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"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green Party censored from national presidential election debates

Note from Verbena: This is the second time in a few months that these two were arrested doing civil disobedience.  The last time was, I believe, at a stay-in of a foreclosed home!  Of course, they don't get to be on TV and everything in the debates.  Everyone would relate too well to them.

2012-10-16 "Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala removed from Hofstra Debate" by "LongIslandReport"
Members of the Green Party are removed from the premises.

2012-10-16 "Green Party protesters led away by police at Hofstra Debate" by Joanna Sapienza and Fran Berkman from "Long Island Report"

Civic debate isn’t the only democratic process on display in Hempstead today. Several hours before the start of the debate, various activist groups gathered across from the main entrance of Hofstra University to exercise their First Amendment rights.
Representatives from various activist groups, including PETA and the Socialist Alternative, gathered on the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and California Avenue.
After gathering alongside the other groups, Jill Stein, a Green Party candidate for president, along with her running mate Cheri Honkala, attempted to gain access to the debate hall. Stein was denied entrance to the campus by Hofstra representatives because she did not have credentials. Eventually police barricaded the entrance.

“If you have done the work to get on the ballot, if you are on the ballot and could actually win the electoral college by being on the ballot in enough states, then you deserve to be in the election and you deserve to be heard,” Stein told the police and crowd that gathered to watch her demonstration. “The American people deserve to hear choices which are not bought and paid for by multinational corporations and Wall Street. This is why we are not hearing the critical issues in this debate.”
Bob Commike, member of Socialist Alternative, shared this sentiment: “There are numerous people running, Where are their voices heard? They don’t have the money so their voices aren’t heard so it’s democracy for the rich that we have.”

After trying unsuccessfully to gain access to the campus for some 20 minutes, Stein and Honkala sat down on the street in front of the university and draped an American flag over their laps.

Several minutes later, a Nassau County police officer informed Stein and Honkala if they did not move, they would be arrested. The two protestors refused to move, and they were eventually led away by both county and campus police officers.

2012-10-16 "Jill Stein, Cheri Honkala arrested, call tonight's debate a "mockumentary" by "Jill Stein for President"
(HEMPSTEAD, NY) - Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, the Green presidential and vice-presidential nominees, were just now forcibly prevented from entering the grounds of tonight's presidential debate organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). See a video here [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnam1yi5bVs].
Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala will appear on 85% of ballots on Election Day, and recently polled 2-3% in four consecutive national polls. The Federal government recognizes Jill Stein as a qualified presidential candidate, having approved her campaign for federal matching funds. Yet the two women were arrested by local police when they tried to enter the grounds of Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York, where the debate is scheduled to take place. They are currently still in police custody.
Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala walked with supporters toward the Hofstra campus at 2:00pm EST today. There they were met by three ranks of police officers in uniform and plainclothes. At this point, the Green Party candidates held an impromptu press conference in which Dr. Stein called the CPD debate a "mockumentary," saying that, "We are here to bring the courage of those excluded from our politics to this mock debate, this mockery of democracy."
Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala then turned and began walking onto the debate grounds, at which point the rank of police officers physically stopped them and pushed them back. The two women sat down and the police arrested them, saying that Stein and Honkala would be charged with "obstructing traffic," a charge Jill Stein for President staffer and lawyer Alex Howard called "bogus" in that there was no through-traffic visible at any time during the incident.
The presidential debates are the first opportunity for millions of voters to see the candidates themselves, not just their advertising campaigns. These debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) - a supposedly "nonpartisan" entity which is a puppet of and serves the interests of the Democrats, Republicans and the big corporations that fund both of them. The CPD's criteria to be included in these debates is designed to exclude independent presidential contenders who promote ideas that challenge those in power.
Over 14,000 have signed a statement calling on CPD to change its criteria, and repeated public calls for opening the CPD debates have been ignored by that corporation [http://occupythecpd.org/].
“The debates must include every candidate who is on enough ballots to win the White House and who has demonstrated a minimal level of support -- meaning either 1% of the vote in a credible national poll, or qualification for federal matching funds, or both,” reads the statement. “In 2012, the Green and Libertarian party candidates both meet all of these criteria and are both contenders for the presidency…These debates belong to the people, not the politicians or Wall Street.”
In addition there have been protests all over the country about this issue including in Boston, home of the Romney headquarters, and in Denver and Kentucky – the sites of the two recent presidential and vice presidential debates.
Jill Stein will be participating in at least four debates coming up, during which the American people will be able to learn the real range of options available to them this election.  Below are the list of debates in which Jill Stein will be participating:
* Thursday, October 18 -- The Independent Voter Network debate between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson can be viewed live on October 18, 2012 beginning at 7:00 PM EST on http://ivn.us/, or on IVN.us’ Google+ and YouTube page. More information at: [http://ivn.us/ca-election-center/2012/10/11/ivn-us-to-host-first-online-presidential-debate/]
* Monday, October 22 -- Time TBA: Democracy Now continues its "Expanding the Debate" series with a live broadcast during the third presidential debate with real-time responses from Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson. For full details: [http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2012/10/10/expanding_the_debate_upcoming_democracy_now_election_specials]
* Thursday, October 23 & Tuesday October 30 -- Free and Equal Election's Alternative Debate will be available live online, streaming from [http://freeandequal.org/live] on Oct. 23 and Oct 30 at 9:00 PM EST.  The first of thses two debates will include Jill Stein from the Green Party; Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party; Virgil Goode from the Constitution Party; and Rocky Anderson from the Justice Party.  More information at: [http://action.freeandequal.org/debate-rsvp/]

2012-10-16 "Jill Stein & Cheri Honkala Arrested Outside Debate" from "Huffington Post"
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested outside of Hofstra University on Tuesday after attempted to enter debate grounds.
According to Stein's campaign press statement, Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala joined supporters outside the Hofstra campus at 2pm, where Stein declared, "We are here to bring the courage of those excluded from our politics to this mock debate, this mockery of democracy." When they started to walk onto the debate grounds, they were stopped by police officers, and then the two women sat down on the ground.
Student-run news organization Long Island Report posted a video of Stein and Honkala sitting, with an officer arguing, "You're blocking traffic." After Honkala stated, "We want to practice our first amendment rights," the police can been seen removing the women from the ground and leading them away.
According to the campaign, Stein and Honkala were then arrested. Press contact Glenn Turner confirmed to HuffPost that Stein was arrested and as of early Tuesday evening was still in jail, charged with disorderly conduct.
Earlier in the day, Stein told Philadelphia Weekly that despite some butterflies in the stomach, "We are prepared to be arrested in the service of democracy and a future that serves us all.”
Stein advocates have been upset over her exclusion from the main debates. According to Politico, "The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates stipulates that a candidate must garner at least 15 percent in national polls in order to participate."
Stein's supporters have expressed disillusionment with mainstream candidates, while many environmentalists have grown frustrated over the "climate silence" permeating much of the campaign season.
As HuffPost blogger Carl Gibson wrote [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-gibson/jill-stein-green-party_b_1881025.html]:
[begin excerpt]
Jill Stein is a candidate that the other 90 million of us can get excited about. Picture the populist candidate Barack Obama once was in 2008, minus the financial support from Wall Street banks and oil companies, and the fawning coverage from mainstream media outlets. In her Green New Deal, she's vowing to end drone strikes, tightly regulate Wall Street, halt all government-funded construction of fossil fuel-dependent projects, and end all foreign wars and occupations.
[end excerpt]
According to the campaign, Stein is expected to be listed on 85% of the ballots, and is planning to participate in an upcoming debate with Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

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