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article imageVideo: Final third-party Presidential candidate debate

By Anne Sewell     Nov 6, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation's Christina Tobin and co-moderator, RT's Tom Hartman and hosted by RT America at its Washington studio, Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party sounds off with Dr. Jill Stein, of the Green Party.
Johnson and Stein were winners of an online poll, which was run after the first third-party debate on October 23.
In the final debate, the candidates debated topics which were ignored or forgotten in the main Presidential Debates and by the mainstream media.
Opening statements:
Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.
Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.
Ron Hill Imagery
Gov. Johnson of the Libertarian Party:
I think this country is in big, big trouble. And the issues facing this nation are something that we can't just bury our heads in the sand over.
So for starters, let's not bomb Iran, let's stop with our military interventions that have us with hundreds of millions of enemies to this country, that, but for our military interventions, would otherwise not exist.
So let's get out of Afghanistan tomorrow, bring the troops home.
I believe that marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right on a par with civil rights of the sixties.
Let's end the drug war. Let's legalize marijuana today.
I would have never signed the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing for arrest and detainment of you and I as us citizens without being charged.
I would repeal the Patriot Act.
I think we need to balance the Federal Budget now. And that means addressing the entitlements, Medicare, that means addressing military spending. I think the biggest threat to our national security is the fact that we are borrowing money to the tune of 43 cents out of every dollar that we are spending.
When it comes to jobs, let's eliminate income tax, corporate tax, abolish the IRS, replace all of that with one federal consumption tax.
I am advocating the Fair Tax, which I think is the answer to tens of millions of jobs being created in this country, because we are talking about a zero corporate tax rate environment. It ends up being cost-neutral over a very short amount of time.
It's really the answer when it comes to American exports, because we are going to bleed existing non-transparent taxes out of what we export. It's the answer to China.
And then given the opportunity, I would abolish the Federal Reserve, if that was legislation that Congress would pass. It's an inside job that the Treasury prints money, gives it to the Federal Reserve, the Federal Reserve gives it to the banks at zero per cent. Do the banks give it to you or I? No. They buy up treasuries in a closed loop, making profits off of you and I.
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party:
The American people certain are at the breaking point, but in this election we can turn that into a tipping point, and start to take back our democracy, and the peaceful, just, green future we deserve.
Jill Stein - Green Party
Jill Stein - Green Party
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We are in crisis now. We are, the American people are losing our jobs, decent wages, our homes, affordable healthcare and higher education. Our civil liberties are under attack, and the climate is in an accelerated meltdown.
The wealthy few are making out like bandits, doing better than ever, while everyday people are being thrown under the bus, and the political establishment is actually making it worse, imposing austerity on everyday people, while they squander trillions on wars for oil, Wall Street bailouts and tax breaks for the wealthy.
That’s why it’s time to stand up and make your vote count and vote Green in this election. Every vote for my campaign is a vote for the solutions that the American people are clamoring for right now.
That means an emergency, green new deal to create 25 million new jobs, end unemployment, and jump-start the green economy, that spells an end to climate change and makes wars for oil obsolete.
We’re calling for healthcare as a human right, through Medicare for all, that covers everyone, while it saves us trillions of dollars over the coming decade.
And we’re calling for bailing out the students and not the banks. We can end student debt and make public higher education free, as it should be, and it pays for itself, we know that from the GI bill, where it returned $7 for every dollar we invested, we got $7 back in benefits to the economy.
So we can end the failed racist war on drugs, downsize the military, end the drone wars, bring the troops home, by standing up for this now. These are the solutions we deserve, they are within our reach, we just need to stand up and insist that we have them now, by voting Green in this election.
Question 1 - Free Trade:
The first question in the debate relates to free trade. Hartman explains that on Monday, as the debate was happening, a factory in Freeport, Illinois that belongs to Sensata Technology, was being shut down and more than 170 American workers were "watching their jobs shift to China." He further explains that over 50,000 American manufacturing factories have been shut down and five million manufacturing jobs have been lost, in the last decade.
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Hartman asks, is Free Trade really in the interests of the United States and would either candidate support more protectionist trade policies to stem the loss of American jobs.
Relating to the Sensata Technology issue, Stein says that it's not that no profits are being made, it's simply greed on the part of Bain Capital, who seem to be in the business of buy it, strip it, flip it, send it overseas, make more profit, and throw the local American workers "under the bus."
She explains that it is the Free Trade Agreement that allows the "Bain Capitals" of the world to steal Americans' jobs and send them overseas, and while most people would lay this at Mitt Romney's feet, Barack Obama bears an equal responsibility for actually expanding these free trade agreements. Stein discusses the Trans-Pacific Partnership which is being negotiated behind closed doors, without even Congress knowing what is going on.
Stein says it is necessary to change the free trade agreements into fair trade agreements, that actually protect workers, protect the environment, protect communities, and grow the US economy through a green new deal which would create the jobs that are needed in America.
Gov. Johnson, in his response, said that there is a difference between the terms 'jobs' and 'free trade,' and that much of the criticism of free trade is actually criticism of ‘crony capitalism.’ Johnson advocated a business environment "that brings corporations back," which would be achieved by "abolishing corporate taxes and the IRS," including income taxes. According to Johnson, under this policy "millions of jobs would flock back to the United States," while tens of millions more would be created due to the tax-free environment.
Lively rebuttals followed both statements, with the third-party candidates unable to completely agree.
Question 2 - Banking System:
Matt Welch, Editor in Chief of Reason Magazine, reads out the next viewer question:
“The economic collapse in 2008 set off a global economic crisis, demonstrating the inter-connectiveness between distinct national markets. We saw this dynamic this year with the Libor rate rigging scandal, which could have affected hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of assets worldwide.”
“Are you concerned about the size and lack of checks and balances of the international banking system. Would you make any reforms to rein in the powers of Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the rest of the global financial system?”
Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party s Jill Stein.
Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party's Jill Stein.
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Johnson stated that Wall Street banks, engaging in risky trading practices, should not be rescued. He pointed out that as the banks get bailed out, inflation increases, and he warned that the US dollar will soon become worthless. Meanwhile the banks increase their earnings at the expense of the public.
Stein argued for a reversal of the deregulation that started under the Clinton administration, and also took a hard line on financial malfeasance. The separation of commercial and investment banks, she said, had protected consumers and homeowners for decades – the repeal of Glass-Steagall set off a series of crises culminating in the Wall Street crash of 2008.
Question 3 - Intervention in the Middle East:
Maytha Alhassen, Journalist, asks the third-party candidates a question on behalf of a viewer, "Both of you have been critics of US intervention around the globe, and have called for immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Does US influence make the world a more or less safe place? And what about women?"
Stein discussed the number of deaths, both of US military members and citizens of other countries. She proposes the US implement a foreign policy based on "international law, human rights and diplomacy," instead of its current policy of invading countries for oil and dominating militarily. "After a decade of war, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost," she said, "we have only witnessed a further expansion of war and the failure to create stable democracies."
She also said that the US must set an example for its allies by respecting human rights and international law. She pointed to the US relationship with Israel and Saudi Arabia – two countries known to regularly violate international law that Washington rarely calls to account.
Referring to Iran and the current tensions, Stein said this is indicative of a "short-sighted" foreign policy. Iran may or may not develop nuclear weapons, she said, but several Middle Eastern nations already possess that technology and do not follow international nuclear nonproliferation standards. She proposed an "even-handed and equal" approach, which would eventually create a nuclear weapons-free Middle East and world.
Johnson basically said that "We should do unto others as we'd have others do unto us." He said that US foreign interventions have killed countless civilians, and unnecessarily created millions of enemies. He stressed that the US must "set the example" worldwide and use its diplomatic influence, not military force.
Johnson said that should the US bomb Iran, this would add a hundred million more enemies of the US.
"I absolutely believe that because of our military interventions we have hundreds of millions of enemies to the country that we wouldn't otherwise have."
"The results of our military interventions are that tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the countries that we go in and intervene, die. Our service men and women die, our service men and women are coming back with their limbs blown off. This has to stop."
Johnson goes on to say that whenever a drone is launched, there is always collateral damage with civilian deaths, as well as the targeted party.
"Our influence should be diplomatic, our influence should be that we live by example, that we recognize women's rights. But we need to act as an example as opposed to being the bully."
Question 4: Foreign Aid:
"Members of Congress have recently called on the State Department to stop sending foreign aid to countries like Egypt and Pakistan. In your administration what would the goals of foreign aid be and are there any specific nations from which you would strip US aid?"
Gov. Johnson proposed an end to foreign aid, quoting "Foreign aid, that poor people in this country give money to rich people in other countries. It goes to prop up dictatorships that have American interests at heart."
He then discusses the sabre rattling over Iran and possible nuclear weapons.
He said, put an end to building roads, schools and highways across the world, when they are still needed in the US.
Johnson went on to claim that the US is funding jihadists in Syria, and asked rhetorically whether Washington had truly learned its lesson after backing Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan decades ago.
Stein stated that the foreign aid policy must be changed, as it mostly consists of military aid and arms deals. She said that a majority of weapons sold worldwide are American-made, and claimed that the US is "throwing gasoline of the fires" of the world's ethnic, religious and other conflicts under the guise of foreign aid, particularly in Syria.
Stein brought up the subject of climate change and stated that the US should rather be building relationships with other countries in developing a real international strategy to solve the problems of climate change.
Question 4: Climate Change
Actor and comedian, Sam Seder, asked the next viewer question. "Hurricane Sandy has compelled the mainstream media to talk about climate change. Do you believe climate change is man-made and what should the government's role be in curbing climate change, if any?"
Stein said that Hurricane Sandy showed clearly how vulnerable the US is to climate change. Coming after the hottest twelve months on record, which included widespread flooding and droughts impacting 50% of the US, the storm was catastrophic. She said that Americans must realize that fossil fuels are the main culprit of climate change, and that they also contribute to a political system that avoids environmental issues.
Comparing climate change to Pearl Harbor, where a national mobilization was needed to meet the emergency, she said that the US is in a similar emergency. She proposed that bomb factories can be converted to clean energy, solar and wind factories, much as car factories were converted to bomb factories during WWII.
Johnson says he does believe that climate change is man-made. However, he didn't believe a president can have an effect on climate change, and that market demands are the best method of combating it. As consumers demand lower carbon emissions, he argued, carbon emissions begin to go down. He says that energy will be cleaner in the future, and that this will end with less carbon emissions.
However, he did state that FEMA, while necessary, could be drastically reduced.
Question 5: WikiLeaks and whistleblowers
Emmy award winning investigative journalist and whistleblower, Amber Lyon, asks the next viewer question on secrecy and WikiLeaks. "As commander-in-chief, do you think organizations like WikiLeaks are a threat to national security and if you are elected president, what types of secrets would your administration protect?"
Johnson said generally that WikiLeaks had brought transparency to the system, and that it has fundamentally posed no threat to America's security. He stated that he believes in transparency. He stated that to his knowledge "WikiLeaks has not divulged any information that has resulted in any harm to anyone involved in information that has been leaked."
He stressed that transparency is very important and stated that in two terms as Governor of New Mexico he has practiced transparency in all aspects. "You tell the truth, you let the chips lay where they may. People really appreciate issues first, politics last. Politics has a way of obscuring the truth, and let the truth be known."
Noting that President Obama, using the Espionage Act, has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all US presidents combined, Stein said WikiLeaks has not been a threat to national security. She paraphrased founding father Benjamin Franklin: "If we sacrifice liberty for the sake of security, we will wind up losing both." She maintained that the American people have a right to know what their government is doing.
She discussed the National Defense Authorization Act and the Patriot Act and their effect on the liberties of the US people. She added that transparency is central to exposing government crimes committed behind closed doors and said that the world owes WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning a debt of gratitude for bringing it about.
Question 6: The US Police State:
Facebook user, Lee Hawkins, asks "What will you do to end the growing police state and accompanying brutality and violation of our rights?"
Referring to the NDAA and Patriot Act, as discussed under the previous question, Stein said that President Obama has reinterpreted legislation allowing the government to imprison and assassinate anyone without charge – including American citizens.
Stein called this a "dreadful attack" on civil liberties, and that the crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement showed that the right to protest is also under attack. She referred to her own imprisonment when trying to attend the presidential debates.
Johnson agrees that there is, indeed, a police state in the US and stresses that the origin of the police state lies in the War on Drugs, and that he would enact policies bringing an end it, including the legalization of marijuana right now.
He continued to stress that he would have vetoed the NDAA, and the Patriot Act, and would never have established the Department of Homeland Security. He also added that, for example, he would leave airport security up to the airlines, to the airports, to the states and local municipalities.
Johnson went on to refer to an ACLU report last December, which rated each candidate's stances on civil liberties. He pointed out that he himself ranked the highest at 21 out of 24, Ron Paul has 18 out of 24, while Romney received a 0 out of 24 and Obama received a 16 out of 24.
He said that should Obama or Romney be elected, the police state will continue.
Question 7: Austerity in the US
"President Obama has on multiple occasions said that austerity in the Eurozone is creating crises there, that are contagious here. Do you support an austerity measure or agenda here in the United States similar to that being followed in those countries, whether in a minor way in the UK, or a major way in Greece and if you can cite any nations which have successfully cut their way to prosperity?"
Johnson was the first to respond. "I absolutely believe we need austerity." He warned of a monetary collapse if the US does not balance its budget, and claimed austerity would help avert the crisis. If the US continues down its current path, "we will collapse," he said.
Stein argued that "austerity has a track record, and it's not a good one," saying that if it worked in the United States, it would be for the first time ever. She proposed her Green New Deal as an alternative.
The New Deal "radically" reduces unemployment within a few months of being implemented, she said, adding that new jobs in green and renewable energy will pay for themselves.
Stein, on the other hand, stated that austerity can only worsen a country’s economic outlook, and that the talk of shared sacrifice should include a look at the "pillaging" of working and poor people, whose wealth, she said, has been shifted to the top. She said that the working class has sacrificed enormously, and the wealthy few must match that sacrifice.
A Medicare-for-all policy would be one serious alternative to austerity, and would transform a "massive, wasteful corporate health care bureaucracy" into a program with only a fraction of the red tape and overhead.
Question 8: Genetically engineered food and labeling
A quick, one minute response question: "The European Union imposed mandatory food labeling in 1997 for genetically modified foods. Do you support Proposition 37 in California and as president, would you push for federal legislation requiring the labeling of GMO foods?"
Stein said, "It is our right to know what we are eating, especially when that so-called food involves highly experimental and inadequately tested technology."
"So as a very preliminary step, we must have labeling of genetically engineered food products, and I would definitely advance that legislation at the national level, but I would actually go beyond that."
"As a physician and a public advocate who has spent years studying and advocating for a safe environment that is consistent with human health, I would actually call for a moratorium on genetically engineered food until it has been established as safe, because once this technology is out of the bag, and this is already happening, you can't call it back."
"There are some real warning signs right now in the scientific literature. We need to put it on hold until we understand what is going on."
Johnson said, "I think that one of government's fundamental responsibilities can be to educate, and by educate, the notion that we should mandate labeling. We should mandate what ingredients there are in food."
"I have celiac disease, I can't consume gluten. It makes me sick, it's poison. So I would not be able to function if it weren't for food labeling. It is very, very important to me."
"So consumers make their choices, but they make their choices based on having all the information that they want. Genetically modified foods should be labeled as such."
The full debate and closing statements can be viewed in the video above.
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