Stein or Johnson?

I don’t see that any debate is scheduled between Dr. Jill Stein and Gov. Gary Johnson, the candidates for the US presidency for 2012, but there is <>, which purports to list the answers given by Johnson and Stein to certain questions.  Thanks to the author of that post.  I include a copy of those answers below, with my commentary in each case:

Should the U.S. intervene in the affairs of other countries?
Jill Stein: Only with non-violent diplomatic solutions such as sanctions and peace talks.
Gary Johnson: Only if there is a direct threat to our national security.

I disapprove of both answers.  “Sanctions”, depending on the details, can amount to war in effect.  I find US material interference in the internal politics of any other country to be immoral.  I also disapprove of the use in political communication of the term “national security”.  This term deliberately blurs the distinction between state security and the personal security of the residents.

Should the U.S. end the war in Afghanistan?
Jill Stein: Yes
Gary Johnson: Yes, and only approve future wars through Congress

I find these answers approximately equivalent to each other.

Should the U.S. continue to support Israel?
Jill Stein: We should give equal support to Israel and Palestine.
Gary Johnson: No, we should not give aid to any foreign nations

I find myself more in agreement with Johnson on this one.  Whenever any faction from the US or US government officials or agents contribute any arms or money or soldiers to any military conflict, the effects and purposes of such actions have not been aimed at justice, peace, or international respect.  Citizens should view any advocacy of continuation of actions of that sort with the most suspicion and skepticism possible.

How should the U.S. deal with Iran?
Their answers: Iran does not threaten our national security and there is no proof they are building a nuclear weapon.

Should the United States end its trade embargo and travel ban on Cuba?
Jill Stein: Yes
Gary Johnson: Yes, end embargoes with all countries and allow U.S. businesses to do business with any country.

These answers are consistent with each other.

Should foreign terrorism suspects be given constitutional rights?
Their answers: Yes, give them a fair trial and shut down Guantanamo Bay
Do you support the Patriot act?
Jill Stein: No
Gary Johnson: No, and pass strict laws prohibiting any government surveillance.

Are you in favor of decriminalizing all drugs?
Jill Stein: Yes, but not all drugs.
Gary Johnson: Yes, and retroactively reduce sentences for those already serving time for drug use.

I suppose either candidate would follow pretty good policies in regard to legal restrictions on drugs.

Should the federal government regulate the internet to deter online piracy?
Jill Stein: No
Gary Johnson: No, industries should address their piracy issues instead of the government.


Should children of illegal immigrants be granted citizenship?
Jill Stein: Yes
Gary Johnson: Yes, if they were born here.

Johnson doesn’t advocate any change from the current policy in his answer to this question, but he does in the next.

Should illegal immigrants working in the U.S. be granted temporary amnesty?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: Yes, create a simple path to citizenship for non-violent criminals.

 I would like to see these candidates and all other people who advocate that people present in the US in contradiction to current US immigration law should receive some kind of amnesty, I would like to see those advocates say what the immigration policy should be with regard to people who live outside the US and want to immigrate.  To me it only makes sense to give amnesty in the context of some other change to the law, so that people who want to immigrate will have a way to understand what the policy is.  Stated policy should not appear to contradict itself.  Stated policy should not look ambiguous.

What is your stance on abortion?
Jill Stein: Pro-choice.
Gary Johnson: Ban after the first trimester.

I am in favor of coercive policies making live birth in the US relatively rare until the population falls below the level that can be sustained by the farms and forests.  I find my position closer to Stein’s than to Johnson’s on this question.

Should gay marriage be allowed in the U.S.?
Their answers: Yes

Should the federal government allow the death penalty?
Their answers: No

Should marijuana be legalized in the U.S.?
Jill Stein: Yes
Gary Johnson: Yes. Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana instead of criminalizing it

Do you believe the theory of Evolution?
Their answers: Yes

Is Global Warming a threat to the environment?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: Regardless, we should incentivize the private sector to develop cleaner and efficient fuels.

Johnson doesn’t go far enough toward advocating centralized, armed coercion to force the US economy into sustainability as soon as possible and into being a model for the rest of the world to notice.

How should the U.S. handle the genocide in Sudan?
Jill Stein: Support a NATO effort to contain the Sudanese military.
Gary Johnson: Do not get involved.

On this question I find Stein’s position too interventionist and Johnson’s position correct.

Should the U.S. maintain a presence at the United Nations?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: Scale back our current involvement.

The UN has some very good documents and principles.  The US should increase its support for those while withdrawing from its domineering tendencies in its participation in the Security Council.  Citizens should push for some reforms in the UN and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  On this I feel some suspicion toward Johnson’s statement and support for Stein’s.

Should the federal government fund stem cell research?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: No, leave funding and research to the private sector.

The public sector should consider support for scientific efforts, and it should hire experts to carry on that consideration.  Part of the job of the hired experts should be to explain their reasoning to the public.

Should the United States increase our space exploration efforts and budget?
Jill Stein: Regardless, we should not use space-based technology for military purposes.
Gary Johnson: Leave funding and research to the private sector.

Disagreeing with Johnson on this one.  GPS and weather satellites for example benefit almost everyone and should be paid for in common without the overheads associated to capitalist markets.

Should we expand or dismantle our Medicare program?
Jill Stein: Transform the system into a Canadian or European style single payer system that can negotiate pricing for medication and treatments.
Gary Johnson: Reform.

Agreeing with Stein.

Do you support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?
Jill Stein: No, institute a universal healthcare system
Gary Johnson: No, open the markets so insurers can compete across state lines and drive down costs.

Agreeing with Stein.

Should we expand or dismantle our Social Security program?
Jill Stein: Keep “as is”.
Gary Johnson: Privatize the current system by allowing younger workers to contribute a portion of their payroll tax obligation to a private investment account.

More in agreement with Stein than with Johnson on this.

Do you agree with President Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Plan?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: No, I’m against any type of federal stimulus.

More in agreement with Johnson on this one.

Do you believe the 2001 and 2003 George W Bush tax cuts should be extended?
Jill Stein: No.
Gary Johnson: Abolish the IRS and pass the Fair Tax legislation.

I think that the Fair Tax proposal could serve as the basis for an improved tax code, however, the numbers in it need adjusting for greater progressivity compared to the proposal as it is published.  And I interpret Johnson’s answer to mean the proposal as it is currently published.  So on this question I find myself more in agreement with Stein.

Should the federal government subsidize U.S. farmers?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: No.

I’m probably more in agreement with Johnson here.

Should the government raise the federal minimum wage?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: No, eliminate all federal wage standards.

I disagree with the answers from both candidates.  I favor a purple wage, to be paid for by selling ores and gas and other such valued materials obtainable from the earth, and from land rents, and from fees and/or fines on pollution.

Should Congress raise the debt ceiling?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: No, cut spending.

Honest advocacy for cutting spending would state what to cut.  I am in favor of cutting the military.  I do not see the benefit of continued public debt.  Maybe somebody who advocates for the continuation of public debt can explain its benefits to me with a mathematical economic model.

Should the U.S. have bailed out the major banks during the financial crisis of 2008?
Jill Stein: Yes, and nationalize all big [banks].
Gary Johnson: No.

I would take pieces of each answer but neither whole answer.

Should able-bodied, mentally capable adults who receive welfare be required to work?
Jill Stein: No, “workfare” is a form a slave labor.
Gary Johnson: Yes.

More in agreement with Stein.  How would mental ability be measured?  What if one is tied up taking care of family?  That should count as work.

Should illegal immigrants be given access to government-subsidized healthcare?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: No, the government should not subsidize healthcare.

More in agreement with Stein.

Should the government require health insurance companies to provide free birth control?
Jill Stein: Yes.
Gary Johnson: No, let the insurance companies decide instead of a government mandate.

More in agreement with Stein.

Should we expand our offshore oil drilling?
Jill Stein: No.
Gary Johnson: Deregulate and let the free market determine the best energy sources.

Strongly in agreement with Stein. The people need the corporations to be regulated or replaced so as to arrange that the people not be denied the means of life, including for future generations.

Should U.S. National Parks and Forests continue to be preserved and protected by the federal government?
Jill Stein: Yes
Gary Johnson: Let each state determine which areas to protect.

With Stein on this one. The States would allow the land developers to mess it up.

Should we limit federal funds to public schools that do not meet performance standards?
Jill Stein: No.
Gary Johnson: The federal government should not be involved in education.

Agree with Stein.

Do you support affirmative action programs?
Jill Stein: Yes, and laws should be passed requiring all federal agencies to give favorable treatments to minorities.
Gary Johnson: No.

Interested in listening to people of color on this one.

Do you support increased gun control?
Jill Stein: Yes
Gary Johnson: No

Not sure.

Should corporations and unions be permitted to fund broadcast advertisements backing political candidates through political action committees (Super PACS)?
Jill Stein: No, corporations are not people and should not be allowed to finance political campaigns.
Gary Johnson: Yes, any restriction on campaign spending violates the first amendment.

More in agreement with Stein.  I don’t like that the composer of the question lumped unions in with the corporations.  I think those should be two separate questions.

The list of questions did not ask about democracy or electoral reform. Stein is affiliated with a party that I have heard about much more often than Johnson’s and to the best of my knowledge, Stein’s party has a long history, just about down to each individual member, of supporting the idea of majority elections.

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