Read Time: 40 - 66 minutes
Below is the official transcript from the Jill Stein and Gary Johnson Debate, hosted by IVN on Google Plus Hangouts, October 18, 2012.
Steve Peace – Welcome to the IVN Presidential debate. My name is Steve Peace I’m co-chair of the independent voter project. We’re joined by Governor Gary Johnson who is in Laramie Wyoming, he’s the Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States, and by Dr. Jill Stein, she’s joining us from Seattle Washington, she’s the Green Party candidate for president. Both candidates will introduce themselves and their platforms prior to the debate questions being submitted. They’re coming from independent-minded voters on Facebook, Twitter and Google. The questions will cover multiple issues in domestic and foreign policy. The order for answering questions was determined by a coin toss, and Governor Johnson won that toss. He will introduce himself first and then Dr. Stein will take the first question. We will then alternate the order throughout the questions. Governor Johnson we’ll start with your opening statement.
Gov. Gary Johnson – And Steve I have three minutes for this opening statement?
Steve Peace – You do.
Gov. Gary Johnson – Well I think the country is in deep trouble. We can’t bury our heads in the sand over the fact that we’re in deep trouble. So where I’m different I think from everybody else is let’s not bomb Iran. I think that if we bomb Iran we’re going to find ourselves with another 100 million enemies to this country than we wouldn’t otherwise have. Let’s get out of Afghanistan tomorrow, bring the troops home. I think that marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right. I would propose ending the drug wars, legalize marijuana now. I think we’re actually on a tipping point on marijuana. It’s on the ballot in Colorado. I think it’s going to pass. Perhaps it will be the first of 50 states that will actually legalize marijuana. I would have never signed the Patriot Act allowing for Homeland Security. I think it’s incredibly redundant. I would look to eliminate TSA as a federal agency. Leave it to the airports, to the airlines, municipalities, states. I think that we need to balance the federal budget now. So I am promising to submit a balanced budget to congress in the year 2013. That would be a 1.4 trillion dollar reduction in federal spending and to do that you got to start off talking about Medicaid, Medicare, military spending. The debate a couple of weeks ago between Obama and Romney was all about who’s going to spend more money on Medicare when Medicare is a program that you and I are paying 30 dollars into and getting a 100-dollar benefit. By extension we’re paying in 30,000 dollars, we’re getting 100,000-dollar benefit. It’s absolutely unsustainable. I am proposing to eliminate income tax, corporate tax, abolish the IRS, and replace all of that with one federal consumption tax. In this case I am embracing the Fair Tax, which I think is the answer to American exports. It ends up being cost neutral over a very short amount of time. Since we’re bleeding out all existing federal taxes out of goods and services, it’s the answer when it comes to our exports. In a zero corporate tax rate environment if the private sector doesn’t create tens of millions of jobs, I don’t know what it takes to create tens of millions of jobs. I also see manufacturing jobs flocking back to the United States in a zero corporate tax rate environment. Immigration. Immigration let’s not build a fence across the border. Let’s make it as easy as possible to let someone who wants to come into this country and work, to get a work visa. Not a green card, not citizenship, but a work visa. It would entail a background check and a social security card that applicable taxes would get paid. Now if we adopt the Fair Tax, taxes wont be an issue at all. Because whether you’re a visitor to the United States, an illegal immigrant, legal immigrant, U.S. citizen, nobody is going to be able to avoid paying one federal consumption tax. And then so much of border issues have to do with border violence. Legalize marijuana; arguably 75 percent of the border violence with Mexico goes away. For the 11 million illegal immigrants that are here right now, let’s set up a grace period where we can document those 11 million illegal immigrants. Let’s not talk about deporting, breaking up families. And I get back to no criminals working in this country either. That should be the real basis for issuing visas. So there’s my opening statement.
Steve Peace – Thank you very much Governor. Dr. Stein, three minutes.
Dr. Jill Stein – …
Steve Peace – Doctor you need to unmute yourself. You’re on mute and we’ll start over.
Dr. Jill Stein – Can you hear me now?
Gov. Gary Johnson – There we go
Steve Peace – Very good. Very innovative introduction.
Dr. Jill Stein – Ok great. Alright sorry about that. We were trying to reduce the feedback with the headset but it seemed to cause us to mute. Back on now so first a big thank you to the Independent Voter Network for creating this very important dialogue and a big thank you to Gary Johnson and your campaign. I think that there are so many really critical ways in which we are completely in agreement and on the same page on the war, on the importance of our civil liberties and protecting the freedoms on which this country was founded, the importance of ending the drug wars, stopping the Wall Street bailouts. I think these are really fundamental points of agreement that I know for many people overshadow the areas of our disagreement which have more to do with economic and social policy. But I think agreeing on basic principles of freedom and democracy are really a very important point of intersection between our two parties, our campaigns and so many of the people out there who are independent voters. So with that said, I’m going to focus on what the key agenda is for our campaign and we believe the American people. We see that fundamentally we are at a breaking point, for people for the planet for the economy, and for our democracy. But that we can actually change this breaking point into a tipping point in this election at a time when so many people are breaking away from politics as usual. And we’re advancing really critical solutions that so many people are supporting in poll after poll. These are good road-tested solutions, which in fact are affordable and which are within our reach now. We are calling for, to start with, a Green New Deal to create jobs now. Not simply more tax breaks for the wealthy, which is what the democratic and republican parties are calling for. We’re instead like the vast majority of the American public is saying, not tax breaks but actual jobs. We’re calling for jobs like we created during the New Deal that got us out of the Great Depression. Four million jobs created within the first weeks, eight weeks actually of the New Deal. So there’s no excuse for us to sit in this chronic, relentless recession that we’re still in. We’re calling for creating those jobs directly, not through a stimulus package that the president passed, which provided largely tax breaks and tax breaks don’t create jobs. We are calling in fact for direct job creation at the level of our communities in the areas of the green economy in particular. Because we have two crises, not only the economic and jobless crisis but also a crisis of climate. We can solve them both in one fell swoop through the Green New Deal which provides those resources for communities to create jobs to become sustainable not only ecologically but also socially and economically so we’re calling for jobs in clean renewable energy, and conservation in local sustainable agriculture, public transportation, in clean manufacturing, as well as hiring back the hundreds of thousands of teachers who have been laid off. Hiring childcare, afterschool, homecare, affordable housing construction, violence and drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation. A broad spectrum, and the point is communities decide, not a Washington-driven, cookie cutter program. Rather it puts national resources into the hands of communities to create the jobs that they need. We’re calling for healthcare…
Steve Peace – Thank you Dr. Stein you’re a little over time.
Dr. Jill Stein – Okay thank you.
Steve Peace – Let’s go into the questions, we do want to get to the questions from all our friends on Google plus, on Facebook and on Twitter. You get the very first question. You basically have about three minutes to answer. If you reserve some time, we’ll keep track of that and we’ll allow you rebuttal time if you reserve that in the three minutes. So if you use two minutes the Governor then has a two-minute response you will have reserved minute for rebuttal. Otherwise, if you use up all of your three minutes then we’ll just listen to the Governor’s response. Ok, we’ll try to be as flexible as we can and stay on schedule.
Dr. Jill Stein – Is there a time signal on the screen somewhere that I can see.
Steve Peace – You should be getting it on the left hand side of your screen. You should have the little notification, you’ll get a thirty second…
Dr. Jill Stein – Okay we’ve got it now, thank you.
Steve Peace – Okay? Great. So our first general category question comes from Allie in Wisconsin. And it is for you Dr. Stein. Four years after President Obama’s 2008 campaign of hope and change some have argued that we’ve definitely learned that enacting reforms are more difficult than simply campaigning for them. Knowing how difficult it’s been for President Obama, how do you plan to get Congress on board with your platform?
Dr. Jill Stein – Great, so first let me say that President Obama was drinking the Kool-Aid in a big way. He was funded by Wall Street. He was funded by health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. He was funded by fossil fuels. So you know it was very hard for him to then turn around and bite the hand that was feeding him. So we got exactly what one would have expected had you been looking at his funders, so that is a burden shall we say that my campaign does not carry. We don’t take money that comes with strings attached. That means we don’t take money from corporations, from lobbyists, from PAC’s or super PAC’s. We don’t believe in one-dollar one vote we believe in one-person one vote. So we actually have the ability to do what we say and to say as we do. So with that said we come to this with the ability to actually carry through that agenda that we have promised to uphold. Specifically, the President, if she wanted to, could be not simply a commander in chief but could also be an organizer in chief. The President has an incredible ability to go on primetime T.V., to send out email blasts, to go on public service radio announcements and basically inform everyday people about the key bills that are coming up. The main reasons why they should or shouldn’t pass and turn people loose to talk to their elected officials and to actually instruct them to represent them. People may remember when the SOPA and PIPA bills were going. They were considered a slam dunk, there was not way that ordinary people were going to stop them and word got out on the internet that bills were in the works that would enable corporations to censor the internet. And people got on the horn and within two weeks that bill was stopped in its tracks
[Gary Johnson’s computer dies]
This should be the rule and not the exception for how Washington works. When everyday people are flying blind we have a democracy that is not informed then it’s not empowered. People need to know what’s going on and have the ability to weigh in, in a concise and time-effective manner to say, ‘yes we want healthcare as a human right. We want to legalize marijuana. We want to end debt for students instead of bailing out the banks for the fourth time, which is what the Obama administration is doing right now through the FED through the third quantitative easing. They’re spending forty billion dollars a month bailing out Wall Street Banks yet again. We would be on the horn telling people ‘let’s change that.’ Let’s instead of bailing out Wall Street let’s bail out the students so we can put everyday people back in charge of our democracy, as we should be.
Steve Peace – Thank you Dr. Stein. Governor, the doctor used all of her time so you’ll have two minutes for a rebuttal.
Dr. Stein – We’re not getting the feed here.
Steve Peace – Okay, we’ve got a technical issue over in the Governor’s shop so Dr. Stein, I’ll give you another question and we’ll circle back. The tax rate on capital gains and dividends is set to go from 15 percent to the general income tax rate on January first. How would you address this issue once in office?
Dr. Jill Stein – So let me first say that that’s only occurring at very high levels of income. So it’s a very tiny percentage of voters. The very richest voters in fact, I believe it’s the top two percent. People with incomes over 250,000 dollars who are going to face that increase. I believe that is where the Bush tax cuts applied if I’m not mistaken. I don’t believe that, let me just think it through for a minute. That’s my understanding that the increase in capital gains and dividends is going to apply only at high levels of income. Let me say further that capital gains and dividend taxes generally applies to the top ten percent because that’s who it is who can afford to make these investments. So whether it’s applying just to the top two percent or not this is a tax that hits people who are of great means and who have benefited enormously from the changes in the economy over the past several decades. So that the tax burden has shrunk across all categories of taxes for the wealthiest at the same time that income has surged for the very wealthiest. In fact things are so unequal now that the top 1 percent actually has 40 percent of all the resources of all the wealth in this country, but the lower half, one out of every two people, the poorest people out there, share among them only one percent. That’s like having a hundred people in the room, a hundred loaves of bread, forty of those loaves are in the hand of just one person. And the skinniest fifty people in the room have only one loaf of bread to share among them. So let me just say as an overarching statement that we badly need to correct the extraordinary, obscene economic inequality that everyday people are facing right now. No one is hit harder with that in fact than young people. The younger generation right now who has, they’re facing a 50 percent unemployment rate and are carrying around extraordinarily high debt burdens on top of it. So young people are getting hit with these disparities in the same way very much that elders are facing them and are relying on their Medicare and their social security to keep them out of poverty. So as a general, broad statement I think Americans don’t like vast inequalities, and that’s what we have in this country right now. Greater than just about any other developed country, in fact we’re in the category of the undeveloped countries, the banana republics, the dictatorships right now. We’re in that category with economic inequality. We need to fix that, and we’re calling for fixing that through a Green New Deal and also fixing that by ending some of the incredible, unfair, tax breaks that have been given to the wealthiest members of society. That includes these drastic cuts in capital gains and in dividends.
Steve Peace – Doctor let me go off script here for a minute while they’re working on the technical issues in Laramie. You had an interesting experience this week at the officially sponsored Republican and Democratic debates. Would you like to comment a little on that? The process for the televised debates and the efforts that your campaign and the others have made to have the opportunity to participate.
Dr. Jill Stein – Yes. And I want to thank Gary Johnson’s campaign as well. His campaign, like ours has been fighting to try to open up these debates. The debates are controlled by the commission, so called, commission on Presidential Debates, but it really should be called the Commission to Censor the Presidential Debates because it is a private corporation, controlled by Democratic and Republican parties whose express purpose is to limit the debates and that means not just limiting the candidates it means limiting the American voter. It means preventing the American voter from understanding what their choices really are for candidates, but also for policies. And the American public is diverse. You know, there are over three hundred million people out there. There’s no reason in the world to try to squeeze three hundred diverse people into two pigeon holes which are both bought and paid for by the same corporate interests that are driving us into climate change, that are driving us into these healthcare boondoggles like Obamacare or Romneycare whichever you call it, that really deliver goods for the health insurance and the pharmaceutical companies, but not for the everyday people. So I went to protest that debate, was arrested at the entrance not even to the debate hall, just the entrance of Hofstra University where I and my running mate, Cheri Honkala, were not allowed even to pass. We were arrested, but not only were we arrested, we were put into very tight, plastic handcuff restraints. We were then taken to a secret, undisclosed location, a black site, where we were handcuffed to metal chairs for eight hours until after 11 pm, we were arrested shortly after 2 pm, and no one was… Our staff actually did quite a bit of sleuthing of their own. They were finally able to override the intelligence of Homeland Security and the Secret Service doesn’t say all that much about the effectiveness of Homeland Security and the Secret Service that my untrained campaign was able to get around their black out and actually find me at that site. They were then told they would be arrested if they stayed on site, even when they were back at the debate site. They were told they would be arrested if they stayed at the entrance for simply being a member of the Green Party
Steve Peace – I’d like to go back to your discussion about the makeup of the commission, but just another technical issue if I can. I’ve just been slipped a note. You have some ear buds there doctor, I believe. The technical folks need you to put the ear buds in to cut down on the echo effect. This cutting edge technology here you know, we’re experimenting. Sounds good now I’m told. Doctor? We’re back, we’ve got the mute issue over there again so maybe even put in the ear bud guys. Ah we have the Governor back coming on here I see.
Gov. Gary Johnson – … Right now. Great. I need my headphones? You don’t have to have em. Alright.
Steve Peace – Hello Governor.
Gov. Gary Johnson – Hi.
Steve Peace – So we’ve just ventured into a discussion while we lost you, on the Presidential debates that were hosted by the official commission, the last two debates. The doctor credited your campaign with working with theirs in terms of making efforts to get involved and discussed the difficulty in working with the commission. So I wanted to give you a little opportunity to comment on your efforts to participate in the televised debates.
Gov. Gary Johnson – Well just that we have filed suit. We filed suit in California, we filed suit in Washington D.C. We put emergency clauses on these suits so hope to get them ruled on and of course if we’re successful the Green Party will also be successful. But the Presidential Debate Commission made up of Republicans and Democrats with really no interest whatsoever in seeing a third party on the stage so very difficult and getting on the ballot in all the states is very difficult. Right now I’m on the ballot in 49 states, one of those states I’m an official write in candidate, Michigan. And Oklahoma has excluded us from being on the ballot, so it looks like Oklahoma will be the only state that we’re not on the ballot. And I might add that Americans elect made us their candidate, made me their candidate, made me their nominee in Oklahoma, which I was very proud of and their courts threw that out. It’s just a stacked deck, whether it’s the debate commission or whether its ballot access. You name it, it is a system that is made up of the two parties, the interests that be and its really hard not to crack.
Steve Peace – We have a question from Jack on Twitter. Dr. Stein has suggested that all student debt should be forgiven and education should be free from kindergarten through college. Governor, how would you address rising student loan debt and education costs.
Gov. Gary Johnson – Well I think the main reason for high education costs are guaranteed government student loans. That’s a real catch 22. That students right now, young people facing college their faced with this, with these insurmountable costs really for tuition. Just throw out a number 15,000 dollars a semester. Well, you know, kids are determining whether or not they want to go to school, young people are determining whether or not they want to pay that much, that amount of money. Most of them recognizing they cant afford it, but then there’s the obvious, guaranteed government student loans. If guaranteed students loans did not exist, I suggest that the cost of higher education dramatically decrease. That is the reason for the high cost of college tuition. I really think also that in individual states, that states can come up with some very innovative programs. As governor of New Mexico I actually signed legislation that allowed for lottery scholarships. We enacted a lottery in New Mexico with all of the proceeds going to education, to higher education. And when I was Governor, every graduate from high school in New Mexico basically got free college tuition through these lottery scholarships. Now there was minimum requirements and those minimum requirements I believe were like a C, C+ grades.
Steve Peace – Dr. Stein, a couple minutes for rebuttal.
Dr. Jill Stein – ….
Gov. Gary Johnson – It’s gone off again, its frozen.
Steve Peace – Dr. Stein you need to unmute.
Dr. Jill Stein – Can you hear?
Steve Peace – There you go. Perfect.
Dr. Jill Stein – Okay. You can hear now. For some reason it doesn’t – you have to leave these on while you – can you, they can’t hear me when I put these on. Wait, let me. We’re having to switch technology when I’m talking and when I’m listening, but you’re hearing me now.
Steve Peace – All is well at this point.
Dr. Jill Stein – Alright good. So I’ll just say in Massachusetts we have free public higher education. It was part of the University of Massachusetts system we had it for many many years. The price slowly crept up, but it was free. Even before we had government loans it was free. It became unfree when the state decided that they had higher priorities than young people. And higher priorities than our economy, which really requires educated workers to have a productive economy. In particular it was healthcare costs that were climbing and that were devouring bigger sections of the budget at the same time that larger tax breaks were being provided for the very wealthy. Now those are two drains on the economy that can be fixed. For one thing we should be moving to a Medicare for all system, which greatly reduces the costs of healthcare. This is how every other developed nation provides comprehensive healthcare at half the cost per person of what it costs in this country. We can ensure that we’re not dragging down our budgets with the likes of Obamacare or Romneycare but in fact move to a Medicare for all which eliminates the massive red tape and bureaucracy that is now gobbling up 30 percent of every healthcare dollar. Back on the issue of student loans I just want to underscore I should say on free public higher education, that it pays for itself. We know this from the G.I. Bill, following the Second World War. Because we the taxpayers, paid for the education of returning soldiers to go to college and what we knew, cause it was carefully studied, was for every dollar that taxpayers invested in higher education, seven dollars was returned in economic benefits. Including more than enough tax revenue from those students who had good jobs because they were educated. That money came back into the tax base and more than paid for the costs of higher education.
Steve Peace – Governor you have about more than thirty seconds left for your rebuttal.
[Gov. Gary Johnson’s connection dies]
Well we lost the connection to Wyoming again so Dr. Stein let me go to Mason’s question from Facebook. You’re Green New Deal focuses on eliminating the use of fossil fuels in place of renewable energy. How would you plan for the transition from fossil fuels to renewables and how long do you think that transition would take?
Dr. Jill Stein – You know in my view that transition should be only as long…
[Gov. Gary Johnson comes back online]
…as is required if we do everything that is humanly possible to make this happen as quickly as possible. What the science tells us is that it will actually, we are coming very close to climate tipping points. For anyone who’s been looking around you’ll notice that in the last year, you know we’ve had the hottest year on record. We have had protracted drought in 60 percent of the continental U.S. We have had record forest fires and forest destruction from those fires as well. The Arctic is at 25 percent of what it was just a couple decades ago. It is way ahead of schedule. The science has been far too optimistic, we have a climate emergency on our hands and it’s very critical that we move ahead with all due speed. That same science that told us the Arctic would be here for another couple decades. That same science has said that if we haven’t substantial progress by 2020, essentially that our goose is cooked. Because if the climate does proceed to melt down, the reality is that it doesn’t just like change and get a couple degrees warmer it goes into a perpetual state of warming and this is not compatible either with an economy or with civilization as we know it including the melting of the glaciers and the ice caps and so on.
Steve Peace – Governor, you want to weigh in here on the doctor’s Green New Deal Proposal?
Gov. Gary Johnson – I’m sorry, is that for me Steve?
Steve Peace – Yeah, you have a two-minute rebuttal to Dr. Stein’s New Green Deal proposal. The question was how would you transition from a fossil fuel environment into the green energy production.
Gov. Gary Johnson – I’m getting terrific feedback here. I can’t even hear myself.
Steve Peace – Bear with us here folks. There we go. It’s kind of like operating mission control here you know. Trying to land on the moon in 1960.
Gov. Gary Johnson – Look I think we need free market approaches when it comes to energy. That as consumers we are demanding cleaner energy, were going to get cleaner energy. The best indicator of a good environment is a good economy and as consumers, like I say we are demanding cleaner energy, fifty years from today we will have cleaner energy. Just as we have cleaner energy today than fifty years ago. I’m talking about carbon emission and the fact that we’re all demanding less carbon emission. I do think that we have to have a balanced approach, a free market approach to all of this so natural gas figures into this. Oil figures into this, bauching in the United States will be a huge contributor to our energy independence. Renewables play a roll in all of this, nuclear plays a roll in all of this, but I would be opposed to cap and trade legislation which I think would really devastate the economy.
Steve Peace – Governor the next question is for you. Mike on Facebook asks, there’s been a great deal of focus on the middle class in this election cycle and some would argue that the poor have been left out of the discussion. What are some of the immediate actions that you would take to address poverty in America?
Gov. Gary Johnson – What I think government can create is a level playing field for all of us. Something that does not exist today. Crony capitalism is alive and well. Individuals, groups, corporations sell loopholes, excuse me…. I’m getting this horrible feedback Steve, I’m sorry. Individuals, groups, corporations buy loopholes both parties have their hand out to sell loopholes. I think that by eliminating income tax, corporate tax, abolishing the IRS, replacing that with one federal consumption tax, I think that really creates a level playing field for all of us. I think it’s a fallacy to think that government is going to be able to cure everyone’s ills. But I don’t think it’s a fallacy that government can be fair to all. I do base that on my experience as Governor of New Mexico where we put issues first, politics last and I think everybody saw it, the notion of… I may have vetoed more legislation than the other forty-nine governors in the country combined. What I saw was a lot of corporatist legislation. I saw legislation labeled the Competitive Telecommunications Bill, lower prices for all, better, more competition, lower prices. The reality was that it was a corporately sponsored piece of legislation that would have actually reduced competition in telecommunications. Back to what government is capable of doing, creating equal opportunity for all, that’s I would argue all that government can do. I’ll just get back also to the fact that I think the biggest threat to the United States right now is the fact that we’re borrowing and printing money to the tune of forty-three cents out of every dollar that we spend. If we don’t balance the federal budget now I believe we are going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse and a monetary collapse, very simply is when the dollars we have in our pockets don’t buy a thing because of the accompanying inflation that comes along with borrowing and printing money to the tune of 43 cents out of every dollar we spend. Jill Stein talks about the melting polar ice caps, you know what? A monetary collapse, when the shelves are bare because our dollars don’t buy anything, which by the way Russia experienced at the end of the eighties, that’s going to be an ugly situation. We’re going to be burning furniture to keep warm unless we actually get our fiscal house in order.
Steve Peace – Dr. Stein.
Dr. Jill Stein – …
Gov. Gary Johnson – I can’t hear her.
Steve Peace – Doctor you need to unmute yourself again.
Dr. Jill Stein – Let me take these things, how about now? Okay. Alright. Learning as we go here. Yeah, so I wanted to agree with the Governor that we cant just solve the problem of the polar ice caps and the climate without also solving the problem of the economy. The two have to be solved together. We can’t save the people without the planet, and we cant save the planet without an economy that works for people. But this is one of the real benefits of the Green New Deal, because for every dollar spent in the new Green Economy you actually create three times as many jobs if you’re hiring people to do weatherization, to do conservation, to insulate our homes, businesses, schools, and government buildings. We can put, effectively millions of people to work on weatherization, so we can both solve the climate problem, while we solve the jobs problem. They both have to happen. Speaking to the question that the previous questioner asked about how do the poor figure into this. You know, what low income and poor people need especially are jobs. Jobs that pay living wages, and that’s what the Green New Deal calls for. It provides national resources to create jobs at the community level that both put people back to work while they jumpstart the green economy, a localized economy not this phony economy of high finance. Not this toxic economy of dirty energy and toxic nuclear power that makes us sick and poisons our air, water and food, but rather jobs that make our communities healthy at the same time that they make our environment healthy, stop climate change. And the other advantage of the green economy and the Green New Deal is that it also makes wars for oil obsolete. Which means instead of spending a trillion dollars a year, which is what we’re spending now on this bloated massive, military industrial security complex. Instead we can put half of that, hundreds of billions of dollars back into our economy ensuring that the poor have jobs. Ensuring that we transition to Medicare for all so that everyone has healthcare. Finally that everyone has equal access to public higher education, which is what poor and low income people need above all in order to have a level playing field to start out, secure, in the economic world.
Steve Peace – I’m going to combine a question from Brady on Facebook and from Todd in Virginia and doctor Johnson, I’m sorry, doctor Johnson. There you go, there’s a proposal for you, Dr. Johnson, Governor Stein, how does that work? Brady asks, what regulations are needed to prevent Wall Street and financial sectors from incurring another meltdown. Todd asks, he points out that neither of the past two administrations prosecuted any individuals responsible for that mortgage meltdown. What regulations do you think are necessary and how would you deal with white-collar crime, Governor.
Gov. Gary Johnson – Well first of all I don’t think it was an issue of regulation, it was an issue of allowing these institutions that made incredibly bad decisions to just fail. I would not have bailed any of these institutions out. I’m not doing this in a vacuum I have a lot of really terrific free-market economists that, to a person, agree that there would not have been a systematic collapse. Let me pose for you, what happened after Enron. Sarbanes-Oxley came out, really as a result of Enron, which ended up to be fraud. They passed a regulation, a law, that required mark to market accounting. Now I will tell you, when I saw this I thought, holy cow, if this isn’t a regulation that is absolutely needed, makes total sense, I don’t know a regulation that could qualify for, this is something that we need. Well, in the meltdown of 2008, in a multi-trillion dollar mortgage derivatives market, mortgage market, multi trillion, three trillion dollar market, on December 20th there was one 190,000 dollar trade that went off at five cents on the dollar when these securities were yielding five cents on the dollar. My point is that because of this everyone, all the financial institutions had to mark their assets at the market and that was the collapse. So why there have not been prosecutions, I would love to get at the root of that and I will tell you that as the Governor of New Mexico one of the things I relished was being able to get people at the table who were in the know to really give the down and dirty on why we haven’t done these prosecutions. I will also say that I think what we want to do is elect a leader. We want to elect a leader that’s going to be very transparent. Look I’m going to go after these prosecutions, but if, for whatever the reasons are that were not prosecuting, I don’t think any of us really understand why there haven’t been any prosecutions. I really cant tell you because I think that there were a bundling of these assets done in a way that was fraudulent, really criminal.
Steve Peace – Dr. Stein I’m judging from your description of your experience at the debates the other day that you can shed some light on what’s going on in the prosecutorial arena. You gotta unmute again. Unmute.
Dr. Jill Stein – Okay how about now.
Steve Peace – There you go.
Dr. Jill Stein – Okay we’re getting faster at this. Yeah, I mean, the prosecutions are not happening. Even Ronald Reagan prosecuted over a thousand [clears throat] corporate executives responsible for the S&L crash. That was tiny compared to the crash that we have now. I think its pretty clear why they’re not being prosecuted because they’re all over the Whitehouse and because Barack Obama and the Whitehouse are in bed with Wall Street. Timothy Geithner, you know, he’s running the treasury department and he looked the other way as head of the FED, as head of the New York FED while all of this waste, fraud, and abuse was going on. You know, its no surprise that the Wall Street-run Whitehouse is not prosecuting Wall Street. The same is true for the head of the Department of Justice who in fact has many clients at his private company in which he worked and will work again someday. They have many clients that are at Goldman Sachs and the other companies that not only, you know, crashed the economy, they created predatory lending to start with. They targeted vulnerable people, they sold them fraudulent mortgages, they bundled those mortgages into fraudulent securities, and then they peddled those securities on unsuspecting buyers, many of whom were their own clients. When the whole house of cards came crashing down, they demanded to be bailed out, which they were. I want to differ a little bit from the Governor, it was not only the bailouts that created this problem, we had a real problem even before the bailouts happened, which was that the economy did come crashing down because those fraudulent mortgages that had been bundled into securities were then bet on. The reason they were bet on was because the protections that had been passed after the Great Depression had been repealed. This is an excellent case and point of where regulations were protecting the American public. Those regulations were repealed under Bill Clinton and Larry Summers, who was the architect of the Wall Street crash. He ended the Glass-Steagall law that separated the commercial and investment banks and he also enabled the reckless gambling and the speculation on the derivatives. This didn’t happen by accident, we’ve been here before, we’ve learned you cannot allow so much economic power to concentrate into the hands of a few but that’s what both Democrats and Republicans have been bringing us for quite some time. That’s what we’ll fix in my administration.
Steve Peace – Doctor we’ll stay with you here. We have a foreign policy question from Alex on Google plus. Is there a point in which, in a humanitarian crisis such as in Syria, that does, despite both of your general opposition to intervention in foreign countries, merit unilateral action by the United States in order to prevent atrocities?
Dr. Jill Stein – You know, we’re seeing blowback in Libya now. You know, where some of the groups that came into power were armed by us. The interventions breed very unpredictable and violent results. It’s clear now in Syria for example, that many of the arms flowing into Syria, are flowing into the hands of groups that are our sworn enemies. When you depose one government violently, and put weapons of violence into the hands of whoever, you know, that this is not a solution. That this is not what peace and security looks like. We’ve been taught over the last ten years with trillions of dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan, which are additional cases and point. Where it was so intensively argued by Democrats and Republicans and the media that there was compelling need for intervention, yet look where we’ve gone. Even in Afghanistan where the strongest case was made that we had to go in and deal with al-Qaeda, we have a mess on our hands. We find ourselves in exactly the same position that the Russians were in a couple decades ago. This is a very dangerous territory to get into. Unilateral intervention in areas we don’t belong and where we don’t have good understanding of the culture and what’s going on. We don’t have trusting relationships with the people. This is an argument made, fundamentally by the weapons industry, which would love to keep selling more arms, which in fact is profiting from the sale of arms into every hotspot around the world. This is basically pouring gasoline on the fires of religious, ethnic, and national conflict around the world. We should not be entering into such conflicts unilaterally, unless there are unique circumstances, which we have not seen in decades.
Steve Peace – Governor, your response.
Gov. Gary Johnson – I do not think that we should intervene militarily. There are no real humanitarian wars that we should engage ourselves in. Now as Governor of New Mexico and in my life I’ve learned to never say never. I don’t think that any of us want to sit by and watch some holocaust or some atrocities going down. I’ll borrow from a Supreme Court justice that was asked, ‘What is your definition of pornography?’ He said, ‘You know I really don’t have a definition of pornography other than to say when I see it I know what it is.’ In this case I don’t think any of us want to watch a holocaust occurring but I don’t want to apply a definition here or a course of action that for the most part is what we’ve been doing forever, is militarily intervening. In Syria right now, we are funding the insurgents. The insurgents are jihadists. Did not we learn from Afghanistan where we funded Osama Bin Laden? There is no end to our military interventions and the unintended consequences that go along with these military interventions. I would just suggest that we have hundreds of millions of enemies to this country that but for these military interventions would otherwise not exist. Drones take out the target, but drones also kill innocent civilians in these countries and these innocent civilians that die are friends and family of others that vow vengeance on the United States, up to and including giving their own lives if need be to bring about that vengeance.
Steve Peace – Thank you Governor. One last question and then we’ll move to the summaries. This is a question that’s going to be I think of particular to folks who are tuning in to this Google plus hangout. Linda on twitter asks, “New technology is creating many questions regarding the government’s role in our individual lives. Where do you draw the line between personal privacy and national security?” Governor?
Gov. Gary Johnson – Well I would have never so, as Governor of New Mexico I vetoed 750 bills. I had thousands of line item vetoes. Only two were overturned so it made a difference when it came to billions of dollars worth of spending, made a difference when it came to government telling us what we should or shouldn’t do in the bedroom. So how would it have worked had I been President of the United States after 9/11? I would have never established the Department of Homeland Security. I would have never established TSA. I would have left airport security to the airports, to the airlines, to municipalities, to the states. I would have never signed the National Defense Authorization Act allowing for you and I as U.S. citizens to be arrested and detained without being charged. I think this is why we have fought wars. So our civil liberties are being eroded. I would also like to point out that the ACLU gave a report card on all the presidential candidates during this last cycle. Jill Stein was not included in this analysis, but twenty-four liberty torches was a perfect score. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, zero liberty torches out of twenty-four. Newt Gingrich, four liberty torches out of twenty-four. Barack Obama, sixteen liberty torches out of twenty-four. Ron Paul, eighteen liberty torches out of twenty-four. Gary Johnson, twenty-one liberty torches out of twenty-four. I had the best grade when it came to civil liberties. Our civil liberties are being eroded. We have a growing police state in this country. It needs to be rolled back significantly.
Steve Peace – Dr. Stein, I’ll pass the torch to you. There you go
Dr. Jill Stein – Alright, okay you’re hearing me. Okay great. Yeah, so I want to largely agree with the Governor here and also agree with Benjamin Franklin when he said that, ‘If we sacrifice liberty and freedom in the name of security we will wind up losing both.’ These were the experience of the founding fathers and mothers of this country and I think that very much applies today. That if we allow our rights to privacy, our right to protest, for freedom of the press, to petition government for redress of grievances. If we allow these personal rights and liberties to be encroached on we’re in great danger. And in fact this whole question of national security. If we didn’t have this kind of hyped up, brute force policy of militarism, a foreign policy based on securing oil resources, and fighting to secure them, and dropping bombs on weddings and funerals in pursuit of these drone wars. If we didn’t have such a foreign policy there would be no need for, hyped up national security. Remember al-Qaeda’s, you know, whole cause was to get Americans out of Saudi Arabia and out of their holy lands. If we were not on foreign soil securing oil to start with, we wouldn’t have this threat to our national security. Therein lies the real answer to our security issues. In fact we can strengthen our national security at the same time that we strengthen our personal liberties, develop a green economy here at home through the Green New Deal which will address the climate crisis as well as the jobs crisis while enabling us to downsize the military, bring our troops back from over 1000 bases in over 140 countries around the world. This is the biggest challenge to our national security, that and the climate threat and the economic threat. We can take care of all of that without sacrificing our personal liberties.
Steve Peace – Okay, you’ve got the time. We’ve got three more questions here. We go to a quick lightning round for thirty-second answers. I know you both have busy schedules. Can we do that and then go to the close?
[Dr. Stein nods yes]
We seem to have the technology on a roll now.
Gov. Gary Johnson – Very good.
Steve Peace – Governor, when and why should the United States consider drone strikes overseas?
Gov. Gary Johnson – Well I would never say never, but I would suggest that these drone strikes make us the villain of the world as opposed to the beacon on the hill as opposed to the country that’s always stood up against the bully. We’ve become the bully and I think these drone strikes symbolize that.
Steve Peace – Doctor?
Dr. Jill Stein – Okay. I want to agree with the Governor on that. I can think of no circumstances where a technology with extremely high rates of civilian kill, a technology that essentially sentences people to death without even knowing who they are, let alone what their crime is and entitling them, you know, to a trial by jury. This is a very dehumanized, draconian form of warfare that has an unavoidable, high civilian casualty rate. These are basically war crimes waiting to happen with drones. I think we should be leading the charge for an international convention to ban the use of drones as a weapon of war and as a mode of spying on civilians. I think we should be in the business of banning drones, not expanding them in what’s effectively a new, and very expensive, and deadly arms race.
Steve Peace – Staying with you Dr. Stein, Deon on Google Plus would like to know what role you believe the federal government should play in improving k through twelve public education.
Dr. Jill Stein – So in public education I think we need to throw in the towel as quickly as possible in this race to the top and the no child behind programs which are effectively privatization programs. I think we know what works in education. Its not teaching kids like you think they’re rats and you gotta just do rote memorization. That’s not how kids work. You need to teach to the whole student for lifetime learning. We need to lower class size, lower the ratio of students to teachers. We need to end poverty, because it’s poverty, which interferes with education. Above all, poverty, health problems, community violence, and homelessness. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to educate a child. The Green New Deal is a program to eliminate poverty and it will essentially allow us to bring kids to school who are ready to learn.
Steve Peace – Governor.
Gov. Gary Johnson – I would abolish the federal Department of Education. Established in 1979, under Jimmy Carter. I don’t think there is anything that would suggest that the Department of Education has been value-added since 1979. The federal government gives each state about 11 cents out of every school dollar that every state spends, but it comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. Federal government says, here’s 11 cents and you have to do A, B, C, D. Well A, B, C, D, costs 16 cents. So it really is a negative to take federal dollars I think federal government needs to get out of the educational business completely. Give it up to the states, fifty laboratories of innovation and best practice. And I think that’s exactly what we will have. We’ll have some fabulous success that will get emulated, we’ll also have some horrible failure that will get avoided, but if we have fifty different laboratories working on this as opposed to Washington-knows-best, Washington-top-down-has-all-the-answers, they don’t.
Steve Peace – Thank you to both of you for your responses and the discussions on the issues and we’d like to thank our followers who submitted the questions. We’ve come to the end of the question period and an opportunity for two minutes for each of the candidates to give closing statement and you’re certainly welcome to address any issues that the questions didn’t touch upon. And we’ll start with two minutes to Governor, excuse me, to Governor Johnson.
Gov. Gary Johnson – I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think that I could do a really good job as President of the United States. So I want to ask everybody out there to just check me out, Gary Johnson 2012 dot com. I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life. I started a one-man handyman business in Albuquerque in 1974. Actually grew that business to employ over 1000 people. It’s amazing what can happen when you show up on time and what you do, and what you say you’ll do, you do. It’s amazing how far you can get with that. I sold that business in 1999, nobody lost their job. They’re doing better than ever. It allows me to have a full time job, a full-time unpaid job running for President of the United States. I was a two-term Governor of New Mexico. I came into politics completely outside of politics. The Republican Party was inclusive in New Mexico, they said, ‘hey you can go out, you can make your case. You can go to all the meet-ups. You can take part in all the debates and the discussions, but you just need to know that you’ll never win. That it’s not possible to come from completely outside of politics and get elected Governor in a state that’s two to one democrat.’ Well I got elected and it was based on what I had to say. I’d like to think, which was, ‘Hey smaller government is a good thing. Keep government out of the bedroom. And then, how about a common sense, business approach to state government. Best product, best service, lowest price.’ In that context I vetoed 750 bills only two were overturned. It made a difference when it came to billions of dollars worth of spending. It made a difference when it came to government telling you or I what we could or couldn’t do in the bedroom. I think the biggest indicator of how all that came, went down was in a state that was two to one Democrat, in a state where I made a name for myself really being a penny-pincher, I got re-elected by a bigger margin the second time than the first time, which I just think speaks volumes to the fact, people really do appreciate good stewardship of tax dollars. We need to balance the federal budget now or we’re going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse. Let’s eliminate income tax, corporate tax. Let’s abolish the IRS. Let’s reboot the American economy for the next 100 years. Let’s bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. Let’s create tens of millions of jobs because of that environment that we have more, that we do have the capability of creating.
Steve Peace – Thank you Governor. Dr. Stein.
Dr. Jill Stein – Great. Okay so thanks to everyone for being a part of this very interesting discussion and I also just wanted to take this opportunity to invite Governor Johnson to participate in a debate on Monday night with Democracy Now. I think that he brings really important issues to the table, that badly need to be heard. I think we need to diversify the discussion in this election. He brings a really important part of that diversity to the table and really important experience. So I just wanted to thank you. Not to mention that we agree I think on so many critical things. On peace, freedom, ending the drug wars and the bailouts, and you know the more that these ideas are pushed forward this election, the better. I’ll just say a quick word about myself. I come to this as a mother and a medical doctor, basically. When people say ‘what kind of medicine are you practicing?’ I say ‘now I’m practicing political medicine because it’s the mother of all illnesses and we’ve got to fix this one if we’re going to fix everything else that ails us.’ Specifically I got into this as a mom of young kids and a medical doctor seeing the healthcare system falling apart, but also seeing this epidemic of new diseases descending on our kids. Which, you know, I think is cause for great consternation not only cause they’re getting sick with things they never had before, not just them but they’re indicators of how we’re all getting sick, everything from asthma to cancers, learning disabilities, autism, diabetes, obesity. These are epidemics that we didn’t used to have. As a, I said to myself, ‘I don’t feel good just giving people….
[Dr. Stein’s connection dies]
Steve Peace – So we, lost the connection there. Dr. Stein thank you for your presentation if you jump back on, we’ll hook you back in. Governor, thank you
Gov. Johnson – Thank you Steve
Steve Peace – For those that participated in this Google plus hang out. Thank you for participating. Thank you for your questions and we urge you to turn to IVN.us for unfiltered political news about these candidates and more on November 6th. Thank you and goodnight.