The Brunswick Times Record, May 10, 2016
Green Party candidate offers views
Makes stop in Brunswick
by Douglas McIntire
Green Party presidential candidate and physician Jill Stein made a swing through Brunswick on Friday, before heading to the Maine Green Independent Party convention in Portland on Saturday. Recruited into the party in 2001, Stein made a run for the White House in 2012, garnering more votes than any other female to run for the Oval Office.
Speaking at a private residence on Page Street, where the atmosphere was light and informal, Stein said that leading up to the 2012 nomination, “I wanted nothing to do with politics or any political party up until then.”
The Harvard-educated Massachusetts resident said she became active politically as a doctor after seeing conditions like asthma, obesity, cancers, learning disabilities, heart attacks and strokes become epidemics.
“I used to practice clinical medicine and now I practice political medicine, because it’s the mother of all illnesses and we’ve got to fix that one to get to what’s literally killing us,” Stein said, naming everything from pollution to poverty to war and climate change.
Stein said that although there have been proposed solutions to unemployment, pollution and the changing environment, top dollar funders for political campaigns have created a system where politicians are beholden to corporate donors such as big banks, the fossil fuel industry and military contractors.
Stein said the Green Party has actively been trying to remove such funding models and seek campaign finance reform to remove the “predator pulling the strings from the inside.”
Asked about those who claim that third party votes split the vote for either Republican or Democratic voters — potentially losing an election for an “unelectable” option, Stein was blunt.
“There are a lot of people who can’t decide which one would be worse,” Stein said.
Stein claimed that if you actually look at what’s been done under a Democratic White House and two Democratic Houses of Congress, a lot of green energy was produced, however, fossil fuel production skyrocketed.
“So, all of the above was actually a Trojan horse for ‘Drill baby, drill’ — it was ‘Drill baby, drill’ with a smile,” Stein said.
Stein also called out the Obama administration for putting troops back in Iraq, whereas the only reason troops were pulled out of Iraq in the first place was because the Bush administration had put a deadline on the length of time U.S. soldiers would receive immunity for alleged crimes.
“So, Barack Obama tried his darnedest to extend our presence in Iraq — he wasn’t able, so he said, ‘OK, let’s withdraw and aren’t I a great peace president?’ — hardly,” Stein said.
Stein said the U.S. had a heavy-handed approach to foreign policy that has not made friends or influenced people, and that she would gladly debate anyone who said the last eight years have been positive for “people, planet or peace.”
Stein also lambasted the Obama administration for what she termed “bailing out Wall Street and leaving Main Street to rot.”
Stein pointed to five million people losing their homes and nine million lost their jobs. She said any spike in jobs since the bailout have been in part-time and temporary jobs.
Stein said that for a fraction of the Wall Street bailout, her administration would instead focus on education rights and student loan forgiveness.
Stein said the nation has learned from the introduction of the G.I. Bill for the military that for every $3 the public invests, they receive $7 in public benefits and revenues.
Stein said she is currently the only candidate seeking student loan bailouts — a message she said she hopes gets out to some 43 million millennials who currently owe on college and technical school loans.
“I would challenge this notion that the Democrats are the good guys and the Republicans are the bad guys — I would challenge that as propaganda,” Stein said, calling it a tactic to repress political opposition — playing on voters’ fears.
“Both parties, in my view, are serving their corporate masters and are throwing everyday people under the bus,” Stein said.
Stein said that any foreign policy of her administration would be founded on international law.
“What a novel idea,” Stein said, laughing.
Stein said that the U.S. currently has a “bloated” military budget — the biggest it has ever been. Stein said that having such an enormous military creates an atmosphere where force becomes a first resort rather than a last resort.
Stein said that a Green administration would support renewable energy, claiming to create 20 million jobs and changing our relationship with the Middle East while weaning the country off fossil fuels by 2030.
Stein said operating our Middle Eastern diplomacy based on principle, rather than oil, will help us better deal with what she termed “tyrannical” governments, particularly Saudi Arabia, who she said fund terrorist organizations.
On health care, Stein said it was time to embrace the concept as a human right and join the many nations around the world who also provide a nationalized system.
“It is an embarrassment we are the only developed nation that we have not found a way to guarantee health care as a human right,” Stein said.