public trust – through mutual respect. We must protect public safety while making sure our police forces are not employed as agents of fear.”

Green Party vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala commented on the clash between demonstrators and police, saying that, “When police appear to be killing people who are simply scared or committing minor offenses, the community has a responsibility to show up and demand answers. They shouldn’t be met with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and police dogs. We have to recognize the legitimacy of the concerns that are driving protests and give people a fair hearing. We respect the difficult job that the police have when a protest begins, but respect is a two-way street. Police have to respect, and defend, the right of people to be heard.”

Stein observed that, “Urban communities across America are in crisis. Disinvestment, unemployment, and lack of health care are corroding the very fabric of society while Washington targets trillions of dollars to bailing out Wall Street banks and subsidizing well-connected business interests. The President plays golf with international bankers and then announces his plans to stabilize their bad investments. Meanwhile, our inner city communities are crying out for help, and getting mostly budget cuts and austerity programs. Money is poured into militarization of police forces and building more prisons rather than addressing the source of the problems.”

“This is not an acceptable course for America” Stein continued. “It is not leading us toward the nation we can be, and should be. We need a change in priorities. We need to put people first, and make the investment in America that will never be made by the Wall Street financiers. Healthy communities are an imperative, not something that can wait for some future date after Wall Street is taken care of. Too many lives are being lost for us to tolerate further delay. We need a Green New Deal that will heal our wounds, employ our community members, and lift the fear that hangs like a cloud over our city streets.”

Green Party Stands With CTU

May 23, 2012 in Social & Economic Justice, State Party News

In advance of the Chicago Teachers Union rally downtown on Wednesday, May 23, the Illinois Green Party has issued the following statement:

The Illinois Green Party is proud to stand in support of the Chicago Teachers Union. The CTU is on the front line of bipartisan attacks against the public sector. The committed teachers in the City of Chicago deserve widespread support, not just in Chicago but across Illinois, for refusing to back down in the face of this unprecedented campaign to destroy public sector unions.

What group of people worked their way through college and took on a career track dedicated to educating and uplifting America’s youth? It’s not business leaders or politicians. It’s teachers. Teachers are the ones who know best how schools can be better serving our children. They are hard-working, highly-educated professionals who deserve to be treated as such. The people who attack them, of course, know this. They feign contempt because they are upset that they cannot make money by busting unions, depressing wages, and generally treating children like exploitable commodities.

The war against teachers and other public sector employees is not new, and it is hardly limited to Illinois. The shameful actions of Scott Walker in Wisconsin have helped bring these attacks against the public sector to the front page across the country. But in Wisconsin, as in other places, the attacks have been portrayed as merely the actions of right-wing anti-government extremists. Those of us in Illinois know better. Here it is Democrats, the supposed champions of labor, who are leading the attacks.
Read the rest of this entry →

Jason West Welcomes Obama to the 21st Century

May 11, 2012 in Social & Economic Justice

This article from the Times-Herald Record talks with Green Party Mayor Jason West about President Obama’s sudden verbal support for gay marriage. Jason West brought national attention to the question of gay marriage in 2004 when he chose to conduct same-sex marriages as Mayor despite state law that prevented it. West was eventually charged with 19 misdemeanor counts of “solemnizing marriages without a license”, but the charges were later dropped.

In regards to Obama’s recent statements about same-sex marriages, West praised Obama’s words, but recognizes them as only words for now:

“I’m happy the president finally joined the 21st century and has recognized the civil rights of these Americans. But until he starts pushing for a federal law, the various Gay-Straight Alliances in any high school in the country are doing more to advance the cause than he is. They’re the ones in the front lines,” West said.

(Thanks to Craig S for the story tip)

Howie Hawkins on the History of May Day

May 2, 2012 in Social & Economic Justice

Howie Hawkins on the History of May Day:

Green Party candidates and activists prepare for ‘Occupy May Day’ General Strike

April 30, 2012 in Press Release, Social & Economic Justice

From the Green Party of the United States:

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party members will participate in the May 1 General Strike organized by the Occupy Movement and the May 1 Coalition and will join thousands of union members, students, immigrants, and others across the US in the first national strike in the nation’s history, with simultaneous strikes in other countries.

Rallies, marches, and picket lines are planned for over 115 cities to assert the rights of working people and democracy, in the face of growing power of financial elites over government and the lives of the “99 percent” and the threat this represents to the future of the US.

“The Occupy Movement is nonpartisan and is not affiliated with any political party, including the Green Party. But the presence of Greens in Occupy protests, including the May Day strike, is a reminder that the demands of the Occupy Movement will be represented on the ballot on Election Day. They won’t be represented by the Wall Street candidates — Republicans and Democrats — but by Green candidates, who accept no money from corporate PACs,” said Ursula Rozum, peace activist and organizer in Syracuse, NY, and Green Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 24th Congressional district (http://www.ursulaforcongress.com).

Green candidates running for office at every level, from city council to Congress and the White House, are basing their campaigns on the Green New Deal (http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2010/08/11/62-green-candidates-endorse-green-new-deal) and calling for the following: Read the rest of this entry →

Jill Stein Keynote Speaker at Denver Pot Rally Today

April 20, 2012 in Presidential Campaign, Social & Economic Justice

From jillstein.org:

Dr. Stein will be a keynote speaker at a huge Denver rally to legalize marajuana. Rally starts mid-afternoon, expected crowds to peak at 4:20pm.

Denver Post coverage of the event here.

From twitter updates at the Denver Post:

Here is the Facebook page for the Event

Glen Ford: Why Barack Obama is the more effective evil

March 26, 2012 in Social & Economic Justice

Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report gave a talk at the Left Forum entitled “Why Barack Obama is the more effective evil”. Here is a short excerpt from the talk, in which Ford also mentions the Green Party:

The prevailing assumption on the Left is that Obama has good intentions. He intends to the Right Thing – or, at least, he intends to do better than the Republicans intend to do. It’s all supposed to be about intentions. Let’s be clear: There is absolutely no factual basis to believe he intends to do anything other than the same thing he has already done, whether Democrats control Congress or not, which is to serve Wall Street’s most fundamental interests. But, the whole idea of debating Obama’s intentions is ridiculous. It’s psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.

Read the full text of the talk at Black Agenda Report.