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Stagecraft: Our Presidential Contest Has Devolved Into Little More Than A Fake Wrestling Match

By: TheCallUp Friday September 28, 2012 11:46 am

Originally published at AlterPolitics

For those on the Left, one of the most frustrating aspects of this Presidential election has been following the narratives of both establishment parties, each aligned with the other in their complimentary fictions, as they deceive the American voters into believing there is an actual choice to be made here.

Beyond the rhetorical divide, the actual differences between Obama and Romney are minor, if not downright trivial. Each candidate, regardless of how he has actually governed in the past, uses the talking points from his party’s platform to tap into the ideological preferences of his base. The contest is little more than a theater of deception.

Romney, who governed like a Clintonian Democrat, now speaks in ways that appeal to his base, which continues to drift rightwards a la Tea Party.

As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney implemented what would become the blueprints for Obamacare, and offered generous subsidies for those in his state who couldn’t afford it. He embraced a pro-choice position, favored gun control, was pro-gay-rights. He opposed the flat tax, was critical of Bush tax cuts. He believes in global warming, and has supported ‘cap and trade’ policies.

Whereas Romney has been forced to move rhetorically to the right, Barack Obama, who himself has governed from right-of-center, needs to reestablish his own cred with his liberal base, and is thus, only too happy to accommodate Romney in aligning their fictions.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle that both candidates have had to overcome with regards to their respective bases is in trying to convince them that there actually are fundamental differences between their visions for America’s economic model.

The Obama campaign was the first to seize on a distinction when it released a video showing Mitt Romney at a Boca Raton fundraiser expressing disdain for Obama voters, suggesting they are “dependent upon government” and feel entitled to handouts.

But this video revelation actually enhanced the far-Right cred that the Governor had been so desperate for. You might think his own campaign planted the video. In fact, he proudly wore the video revelation around like a medalThe Tea Party won’t see me as a RINO anymore, he likely surmised.

Seeing this as the perfect red meat issue needed to re-energize his base, Romney pivoted to the hot-button ‘Socialism’ charge. He charged Obama with being another Socialist-minded liberal who wants to take money from those who work hard and succeed, to then redistribute it to those who don’t.

After unearthing a 1998 video showing a young Obama expressing that he believed in “redistribution at a certain level,” Romney pounced:

“He [Obama] really believes in what I’ll call a government-centered society. I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America,” Romney said Wednesday at an Atlanta fundraiser. “There’s a tape that came out just a couple of days ago where the president said yes he believes in redistribution. I don’t. I believe the way to lift people and help people have higher incomes is not to take from some and give to others but to create wealth for all.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus seconded that description of Obama, and now all GOP surrogates are on message, making the ‘redistribution’ buzzword the central theme in Romney’s campaign.

But of course this depiction of Obama couldn’t be further from the truth. Obama has actually governed like a starry-eyed Milton Friedman disciple. Bloomberg News decided to investigate Romney’s ‘redistribution’ charge, and here is what they found:

If President Barack Obama is trying to spread the wealth, he doesn’t have much to show for it. [...]

[S]ince Obama took office in January 2009, wealthy Americans have continued to pull away from the rest of society. In the aftermath of the recession, income inequality in the U.S. reached a new high in 2011, Census Bureau data show.

Even as the president has decried the hollowing out of the middle class, the fortunes of labor and capital have diverged on his watch. Quarterly corporate profits of $1.9 trillion have almost doubled since the end of 2008, while workers’ inflation- adjusted average hourly earnings have declined.

“At the very high end, people got a whole lot wealthier whereas income stagnated at other levels,” said Anne Mathias, director of Washington research for Guggenheim Securities LLC. “Fifty years ago, people talked about the other half, how the other half lived, and now we’re talking about the other 1 percent.”

But, forget reality — back to the fantasyland that is our Presidential Election.

Knowing his progressive base sees the U.S. economy through the 1% vs 99% prism and views his last 3 1/2 years as a monumental sellout to the 1%, Obama likely sees an opening in Romney’s ‘redistribution’ charge. This Republican accusation may be exactly what he needs to energize his own base. Perhaps it can help him to get his populist mojo back.

And the theater just continues on and on …

But make no mistake about it, whichever candidate wins — be it Obama or Romney — things will continue right along this Neoliberal road we are on, and the firmly-entrenched 1% will have their man.

UPDATE:

Author edit: In response to commenter who questioned the validity of my statement re: Mitt Romney’s alleged support of gay-marriage when Governor of Massachusetts, and after further review myself, I have decided to remove the following statement: (he implemented same-sex marriage by executive fiat).

 

After The Iraq Debacle, It Would Be Negligent For Americans Not To Watch Ahmadinejad’s U.N. Speech

By: TheCallUp Thursday September 27, 2012 9:34 am

Originally published at AlterPolitics

One reason why the most powerful interests succeed in pulling the wool over the eyes of the American people is because the masses rarely if ever take the time to read or view the raw information available to them. Instead they rely on others’ interpretations.

Everyone is guilty of this to different degrees. People’s lives are hectic, there are only so many hours in a given day. So the masses look for quick summaries, 30-minute news programs covering dozens of different news briefs that can be measured in seconds. Fast food news consumption for those on the go.

But in doing so, they become dependent upon these same powerful interests, not only to inform them about what they need to know, but how to think about these issues.

When the interests of both the public and the powerful coincide, then the public can often glean an accurate, though often ‘Cliffs Notes’-level of comprehension on any given issue. But when the public interest conflicts with the interests of the powerful on an issue, then the establishment is well positioned to massage the message and misinform, or to drop its coverage entirely, thereby ensuring the public remains uninformed.

This helps to ensure the masses vote and cheerlead against their own best interests, and in ways that further enrich the powerful. The public ends up supporting wars they later learn were unnecessary, unlawful, costly, and resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, often including members of their own families.

A majority of Americans knew close to nothing about Saddam Hussein after Sept. 11, 2001, at a time when the Bush Administration began its propaganda campaign to mislead the country into a war with Iraq. This made the Neocons’ job very easy. By repeating talking points laced with demagoguery and fear mongering, the Bush Administration convinced a major majority of Americans that this dictator was so evil, so dangerous, so irrational, that his accelerating ‘nuclear weapons program’ made him an ‘imminent threat’ to American security.

One of the most oft-repeated phrases the Neocons used to help demonize Saddam as a monster was “he gassed his own people.”

George W. Bush on Oct. 11, 2001 (one month after 9-11):

“There’s no question that the leader of Iraq is an evil man. After all, he gassed his own people. We know he’s been developing weapons of mass destruction. … And so we’re watching him very carefully. We’re watching him carefully.”

The gassing allegation was true. Saddam DID gas the Kurds on 40-some different occasions. His largest gassing was against the Kurdish town of Halabja in March of 1988, resulting in the deaths of 5,000 people. But what George W. Bush didn’t want you to know, and could rely on the establishment media not to tell you, was that this gassing took place back when Saddam was an ally and aid recipient of the United States, during the Administration of his father, George H.W. Bush.

Samantha Power, in her Pulitzer Prize winning book, “A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide,” revealed that not only was the Bush Administration well aware of the gassing of the Kurds, they refused to even condemn it. Despite knowing definitively that Saddam was responsible, as declassified documents now reveal, the State Department went as far as to suggest that perhaps Iran was involved on some level in the gassing.

Does this fact make Saddam any less evil? Of course not. But had the public at large realized that Bush and his fellow Neocons were capitalizing on incidents that occurred nearly 15 years earlier — incidents that happened when Saddam was cozy with Bush’s own father and some of these same Neocons, and with their full knowledge — it might have led the public to question why these Neocons suddenly ’saw the light’ on Saddam’s monstrosity. And that might have taken some of the air out of the ‘imminent threat’ bubble.

And now Americans are being sold that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the new Adolph Hitler. This week, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly (99 votes to 1) passed a new non-binding resolution, proclaiming war to be a viable option should the Iranians gain the capability for a nuke — even if they have no intentions of creating one. The knowledge, in itself, has now been pronounced grounds for war.

Now, you might not like Ahmadinejad, you might even find his views on any number of subjects repugnant, or his abuse of political dissidents criminal, but he is NO Adolph Hitler, NOR Saddam Hussein.

The Washington establishment is terrified that you too might draw this same conclusion. Because if Israel were to launch an attack on Iran, the U.S. would undoubtedly be dragged into war. And none of our politicians have the guts to ward Israel off by threatening repercussions (e.g. aid cuts, no more U.S.-vetoes to shield Israel from accountability at the U.N. Security Council, etc.). And no one in the mainstream media has the courage to address this unprecedented ‘tail wags dog’ dynamic.

So instead, they ALL demagogue the Iranian President, embellish his words, make comparisons to Hitler, as if to make his ‘irrationality’ and ‘evilness’ a type of conventional wisdom that must remain unchallenged, especially during prime time.

When President Ahmadinejad gave a speech at the U.N. yesterday, the U.S. delegation boycotted it, thereby sending a loud and clear message to the nation that this leader is so despicable, so evil, so threatening, that they wouldn’t dare attend.

Despite President Obama’s apparent reluctance for war, the American war drums continue to bang loudly. Each week, the threat of an Israeli attack gets heightened and PM Netanyahu continues to meddle in the U.S. Presidential Elections, blatantly trying to entrap the U.S. President into committing to war.

All Americans owe it to themselves to watch Ahmadinejad’s U.N. speech. Watch it and decide for yourselves whether the Iranian President is the depraved lunatic you’ve been told; whether his words make him such an ‘imminent threat’ to the United States, that hundreds of thousands more innocent lives are worth losing, trillions more dollars are worth spending (err borrowing); that it is worth having our gas prices tripled, and our economy ransacked.

Spare yourselves the establishment’s caricature of Ahmadinejad and just watch him for yourself:

TRANSCRIPT (at mid-page)

VIDEO: WINEP’s Director of Research: U.S. Needs A False Flag to Start A War With Iran

By: TheCallUp Tuesday September 25, 2012 9:42 pm

Originally published at AlterPolitics

Many of the notables who served in the Bush Administration and played key roles in misleading the United States into war with Iraq have passed through the corridors of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). In fact, the think-tank serves as an incubator for the hawkish Neoconservative ideology.

Here is how Harvard professor of Int’l Affairs Steven M. Walt describes the think-tank:

[WINEP] is a key organization in the Israel lobby. It was founded in 1985 by three individuals: Larry and Barbi Weinberg, who had formerly been the president and vice-president of AIPAC; and Martin Indyk, who was previously deputy director for research there. These founders understood that AIPAC’s efforts would be enhanced if there was a separate, seemingly “objective” research organization to provide consistently “pro-Israel” analysis and commentary, while AIPAC concentrated on more direct lobbying activities. Although WINEP claims that it provides a “balanced and realistic perspective” on Middle East issue, anyone who spends a few hours examining its website and reading its publications will realize this is not the case.

In fact, WINEP is funded and led by individuals who are deeply committed to defending the special relationship, and promoting policies in Washington that they believe will benefit Israel. Its board of advisors is populated with prominent advocates for Israel such as Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, James Woolsey, and Mortimer Zuckerman, and there’s no one on this board who is remotely critical of Israel or inclined to favor any other country in the “Near East.”

Former AIPAC staffer MJ Rosenberg was literally “in the room” when WINEP was founded. Here he describes its birth:

I was in the room when AIPAC decided to establish WINEP.

It was Steve Rosen (later indicted under the Espionage Act, although charges were subsequently dropped) who cleverly came up with the idea for an AIPAC controlled think-tank that would disseminate the AIPAC line but in a way that would disguise its connections.

There was no question that WINEP was to be AIPAC’s cutout. It was funded by AIPAC donors, staffed by AIPAC employees, and located one door away, down the hall, from AIPAC Headquarters (No more. It has its own digs).

It would also hire all kinds of people not identified with Israel as cover and would encourage them to write whatever they liked on matters not related to Israel. “Say what you want on Morocco, kid.” But on Israel, never deviate more than a degree or two.

So, it probably shouldn’t have come as TOO big a shock when this video became circulated on Twitter tonight, showing the depths the Neoconservatives are prepared to plunge to get their war against Iran.

Here is a video of WINEP’s Director of Research Patrick Clawson, telling a gathering in the group’s conference room that the United States should find a ‘false flag’ to get into war with Iran.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

I frankly find that crisis initiation is really tough. And it’s very hard for me to see how the United States President can get us into war with Iran. Which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming that the traditional way that America gets into war is what would be best for U.S. interests.

Some people might think that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us into World War II, as David mentioned, you may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor. Some people think Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War I, you may recall we had to wait for the Lusitania episode. Some people might think that Mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam, you may recall we had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode. We didn’t go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded. And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the Federal Army until Fort Sumter was attacked which is why he ordered the commander of Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolineans had said would cause an attack.

So if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war. One can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure.

I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down, some day one of them might not come up, who would know why? We could do a variety of things if we wish to to increase the pressure. I’m not advocating that, but I’m just suggesting that this is not an either or proposition, you know it’s just sanctions have to succeed or it’s other things.

We are in the games of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier.

President Obama’s Appearance on 60 Minutes: The Good And The Bad

By: TheCallUp Monday September 24, 2012 10:35 am

Originally published at AlterPolitics

A photo of Obama speaking

Photo: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

President Obama and Governor Romney both appeared on 60 Minutes last night in what is being billed as an indirect debate between the two candidates. They interviewed separately, but both used it as an opportunity to level some attacks at one another and to defend themselves against the other’s talking points.

Here are some of the things that struck me about Obama’s performance:

1. The Good

The President subtly distinguished U.S. interests from Israels’:

The President cleverly addressed Steve Kroft’s question regarding Israel PM Netanyahu’s blatant attempts to force the U.S. into war with Iran. Kroft asked him about the pressure being leveled at him during the U.S. elections (a time when a sitting President is most likely to placate deep-pocketed special interest groups). Obama appropriately recast the issue to the interests of the American people.

Although this tact might seem logical and obvious to most Americans — A U.S. President putting U.S. interests above those of a foreign government’s — anyone who follows the Israel / Palestine issue closely, knows this is practically unheard of in Washington, and actually constitutes bravery:

Kroft: How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?

Obama: Well, look, I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race.

Kroft: You’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

Obama:When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.

Later in the interview, Kroft brought up Romney’s assertion that Obama was weak on national defense and foreign policy, saying that he “needed to be more aggressive on Iran, he hadn’t done enough to support the revolt in Syria, and that our ‘friends’ don’t know where we stand, and our enemies think we’re weak.” To which Obama replied:

Well, let’s see what I’ve done since I came into office. I said I’d end the war in Iraq, I did. I said that we’d go after al-Qaeda. They’ve been decimated… That we’d go after Bin Laden, he’s gone. So, I’ve executed on my foreign policy, and it’s one the American people agree with. So, if Governor Romney is suggesting we should start another war, he should say so.

Essentially, Obama is turning Romney’s pro-Israel hawkishness around on him, by reminding Americans that war is too important an issue to be championing for mere political expediency. That committing the United States to another unnecessary war in the Middle East, once again driven by fear mongering, would hold severe repercussions for U.S. interests.

2. The Bad

Debate: Kurt Eichenwald v Ari Fleischer On Bush Admin’s Refusal To Heed CIA Warnings Of 9-11 Attacks

By: TheCallUp Wednesday September 12, 2012 6:34 am

Originally published at AlterPolitics

Former NY Times reporter and bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald wrote a scathing NY Times Op-Ed Tuesday in which he revealed how the Bush Administration refused to heed MANY explicit (previously unknown) warnings of the impending 9-11 attacks.

His information is based upon Presidential Daily Briefings (PDBs) he obtained, which the Bush Admin had refused to release to the 9-11 Commission, and interviews he conducted with intelligence and Bush Admin officials for his new book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars.

Eichenwald stated that the neocons at the Pentagon contested the C.I.A. warning briefs, assuring “the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled,” and that ”Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.”

The C.I.A. responded with an “analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.” The White House’s refusal to take action lead some officials at the C.I.A. counterterrorism group to contemplate requesting for transfers “so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place.”

The Op-Ed created a firestorm in the inner beltway, and the neocon response to Eichenwald was both swift and predictable.

Immediately after the Op-Ed’s release, former Bush WH Press Secretary Ari Fleischer Tweeted the following,  in an attempt to marginalize Eichenwald as some loony conspiracy theorist:

 

CNN’s Anderson Cooper invited Eichenwald and Fleischer onto his show tonight to debate the facts underlying Eichenwald’s reporting, but Fleischer predictably resorts to ad hominem attacks, and demands Democrats share the blame for the Bush Admin’s gross negligence:

 

MUSIC: Ziggy Marley, Chuck D, And Linda Perry Release Catchy Occupy-Inspired Reggae Tune

By: TheCallUp Sunday September 9, 2012 3:29 pm

Originally Published at AlterPolitics

Inspired by the Occupy movement, Ziggy Marley, 4 Non-Blondes’ Linda Perry, and Public Enemy’s Chuck D recently collaborated in the studio, producing a very catchy reggae song, entitled “Can You Feel It?”

Inspirational political songs, these days, seem few and far between. Too often the lyrics come off as preachy and amateurish, and fail to provoke any passion or soul. Marley, Perry, and Chuck D managed to pull it off with this track. The political verses work, and the soulful Perry-led chorus will leave you humming the song long after it ends.

“Can You Feel It?” was released in June as a download to “enjoy, and share around the world freely.” You can visit Marley’s site for the FREE DOWNLOAD, or you can just listen to it here:

In the latest issue of SubMerge Magazine, James Barone interviews Marley, asking him about writing “Can You Feel It?” and what inspired him about the Occupy movement?:

Marley: … I was just happy to see people standing up for something at that level where it’s not about a student or religious thing, or even a politic per se, it was just a people thing … and how the economic structure of America seems to have been manipulated by those who have this inside knowledge or inside track. The common people don’t have that inside thing …

I want to see more of that. What I knew America for was that, really, people standing up in the streets and protesting things, and changing things… During the Gulf War and even after that, I was wondering how so many things were being put over on the American people. How are all these things being done, and the American people seem to not be involved in it?

I was just happy to see the people up and about and giving the system a run for its money. That song was a part of that.

The interview is only a couple pages long and delves further into Marley’s impressions of the Occupy movement and his opinions on the American political system. For those interested, the interview can be read in full HERE:

DNC Platform Change Vote Was Predetermined On Teleprompter, Delegate Voting Was Merely For Show

By: TheCallUp Friday September 7, 2012 11:15 am

Originally published at AlterPolitics

Editor’s Note: David Dayen reported on the shady vote Wednesday.

Controversy erupted at the DNC this week when Democratic party leaders forced a party platform change to reinstate language proclaiming Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital,” and to reinstate references to God in the text.

The motion had to be voted on by a two-thirds majority of the delegates for passage, and it became clear, after several vote calls by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a major majority did NOT want the platform changed.

Confused on how to proceed, the Mayor looked to a woman who came out and advised him, “Just keep going, they’re going to do what they are going to do.”

The mayor then pronounced, “in the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative,” provoking boos from the large crowd.

Well, now Fox News is showing footage of the DNC teleprompter the Mayor was reading from. It shows that the two-thirds majority needed for the passage of the motion had been predetermined by party leaders, with complete disregard for how the delegates actually voted. Apparently, they forgot to tell the Mayor in advance that the vote was merely for show; that the only results that mattered were written on the teleprompter.

DNC Teleprompter - Party Platform Change

What this so clearly highlights is the contempt that political power elites hold for the democratic process and the will of the majority — even within their own party.

VIDEO: Green Party’s Jill Stein: Romney Is A Wolf In Wolf’s Clothing, Obama Is A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

By: TheCallUp Saturday August 11, 2012 2:27 pm

Originally published at AlterPolitics

Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein sits down with RT America to discuss the current state of the nation and the systemic forces that work against all efforts for real progressive reform. The video proceeds the following transcript highlights:

Stein explains how the 2-party political establishment works to marginalize all political opposition:

RT: You’re going to be on ballots but not in all states. Can you explain what it is in the system of the US that makes it so hard for a third party to break into this two-horse race?

JS: Exactly. The American system is designed to eliminate political opposition, like some of the dictatorships we criticize that have rigged political systems. In many ways the American system is also rigged, but in ways that are not so straightforward.

You have to actually see what it takes to get on the ballot if you are not already on as one of the big machine parties. Each state has its own set of rules which are very demanding, very detailed and bureaucratic and require lots of signatures in order to get on the ballots.

For the most part you need a lot of money, many millions of dollars, to buy your way on to the ballot, basically by hiring signature gatherers and people to keep track of this.

Stein explains that beyond their rhetoric, the 2 establishment parties are virtually one in the same:

RT: The Green Party often describes itself as the party that represents “Main Street” versus Wall Street. In what way do Barack Obama and Mitt Romney represent Wall Street that is against the interests of the American people?

JS: You know, Mitt Romney doesn’t even pretend to do anything other than advance the economic elites’ agenda. He has a track record which is to advance the likes of his own to acquire enormous amounts of wealth by tearing down other companies and businesses, firing workers and off-shoring jobs, gobbling up the profits themselves.

He’s got a track record which is pretty clear and he has a pretty straight-ahead Wall Street agenda.

With Barack Obama and the Democratic Party it is a little harder to see clearly what they are about because they do talk a populist line, but to actually look at their record – it is pretty clear who their allegiances are to.

George Bush provided about $800 billion in bailouts for Wall Street. But under Barack Obama it has been many trillions, some $4.5 trillion worth of bailouts that has already been dispersed and there there are many more trillions worth of loans and emergency loans and guarantees and quantitative easing through the Fed. All kinds of backdoors to basically funnel either out-and-out bailouts or free money to Wall Street.

So Mitt Romney is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing. Barack Obama is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, but they both essentially have the same agenda.

How the establishment has worked to stifle and silence the Occupy Movement:

RT: Can you talk a little bit more about your involvement with the Occupy Wall Street movement? Has the movement been big enough to make a tectonic shift in the US politics?

JS: I believe that that tectonic shift is happening and Occupy is one of the indicators it is happening. It is happening because one out of every two Americans is either in poverty or low income. Americans are really hurting and are desperate for solutions which they are not getting.

There is a rebellion that is in full swing. Occupy speaks for that rebellion. We saw in polls early on that a substantial majority of Americans was very sympathetic and supportive of the Occupy agenda.

RT: With the majority it is kind of a silent rebellion.

JS: Exactly. We are silenced. I believe it is not silent but our voices are continually muzzled. Through all kinds of ways. We cannot speak out politically. The media is very much in the hands of big corporations.

RT: The Congress approval rating is 11 per cent, so people are unhappy – but it is silent.

JS: Yes, by design. So that people have to work very hard to break through. And Occupy got the critical mass by assembling in our public squares, and they were very effective in breaking through – until the public relations campaign began to be conducted against them.

And we saw that, because that PR campaign actually got leaked. It was a many many hundreds of thousands of dollars campaign that was constructed even before the counterattack began. So you have both a media counter attack and than you had a counterattack by way of police brutality and suppression of our civil liberties as people were brutally attacked.

Stein describes U.S. foreign policy over the last decade as a failure, and how Barack Obama embraced George W. Bush’s policies:

RT: Let’s talk foreign policy. What is at the basis of the US serving as the world police? Would you carry on with it as a president?

JS: This world police policy is bankrupting Americans. We’re spending about $1 trillion a year on the military-industrial security complex. That budget has roughly doubled over the last 10 years, and we’re certainly not more secure for it.

We’ve spent trillions of dollars in Iraq. When we withdrew from Iraq how did we do it? We withdrew from Iraq in the dead of night, on a secret undisclosed date, because we were afraid that we would be ambushed in the process. How many friends exactly did we make in this war? What kind of a stable democracy did we make in Iraq? Iraq continues to tether on a brink of a civil war. It has certainly not become a straunch and reliable ally for the US, or for democracy, or for women’s rights, for that matter.

The barrel of a gun has not been an effective diplomat, and we need to heed that and take a lesson from it.

Unfortunately, President Obama basically embraced George Bush’s militaristic approach to foreign policy. On his third day in office he intensified the bombings in Pakistan, then went on to spread the drone wars into Somalia and Yemen. He surged the troops into Afghanistan. We still have about twice as many troops as we had under George Bush. It has certainly not made Afghanistan a safer and more secure place. We’re not in a better position to withdraw now and declare victory than we were years ago.

We know that when you have the kind of civilian casualties that you have with drone bombing, you’re simply aiding and abetting those very terrorist organizations that you’re trying to go after in the first place.

RT: What makes you concerned with regards to Mitt Romney’s foreign policy plans – if anything?

JS: His plans are basically, “let increase the military budget.” He has a lot of machismo and bravado when he beats the war drum. He wants to really flex muscle against Iran. But so too does the Obama administration, though they are less warmongering about it. But they are basically in agreement about coming down very hard on Iran, and holding no options off the table. So, they both threaten to use war where we should be using diplomacy.

On the 2-establishment parties’ financial dominance over third parties:

RT: We talked about money in politics. Everyone knows that campaigns are not cheap. You’re a physician. Your net worth is probably far from Mitt Romney’s $200 million. Your party is financing a lost cause at this stage. What is the real goal at this stage?

JS: In my view to say it is a lost cause is to say that our economy is a lost cause. It is to say that it is inevitable that we’re going to crash.

I mean the uphill battle for our election is identical to the uphill battle to rescue our economy.

We are a real political party. We’re not just the storefront that looks like it is main street, but is actually funded by Wall Street – that’s what the other political parties are. They pretend to really have the public support, but what they really have is the support of this 1 per cent. They have a propaganda campaign going on and intensive public relations and psychological warfare that is intended to convince people that they don’t have any options.

WATCH: