Katie Dunne, Passionate believer in democracy and member of UHM's Digital Media Content Crew.
Jill Stein on Supporting California’s Green candidates; Latinx Greens; Green Party members in local office; Open debate and the Right to vote; Green-Party policy priorities; Long-term alliances and Uniting around issues; State-level races; Top-two races; the Corporate media; Internet censorship; getting Money out of Politics; Real versus Staged news and Ranked choice voting.
#WeThePeople had a special guest on October 25th, 2018. Thank you (Sadie) – John says, for setting this up and we now welcome to the show Dr. Jill Stein!
Our guest is headed to California tomorrow – he continues, to support a lot of Green Party candidates. Myth has it - Jill Stein says, that the Green Party just runs a Presidential candidate every 4 years and that they go to sleep in-between elections. That’s not true at all. We really are a grassroots, bottom-up party.
Slide: To show perhaps that there are indeed Green Party candidates outside of Jill Stein, John puts up a slide mentioning Laura Wells who is running for House of Representatives, District 13 (CA).
There are some really dynamite candidates at all levels we learn. Jill is going to Coachella where a young man - Victor Alcantara, is running for city council for the first time. He is Latinx and a very active member of the community – she says. Thus far, he has felt incredibly unrepresented. Like many Latinos and Latinas he has felt thrown under the bus, previously by the Deporter-in-Chief and now by the outrageous policies of Donald Trump. The Latinx turnout in the midterms is very uncertain for obvious historic reasons, and now Donald Trump is engaged in this horrendous persecution of refugees coming to this country in the caravan from Honduras - fleeing violence and chaos which was instigated in part by centuries of colonialism and oppression, and most recently a military coup supported by Obama, and by HRC. They are fleeing U.S. policies and militarism and when Trump talks about the aid going to Central America, that’s mostly military aid and policing. It’s not surprising that they are fleeing. Anyway, it’s exciting to see many Latinx candidates coming into the Green Party.
Slide: Announcing Nuestra Comunidad Primero / Our Community First. It is a gathering in Coachella on October 26th, 2018. Jill invites everyone in the vicinity to come along.
John has heard of Victor Alcantara and he was impressed by him. Jill says that there are already about 150 Green Party members in local office, from Commissioners of Parks (and Public Property) to (Economic) Development Commissions to Library Boards and Education Boards. We are very active at all levels of our community, but as you know we are systematically wiped out of the news cycle. In the last Presidential election something like 75% of Americans are on record - in polls, screaming for open debate in order to find out what their other choices were, and they were systematically denied that knowledge. In America we should have the right to vote - yet millions are denied that right, and we should have the right to know who we can vote for too. All the things that appeal to people about Bernie Sanders’ agenda … healthcare as a human right through an approved Medicare-for-All system, strong public education, free public higher-education … We’ve been on that for a very long time. We’ve been ahead of the curve on equal marriage, green energy etc.
John and Jill kid about Jill’s dog who photobombs the shot.
On the 27th (of October 2018), Dr. Rodolfo Cortes Barragan, Laura Wells and Kenneth Mejia will be attending the Summit for Independent Politics, where Jill is the special guest. There are a whole series of panels focusing on key issues for the Los Angeles area, including: Affordable housing and Prop 10; Environmental pollution and Climate change; Justice reform and specifically Police reform and Immigration reform. These three Congressional candidates are in top-two races, so there is no chance of splitting the vote (which doesn’t happen anyway – Jill says). In 2016 most Green Party votes came from the non-voting bloc. They wouldn’t otherwise BE voting. Democrats and Republicans don’t own our votes – Jill says. Are we seeing the results of that in the popularity of the Green Party candidates in their runs - John asks? He refers to a Democratic candidate who is also endorsed by the Green Party. I’m seeing a lot of that – he says, where the Independent voters or the Progressives in the party - wherever they are, are coming together around the person not the letter. Yes – Jill replies. People have lost faith and confidence in the political parties that are bought and paid for by Big-money. She refers to non-corporate parties and then says that many people in the Green Party say it is a Non-Party because they don’t share the tribalism of political parties but they really support the agenda. Even more than personalities – she says, people believe that we have to form long-term alliances in order to advance a non-corporate agenda because we don’t have the corporate money, just the people and the power of our vision and the things that we need. That need is growing more urgent by the day. We have 12 years - says John. Yes, if even - says Jill. Climate change and nuclear weapons, these are not just a Donald Trump problem. Jill says that the Democratic Establishment always talks about the right stuff - until they get into power and then they don’t do (anything about) it. John laughs and agrees. They refer back to Obama and the bailing out of the banks, and the disappointment of it all.
John says he didn’t wake up until “Bernie” and then watched MSM blackout both Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders. Given that - he says, it’s amazing where we are at today and how we have been able to push the message through. And talking about introspection - the Democratic Party has none at the top level, but I’m seeing a lot of battles going on at the State level – in Oregon. We have a progressive majority here but some people at the top are still clutching on to the purse strings. What worries Jill is that this is not new with the Democrats. She refers to Henry Wallace and his mike being shut off, way back when.
Slide: John shows another slide - advertising the Northern California Green Power Rally. This is an event on the 28th of October 2018. Jill Stein and the Bay Area Green Party candidates: Aidan Hill, Saied Karamooz, Mike Murphy and Laura Wells will be there.
Jill is excited about the elections and especially about Rodolfo’s and Kenneth’s races. There are no excuses because they are challenging Establishment Democrats, both sponsored by corporate money. There is really no need to shy away from what we need. Both of these Green Party candidates look and talk like the community they already serve. What’s not to love about them? Whether they win or not, it is a win to stand up and be heard – she says. How has the response been - asks John? They aren’t getting media coverage but they are getting great response door-to-door – she replies. Rodolfo is very good with numbers and is keeping track of the results of his canvassing. 90% of the time when people hear and have a chance to actually learn about him, they change their vote. The issue is money and coverage. This is why independent media like this is so critical. You cannot have democracy without an educated electorate. We are seeing that lesson on steroids with the media being so toxic. We badly need more of what you are doing, so thank you so much – Jill says to John and Laura.
Any questions Laura? Melissa from Vermont - who is in YouTube chat, wonders whether you might be planning to run for Congress, as it seems like this might be your best place to win and get exposure in order to put forth bills to save our planet and our people – Laura reports. This is a possibility and thank you for the suggestion – Jill replies. Where I am right now is mostly trying to help other candidates to sort of clone us, because that is what we need. The bogus spoiler accusations are a big deterrent to successful campaigns. I’m not in California unfortunately, so I’m trying to help these great candidates. As regards Congress I agree, but it’s not so easy to win and Congressional Districts are big. Jill thinks State level is a good place for Greens to concentrate on breaking in at. It’s the best bang for your buck so to speak, and you can move on from there. You can get out and canvass and personally go door-to-door and have contact with a State-Representative sized district. I saw a statistic - I think on PBS NewsHour tonight in fact, that 80% of Congressional races are won by the candidate with the most money. However even to compete you need a lot of money. It’s crazy. We are headed for a crash-landing in one form or another. It is really important for us to be developing our connections at a community level and to be fighting for democracy. I’m going to pin you down a little here – John says. By 2020 you could be in California. Is that what I’m hearing – he asks with a wide smile? Jill and Laura laugh. Now let’s see, most of my family is here on the East coast – Jill replies. Ah, I guess - John says, everybody is hoping you will run for something. He encourages Jill, telling her she has the credibility and that she is an asset to the Green Party and to everybody who wants to save humanity, so she really should run again. Laura adds that Jill is an asset doing what she is doing now also. Jill says that she very much believes that we are all assets to each other and more than the sum of our parts.
The critical challenge for us right now is to find ways to run without needing billions of dollars (which leave you accountable to donors). The internet is one of them. Many of those internet tools are being deeply compromised in this new era of McCarthyism, which is censoring us – as you well know, in every dimension – she says. She lists legacy media, the internet, the loss of net neutrality, the censorship of progressive-left and anti-war sites, the new algorithms on social media … but e-mail can still be a very effective means of communication. Here Jill encourages people to connect with her on social media (detail below video) and to stay in touch because we are going to have to work together for the foreseeable future – she emphasizes. John agrees.
John wants to talk about accountability now. It seems we have a Democratic Party that doesn’t want to look at itself and a surge of Progressives trying to come in from all across the spectrum. We talked about media. When is media going to have some introspection? How do we deal with that? Do we have to put people in power first - to make laws to control them again … because we don’t control this narrative? What can we do at a grassroots level? You can do more of what you are doing right now - Jill answers, grassroots community-based media – as the norm not the rare exception. The big corporate media needs to be broken up. We need anti-trust laws. Even PBS is partly sponsored by the Koch Brothers and you see it in their programming. The same is true even for National Public Radio. It has all been really corporatized. It is not only that it is not covering “good stuff”, but that the coverage they do is so skewed. The silver lining is that more and more people - especially the young, aren’t paying attention in the same way anymore.
Social media is also very corrupted though - whether it is Cambridge Analytica type-stuff going on in the background ... Here Jill mentions a book that came out recently called Antisocial Media. It is essentially an exposé on social media and how it is itself corporatized, and very much built on a predatory-sales model wherein things that are sensational get lots of eyeballs and are inherently favored by social media’s models, by Facebook, and so on. I’ll give you one example. The New York Times (I think) – Jill says, had a story on Jamal Khashoggi this last week. He was harassed systematically on social media - probably by (whichever parts of) the monarchy. The campaign against him was administered by Saudis and assisted by U.S. Corporations including McKinsey (& Company) - Financial Services (consulting). Yet Saudi Arabia itself is a sponsor of the Atlantic Council (a think-tank for NATO) which has partnered with Facebook in order to censor so-called “Fake news” … There are much more nefarious forces at work than is widely understood. John feels that with regard to social media, there is censorship going on but that people have some measure of choice and you are not dealing with a one-way pipeline of spun narrative coming out of a single network. Yes that’s true – Jill agrees. A study - John continues, which just came out shows that young people are better at coping with facts, logic and information from social media than older people who still get information from network television - which is more inaccurate. That is a hopeful sign. My dad will see something on Facebook that he doesn’t understand, but (that’s maybe because) he is also listening to spun narrative.
So – John says, do you mean that we have to put these candidates in power first in order to be able to change all this and to bring back the Fairness Doctrine and rewrite the Telecom Act? Yes – Jill says, and it is not like Facebook, Twitter and social media have to remain a No-Man’s-Land. Ro Khanna has been talking about an internet bill of rights. We have to protect privacy, but we also should be protecting people from outright harassment and bullying, and protecting their freedom of speech. It’s not an easy balance and it requires people. Algorithms won’t do. It should not be done by corporations. Social media should be like the telephone - a public utility, subject to public protections and protections of our Constitutional rights. This isn’t rocket science and again it comes down to democracy. We don’t need representatives of corporations who are on the take from the corporate sponsors that got them elected and who are basically doing payback. Of course we need to get money out of politics. What makes me hopeful is that there is an inevitable mobilization going on right now. Jill refers to the 100 million people who chose to sit out the last election …
Slide: Showing various newspaper headlines attacking Jill Stein.
(Yola the dog) looks in and the smiles become comments about real news (versus staged – which this is not). We aren’t paying you a whole load of money, and I’m not a six-figured anchor paid to lie. This is real – John says, and we are trying to fix our democracy and that is what makes this right. No worries! Yes - Jill continues, let’s get the corporate poison out of our media, our schools, our healthcare … It’s like a poison that has permeated society and corporations have been protected with “rights” that trump our human rights and our Constitutional rights. The largest plurality of voters is not buying it anymore, so those who want to blame and shame non-voters or third-party voters for rejecting a corrupt and brutal political system, they’ve got it wrong.
The solution - Jill says, isn’t less but more democracy, along with ranked-choice voting. There are other forms of the latter, take your pick. John agrees. We should have a lot of experiments going on in other forms of voting – Jill says. Maine led the way with a referendum – which was overwhelmingly passed. The legislators tried to stop it, and the people passed it again in order to implement it and they had one of the biggest historic turnouts in the last election. It encourages collegial campaigning and de-emphasizes negative campaigning because you are trying to get second-choice votes from fellow candidates. It also liberates our values. How do you have a democracy if you are only voting against what you hate the most? It never provides guidance. It never gives a moral compass. We never get close to a just, sustainable or peaceful world that way. Polls show 60% of U.S. voters and 70% of Millennials calling for a new independent political party. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be intimidated into voting against our values. It’s only our values that will save us. Here too John agrees. We are starting to see that now – he says, with a lot of Progressive wins. It gives him hope, although he is conscious that time is limited. He is also aware that it is late for Jill and invites her to come back another time. She says she will do so and has some final thoughts she’d like to leave us with. Forget the lesser evil and fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it, because they do – she tells us. We have the power when we stand up with the courage of our convictions and we connect across issues. The number of young people who have been locked into predatory debt (John raises his hand) is going on 45 million! That’s almost enough to win an election right there based on bailing them out. Add immigrants who care about their relations and friends who are threatened with deportations - that’s about 25 million and people who need healthcare as a human right … tens of millions more. You can vote strategically if you need to, but in my view I could not bring myself to vote for a predator. If we can reach out, hold hands and bring our fellow brothers and sisters into this political process - those who are on the front lines, then that’s the liberation for us all.
John sees that Donald Trump’s election has unified the three of them (Jill, John and Laura) plus Bernie around issues, rather than party. We kind of did America a good thing in the long term, I think – he says.
By the way, Green and Independent voters – Jill says, would not have voted for Donald Trump. We know that from exit polls. What made the difference were voters who were denied the right to vote; voter ID laws; the stripping of voter rolls and the censorship of the political dialogue which made people think they had to pick between the two most disliked and untrusted candidates in our history. If we had gotten into the debates it would have been a different ball game.
It was spoiled by Big-money and by CBS giving all that airtime to Donald Trump. John reminds Jill that she doesn’t have to defend that position here. We voted for you – he says!
Slide: John again shows the slide with some of the headlines referring to Jill in 2016. Markus prepared it. One reads “Do you still feel good about that Jill Stein protest vote?” Yes I do - he says, and it wasn’t a protest vote. It was just my vote! It has been awesome - he says. I look forward to talking to you again. And it has been great talking to you John and Laura - Jill replies. John gives thanks all around, including to those who donated (in YouTube chat). I really appreciate it. That’s what it takes to keep the lights on here, just like it does when you donate to the Green Party to help them put money into the down-ballot candidates, and I suggest you do that – he says. We need to help everybody.
Jill has been working on this for a lot longer than every Berner – John says. I‘d like to say to every Progressive Democrat, that there is very little difference between you and the Green Party and you really should vote for the person that’s best to win the race, not the (letter) D. Thank you so much Dr. Jill Stein.
Jill is busy so I didn’t ask her to pick a song, but she did better … We have a song – which aged well I believe. It apparently caught a lot of crap in the past. It is from Somebody’s Sister (Jill Stein and Ken Selcer – a great musician) singing American Dream in 1995. Check out the lyrics …
… Times are changin’
It ain’t a joke
Take back your vote…
It is a nice song and a lovely voice that you have Dr. Jill Stein. It did indeed age well!