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In First 100 Days, Pres. Jill Stein Would Cancel Student Debt, End Middle East Wars

Posted in Archive, Journalism, and MintPress News

Originally published at MintPress News.

HOUSTON — Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, has ambitious plans for her first 100 days in office.

“First thing we do is cancel student debt, working with the Fed,” Stein told MintPress News in an exclusive interview. “We will be fighting for that from day one.”

Stein would also immediately begin to implement her “Green New Deal” to redirect resources from the military-industrial complex into an economy based on renewable energy. She hopes her plan would put a stop to America’s endless energy wars.

“As the commander-in-chief, the president can also start a peace offensive in the Middle East to end these catastrophic wars for oil that are only making us more endangered rather than more safe.”

She also plans to end the war on cannabis:

The president has the authority to instruct the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Agency, to use science, and that means marijuana and hemp come off the list of scheduled substances. Then we pardon all nonviolent drug offenders who shouldn’t be incarcerated in the first place.

Although President Barack Obama has already begun to pardon some nonviolent drug offenders, the majority of drug offenders are in state prisons, and possibly out of reach for the president.

“We can create an America, and a world, that works for all of us,” Stein said.

‘Take back the promise of democracy’

Dr. Jill Stein and scholar Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s nominees for president and vice president, respectively, face an uphill battle to the White House, but they believe their campaign can transform American politics regardless of the outcome of the November elections.

“This is going to be a difficult campaign but one that promises real breakthroughs,” Baraka told reporters at a press conference at the Green Party Convention after he and Stein accepted the party’s nomination on Saturday.

“We are ready to turn this breaking point that we face into a tipping point, to take back the promise of Democracy and a peaceful, just, green future that is within our reach,” Stein added.

Stein and Baraka join a field of candidates unlike few others in American history, with dissatisfaction with mainstream party candidates hitting record highs. Only 9 percent of Americans supported either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the primaries, according to The New York Times, and a poll conducted in May byThe Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggests about 90 percent of voters lack confidence in the American political system.

In this August 6, 2016 photograph, delegates and supporters stand and applaud during the Green Party National Convention at the University of Houston. (MintPress News / Kit O’Connell)
In this August 6, 2016 photograph, delegates and supporters stand and applaud during the Green Party National Convention at the University of Houston. (MintPress News / Kit O’Connell)

‘People have a right … to know who we can vote for’

Yet the Green Party’s candidates, like Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, also face significant barriers to mainstream acceptance, especially after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit on Friday that, if successful, could have opened up the debates to both third parties.

During Saturday’s press conference, Stein expressed her disappointment, as well as her lack of surprise, in the court’s decision. She said:

People not only have a right to vote, but they have a right to know who we can vote for. And in an election where the two major candidates — who are the only ones currently scheduled to be in those debates — are the most disliked and untrusted candidates in U.S. history for president, I think the public is screaming to open up these debates.

While Stein admitted during the press conference that she faces a name recognition problem, she told MintPress that she hopes to build on her campaign’s newfound momentum. A McClatchy-Marist poll published Thursday showed Stein could get as much as 6 percent of the popular vote, though those numbers reach as high as 16 percent among voters under 30. She also anticipates a further boost to her popularity from an upcoming televised Green Party Town Hall meeting, which will be hosted by CNN on Aug. 17.

Stein told MintPress:

We could see the roof blown off this election. The political system is melting down. The Republicans are abandoning Donald Trump … [and] the progressives have been kicked out of the Democratic Party. so we’re seeing an incredible realignment, and word is getting out.

She added that voters are growing more and more tired of voting for the “lesser evil.”

“People are just realizing that the lesser evil is not a solution,” she said. “It is a propaganda campaign, because people stop coming out to vote for a lesser-evil politician that’s throwing them under a bus.”

Julian Assange, Cornel West speak at Green Party Convention

On Saturday, the Green Party overwhelmingly nominated Stein from a diverse field of candidates, including17-year-old Elijah Manley. The party generally presented a unified front, especially compared to the Republican and Democratic parties, both of which face internal resistance to their candidates.

At least 500 delegates, volunteers, and other Green Party supporters gathered for the convention’s most important day, which also featured speeches from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and scholar and activist Cornel West.

Although initially hampered by some technical difficulties, Assange told the excited audience, which periodically broke out in chants of “WikiLeaks! WikiLeaks!” that the 2016 election could change the face of American politics.

The two major parties “continue to generate oversight and resistance, which will not only create a fertile field for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein to grow their support but will create a fairly fertile field to understand and hold government accountable,” he said via video feed from the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he’s lived on asylum since June 2012.

Watch “Julian Assange Green Party Convention FULL Speech 8/6/16” from Jim Browski 2.0:

West, who has called Hillary Clinton a “neoliberal disaster,” told the convention that “we live in an age of mendacity and criminality.” Among the sins of the political establishment, he highlighted “crimes on Wall Street, U.S. drones dropping bombs on innocent folk, violating international law and getting away with it, expansion of the mass incarceration regime in the name of the law, violating the humanity of our brothers and sisters.”

Though there were no protesters outside the event, which was held on the University of Houston campus, the convention was not without tension. One presidential candidate, Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry, briefly held up the proceedings to demand improved dispute resolution practices from the party.

And Gary C. Frazier Jr., a black delegate from New Jersey, was detained for about 35 minutes by campus police because he reportedly “matched a description” of a wanted criminal. It was a disturbing incident for a party that’s been outspoken in its support for the Black Lives Matter movement. At the press conference held after the nomination, Baraka suggested that the Green Party would consider a lawsuit on Frazier’s behalf.

‘Going up against the entire state apparatus’

Baraka told reporters that their campaign faces intense resistance from the political establishment.

“We understand that because we have a program that promises real, radical change that we’re going to be up against the entire state apparatus,” he said. “So even if we are able to have a base in the Executive [Office], we understand that we have to struggle through Congress.”

Still, he and Stein closed the convention on a note of hope and promise for a better future.

“We are ready for that transfer of power. … We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Stein told the press conference.

She concluded:

This campaign has been like an absolute whirlwind that has just taken off with a power of its own. And I’d say hold onto your hats, let’s see where it goes. Together we are unstoppable.

Watch “Cornel West @ the Green Party Convention Houston, Texas” from Green Party US:

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