All those things we were supposed to avoid by keeping quiet, we’ve gotten in spades

And again, for the last ten years at least, there has been this fear campaign that we dare not stand up and vote for what we believe in or for what we need, that it’s very dangerous to vote your values, you have to vote your fears. But we now have ten years of experience to see where this strategy has gone. And it’s pretty clear that silence is not an effective political strategy. And the politics of fear has basically delivered everything we were afraid of. All those reasons that progressives and people of conscience were supposed to be quiet and muzzle themselves, because you didn’t want an expanding war, you didn’t want a president who would attack our civil liberties, you didn’t want a president who would just give trillions of dollars in bailouts to Wall Street, you didn’t want someone who was going to expand these terrible free trade agreements that undermine wages for workers. All those things we were supposed to avoid by keeping quiet, we’ve gotten in spades because we’ve been quiet. You know the only way out of this is by a democracy, and if the public-interest candidate is removed, then all you have is public-relations campaigns for corporate sponsored candidates. That’s just going to continue to accelerate this surge to the right, which has been very harmful to the needs of the American people. So we’re here to replace the politics of fear with the politics of courage. And in fact, to look back at history and how we have made progress, it’s always through a combination of a social movement on the ground together with an independent political party, whether you’re looking at the abolition of slavery, or women’s right to vote, or the right to form unions to have a forty-hour work week and safe workplaces, you’ve always had an independent third party helping to articulate the vision, the agenda, and the demands, and drive them forward. That’s how we make progress.

— Jill Stein

Question (reporter Allison):

Since you’re on the ballot in so many more states this time around than you were then and several of them are battleground states, does that change the argument that you just made?

Stein:

In my view no — I mean people talk about safe states and and unsafe states — in my view, no state is safe. No state is safe in the era where our economy is about to head over the cliff again, and for four years, nothing has been done, and Dodd-Frank doesn’t begin to solve the problem — a very watered-down bill that created an elaborate regulatory process, that provided just a whole other wave of watering down. We have not solved this problem; the banks are still too big to fail; in fact they’re bigger than ever, too big to fail and too big to jail; we haven’t solved the problem; we’re in an incredible economic peril; we’ve seen that with the latest revelations about the LIBOR scandal, which is beginning to come home to roost here as well. So, the scandals haven’t been fixed; not a single executive from Wall Street has gone to jail, in contrast with the Reagan era, where well over a thousand executives actually paid — there was real accountability; there is none now. And the economy continues to be at incredible risk. And I also mention the climate here because in the last several weeks we’ve certainly seen what our climate future looks like, and this is just a taste of what’s to come. And we know well that we cannot allow this to go on and expect to fix it sometime after 2020, which is effectively what the president has done.

Unquote.

Excerpted from July 2012 Stein/Honkala Press Conference.

Emphases mine.

Ben Manski (?) campaign manager for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala:

. . . The Green Party has a primary process that is not all that different from the other parties, except that it is not dominated by corporate money. . . .

Dr. Stein is a very compelling candidate … has the rare trait in this election of having debated Mitt Romney, and bested him twice . . .

. . . We are in this race to do whatever we can to win. . . .

Jill Stein:

Thank you all so much for being here today. As you know, the American people are facing many crises right now. We continue to lose jobs, to lose decent wages, our homes, affordable health care, higher education; attack our civil liberties, and the prospects for a stable climate future are in great peril. Meanwhile the wealthy few are richer than ever and the political establishment is not fixing this; in fact, they are making it worse by imposing austerity on the American people while continuing to squander trillions of dollars on wars, wall street, and tax breaks for the wealthy. The American people are clearly at the breaking point, and in our campaign, we intend to turn the breaking point into a tipping point, to take back the promise of our democracy, and the peaceful just green future that we deserve. One of the ways that we do that is by giving everyday people who are otherwise locked out of this election, by giving them a real voice and a choice at the polls that’s not bought and paid for by Wall Street.

And we also intend to put real solutions on the table that the American people are clamoring for.

Really providing jobs, not merely more tax breaks for corporations or corporate subsidies that were provided by the first stimulus package; instead, we have a plan for providing jobs; it’s called the Green New Deal; it will create 25 million jobs, put an end to unemployment, and jump-start the green economy for the twenty-first century. And that economy will put a halt to climate change and make wars for oil obsolete.

We’re calling for health care as a human right under a Medicare-for-all system that not only covers everybody, it puts you back in control of your health-care decisions instead of having them dictated by a CEO who’s looking to make maximum profit on those decisions, but it also saves us trillions of dollars over the next decade, and it does that by eliminating the massive, wasteful private health insurance bureaucracy, and by stabilizing medical inflation.

We are also talking about an immediate moratorium on home foreclosures, about making public higher education free; we’ve done that before and it pays for itself many times over. We put many millions of soldiers to college after WWII, and the numbers show for every dollar we invested as taxpayers, we got about seven dollars back in economic benefits to the economy and return revenues.

And we are calling finally for downsizing the bloated military, which is not making us more secure, it’s making us less secure; it is not winning us friends overseas and is certainly draining our economy of the resources we need for true security here at home.

So these are some of the things that we will be putting on the table and driving into the political debate, because without our voices, there will be no real debate. We intend to drive that debate forward, to move those solutions forward and to get far as we can go to changing the White House into a green house in the course of this election and beyond.

I am so honored and delighted to be able to introduce my running mate, Cheri Honkala, who is one of the nation’s leading antipoverty advocates. You know we don’t hear much about the “P” word in this election, but it’s a really important word for us to be talking about, not only as an issue in its own right, but as an issue that’s increasingly central to the lives of the American people. We know from the recent census that one of every two Americans is now either in poverty, or close to it in being low-income; the ranks of the impoverished are growing by the millions. So, it’s very important that we address the underlying causes and the scourge of poverty. Cheri is the national coordinator for the Poor Peoples’ Economic Human Rights Coalition, and her work grows out of her own very compelling experience as a formerly homeless single mother, and she has transformed her experience into an uplift for so many millions of people who are struggling with exactly the same thing. In the tradition of MLK who called for an economic bill of rights, in order to free America of the misery of poverty and racism, Cheri Honkala continues that tradition and brings it into the work of this campaign. So I turn it over to Cheri with great appreciation for her sharing the ticket.

Cheri Honkala:

Thank you, Jill. I just want to start off by saying that when Jill called me and asked whether I would accept the offer of being on the ticket as the vice-presidential candidate, I was absolutely shocked, but I knew that my 25 years of traveling this country, visiting Native American reservations, of going to trailer parks in Iowa, visiting folks that were impacted by Katrina in both New Orleans and Mississippi, in visiting the Cabrini housing projects and watching the dismantling of public housing in this country, and hosting hundreds and hundreds of families across the country and helping them find a place to sleep at night. And knowing that not only are we in trouble here in this country but we have a global economy, and that every single day, 40,000 children die in the world that we live in. Here in Baltimore, another 2,500 are losing their jobs as steel workers. And I knew that I had to accept the offer, because I believe that I could bring to this campaign a human face, and the “P” word that Jill was talking about of course is poverty, an issue that hasn’t been talked about by either President Obama or Mitt Romney. We intend to put faces on the American people that are hurting right now, either to get something or to hold on to what it is that they have. This last few years, we’ve seen six million families lose their homes. These are folks that had stable employment, two-car garages, worked at labor unions, had good salaries, and now have fallen. These are folks that thought that they would never enter the ranks of the poor. These are now families that are living in vans, in the back of pickup trucks, parked in parking lots, behind churches, and the list goes on.

Three weeks ago, I got a knock on my door in the middle of the night from the Dept. of Human Services child protection in Phailadelpha. And the anonymous social worker said “Cheri, you have to help me tonight. I have a family of five outside in the car. And if you don’t take them in, I have to remove the children from the parents because their water was shut off in their home.” So instead of the city helping a family figure out how to have running water in the house, children, not just in Philadelphia but throughout the entire country, are being fast-tracked into adoption, only because they can’t provide the basic necessities of life, because they don’t have something as basic as a decent-paying job in this country. I refuse to proceed from this notion of scarcity; we live in a country that is wealthy; there’s enough to go around, and we intend to talk about this growing gap of inequality between the wealthy in this country and the devastating situation that most Americans are facing. So I’m going to be working very, very hard, from now until November, in ensuring, that the majority of the people in this country, that are struggling just to get a carton of milk, that we put a face on them, we hear about their stories in this presidential race. Thank you.

[skipping transcribing some of the questions and answers]

Stein:

Well yeah, what it does is it ties us up in knots . . .

. . . without having to make the back-room compromises to get the big money to make those communications effective. So, we hope to build in the groundswell that is out there for exactly this kind of thing.

Reporter Monica:

Some people have argued that the Green Party should begin by focusing on local elections and building support from the ground up. Could you talk about why you think it’s important to have a national presidential candidate?

Stein:

Sure. And I have to say I strongly agree that it’s very important to build from the ground up; in fact, I have spent my entire activist life building from the ground up. And I guess my experience, maybe it illustrates why we can’t only build from the ground up. And I was persuaded for the first time a year ago to become involved in the national fight. And I was persuaded when the president put Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid on the chopping block as part of the solution to the debt-ceiling crisis a year ago. And for me that was the breaking point. I strongly agree that grass-roots democracy grows from the local community up, but at the same time, we have a state of emergency, I think at the national level. And to silence the only hope of an opposition voice, in this election when so much is at stake, I think would be just a terrible loss for the American people. There’s no reason why Americans should have to walk into the voting booth in November and have only effectively two Wall Street sponsored choices. Because to vote for either of them effectively gives a mandate for four more years of Wall Street rule. And I think that is a disaster that we just can’t afford to allow to happen. Both for the economy, for the climate, for the free trade agreements which are now being negotiated by this White House which are basically NAFTA on steroids, for the continuing undermining of workers’ wages, with the president touting General Motors as the example to emulate, where corporate profits are doing great and CEO’s salaries are in fine shape, but the pay of workers has been slashed; they no longer have living wages when workers coming in this two- and three-tier model for wages; it’s awful; it’s not sustainable; it is a state of emergency, and we don’t move forward unless we actually drive some solutions into the debate. And they’re not going to do it for us. We’ve seen this incredible economic disparity, which has become completely disfunctional for the American economy, where workers cannot afford to put money back into the economy and fuel it with consumer demand; consumer demand has basically collapsed. And that’s an inevitable consequence of this growing gap between rich and poor. So we’ve got to fix it, otherwise, there is no exit strategy, they’re not going to provide it, so the American people need a voice in this election, and we need it now.

Question (German newspaper, something Zeiten):

[couldn’t get all the words, but it was essentially the question about spoiling the plurality election for another candidate on the left]

Several respondents at once:

What other candidate on the left?

Stein:

The “conventional wisdom” that Nader destroyed the race for Gore, it’s not supported by analyses that actually look at who came out to vote . . . . . . . so it’s a convenient scapegoat and it’s a convenient PR campaign to try to suppress the voice of the opposition, but I think the American people see that it’s very dangerous not to have an opposition party.

And again, for the last ten years at least, there has been this fear campaign that we dare not stand up and vote for what we believe in or for what we need, that it’s very dangerous to vote your values, you have to vote your fears. But we now have ten years of experience to see where this strategy has gone. And it’s pretty clear that silence is not an effective political strategy. And the politics of fear has basically delivered everything we were afraid of. All those reasons that progressives and people of conscience were supposed to be quiet and muzzle themselves, because you didn’t want an expanding war, you didn’t want a president who would attack our civil liberties, you didn’t want a president who would just give trillions of dollars in bailouts to Wall Street, you didn’t want someone who was going to expand these terrible free trade agreements that undermine wages for workers. All those things we were supposed to avoid by keeping quiet, we’ve gotten in spades because we’ve been quiet. You know the only way out of this is by a democracy, and if the public-interest candidate is removed, then all you have is public-relations campaigns for corporate sponsored candidates. That’s just going to continue to accelerate this surge to the right, which has been very harmful to the needs of the American people. So we’re here to replace the politics of fear with the politics of courage. And in fact, to look back at history and how we have made progress, it’s always through a combination of a social movement on the ground together with an independent political party, whether you’re looking at the abolition of slavery, or women’s right to vote, or the right to form unions to have a forty-hour work week and safe workplaces, you’ve always had an independent third party helping to articulate the vision, the agenda, and the demands, and drive them forward. That’s how we make progress.

Question (reporter Allison):

Since you’re on the ballot in so many more states this time around than you were then and several of them are battleground states, does that change the argument that you just made?

Stein:

In my view no — I mean people talk about safe states and and unsafe states — in my view, no state is safe. No state is safe in the era where our economy is about to head over the cliff again, and for four years, nothing has been done, and Dodd-Frank doesn’t begin to solve the problem — a very watered-down bill that created an elaborate regulatory process, that provided just a whole other wave of watering down. We have not solved this problem; the banks are still too big to fail; in fact they’re bigger than ever, too big to fail and too big to jail; we haven’t solved the problem; we’re in an incredible economic peril; we’ve seen that with the latest revelations about the LIBOR scandal, which is beginning to come home to roost here as well. So, the scandals haven’t been fixed; not a single executive from Wall Street has gone to jail, in contrast with the Reagan era, where well over a thousand executives actually paid — there was real accountability; there is none now. And the economy continues to be at incredible risk. And I also mention the climate here because in the last several weeks we’ve certainly seen what our climate future looks like, and this is just a taste of what’s to come. And we know well that we cannot allow this to go on and expect to fix it sometime after 2020, which is effectively what the president has done.

. . .

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One Response to All those things we were supposed to avoid by keeping quiet, we’ve gotten in spades

  1. John Cusack & Jonathan Turley on Obama’s Constitution
    http://is.gd/nhZ58V

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