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Jill Stein

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Jill Stein
Jill Stein by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Stein in 2016
Member of the Lexington Town Meeting
from the 2nd district
In office
2005–2011
Personal details
Born Jill Ellen Stein
(1950-05-14) May 14, 1950 (age 66)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Green
Spouse(s) Richard Rohrer
Children 2
Residence Lexington, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University (B.A., M.D.)
Website Campaign website

Jill Ellen Stein (born May 14, 1950) is an American physician, activist and politician. She is the Green Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election.[1][2][3] Stein was also the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2012.[4][5] She ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010.[6][7][8]

Early life and education

Jill Stein was born in Chicago, the daughter of Gladys (née Wool) and Joseph Stein, and raised in Highland Park, Illinois. Her parents were from Russian Jewish families, and Stein was raised in a Reform Jewish household, attending Chicago's North Shore Congregation Israel, a Reform synagogue.[9] She now considers herself agnostic.[10] Stein is married to Richard Rohrer, who is also a physician. They live in Lexington, Massachusetts, and have two adult sons.[11][12][13]

In 1973, Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, where she studied psychology, sociology, and anthropology. She then attended Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1979. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Stein practiced internal medicine for 25 years[11] at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Simmons College Health Center, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and also served as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She retired from practicing and teaching medicine in 2005 and 2006, respectively.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

Career

Stein at a protest against coal-powered energy production

As a medical doctor, Stein became increasingly concerned about the connection between people's health and the quality of their local environment, and decided to turn to activism in 1998, when she began protesting the "Filthy Five" coal plants in Massachusetts.[23][24] Stein's testimony on the effects of mercury and dioxin contamination from the burning of waste helped preserve the Massachusetts moratorium on new trash incinerator construction in the state, and she later testified in support of updating the Massachusetts fish advisories to better protect women and children from mercury contamination.[25] Since 1998, she has served on the board of the Greater Boston chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.[11] Under Stein, the chapter partnered with Boston University's Superfund Research Program as part of BUSRP’s Community Outreach Core and became a key member of the Environmental Health Nursing Education Collaborative.[26] In 2003, Stein co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a nonprofit organization that addressed a variety of issues important to the health and well-being of Massachusetts communities, including health care, local green economies, and grassroots democracy.[27][28][29] Stein also founded and served as co-chair of the Lexington Solid Waste Action Team, a recycling committee in her hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts. The committee was approved by Lexington's Board of Selectmen and later featured in the textbook Approaches to Sustainable Development: The Public University in the Regional Economy.[30][31] In 2008, Stein helped formulate a successful "Secure Green Future" ballot initiative that called upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and make development of green jobs a priority.[32] Other organizations Stein has worked with include Clean Water Action, Toxic Action Center, Global Climate Convergence, Physicians for a National Health Program, and Massachusetts Medical Society.[31][33][34][35][36][37][38] She received Clean Water Action's "Not in Anyone's Backyard Award" in 1998 and its "Children's Health Hero Award" in 2000, Toxic Action Center's "Citizen Award" in 1999, and Salem State College's "Friend of the Earth Award" in 2004.[33][39][40]

As a medical doctor and researcher, Stein has published various materials and teaching plans, and has testified before legislative panels as well as local and state governmental bodies.[41] She coauthored two reports by the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development (2000), and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging (2009).[42][43] Stein's official biography states that the reports have been widely cited and translated into four languages,[44][45] and the Physicians for Social Responsibility website lists endorsements from six experts on public health.[46] The report was republished in the peer-reviewed Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in 2002.[47] Stein also coauthored articles about health in publications such as The Huffington Post.[48] In 2009, Stein developed a three-part lecture series, "Healthy People, Healthy Planet," supported by the Boston University Superfund Research Project, for a course at the University of Delaware Nursing School.[49][50] She also lectured and gave presentations at other institutions.[51]

Stein is an advocate for campaign finance reform. In 1998, she helped campaign for the Clean Elections Law in Massachusetts.[34] The law was later repealed by a Democratic-majority legislature,[52][53] leading Stein to leave the Democratic party and join the Green Party.[23][54] She was one of several activists involved with the Clean Elections Law to file a complaint in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County in 2002 against William F. Galvin, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, over the state's failure to successfully implement the law.[55] Stein has also served on the board of MassVoters for Fair Elections[11][56] and has campaigned for implementing instant runoff voting in Massachusetts.[28]

Alongside her political career, Stein also recorded musical albums with collaborator Ken Selcer in the folk-rock band Somebody's Sister.[57] She plays the conga and djembe drums[58] and the guitar.[59] During the 1990s and 2000s, the duo released four studio albums: Flashpoint, Somebody's Sister, Green Sky, and Circuits To The Sun.[60] Many of the songs focus on issues Stein emphasizes in her political career: peace, justice, and climate action.[61] The pair also often performed at live events, such as the 2008 Green-Rainbow Convention in Leominster, Massachusetts.[62] The band was a semifinalist in Musician's best unsigned bands contest in 1996 and 1998.[33]

Elected office

Stein is a former elected member of the Lexington Town Meeting, the local legislative body in Lexington, Massachusetts. She was elected to two three-year terms, but resigned during her second term to run for governor.[63]

Electoral campaign history

State and local campaigns

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2002

Stein was the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and finished third in a field of five candidates, with 76,530 votes (3.5%).[64] After her debate performances received good reviews, supporters of the Democratic nominee purchased the rights to jillstein.org.[65][66]

Massachusetts House of Representatives candidate, 2004

Following her third-place results in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election, Stein ran for state representative in 2004 for the 9th Middlesex District, which included portions of Waltham and Lexington.[67] She received 3,911 votes (21.3%) in a three-way race, losing to incumbent Thomas M. Stanley.[68]

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth candidate, 2006

At the Green-Rainbow Party state convention on March 4, 2006, Stein was nominated for Secretary of the Commonwealth. In a two-way race with the three-term incumbent, Democrat Bill Galvin, she received 353,551 votes (18%).[69]

Town of Lexington Town Meeting Representative, 2005 and 2008

Lexington, Massachusetts has a town meeting-style government. Stein was elected to the Town Meeting Seat, Precinct 2 (Lexington, Massachusetts) in March 2005 local elections.[70] She finished first of 16 candidates running for seven seats, receiving 539 votes (20.6%).[71] Stein was reelected in 2008, finishing second of 13 vying for eight seats.[72]

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2010

Jill Stein announcing her candidacy for governor in February 2010

On February 8, 2010, Stein announced her candidacy for governor on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.[73] Her running mate was Richard P. Purcell, a surgery clerk and ergonomics assessor from Holyoke.[74] In May, Stein opened her campaign office in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, near the Fields Corner MBTA station.[75] In the November 2 general election, Stein finished last, receiving 32,816 votes out of 2,287,407 cast (1.4%).[76]

Presidential campaigns

2012

Jill Stein speaking at Occupy Wall Street, September 27, 2011

In August 2011, Stein indicated that she was considering running for President of the United States with the Green Party in the 2012 national election. In a published questionnaire she said that a number of Green activists had asked her to run and called the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis "the President’s astounding attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—a betrayal of the public interest...". She said she would announce her intentions by the end of September 2011.[77] Stein later said she would announce her decision on October 24.[78]

On October 24, 2011, Stein launched her campaign at a press conference in Massachusetts, saying,

We are all realizing that we, the people, have to take charge because the political parties that are serving the top 1 percent are not going to solve the problems that the rest of us face, we need people in Washington who will refuse to be bought by lobbyists and for whom change is not just a slogan.[79]

In December 2011, Ben Manski, a Wisconsin Green Party leader, was announced as Stein's campaign manager.[80] Her major primary opponents were Kent P. Mesplay and Roseanne Barr.[81] Stein's signature issue during the primary was a "Green New Deal", a government spending plan intended to put 25 million people to work.[81] Mesplay called that unrealistic, saying, "This will take time to implement, and lacks legislative support."[81]

Stein became the presumptive Green Party nominee after winning two-thirds of California's delegates in June 2012.[82] In a statement following the California election, Stein said, "Voters will not be forced to choose between two servants of Wall Street in the upcoming election. Now we know there will be a third candidate on the ballot who is a genuine champion of working people."[83] Stein was endorsed for president in 2012 by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and war correspondent Chris Hedges,[84] among others. Linguist Noam Chomsky said he would vote for her but urged those in swing states to vote for Obama.[85]

On July 1, 2012, the Stein campaign reported it had received enough contributions to qualify for primary season federal matching funds, pending confirmation from the FEC. If funded, Stein would be the second Green Party presidential candidate ever to have qualified, with Ralph Nader being the first in 2000.[86] On July 11, Stein selected Cheri Honkala, an anti-poverty activist, as her running mate for the Green vice-presidential nomination.[87][88] On July 14, she officially received the Green Party's nomination at its convention in Baltimore.[4][89]

On August 1, Stein, Honkala and three others were arrested during a sit-in at a Philadelphia bank to protest housing foreclosures on behalf of several city residents struggling to keep their homes.[90] Stein explained her willingness to be arrested:

The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It's time for this game to end. It's time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators.[91]

On October 16, Stein and Honkala were arrested after they tried to enter the site of the presidential debate at Hofstra University while protesting the exclusion of smaller political parties, such as the Green Party, from the debates.[92] Stein likened her arrest to the persecution of dissident Sergei Udaltsov in Russia.[93] On October 31, Stein was arrested in Texas for criminal trespass, after trying to deliver food and supplies to environmental activists camped out in trees protesting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.[94][95]

The Free and Equal Election Foundation hosted a third-party debate with four candidates on October 19 and a debate between Stein and Gary Johnson on November 5.[96] Al Jazeera, C-SPAN, and RT America were the three major networks carrying the first debate.[97][98]

During the campaign, Stein repeatedly said that there were no significant differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.[99][100][101] She said, "Romney is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing, Obama is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, but they both essentially have the same agenda."[100] She called both of them "Wall Street candidates" asking for "a mandate for four more years of corporate rule".[99]

Stein received 469,501 votes (0.4%).[5] She received 1% or more of the vote in three states: Maine (1.3%), Oregon (1.1%), and Alaska (1.0%).

2016

Jill Stein's presidential campaign logo, 2016

On February 6, 2015, Stein announced the formation of an exploratory committee in preparation for a potential campaign for the Green Party's presidential nomination in 2016.[102] On June 22, she formally announced her candidacy in a live interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now![103]

After former Ohio state senator Nina Turner reportedly declined to be her running mate,[104] Stein chose human rights activist Ajamu Baraka on August 1.[105]

Stein has stated that the Democratic and Republican parties are "two corporate parties" that have converged into one.[106] Concerned by the rise of fascism internationally and the rise of neoliberalism within the Democratic Party, she has said, "The answer to neofascism is stopping neoliberalism. Putting another Clinton in the White House will fan the flames of this right-wing extremism. We have known that for a long time, ever since Nazi Germany."[107][108]

Tax returns

According to Forbes tax blogger Peter J. Reilly, Stein had yet to release her tax returns by July 2016. Despite promising to release her tax returns during her 2012 campaign, she never did. She last released her tax returns when she ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2010.[109] In August 2016, the first two pages of Stein's 2015 tax return were on her website.[110][111]

Polls

In a Real Clear Politics average of four-candidate polls conducted between August 9 and 29, 2016, Stein polled at 3.2% nationally.[112] A CNN poll released on August 1 showed that 13% of Sanders supporters would vote for Stein (and 10% for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson).[113] Support for third-party candidates has historically tended to decline as the election approaches.[114][115]

Endorsements

Stein has been endorsed by Union Theological Seminary Professor Cornel West, one of Sanders' appointees to the Democratic Platform Committee.[116] Author Chris Hedges again endorsed Stein in 2016.[117][118][119] Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, of the Socialist Alternative party, also has endorsed Stein.[120]

Warrant for arrest

On September 7, 2016, a North Dakota judge issued a warrant for Stein's arrest for spray-painting a bulldozer during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Stein was charged in Morton County with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief. Her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, received the same charges.[121]

After the warrant was issued, Stein said that she would cooperate with the North Dakota authorities and arrange a court date. She defended her actions, saying that it would have been "inappropriate for me not to have done my small part" to support the Standing Rock Sioux.[122][123]

Political positions

Economy

Referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal approach to the Great Depression, Stein advocated a Green New Deal in her 2012 and 2016 campaigns, in which renewable energy jobs would be created to address climate change and environmental issues; the objective would be to employ "every American willing and able to work".[124] Stein said she would fund the start-up costs of the plan with a 30% reduction in the U.S. military budget, returning U.S. troops home, and increasing taxes on speculation in stock markets, offshore tax havens, and multi-million-dollar real estate, among other things. In 2012 and 2016 she cited a 2012 study in the Review of Black Political Economy by Rutgers professor Phillip Harvey[125] showing that the multiplier economic effects of this "Green New Deal" would recoup most of the start-up costs of her plan.[124] Stein further argued that her plan "will end unemployment and poverty".[126] Asked how the funds of the Green New Deal would be distributed, Stein said that it would be "through a community decision-making process" but "exactly how that would be configured, you know, remains to be established."[127]

During her 2012 and 2016 presidential runs, Stein has called for "nationalizing" and "democratiz[ing]" the Federal Reserve, placing it under a Federal Monetary Authority in the Treasury Department and ending its independence.[128][129][130][126]

In 2016, Stein said that she supported a new 0.5% financial transactions tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, and derivatives, and an increase in the estate tax to "at least" 55% on inheritances over $3 million.[131]

Stein has argued that the Wall Street bailout was unconscionable[132] and a "waste".[133] In 2012, Stein opposed the raising of the debt ceiling, arguing that the U.S. should instead raise taxes on the wealthy and make military spending cuts to offset the debt.[134]

Stein supports the creation of sustainable infrastructure based on clean renewable-energy generation and sustainable-community principles to stop what her party sees as a growing convergence of environmental crises in water, soil, fisheries, and forests. Her vision includes increasing intra-city mass transit and inter-city railroads, creating complete streets that safely encourage bike and pedestrian traffic, and regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture.[124]

Stein has been skeptical of official employment numbers, saying in her 2015 State of the Union Green Party response that unemployment figures at the time were "designed to essentially cover up unemployment," and arguing that the real unemployment rate for that year was around 12–13%.[135][136] In February 2016, she said that "real unemployment is nearly 10%, 2x as high as the official rate."[137]

She supports the creation of nonprofit publicly-owned banks, pledging to create such entities at the federal and state levels.[131]

Stein has said she believes in having "the government as the employer of last resort".[138] When asked in an August 2016 interview what this entailed, she said that the idea was a "very broad brushstroke" but that a position paper was forthcoming.[138]

Stein's platform pledges to guarantee housing.[138][139] When asked how this would be done, Stein answered, "that is an aspirational goal at this point. We do not have a specific program."[138]

When asked in September 2016 if she would consider using quantitative easing to establish a universal basic income or a Medicare for all package, Stein answered that it "should be looked into... Definitely."[140]

Education

Stein has argued for "free higher public education going forward."[138] Stein favors canceling all student loan debt, saying that it could be done using quantitative easing and without raising taxes.[141] She has described quantitative easing as a "digital hat-trick" or "magic trick that basically people don't need to understand any more about than that it is a magic trick".[136] According to Stein, the Federal Reserve could buy up student loans and agree not to collect the debt, thereby effectively canceling it.[142] Because the Federal Reserve is an independent government agency, the president lacks the authority to implement such a plan.[142] Stein has drawn parallels between her student loan proposal and the Wall Street bailout, saying that the US government bought up Wall Street debt and then canceled it.[136] Jordan Weissmann of Slate argues that Stein's Wall Street comparison is "flat wrong": the Federal Reserve did not buy and cancel debt owed by the banks but bought and held onto debt owned by the banks.[136] When asked why her plan includes canceling upper-income individuals' debt, Stein responded that higher education "pays for itself" and that education is not a "gift," but a "right," and a "necessity."[138]

Stein feels that the move towards computerized education in kindergarten was bad for young children's cognitive and social development, saying, "We should be moving away from screens at all levels of education."[143] She argues that increasing computerization benefits only device manufacturers, not teachers, children, or communities.[143] Stein opposes charter schools and has been critical of the Common Core, saying that teachers rather than "corporate contractors" should be responsible for education.[144]

Electoral reform

Stein is critical of the two-party system, and argues for ranked-choice voting as a favorable alternative to "lesser evilism".[145][146] Calling for "more voices and more choices", the Stein campaign launched a petition demanding that all candidates appearing on a sufficient number of state ballots to be theoretically electable should be invited to participate in the presidential debates.[147][148]

Energy and environment

Stein proposes that the United States transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.[126] She supports a national ban on fracking on the grounds that "cutting-edge science now suggests fracking is every bit as bad as coal".[126][149][127] She has spoken against nuclear energy, saying it "is dirty, dangerous and expensive, and should be precluded on all of those counts."[149] In March 2016, she tweeted, "Nuclear power plants = weapons of mass destruction waiting to be detonated."[150] In 2012, Stein said, "three times more jobs are created per dollar invested in conservation and renewables. Nuclear is currently the most expensive per unit of energy created."[151] Stein says that she will "ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work."[152] She has further argued that moving away from fossil fuels will produce substantial savings in healthcare costs.[153] She wants to "treat energy as a human right".[152]

Stein accepts the scientific consensus on climate change,[not in citation given] calling it a "national emergency".[138] She has described the Paris Climate Agreement as inadequate, saying it will not stop climate change.[138] She has proposed to override the agreement and create a more effective one.[138] Stein also contends that we are in a major extinction event, the sixth great extinction, and that we could see half of the world's life forms disappear in this century.[154]

Stein has argued that the cost of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030 would in part be recouped by healthcare savings, citing the experience of Cuba when it lost Soviet oil subsidies and Cubans experienced improvements in health outcomes.[138][127]

Stein supports the Great Sioux Nation's opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, and in September 2016 joined protesters in North Dakota. Both Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, are facing misdemeanor criminal charges for spray-painting bulldozers at the construction site of the pipeline with "I approve this message" and "decolonization" respectively.[155][156]

Foreign and defense policy

Stein wants to cut U.S. military spending by at least 50%.[126][157] She would close US overseas military bases and has said that they "are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire".[126] She wants to replace the lost military jobs "with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development"[152] and to "restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense".[152]

According to Stein, the United States should use force only when there is "good evidence that we are under imminent threat of actual attack".[127] When asked by the Los Angeles Times editorial board whether that standard would have prevented US involvement in World War II, Stein answered, "I don’t want to revisit history or try to reinterpret it, you know, but starting from where we are now, given the experience that we’ve had in the last, you know, since 2001, which has been an utter disaster, I don’t think it’s benefited us."[127] Asked whether such a standard would force the US to withdraw from all of its mutual defense treaties, Stein answered that the treaties need to "be looked at one by one", mentioning NATO in particular.[127]

On the subject of NATO, Stein has said that NATO has violated international law in Libya, and that it is part of "of a foreign policy that has been based on economic and military domination".[138] When asked whether she agreed with Ajamu Baraka's description of NATO as "gangster states", Stein answered that she would not use Baraka's language but that "he means the same thing I'm saying".[138] Stein has said that NATO "pursued a policy of basically encircling Russia — including the threat of nukes and drones and so on."[158] When asked by the Washington Post about NATO's role in protecting the Baltic states against Russian aggression, Stein responded, "At this point, I’m not prepared to speak to that in detail" but noted that NATO has not followed its stated policy after the fall of the Berlin Wall not to move "one inch to the East." She further argued that there has been provocation on both sides and that a diplomatic approach is necessary.[138] Stein has said that NATO fights invented enemies in order to provide work for the weapons industry.[159]

When asked in a Vox interview about Russian aggression in Crimea and Ukraine, Stein answered, "These are highly questionable situations. Why are we — Russia used to own Ukraine. Ukraine was historically a part of Russia for quite some period of time, and we all know there was this conversation with Victoria Nuland about planning the coup and who was going to take over... Let’s just stop pretending there are good guys here and bad guys here. These are complicated situations. Yeah, Russia is doing lots of human rights abuse, but you know what? So are we."[140] When asked by Politico if she thought that Putin was an "incipient despot", Stein answered, "To some extent, yes, but there could be a whole lot worse... when we needlessly provoke him and endanger him and surround him with war games--you know, this is sort of the Cuban Missile Crisis on steroids, what we are doing to Russia right now, and I don't think this is a good idea."[160]

Stein has argued that the United States "helped foment" a coup in Ukraine, maintaining that Ukraine should be neutral and that the United States should not arm it.[158] She was critical of the Ukrainian government formed after the Ukrainian Revolution of 2014, saying that "ultra-nationalists and ex-Nazis came to power."[161] She met with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in December 2015 at a banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Russian state television network RT. While in Russia, Stein criticized U.S. foreign policy (saying that the U.S. had a "policy of domination" instead of "international law, human rights and diplomacy") and human rights in the U.S, but did not criticize Russian foreign policy or human rights abuses, a decision that prompted criticism from commentator John Aravosis.[162]

After U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured Manbij from ISIL in August, Stein tweeted, "To Syrians who escaped Manbij because of U.S.-led forces, I'm sorry our weapons terrorized you for two years."[163] She has said that her approach to the Syrian Civil War would be to put in place a weapons embargo, freeze funds going to ISIL and other terrorist groups, and push for a peace process leading to a ceasefire.[138] Stein is also in favor of taking "far more" than the 10,000 Syrian refugees Obama has pledged to take in.[138]

Stein has been sharply critical of the use of drones, calling them a human rights violation and an "illegal assassination program" saying that they are "off target nine times out of ten."[164]

Stein has accused the Israeli government of "apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law."[165] She supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel[166] and regards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "war criminal".[167] Upon the death of Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, Stein praised him in a tribute on her Facebook page, but deleted the post when commenters criticized Wiesel's Zionism.[168] When asked in September 2016 whether she had a "position on whether a two-state solution is a better solution than a one-state solution", Stein answered, "I feel like I am not as informed as I need to be to really weigh in on that".[127]

Stein does not think the U.S should become involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.[158]

Immediately after the UK voted to leave the European Union, Stein posted a celebratory statement on her website, saying the vote was "a victory for those who believe in the right of self-determination and who reject the pro-corporate, austerity policies of the political elites in the EU ... [and] a rejection of the European political elite and their contempt for ordinary people."[169][170] She later changed the statement (without indicating so), removing words like "victory" and adding the line, "Before the Brexit vote I agreed with Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and the UK Greens who supported staying in the EU but working to fix it."[171][170][172][169]

In 2012, Stein favored maintaining current levels of international aid spending.[173]

On the eve of the 15-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Stein called for "a comprehensive and independent inquiry into the attacks," saying that the 9/11 Commission report contained many "omissions and distortions."[174] The next day, she said: "I think I would not have assassinated Osama bin Laden but would have captured him and brought him to trial."[175]

Health

Stein is in favor of replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with a "Medicare-for-All" healthcare system[173] and has said that it is an "illusion" that Obamacare is a "step in the right direction" toward single-payer healthcare.[176] When asked in August 2016 whether she supported a ballot measure in Colorado to create the first universal healthcare system in the nation (ColoradoCare), Stein said she was not ready to endorse the plan, citing concerns about gaps and loopholes in the ballot measure.[177]

Stein has been critical of subsidizing unhealthy food products and of "agri-business" for its advertisements encouraging unhealthy eating. She has said that due to agri-business, Greeks no longer have the healthy diets they once did.[133]

Race relations

Stein has deplored what she and others identify as the structural racism of the U.S. judicial and prison system. She has promised that "the Green New Deal prioritizes job creation in the areas of greatest need: communities of color" and argues that the war on drugs has disproportionately affected communities of color.[178]

On Juneteenth in 2016, Stein called for reparations for slavery.[179] In accepting the nomination of the Green party, she reiterated this support, calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission "to provide reparations to acknowledge the enormous debt owed to the African American community."[153]

Asked by The Washington Post whether she agreed with Baraka's characterization of President Obama as an "Uncle Tom", Stein replied that it would be better to address questions about his choice of words to him, but added that she thought he "was speaking to a demographic that feels pretty locked out of the American power structure."[138]

Science

In the 2016 election, Stein was criticized for adopting political positions based on what critics have called "out-of-the-mainstream" views on science-related topics.[180][181]

Homeopathy

Regarding homeopathy, Stein said in May 2016 that "just because something is untested doesn't mean it's safe", but argued that it is problematic that "agencies tied to big pharma and the chemical industry" test medicines.[182] When asked in 2012 about the Green Party's health care platform (which supported homeopathy at that time), Stein said that the platform took "an admittedly simple position on a complex issue, and should be improved".[183]

Pesticides and GMOs

In Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging (2008), Stein concludes her section on pesticides by saying: "[M]any but not all studies find that acute high-dose and chronic lower-dose occupational exposures to some neurotoxic pesticides are linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline, dementia or Alzheimer's disease."[184]

In 2000, Stein and her coauthors wrote, "Twenty million American children five and under eat an average of eight pesticides every day through food consumption. Thirty-seven pesticides registered for use on foods are neurotoxic organophosphate insecticides, chemically related to more toxic nerve warfare agent developed earlier this century." They further noted the ubiquity of these pesticides in the home and at schools, citing Schettler et al. for the claim that "The trend is toward increasingly common exposures to organophosphates. For example, chlorpyrifos detections in urine increased more than tenfold from 1980 to 1990."[185][186]

Stein supports GMO labeling and a moratorium on new GMOs until they are proven safe, and would phase out GMO foods.[180] Speaking of the health effects of foods derived from GM crops, she has said: "And I can tell you as a physician with special interest and long history in environmental health, the quality of studies that we have are not what you need. We should have a moratorium until they are proven safe, and they have not been proven safe in the way that they are used."[180]

Commentators have criticized Stein's statements about GMOs as contradicting the scientific consensus that existing GM foods are no less safe than foods made from conventional crops.[181][187][188][189][190][191][192] Among the critics was Jordan Weissmann, Slate's business and economics editor, who wrote in July 2016: "Never mind that scientists have studied GMOs extensively and found no signs of danger to human health—Stein would like medical researchers to prove a negative."[136]

Spending on scientific research

In 2012, Vote Smart reported that Stein wanted to "slightly decrease" spending on space exploration. She favored maintaining current levels of spending on scientific and medical research.[173] In 2016, Stein said NASA funding should be increased, arguing that by halving the military budget, more money could be directed towards "exploring space instead of destroying planet Earth."[193]

Vaccines and mercury

In an interview with the Washington Post, Stein stated that "vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases," and said that "[t]here were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed." [194][195] The Guardian says that "research has shown schedule-related concerns about vaccines to be unfounded, and that delays to vaccines actually put children at greater risk. Anti-vaxx campaigners often claim that there are dangerous compounds in vaccines, though decades of safe vaccinations contradict the claim and no evidence shows that trace amounts that remain in some approved vaccines cause any harm to the body."[195]

In the Washington Post interview, Stein said that vaccines should be approved by a board that people can trust, and "people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration," or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence."[182][194] According to The Guardian, eleven members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee are medical doctors who work at hospitals and universities, and two work at pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur US.[195] In response, Stein said that "Monsanto lobbyists help run the day in those agencies and are in charge of approving what food isn’t safe".[194]Emily Willingham, scientist and contributor at Forbes, described Stein's statements on vaccines as "using dog whistle terms and equivocations bound to appeal to the 'antivaccine' constituency".[196] Dan Kahan, a professor at Yale who has studied public perception of science, says that it is dangerous for candidates to equivocate on vaccines, "Because the attitudes about vaccines are pretty much uniform across the political spectrum, it doesn’t seem like a great idea for any candidate to be anti-vaccine. The modal view is leave the freaking system alone."[197] In response to a Twitter question about whether vaccines cause autism, Stein first answered, "there is no evidence that autism is caused by vaccines," then revised her tweet to "I'm not aware of evidence linking autism with vaccines."[198]

In a later interview at the Green party convention, Stein answered "no" to the question "do you think vaccines cause autism?"[199] She called this a "nonsense issue, meant to distract people" and likened it to smear campaigns used in previous presidential elections, citing the "Swiftboat issue" or the "birther issue,"[199] pointing out that in her previous published work on autism and other child development issues,[185] no mention was made of vaccines.[199] When asked about vaccines by Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara, Stein responded: "One of the issues I used to work on was reducing mercury exposure. That was an issue at one point in vaccines. That’s been rectified," adding, "there are issues about mercury in the fish supply that many low-income people and immigrant communities rely on, and in indigenous communities especially. This is a huge issue and the FDA has refused for decades to regulate and to warn people."[200]

Wi-Fi

In a question-and-answer session, Stein voiced concern about wireless internet (Wi-Fi) in schools, saying, "We should not be subjecting kids' brains especially to that... and we don’t follow this issue in our country, but in Europe where they do, you know, they have good precautions about wireless. Maybe not good enough, you know. It’s very hard to study this stuff. You know, we make guinea pigs out of whole populations and then we discover how many die."[180] According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to [Wi-Fi]".[201][under discussion]

Whistleblowers

In her acceptance speech for the Green Party nomination, she called for "end[ing] the war on whistleblowers, and free[ing] the political prisoners [...] Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, and Edward Pinkney[.]" [153] She said that she would have Snowden in her Cabinet if elected.[202] In an op-ed on the subject of Wikileaks, Stein argued that Assange was doing what journalists should be doing but are not, and added that whistle-blowers have been increasingly subject to "character assassination" and prosecution during the Obama administration. In her view, it is heroic to resist the media and political elite's control of information.[203]

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External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Cynthia McKinney
Green nominee for President of the United States
2012, 2016
Most recent