Saturday, November 5, 2016

Presidential Candidate Review: Dr. Jill Stein

As part of my political review for this election year, I will be review each of the presidential candidate. I will present a brief bio followed by reasons why I would and would not vote for each candidate. Today I will be reviewing Jill Stien:

Jill Ellen Stein was born May 14, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois to Joseph and Gladys (nee Wool) Stein. She is of Russian Jewish decent and grow up attending a local reform synagogue. Although she now considers herself to be agnostic. She is married to Dr. Robert Rohrer and has two adult sons. She graduated from Harvard with degrees in psychology, sociology and anthropology in 1973. She would graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1979. Dr. Stein practiced internal medicine for 25 years while also serving as an instructor at the Harvard Medical School. She retired from both in 2005 and 2006, respectively. She began her activism in 1998 as she protested against the “Filthy Five” coal plants in Massachusetts. She has served on the board of the Greater Boston Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. She co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. Her activism hasn’t stopped. In September, a warrant was issued for her arrest by a North Dakota judge. She was with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief for spray-painting a bulldozer during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. She defended her actions by saying it would be “inappropriate for me not to have done my small part” in support of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Dr. Stein’s campaign history began in 2002 as a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate for the Green-Rainbow Party. She finished third of five candidates with 3.5% of the votes. In 2004, she ran for the Massachusetts House of Representatives candidate for the 9th Middlesex District. She lost to the incumbent, Thomas M. Stanley, with 21.3% of the votes. In 2006, she ran for the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth but lost to the 3-term incumbent, Bill Galvin, with 18% of the votes. In 2005, she was elected to the Town Meeting seat of Lexington for Precinct 2 and reelected in 2008. In 2010, she again ran for governor of Massachusetts; but, lost with 1.4% of the vote. In 2012, she ran for president, receiving less than 1% of the votes in the majority of the states. As the candidate for president for the Green Party, she has received the endorsement of actress and social activist Susan Sarandon.

Dr. Stein’s political positions on the major areas focus on renewable energy and green jobs. For the economy, she proposes a “Green New Deal,” which would create renewable energy jobs to address climate change and environmental issues. It would be funded by a 30% reduction in military budget. As well as funded by an increase in taxes on speculation in stock markets, offshore tax havens and multi-million dollar real estates. She argues that her plan would “end unemployment and poverty.” She calls for the “nationalizing” and “democratizing” the Federal Reserve. She calls for the Federal Reserve to end its independence and be placed under a Federal Monetary Authority in the Treasury Department. Dr. Stein supports the creation of nonprofit publicly owned banks. She claims that the government should be the employer of last resort. For energy and environment issues, she proposes that the US transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. She supports a national ban on fracking and opposes nuclear energy. She has called climate change as a “national emergency.” Dr. Stein proposes to override the Paris Climate Agreement as she claims it is inadequate. Dr. Stein believes we are in a major extinction event (the sixth great extinction). She believes that half of the world’s life forms will disappear this century. For education, she has argued for “free higher public education” and favors canceling all student loan debt. According to Stein, the Federal Reserve could buy up the student loans and agree not to collect the debt, thereby canceling it. She has said that is essentially what happened with the Wall Street bailout in 2008. She opposes charter schools and is critical of the Common Core Standards. In terms of foreign and defense policies, Dr. Stein, proposes to close all US military bases overseas and “restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense.” She is also in favor of bringing in “far more” than 10,000 Syrian refugees that Obama had pledged. She also regards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “war criminal” and supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. For health issues, she favors replacing Obamacare with a “Medicare-for-all” system. She has been back and forth on the safety of vaccinations. She has expressed concerns on how Wi-Fi signals in schools are effecting children’s brains.

My reasons to vote for Dr. Stein are: first, she has virtually no political experience especially at the state or national level. Like Trump, she is political outsider, although she has experience in political campaigning. Second, I like the idea of canceling student loan debt, as the loans have become too much of a burden on college graduates; however, how feasible it is, I seriously doubt. Third, I like her support for the Standing Rock Sioux and the opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline. My reasons not to vote for Dr. Stein are first, she seems to be back and forth on the subject of vaccinations. She says there are safe, then she says they aren’t. Although, I agree with her opposition to mandatory vaccinations. As I believe in many of the vaccinations, there are some that I question and refuse for my family. Second, fourteen years to be 100% on renewable energy seems like a tall order. In my research, I haven’t seen how she plans to implement changes in order to achieve this goal. It seems to me to be more of a wish list of ideas than an actual plan. Third, overall, I just don’t get a good feeling about her. With so many issues, she has been back and forth and not really clear where she truly stands. The making of a true politician.

Overall, my thoughts about Dr. Stein are mixed. I like many of her ideas; however, like most ideas, I have doubts how they would be implemented and work in the long run. Renewable energy and green jobs seem to be the future but those jobs and technologies are still somewhat in their infancy and haven’t proved to be sustainable. For instance, solar panels industry has been sustained with tax breaks and subsidies under Obama and has not yet seen any real promise. For many homeowners who have transited to solar panels, with the promise that it would lower their electric bill, have seen their bills skyrocket or, at the very least, stayed the same. I have read reports that homeowners have met resistance from their cities about even turning on the solar panels. So, right now, the benefits don’t outweigh the costs and headaches for many Americans. Dr. Jill Stein has been a great activist for social change focusing on environmental issues which affect our health and is not afraid to speak her mind against the status quo. She is another voice against a political system which has failed us for the last time. I see the growing support for political parties other than Republican or Democrat will help shape future elections. We may even see the first president elected from a third party.