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The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.

Mr Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.

In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Mr Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.

American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Mr Obama in November’s election.

In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Mr Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Mr Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.

In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.

The deal takes into account neither inflation nor the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.

A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.

Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even The New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.

Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.

But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, ­Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.

Almost no one blames the US for Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own nuclear arsenal.

In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.

The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.

Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.

The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.

But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash over Palestinian statehood.

Some believe that Mr Obama signed the aid package to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Mr Netanyahu into making peace.

Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate unity to confound critics of the aid deal.

If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.

Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act against the Palestinians with continuing US impunity.

- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf

Expanding the Debate: Jill Stein "Debates" Clinton & Trump

Video By Democracy Now!

While the Green Party’s Jill Stein was escorted off the campus at Hofstra, what would it sound like if she actually participated in the debate?

We air excerpts from the presidential debate and get response from Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein.

Posted September 30, 2016


Part 2


AMY GOODMAN: While the Green Party’s Jill Stein was escorted off the campus at Hofstra, what would it sound like if she actually participated in the debate? Well, today, as is our tradition, Democracy Now! expands the debate. Debate moderator Lester Holt will ask Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump questions. After their responses, we stop the tape to give Dr. Jill Stein a chance to answer the same question from her own podium. We invited Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson to join us, as well, but he couldn’t make it. NBC News host Lester Holt, take it away.

LESTER HOLT: We’re calling this opening segment "Achieving Prosperity." And central to that is jobs. There are two economic realities in America today. There’s been a record six straight years of job growth, and new census numbers show incomes have increased at a record rate after years of stagnation. However, income inequality remains significant, and nearly half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Beginning with you, Secretary Clinton, why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American workers?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, Lester, and thanks to Hofstra for hosting us.

The central question in this election is really what kind of country we want to be and what kind of future we’ll build together. Today is my granddaughter’s second birthday, so I think about this a lot.

First, we have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That means we need new jobs, good jobs, with rising incomes. I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business.

We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women’s work. I also want to see more companies do profit sharing. If you help create the profits, you should be able to share in them, not just the executives at the top.

And I want us to do more to support people who are struggling to balance family and work. I’ve heard from so many of you about the difficult choices you face and the stresses that you’re under. So let’s have paid family leave, earned sick days. Let’s be sure we have affordable child care and debt-free college.

How are we going to do it? We’re going to do it by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes.

Finally, we, tonight, are on the stage together, Donald Trump and I. Donald, it’s good to be with you. We’re going to have a debate where we are talking about the important issues facing our country. You have to judge us: Who can shoulder the immense, awesome responsibilities of the presidency? Who can put into action the plans that will make your life better? I hope that I will be able to earn your vote on November 8th.

LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton, thank you. Mr. Trump, the same question to you. It’s about putting money—more money into the pockets of American workers. You have up to two minutes.

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you, Lester.

Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product: They’re devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight, and we have a winning fight, because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing. So we’re losing our good jobs, so many of them.

When you look at what’s happening in Mexico, a friend of mine who builds plants said it’s the eighth wonder of the world. They’re building some of the biggest plants anywhere in the world, some of the most sophisticated, some of the best plants. With the United States, as he said, not so much. So, Ford is leaving. You see that, their small car division leaving, thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They’re all leaving. And we can’t allow it to happen anymore.

As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that. We probably disagree a little bit as to numbers and amounts and what we’re going to do, but perhaps we’ll be talking about that later.

But we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people. All you have to do is take a look at Carrier air conditioning in Indianapolis. They left, fired 1,400 people. They’re going to Mexico. So many hundreds and hundreds of companies are doing this. We cannot let it happen.

Under my plan, I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch. Companies will come. They will build. They will expand. New companies will start. And I look very, very much forward to doing it. We have to renegotiate our trade deals, and we have to stop these countries from stealing our companies and our jobs.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein?

DR. JILL STEIN: So, I’ll start just by thanking Democracy Now! for holding a real debate, which the American people are clamoring for. Over 75 percent of Americans are saying they want an open debate. The two candidates of the establishment parties are the most disliked and untrusted in our history, so we owe the American people a full debate.

On this question of prosperity, I think Donald Trump knows what he’s talking about, about the offshoring of jobs, because, in fact, Donald Trump has offshored all of his jobs, aside from his real estate. All of the products that he manufactures and markets, in fact, are produced offshore. And he, in fact, has been an advocate of closing factories, moving them offshore or down south, and then moving them back—in this case, to Michigan—so that workers’ wages could be suppressed. So, indeed, he does exemplify the very problem that he is talking about.

The prosperity issue has really reached crisis proportions, because prosperity has gone to the top, not to American workers who are struggling. Half of Americans are basically in poverty or near poverty and struggling to survive. So we need truly transformative solutions. This won’t be solved around the margins.

My campaign is calling for a Green New Deal, which is an emergency jobs program that will create 20 million good-wage, living-wage jobs as part of solving the emergency of climate change. So we—we call for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, in time to actually solve the climate crisis. And in doing so, we would revive the economy, turn the tide on climate change and actually improve our health so much by phasing out fossil fuels, which in fact kill 200,000 people every year and cause lots more illness in addition to that, but we gain so much money by saving on these needless sick care expenditures that that savings alone is enough to pay the costs of the Green New Deal.

And in addition, 100 percent renewable energy makes wars for oil obsolete. And we call for cutting the military budget from this bloated, dangerous budget, in fact, which is bankrupting us, and putting our dollars into true security here at home.

AMY GOODMAN: Hillary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: I know how to really work to get new jobs and to get exports that help to create more new jobs.

LESTER HOLT: Very quickly—

DONALD TRUMP: But you haven’t done it in 30 years or 26 years, any number you want to—

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve been a senator, Donald.

DONALD TRUMP: You haven’t done it. You haven’t done it.

HILLARY CLINTON: And I have been a secretary of state.

DONALD TRUMP: And excuse me.

HILLARY CLINTON: And I have done a lot—

DONALD TRUMP: Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, that’s your opinion. That is your opinion.

DONALD TRUMP: You go to New England, you go to Ohio, Pennsylvania, you go anywhere you want, Secretary Clinton, and you will see devastation where manufacture is down 30, 40, sometimes 50 percent. NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.

And now you want to approve Trans-Pacific Partnership. You were totally in favor of it. Then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, "I can’t win that debate." But you know that if you did win, you would approve that, and that will be almost as bad as NAFTA. Nothing will ever top NAFTA.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, that—that is just not accurate. I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out. I wrote about that in—

DONALD TRUMP: You called it the gold standard.

HILLARY CLINTON: I wrote about—well, I hope—I—

DONALD TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals.

HILLARY CLINTON: And you know what?

DONALD TRUMP: You said it’s the finest deal you’ve ever seen.


DONALD TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality—


HILLARY CLINTON: —but that is not the facts. The facts are, I did say I hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated—


HILLARY CLINTON: —which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn’t. I wrote about that in my book—

DONALD TRUMP: So is it President Obama’s fault?

HILLARY CLINTON: —before you even announced.

DONALD TRUMP: Is it President Obama’s fault?

HILLARY CLINTON: Look, there are different—there—

DONALD TRUMP: Secretary, is it President Obama’s fault?

HILLARY CLINTON: There are different—

DONALD TRUMP: Because he’s pushing it.

HILLARY CLINTON: There are different views about what’s good for our country, our economy and our leadership in the world. And I think it’s important to look at what we need to do to get the economy going again. That’s why I said new jobs with rising incomes, investments, not in more tax cuts that would add $5 trillion to the debt—

DONALD TRUMP: But you have no plan.

HILLARY CLINTON: —but in—oh, I do. In fact, I have written—

DONALD TRUMP: Secretary, you have no plan.

AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein?

DR. JILL STEIN: So, clearly more heat than light coming out of much of the discussion in last night’s debate. In addition to establishing an emergency jobs program, we need to do another major initiative, and that is to end the predatory student loan debt, which has basically held an entire generation hostage, unable to actually participate in the economy and create a decent future for themselves. So we call for bailing out the students, as the Democrats and Republicans bailed out Wall Street. After Wall Street had crashed the economy through their waste, fraud, and abuse, we say it’s about time to bail out the victims of that abuse. This would be the stimulus package of our dreams, to unleash an entire generation that is already trained. They have the skills. They have the passion and the vision. They need to be turned loose by canceling that debt.

There are many ways we can pay for it. It’s $1.3 trillion. We came up with $16 trillion to bail out Wall Street when they needed it. We can pay for ending student debt by creating a small tax on Wall Street, for example, or by increasing the income tax on the highest bracket of earners up to, say, 60 or 65 percent. We also call for making higher education free, because, in fact, it pays for itself. For every dollar that we put into higher education, in fact, we get back $7 in return in improved benefits and in actual increased revenues. So, we simply cannot afford not to make public higher education free.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, joining Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Democracy Now!'s special, "Expanding the Debate," based on last night's debate at Hofstra University, the first presidential debate. This is Democracy Now! This is what democracy sounds like. Back with the debate in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our "Expanding the Debate" special, as we air excerpts from the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and expand the debate by giving Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein a chance to respond to the same questions posed to the major-party candidates. NBC News anchor Lester Holt, take it away.

LESTER HOLT: I want to move to our next segment. We move into our next segment talking about America’s direction. And let’s start by talking about race. The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country is the highest it’s been in decades, much of it amplified by shootings of African Americans by police, as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap. So how do you heal the divide? Secretary Clinton, you get two minutes on this.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, you’re right. Race remains a significant challenge in our country. Unfortunately, race still determines too much, often determines where people live, determines what kind of education in their public schools they can get. And, yes, it determines how they’re treated in the criminal justice system. We’ve just seen those two tragic examples in both Tulsa and Charlotte.

And we’ve got to do several things at the same time. We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law. Right now that’s not the case in a lot of our neighborhoods. So I have, ever since the first day of my campaign, called for criminal justice reform. I’ve laid out a platform that I think would begin to remedy some of the problems we have in the criminal justice system.

But we also have to recognize, in addition to the challenges that we face with policing, there are so many good, brave police officers who equally want reform. So we have to bring communities together in order to begin working on that as a mutual goal.

And we’ve got to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African-American men, more than the next nine causes put together.

So we have to do two things, as I said. We have to restore trust. We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them. And we have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we’re seeing today.

LESTER HOLT: All right, Mr. Trump, you have two minutes. How do you heal the divide?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, first of all, Secretary Clinton doesn’t want to use a couple of words, and that’s "law" and "order." And we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.

And when I look at what’s going on in Charlotte, a city I love, a city where I have investments, when I look at what’s going on throughout various parts of our country, whether it’s—I mean, I can just keep naming them all day long—we need law and order in our country.

And I just got today the—as you know, the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. We just—just came in. We have endorsements from, I think, almost every police group, very—I mean, a large percentage of them in the United States.

We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African Americans, Hispanics are living in hell, because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot. In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1st, thousands of shootings. And I’m saying, "Where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing?" And we have to stop the violence. We have to bring back law and order. In a place like Chicago, where thousands of people have been killed, thousands over the last number of years—in fact, almost 4,000 have been killed since Barack Obama became president. Over four—almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed. We have to bring back law and order.

Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop-and-frisk, which worked very well—Mayor Giuliani is here—worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it. We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they’re illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant. We have to be—we have to know what we’re doing. Right now, our police, in many cases, are afraid to do anything. We have to protect our inner cities, because African-American communities are being decimated by crime. Decimated.

LESTER HOLT: Your two minutes is—your two minutes expired.

AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein?

DR. JILL STEIN: So, first, just to be clear, immigrants are among the most peaceful and nonviolent populations in the United States, so one should not be misled by Donald Trump’s efforts to do fear mongering and create animosity towards immigrants.

Where we need to start in addressing this crisis of police violence and the issues of the Black Lives Matter campaign, we need to begin with accountability. We need to ensure that police do not have impunity to wreak havoc in communities of color. And that needs to start with police review boards, or so-called citizen review boards, where the community actually has the ability to control their police rather than having the police control the communities. And those review boards should have the power to hire and fire police chiefs. They should also have the power of subpoena.

In addition, communities should have independent investigators who are available to look into every case of death or serious injury at the hands of police, so that every person who dies in—with—due to police actions, their family has a right to know what happened. Each case should be investigated.

And in addition, we call for a truth and reconciliation commission, because we are a society that is divided by fear, that is divided by suspicion, long-standing hatred. In fact, it’s known that when slavery was ended, it simply transformed into lynchings, which then led to Jim Crow, which then led to redlining and segregation, and then the war on drugs and then this epidemic of police violence. So there’s a long-standing and cumulative legacy of racism and violence that we must come to terms with as a society. So we call for a truth and reconciliation commission in order to truly have a conversation about race, so that we can transcend this history of division and violence and racism.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you. Lester Holt?

LESTER HOLT: But I do want to follow up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.

DONALD TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won on appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, there are many places where it’s allowed.

LESTER HOLT: The argument is that it’s a form of racial profiling.

DONALD TRUMP: No, the argument is that we have to take the guns away from these people that have them and that are bad people that shouldn’t have them. These are felons. These are people that are bad people that shouldn’t be—when you have 3,000 shootings in Chicago from January 1st, when you have 4,000 people killed in Chicago by guns from the beginning of the presidency of Barack Obama, his hometown, you have to have stop-and-frisk. You need more police.

You need a better community, you know, relation. You don’t have good community relations in Chicago. It’s terrible. I have property there. It’s terrible what’s going on in Chicago. But when you look—and Chicago’s not the only—you go to Ferguson, you go to so many different places. You need better relationships. I agree with Secretary Clinton on this. You need better relationships between the communities and the police, because in some cases it’s not good.

But you look at Dallas, where the relationships were really studied, the relationships were really a beautiful thing, and then five police officers were killed one night very violently. So there’s some bad things going on. Some really bad things.

LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton, you want to weigh in?

DONALD TRUMP: But we need—Lester, we need law and order. And we need law and order in the inner cities, because the people that are most affected by what’s happening are African-American and Hispanic people. And it’s very unfair to them what our politicians are allowing to happen.

LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve heard—I’ve heard Donald say this at his rallies, and it’s really unfortunate that he paints such a dire, negative picture of black communities in our country.


HILLARY CLINTON: You know, the vibrancy of the black church, the black businesses that employ so many people, the opportunities that so many families are working to provide for their kids—there’s a lot that we should be proud of and we should be supporting and lifting up.

But we do always have to make sure we keep people safe. There are the right ways of doing it, and then there are ways that are ineffective. Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional, and in part because it was ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.

Now, I believe in community policing. And, in fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.

But there were some problems, some unintended consequences. Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated.

So, we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say—we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein?

DR. JILL STEIN: Well, let me just comment that Hillary Clinton knows what she’s talking about when she refers to the injustices and the racial biases in our criminal justice system. Indeed, it was Bill Clinton’s omnibus crime bill of the 1990s, which Hillary supported, that opened the floodgates to mass incarceration and to this assault by police and the criminal injustice system on communities of color. So, indeed, that bill, that she herself promoted, saying how we needed to, quote, "bring them to heel," referring to African-American communities and youth, that indeed does need to be put behind us.

When Donald Trump talks about law and order, the place where law and order is most needed in our society, the place of greatest lawlessness and crime, is actually Wall Street. In fact, all the cops on the beat were laid off prior to the Wall Street crash in the years leading up to it; that is, from the Department of Justice, the FBI investigators, the security and exchange watchdogs had all been laid off. So, we call for actually bringing back the cops on the beat. Wall Street does not regulate itself. It needs people on Wall Street watching Wall Street, so we can in fact catch the crooks before they crash the economy again.

Stop-and-frisk was indeed unconstitutional and was indeed a flagrant case of racial profiling. It’s also true that it was not effective. In fact, crime rates were dropping in cities all over the country while they were also dropping in New York. So, to attribute that to stop-and-frisk, which was not causing the reduction around the country, is just wrong thinking.

And then, let me say also, regarding policing, we need to end the broken windows policing, which is confrontational, aggressive policing that results in the kinds of tragedies we saw last week, particularly with Keith Scott, who in fact was just sitting in his car reading a book. It’s disputed that he had a gun, as the police claimed, but in fact it is legal to have a gun and to carry a gun openly in North Carolina. So, this is really a classic study of the violence, the inherent violence, of this broken windows policing. Police need to be trained in de-escalation techniques. We need to be demilitarizing our police and changing the hiring practices so that police actually look like the communities that they should be a part of.

AMY GOODMAN: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, joining Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Democracy Now!'s special, "Expanding the Debate" special. And we'll continue with it in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: "Soldier of the Heart" by Judee Sill, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We return to our "Expanding the Debate" special. We’re airing excerpts of the first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate and expanding the debate by giving Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein a chance to respond to the same questions posed to the major-party candidates. I’m Amy Goodman. Back to Lester Holt.

LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, for five years you perpetuated a false claim that the nation’s first black president was not a natural-born citizen. You questioned his legitimacy. In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years: The president was born in the United States. Can you tell us what took you so long?

DONALD TRUMP: I’ll tell you very—well, just very simple to say. Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and close—very close friend of Secretary Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle, went to—during the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard. And you can go look it up, and you can check it out. And if you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened. Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard. She failed to get the birth certificate.

When I got involved, I didn’t fail. I got him to give the birth certificate. So I’m satisfied with it. And I’ll tell you why I’m satisfied with it.

LESTER HOLT: That was in 2011.

DONALD TRUMP: Because I want to get on to defeating ISIS, because I want to get on to creating jobs, because I want to get on to having a strong border, because I want to get on to things that are very important to me and that are very important to the country.

LESTER HOLT: I will let you respond. It’s important. But I just want to get the answer here. The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You continued to tell the story and question the president’s legitimacy in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15.


LESTER HOLT: As recently as January. So the question is: What changed your mind?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, nobody was pressing it. Nobody was caring much about it. I figured you’d ask the question tonight, of course. But nobody was caring much about it. But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate. And I think I did a good job.

Secretary Clinton also fought it. I mean, you know, now everybody in mainstream is going to say, "Oh, that’s not true." Look, it’s true. Sidney Blumenthal sent a reporter. You just have to take a look at CNN, the last week, the interview with your former campaign manager. And she was involved. But just like she can’t bring back jobs, she can’t produce.

LESTER HOLT: I’m sorry. I’m just going to follow up, and I will let you respond to that, because there’s a lot there. But we’re talking about racial healing in this segment. What do you say to Americans, especially people of color who [inaudible]—

DONALD TRUMP: Well, it was very—I say nothing. I say nothing, because I was able to get him to produce it. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.

But let me just tell you. When you talk about healing, I think that I’ve developed very, very good relationships over the last little while with the African-American community. I think you can see that. And I feel that they really wanted me to come to that conclusion. And I think I did a great job and a great service not only for the country, but even for the president, in getting him to produce his birth certificate.

LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, just listen to what you heard. And clearly, as Donald just admitted, he knew he was going to stand on this debate stage and Lester Holt was going to be asking us questions, so he tried to put the whole racist birther lie to bed.

But it can’t be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted. He persisted year after year, because some of his supporters, people that he was trying to bring into his fold, apparently believed it or wanted to believe it.

But, remember, Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination, because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African Americans, and he made sure that the people who worked for him understood that was the policy. He actually was sued twice by the Justice Department. So he has a long record of engaging in racist behavior.

And the birther lie was a very hurtful one. You know, Barack Obama is a man of great dignity. And I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him. But I like to remember what Michelle Obama said in her amazing speech at our Democratic National Convention: "When they go low, we go high." And Barack Obama went high, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts to bring him down.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein?

DR. JILL STEIN: So, it’s important—excuse me—that Hillary Clinton point out Donald Trump’s record of flagrant, blatant racism. It’s also important, I think, to point out the record of Hillary Clinton’s actions that have also been hurtful, particularly to the African-American and Latino communities. In addition to the omnibus crime bill that opened the floodgates to mass incarceration and massively disproportionate locking up of African Americans, particularly young men, in addition to that, Secretary Clinton—prior to being secretary, of course—supported the destruction of Aid to Families with Dependent Children and the replacement of this basic social safety net with a new program, so-called TANF, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, that locked out a large proportion of the families that needed assistance, throwing an additional 1 million-plus children and their families into poverty. And that problem persists to this day.

Secretary Clinton also has a track record for suppressing the minimum wage. This was in the African-American country of Haiti, where Secretary Clinton led the charge to push down the minimum wage from an abysmal 60 cents an hour down to a mere 40 cents an hour, in order to prop up the corporate profits of American corporations that were residing in Haiti. So, she certainly has a track record of her own that needs to be aired.

To talk about racial healing, it’s important to recognize not only do we have to end violent policing—not one more violent, racist killing—but we need to look at where the money of our municipal budgets are going. In Los Angeles, for example, where the police department has a particularly violent record, half of the city’s budget actually goes into policing. Well, what the Black Lives Matter movement is suggesting there is that a substantial portion of that money needs to be spent on prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure in this case. We need programs for youth. We need quality schools. We need to end the school-to-prison pipeline and the sense of hopelessness that it creates. And, in fact, we need school systems that teach to the whole student for lifetime learning, that incorporate art, music and recreation and community engagement, not this high-stakes testing which is used as an excuse to shut down public schools, to abuse teachers, to fire them and to turn our public schools into a resource for the private charter industry.

AMY GOODMAN: Back to Lester Holt.

LESTER HOLT: You mentioned ISIS, and we think of ISIS certainly as over there, but there are American citizens who have been inspired to commit acts of terror on American soil—the latest incident, of course, the bombings we just saw in New York and New Jersey, the knife attack at a mall in Minnesota, in the last year, deadly attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando. I’ll ask this to both of you: Tell us specifically how you would prevent homegrown attacks by American citizens. Mr. Trump?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, first I have to say one thing, very important. Secretary Clinton is talking about taking out ISIS. "We will take out ISIS." Well, President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out wrong. They shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed. So she talks about taking them out. She’s been doing it a long time. She’s been trying to take them out for a long time. But they wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.

Or, as I’ve been saying for a long time, and I think you’ll agree, because I said it to you once, had we taken the oil—and we should have taken the oil—ISIS would not have been able to form either, because the oil was their primary source of income. And now they have the oil all over the place, including the oil—a lot of the oil in Libya, which was another one of her disasters.

LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I hope the fact checkers are turned upping—turning up the volume and really working hard. Donald supported the invasion of Iraq.


HILLARY CLINTON: That is absolutely—


HILLARY CLINTON: —proved over and over again.


HILLARY CLINTON: He actually advocated for the actions we took in Libya, and urged that Gaddafi be taken out—after, actually, doing some business with him one time.

AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein?

DR. JILL STEIN: So, this is another example of why we need to open up these debates, because mostly they are arguing—Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump are arguing about their record and who said what, when, and when did they take various positions. We’re not discussing the fundamental fact that we have a catastrophic failed policy of regime change, of a foreign policy based on economic and military domination, which is blowing back at us big time. If we want to have peace at home, we need to achieve peace abroad. And in the words of Martin Luther King, "Peace is not simply the absence of violence: It is the presence of justice."

So, let’s look at our foreign policy. What have these regime change wars accomplished? They’ve cost us $5 to $6 trillion since 9/11, which comes out to about $50,000 per American household. Tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers have been killed and maimed, over a million people killed in Iraq alone. And what do we have for all of this? What we have to show are failed states, mass refugee migrations, which are tearing apart the Middle East and Europe, for that matter, and worse terrorist threats. They are not getting better. They only get worse with each turn of the cycle of violence.

So, we need a new kind of offensive in the Middle East, what we call a peace offensive in the Middle East. And it begins with a weapons embargo. Since we, the United States, are supplying the weapons directly or indirectly to all parties, all combatants on all sides, and we are the major supplier of weapons to the region, as well as around the world, it’s clear that we have enormous power here to initiate this weapons embargo and to work, in fact, with the Russians to achieve it also, because they, too, are paying a price that they cannot afford for these failed wars. In addition, we need to put a freeze on the bank accounts of those countries, largely our allies, who are continuing to fund terrorist enterprises. Hillary Clinton’s own leaked emails as secretary of state identified the Saudis as still the major funder, even many years after 9/11, still the major funder of terrorist Sunni jihad enterprises. We got this started. We can put it to a stop.

AMY GOODMAN: And that does it for Part 1 of our "Expanding the Debate" special. Many stations are running our full two-hour special. For those that aren’t, you can go to democracynow.org.

Part 2

LESTER HOLT: And I want to talk about taxes. The fundamental difference between the two of you concerns the wealthy. Secretary Clinton, you’re calling for a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. I’d like you to further defend that. And, Mr. Trump, you’re calling for tax cuts for the wealthy. I’d like you to defend that. And this next two-minute answer goes to you, Mr. Trump.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I’m really calling for major jobs, because the wealthy are going create tremendous jobs. They’re going to expand their companies. They’re going to do a tremendous job. I’m getting rid of the carried-interest provision. And if you really look, it’s not a tax—it’s really not a great thing for the wealthy. It’s a great thing for the middle class. It’s a great thing for companies to expand.

And when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies, and when they’re going to bring two-and-a-half trillion dollars back from overseas, where they can’t bring the money back, because politicians like Secretary Clinton won’t allow them to bring the money back, because the taxes are so onerous, and the bureaucratic red tape, so what—is so bad. So what they’re doing is they’re leaving our country, and they’re, believe it or not, leaving because taxes are too high and because some of them have lots of money outside of our country. And instead of bringing it back and putting the money to work, because they can’t work out a deal to—and everybody agrees it should be brought back. Instead of that, they’re leaving our country to get their money, because they can’t bring their money back into our country, because of bureaucratic red tape, because they can’t get together, because we have a—we have a president that can’t sit them around a table and get them to approve something.

And here’s the thing: Republicans and Democrats agree that this should be done. Two-and-a-half trillion. I happen to think it’s double that. It’s probably $5 trillion that we can’t bring into our country, Lester. And with a little leadership, you’d get it in here very quickly, and it could be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things, and it would be beautiful. But we have no leadership. And honestly, that starts with Secretary Clinton.

LESTER HOLT: All right. You have two minutes on the same question, to defend tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, Secretary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON: I have a feeling that by the end of this evening I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.


HILLARY CLINTON: Why not? Yeah, why not? You know, just join—join the debate by saying more crazy things. Now, let me say this.

DONALD TRUMP: There’s nothing crazy—

HILLARY CLINTON: It is absolutely the case—it—

DONALD TRUMP: —about not letting our companies bring their money back into their country.

LESTER HOLT: OK, this is—this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes, please.


HILLARY CLINTON: Yeah, well, let’s start the clock again, Lester. We’ve looked at your tax proposals. I don’t see changes in the corporate tax rates or the kinds of proposals you’re referring to that would cause the repatriation, bringing back of money that’s stranded overseas. I happen to support that.

DONALD TRUMP: Then you didn’t read it.

HILLARY CLINTON: I happen to—I happen to support that in a way that will actually work to our benefit. But when I look at what you have proposed, you have what is called now the Trump loophole, because it would so advantage you and the business you do. You’ve proposed an approach that has a—

DONALD TRUMP: Who gave it that name? The first I’ve ever—who gave it that name?

LESTER HOLT: This is—sir, this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes.

HILLARY CLINTON: —$4 billion tax benefit for your family. And when you look at what you are proposing—

DONALD TRUMP: How much—how much for my family? Lester, how much?

HILLARY CLINTON: —it is, as I said, trumped-up trickle-down. Trickle-down did not work. It got us into the mess we were in in 2008 and '09. Slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn't worked. And a lot of really smart, wealthy people know that, and they are saying, "Hey, we need to do more to make the contributions we should be making to rebuild the middle class."

I don’t think top-down works in America. I think building the middle class, investing in the middle class, making college debt-free so more young people can get their education, helping people refinance their—their debt from college at a lower rate—those are the kinds of things that will really boost the economy. Broad-based, inclusive growth is what we need in America, not more advantages for people at the very top.

LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re—

DONALD TRUMP: Typical politician: all talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work. Never going to happen. Our country is suffering because people like Secretary Clinton have made such bad decisions in terms of our jobs and in terms of what’s going on.

Now, look, we have the worst revival of an economy since the Great Depression. And believe me: We’re in a bubble right now. And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit, that’s going to come crashing down. We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble. And we better be awfully careful.

And we have a Fed that’s doing political things. This Janet Yellen of the Fed—the Fed is doing political—by keeping the interest rates at this level. And believe me: The day Obama goes off and he leaves and he goes out to the golf course for the rest of his life to play golf, when they raise interest rates, you’re going to see some very bad things happen, because the Fed is not doing their job. The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, you have two minutes.

DR. JILL STEIN: So, we need a just tax system. Both Democrats and Republicans, over the past decades, have shifted the tax base from corporations and the wealthy far more onto the backs of the middle class and working people and the poor. So, the things that Donald Trump is talking about, indeed, they don’t work. They’ve been tried before.

The Democrats and Republicans essentially eliminated the—well, Donald Trump is proposing to eliminate the inheritance tax, after Democrats and Republicans reduced it through the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which then Barack Obama made permanent. So, that inheritance tax needs to be restored, because the inheritance tax helps us prevent the establishment of an aristocracy, which is what we now have in the United States, where 22 billionaires have the wealth, among them, equivalent to 50 percent of the American population. And this wealth is being massively accumulated and passed on, which establishes the kind of aristocracy which was not supposed to be a part of this country. So we need to put the inheritance tax back where it was before the Bush tax cuts.

We need to increase the top marginal rates in the income tax. You could put them back to where they were even under Ronald Reagan, and they would be at the 55, 60 percent tax level. And we should put a tax on Wall Street. Why should the wealthiest sector of the economy be the one sector which is not contributing a sales tax to our general revenues? So, even putting a tiny tax on Wall Street transactions would generate hundreds of billions of dollars, which are critically needed.

In addition, as I mentioned, we need a Green New Deal to actually create the jobs directly, government-funded jobs, which create incentives, grants and loans for small businesses, for worker cooperatives and nonprofits, and with government as an employer of last resort to ensure that we have the jobs that we need to transition the economy in the time frame needed to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, a healthy and sustainable food system, which is currently the source of many of our fossil fuel emissions, and efficient, renewably powered public transportation, also to restore our ecosystems. And finally, healthcare as a human right needs to be provided as a basic right for everyone through an improved Medicare-for-all system. It doesn’t cost any more. We simply eliminate the middleman and the profiteering, and put our healthcare dollars into real healthcare.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to Lester Holt.

LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re talking about the burden that Americans have to pay, yet you have not released your tax returns. And the reason nominees have released their returns for decades is so that voters will know if their potential president owes money to who he owes it to and any business conflicts. Don’t Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?

DONALD TRUMP: I don’t mind releasing. I’m under a routine audit, and it’ll be released. And as soon as the audit’s finished, it will be released. But you will learn more about Donald Trump by going down to the federal elections, where I filed a 104-page essentially financial statement of sorts, the forms that they have. It shows income—in fact, the income—I just looked today—the income is filed at $694 million for this past year, $694 million. If you would have told me I was going to make that 15 or 20 years ago, I would have been very surprised.

But that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs. When we have a country that’s doing so badly, that’s being ripped off by every single country in the world, it’s the kind of thinking that our country needs, because everybody—Lester, we have a trade deficit, with all of the countries that we do business with, of almost $800 billion a year. You know what that is? That means—who’s negotiating these trade deals? We have people that are political hacks negotiating our trade deals.

LESTER HOLT: The IRS says an audit—

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.

LESTER HOLT: —of your taxes—you’re perfectly free to release your taxes during an audit. And so the question: Does the public’s right to know outweigh your personal—

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I told you, I will release them as soon as the audit. Look, I’ve been under audit almost for 15 years. I know a lot of wealthy people that have never been audited. I said, "Do you get audited?" I get audited almost every year. And in a way, I should be complaining. I’m not even complaining. I don’t mind it. It’s almost become a way of life. I get audited by the IRS. But other people don’t.

I will say this. We have a situation in this country that has to be taken care of. I will release my tax returns—against my lawyer’s wishes—when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release.


DONALD TRUMP: I will release my tax returns. And that’s against—my lawyers, they say, "Don’t do it." I will tell you this. No—in fact, watching shows, they’re reading the papers. Almost every lawyer says you don’t release your returns until the audit’s complete. When the audit’s complete, I’ll do it. But I would go against them if she releases her emails.

LESTER HOLT: So it’s negotiable?

DONALD TRUMP: It’s not negotiable, no. Let her release the—why did she delete 33,000 emails?

LESTER HOLT: Well, I’ll let her answer that. But let me just admonish the audience one more time. There was an agreement: We did ask you to be silent, so it would be helpful for us. Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I think you’ve just seen another example of bait and switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly, I think, 39, 40 years of our tax returns, but everyone has done it. We know the IRS has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you’re under audit.

So you’ve got to ask yourself: Why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax. So—

DONALD TRUMP: That makes me smart.

HILLARY CLINTON: —if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.

And the financial disclosure statements, they don’t give you the tax rate. They don’t give you all the details that tax returns would. And it just seems to me that this is something that the American people deserve to see. And I have no reason to believe that he’s ever going to release his tax returns, because there’s something he’s hiding. And we’ll guess. We’ll keep guessing at what it might be that he’s hiding. But I think the question is: Were he ever to get near the White House, what would be those conflicts? Who does he owe money to? Well, he owes you the answers to that, and he should provide them.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, your response?

DR. JILL STEIN: Well, they’re both right. They should both release their information. For Donald Trump, not only his tax returns, but we really deserve to know what his business dealings are. The investigative report by Newsweek suggested that Donald Trump seems to be engaged in business relationships with some of the most corrupt and Mafioso-type characters that exist around the world. For example, one of his business deals is with a member of a family that does laundering, money laundering, for the Iranian military. He also appears to have connections in South Korea who would benefit by this policy he suggested of providing nuclear weapons or encouraging nuclear weapons to be developed by South Korea. So, Donald Trump has a number of business dealings that are—shall we say, have major conflicts of interest with U.S. policy positions. So, the American people deserve to know what those conflicts of interest are, and, in particular, we need to know who the unsavory business partners are of Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton herself, you know, has some disclosures that are owed the American public. With her Clinton Foundation, we know, for example, that she received some many millions of dollars from the ruling prince of Bahrain in exchange, apparently—now, we don’t know for sure, but there was a suspicious sequence of events here whereby she received a major donation in close proximity to providing a major weapons deal for the ruler of Bahrain around the time of the Arab Spring, when there were massive human rights violations going on in Bahrain. We also know that Senator Clinton, or, I should say, Secretary Clinton, approved the purchase of a major portion of the U.S. uranium supply by a Russian company around the time she was receiving major donations to the Clinton Foundation from those parties.

So, indeed, Secretary Clinton’s—half of her emails while secretary of state were declared her private business. If half of your emails while you are serving a busy job like secretary of state—if half of your emails is spent on your private business, you know, one has to ask: What are you doing on company time while you are being paid by the taxpayers of the United States of America, engaging half of your emails in your own private business? So, this represents the kind of merger of the economic and political elites that the American people are so very concerned about and are essentially rejecting. That’s why the American people are not happy with these two candidates and badly deserve not only a right to vote, but to fully know who they can vote for in this critically important election.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate. We continue our "Expanding the Debate" Democracy Now! special in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: "People Make the World Go Round" by The Stylistics, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our "Expanding the Debate" special. We are airing excerpts of the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Hofstra University and expanding that debate by giving Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein a chance to respond to the same questions posed by the major-party candidates. Lester Holt of NBC News.

LESTER HOLT: On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s long-standing policy on first use. Do you support the current policy? Mr. Trump, you have two minutes on that.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I have to say that, you know, for what Secretary Clinton was saying about nuclear with Russia, she’s very cavalier in the way she talks about various countries. But Russia has been expanding their—they have a much newer capability than we do. We have not been updating from the new standpoint. I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s. They’re old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not—we are not keeping up with other countries.

I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike. I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table, because you look at some of these countries—you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.

And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I’ve ever seen negotiated, that you started, is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea. And when they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.

And when asked to Secretary Kerry, "Why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you add other things into the deal?"—one of the great giveaways of all time, of all time, including $400 million in cash. Nobody’s ever seen that before. That turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion in cash, obviously, I guess, for the hostages. It certainly looks that way. So you say to yourself, why didn’t they make the right deal? This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much—

LESTER HOLT: Your two minutes is expired.

DONALD TRUMP: —and they’re going to end up getting nuclear. I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day. Believe me, he is not a happy camper.

LESTER HOLT: All right. Mrs. Clinton—


LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes.

HILLARY CLINTON: Let me—let me start by saying, words matter. Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties, and we will honor them. It is essential that America’s word be good. And so, I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and some worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to, on behalf of myself and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people, say that, you know, our word is good.

It’s also important that we look at the entire global situation. There’s no doubt that we have other problems with Iran. But personally, I’d rather deal with the other problems, having put that lid on their nuclear program, than still to be facing that.

And Donald never tells you what he would do. Would he have started a war? Would he have bombed Iran? If he’s going to criticize a deal that has been very successful in giving us access to Iranian facilities that we never had before, then he should tell us what his alternative would be. But it’s like his plan to defeat ISIS: He says it’s a secret plan, but the only secret is that he has no plan.

So, we need to be more precise in how we talk about these issues. People around the word follow our presidential campaigns so closely, trying to get hints about what we will do. Can they rely on us? Are we going to lead the world with strength and in accordance with our values? That’s what I intend to do. I intend to be a leader of our country that people can count on, both here at home and around the world, to make decisions that will further peace and prosperity, but also stand up to bullies, whether they’re abroad or at home. We cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security—

LESTER HOLT: Your two minutes is—

HILLARY CLINTON: —to be given any opportunities at all.

LESTER HOLT: —is expired.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Jill Stein, you have two minutes.

DR. JILL STEIN: So, let’s also be mindful here of Secretary Clinton’s track record. Was the invasion of Libya an example of how we lead with strength consistent with our values? It would be hard to imagine a more catastrophic war than what took place in Libya, that helped strengthen ISIS, that helped release an incredible stock of—stockpile of weapons, further inflaming the crisis and the violence in the Middle East.

Hillary Clinton has said she would like to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, which basically means we are going to war with Russia, because that’s what you do when you impose a no-fly zone, is you shoot down people that are in that airspace. And remember, we have 2,000 nuclear weapons now, between us and the Russians, on hair-trigger alert. So, this is certainly a very dangerous territory, where Hillary Clinton has continued to beat the drums of war with this idea that we are showing strength and leadership, but leading us in exactly the wrong direction and a very dangerous direction.

Instead of spending a trillion dollars creating a new generation of nuclear weapons and modes of delivery, it’s time to instead change direction here and move as quickly as humanly possible towards nuclear disarmament. And instead of blaming the Russians, we need to acknowledge it was actually the Russians who tried to engage us in a nuclear disarmament process, again, several decades ago. We need to revive that proposal, take them up on it and move to nuclear disarmament—excuse me—as quickly as we possibly can, because this is sitting on an absolute catastrophe into which we could stumble at any point, particularly given the crazy circular firing squad that’s taking place now around Syria, where there are so many allies at cross-purposes with each other that any of us could be dragged into a larger, full-scale, and even nuclear, war at any moment.

And it’s important to remember, not only is this a trillion dollars which has been proposed—actually, is underway, a trillion dollars’ worth of spending over the next decade and a half, approximately, on new nuclear weapons, but let’s look at our whole war budget, which is half of our discretionary budget. Nearly half of your income taxes are going to pay for these absolutely catastrophic wars.

So we need an approach, not—a whole new approach, not one which is basically bought and paid for by the weapons industry, who is the only beneficiary here, because these regime-change wars, this militarization of our foreign policy, is not creating a more stable world. It is not benefiting democracy in the Middle East. It’s not helping women’s rights in the Middle East. It’s causing nothing but the greater proliferation of violence. In fact, the drone wars kill nine unintended victims for every intended target. And even that intended target is essentially an assassination victim, which is a violation of international law to start with. So, we need to start over. We need a foreign policy based on international law and human rights. That is the direction we need to go to create true stability and peace in the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to moderator Lester Holt.

LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your judgment—

DONALD TRUMP: I did not support the war in Iraq.


DONALD TRUMP: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she—frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.

LESTER HOLT: My question is, since you supported it, why is your—

DONALD TRUMP: Would you like to hear?

LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment—

DONALD TRUMP: I was against the war—wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out.

LESTER HOLT: The record shows otherwise, but why is—

DONALD TRUMP: The record does not show that.

LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment any—

DONALD TRUMP: The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said—and he called me the other day, and I spoke to him about it. He said, "You were totally against the war," because he was for the war.

LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment better than—

DONALD TRUMP: And when—excuse me. And that was before the war started. Sean Hannity said, very strongly, to me and other people—he’s willing to say it, but nobody wants to call him. I was against the war. He said, "You used to have fights with me," because Sean was in favor of the war. And I understand that side also, not very much, because we should have never been there. But nobody calls Sean Hannity.

And then they did an article in a major magazine, shortly after the war started—I think in '04. But they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq. And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definitely—because if you read this article, there's no doubt. But if somebody—and I’ll ask the press—if somebody would call up Sean Hannity—this was before the war started, he and I used to have arguments about the war. I said, it’s a terrible and a stupid thing. It’s going to destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what it’s done. It’s been a disaster.

LESTER HOLT: My reference was to what you had said in 2002, and my question was—

DONALD TRUMP: No, no. You didn’t hear what I said.

LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment—why is your judgment any different than Mrs. Clinton’s judgment?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There’s no question about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has, you know? I have a much better—she spent—let me tell you—she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising—you know, they get Madison Avenue into a room, they put names—oh, temperament, let’s go after—I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win. She does not know how to win.

LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

DONALD TRUMP: Wait. The AF-of-L-CIO, the other day, behind the blue screen, I don’t know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you was totally out of control. I said, "There’s a person with a temperament that’s got a problem."

LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Whew, OK. Let’s—let’s talk about two important issues that were briefly mentioned by Donald. First, NATO. You know, NATO, as a military alliance, has something called Article 5, and basically it says this: An attack on one is an attack on all. And do you know the only time it’s ever been invoked? After 9/11, when the 28 nations of NATO said that they would go to Afghanistan with us to fight terrorism, something that they still are doing by our side.

With respect to Iran, when I became secretary of state, Iran was weeks away from having enough nuclear material to form a bomb. They had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle under the Bush administration. They had built covert facilities. They had stocked them with centrifuges that were whirling away. And we had sanctioned them. I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate. But it wasn’t enough. So I spent a year and a half putting together a coalition, that included Russia and China, to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran. And we did drive them to the negotiating table. And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program—without firing a single shot. That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition building. That’s working with other nations.

The other day, I saw Donald saying that there were some Iranian sailors on a ship in the waters off of Iran, and they were taunting American sailors who were on a nearby ship. He said, "You know, if they taunted our sailors, I’d blow them out of the water"—and start another war. That’s not good judgment.

DONALD TRUMP: That would not start a war.

HILLARY CLINTON: That is not the right temperament to be commander-in-chief, to be taunted. And the worst part—

DONALD TRUMP: No, they were taunting us.

HILLARY CLINTON: —of what we heard Donald say has been about nuclear weapons. He has said repeatedly that he didn’t care if other nations got nuclear weapons—Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia. It has been the policy of the United States, Democrats and Republicans, to do everything we could to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He even said, "Well, you know, if there were nuclear war in the East Asia, well, you know, that’s fine.


HILLARY CLINTON: "You know, have a good time, folks."

DONALD TRUMP: It’s lies.

HILLARY CLINTON: And, in fact, his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling. That is the number one threat we face in the world. And it becomes particularly threatening if terrorists ever get their hands on any nuclear material. So a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes, as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, you have roughly two minutes.

DR. JILL STEIN: So, let me just add that, yes, nuclear material in the hands of terrorists is a very dangerous thing. This is yet another reason why nuclear power and nuclear power plants and their proliferation around the world is an intolerable threat, not only because of the nuclear weapons that can be made from their—their materials once they have been used, but also because of the inherent dangers of nuclear power, particularly in the era of climate change. In our country, we have something like 16 nuclear power plants which are located at sea level. Right now, the most recent studies, for example, by Jim Hansen, the foremost climate scientist, who has never been wrong yet in the many decades that he’s been alerting us to this crisis—he is now predicting we could see as much as nine feet of sea level rise as soon as 2050, which means that our 16 or so nuclear power plants are all going Fukushima.

So, this is just another example of why nuclear power is something that must also be urgently phased out and is part of our call for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, which doesn’t mean ending jobs, it means creating jobs and moving the workers who are in the dangerous jobs right now of nuclear power, and particularly in the fossil fuel industry, where walking into a refinery or onto a frack site or into a truck and driving some of these materials, these very explosive and toxic materials, around—to walk into a fossil fuel job is to increase your risk of dying by 700 percent from explosions and crashes and motor vehicle accidents, because these workers are not protected. So we are—we are proposing a just transition, first and foremost, for the workers and the communities that are dependent on the fossil fuel industry, on the nuclear industry and also on the weapons industry, so that we can transition to a new economy which is safe and sustainable, which creates far more jobs, many more jobs. In fact, the fastest area of job growth right now is in the solar and wind industries. In solar, in fact, jobs are being created right now at 12 times the rate of the rest of the economy. So this is a win-win, which, in fact, pays for itself by the reduction in military expenditures, because we no longer need the wars for oil, and by the improvements in our health.

So, this is how we get to true security, not only security against nuclear weapons, but security, as well, for our climate, which is the other number one threat, right up there with nuclear war. They must both be addressed. And the fact that the other two candidates have managed to duck their way around a real discussion and a real examination of these catastrophic wars and this catastrophic nuclear weapons reality that we face right now, that they cannot put these issues on the table, is another reason why it’s really critical for us to stand up and insist on the open debates that the American people are clamoring for. You can go to our website, Jill2016.com, to join our campaign for open debates.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, joining here on Democracy Now! the debate, as we expand the debate, the first presidential debate at Hofstra University with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Democracy Now! breaking the sound barrier, as is our tradition, by inviting the major third-party candidates in. We’ll be back with this debate in a moment.


AMY GOODMAN: "Wake Up Everybody" by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report, as we return to our "Expanding the Debate" special. We break the sound barrier by bringing you the first debate, the presidential debate held at Hofstra University, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, stop the tape after they have each of their two minutes, and expand it with the major third-party candidates. We are here with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. We invited the Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, but Jill Stein accepted, and she is responding to the same questions posed to the major-party candidates. Back to Lester Holt.

LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, this year Secretary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Earlier this month, you said she doesn’t have, quote, "a presidential look." She’s standing here right now. What did you mean by that?

DONALD TRUMP: She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.

LESTER HOLT: The quote was: "I just don’t think she has the presidential look."

DONALD TRUMP: You have—wait a—wait a minute, Lester. You asked me a question. Did you ask me a question?

You have to be able to negotiate our trade deals. You have to be able to negotiate—that’s right—with Japan, with Saudi Arabia. I mean, can you imagine, we’re defending Saudi Arabia? And with all of the money they have, we’re defending them, and they’re not paying? All you have to do is speak to them. Wait. You have so many different things you have to be able to do, and I don’t believe that Hillary has the stamina.

LESTER HOLT: Let’s let her respond.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.

DONALD TRUMP: The world—let me tell you. Let me tell you. Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience. We have made so many bad deals during the last—so she’s got experience, that I agree. But it’s bad, bad experience. Whether it’s the Iran deal that you’re so in love with, where we gave them $150 billion back—whether it’s the Iran deal, whether it’s anything you can—you almost can’t name a good deal. I agree. She’s got experience, but it’s bad experience. And this country can’t afford to have another four years of that kind of experience.

LESTER HOLT: We are at the—we are at the final question.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, one thing. One thing, Lester, is—

LESTER HOLT: Very quickly, because we’re at the final question now.

HILLARY CLINTON: —you know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said—

DONALD TRUMP: I never said that.

HILLARY CLINTON: —women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.

DONALD TRUMP: Didn’t say that.

HILLARY CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman "Miss Piggy." Then he called her "Miss Housekeeping," because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

DONALD TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?

HILLARY CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.

DONALD TRUMP: Where did you find this?

HILLARY CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet—

DONALD TRUMP: Oh, really?

HILLARY CLINTON: —she’s going to vote this November.

DONALD TRUMP: OK. OK, good. Let me just tell you. Let me just tell you.

LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, could we just take 10 seconds, and then we’re going to have the final question?

DONALD TRUMP: You know, Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials. Some of it’s said in entertainment. Some of it’s said—somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her. But you want to know the truth? I was going to say something—

LESTER HOLT: Please, very quickly.

DONALD TRUMP: —extremely rough to Hillary, to her family. And I said to myself, "I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice." But she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue. They’re untrue, and they’re misrepresentations. And I will tell you this, Lester: It’s not nice. And I don’t—I don’t deserve that. But it’s certainly not a nice thing that she’s done. It’s hundreds of millions of ads. And the only gratifying thing is I saw the polls come in today, and with all of that money—

LESTER HOLT: We have to move on to the final question.

DONALD TRUMP: —over $200 million is spent, and I’m either winning or tied. And I’ve spent practically nothing.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, your response?

DR. JILL STEIN: More heat than light, I’m afraid to say, throughout much of this so-called debate between the two corporate candidates. In this country, you know, we have two major political parties, which are, in fact, no longer the major voting bloc. The largest voting bloc has repudiated both the Democratic and Republican parties, because, in fact, Americans are tired of being thrown under the bus. They are tired of this rigged economy, and they are tired of the rigged political system that has created this economy. And they are also rejecting, at unprecedented levels, the two candidates that are being forced down their throats as the most disliked and untrusted candidates in our history.

I am the only candidate in this race who is not taking money from lobbyists, from corporations, from—I do not have a super PAC to coordinate with or not. I’m the one candidate that actually has the freedom to stand up for what the American people are clamoring for. That means an emergency jobs program, which will solve the emergency of climate change. It means bailing out the students, like they bailed out Wall Street, the crooks on Wall Street who crashed the economy. It’s time to bail out the victims. And let me just mention about that. There are 43 million young people right now, and not-so-young people, Gen Xers and on into middle age and well beyond, who are trapped into student loan debt, because once you get in, you cannot get out. Very few get out, actually, in the current economy that we have of low-wage, part-time and temporary jobs. So people get stuck in student loan debt.

But it turns out that 43 million is actually a winning plurality of the vote in a three-way race. So when people say, "Oh, resistance is futile. Why even bother? Surely, you know, you’re wasting your time," you know, that is part of the propaganda to keep us locked in this system. In the words of Alice Walker, "The biggest way people give up power is by not knowing we have it to start with." We do have the power. It’s time to stand up and use it. And just by students coming out, people who are carrying student loan debt coming out, to cancel that debt, and voting Green in 2016, we actually have the power to turn this election on its head.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to Lester Holt for the final question of the debate.

LESTER HOLT: One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight: Are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters? Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I certainly will support the outcome of this election. And I know Donald’s trying very hard to plant doubts about it, but I hope the people out there understand: This election’s really up to you. It’s not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want. So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it, because I think it does.

LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, the same question: Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?

DONALD TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country. The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button—they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps, worse than that, it was corruption. But these people that we were going to deport, for good reason, ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.

LESTER HOLT: Will you accept the outcome of the election?

DONALD TRUMP: Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is: If she wins, I will absolutely support her.

AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein, will you accept the outcome of the election?

DR. JILL STEIN: Well, this is a very wounded democracy. If there is evidence of voter fraud, we will challenge it, and we will bring it to court, as the Greens have led the way in doing before. But, you know, I think our job here is not to surrender to a very corrupt system, whichever one of these candidates wins. Donald Trump has had $4 billion worth of free prime-time media. Hillary Clinton has had $2 billion worth of free prime-time media. We’ve had essentially zip. And as a non-corporate campaign, we don’t have big bucks to put the word out, but we are doing well in the polls relative to how other non-corporate third-party candidates have done.

So, this is the time for us to stand up. In this election, we are not just deciding what kind of a world we will have, but whether we will have a world or not going forward, looking at the climate change that’s barreling down on us, the threat of nuclear weapons and these massive, expanding wars, for which there is no end in sight under both Democrats and Republicans, and specifically Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This is the time for us to stand up for the future we deserve, to reject the lesser evil and to fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it, remembering that we do have the votes if we stand up with the courage of our convictions.

AMY GOODMAN: And that’s Jill Stein of the Green Party, along with Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party, and Donald Trump, Republican Party. That does it for our "Expanding the Debate" special. Watch the two—the full two-hour special at democracynow.org. And also watch our debate night roundtable with Eddie Glaude, Allan Nairn, Ramzi Kassem, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Kshama Sawant and Isabel Garcia at democracynow.org.

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