Obama budget throws American people under the bus, gives the rich a free ride

 Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2012 presidential candidate today condemned the recently released Obama 2014 budget proposal, issuing the following statement:

Despite his campaign promises to protect Social Security and make the economy fair, Obama’s budget throws the American people under the bus. And it gives the economic elite a free ride on that same bus that’s running us over.

Specifically, this budget swaps the painful $1.2 trillion in sequester cuts for a different, but equally painful, new package of cuts worth the same amount. As part of these new cuts, the President is leading the charge to roll back Medicare and Social Security – the “Grand Bargain” with ruthless corporate Republicans that Obama has promoted for years. There is nothing grand about dismantling the crown jewels of the New Deal and the Great Society. Under the bus

The new cuts are superimposed on $1.4 trillion in cuts since 2011 that are already hurting our jobs, schools, health care, housing and social support systems. The burden this budget imposes on the wealthy is trivial by comparison – such as ending tax-benefits in private retirement accounts for those fortunate few with over 3 million already salted away.

The President’s budget proposes $400 billion in Medicare and other health care cuts, partly through requiring seniors to increase Medicare payments or reduce their coverage. Obama also calls for “means testing” Medicare, making it a benefit only for middle class and low income seniors rather than for everyone over age 65. This is a time-tested strategy to reduce public support and set a program on the road to virtual extinction – as was done to welfare under Clinton.

Obama’s budget would reduce Social Security benefits by switching to a “chained CPI” method for calculating cost of living increases. The average retiree would lose more than 2% of her income in the deal. This is more than three times the burden imposed by Obama’s nominal tax increase on the rich last year, which would amount to a mere 1/2 % of income for a wealthy couple earning half a million dollars a year.

Obama is targeting Social Security despite the fact that it’s the only thing keeping 20 million seniors out of poverty. Its payments relative to pre-retirement income are far below the retirement benefits that most European nations provide. Few Americans support Obama’s approach. According to a February 2013 Pew poll, only 10% of Americans want to cut Social Security while 41% want to increase Social Security benefits.

Obama’s budget will make a desperate economic situation even worse. Last month’s job figures showed only 88,000 new jobs were created, about half the number needed to keep real unemployment from rising. It also showed nearly a half million people had dropped out of the workforce, which largely explains the illusory, small decline in “official” unemployment. In fact the more accurate unemployment indicator, the employment to population ratio, (EPOP), shows a pathetic recovery of only about 7% of the jobs lost since 2007. Meanwhile 1 in 2 Americans are in poverty or low income, 37 million college students and recent graduates are in debt with few prospects for getting out. And with 90% of projected new jobs not requiring a college degree, and half not even requiring a high school degree – the ranks of the impoverished are, unfortunately, on a steep curve upward.

For the President – and his Republican and Democratic accomplices in Congress – to impose these austerity cuts on the American people is absolutely unjustified. Considering the economic meltdown that so many Americans are facing, it is unconscionable. The core problem of the American economy is not the budget deficit. This is simply a symptom of the bigger disease: the recession (caused by Wall Street malfeasance) which led to the massive 2008 drop in tax revenues. The deficit was further aggravated by Wall Street bailouts, the Bush/Obama tax giveaways for the rich, private medical insurance inflation, and the disastrous $6-trillion dollar military boondoggles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The real solution to the recession is to jump start the economy through a massive job creation program – like the New Deal that sparked the recovery from the Great Depression. Within the first few months of the FDR’s New Deal, millions of jobs were created, and within a few years, over 12 million people were back to work.

An alternative to the grim Grand Bargain is offered by the Green New Deal, a package of emergency reforms proposed by the Green Party. This approach would end both the economic crisis and the climate crisis in one fell swoop. It would create 25 million jobs in green energy, sustainable agriculture, public transportation and infrastructure improvements – as well as jobs that meet our social needs, including teachers, nurses, day care, affordable housing, drug abuse and violence prevention and rehabilitation. It would be funded by scaling back the oversized military budget to year 2000 levels, adopting a Medicare for All insurance system that would save trillions of dollars, requiring Wall Street gamblers to pay a small (0.5%) sales tax, taxing capitol gains as income, and taxing income more progressively. These key provisions of the Green New Deal enjoy majority public support in poll after poll.

The Green New Deal addresses the concocted deficit/debt problems by solving the bigger, underlying crises of an unraveling economy and accelerating climate catastrophe. The enormity of these threats compel solutions of equal magnitude.

The draconian budget being presented by the Obama White House is a sobering sign that that the corporate-sponsored political establishment is incapable of delivering real solutions to the nation’s critical problems.

With growing frequency, unions and advocacy groups are expressing buyer’s remorse about this President, and sending out fundraising appeals asking for money so that they can “take him on.” It’s worth asking when “taking him on” should become “leaving him behind,” and organizing for independent political action.

One thing is clear – the clock is ticking on our imperiled economy and climate. More than ever, it’s time to put our voices, our bodies, and our votes behind real solutions for a peaceful, just, green future for us all.”

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GREEN NEW DEAL: http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal

Please take an immediate step by making a donation: http://www.jillstein.org/donate

Authorized and paid for by Jill Stein for President PO Box 260217, Madison, WI 53726http://www.jillstein.org 

#totn Why Jill Stein went to the front line of the #climate crisis today

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was handcuffed and arrested this morning after bringing food and supplies to a coalition of climate justice activists, known as the “Tar Sands Blockade,” who are attempting to stop the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas.  She is currently at Wood County Jail awaiting processing.
“Everyone needs to step up resistance to climate-killing emissions,” said Stein, who was willing to risk arrest in order to show solidarity for this blockade.  “Romney and Obama are only talking about the symptoms of climate change in terms of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy; the blockaders are addressing the cause.” 
Jill Stein was joined by seven others, including three blockaders and four members of the press.   They were delivering fresh fruits and vegetables, canned proteins, trail mix, and Halloween candy. They were not warned of imminent arrests; and the arresting officers did not self-identify as police. 
Prior to running for office, Jill Stein, a 62-year old physician and mother of two, had never been arrested. 
“Climate change means more frequent severe storms that lead to massive flooding and destruction,” said Stein, speaking at the ongoing protests in Texas against the proposed Keystone XL natural gas project. “We will see more destructive storms than Sandy in the years to come. We have to stop spending our tax dollars to build homes in low-lying coastal areas and flood plains. The billions spent rebuilding the NYC subway system must reflect that sea levels will continue to rise.”  Stein noted that the flooding of the NYC subway system had been predicted in several recent climate change reports prepared for the state government. 
Stein has been the only national presidential candidate who has made dealing with climate change a major focus. She supports reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to below 350 ppm. The Green New Deal, the centerpiece of her campaign, includes investing hundreds of billions of dollars to transition to a carbon neutral economy, paid for through cuts to the military budget, elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels and nukes, and higher taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street.
“We can’t just listen to climate change scientists for a few days after a disaster occurs, before politicians go back to business as usual. America has been both the major contributor to climate change and the major denier of the need for action. Obama and Romney’s push to develop more domestic fossil fuels will accelerate our rush down the path of destruction while increasing the profits of the oil, coal and gas companies,” added Cheri Honkala, the Green Vice-Presidential candidate.
The world already has five times as much oil, coal and gas available as climate scientists say the atmosphere can tolerate.  So rather than drill for more fossil fuels, we must keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away safely underground to avoid a climate disaster.
While recognizing that climate change is already underway, Stein has laid out a number of major steps that should be taken to slow it down. Stein said that the government must also begin investing in how to mitigate its impacts.
“A major reason why our political and business leaders have failed to take action on climate change is because too many of them believe that it will be cheaper to deal with the consequences of climate change than to reduce it. The economic and human costs from Hurricane Sandy shows this to be the wrong calculation,” said Stein.
A recent report commissioned by 20 nations found that 400,000 people are already being killed annually by climate change, while costing the world economy more than $1.2 trillion a year. (http://daraint.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CVM2ndEd-FrontMatter.pdf)
To read more about why activists are opposing the Keystone XL pipeline visit: http://tarsandsblockade.org/about-2/why-oppose-kxl/

MONDAY & TUESDAY: Watch the real #debates with Jill Stein! #ows #occupywallstreet #occupyeverywhere

Forward! Jill Stein for President

The Commission on Presidential Debates would do almost anything to keep Jill Stein out of its carefully-staged debates – even going so far as to arrest her and running mate Cheri Honkala for trying to enter the site of last week’s debate.

stein_obama_romney_anderson.jpgBut try as they might, they can’t silence Americans who want real debates and real choices in our political system.

Tonight, Jill Stein will be on a live Democracy Now! expanded debate broadcast responding to the same questions as Obama and Romney, and on Tuesday night she will appear in Free & Equal’s expanded presidential debate moderated by Larry King.

Make sure to tune in to the real debates – and tell your friends!

Democracy Now! Expanding the debate with Jill Stein
When: Monday October 22, 9:30pm EST
Where: Live online at Democracy Now!

stein_anderson_goode_johnson.jpgFree & Equal Presidential debate
When: Tuesday October 23, 9pm EST
Where: Live on Al Jazeera English, RT America, and online at Free & Equal

There’s still time to throw a debate-watching party with your family and friends – it’s a fantastic way to introduce them to Jill Stein and the Green New Deal.

And whether you can host a party or not, be sure to join the conversation online! Social media has more of an impact on politics than ever before and we need your help ensuring our message is heard. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube and use these tips to make some noise!

Jill Stein for President

Please take an immediate step by making a donation: http://www.jillstein.org/donate

Everyone out for debate protests in #Kentucky and #NewYork! #the99% #US99 #occupyeverywhere #OccupytheCPD

Jill Stein for President

With four weeks to go until Election Day, we are ratcheting up the pressure to get Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala into the Commission on Presidential Debates’ televised debates. Read on for an update from Fair Debates Organizer Carl Gibson about upcoming actions in KY and NY:

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala are being unfairly locked out of the debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) . . . but we refuse to stay silent in the face of this affront to democracy. Instead, we’re Occupying the CPD!

Join Cheri Honkala to Occupy the CPD Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky on Thursday, October 11!Occupy activists are organizing some telling street theatre to show how Paul Ryan’s austerity plan will balance the budget on the backs of the poor – literally. 
We need as many people as possible to get our message out at the VP debate Thursday night. Here’s how to get involved:What: Paul Ryan “Austerity Wagon” protest with Cheri Honkala
317 W. Main Street, Danville, KY (6 blocks from Centre campus)
Thursday Oct. 11, 7 PM (action starts at 8 PM sharp)

Click here to RSVP and we will contact you about how to get involved!

We aren’t counting on Joe Biden or the debate’s tightly-controlled moderator to talk about the failure of austerity – or any of the other issues Americans really need to hear about. Instead, we’re taking things into our own hands. Speaking of which…

Join Jill Stein to Occupy the CPD Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Tuesday, October 16!

There’s no way the Commission on Presidential Debates would willingly allow Jill Stein on the same stage as Obama and Romney to speak about the issues they want to avoid… so on Tuesday, October 16th at 4 PM, Occupy Wall Street activists are teaming up with other groups, including Money Out/Voters In and United NY, for a 99% March on the Debates.

The march will start at 4 PM in the heart of Hempstead, just 1.5 miles from Hofstra University, and will be joined by the Big Bird Bloc, an army of activists dressed as America’s favorite Sesame Street character to protest recent threats to public media. Here’s how to get involved:

What: 99% March on the Debates with Jill Stein
Where: Hempstead, NY
When: Tuesday Oct. 16, 4 PM

Click here to RSVP and we will contact you about how to get involved!

As badly as the establishment political parties and the corporate media want to ignore and undermine us, we’ll show them over the next few weeks through our voices and our actions that we’re stronger than ever, that we’re fed up with the two-party duopoly on our Democracy, and that we, the people, want a White House that works for us instead of Wall Street.

Thanks for everything you do. See you in the streets!

   ~ Carl Gibson
      Jill Stein for President
      Fair Debates Organizer 

p.s. – and please keep telling everyone you know to sign the statement at http://www.OccupytheCPD.org ~ let’s keep building this movement!

#Election2012 #WeThePeople Viral Viral Viral – Open the Debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson

(I posted the message below on the Green Party’s national e-mail discussion list a few minutes ago. — Scott McLarty, Green Party Media Coordinator)

Hi folks
According to Starlene Rankin, the article below [“Open the Debates”] has reached an unprecedented “virality” rate of 8.25%. The previous high for the Green Party was Jello Biafra’s video from Sept. 17, which ended up at 7.41%. Virality is the percentage of people who have created a story from a page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it.
This probably happened because we gave the article a strong push on Facebook. According to article’s page on FireDogLake, it has received over 1,200 Facebook “likes” so far. Very few articles published anywhere ever reach this kind of number. (Check the FB “like” numbers at the bottom of articles in Common Dreams & The Nation — all under 1,000, most under 100.)
There are other Green videos, published articles, interviews, graphics, etc. that deserve to go viral. But we have to promote them aggressively. This is especially true for videos featuring Jill Stein in interviews & speeches. I recommend mining the Facebook pages for the Green Party (http://www.facebook.com/GreenPartyUS) and Jill Stein (http://www.facebook.com/drjillstein) for links to post on your own FB pages, forward via e-mail, promote via Twitter, etc.
We’re already reaching tens of thousands of people through social media — let’s expand these numbers. We’re a political party, which means that the most important work we do is our efforts to reach the public to promote Green candidates and Green ideas. A lot of Greens now “get it” and have made such efforts part of their regular activities on behalf of the party.
We have some big events coming up, including the Climate Change National Day of Action on Sunday, Sept. 30 that’s being organized by NY Greens (see http://www.facebook.com/events/282382531863681/ — more details to be announced soon) and of course the debates, the first of which is on Oct. 3 in Denver.
Our goal should be to turn the exclusion of qualified candidates (Jill Stein and Gary Johnson) into the top news story related to the October debates. Part of that goal must include cultivating a groundswell of anger and insistance that Jill be invited to participate. The Obama-Romney confrontation is likely to be narrow & dull, so let’s feed the media some red meat news. (Pardon my metaphor, vegetarians & vegans.)
We have to do it ourselves — and I don’t just mean the Media Committee & the Stein-Honkala Campaign. We are all in the business of PR for the GP.
Meanwhile, please keep promoting the “Open the Debates” article on Facebook, e-mail, etc. Here is the link: http://my.firedoglake.com/scottmclarty/2012/09/20/open-the-debates-demand-inclusion-of-jill-stein-and-gary-johnson/
Promote “Occupy the CPD” too: http://occupythecpd.org
If you want to tweet the article, here’s a suggestion (with a Tiny URL link):
||| Open the pres. debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson! Read http://tinyurl.com/8pfngwe |||
And please write and submit your own articles, essays, op-eds, etc. for publication and produce videos for YouTube etc. You might even go viral.
Media Committee
From: Scott McLarty <scottmclarty@hotmail.com>
Subject: [usgp-dx] Open the Debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein &
Gary Johnson (SM, FireDogLake)
Please click on the link and share & forward this article widely! — Scott)
Open the Debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein and Gary Johnson!
By Scott McLarty
FireDogLake (blog), September 20, 2012
It’s time for Americans of all political persuasions to unite and demand real presidential debates, with the participation of Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

Open the #Debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson #democracy #media #progressives #polls #politics #voters

Open the Debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein and Gary Johnson!

By Scott McLarty
FireDogLake (blog)

It’s time for Americans of all political persuasions to unite and demand real presidential debates, with the participation of Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

Three debates are planned, the first on October 3. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which controls the debates, is determined that only Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will be allowed in front of the microphones.

That’s because the CPD is owned and run by the Democratic and Republican parties and the two parties’ corporate funders. The CPD took over the debates to limit the stage to their own candidates and to make sure that no challenging questions get asked.

The League of Women Voters, which sponsored the debates before the CPD took over, has called this situation “a fraud on the American voter.”

But we don’t have to remain silent about this affront to democracy and fair elections.

• Challenge the Commission on Presidential Debates!

Visit the ‘Occupy the CPD!’ web site and sign on to the statement (http://occupythecpd.org). Tell the CPD that the debates must include every candidate who is on enough ballots to win the White House and who has demonstrated a minimal level of support — either 1% of the vote in a credible national poll or qualification for federal matching funds or both. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson meet all of these criteria.

• Challenge the Media!

Tell TV and radio stations that Americans voters are not stupid, that our heads won’t explode if we see more than two candidates or if we hear more than two sides (or even just one side, sometimes) on important issues.

Tell them that media organizations don’t have to play by the CPD’s rules, that they can schedule their own debates that include the Green and Libertarian candidates. They can also schedule off-site follow-up debates and interviews with Stein and Johnson after the CPD debates.

Tell them that news broadcasts and talk shows should invite alternative party candidates like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson who express ideas that are outside of the narrow Democratic-Republican spectrum.

• Challenge Progressive Organizations and Web Sites!

Any progressive, ecological, or antiwar web site, periodical, radio station, or organization or labor union that doesn’t demand a real progressive voice — Jill Stein — in the presidential debates is engaging in self-censorship.

Too many of these groups are so married to the Democratic Party that they’re willing to silence their own ideals by pretending that only Obama speaks for them.

Don’t let them get away with this hypocrisy. Give them a piece of your mind, by writing letters and comments in response to their articles. Give them another piece of your mind when they come around asking for contributions.

• Challenge the Polls!

The CPD has used results from public opinion polls that only ask questions about Democratic and Republican candidates and exclude other parties to justify its arbitrary debate policies. Such polls are misleading.

• Challenge Yourself!

Stop believing the media hype and lies that we only have two choices on Election Day.

Stop believing nasty and dishonest political ads on TV and the radio, a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision (2010) that allows wealthy and powerful corporations to advertise without limit for their favored candidates.

Stop believing that American politics is limited to two parties, both of which accept millions in corporate contributions.

Stop believing that we can fix the economy, that we can fight global warming, that we can stop invading other countries by voting for either a pro-Wall Street pro-war Democrat or a pro-war pro-Wall Street Republican.

Start believing that you have the power to change the direction of our country!

“Obama has betrayed our hopes for change, but I’m worried that Romney might win.” Many of us fear a Republican victory, but it’s time to be afraid of the Democrats too.

Both parties keep moving further to the right. The result is more war, more redistribution of wealth from working people to the One Percent, more erosion of the Constitution, more disregard of global warming and other threats to our planet. This describes Obama as well as Romney.

We can keep rubberstamping the two-party status quo for the rest of history. Or we can build a strong pro-peace pro-environment party that supports working Americans and accepts no corporate money.

We can start by demanding a place in the debates for Green presidential nominee Jill Stein. We can be true to our democratic principles by demanding inclusion of all qualified presidential candidates, like Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, in the debates.

Democracy and fair elections mean the right to know which candidates best represent our ideals and interests — and the right to vote without being told we only have two choices.

• Challenge Your Family, Friends, and Neighbors!

Please forward this message widely so that we can build a movement for opening the debates that the CPD and the media can’t ignore!

More information:

Occupy the CPD! http://occupythecpd.org

Jill Stein Campaign http://www.jillstein.org
Green Party http://www.gp.org

Gary Johnson Campaign http://www.garyjohnson2012.com
Libertarian Party http://www.lp.org

Scott McLarty is media coordinator for the Green Party of the United States (www.gp.org). He lives in Washington, DC.

Rozum: Solve the Debt Crisis with #StudentLoan Forgiveness #OccupyEducation #OccupyStudentDebt

Ursula for Congress

SYRACUSE, NY – Ursula Rozum, Green Party candidate for NY’s new 24th Congressional district, said today that Congress should free college tuition to all qualified students at public universities and vocational schools.

The Green Party believes that the right to education needs to be guaranteed to everyone

Rozum also called for Congress to forgive existing student debt for college and vocational education. And if Congress refuses to guarantee a college education, Rozum said it should at least change federal tuition assistance to students to grants rather than loans.

The Green Party also supports eliminating the control that the military and corporations exercise over universities through their funding support for “research.”

“Education needs to a guaranteed right that helps all people succeed in life regardless of their family’s economic status or place of residence,” said Rozum in a statement. “I support fully funded public education, pre-school through graduate school. Public investment in education pays off. We know this from the post World War II GI bill which returned $7 in increased revenues for every $1 invested by the federal government.”

Rozum recently joined Syracuse University students to protest ROTC on campus. One of the protesters’ main criticisms was that ROTC takes advantage of the economic crisis by offering tuition in exchange for military service. That money should instead be used to enable all students to attend college, said Rozum, according to a September 5 Daily Orange article.

Rozum noted that former President Bill Clinton had called for the first two years of community college to be a public responsibility.

“As our representative to Congress, I would prioritize access to education by working to eliminate the student debt crisis. The federal government needs to forgive student debt, The federal government bought the banks’ mortgage debt to bail out the banks. The Fed should now buy the banks’ student debt to bail out the students. The Fed should write the loans they purchase off as a loss. That is how we can forgive student debt and turn $1 trillion payments to banks into consumer spending in the depressed economy. It would be an economic stimulus for college graduates and their families. “said Rozum.

“In the current economy, college graduates are trapped.  With persistently high unemployment, it’s difficult to find work to even begin paying back our loans. If we are lucky enough to find meaningful work, our earnings go towards paying off debt. Forgiving student debt would quickly revitalize the housing market, durable goods and countless other sectors of the economy because the very people who sustain those sectors will automatically have hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of extra dollars per month to spend. Instead of funneling hundreds of billions of our tax dollars to banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and other institutions of greed that are responsible for the current economic crisis, we should forgive student debt,” she added.

While the cost of a college education has skyrocketed far faster than the overall rate of inflations opportunities for recent college graduates have declined. An Associated Press report earlier this year found that 53% of recent college graduates were either unemployed or working in jobs that don’t reflect their education level. The AP found the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.

Rozum added that if Congress refused to pass student debt relief legislation, it should repeal the Bush-era bankruptcy reforms which prevent student debt from being discharged by bankruptcy.  She called those changes “a giveaway to the debt collection industry.”

“Totaling more than $1 trillion, student loan payments are a silver lining for the debt collection industry and a serious drag on our economy. Instead of bailing out banks, we should be bailing out students, whose only mistake was seeking economic security through education,” says Rozum.

According to a recent New York Times article, the Education Department paid more than $1.4 billion last fiscal year to collection agencies and other groups to hunt down defaulters, in an attempt to recover money on the defaulted loans.

“My opponents represent policies that have defunded higher education institutions, busted teachers’ unions, and privatize K-12 schools. I believe higher education is a right, that teachers deserve decent workplace conditions and the right to collectively bargain. Education has been turned into a market for the ‘1 %, which is run by policies that create segregation, inequality, massive debt, and undemocratic institutions. We need to reform education so that it is a right and a public good, not something that is exploited for private profits,” Rozum stated.