Jill Stein is the Green Party’s 2012 nominee for President. Dr Stein is an alumna of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School and currently resides in Lexington, Massachusetts. She ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010.
Ron Paul recently called the economic sanctions against Iran an “Act of War.” Would you agree with his description?
We define cyber attacks as an act of war so by our own definition we have engaged in unilateral warfare with Iran. That approach has been extremely unhelpful and we are not using diplomacy. If there are real threats to U.S. security then sanctions are warranted but I don't see that Iran is threatening U.S. security right now. The issue of Iran is that it has the potential to build nuclear weapons, it does not have nuclear weapons right now. There are already illegal nuclear weapons in the region in Israel and Pakistan. We need a comprehensive and evenhanded policy. There are drastic violations of human rights right now amongst both our friends and our enemies. Creating a nuclear free Middle East is the only way we are going to stop the development of nuclear weapons.
The Green Party platform states that the U.S. must handle disputes with foreign countries through the United Nations. If a humanitarian crisis erupts and the U.N. fails to pass a resolution would you consider bypassing the U.N. and staging an intervention without the assistance of other countries?
I think the priority is that we do not bypass the American people who have been routinely bypassed in most of the interventions in recent decades including Iraq and Libya. This is being done without the explicit permission from Congress and is a critical check and balance that has gotten lost in the shuffle and is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the war powers act. It is very dangerous when politicians declare war and exhaust economic resources and spill the blood of Americans and civilians overseas. Most of the conflicts of the last decade would not have happened had there been a national conversation and discussion about what the true risks and benefits of our national security were.
If elected president would you eliminate federal farm subsidies?
Our food system should be treated for what it is and not as a tool for agribusiness and market share. Our current subsidies drive the food system towards a very unhealthy industrialized FrankenFood type system. Those subsidies need to be redirected to support small farmers and to support community farms and the institutions that can provide real food in a way that is sustainable for the long haul. That means localized food systems rather than this globalized industrial factory system which is extremely unhealthy for the economy, farmers and for people who eat the food. The planet is being poisoned by the pesticides and the greenhouse gases that are being produced by the current system.
Are you in favor of legalizing all drugs or just marijuana?
We would do something revolutionary. We would actually use science to determine which drugs are dangerous and which ones are not. That means right off the bat marijuana and hemp are removed from the list of dangerous substances because these are not dangerous substances in relative to other unregulated substances including nicotine and alcohol. We would start with the legalization of marijuana and transform the drug system from a criminal system to a public health system. If people have issues of dependency which would apply to legal drugs as well as illegal drugs including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and heavier drugs they need to be treated within the public health system. These are psychological problems not criminal problems. If you don't treat the problem it only aggravates it and compounds it with issues of public safety and criminal violence that are associated with the illegal drug culture.
You have stated your support of the Obama administration’s mandate that insurance companies provide birth control to women free of charge. Would you exempt religious organizations from this mandate?
Religion and healthcare have nothing to do with each other. It should not be the prerogative of an employer to exercise his personal beliefs in determining the healthcare of his employees. Healthcare is a human right and we need to provide it through medicare for all. It needs to be a system that does away with this divide and conquer mentality that pits the religious community against the health of employees. It doesn't make any sense. We have a right to healthcare and there is a way to make it affordable.
In your opinion, was the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus plan too large or too small?
It was misdirected. It was mostly tax breaks for the wealthy. It made a slight dent in the crisis but it didn't fix it. We would pass a real stimulus package called the Green New Deal. Instead of passing tax breaks for corporations, which is what the 2009 stimulus package did, we would create jobs directly. It will put everyone back to work and will also green the economy which would green our energy and food supply and provide public transportation. It will be the same size as the 2009 stimulus but instead of tax breaks for corporations it would create jobs.
You’ve stated that you would apply a tiny tax to every Wall Street transaction of .03%. Would you tax capital gains as an ordinary income tax and overturn the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005?
We think that fairness is the name of the game which is what we do not have in our tax system. There is no reason why the very wealthy should be paying half as much on their earnings as low income working people. Lets just call capital gains what it is and tax it accordingly
Is your campaign making an effort to spoil this election for Obama and gain national attention for the Green Party by siphoning votes from him in Ohio and Florida?
We think that no state is safe. Under both Republicans and Democrats. We have been accelerating in the wrong direction. Wall Street now runs the show. Obama has expanded our wars and the Wall Street meltdowns have been magnified. We need to change the lethal directory we are on. Being quiet and going into the voting booth and voting for either Wall Street sponsored candidate gives them a mandate for four more years of raking us over the coals. The only real vote is to stand up and vote your values and support our campaign.