Tag Archives: foreign policy

The Next President: Who is Jill Stein?

In 2000, 2.8 million people voted for Ralph Nader as the Green Party presidential candidate. Jill Stein is running for president as the standard bearer of the Green Party in 2016. She has no chance of winning. Her motivation for running—and the motivation of those who would vote for her—can only be explained by a combination of self-gratification and the belief that simply making a statement is important in today’s national politics.

Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School and practiced internal medicine for 25 years. She became an activist protesting coal fired power plants in Massachusetts and later served on the board of the Boston chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. She advocated for campaign finance reform in Massachusetts. She is a musician who has recorded several albums in a folk-rock band, Somebody’s Sister.

Stein ran unsuccessfully for governor in Massachusetts in 2002 and again in 2010, finishing both times in last place. She ran for state representative in 2004, losing to the incumbent candidate in a three-way race. She lost the race for Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2006. She was elected to serve in local government as a Town Meeting Representative in Lexington, Massachusetts in 2005 and 2008. She first ran for the presidency as the Green Party’s candidate in 2012, receiving 0.36 percent of the vote (about 470,000 votes). In August, 2016, she was nominated to run again as the Green Party candidate along with Ajamu Baraka as her vice-presidential running mate.

Baraka is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and was the founding director of US Human Rights Network, an organization that seeks to apply international human rights standards to the United States. An outspoken opponent of the death penalty, he serves on boards of several organizations dedicated to human rights advocacy.

The next chapter is tracking six focus issues during the current presidential election process. TNC has summarized the positions of the major party presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Where does Jill Stein stand on these issues?

On immigration:

Do you favor immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship?

Stein opposes deportation and favors immigration reform including a path to citizenship. She supports the DREAM Act. She believes that “predatory U.S. foreign policy” has driven the wave of “refugees” to the United States and that “we are then criminalizing these refugees once they come here by detaining, deporting, and night raiding them.”

On health care:

Do you support the ACA and efforts to improve or expand it?

Stein favors a single-payer health care system. She believes that the ACA is fatally flawed and appears to support repeal of the law, calling Clinton’s support for the ACA “a critical mistake.” She would replace the ACA with a “Medicare for all” plan.

On the Iran Nuclear Deal:

Do you support the nuclear agreement with Iran?

Stein supports the Iran nuclear agreement, and sees it as a step toward nuclear disarmament. She favors “better ties” with Iran.

On Climate Change:

Do you believe that human activity is largely responsible for climate change and do you favor regulation of emissions?

Stein has proposed a “Green New Deal” to address climate change and stimulate the economy. “She has adopted a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030, calling for a “mobilization” that would create “20 million new jobs. She has called climate change “an emergency expounded by racial disparities.”

On the Minimum Wage:

Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage?

Stein supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

On campaign finance:

Do you support campaign finance reform?

Stein’s Power to the People Plan calls for public campaign financing and “abolishing corporate personhood.”

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The Next Vice-President: Iran

The next chapter is tracking six focus issues during the current presidential election process. TNC has summarized the positions of the presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now that the candidates have selected their running mates, TNC is looking at the positions of Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence on these issues.

On the Agreement with Iran:

Do you support the nuclear agreement with Iran?

TNC’s take: The P5+1 agreement with Iran on nuclear development is a significant diplomatic overture that history may judge to be a major turning point for the better in the Middle East. The agreement may provide a bridge of common ground that will make further diplomatic achievements in the region possible.

Mike Pence said that the agreement that curtailed Iran’s nuclear development was a “bad deal,” and he vowed to maintain Indiana’s state-level sanctions against Iran. Pence was one of the fifteen governors who expressed opposition to the agreement in a letter to President Obama. The governors criticized the agreement because it did not “guarantee that Iran’s drive toward obtaining a nuclear weapon will be halted or even slowed.” Lifting the federal sanctions, the letter claimed, “will only result in Iran having more money available to fund terrorist groups and attacks.” In a separate letter to the Indiana Congressional delegation, Pence said that the agreement would not make the United States or “our most cherished ally, Isreal” safer.

Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations  and Armed Services Committees, supported the agreement with Iran. On the floor of the Senate, Kaine described the agreement as “a dramatic improvement over the status quo in improving global security.” He said that the agreement would disable Iran’s nuclear weapons program “for many years through peaceful diplomatic means.” Kaine pointed out that years of international economic sanctions against Iran did not stop Iran’s nuclear program.

In the agreement, Iran promised that “under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” While the agreement curtails Iran’s technical capabilities to develop a nuclear weapon—through a dramatic reduction in Iran’s uranium stockpiles, restrictions on the enrichment level of the remaining stockpile, reduction in the number centrifuges and other measures—if Iran breaks its promise not to develop a nuclear weapon, economic sanctions may be reimposed and the U.S. and its allies maintain the option to take military action against Iran.

After a 60-day congressional review period that ended in September 2015, a Republican resolution to reject the nuclear agreement was defeated in the Senate and the agreement was allowed to go into effect.

The vice-presidential candidates’ views on the other focus issues:

On Immigration

On Health Care

On Climate Change

On the Minimum Wage

On Campaign Finance Reform

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