by John Lawrence from the San Diego Free Press
Noam Chomsky advocates voting for Dr Jill Stein of the Green Party in states which are securely Democratic and voting for Hillary in swing states where every vote counts. This makes a lot of sense to me as it's one way, maybe the only way, to build a third party in this country. Due to our antiquated voting system, a third party can never be successful. However, it could conceivably replace one of the two present day mainstream parties at some point.
Jill Stein stands for a lot of the things that Bernie and other Progressives stand for. But even if, by some stretch of the imagination, she were to be elected in November, she would still face a Republican Congress. Hillary is right when she seeks to tone down Bernie's rhetoric and make more modest claims because, if elected President, she will face an intransigent Congress which will thwart her at every turn. Even though the Dems might be able to take back the Senate, it will not be filibuster-proof, and they probably will not be able to take back the House. So the Repubs will block all the good stuff in the Democratic party platform, and Hillary will be blamed for not delivering what she had promised.
If Hillary is not able to implement any bit of the Democratic platform, a platform shaped by Bernie Sanders, the high expectations of those who will vote for her will be smashed with the result that people will turn on her, and Donald Trump could come back to haunt us in four years.
Dr Jill Stein doesn't have that dilemma. She can state her positions clearly and unequivocally knowing that she will never have to try to get them implemented because she probably will never gain the Presidency. But still it's worthwhile to get those viewpoints out there before the public and let the public ruminate on them the same way Bernie Sanders did. If he had gained the Democratic nomination, he would have been in even worse shape than Hillary who at least had the perspicacity to tone down claims of what she would do as President to be somewhat more in tune with reality.
What does Jill Stein Stand For?
So what does Dr Jill Stein stand for? Here is a sampling:
1) Guarantee economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities, with effective anti-poverty programs to ensure every American a life of dignity.
This is none other than the implementation of Article 25 of the UN Declaration of human rights which states
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Economic human rights are something Republicans are dead set against. They say it's not in the Constitution and it's unAmerican; only political rights are mentioned in the Constitution. Jill Stein's plan to implement economic human rights would end poverty and guarantee everyone a basically decent existence. The crux of the matter is that those of us who have been fortunate enough to accumulate great wealth should use some of that wealth to support those of us who are less fortunate, not by means of philanthropy or charity, but through the intermediary of government and the tax code. So far human greed has made this outcome impossible. Will human nature change and in particular the American psyche become less selfish? We'll see, but I wouldn't count on it. It would entail rewriting the Constitution to reflect those values.
2) Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Advance workers' rights to form unions, achieve workplace democracy, and keep a fair share of the wealth they create.
In Sweden unemployment offices have been replaced by employment offices. These offices can be found in Stockholm and other cities and towns and are state run. In order to get a job all one must do is go in to this office, input one's qualifications and credentials, and they will help you search a database of every available job in the whole country. If a suitable job comes up, the applicant has a right not to accept it, and a new search is undertaken. However, after three rejections, his or her welfare is cut off. In other words you have to accept one out of three proposed jobs or else. This extensive job search should be implemented in this country in order to facilitate everyone's working to the greatest extent possible. If no suitable private sector job can be found, then public sector jobs at minimum wage can be created. There's no end of trash that needs to be picked up along the streets and freeways. I'm sure productive jobs can be created ala FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration.
Global warming is serious and needs to be addressed in a serious manner. Dr Stein's platform would do this although the date needs to be moved up to 2025.
4) Establish a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, and human rights. End the wars and drone attacks, cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases that are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire. Stop U.S. support and arms sales to human rights abusers, and lead on global nuclear disarmament.
The US has to be weaned away from being the world's foremost militarist nation if there is ever to be peace on the planet. Peace making activities such as the Peace Corps need to be stepped up. The money saved by slashing the military budget and closing bases can be used to transition to renewable energy and provide other social benefits.
The US military bases in almost every country of the world give credence to the fact that the US is an occupying power that occupies the whole world. It's world domination pure and simple, something we fought against in WWII when the Axis powers tried to do it. A lot of these countries, for example the Phillipines, don't want our bases on their territory. Converting US military occupation to Peace Corps related activities would go a long way to creating world peace. We create enemies and then beef up the military budget to defend against them. Even Russia has been recreated as a new old enemy when friendship would have been and still is possible. Those in power miss the good old days of the Cold War; they want it back so bad.
5) Establish an improved “Medicare For All” single-payer public health insurance program to provide everyone with quality health care, at huge savings.
With Aetna pulling out of Obamacare, Obamacare's days are numbered. The big insurance companies are not interested in playing that game leaving the whole program in jeopardy. It was a jury rigged, Rube Goldberg jumble of incompatible compromises in the first place. Medicare-for-all is the only sane solution. Let's get on with it.
6) Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude. Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university. End high stakes testing and public school privatization.
5) and 6) agree with Bernie Sanders' proposals.
7) Set a $15/hour federal minimum wage. Break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and democratize the Federal Reserve. Reject gentrification as a model of economic development. Support development of worker and community cooperatives and small businesses. Make Wall Street, big corporations, and the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Create democratically run public banks and utilities. Replace corporate trade agreements with fair trade agreements.
The Federal Reserve created $17 trillion out of thin air via a few keystrokes on a computer in order to bail out the big banks, domestic and foreign, in the 2008 financial crisis. It's obvious they don't know what they're doing. They're in uncharted waters, and the only thing they know is to preserve the system as it already exists until the next financial crisis. That's the only time when things might change. Until then they are holding on to the current system such that it is for dear life.
The Rich Need to Pay Taxes Sufficient to Reduce Inequality
The rich need to pay their fair share which I define as sufficient to diminish income and wealth inequality. If the US is to remain a democratic country and not become a plutocracy, this needs to happen.
Reagan's and Alan Greenspan's tax breaks for the rich had a lot to do with the increasing economic divide between rich and poor. The balance needs to be regained by taxing the rich to support the poor until wealth and income is more evenly distributed.
There are other parts to Dr Jill Stein's plan, but the above are the main "planks" in my opinion. She mentions public banking which I have written about extensively in the San Diego Free Press. The champion of public banking is Ellen Brown who has run on the Green Party ticket previously for State Treasurer of California. Public banking is an important concept that would make it possible for the US and its citizens to get away from the debt based economy they now suffer under. It also is a non-violent way to diminish the power Wall Street has over the economy.
In Ellen's latest blog: Can Jill Carry Bernie’s Baton? A Look at the Green Candidate’s Radical Funding Solution she says:
Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.
As with Sanders’ economic proposals, her plan has been challenged as unrealistic. Where will Congress find the money?
But Stein argues that the funds can be found. Going beyond Bernie, she calls for large cuts to the bloated military budget, which makes up 55% of federal discretionary spending; and progressive taxation, ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share. Most controversial, however, is her plan to tap up the Federal Reserve. Pointing to the massive sums the Fed produced out of the blue to bail out Wall Street, she says the same resources used to save the perpetrators of the crisis could be made available to its Main Street victims, beginning with the students robbed of their futures by massive student debt.
The Fed came up with trillions of dollars to bail out Wall Street and they did it with a couple keystrokes on a computer. So why can't the same thing be done for Main Street? Dr Jill Stein and Ellen Brown say it can. Bernie Sanders demanded that the Government Accounting Office conduct an audit of the Fed which revealed that it had provided a whopping $17 trillion to bail out American and foreign banks during the economic crisis. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else,” said Sanders in a press release.
If the Fed can create money that it doesn't really have just by a few keystrokes on a computer and give it to the rich, it begs the question why can't the Treasury Department issue the money directly to the people? Right now they are forbidden by law from doing so, but there is a way around this since the Treasury can issue coins. It has been proposed that the Treasury could mint a trillion dollar coin and then go from there. Better yet change the law so that the Treasury Department, not the Wall Street controlled Fed, has control over the money supply. If it did this, it wouldn't have to borrow money and pay interest on its bonds which goes mainly to Wall Street. Taxpayers would save billions of dollars in interest charges. Ellen continues:
The alternative is to do what governments arguably should have been doing all along: issue the money directly to fund their budgets.
Central bankers have largely exhausted their tool kits, prompting some economists to recommend some form of “helicopter money” – newly-issued money dropped directly into the real economy. Funds acquired from the central bank in exchange for government securities could be used to build infrastructure, issue a national dividend, or purchase and nullify federal debt. Nearly interest-free loans could also be made by the central bank to state and local governments, in the same way they were issued to rescue an insolvent banking system.
Just as the Fed bought federal and mortgage-backed securities with money created on its books, so it could buy student or other consumer debt bundled as “asset-backed securities.” But in order to stimulate economic activity, the central bank would have to announce that the debt would never be collected on. This is similar to the form of “helicopter money” recently suggested by former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to the Japanese, using debt instruments called “non-marketable perpetual bonds with no maturity date” – bonds that can’t be sold or cashed out by the central bank and that bear no interest.
The Bernanke proposal (which he says could also be used by the US Fed in an emergency) involves the government issuing bonds, which it sells to the central bank for dollars generated digitally by the bank. The government then spends the funds directly into the economy, bypassing the banks.
The US government need not borrow money for its expenditures thus driving up the national debt. It could issue the money directly essentially the way the Fed did. The Fed then bailed out the banks, but won't bail out Main Street. The Federal government could do just that: provide money interest free for rebuilding infrastructure, buying up student loan debt and other worthwhile activities. The result would be increased economic stimulus and full employment. This coupled with a financial transactions tax on Wall Street, eliminating the "carried interest" loophole for hedge funds, would decrease the economic divide between the 1% and the 99%.
Bernie Sanders had the right ideas; Jill Stein has the right ideas. But none of these ideas can be implemented with a corporate controlled Congress which likes things just the way they are. After all it serves their interests very well. They are getting rich off it, and they could care less about the middle class or the poverty stricken. The Repubs have their southern "tribe" locked up and fully imbued with the idea of voting against their own interests. They are busy ginning up anger against the less rugged. This seems to be sufficient for getting people to vote against their own interests. Corporate Democrats like their perks too like going to work as lobbyists after they quit their "public service."