Jill Stein Challenges President Obama on Ranked Choice Voting

by David Samuels

This column appears in the October 6 – 13 edition of the Hartford News…
Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Next show: October 18. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
Community Party Radio Podcasts
Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative
Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation. Election Day is November 8. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/
Community Update
Meagan Hockaday Act
The police killing of Alfred Olango last week by El Cajon, California police has sparked outrage. Protests erupted over the fatal shooting of Olango, who suffered from mental illness. Pasadena police killed Reginald Thomas, a father of four who called them because he was experiencing a mental health crisis. Telesur English reported on the story. “Los Angeles County police are investigating the death of a Black man who died after calling police for help Friday morning. ‘I woke up this morning to a bad dream,‘ Shainie Lindsay, the partner of the deceased, told KTLA. ‘He called the police on himself. He wanted help.’
Lindsay said her partner, whose name has not been released, suffered from bipolar disorder and was in the midst of a mental health episode.

Pasadena police showed up at the scene after the man called, finding the victim wielding a knife and a fire extinguisher. According to Lindsay, the man was then tasered twice, struck with batons and kicked him even after he dropped the extinguisher.

Officers reportedly tried to resuscitate the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
‘He was a good father, and they didn’t have to kill him,’ Lindsay said. ‘He just wanted help. He didn’t want to die.’

The incident comes after a similar death in the case of Alfred Olango, who was killed by police during a mental health crisis. The death of the unarmed man has prompted protests in El Cajon, near San Diego.”
Sacramento Police dash cam video released last Friday shows two officers respond to a call about 51-year-old Joseph Mann, who suffered from mental illness, by trying to run over Mann twice, then shooting him 14 times. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/10/01/im-going-to-hit-him-dashcam-shows-cops-tried-to-run-over-man-before-shooting-him-14-times/?ref=yfp&utm_term=.cdd81dd94a0c
At least fifty percent of people killed by U.S. police were mentally ill. Police in the U.S. killed over 1,000 people each of the last two years, and have killed at least 872 this year. Police in Britain killed 0 people in 2013, one person in 2014. Police in Canada killed 12 people in 2014.
Meagan Hockaday was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in front of her children on March 28, 2015. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/meagan-matters-police-murder-of-black-women-ignored-by-corporate-media-activists/ Garcia was not criminally charged. Coming in 2017: The Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act will include enhanced criminal penalties for excessive use of force by the police against mentally ill people and individuals in crisis, in addition to whenever children are present. Our legislation will implement a new international approach to policing, based on a successful model in the United Kingdom and Canada that emphasizes de-escalation and treatment. Stay tuned for updates. Meagan Matters! https://hendu39.wordpress.com/meagan-hockaday-act/
Hillary Tells Progressive Voters: “I’m a Progressive!”  Hillary Tells Rich Donors: “I’m a Centrist.”
Hillary Clinton described herself as a progressive during her primary battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran on a platform that included free health care, and free college. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-progressive_us_561dafabe4b050c6c4a35c3
Hillary sings a different tune when talking to a room full of wealthy check writers. Report courtesy of The Intercept. https://theintercept.com/2016/09/30/hillary-clinton-center-right/
“In the hacked recording of a private conversation with campaign donors in February, Hillary Clinton distanced herself from progressive goals like ‘free college, free healthcare’ and described her place on the political spectrum as spanning from the center-left to the center-right.
Clinton has been inconsistent in the past about espousing political labels. She has at times touted herself as a stalwart liberal. For instance, she said last July: ‘I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values.’ But a few months later, she told a group in Ohio: ‘You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty.’
The newly disclosed comments came in audio, apparently from hacked emails, that was revealed this week by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative blog run by a Republican communications strategist. Clinton was speaking at a Virginia fundraiser hosted by Beatrice Welters, the former U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, and her husband Anthony Welters, the executive chairman of an investment consulting firm founded by former Clinton aide Cheryl Mills.
Clinton’s opponent at the time, Sen. Bernie Sanders, was pointing to successful programs in Norway and Sweden, which provide universal daycare, family leave, and government sponsored healthcare and college education, as policies that he would seek to adopt.
CLINTON: It is important to recognize what’s going on in this election. Everybody who’s ever been in an election that I’m aware of is quite bewildered because there is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates. And on the other side, there’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know,  go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel. So as a friend of mine said the other day, I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right. And I don’t have much company there. Because it is difficult when you’re running to be president, and you understand how hard the job is —  I don’t want to overpromise. I don’t want to tell people things that I know we cannot do.” 
Overlooked in the furor over Clinton’s description of Sanders supporters as basement dwellers, she also told the donors that Sanders’ free college and free health care ideas are “indefensible”. Wow.
Policy Watch: Ranked Choice Voting and the Politics of Fear
Last week Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein blasted President Barack Obama on Twitter, for saying that a vote for Dr. Stein is a vote for Donald Trump. Dr. Stein pointed out that Obama didn’t try to pass ranked choice voting during his presidency. This system would allow people to vote for BOTH Dr. Stein and Hillary, without splitting the vote. Dr. Stein introduced a ranked choice voting bill in 2010, when she ran for governor in Massachusetts against incumbent Deval Patrick, a Democrat. The Democratic controlled General Assembly killed the legislation, as they had done each of the previous ten years. The Democrats want to have it both ways. They won’t support ranked choice voting, then they engage in fear mongering to keep voters from supporting third party candidates like Dr. Stein.
Obama, former vice president Al Gore, senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have warned voters not to support Dr. Stein, as the Democrats attempt to trick younger voters into supporting Hillary. Gore said,

“First of all I understand their feelings and misgivings. But if they are interested in my personal advice, I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I urge everyone else to do the same. I particularly urge anyone who is concerned about the climate crisis, sees it as the kind of priority that I see it as, to look at the sharp contrast between the solar plan that Secretary Clinton has put forward, and her stated commitment to support the Clean Power Plan, and the contrast between what she has said and is proposing with the statements of the Republican nominee, which give me great concern.”

 Dr. Stein responded by pointing out the facts about President Bill Clinton and Gore regarding the environment.
“I sincerely appreciate Al Gore’s efforts to raise awareness about climate change, but while Gore and Democrats talk the talk on environmental issues, they don’t walk the walk. Friends of the Earth founder David Brower said that the first 4 years of the Clinton/Gore administration were more environmentally destructive than the preceding 12 years of Reagan and Bush. The Clinton-Gore administration rewarded its corporate campaign contributors with special deals, like allowing sugar cane growers to accelerate destruction of the Everglades and allowing unrestricted logging in many national forests. Particularly devastating was their passage of the NAFTA trade deal, which empowered multinational corporations to challenge environmental legislation in international tribunals dominated by large corporate interests.”
“Gore’s call to vote against the candidates with the strongest environmental agenda raises questions about whether he is seriously committed to the kind of emergency mobilization that we need to prevent climate meltdown, which my Green New Deal plan calls for.”
“What Gore calls ‘spoiling’ we call participation. Voting for what you want should never be a ‘problem.’ So we challenge Al Gore– and Democratic Party leadership– to join us in support of ranked choice voting, which will instantly eliminate vote-splitting concerns. Ranked choice voting empowers voters to vote their values rather than their fears. It lets you rank your choices, and if your first choice loses, your vote is automatically assigned to your second choice. This improved voting system is used in cities around the US and is now on the statewide ballot in Maine.”
“The regretful tone of Al Gore’s support for Hillary Clinton suggests that he understands how the two-party system has failed Americans who care about leaving a livable world for our children and future generations. I ask Gore to publicly declare support for ranked choice voting and ask his fellow Democrats to do the same, so that America can finally have a truly democratic electoral system where voters who care about our planet’s future won’t be intimidated into voting against a climate future we can survive in.”
The Democrats will use any bs excuse they can think of to oppose ranked choice voting, which is used by countries around the world, but it’s clear why they want to prop up the two-party voting system. The Democrats do not want to lose their grip on liberal and progressive voters. They don’t want competition from third party candidates. Every election cycle, the Democrats use fear of a Republican candidate to get votes. Trump is just the latest GOP boogeyman. Ranked choice voting is real democracy. The Democrats should not be allowed to continue to hold voters on the left hostage. As Dr. Stein says, a party that uses fear to get your vote isn’t your friend.
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

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