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

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.

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Greens Vs Democrats Vs Republicans

Greens have been around long enough to include us in the spectrum of political ideas. All too often Greens are lumped into the “left” end of the spectrum. It’s time to evaluate Green perspectives from our base up. To do that we have to address matters such as voter support and electoral strategies and find ways to implement our Platform.

It is worthwhile to review the current administration’s policies with the previous administration’s and ask: “What’s new about this or that?” We also can ask why are we not making the structural changes that are really needed for ecological democracy or adaptive governance. We don’t need to gloss over differences to include them in the decision-making processes and yet, that is what we continue to do. Rather then using a model that proposes central government versus state governments, I would suggest a model that presents autonomous regions (or governing entities) with defined authorities integrated into both state and Federal governments. Continue Reading

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The Difference Between Democrats And Greens Is As Big As Hiroshima’s Mushroom Cloud

Some people say that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans. I don’t think it’s fair, or for that matter, plausible, to make that claim. The problem with the Democratic Party is that there isn’t as much of a difference between Republican politicians and Democratic politicians as there ought to be – certainly not as much of a difference as Democratic voters like to believe that there is.

Those of us who are in the Green Party need to remember that most Democrats truly believe that there is a great deal of difference between their leaders and the leaders of the Republican Party. What Green Party candidates need to do is to walk a balanced line, acknowledging the differences that really do exist between Republicans and Democrats, while showing Democrats the ways in which the distinction between the two dominant parties is insufficient.

A timely example of this balanced approach is the issue of nuclear weapons. Tomorrow is the 64th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. A poll of Republicans, Democrats and political independents (not members of the Independent Party) about the Hiroshima bombing, by Quinnipiac University, was released just yesterday.

The results: Republicans were strongly in favor of the nuclear attack, 74 percent supporting the decision to drop the atom bomb, and only 13 percent against. Democrats were different. The largest group of Democrats, 49 percent, expressed support for the nuclear attack. Only 29 percent of Democrats said they disagreed with the attack, and 22 percent said they were unsure.

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that political independents are more likely to reject the Hiroshima attack than Democrats. 65 percent of independents expressed support for the nuclear attack against Hiroshima, and 23 percent being unsure.

What about Green Party members? Where did they stand in the poll? Well, they didn’t stand in the poll. They weren’t counted as Green Party members. However, it’s a safe bet that a strong majority of Green Party members would express rejection of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. After all, the Green Party has non-violence as one of its 10 key values. The Democratic Party doesn’t even have the word “non-violence” in its platform.

What do we do with this information?

It’s clear that the Democratic Party is not a party of non-violence. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any Democrats who support non-violence. There are many who do. In fact, of the three political groups considered by this poll, the Democratic Party had the most non-violent members. With only the information contained in the poll, many voters might conclude that the best way to support non-violence. Of course, if the Green Party is added to the consideration, the Democratic Party’s support for non-violence looks downright weak.

There are 29 percent of Democrats who expressed a strong belief in non-violence in this poll. They aren’t being represented well by their own political party. They ought to be open to considering the Green Party, but that consideration won’t take place unless they perceive the Green Party as being a politically viable option.

We need to woo these Democrats, not assault them with generalizations that they know aren’t true. They know that there’s a difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, and they also know that there is a great deal of diversity within the Democratic Party. When we acknowledge that diversity, we encourage non-violent Democrats to differentiate themselves from their political party as a whole. When that differentiation is accomplished, these Democrats can begin to see that their ideals aren’t being promoted by the Democratic Party leadership, and the Green Party option, reasonably communicated, becomes a lot more attractive.

You’ve got to recognize the sheep as an individual separate from the flock before it will have the courage to start acting like a goat.

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The 800 Billion Dollar Gorilla in the Debate

It’s too bad so much coverage of Presidential politics this election is being spent on personality and gamesmanship. One would think that there was nothing as important as whether Sarah was Sarah or Joe revealed his feminine side by coming close to tears. Meanwhile, the 800 billion dollar gorilla in the room was allowed to dominate his own kingdom. As the economy is the theme of daily broadcasts as to WHEN, not if, Congress will pass the bailout, the rest of us watch in astonishment that our future and our children’s future is treated in such a cavalier manner by the two parties.

It’s not just a matter of how much time was spent on the debate about the bailout, but also where the maverick was when it came to the bill? Where was the YES WE CAN candidate when it comes to the opposition to the bailout by the vast majority of American people? If people expected something of substance would be said about it in the Presidential debate there were surely disappointed.

The word both VP Candidates used was “oversight”. This is a term, like Main Street and Wall Street that has been abused in the recent bailout debate. Policy means enforcement which is more than oversight. It is a comprehensive restructuring of the economy that has already taken place. The income gap between rich and poor has widened; the public infrastructure (such as mass transportation, energy production, public health and education and resource management) has deteriorated; vast numbers of the American people have no health care and the inflated housing prices that were so popular to investment bankers closed any opportunity for millions to own homes. The distinction made was that we were told Obama would “fundamentally change the focus of economic policy” after voting YES for the bailout, while we were told that John McCain was “representing reform” while voting YES for the bailout. Continue Reading

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Republican sore losers in Montana

In an article at Independent Political report, it was reported that Bob Kelleher, a member of Montana’s Green Party, won the Republican nomination in a six way race.

Well, while Greens are routinely called to accept that we have a “two party system”, apparently Republicans are not content to let the voters decide. According to an Associated Press article, at least two of these defeated Republicans can’t take being beaten at the ballot box, and plan an independent run as a write-in candidate.