Green Party Presidential Ticket Compared to the Democrats on Major Issues

Over the past several weeks, the corporate media’s coverage of the elections has been entirely dominated by the conventions of the two major parties and their vice presidential picks. However, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the Green Party released a lengthy comparison of their candidates and the Democratic Party candidates on a number of important issues.

Over the past several weeks, the corporate media’s coverage of the elections has been entirely dominated by the conventions of the two major parties and their vice presidential picks. However, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the Green Party released a lengthy comparison of their candidates and the Democratic Party candidates on a number of important issues. As part of our ongoing commitment to presenting the views of third party candidates, their comparison is reprinted below:

The War on Drugs

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* oppose the War on Drugs, calling it a war on African American, Latino, poor, and young people. They favor legalization of marijuana and medical treatment for drug use and abuse instead of prosecution.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* support the War on Drugs. Mr. Obama will continue the Andean Counterdrug Initiative, which has funded US assistance for repressive police and military forces in seven South American countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Venezuela) since 2001.

The Justice System

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* have spoken out strongly against police and court abuses, including the Sean Bell case, the Jena Six, and the Mumia Abu Jamal case.

* oppose privatization of prisons, which has created a new industry demanding increasing numbers of inmates for corporate profits. As a result of the Prison-Industrial Complex, the US incarcerates more citizens than any other country in the world.

* call for abolition of the death penalty.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* remain silent or have equivocated on many cases of police and court abuses.

* are silent on the privatization of the prison system.

* support the death penalty.

Human Rights

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* would repeal the USA Patriot Act, Secret Evidence Act, and Military Commissions Act.

* have spoken out for the rights of survivors of Katrina in 2005. Ms. McKinney was directly involved in efforts on behalf of people in New Orleans and has criticized bipartisan policies that have displaced thousands of poor and African American residents in the wake of the hurricane (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=94). She joined the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, disobeying Democratic leadership’s call for Democrats to boycott the committee.

* support full and equal recognition for same-sex marriage.

* support full reproductive rights.

* support reparations for the descendents of African American slaves in the US.

* support statehood for the District of Columbia, with self-determination and full representation in Congress equal to other states (http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org).

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* support the USA Patriot Act (Mr. Obama voted for reauthorization).

* were not involved in assistance for Gulf Coast residents in Katrina aftermath.

* favor limited and unequal recognition for same-sex couples.

* would allow states to restrict late-term ‘partial birth’ abortion.

* do not support reparations for the descendents of slaves.

* favor the ‘DC Vote’: a single voting seat in the US House for DC. Statehood for DC was removed from the Democratic Party’s national platform in 2004.

Democracy and Election Integrity

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* take no money from corporate contributors.

* have spoken out against the Republican theft of the 2000 and 2004 elections: see Ms. McKinney’s documentary ‘American Blackout’ (http://www.americanblackout.com). Greens led effort to expose Republican obstruction of African American and young voters and manipulation of votes in Ohio and New Mexico in 2004 (http://www.iwantmyvote.com).

* seek public financing of elections, free time on public airwaves for all candidates, repeal of ballot access laws restricting third party and independent candidates.

* support instant runoff voting, proportional representation, and other reforms to ensure democracy in US elections.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate contributors (http://www.opensecrets.org).

* have not responded to election irregularities in Ohio in 2004 or to the Conyers Commission’s evidence that the 2004 election may have been stolen.

* are silent on many needed election reforms. Democrats and Republicans have together worked to pass laws limiting third party and independent participation in elections.

Health Care Reform

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* support Single-Payer National Health Care (Medicare For All: see http://www.pnhp.org), which would provide all Americans with quality health care regardless of ability to pay, employment, age, or prior medical condition. Single-Payer will remove HMOs and insurance firms from control over health care, give Americans choice of health care provider, provide no-cost or low-cost prescriptions based on need, and ease the burden on physicians and other health care providers. Under Single-Payer, working people will pay for less for coverage, and no American will go bankrupt because of health care costs.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* reject Single-Payer. They favor reforms that fall short of universal care, fail to reduce the high costs that Americans pay for health care compared to the rest of the world, and leave HMOs and insurance firms in control over health care. The HMO and insurance industry profits by excluding people from coverage and limiting treatment for those who are covered. Mr. Obama has taken major contributions from corporate HMO, insurance, and pharmaceutical contributors (http://www.opensecrets.org).

Labor & Economic Justice

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* oppose ‘free trade’ agreements and unelected international trade authorities (NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, GATT, ‘Fast Track’, etc.) that give corporate power and profit priority over labor rights and environmental protections; Ms. McKinney has voted against these agreements and advocates withdrawal.

* support democratic workplaces and repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act (restrictions on union organizing).

* support human rights protections and amnesty for undocumented immigrants, an end to raids, and tearing down the border wall. They call the flood of new immigrants a result of economic policies and agreements (e.g., NAFTA) that impoverish people and drive them across borders.

* favor a strong safety net for middle- and low-income working people and families, with support for Main Street (small businesses and local economies) instead of Wall Street, and a massive transfer of federal funding from military contract and war spending to human needs.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* support amended ‘free trade’ agreements and unelected international trade authorities; Mr. Biden voted for many such agreements and for ‘Fast Track’ presidential trade authority.

* are silent on Taft-Hartley. The Democratic Party has failed to deliver for working people despite Election Year endorsements from unions.

* Favor immigration reform but Mr. Obama voted yes on the border wall and more border policing and surveillance.

* support many economic policies that favor the wealthy, major corporations, and Wall Street, with limited aid for poor and middle-income Americans. Mr. Obama has praised the 1996 Welfare Reform Act signed by Bill Clinton, which severely hurt millions of Americans, especially women, during the recent economic downturn, and supports Bush-agenda ‘faith-based’ initiatives. Mr. Biden helped draft the 2005 bankruptcy bill that gave credit-card companies and other financial institutions greater power over Americans facing economic difficulties. See “Obama is flat-out kicking McCain’s ass when it comes to Wall Street contributions” (“Candidates for Sale” by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, August 21, 2008, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/22210615/candidates_for_sale)

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* call for US troops to be brought home safe and sound, with an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all US military and contracted personnel from Iraq. The Green Party and Green candidates opposed the invasion and occupation since the Bush Administration announced its intention to wage war on Iraq.

* have urged Congress to cut off funding for the war.

* would hold the Bush Administration responsible for deceiving the public with false claims that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs, posed a threat to the US and to Iraq’s own neighbors, had conspired with al Qaeda, and played a role in the 9/11 attacks.

* have opposed ‘benchmarks’ that would allow US and UK corporations to take control over most Iraqi oil resources.

* support an end to the US occupation of Afghanistan.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* offer a delayed timetable for partial troop withdrawal, and would leave private US military personnel and tens of thousands of troops in Iraq to protect “American interests” (Iraqi oil resources), as well as expand US combat forces in surrounding nations. The Democratic Party leadership supported the Iraq War from the beginning, believing Bush Administration deceptions, and voted with Republicans to surrender Congress’s war power to the White House.

* continued to vote for President Bush’s requests for more war funding. Democrats, including Mr. Obama, approved all war funding bills after gaining control of Congress in 2006, despite their claim of opposition to the Iraq War.

* have supported ‘benchmarks’ giving US and UK corporations control over Iraqi oil, which would require continued US troop presence in Iraq to protect corporate interests. In recent campaign ads, Mr. Obama’s language about US access to Iraqi oil confirms the Democrats’ occupation-for-oil agenda.

* support continued US occupation and war on Afghanistan: Mr. Obama called for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan.

Foreign and Military Policy

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* would slash the US military budget, reducing it to the amount needed for defense of US, and redirect the savings to human needs.

* strongly oppose President Bush’s threats to attack Iran.

* support cutoff of military aid to Israel, and demand US pressure on Israel to end the brutal occupation of Palestine and suppression of Palestinian and Israeli Arab human rights, in accord with international law and UN directives.

* oppose manipulation by the Bush Administration and NATO of the Russia-Georgia conflict in order to isolate Russia and jump-start a new Cold War, citing White House approval and assistance for Georgia’s invasion of Ossetia.

* seek an end to the US embargo of Cuba

* favor nonviolent solutions to international conflict.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* support a huge military budget, voted for increases in military funding.

* have signed on to President Bush’s threat to attack Iran, repeating White House misinformation about Iran’s nuclear capabilities and embracing Bush-Cheney doctrine of preemptive warfare.

* avoid criticizing Israel and dismiss international law and UN directives on Israeli apartheid and occupation of Palestinian lands; would maintain a foreign policy that conforms to Israel’s regional military objectives.

* endorse most of the Bush Administration line on the Russia-Georgia conflict.

* favor a continued US embargo of Cuba.

Global Warming, Energy, and the Environment

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* call for far-reaching short-term and long-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and favor major conservation programs to cut US energy consumption

* seek widespread economic reorganization and millions of new jobs in conservation and conversion to safe, clean energy sources.

* oppose nuclear energy, which creates huge amounts of toxic waste and multiple security risks, and off-shore drilling, and favor a ban on new coal fired-power plants and all mountaintop coal removal.

* oppose widespread conversion to biofuels that require agricultural land needed for food production.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* favor modest long-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and ineffective corporate polluter-friendly carbon emissions trading schemes (‘cap and trade’).

* don’t talk about cuts in consumption.

* support nuclear energy, biofuel production, and ‘clean coal’, and have dropped opposition to off-shore drilling: Sen. Obama receives major campaign contributions from nuclear and ethanol industries and supports their goals.

Impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

* endorse impeachment of Bush and Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors: deception and manipulation of intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq; cover-ups of information about impending 9/11 attacks; use of torture; denial of habeas corpus and due process; warrantless surveillance of US citizens; hundreds of ‘signing statements’ to exempt the President from executing over 1,000 federal laws; censoring and tampering with scientific research to conceal the seriousness of global warming; responsibility for the deaths of as many as one million Iraqi civilians and over 4,000 US servicemembers. Ms. McKinney was the first member of Congress to introduce a motion for impeachment, in 2006.

* opposed the ‘telecomm immunity’ bill blocking prosecution of telecommunications companies that allowed warrantless spying on US citizens.

* call for a new investigation of the 9/11 attacks.

* support establishment of an International Criminal Court to prosecute war crimes.

Barack Obama and Joseph Biden

* oppose motions for impeachment, despite Bush Administration’s numerous crimes and abuses of power. The Democratic Party leadership has blocked efforts to pursue impeachment.

* voted for the telecomm immunity bill.

* do not support a new, independent investigation of the 9/11 attacks.

* are silent on establishing an International Criminal Court.

Green Party Sues over Electoral College

The Green Party has filed a lawsuit seeking the protection of voting rights by requiring that Vice President Dick Cheney enforce Section 2 of the 14th Amendment. That section requires the reduction of a state’s presidential electors in case of infringement on voting rights in the state.

A member of the Green Party filed a lawsuit late last month challenging the constitutionality of the Electoral College. The lawsuit–filed July 28 in Washington DC–says that the popular vote in the 2008 presidential election may be misrepresented–as it was in 2000 and 2004–by the “winter take all” nature of the Electoral College. The civil action is designed to protect voting rights in the 2008 election by seeking the enforcement of the “Mal-Apportionment Penalty” in Section 2 of the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution. That amendment requires a reduction of a state’s presidential electors and congressional representatives if “the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States… is denied… or in any way abridged.” The lawsuit names its target as Vice President Dick Cheney who will preside over the tabulation of electoral votes on January 6, 2009.

A press release announcing the lawsuit explains the undemocratic nature of the Electoral College:

“If two thirds of the voters in a state vote for a candidate from Party A and one third vote for a candidate from Party B, and the state’s winner-take-all rule gives all of the state’s electors to Party A, then one third of the voters have been disenfranchised in violation of Amendment 14, Section 2 of the US Constitution,” said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party. “We’ve witnessed in election after election how some states have used the winner-take-all formula to prevent the votes of political, ethnic, and other minorities from being counted.”

“By refusing to challenge Electoral College malapportionment in 2000 and 2004, which blocked Democratic electors from voting in those elections, the Democratic Party’s leaders abandoned tens of thousands of their own voters, just as they failed to challenge the election irregularities in Florida and Ohio in 2000 and 2004,” said Mr. Gordon. “Will they fail to challenge malapportionment again in 2008, and hand the Republicans another victory? Barack Obama would not be the Democratic nominee if not for the Democratic Party’s proportional assignment of primary delegates. The winner-take-all provisions in the general election present the distinct possibility that Mr. Obama in 2008 will win the popular vote by a considerably larger margin than did Gore in 2000, but will repeat the Democratic loss in the Electoral College.”

While the Electoral College received considerable attention and public scrutiny after the 2000 and 2004 elections, neither major party has taken any steps to reform or abolish the Electoral College. However, the Green Party advocates abolishing the Electoral College as part of its platform. Instead, it proposes the direct election of presidential candidates via Instant Run-off Voting.

Green Party Announces Michigan Candidates

The Green Party of Michigan has nominated a number of candidates for a variety of federal and state offices.

Over the weekend of July 26-27, the Green Party of Michigan nominated a slate of candidates to run for the US House of Representatives in nine districts. Currently, there are Green Party candidates campaigning in the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 15th US Congressional Districts. Additionally, the Party nominated candidates for a variety of state-level offices including 53rd District representative, State Board of Education, University of Michigan Board of Regents, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, and the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

Green Party Warns Antiwar Voters that they will “Waste” their Vote if they Vote for Obama

Citing his positions on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Israel-Palestine, the Green Party is warning antiwar voters that they will “waste” their votes if they support Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama for president.

Citing his positions on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Israel-Palestine, the Green Party is warning antiwar voters that they will “waste” their votes if they vote for Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election. The Greens charge that Obama’s military policies are “McCain-lite” and that the Green Party ticket offers a true antiwar platform.

A breakdown of Obama’s position and that of the Green Party on several key war and peace issues was released by the Green Party:

IRAQ

Despite the popular impression that Sen. Obama intends to end the Iraq War, he plans only to reduce troops over a 16-month period. He would maintain an ‘under the radar’ occupation to protect US interests, which is code for the US and British corporate demand for control over Iraqi oil. (No-bid contracts have already been anounced for ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, and Total.) Sen. Obama promises to shift troops around the region, placing US forces in countries surrounding Iraq.

The Green Party and Green candidates support an immediate and full withdrawal of US troops and military contractors from Iraq, and control over Iraqi oil resources returned to the Iraqi people.

AFGHANISTAN

Sen. Obama intends to expand the disastrous US war on Afghanistan, which has already left the country in ruins and continues to destabilize the region.

Greens support full US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and an internationally cooperative investigation and prosecution of those behind the 9/11 attacks.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

Sen. Obama has repeatedly promised unqualified and uncritical support for Israel, despite the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and massive abuses of human rights, including Israel’s recent violation of a pledge to the US not to construct new homes in a West Bank settlement.

Greens have called for the withholding of all US assistance, especially billions of dollars in military aid, until Israel reverses its current policies and adheres to international law, human rights protections, and UN directives, including withdrawal from occupied lands and recognition of the Palestinian right of return.

IRAN

Despite promises of diplomacy, Sen. Obama has signed on to the Bush Administration’s threat of a US or US-backed Israeli assault on Iran, even though intelligence confirms that the Iranian government is not using its nuclear power to build weapons.

Greens have warned that an attack on Iran would bring untold consequences, including a greater regional or global conflict, and that the threat itself is an incentive for Iran and other nations to seek a nuclear arsenal. Greens call for an end to such threats, for diplomacy and friendship with Iran, and for an aggressive effort towards regional and global nuclear disarmament, noting the menace posed by Israel’s and Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons.

Green Party Nominates Cynthia McKinney for President

The Green Party nominated former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as its 2008 presidential candidate at its convention in Chicago.

At its convention in Chicago this weekend, the Green Party nominated Cynthia McKinney for its presidential ticket. McKinney explained why she was running in her acceptance speech and contrasted herself with Republican and Democratic politicians:

“And when I got to Washington, I saw that public policy is really made in a room at a table. There were real seats at the table. Well, imagine what has happened to public policymaking now. There is a real room with a window and a door, and there’s two seats at the table. The window is for us to look through, while our representatives make policy for us, so we can see what they’re doing. At the table, one seat is for the Democrats, one seat is for the Republicans. Now, we don’t know who did it, but one of them put a lock on the door and slipped a key to the corporate lobbyists who can come and go at will and whisper what they want to Democrats and Republicans, and the result is that we the people, who pay for those seats and determine who sits in them, want one thing, but because the corporate lobbyists can come and go at will, our values get overridden and our representatives give us something else. That’s how we end up with everyone saying they’re against the war and occupation, but war and occupation still gets funding. That’s how we end up with everyone saying they’re against illegal spying on innocent people, yet end up with a telecom immunity bill being signed into law. That’s how we end up with everyone saying they’re in favor of universal access to healthcare and no one supporting what the physicians, nurses and healthcare really want, and that’s a single-payer healthcare system in this country”

The Green Party also nominated hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente as McKinney’s vice presidential candidate.

Green Party Candidate Selects Hip-Hop Activist as Running Mate

Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney announced earlier this week that she has chosen hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente as her running mate. Together, McKinney and Clemente constitute the first women of color presidential ticket in US history.

Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney announced earlier this week that she has chosen hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente as her running mate. Clemente is a prominent hip-hop activist who is a community organizer, author, and lecturer.

In announcing her nomination, Clemente issued the following statement:

“I am honored and excited to accept this invitation to run with Cynthia McKinney. Cynthia McKinney is a hero to me and many others across this country and around the world for her courage in standing up to George Bush while the Democratic Party establishment caved.”

“This campaign is the opportunity the Hip-Hop generation has been working for. This is our time to address the issues affecting our communities – rising unemployment, the high cost of food and housing, a lack of quality public education and access to higher education, the prison-industrial complex, and unaccountable corporate media. These issues are not being addressed by either the Republican or Democratic nominee. “I choose to do this, not for me, but for my generation, my community and my daughter. I don’t see the Green Party as an alternative; I see it as an imperative. I trust that my Vice Presidential run will inspire all people, but especially young people of color, to recognize that we have more then two choices. Together, we can build the future we’ve been wanting.”

Together, McKinney and Clemente constitute the first women of color presidential ticket in US history.

Green Party Convention Promises a Real Debate

When the Green Party hosts its national convention in Chicago next month, it is promising a real debate–unlike the scripted conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties–on a variety of issues ranging from impeachment to single-payer healthcare.

While the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and the Republican National Convention (RNC) this year will be highly scripted affairs with little actual debate, the Green Party is promising that its upcoming convention in Chicago will be a “public forum” for discussing the failings of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Among the issues that the Green Party plans to discuss are impeachment, war crimes, telecommunications amnesty, the failure of the drug war, and the need for a single-payer national healthcare system. On these and other issues, the Green Party argues that it offers a true alternative to the Democrats whom it accuses of repeatedly rolling over to support the Bush agenda. As examples, the Green Party points out that its four presidential candidates all support impeachment, while the Party as a whole has a position calling for an immediate end to the United States occupation of Iraq and a withdrawal of all troops and contractors from the country. Similarly, the Green Party opposes nuclear power–which both major party candidates support–and also supports broad-based campaign finance reform including free air time for candidates running for office.

The Green Party’s convention takes place in Chicago from July 10th through the 13th. In addition to debate and discussion, the Party will chose its presidential candidate.

Green Party Presidential Candidate Urges Obama to Adopt more Progressive Policies

On Saturday, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney released a statement congratulating Barack Obama for becoming the first African-American to receive a major party’s presidential nomination. However, she also encouraged Obama to adopt more progressive policies to “address the plight of Blacks and other oppressed peoples in this country.”

Former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, who is running for the Green Party’s presidential nomination, released a statement over the weekend congratulating Barack Obama for becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party and encouraging him to act on his calls for “change” and to adopt more progressive policies. Specifically, McKinney called on Obama to adopt the “Power to the People Campaign” and its public policy initiatives that “address the plight of Blacks and other oppressed peoples in this country.”

McKinney advocates that Obama prioritize the following:

” * election integrity, if our vote is to mean anything at all, all political parties must defend the integrity of the votes cast by the American people, something neither of the major parties has done effectively in the past two Presidential elections;

* funding a massive infrastructure improvement program that is also a jobs program that greens our economy and puts people to work, and especially in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Hurricane survivors, treated as internally displaced persons whose right to vote and right of return are protected, play a meaningful role in the rebuilding of their communities;

* recognizing affordable housing as a fundamental human right, and putting a halt to the senseless destruction of public housing in New Orleans;

* enacting Reparations for African Americans, so that the enduring racial disparities which reflect the U.S. government’s failure to address the reality and the vestiges of slavery and unjust laws enacted can be ended and recognition of the plight of Black Farmers whose issues are still not being adequately addressed by USDA and court-appointed mediators despite a US government admission of guilt for systematic discrimination;

* acknowledging COINTELPRO and other government spying and destabilization programs from the 1960s to today and disclosing the role of the US government in the harassment and false imprisonment of political activists in this country, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the San Francisco 8, Leonard Peltier, including restitution to victims of government abuse and their families for the suffering they have long endured;

* ending prisons for profit and the “war on drugs,” which fuels the criminalization of Black and Latino youth at home and provides cover for U.S. military intervention in foreign countries, particularly to our south, which is used to put down all social protest movements in countries like Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and elsewhere;

* creating a universal access, single-payer, health care system and enacting a livable wage, equal pay for equal work, repealing the Bush tax cuts, and making corporations and the rich pay their fair share of taxes;

* establishing public funding for higher education–no student should graduate from college or university tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt;

* ensuring workers’ rights by 1) repealing Taft-Hartley to stop the unjust firing of union organizers, ban scabbing, and enable workers to exercise their voices at work and 2) enacting laws for U.S. corporations that keep labor standards high at home and raise them abroad, which would require the repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA, the Caribbean FTA, and the U.S.-Peru FTA;

* justice for immigrant workers, including real immigration reform that provides amnesty for all undocumented immigrants;

* creating a Department of Peace that would put forward projects for peace all over the world, deploying our diplomats to help resolve conflicts through peaceful means and overseeing the orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from the more than 100 countries around the world where they are stationed, and an immediate end to all wars and occupations by U.S. forces, beginning in Iraq and Afghanistan, and slashing the budget for the Pentagon.

Third Party Candidates for President Ignored

While much of the media focuses on the debate within the Democratic Party over whether or not Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama will get the presidential nomination, so-called “third party” candidates for the presidency are almost entirely excluded from any discussion of the 2008 election. Ralph Nader, who is running as an independent candidate, is the only exception, although Nader has been covered primarily as a potential “spoiler” who might “take” votes from the Democratic Party candidates.

While Nader’s candidacy has received most of the attention, there are several other candidates running for president. Among those who have already received their parties’ nominations are Brian Moore of the Socialist Party of the United States of America, Roger Calero with the Socialist Workers Party, and Gene Amondson of the Prohibition Party (his vice presidential candidate, Leroy Pletten is from Michigan). Additionally, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Constitution Party have yet to nominate candidates but have several running for their party’s nomination.

Third parties in the United State have of course faced substantial obstacles in recent years, including an almost complete neglect in the media, exclusion from presidential debates, and substantial ballot access requirements.

As soon as it is announced who will be on the ballot in Michigan, Media Mouse will explore the platforms of the third party candidates in more detail as part of future Election Watch articles, as we can be sure that the corporate media outlets–and even many progressive news websites–in Michigan will not.

Local Greens Release Plan to End Iraq War

The Green Party of Kent County has released a draft plan to end the Iraq War. The plan outlines a process by which US troops could be withdrawn immediately and United Nations involvement could increase. The Party is seeking input with the hope that the plan will stimulate discussion and collaboration between groups and individuals.

green party logo

At its last meeting, the Green Party of Kent County approved a draft plan to end the war in Iraq. The plan calls for a withdrawal of United States military and support personnel to begin withdrawing from the country immediately and the involvement of the United Nations. It is being offered as an alternative to other proposals on the Iraq War, both those circulated nationally and locally. The Green Party emphasizes that this is a draft plan and is welcoming comments and constructive criticism from people in West Michigan. Feedback can be sent to contact@greenpartyofkentcounty.org

The draft plan and its supporting rationale are reprinted below:

Plan to End the War Against Iraq – DRAFT

Green Party of Kent County

1) Starting immediately, and as rapidly as possible, withdraw USA military and support personnel in Iraq to existing bases on an interim basis, pending implementation of the rest of this plan.

2) Seek U.N. diplomatic and other support for Iraq peacemaking, overseen by the U.N. Do so in the context of publicly supporting this entire plan.

3) Bring U.N. forces to Iraq’s borders. Make the commitment that they will only be used if called for by Iraqi leaders who are recognized as such by most Iraqi people.

4) Plan for an orderly withdrawal of all U.S.A. military personnel, private groups that have supported those personnel, and war-supportive or complementary funding for selected Iraqi individuals or groups. Carry out that withdrawal.

5) Commit to the restoration of full sovereignty of the Iraqi citizenry. Cancel all U.S.A.-imposed laws and restrictions. Draw up and prepare to implement a plan closing all military bases and turning the facilities over to Iraq. Be willing to support re-drawing of borders if desired by significant groups within Iraq.

6) Send U.N. peacemakers and diplomats to determine what else is needed. Work with appropriate private groups, for example Christian Peacemaker Teams, Muslim Peace Fellowship.

7) Support the International Criminal Court. Submit to its jurisdiction on Iraq War questions. Abide by its judgments.

Rationale for this plan:

A withdrawal to existing bases in (or near) Iraq would be considerably easier to implement than a withdrawal from the country entirely. It is an interim step that can be done quickly and would accomplish much of the same aims as a withdrawal from the country, but would allow quick redeployment if other elements of the plan do not work out. In no way do we advocate such redeployment, but it allows that option in order to assuage the concerns of those who truly believe Iraq may be worse off without those troops.

The USA, by acting unilaterally in attacking Iraq, has once again shown itself to be an outlaw in the world community. Iraqi people especially, who have been devastated, understandably have turned against the USA. This has strained our country’s alliances, boosted the power of those who would harm us, drained resources that are needed both within our country and elsewhere, and compromised our security. Think how we would feel if we were similarly attacked. The U.N. is the most appropriate, neutral body that can deal with the difficulties associated with Iraq and the war against Iraq.

Truly respecting Iraqi sovereignty is a first step to gaining credibility in dealing with Iraqi violence. People can be expected to rebel when they are robbed of their fundamental freedoms and of their hope.

Funding and support for particular factions prolonged the war against Vietnam, resulting in tremendous additional suffering that served no purpose. The same can easily happen again if we do not take steps to prevent it.

The USA has imposed laws that give control of much of Iraq, including its oil, to foreign corporations. This is blatant stealing of resources that by law belong to the people of Iraq, and is much cause for resentment and distrust.

Iraq’s present borders were imposed by occupying powers, forcing different religious and ethnic groups to live under the same government. An arrangement providing at least some autonomy for these different groups has the potential to avert or reduce violence.

To gain cooperation and respect the USA must show that it is willing to abide by international law, the same as other countries. For its failure to do so, it must be prepared to pay the appropriate price, just as criminals in the USA are expected to pay for violating our laws.

Public accountability, as well as honesty, is necessary to restore trust, not just in criminal matters, but in every aspect pertaining to the war – in Iraq, here, and elsewhere throughout the world. This applies particularly to government officials and to dominant media. This whole process should be open, inclusive of all who express an interest.

War is inherently extremely damaging. If it is ever justifiable, that can only be when the rationale is clear and compelling. This is far from the case here. Even for us in the U.S.A., who are removed from most of the worst consequences, death and suffering of friends and loved ones as well as diversion of resources needed elsewhere has already had a profound effect, which will only get worse the longer the war continues.