Jill Stein vs. John Oliver….Ugh

Recently there’s been a ton of coverage tied to Hillary’s emails and the allegations brought against Donnie, and how they could could impact the U.S. Presidential election. But, if you’re on the progressive flank (the real one that is; not the neoliberal facade that’s being tugged around by the Clinton campaign) then you may have been following the beef between Jill Stein’s camp and the John Oliver show.

For folks on the left, it’s likely been hard to watch. While Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” doesn’t float social democratic remedies on a regular basis, and is far from radical, it produces funny, compelling segments, which expose troubling issues that need to be addressed. It’s definitely on my weekly, must see, viewing list.

Recently, however, Oliver took a shot at Green candidate Jill Stein, and if you’re like me, it was hard to watch. For many progressives, Stein’s platform is the only one that promises to challenge and change a grossly unjust and unsustainable status-quo. Particularly since Bernie didn’t win the Democratic nomination. So, when Oliver picked apart Stein’s plan to use quantitative easing to eliminate student debt, it left me, and likely many others, a wee bit uneasy.

Now, even the biggest Green boosters would likely agree that at times, Stein and the team haven’t effectively outlined how QE could be used to help students. In addition, there’s no question that the President would have a massive, political battle on their hands, trying to implement this plan. Especially since the Federal Reserve – an independent body – would need to go along.

But, as others have pointed out since Oliver’s segment (see below), Stein’s plan is possible. Certainly more possible than Donnie’s plans to build a wall across the American border, and have Mexico pay for it, which is the comparison Oliver made. Then, there’s the reality that freeing students of their debt, is precisely the type of progressive change we need to make. Yes, even if the debt would be redistributed throughout the American populace. But hell, no one seems to mind when bills for countless and pointless wars are assigned to the taxpayer right?  Or when corporations are allowed to offshore profits at the expense of the nation’s well being? Or when the public has to pony up for all the ‘externalities’ big industry and corporate interests create.

I’m not writing off Oliver or his show. I still absolutely respect the work he and his staff are doing. But am I disappointed? Ya. I am.  But, I don’t live in a nation where “The Tan” could become my next leader. So, it’s not surprising to see that in the frantic push to avoid this, some unfair smear jobs are taking place.

You can check out Jimmy Dore, and the award winning journalist Robert Scheer’s take on the segment below.


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