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Stein and Johnson - Winners of the Best Presidential Debate in 2012

If you missed the October 6th ten minute debate on NPR between two of the better known third-party candidates, then you missed the most interesting presidential debate yet in this 2012 Fall election season.

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate (she is from MA) and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee (he is a former governor of New Mexico), gently duked it out in truly light-hearted style in what were 30 second response time periods while addressing what they each believe are very serious issues in the United States.

Jill Stein Gary Johnson

Guy Raz, host of NPR's Weekends on All Things Considered, was the moderator and focused on domestic issues, the economy, health care and the role of government.

Editorial Comment

Both Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney are locked into a political system that currently provides little hope.  Bipartisanship is missing while oppositional gridlock and the loss of possibility pervades the activities of the Senate and the House of Representatives while Pres. Obama continues to believe that compromise will work.  The driving forces behind our elected officials are not civil service and patriotism but rather money and power (and greed).  If only the driving force in our political and economic systems ($) could be removed from these hallowed halls for one month. 

The ten minute debate between the two candidates is refreshing, if not surprising, given some of their uncommon (extreme) views.  Yet, their comments provide food for thought - an intellectual food that nourishes the mind, supplanting the barrage of lies, loathing, misrepresentation and negativity dominating the political ads.

Based on the opening comments made by Mr. Johnson and Ms. Stein, this author mused on ideas that would never be addressed during the Obama/Romney debates - refreshing, hopeful, visionary and maybe not so far in the future. 

Neither Johnson nor Stein will become President in 2013 but maybe we could don the mantles of new ideas and work them slowly into our political system.

Read the NPR Third-Party Candidate Debate Transcript n Full

Opening Positions

Gary Johnson:  Let's stop the growing police state. Let's stop our military interventions. Let's balance the federal budget. Let's eliminate income tax, corporate tax. Let's abolish the IRS, replace all that with one federal consumption tax that will create tens of millions of jobs in a zero-corporate tax rate environment.

Jill Stein:  We're losing our jobs, decent wages, our homes, affordable health care and higher education; civil liberties are under attack, and the climate's in meltdown. The wealthy few are doing better than ever, and the political establishment's making it worse, imposing austerity on everyday people while they squander trillions on wars, Wall Street bailouts and tax breaks for the wealthy.

Gary Johnson
Is there a Growing Police State?

With a court order, the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guiild obtained a court order to allow them to review hundreds of public polic records and from these, they see "a pattern of police spying on lawful activities."  As reported on Oct 18, 2012, they are asking the Boston Police Department to "stop monitoring peaceful demonstrations, interrogating activists and categorizing peaceful groups as extremists."

Groups Fault Boston Police For Surveillance

After Sep 11, 2001, so-called "fusion centers" (40 of them) were set up around the country to promote sharing intelligence among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The Boston Regional Intelligence Center is one of these. 

According to the ACLU, the center has conducted "extensive surveillance and investigations of lawful political activities" including the internal workings of political groups, interrogating peaceful activists and filming demonstrations such as Occupy Boston.

Stop the Military Interventions

President Obama, early in his presidency, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor that carried with it the burden of behaving congruent with the label of "peace."  The good intentions of Norway and Sweden notwithstanding, this country's continued engagement in Afghanistan, the use of Drones and the killing of Osama Bin Laden might give the impression that Pres. Obama is not a president of peace.

The people of Syria are the most visible and talked about nation undergoing heinous war crimes while the world watches yet more dead bodies and missing people accumulate daily and not just in Syria.  Our country is doing nothing to stop the killings.  Political pundits wager that it is political suicide for the President to engage in another war during an election cycle.  Maybe we should be thankful.

The cost of wars under George Bush brought this country (as well as the gluttons of wall-street and the would be middle-class home owners who could not afford the deals they were talked into) into the debt we now struggle to get out of.

It does not matter who is suffering across the street, around the block or around the world.  If "I" do not have sufficient resources to take care of my own, I cannot abandon my family to create an even greater breadth of suffering with myself included.

Is this country making an attempt to withdraw from wars?  On the surface, it would appear so.  The year 2014 looms large as a changing of the guard in Afghanistan.  Will that be a turning point towards progress or catastrophe?  Will the efforts put in by soldiers from so many countries around the world be crushed by the warring factions of the Afghan Tribes? 

Governor Romney talks tough - very tough - and is already at verbal war with Russia, China, Syria and Iran.  Jihadists commit to suicidal behavior for many reasons including a deep felt hatred for the acts of war (from their perspective) committed by the United States.  Will talking tough make things better?

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, a Bangladeshi national, allegedly parked a van filled with what he believed to be 1,000 pounds of explosives and attempted to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank but NOT without the help of an FBI undercover agent who provided 20 50-pound bags of explosives (allegedly).

Does it make sense for our tax dollars to be spent encouraging social misfits to "prove" their intentions by baiting them? 

Did the debate between Romney and Obama cover any topics of substance?

Let's Abolish the IRS

Let's abolish the IRS, replace all that with one federal consumption tax that will create tens of millions of jobs in a zero-corporate tax rate environment.

No Comment (except laughter)

Jill Stein
We are Losing Affordable Healthcare

President Obama's Obamacare is a sellout to the insurance companies.  There is no need for millions of dollars to be spent on healthcare mediators. 

Romney's intention to voucherize medicare is like asking the elderly to carry a heavy load, watching them fall and then saying:  Too bad.

The conversion of our land to dependence on foreign oil through the use of fertilizers which are weakening and destroying the land's ability to grow healthy food is another sellout to big business.  The use of high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, white salt, white flour and all other methods of isolating the "active" ingredients away from the whole (holistic) food are techniques which support one objective only - maximizing profit, not health.

Low nutrition is generating significant health issues which then lead to "opportunities" for drug companies to develop expensive "active" ingredients to treat the health problems that big business has contributed to / generated in the first place.

This is nothing but a cycle of insanity which over the last several decades has gone down the path of GMO - Genetically modified organisms.  Recently in France, studies have shown that mice fed GE (genetically engineered) corn developed tumors at a high rate while Monsanto has controlled and conducted their own studies that indicate the corn is safe. 

Even with subsidies, the cost of health care for an individual, as mediated by insurance companies or insurance exchanges, remains very costly.

Jill Stein supports healthcare as a human right (her bill of rights).

"We need to simply bring the eligibility age for Medicare down to zero. In fact, pre-zero, from the moment of conception, so that people would be covered throughout life and from the very beginning of pregnancy. Because in doing that, we can cover everyone comprehensively, including your teeth and your ears and your eyes and your pharmaceuticals and your mental health and your reproductive health and all those things that get chopped out.

We can cover it all and still save trillions of dollars over the coming decade because a Medicare-for-all plan actually reduces the incredible, massive, wasteful private health insurance bureaucracy, puts all our health care dollars into health care, and it reduces that inflation that's driving up the cost."

We are Losing Access to Education

The Obama emphasis on College for All is misleading and elitist.  The notion that everyone needs to go to college is tantamount to the idea that everyone needs to go into debt to own a home which is what lead to the housing bubble we still cannot get out of after four years.

Thoms Jefferson wrote in his diary of a society where everyone is well fed and everyone has a meaningful task to perform.  His vision is a foundation of strength for this country - vibrant and healthy people who have a sense of meaningful work that contributes to the whole of society.

Everyone is born with different skills, talents and minds.  The methods used in our schools to force children to learn effectively screen society into two camps, those who can process symbolically and those who cannot with the support and societal status given almost exclusively to the symbolic processors.

Education in the wholistic sense is about growing a human being (not force feeding facts) to being a happy, healthy and productive member of society.

Education is a basic right of everyone.  Providing the opportunities for continuing (free) education for all members of society, not just a few, is essential - their right and our responsibility.

The Climate's in Meltdown

Those who used to deny climate change rarely voice their denial any longer.  They don't have to. Worse is the deafening silence from the political party (Democrats) that knows better.

The war cry of the 70's - world population explosion - is rarely cited as the primary cause of our deepening planetary woes because what good would it do?  Maybe if the population growth could have been halted back then, but now?  With real humans seeking food, clean water and health, with growing economies seeking the "better" life steeped in consumerism, what remedy do you provide but palliative care?

The planet is close to, if not already beyond, the tipping point where climate change begins to accelerate faster than expected.  Slowing the process will require enormous self-control and potentially conversion to a very different lifestyle that stops pouring the output of spent energy into our environment.

Governor Romney's focus on loosening access to more black gold is only extending the inevitable and, as if the piston were forcefully delaying - compressing - the resulting changes,  will lead to an explosive and rapid change when the door finally bursts open.

The power grid, like a giant web to which we are all attached, in its too-big to fail status, is a failure in the waiting especially if cyber war terrorism succeeds in this country as (it is believed) our efforts succeeded with Stuxnet in Iran. 

The technology (and its cost) notwithstanding, our dwelling units have the ability to capture energy from the sun, make the energy available locally and then send whatever is not needed back into the grid.  The sun is a permanently free source of energy.  Yet we continue to remain dependent on oil.

The technical capabilities of this country to design a process that would convert our economy in record time exist but the power brokers ($) quake at the loss of profit.

A leader is needed with guts.  A leader is needed who will declare an emergency and put an emergency response team into motion.  Taking the bull by the horns is dangerous.  Letting it gore you to death is worse.

Read the NPR Third-Party Candidate Debate Transcript n Full

Posted: October 18, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

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