Big Loss

22 Aug

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Here in front is our Camphor Laurel tree before it was cut down.

The Camphor Laurel tree before it was cut down.

The Camphor Laurel tree had to be cut down. (Its stump can be seen in the first picture.)  After the tree lopping team arrived, they first cut down our umbrella tree, then they started working on our palm tree and last of all was then the camphor laurel tree taken care off.

In a few days they’ll come back to cut out the three stumps.

We feel we suffered a big loss for we loved those trees. We enjoyed them over many years. But unfortunately they had to go. They did grow much too big for our small backyard, and they were too close to the fence and to our house.  There just was not enough room for them. They’re also classified as ‘noxious’. Their roots spread everywhere. From the spikes in the palm tree one could get poison into one’s skin causing nasty skin infections.

Man cutting the palm tree's trunk.

Man cutting the palm tree’s trunk.

Our backyard looks pretty bare at the moment. But we're going to plant soon something new and hopefully a bit more suitable for this small area.

Our backyard looks pretty bare at the moment. But we’re soon going to plant  something new and hopefully something a bit more suitable for this small area.

 

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Tuesday, 23rd of August

Peter took yesterday some pictures of our backyard and just sent them to me. Here they are:

 

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How the entire nation of Nauru almost moved to Queensland

15 Aug

How the entire nation of Nauru almost moved to Queensland

August 15, 2016 6.16am AEST

Nauru’s parliament would have been rebuilt in Queensland, but with less power. CdaMVvWgS/Wikimedia Commons

Nauru is best known to most Australians as the remote Pacific island where asylum seekers who arrive by boat are sent. What is less well known is that in the 1960s, the Australian government planned to relocate the entire population of Nauru to an island off the Queensland coast.

The irony of this is striking, especially in light of continuing revelations that highlight the non-suitability of Nauru as a host country for refugees. It also provides a cautionary tale for those considering wholesale population relocation as a “solution” for Pacific island communities threatened by the impacts of climate change.

Extensive phosphate mining on Nauru by Australia, Britain and New Zealand during the 20th century devastated much of the country. The landscape was so damaged that scientists considered it would be uninhabitable by the mid-1990s. With the exorbitant cost of rehabilitating the island, relocation was considered the only option.

In 1962, Australia’s prime minister Robert Menzies acknowledged that the three nations had a “clear obligation … to provide a satisfactory future for the Nauruans”, given the large commercial and agricultural benefits they had derived from Nauru’s phosphate. This meant “either finding an island for the Nauruans or receiving them into one of the three countries, or all of the three countries”.

That same year, Australia appointed a Director of Nauruan Resettlement to comb the South Pacific looking for “spare islands offering a fair prospect”. Possible relocation sites in and around Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Australia’s Northern Territory were explored, but were ultimately deemed inappropriate. There weren’t enough job opportunities and there were tensions with the locals.

Fraser Island in Queensland was also considered, but the Australian government decided it didn’t offer sufficiently strong economic prospects to support the population. The Nauruans thought this was a convenient excuse (and archival materials show that the timber industry was fiercely opposed).

The Curtis solution

In 1963, Curtis Island near Gladstone was offered as an alternative. Land there was privately held, but the Australian government planned to acquire it and grant the Nauruans the freehold title. Pastoral, agricultural, fishing and commercial activities were to be established, and all the costs of resettlement, including housing and infrastructure, were to be met by the partner governments at an estimated cost of 10 million pounds – around A$274 million in today’s terms.

But the Nauruans refused to go. They did not want to be assimilated into White Australia and lose their distinctive identity as a people. Many also saw resettlement as a quick-fix solution by the governments that had devastated their homeland, and a cheap option compared with full rehabilitation of the island.

Australia also refused to relinquish sovereignty over Curtis Island. While the Nauruans could become Australian citizens, and would have the right to “manage their own local administration” through a council “with wide powers of local government”, the island would officially remain part of Australia.

Frustrated by what it perceived as a genuine and generous attempt to meet the wishes of the Nauruan people, the Menzies government insisted it wouldn’t change its mind.

So the Nauruans stayed put.


Nauru’s phosphate industry has left the landscape scarred and useless for agriculture. CdaMVvWgS/Wikimedia Commons

The issue briefly resurfaced in 2003 when Australia’s foreign minister Alexander Downer once again suggested wholesale relocation as a possible strategy, given that Nauru was “bankrupt and widely regarded as having no viable future”. Nauru’s president dismissed the proposal, reiterating that relocating the population to Australia would undermine the country’s identity and culture.

Planned relocations in the Pacific

Today, “planned relocation” is touted as a possible solution for low-lying Pacific island countries, such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are threatened by sea-level rise and other long-term climate impacts.

But past experiences in the Pacific, such as the relocation of the Banabans in 1945 from present-day Kiribati to Fiji, show the potentially deep, intergenerational psychological consequences of planned relocation. This is why most Pacific islanders see it as an option of last resort. Unless relocation plans result from a respectful, considered and consultative process, in which different options and views are seriously considered, they will always be highly fraught.

Nauru today is at the highest level of vulnerability on the Environmental Vulnerability Index. The past destruction wrought by phosphate mining has rendered the island incapable of supporting any local agriculture or industry, with 90% of the land covered by limestone pinnacles.

It has a very high unemployment rate, scarce labour opportunities, and virtually no private sector – hence why the millions of dollars on offer to operate Australia’s offshore processing centres was so attractive. These factors also illustrate why the permanent resettlement of refugees on Nauru is unrealistic and unsustainable.

Nauru’s future seems sadly rooted in an unhealthy relationship of co-dependency with Australia, as its territory is once again exploited, at the expense of the vulnerable. And as the story of Curtis Island shows, there are no simple solutions, whether well-intentioned or not.


This is an overview of a longer article published in Australian Geographer.

There are several refugee and asylum-seeker agencies that exist to help people in mainland detention or who have just left the island centres

15 Aug

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/13/nauru-files-how-you-can-help-people-held-in-detention-by-australia

There are several refugee and asylum-seeker agencies that exist to help people in mainland detention or who have just left the island centres:

The following is an extract of an article by Helen Davidson that was published in The Guardian on  13 August 2016.

 

Helen Davidson is a reporter for Guardian Australia, based in Darwin. Helen worked as an online journalist for SBS World News Australia and was a news and interactive journalist for news.com.au, where she liveblogged major news events

 

There are more than 400 people on Nauru, and more than 800 on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

The files have revealed a shocking level of trauma and abuse – both alleged and witnessed – occurring inside the Nauru facility, and other allegations continue to emerge from Manus.

Since the Salvation Army and Save the Children left, there are no longer any charities or benevolent organisations working offshore, but there are human rights and legal organisations working from Australia, as well as several refugee and asylum-seeker agencies that exist to help people in mainland detention or who have just left detention.

Here are the main organisations where you can offer your support:

How to contact the Nauru files reporters securely and confidentially
Here are two options for people who want to contact Guardian Australia using more secure forms of electronic communication to avoid most common forms of online tracking
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• The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre provides services to more than 1,200 asylum seekers in the community, including shelter, food, medical care and legal assistance. The organisation takes one-off or monthly donations, volunteers or people who wish to get involved in its activism.

• The Refugee Council of Australia is a peak body for about 200 organisations and more than 1,000 individual members. It conducts advocacy and support, policy development and research, and community education. It invites donations as well as activism, volunteers and involvement in the Australia Says Welcome campaign.
• Rise is a community organisation aimed at supporting refugees and asylum seekers within Australia, and campaigning for policy change. It is run and governed by refugees, asylum seekers and former detainees, and helps people in the early stages of settlement, including the areas of housing, welfare and employment. Refugees and asylum seekers have access to a drop-in centre, a food bank and a resource library.

• The Human Rights Law Centre is a not-for-profit legal organisation that supports and defends the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. It conducts research and has run and been involved in legal cases and advocacy campaigns to improve the conditions inside detention and the treatment of people who seek asylum in Australia.

• The Refugee Advice and Caseworker Service is a legal centre providing free and specialised legal assistance to asylum seekers and to refugees seeking to reunite with their families. The RACS has helped 2,500 people but estimate there are at least 9,000 who need assistance in New South Wales alone. Its government funding was slashed in 2014. You can offer financial assistance.
Dear Australia: a Guardian video series
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• Perth’s Humanitarian Group provides a similar service, offering migration assistance, legal advice and education. It takes donations, volunteers, and membership support.

• In Queensland the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service is another independent, not-for-profit community legal centre for refugees and asylum seekers. Its small staff assist as many people as they can who appear before the Department of Immigration, Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal.

• The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney, established in 1999, campaigns for the rights of asylum seekers and runs grassroots action and activism. It holds regular meetings in Sydney.

• The Refugee Advice and Caseworker Service is a legal centre providing free and specialised legal assistance to asylum seekers and to refugees seeking to reunite with their families. The RACS has helped 2,500 people but estimate there are at least 9,000 who need assistance in NSW alone. Its government funding was slashed in 2014. You can offer financial assistance.

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• Perth’s Humanitarian Group provides a similar service, offering migration assistance, legal advice and education. It takes donations, volunteers, and membership support.

• In Queensland the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service is another independent, not-for-profit community legal centre for refugees and asylum seekers. Its small staff assist as many people as they can who appear before the Department of Immigration, migration review tribunal, refugee review tribunal.

• The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney, established in 1999, campaigns for the rights of asylum seekers and runs grassroots action and activism. It holds regular meetings in Sydney.

• The Darwin asylum seeker support and advocacy network worked with asylum seekers in detention at the nearby Wickham Point immigration centre, until it was recently closed. It also provides support and advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers and other detainees.

• Also in Darwin, the Melaleuca refugee centre is a community organisation that assists refugees who wish to settle in the Northern Territory and provides support services and referrals for people who have suffered trauma and torture.

• Australian Refugee Volunteers works with children and families in Sydney, running programs and taking them on regular outings to help them settle in Australia, socialise with other children, and improve physical and mental health.

The Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project provides support and advocacy for asylum seekers in onshore detention in Melbourne. Members have assisted with making the detention environment more comfortable, and have provided baby items for new mothers. They also assist people with settling into a place when they leave the facility. The BASP takes financial donations as well as items such as food, cleaning products, and phone cards for detainees. They are also happy to hear from anyone who may be able to provide employment for a new refugee or asylum seeker, or who wants to volunteer to teach English.

US/NATO Nuclear Air Base

9 Aug

http://www.news.com.au/world/reports-turkish-troops-have-sealed-off-incirlik-usnato-nuclear-air-base/news-story/4d7bb16e4e86842218b5b0d7d70f582b

Who knows about all this?

Vice-Presidential Running Mate

4 Aug

http://www.jill2016.com/jill_stein_selects_ajamu_baraka_as_vp

Jill Stein Selects Human Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka as Vice-Presidential Running Mate

p_Ajamu_Baraka.jpgGreen Party presumptive Presidential nominee Jill Stein has offered her vice-presidential bid to international human rights scholar and activist Ajamu Baraka.

 “I am honored and excited to announce that my running mate in the 2016 presidential election will be Ajamu Baraka, activist, writer, intellectual and organizer with a powerful voice, vision, and lifelong commitment to building true political revolution,” Stein announced.

“Ajamu Baraka is a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come – an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice. Ajamu’s life’s work has embodied the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Stein continued. “In this hour of unprecedented crisis, we are honored to lift up a unified movement for justice in the only national political party that is not held hostage by corporate money, lobbyists and super-PACs. We look forward to bringing this agenda for justice to the American people in the exciting race ahead.”

Ajamu Baraka is an internationally recognized human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Founding Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (until 2011) and Coordinator of the U.S. based “Black Left Unity Network’s” Committee on International Affairs, Baraka has served on the boards of various national and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International (USA) and the National Center for Human Rights Education. He has served on the boards of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Africa Action; Latin American Caribbean Community Center; Diaspora Afrique; and the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights.

Baraka is a member of the Green Shadow Cabinet and an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. An editor and contributing columnist for Black Agenda Report, Baraka has appeared on and been covered in a wide-range of print, broadcast, and digital media outlets such as CNN, BBC, the Tavis Smiley Show, ABC’s World News Tonight, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Telemundo.

There had been earlier speculation that Stein would offer the spot to ex-Sanders surrogate and former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, who had been unfairly spurned at last week’s Democratic National Convention for her principled criticism of the DNC and Hillary Clinton. Stein confirmed that talks had taken place between her and Turner, but that the conditions were not right for a combined run.

“In the process of vetting and selecting a VP, I was honored to talk with several inspired activists,” Stein said. “Among them, I especially appreciate Senator Turner’s willingness to have discussed the VP position. The fit just wasn’t right, as Senator Turner is still committed to try to save the soul of the Democratic Party. While we may not agree on whether that is possible, I respect her passion to fight for the people and wish her the best in her effort.”

Stein said she also discussed the position with author Chris Hedges, single payer healthcare activist and US Senate candidate Dr. Margaret Flowers (Green – Maryland), economic justice advocate and TPP opponent Kevin Zeese of PopularResistance.org, and Green Party activist and former Black Panther Party leader, Aaron Dixon.

Stein added that: “Our campaign is fully committed to the fight for a political revolution in a party with a demonstrated, unwavering commitment to that political revolution. We welcome the 60% of  Americans who want a principled alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. We are also happy to continue serving as a “plan B” safety net for discouraged reformers as they tire of the disempowering, uphill battle inside the Democratic Party that was so painfully on display at the Democratic National Convention.”

Dr. Jill Stein is expected to be formally nominated as the Presidential candidate of the Green Party at their national convention in Houston on Saturday, August 6th.

Jill Stein for President

3 Aug

http://www.jill2016.com/keeptherevolutiongoing

Keep the Revolution Going: Jill Stein for President

The Jill Stein for President campaign is building a movement for an America that works for us all. Sign your name below to let Jill know you’re with her.

We the undersigned urge your support – including your voice and your vote – for Jill Stein for President on the Green Party line as an essential, urgent step to continue building a true American revolution.

A movement for democracy and justice is sweeping the planet – from Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring to the Black Lives Matter movement. People are rising up to halt the neoliberal assault, calling for an America and a world that works for all of us. While our movement is winning important victories – notably for living wages and against fossil fuel infrastructure – the economic elite have only tightened their grip. People are realizing that if we want to fix the rigged economy, the rigged racial injustice system, the rigged energy system and more, we must also fix the rigged political system.

The toxic 2016 Presidential election is yet another manifestation of the desperate need for deep change. Many have flocked to the banner of socialism and equality raised by the Sanders campaign, while conservative voters have rejected the illusions peddled by Republican elites. Meanwhile the two corporate parties have anointed the two most disliked politicians in the country to be their standard bearers this November.

Jill Stein’s Power to the People agenda reflects many of the domestic policies of the Sanders campaign – income equality, climate justice, free public higher education, Medicare for All, immigrant rights, racial justice and an end to mass incarceration. In other areas, Stein goes much further than Sanders, calling for the cancellation of student debt, full public financing of elections, and the creation of public banks. Her rapid transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 makes wars for oil obsolete, enabling a 50% cut in the dangerously bloated military budget which has made us less safe, not more safe. Stein offers a foreign policy based on international law and human rights, not economic and military domination that has proven so catastrophic.

While support for the Sanders campaign surpasses that of all other campaigns, the elites of the Democratic Party have stacked party rules to sabotage his campaign, like principled and powerful grassroots candidates before him. The Democratic Party is proving once again that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counter-revolutionary party.

Each time a challenger such as Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich and Sanders inspired hope among progressives for change, Democratic Party leaders sabotaged the effort. All the while, the Democratic Party has continued to march to the right, becoming more corporatist, imperialist and militarist in spite of its inspired progressive electoral campaigns. The party’s trajectory has been to fake left, but go right.

As the Democrats shut down Sanders’ campaign, some “progressives” are advocating retreat from electoral politics, suggesting people double down on social movements. Of course we must continue to fight for these movements in every way possible. But if we do not also fight for political power, the battles of our social movements will count for little, as they will be outflanked by predatory elites making our laws, writing our budgets, and appointing government administrators. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” We must bring that demand into the halls of power.

Other loyal Democrats are calling for a focus on Congressional races. But even when the Democratic Party held both houses of Congress and the White House from 2008-2010, the Democratic majority delivered for its corporate sponsors, not everyday people, with Wall Street bailouts, wars for oil, an “all of the above” energy policy that was “drill baby drill” on steroids, and tax favors for the wealthy.

As the Democratic Party continues its assault, growing numbers are looking to the Stein campaign as the vehicle to continue the revolt. The Green Party is currently on the ballot for more than half of voters, and with Stein’s current petition drives, they expect to have ballot lines in all or nearly all states.

The potential for the Stein campaign to become a major force in the 2016 election should not be discounted. Forty-three million people locked in student debt have no way out except through Stein’s plan to cancel student debt and bail out the students like Obama bailed out Wall Street. Young voters overwhelmingly supported Sanders in the primary. Tens of millions of others have made clear that they are not interested in Clinton’s corporate, pro-war agenda.

The groundswell for Donald Trump was created by the economic misery of NAFTA and Wall Street deregulation – policies promoted by both Clintons. Neoliberal Clintonism caused the rise of Trump. Another Clinton presidency will only make things worse. Besides, the lesser evil merely paves the way to the greater evil, because people stay home rather than vote for a lesser-evil politician who’s throwing them under the bus. That’s why blue legislatures, governors, and Congress keep flipping red.

The clock is ticking – on the next Wall Street collapse, the climate meltdown, the expanding wars, the slide towards fascism, nuclear confrontation and more. This is the time to stand up with the courage of our convictions, while we still can. Forget the lesser evil. Fight for the greater good – like our lives depend on it, because they do. The corporate parties will not fix this for us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

The Stein campaign provides the next time-critical step to build peaceful political revolution. Please join us in supporting, volunteering, donating and petitioning to get Jill on the ballot. Tell your friends and neighbors about this historic opportunity to build an America and a world that works for all of us. Together we can put people, planet and peace over profit. #ItsInOurHands

Join us by signing below!

 

Featured Endorsements

Chris Hedges, Author
Medea Benjamin, Peace Activist
Marc Lamont Hill, Journalist / Professor
Dr. Margaret Flowers, US Senate candidate (Maryland)
Kevin Zeese, PopularResistance.org
Howie Hawkins, former GPNY Gubernatorial candidate
David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org
Harvey Wasserman, Solartopia
Kali Akuno, Producer, Black Liberation and Labor
Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report
Rosa Clemente, GP VP candidate 2008
Robert Caldwell, Solidarity, Indigenous Peoples Rights Activist
Cheri Honkala, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
Todd Chretien, Ashley Smith, International Socialist Organization
Joanne Landy, Thomas Harrison, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Colleen Rowley, Peace activist / FBI whistleblower
Richard Wolff, Economics Professor
Ben Manski, Pro-Democracy Activist
Tali Shapiro-Shimrit Baer, Boycott from Within-BDS (Israel-Occupied Palestine)
David Finkel, Solidarity, Editor-Against the Current
Dan La Botz, American Labor Union Activist, Academic, Journalist, and Author.
Alice Slater, Peace and Environmental Activist
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative, Seattle City Council Member

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Jill Stein for Green Party’s 2016 presidential nomination

3 Aug

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_Stein

Jill Stein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jill Stein by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Member of the Lexington Town Meeting
from the 2nd district
In office
2005–2011
Personal details
Born Jill Ellen Stein
May 14, 1950 (age 66)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Green
Spouse(s) Richard Rohrer
Children Ben
Noah
Alma mater Harvard University
Website Campaign website

Jill Ellen Stein (born May 14, 1950) is an American physician, activist, and politician. She is currently the Green Party‘s presumptive nominee for President of the United States in the2016 election.[1][2][3] Stein was the nominee of the Green Party for President of the United States in 2012,[4][5][6] and was twice a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts—in 2002and 2010.[7][8][9]

She received 469,501 votes in 2012 (0.36% of the total votes),[10] more than any other female general election candidate.[11] On June 22, 2015, during an appearance onDemocracy Now!, Stein formally announced she would seek the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.[12]

Early life and education

Jill Stein was born in Chicago, the daughter of Gladys (née Wool) and Joseph Stein, and was raised in Highland Park, Illinois. She is Jewish, and her family attended Chicago’s North Shore Congregation Israel, a Reform synagogue.[13] Her parents were both from Russian Jewish families.[14][15][16] Stein is married to Richard Rohrer, who is also a physician. They live in Lexington, Massachusetts, and have two adult sons.[17][18][19][20] Although Stein was raised in a Reform Jewish household, she now considers herself agnostic.[14]

In 1973, Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied psychology, sociology, and anthropology. She then attended Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1979. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Stein practiced internal medicine for 25 years.[17] Stein practiced medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Simmons College Health Center, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and also served as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Stein retired from practicing and teaching medicine in 2005 and 2006, respectively.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]

Career

Stein at a protest against coal-powered energy production

As a medical doctor, Stein became increasingly concerned about the connection between people’s health and the quality of their local environment and decided to turn her focus to activism in 1998 when she began protesting the “Filthy Five” coal plants in Massachusetts.[30][31] Stein’s testimony on the effects of mercury and dioxin contamination from the burning of waste helped preserve the Massachusetts moratorium on new trash incinerator construction in the state and she later testified in the effort to get the Massachusetts fish advisories updated to better protect women and children from mercury contamination.[32][33] Since 1998, she has served on the Greater Boston board of Physicians for Social Responsibility.[17] Under Stein, the Greater Boston chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility partnered with Boston University‘s Superfund Research Program as part of BUSRP’s Community Outreach Core and became a key member of the Environmental Health Nursing Education Collaborative.[34] In 2003, Stein co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit organization that addressed a variety of issues important to the health and well-being of Massachusetts communities, including health care, local green economies, and grassroots democracy.[35][36][37] Stein also founded and served as co-chair of a recycling committee in her hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, the Lexington Solid Waste Action Team, that was approved by the Board of Selectmen and later featured in the textbook Approaches to Sustainable Development: The Public University in the Regional Economy.[38][39][40] In 2008, she helped formulate a successful “Secure Green Future” ballot initiative that called upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and make development of green jobs a priority.[41]Other organizations Stein has worked with include Clean Water Action, Toxic Action Center, Global Climate Convergence, Physicians for a National Health Program, and Massachusetts Medical Society.[39][42][43][44][45][46][47] She received the “Not in Anyone’s Backyard Award” in 1998 and the “Children’s Health Hero Award” in 2000 from Clean Water Action, and the “Citizen Award” from Toxic Action Center in 1999 and the “Friend of the Earth Award” from Salem State College in 2004.[42][48][49]

As a medical doctor and researcher, Stein has published several materials and teaching plans, and has testified before legislative panels as well as local and state governmental bodies.[32][50] In 2000, she co-authored the scientific report In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, and in 2009 co-authored the report Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging.[51][52] These reports have been widely cited and translated into numerous languages.[48][50][53][54][55][56][57][58] She has also co-authored articles about health in publications such asThe Huffington Post.[59] In 2009, Stein developed a teaching plan called “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” that was supported by Boston University and has been presented at other schools and universities.[60][61][62]

Stein is also an advocate for campaign finance reform. In 1998, she helped campaign for the Clean Elections Law in Massachusetts.[43]The law was later repealed by a Democratic majority legislature,[63][64] leading Stein to leave the Democratic party for good and join the Green Party.[30][65] Stein was one of several activists involved with the Clean Elections Law to file a complaint in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County in 2002 against William F. Galvin, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, over the state’s failure to successfully implement the law.[66] Stein has also served on the board of MassVoters for Fair Elections[17][67] and has campaigned for implementing instant runoff voting in Massachusetts.[36]

Alongside her political career, Jill Stein also developed multiple musical albums with co-star Ken Selcer in the folk-rock band Somebody’s Sister.[68] Jill is able to play the conga and djembe drums [69] and guitar.[70] During the 1990s and 2000s, the duo released four studio albums: Flashpoint, Somebody’s Sister, Green Sky, and Circuits To The Sun.[71] Many of the songs focus on issues similar to those Stein emphasizes in her political career: peace, justice, and climate action.[72] The pair also often performed at live events, such as the 2008 Green-Rainbow Convention in Leominster, Massachusetts.[73] The band was twice named semi-finalists in Musicians contest of best unsigned bands in 1996 and 1998.[42]

Electoral campaign history

State and local campaigns

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2002

Stein was the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and finished third in a field of five candidates, with 76,530 votes and about 3.5% of the vote.[74] Stein won positive reviews for her performance in the debates, leading supporters of the Democratic nominee to purchase the rights to jillstein.org in an attempt to divert attention back to their nominee.[75][76][77]

Massachusetts House of Representatives candidate, 2004

Following her third-place results in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election, Stein ran for state representative in 2004 for the 9th Middlesex District, which included portions of Waltham and Lexington.[78] She received 3,911 votes for 21.3 percent of the vote in a three-way race, but lost to the incumbent Thomas Stanley, who received 59.6 percent.[79]

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth candidate, 2006

Stein was nominated for Secretary of the Commonwealth on March 4, 2006, at the Green-Rainbow Party statewide nominating convention. In a two-way race with the Democrat Bill Galvin, a three-term incumbent, Stein received 353,551 votes for 18% of the total vote.[80]

Town of Lexington Town Meeting Representative, 2005 and 2008

Lexington, Massachusetts has a town meeting-style government. Stein was elected to the Town Meeting Seat, Precinct 2 (Lexington, Massachusetts) in March 2005 local elections.[81] She finished first of 16 candidates running for seven seats, receiving 539 votes, for 20.6% of the total vote. [82] Stein was re-elected in 2008, finishing second of 13 vying for eight seats.[83]

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2010

Jill Stein announcing her candidacy for governor in February 2010

On February 8, 2010, Stein announced her entrance into the gubernatorial race on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.[84] She was joined in the race by candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Richard P. Purcell, a surgery clerk and ergonomics assessor, of Holyoke.[85]In May, Stein opened her campaign office in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, near the Fields Corner MBTA station.[86] Stein received 32,816 votes out of 2,287,407 cast, 1.43% in the November 2, 2010 general election, finishing last.[87]

Presidential campaigns

2012

Jill Stein speaking at Occupy Wall Street, September 27, 2011

In August 2011, Stein indicated that she was considering running for President of the United States with the Green Party in the 2012 national election. She responded to a published questionnaire, saying that a number of Green activists had asked her to run; she was considering it after the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis, which she called “the President’s astounding attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—a betrayal of the public interest…”. In the survey, she said she would announce her intentions by the end of September 2011.[6] Stein later said she would announce her decision on October 24.[88]

On October 24, 2011, Stein launched her campaign at a press conference in Massachusetts, saying,

We are all realizing that we, the people, have to take charge because the political parties that are serving the top 1 percent are not going to solve the problems that the rest of us face, we need people in Washington who will refuse to be bought by lobbyists and for whom change is not just a slogan.[5]

In December 2011, Ben Manski, a Wisconsin Green Party leader, was announced as Stein’s campaign manager.[89] Her major primary opponents were Kent P. Mesplay and Roseanne Barr.[90] Stein’s signature issue during the primary was a “Green New Deal“, a government spending plan intended to put 25 million people to work.[90] Her primary opponent Mesplay for being too unrealistic, saying, “This will take time to implement, and lacks legislative support.”[90]

Stein became the presumptive Green Party nominee after winning two-thirds of California’s delegates in June 2012.[91] In a statement following the California election, Stein said, “Voters will not be forced to choose between two servants of Wall Street in the upcoming election. Now we know there will be a third candidate on the ballot who is a genuine champion of working people.”[92] Stein was endorsed for President in 2012 by Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and war correspondent,[93] among others. Linguist Noam Chomsky said that he would vote for her but urged those in swing states to vote for Obama.[94]

On July 1, 2012, the Jill Stein campaign reported it had received enough contributions to qualify for primary season federal matching funds, pending confirmation from the FEC. If funded, Stein would be the second Green Party presidential candidate ever to have qualified, with Ralph Nader being the first in 2000.[95] On July 11, 2012, Stein selected Cheri Honkala, an anti-poverty activist, as her running mate for the Green vice-presidential nomination.[96][97] On July 14, 2012, Stein received the official nomination of the Green Party at itsnominating convention in July in Baltimore.[4][98]

On August 1, 2012, Stein, Honkala and three others were arrested during a sit-in at a Philadelphia bank to protest housing foreclosures on behalf of several city residents struggling to keep their homes.[99] Stein explained her willingness to be arrested:

The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It’s time for this game to end. It’s time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators.[100]

On October 16, 2012, Stein and Honkala were arrested after they tried to enter the site of the presidential debate at Hofstra Universitywhile protesting the exclusion of smaller political parties, such as the Green Party, from the debates.[101] Stein likened her arrest to the persecution of dissident Sergei Udaltsov in Russia.[102] On October 31, Stein was arrested in Texas for criminal trespass, after trying to deliver food and supplies to environmental activists camped out in trees protesting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.[103][104]

During her campaign for the presidency, Stein repeatedly asserted that there were no significant differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.[105][106][107] She said, “Romney is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing, Obama is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, but they both essentially have the same agenda.”[106] She called both of them “Wall Street candidates” asking for “a mandate for four more years of corporate rule”.[105]

She received 469,501 votes for 0.36% in the election,[10] making her the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history.[11]Stein received 1% or more of the popular vote in three states: 1.3% in Maine, 1.1% in Oregon, and 1.0% in Alaska.

2016

Stein speaking at a campaign event in Mesa, Arizona.

On February 6, 2015, Stein announced the formation of an exploratory committee in preparation for a potential campaign for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.[108] On June 22, 2015, Stein formally announced her candidacy for the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.[12] After former Ohio state senator Nina Turner reportedly declined to be her running mate,[109] Stein chose human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as her running mate on August 1, 2016.[110]

During the campaign, Stein has asserted that it is “hard to say” whether Trump or Clinton is the “greater evil”.[111] She has asserted that the “two corporate parties”, the Democratic party and the Republican party, have converged into one and the same party.[111] On Mother’s Day 2016, Stein suggested that Clinton did not “reflect the values of being a mother”.[112] Stein has put great emphasis on attracting Bernie Sanders supporters to her campaign.[2] She has, for instance, claimed to have a 99% match with Bernie Sanders on ISideWith, a political quiz on political stances.[113]

Stein has said that the political changes desired by Sanders supporters transcend party interests, and that the Democrats could never fully deliver on them anyway: “[Y]ou cannot have a revolutionary campaign inside of a counter-revolutionary party”.[2] Stein has been endorsed by Union Theological Seminary Professor Cornell West, one of Bernie Sanders’ appointees to the Democratic Platform Committee, who stated in an interview, “If Hillary Clinton can’t make the case to progressives, she doesn’t deserve our vote. . . . [Y]ou can’t just be a non-Trump and deserve one’s vote.”[114] Stein has said that the best way to stop “neofascism” is to stop Hillary Clinton’s “neoliberalism“, noting that “Putting another Clinton in the White House will fan the flames of this right wing extremism. We have known that for a long time, ever since Nazi Germany.”[115]

Bernie Sanders has urged his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton, noting that the United States is not a multi-party parliamentary system and that “you’re gonna end up having a choice. Either Hillary Clinton is going to become president, or Donald Trump.”[116][117] In July 2016, Donald Trump stated that a vote for Stein would be good for him: “I think a vote for Stein would be good — that’s the Green Party. Because I figure anyone voting for Stein is gonna be for Hillary. So I think vote for Stein is fine.”[118]

According to Forbes tax blogger Peter J. Reilly, Stein has yet to release her tax returns.[119] Having promised in an October 2012 interview to release her tax returns during her 2012 campaign, she never did.[119] She last released her tax returns when she ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2010.[119]

Stein has polled as high as 7% in general election polling (a June 2016 poll).[120] A PPP poll released on 30 July 2016 showed her trailing behind a non-existent candidate called “Independent Harambe” (referring to the dead gorilla) with 5% versus 2% in general election polling. The same poll found 33% of Trump voters thought Hillary Clinton had a connection to Lucifer.[121]

Political positions

Economy

Referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal approach to the Great Depression, Jill Stein advocated for a “Green New Deal” in her 2012 and 2016 campaigns, in which renewable energy jobs would be created to address climate change and environmental issues; the objective would be to employ “every American willing and able to work”.[122] Stein said she would fund the start-up costs of the plan with a 30% reduction in the U.S. military budget, returning US troops home, and increasing taxes on areas such as speculation in stock markets, offshore tax havens, and multimillion-dollar real estate. She claimed both in 2012 and 2016 that a 2012 study in the Review of Black Political Economy by Rutgers professor Phillip Harvey[123] shows that the multiplier economic effects of this Green New Deal would recoup most of the start-up costs of her plan.[122][124] Stein claims that her plan “will end unemployment and poverty”.[125]

Stein’s 2016 platform says that she will “democratize the Federal Reserve“.[125] In Stein’s 2012 platform, she wanted to “nationalize” the Federal Reserve and place it within the Treasury Department, ending its independence.[126][127] Stein has argued that the Wall Street bailout was unconscionable,[128] and a “waste”.[129] In 2012, Stein opposed the raising of the debt ceiling, arguing that the U.S. should raise taxes on the wealthy and do spending cuts to offset the debt.[130]

Stein supports the creation of sustainable infrastructure based in clean renewable energy generation and sustainable communities principles, in order to improve or avoid what she sees as a growing convergence of environmental crises in water, soil, fisheries, and forests. Her vision includes increasing intra-city mass transit and inter-city railroads, creating ‘complete streets’ that safely encourage bike and pedestrian traffic, and regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture.[122]

Stein doubts official employment numbers. In the 2015 State of the Union Green Party response, Stein alleged that unemployment figures at the time were calculated in a manner so as cover up unemployment, and that the real unemployment rate in 2015 was around 12-13%.[131][132] In February 2016, she claimed, “real unemployment is nearly 10%, 2x as high as the official rate.”[133]

Education

Stein has spoken in favor of cancelling all student debt, arguing that it could be done “using quantitative easing” and without raising taxes.[134][135][136] She says that quantitative easing “is a magic trick that basically people don’t need to understand any more about than that it is a magic trick.”[135] Stein claims that her plan would be “the stimulus package of our dreams to put to work a whole generation of young people that’s held hostage in debt”.[136] She has said that her campaign will do for the “43 million young people trapped in predatory student loan debt” what “our mis-leaders saw fit to do for Wall Street when they bailed them out to the tune of 16 or 17 trillion dollars using so called quantitative easing“.[134][135][137] She opposes school privatization.[137]

Energy and environment

Stein proposes to make the United States transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.[125] Stein supports a national ban onfracking.[125][138] She has spoken against nuclear energy, saying “nuclear energy is dirty, dangerous and expensive, and should be precluded on all of those counts.”[138] In 2012, Stein asserted, “three times more jobs are created per dollar invested in conservation and renewables. Nuclear is currently the most expensive per unit of energy created.”[139] Stein says that she will “ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.”[140] She wants to “treat energy as a human right”.[140]

Foreign policy

Stein wants to cut U.S. military spending by at least 50%.[125][141] Stein wants to close US overseas military bases, claiming that these bases “are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire”.[125] She wants to replace the lost military jobs “with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development.”[140] She wants to “restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense”.[140]

Stein has argued that the United States “helped foment” a coup in Ukraine.[142] She maintains that Ukraine should be neutral and that the United States should not arm Ukraine.[142] Regarding disputes in the South China Sea, Stein has said that “it is wrongheaded for [the United States] to deal with territorial rights on the borders of China.”[142] Stein has claimed that the United States “pursued a policy of basically encircling Russia–including the threat of nukes and drones and so on.”[142] On the subject of NATO, Stein tweeted, “Who exactly is NATO fighting? …Other than enemies we invent to give the weapons industry a reason to sell more stuff.”[143]

Stein has been highly critical of Israel, accusing the Israeli government of “apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law.”[144] Stein supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.[145] She has called Benjamin Netanyahu a “war criminal”.[146]

Having initially spoken in favor of the UK leaving the European Union in her official statement on the referendum outcome,[147][148][149][150] Stein later changed her official statement (without indicating so on her website), saying “Before the Brexit vote I agreed with Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and the UK Greens who supported staying in the EU but working to fix it.”[151]

Stein calls for pardoning Edward Snowden, and has said that she will put him on her Cabinet if elected President.[152]

When asked if she considered President Obama a war criminal, Stein responded, “Do I think he has violated international law? Good lord, yes!”[153]

In 2012, Stein favored maintaining current levels of international aid spending.[154]

Healthcare

Stein is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), replacing it with a “Medicare-for-All” healthcare system.[154][155] Stein has claimed that it is an “illusion” that Obamacare is a “step in the right direction” towards single-payer healthcare.[155]

She has been critical of subsidies that go towards unhealthy food products.[129] She also criticized “agri-business” for their advertisements which encourage unhealthy eating.[129] She has asserted that due to agri-business, Greeks no longer have the healthy diets that they used to.[129]

Science

In an interview with the Washington Post, Stein stated that “vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases,” but noted that not all “issues” or “questions” around vaccines had been addressed or resolved.[156] She said, “There were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed.”[156][157] The Guardian notes that “research has shown schedule-related concerns about vaccines to be unfounded, and that delays to vaccines actually put children at greater risk. Anti-vaxx campaigners often claim there are dangerous compounds in vaccines, though decades of safe vaccinations contradict the claim and no evidence shows that trace amounts that remain in some approved vaccines cause any harm to the body.”[157] Stein has suggested that it is reasonable to be skeptical of mandatory vaccinations due to allegedly close connections between corporate interests and regulatory agencies.[156][158] According to Washington Post, “most members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee work at academic or medical institutions, not drug companies.”[156] In response, Stein has asserted that “Monsanto lobbyists help run the day in those agencies and are in charge of approving what food isn’t safe”.[156] In response to a twitter question on whether vaccines cause autism, Stein tweeted, “there is no evidence that autism is caused by vaccines” but quickly deleted the tweet and tweeted instead, “I’m not aware of evidence linking autism with vaccines.”[159] Emily Willingham, scientist and contributor at Forbes, described Stein’s rhetoric on vaccines as “using dog whistle terms and equivocations bound to appeal to the “antivaccine” constituency”.[160] Dan Kahan, a professor at Yale who has studied public perception of science, says that it is dangerous for candidates to equivocate on vaccines, “Because the attitudes about vaccines are pretty much uniform across the political spectrum, it doesn’t seem like a great idea for any candidate to be anti-vaccine. The modal view is leave the freaking system alone.”[161]

Regarding homeopathic medicine, which the Green Party supported “the teaching, funding and practice of” at the time, Stein noted in May 2016 that “just because something is untested doesn’t mean it’s safe”, but argued that it is problematic that “agencies tied to big pharma and the chemical industry” test medicines.[158] When asked in 2012 about the Green Party’s pro-homeopathic medicine platform, Stein said that the platform took “an admittedly simple position on a complex issue, and should be improved”.[162]

Stein wants “a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.”[125][163] However, the Guardian notes that “research shows GM food is generally safe.”[157]

Stein has voiced her opposition to wireless internet (Wi-Fi) in schools, saying, “We should not subjecting kid’s brains especially to that… and we don’t follow this issue in our country, but in Europe where they do, you know, they have good precautions about wireless. Maybe not good enough, you know. It’s very hard to study this stuff. You know, we make guinea pigs out of whole populations and then we discover how many die.”[164]

In 2012, Stein wanted to “slightly decrease” spending on space exploration.[154] She favored maintaining current levels of spending on scientific and medical research.[154]

Other

Stein has stated that she supports reparations for slavery

 

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