tv Book TV CSPAN July 7, 2013 8:00am-9:16am EDT
powerful. i think the hispanic population, the mexican population is going to get very large within our lifetime, within the next 10 or 20 years. if i was a betting person i would say we'll probably have a hispanic mayor within the next 20 years. i think that's a pretty safe bet. spent i'm going to send out to buy these books with the notion, given both of these books, contemplate for a moment if mayor washington hadn't died when he died. contemplated that the contemplate richard m., richard j. is like a super can't avoid chicago and i don't know better or worse. i want to thank you all. enjoy the rest of the day. by these books. [applause] ..
>> it's night to be here at politics and prose after all these years. thank c sparks opinion -- c-span for coming which illustrates, by the way, how one person can make a difference. that was the idea of brian lamb many years ago. he persuaded the cable industry to allow that kind of immediate, unedited coverage of events. there are many good people here who i've worked with and who are active citizens in their own right. mark pla, thekin is here, joanne
anderson is here. [applause] she wrote the book "for the people," whichs a cookbook, in effect, for civic action. it's very clear. russell's here, he never runs out of material. [laughter] robin's here, she runs our d.c. library renaissance project and started out ten years ago it was rated the worst library system of any major city, and now a lot of new branch libraries, and there is definitely a renaissance. alan is here, the great, courageous human rights advocate. and john richard, the citizen networker -- [applause] is here as well. and many others. so thank you for coming. this book has a provocative title. it's called "told you so." but i did wait 42 years before saying it. [laughter]
and some might say, well, how could you be right so often? i mean, empirically right? as well as, perhaps, normatively right? and my answer is it's really pretty easy. here are the steps. first, you do not censor yourself, okay? second, you make sure that you have a sense of urgency about improving the life of people on our planet. the third is make sure you don't have an axe to grind which distorts or covers up reality. and you have those three, anybody can have those, and you pretty much are going to figure out, for example, when corporate crime started really surging in the nixon administration period with all kinds of creative violations, and you can predict that if the president doesn't do anything about it, it's going to get worse. or you can predict the results
of the nafta and wto trade agreements president clinton and robert reuben and others got through congress and how it's going to unemploy a lot of workers and deindustrialize america and circumvent democratically our institutions of regulatory agencies, courts and legislatures to a concentrated form of power in geneva, switzerland, that operates in secret to which we have to adhere to. you know, it doesn't take a prophetic voice, it just takes looking at reality and making sure that you get your facts straight, and you want to convey it to people. so just a lot of things that we can all predict, and it's important because foresight is important. foresight alerts people as early as possible to problems. i was quoted in the '70s during the sudden surge of oil
prices when mr. hubbard of the geological survey was saying we were going to run out of oil in the u.s. by 2000, i said the world is drowning in oil, and where'd that come from? simple. as the price goes up, you get more and more economic retrial of hydrocarbons, whatever disaster it is for the environment. and the world is full of hydrocarbons. the same with the iraq war. i'm sure many of us predicted disaster there, and unprecedented over 300 retired admirals, generals, colonels, national security chiefs and diplomats spoke out. they wrote articles and letters to the editor to try to stop the invasion. and they knew that the u.s. army itself in the pentagon was against it, because they knee what they were getting into in contrast to air force and the navy. and, of course, look at all the voices who were ignored predicting the repeal of
glass-steagall, again, under mr. clinton, which shattered the new deal reform separating commercial banking from investment banking and led to the binge of speculation that ended up in the 2008 wall street crash. so i urge you to just apply those three little standards, and you'll be known as the prophet in your circle -- [laughter] and that would give you more credibility. now, i would like the residual memory of this nice gathering to revolve around one statement, and that is it's easier than we think to turn our country armed. i'm going to repeat that. it is easier than we think to turn our country around. we have concentrated power, and we've read all the exposes, bookstores full of exposes. we live in the golden age of documentary exposes and book
exposes and article exposes, and they have less and less effect on change. for two central reasons. one, the concentration of power has become ruthlessly efficient in this country. they've taken away your freedom of contract with fine print contracts that take away your rights even to go to court which no government could do, but corporations get away with it, credit card companies and mortgage companies, so on. compulsory arbitration. they block you if your wrongfully injured from having your full day in court. that's called tort reform. i call it tort deform. you don't restrict someone and call it reform. after all, the seventh amendment is still intact, and the right of trial by jury. they take away the value of your vote by loading the electoral process with huge amounts of money from commercial interests largely. and by restricting competition,
blocking third parties, blocking independent candidates, harassing their petitioners, filing frivolous suits to wear them down. somehow, i have a little experience with that. [laughter] you have access to our regulatory agencyies never been worse ors and it's very hard just to reach your members of congress now. you hit voicemail. and if you don't happen to be on their campaign contribution list, it's hard to get an audience with one of the 535 men and women who we should focus on relentlessly with all civic action so that whether there are rallies in south dakota or marchs in los angeles in order for them not to go into the either, they've got to zero back on the senators and representatives who have
enormous power given to them under the constitution that they have surrendered to the corporateist government here in washington, the merger of big corporations and government. and even in the media, for example, we do have the indie media, amy goodman and others, but look what's happened to pbs lately. the, it's quite remarkable who gets on charlie rose. charlie rose has had tom friedman on 70 times. [laughter] that's more than all the other progressives combined. be that have been on his show. and he's had david sanger on 65 times. reporters, any of you reporters? it's a bizarre combination -- [laughter] that excludes a lot of voters, and you see it on sunday shows and news shows and the like. so saying it's easier than we
think is a reflection that only a fraction of 1% of the people in this country spend any time on civic engagement. they do volunteer, they do charity work with, but as i've said, a country that has more justice is a country that needs less charity. so we have very, very small number of people in every community who try to hold up the pretensions of a civic culture and actually spend time on it. so you ask yourself what if it dose to 5%? can -- goes to 5%? can you imagine what would happen if it goes to 5% of people organizing themselves in every congressional district? and focusing, for example, on ten redirections in our country that have majority support like full medicare for all with free choice of doctor can and hospital, cracking down on
corporate crime, living wage and labor reforms, the kind of changes that we would all hike to see, a majority of people would like to see in this country changing the tax code, getting out of empire criminal wars of aggression and so on. so when i say it's easier than you think, it isn't just a hypothesis. historically in our country the greatest changes for justice have all started by one or two people almost by definition. the women's suffrage movement, that famous meeting in an upstate new york farmhouse, six we can in the 1840s. the abolition movement, the civil rights movement with rosa parks and a few other stalwarts. time and time again the sit-down strikers in flint, michigan, to form the united autoworkers in the 1930s. time and time again it has been
proven, the whole farmer populist revolt started with a few farmers in east texas in 1886, '87, spread all over almost the entire country outside of the more eastern seacoast. again and again we have these heroics, but we don't learn from them. we don't learn from them because most americans have given up on themselves. they have rationalized their futility. that's easy to do. and they make excuses for themselves as to why they can't show up at a town meeting or even show up to vote locally or, you know, collar their member of congress or start a new citizen group. and it's easy now to rationalize futility because, let's face it, there is a 1%, and it does have huge amount of wealth and power, and it has blurred the difference between local, state
and federal government and corporate power which is called corporatism, and it also has a hundred ways of telling young people and children, don't bother. they often do it with distraction, entertainment, they do it with pharmaceuticals, they do it with reprimands in the third grade or fifth grade, they commercialize education. the students do not grow up learning about civic history the way they do -- they learn about military history and electoral history by two-party tyranny and the building of the railroads and so forth. but they don't learn about civic history, the struggle for justice which in his better moment senator daniel webster called the great work of human beings on earth. so what i'd like to do is just
do a few excerpts of some of the columns here. the nice thing about a weekly column is it meshes beautifully with a low attention span of the culture. [laughter] and i'm only actually going to read half of one column. it was april 18, 2011, and it's called "waiting for the spark." and usually, you know, speakers are so deep into the diagnosis and the factual narratives of injustice that they run out of time before they say to people what do you think you can do about it. so i'm going to start with "waiting for the spark." and let me just read a few paragraphs. what could start a popular resurgence in this country against the abuses of concentrated, avaricious corporatism? imagine the arrogance of passing
on enormous corporate losses to already-cheated working people and the jobless. this is achieved through government bailouts and tax escapes. history teaches us that the spark usually is smaller than expected and of a nature that is wholly unpredictable or even unimaginable. but if the dry tinder is all around, as many depravations in polls reveal, the spark no matter how small can turn into a raging inferno. the boston tea party lit up the american revolution. storming the hated bastille, the prison, by impoverished pieces launched the french revolution. more recently in december 1997, an israeli military vehicle rammed a civilian van in the west bank killing seven occupants and igniting the first i didn't fad saw. -- intifada. last december a young fruit vendor abused by police in a
small tunisian town imnolated himself. this self-sacrifice launched a tunisian and egyptian overthrow of their longtime dictators. a few weeks ago -- this is, again, in april 2011 -- many progressives and quite a few pundits believed that the recurrent, ever-larger february/march rallies in madison, wisconsin, by work e, students and others against the governor's and the legislate which are's awe tack on public employee unions and social services following earlier blatant corporate welfare enactments would be the long-await withed spark. it didn't turn out that way. the foreseen massive rally culminating in washington, d.c. never did materialize. in authoritarian regimes there are few options for dissent or airing one with's grievances, so when the spark does occur, the climate is fertile for an explosion of outrages.
meanwhile, back home the inequality gouging political exclusions and overall gaps between the top 1% and the rest tighten the grip of the oligarchy and its draining, violent, militarized empire. loss of control over everything that matters is on people's minds including their children. loss of control over their children to daily direct corporate marketing of junk food and violent programming that is rampant. over 70% of those polled told "businessweek" they believe corporations had, quote, too much control over their lives, quote. and that was in 2000 before conditions and controls, gee, the wall street collapse worsened. the american people don't see much they can do to counter the pressures of greed and power that tracks them daily from debt to debt, from low or standards of living to outright pen your,
from denial of critical health care to the iron collar of the cruel credit score, from inscrutable computerized bills and fine print contracts trapping their sense of unfairness into waves of frustration. being put on hold by the companies until they're told on the telephone, no, no, no or penalty, penalty, penalty. how do we break the cycle of despair, exclusion, par lossness and endless are betrayal by those given the authority to bring down the the exploiters and oppressors to lawful accountability? that's the congress, for example. again, you see, you go where the pivot is, where the fulcrum is, and the branch that has the most authority under the constitution by far is the congress. doesn't use it on behalf of the people, and they often give it away to the presidency like the war power. but it's still in the constitution, and it's the most
personal branch of government. they do have to go back to their district. it's not all skype. and they can be accessible. the empire rips up the constitution, takes the reserve army of the young and employed to kill and die in aggressive wars of the white house's choice with congress watching from the sidelines. its only role, to funnel trillions of tax dollars into the insatiable war machine's unaudit bl budget. the pentagon budget is unaudit bl and has been for years. $800 billion of unaudit bl taxpayer expenditures. president eisenhower wanted us to control what he called, quote, the military industrial complex. instead, it grew much more out of control, and eisenhower's grave warning as expressed in his farewell address in 1961 was precedent.
the spark can come from a recurrent sequence of abuses that strike a special chord of deeply felt injustice. or it could be a unique episode or bullying that tolls the feeling, enough already. throughout the land. such sparks cannot be manufactured. the power to arouse and break people's routines is spontaneous. when that a moment comes, millions of americans whose self-respect and keen sense of wrong will remind them precisely why our constitution begins with "we the people" and not "we the corporations." they will realize the necessity for jeffersonian revolution. that's the end of that. and i just want to give you a flavor of the kind of levers that can be develop canned. do you know there is no web site
for civil servants crossing departments and agencies? where they can compare ideas, frustrations, support each other, department of interior, civil servants, defense department, agriculture, fda. and i got the idea for this because there are some young foresters in the national forest service years ago who were being told by politically attuned superiors to approve clear cutting in forests that were clearly against their professional judgment. and so they organized a group that is called peer, and it stands for public employees for environmental responsibility. it has a very nice office with maybe 15, 20 full-time staff right near dupont circle and also in eugene, oregon, and they have done marvelous work.
and yet most of the civil servants that i've spoken to in seminars, etc., outside of agriculture and interior and everything pa have never heard of them -- epa have never heared of them. they put out great reports. it's peer.org. peer.org. now, imagine if that began spreading. because our politicians make a practice when they want to run to take control of our government in elections of degrading civil servants. that's a good way to motivate productivity and stand up bringing your conscience to work qualities. and the civil servants can do something about it, because knob can stop them from doing this -- nobody can stop them from doing this. when you hear the statement it's easier than he think, we start with doing things no one can stop you from doing. it'll get you maybe to second base, and then it gets heavier in the opposition, but nobody can stop you from doing it. nobody can stop people from
signing petitions summoning their member of congress in the august recess to a town meeting exclusively on catching up with 1968 minimum wage, 30 million workers making less today than workers made in 1968. adjusted for inflation. including a million walmart workers. while the boss of walmart is making $11,000 an hour. eight hours a day. plus benefits. see the difference? who can stop people from doing that? nobody. so the first thing is in trying to give substance to the concept it's easier than you think is not just to read from history as to how movements start with a very small number of people who often have, don't have many resources and contacts, but bringing it up to today what are the things we can do that nobody can stop us from doing to get the ball rolling for many needed
redirections in our country? now, i mentioned earlier corporate crime. i did a column on corporate crime back in the early '70s. i wanted to urge nixon to make an issue out of it. remember nixon, nixon's the last president when was afraid of liberals, the last republican president. he still heard the rumble from the people in the '60s, and he just signed like he had an automatic pep. he signed epa, he signed osha, he signed a bill or proposed a health insurance bill that was better than clinton's which the congress didn't pass. he was for voting power for the people of the district of columbia in the congress. he wanted a drug policy that focused op rehabilitation, not incarceration. he actually had an incomes
policy as a first step to abolish poverty in the united states. moynihan wrote that for him when he was in the white house. i mean, can you imagine? here we are in 2013 regaling richard nixon. [laughter] i mean, some of you were around then, you say what's going on? what has happened since then, you know? to give that frame of reference. so i have a column on about 12 ways to curb corporate crime. and one way is very simple. it's to have the justice department start a corporate crime database which they have been refusing to do. also they have to update the penalties. but there are a lot of ways very, very granular ways to reduce the kind of crime that is stealing from people as workers, as consumers, stealing from them, harming their health and safety, pollution, occupational hazards and, in effect, blocking
them from accessing institutions fostered by our constitution so that they can fight back. one example of that which no presidential candidate of the two parties has even mentioned, listen to this one, the government accountability office was called the general accounting office. in 1992 estimated that 10% of the entire health expenditures of our country goes down the drain due to computer fraud and abuse bills, computerized billing, fraud and abuse. that is $270 billion today, this year. 270 billion. billion. and it's not, it's not a campaign issue. that would almost cover the uninsured. and yet it's not even talked about even though it's regularly documented by professor malcolm sparrow at harvard who is an applied mathematician as in the
expert on billing fraud in this area. corporate crime, our health research group headed by dr. sid wolfe in the '70s put out two books called "pills that don't work" and "over-the-count pills that don't work." and there were a thousand pills you could have prescribed or buy in the drugstore that didn't work for the purposes for which they were advertised. i mean, that's pretty fraudulent stuff. well, they're almost all gone now in no small part due to public citizens work in this area and the relentless barrage of medical journal articles invalidating these drugs. that's another form of corporate crime, junk science style. i mentioned pbs, and i do want to express my dismay at what happens when pbs increasingingly has to rely on commercial donors
as public funding shrinks, and that is that progressives who have proven their merit in writings and activities very rarely get on these talk shows. and i just want to elaborate, pbs' charlie rose. he's had war-loving william kristol on 3 be 1 times, henry kissinger 55 times, richard pearl 10 times, the global cheerleader for globalism, tom friedman, 70 times. compare that with rose's interviews of widely-published left-of-center groups noam chomsky, two times, william quiter, two times, jim hightower, go times, louis allowington, three times, bob herbert, six times. paul krugman, 26 times, victor vas key, one time.
this was written in 2011. now, do you know how few over-the-air interview shows there are in this country? i mean, you can't even count 'em, they're hess than fingers on one -- less than finning ors on one hand. you have amy goodman, charlie rose and bill moyers. it's almost zero. so when one of the three has this kind of tilt, not to mention all the ceos that get on that show, it's not a minor depravation of the public's right to know a variety of viewpoints. frustration leads to creativity when you're a columnist. how many times have we heard the word, the words "war or terrorism,"? endless. it's the big business. trillions of dollars are in contracts and all kinds of things. i mean, it's a huge pump of the gdp. inthe ted of -- instead of
public works, we have a war on terrorism. except if you define terrorism as indiscriminate attacks on civilian population, there's another form of terrorism that almost gets no attention. and so i wrote a letter to president obama in june 2011 from an e. coli. i figure maybe he gets a letter from e. coli. [laughter] and it was a special type of e. coli. it was 010 4-h 4 that was giving people in western europe a highly virulent strain of bacteria in the food. and e. coli was on a we tree dish, and his days were numbered. but somehow it was animated to write a letter to president obama and basically say you think you're going after terror u.s.es? how about the viruses? how about bacteria?
i mean, then elaborating it. and just for, try to veracity purposes, e. coli ends in this way: mr. president, you are hung up on certain kinds of vent bl violence without any risk benefit analysis. this, you should agree, is utterly irrational. you should not care where the preventable violence comes from except to focus on its range of devastation and its susceptibility to prevention or cure. you know, millions of people can die from an influenza or from a bacteria infection. in fact, in this country according to the centers for disease control at least 250 people every day die from hospital-induced infections. preventable. 250 every day. you can imagine what that adds up to over a year. and so this was what motivated e. coli. but we coe lie ends this way:
well, here they come to my petri dish for some more waterboarding. one last item to mr. president. you may wonder how tiny bacterial me, probably not even harboring a virus, can send you such a letter. by oozing sense is that i'm just a carrier being used by oodles of scientists taking advantage of a high-profile infectious outbreak in europe to catch your attention. whatever the how, does it really matter to the need the act now? e colie 010 4-h 4 for the time being. so we spend a fraction on global conditions leading to viral and bacterial outbreaks. you know, two billion a week on
afghanstan's war, and we don't spend that on the whole thing. and the articles are getting bigger in terms of what's coming out of china and saudi arabia in terms of two different viruses. i have something on the overuse of antibiotics. the illustration here, over 100,000 americans die from antibiotic-reduced resistance a year, and we've known this for over 30 years according to dr. sidney wolfe, and we still haven't done much about it. we're getting antibiotics by the meat and poultry that we consume, we're getting overuse of antibiotics without even determining whether they're viral or bacterial, and it's leading to extreme, serious problems of resistance. and it's not a priority politically, it's not a priority economically or in terms of prick policy. i -- public policy. i have one on, an open letter to
president-elect obama that i sent him right after he was elected. that was january 9, 2009, and the last paragraph read this way: the bush lawlessness and state terrorism are like a contagious disease. if you do not remove their sprawling incidents, you will become their carrier. this means you must move fast to eject the mantle of war criminality and repeated unconstitutional outrages committed in the name of the american people. here and abroad. sincerely. you can see how that turned out. i have a column on rosa parks called "hail to thee." it's a wonderful story that can never be repeated too often. i have an article on harry kelber who just passed away at 98 years old, new york city. a one-man advocate for working people in this country and
the -- [inaudible] of indolent labor unions who are run bureaucratly instead of with a sense of mission. and he had husband own web site -- his own web site, and he produced three articles a week at age 96, 97, 98. when i recommended to aarp that he be put on the cover, he's also wished in many -- distinguished in many ways, ph.d., he's written explanatory pamphlets with huge distribution, he was an organizer on the ground, so i recommended to aarp, well, aarp doesn't put older accomplished people anymore on their magazine. [laughter] they want, you know, 55-year-old, tanned athletic people trying to behave like they're 30. and i said to them, well, you know, that's not the real life of your readers. that's a fantasy life. the real life is can they
actually improve things as they go with into their 80s and 90s, and these are our role models. then in terms of organizing democratic institutions, i have columns on how inserts in utility bills or bank statements inviting people to ban together in nonprofit groups with champions for their causes to have a seat at the table when the lobbying starts or the litigation starts. and these actually started in wisconsin and illinois before it ran into a terrible supreme court decision. but the point is that you can have rights and remedies in a society, but if you don't have facilities that make it ease yes for you -- easy for you to band together as workers, consumers, taxpayers, whatever, the rights and remedies don't get really implemented. i have a little column on
cooperatives and the alternative economy. there's no better magazine in the country than "yes" magazine to tell you that there is a burgeoning alternative economy expanding in the united states, local hi-control -- locally-controlled. not just co-ops, but community banks instead of citibank, credit unions instead of bank of america, farmer to consumer markets that are 8,000 and growing all over the country, renewable energy locally and many other local efforts that speak the strategy of displacement of large multi-national corporations by getting their customers to move into the community economics world. and just a couple more, and then we can have a good discussion. i have columns on very enlightened ceos, and my favorite is the late ray anderson of interface
corporation who decided in 1994 for this company's the biggest carpet tile manufacturer in the world, and it's out of atlanta, georgia. i heard a lecture on industrial ecology by paul hawkins, and he was a man changed. he called himself a recovering plunderer of the planet. [laughter] and he swore he was going to turn his entire company around so that within 20 years or so it would have zero pollution and 100% recycling of the carpets. he would actually rent out the carpets. and he was moving toward that goal with brilliance, keeping his costs lower and lower, and outcompeting his competitors and providing a great place to work because it was such a mission-oriented. and he wrote several books, and you ask yourself, you know, maybe you're permitted to stereotype these ceos 95% of the time, but don't stereotype them
all the time. i also have columns on people, civic leaders who nobody's heard of. one of my favorites is nomurra out of japan. she was a world war ii widow in ya a pan, and he decided to be a women's rights advocate and a consumer advocate, and she could translate a lot of our reports into japanese and worked right up into her 90s agitating, never got bureaucratic or anything. a terrific stump speaker. and "ladies home journal" actually wrote a little piece on her once. i have a column called "remember zinn," howard zinn. people who achieve things regardless of their prominence, when they pass away, we
shouldn't lose an opportunity to establish in their memory carry-forward legacies. it could be a fellowship, an award, a new group. when paul wellstone passed away with his wife in that crash, the children did something wonderful. they started a significantly-sized wellstone institute which trains citizens and does a lot of good things. senator nelson could have had done to them the same thing, but every day all over the country in local communities wonderful people finish their lives and are forgotten when their lives are surrounded by wellish withers -- well wishers who need to increase their imagination so as to establish these kinds of legacies and improve the firmament of the democratic society. there -- yeah. i've just got one more here. >> okay.
>> and this is -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah, i know. this is, this is a memorable occasion. when i was campaigning in 2004 in chicago, i heard of a, i heard of a fifth grade class in one of the poorest schools in chicago. they were doing something extraordinary. and so i went there. it was right near cabrini green -- some of you know about that -- and the school had no stage or auditorium, dirty restrooms with broken plumbing, no lunchroom. they ate in the hallway. the heat often didn't work. they needed to wear coats in the winter. there was no air-conditioning when it was hot. bullet holes and cracks were in the windows. few books in the library. broken fences outside. no attached gym. and in the distance you can see the skyscrapers of the oligarchs.
and underpaying their property taxes and forgetting about these kids. and the teacher, brian schultz, who wrote a book on this decided -- and he persuaded the principal -- that they were going to have a yearlong project, and he said to the students, what would you like to study? and they said, our school. our dilapidated school. and they went into it with huge energy and attendance rose, and they studied it and really sophisticated ways, where money would come to build a new school, who's responsible for the breakdowns and lack of repairs, and they went to see city hall. this did not make "60 minutes," but it illustrates that there are models of superior performance in every serious context in america. you name a problem that's widespread, someone has solved it significantly in one place or
another, but it hasn't been diffused widely at all. and, again, that is where we can learn inthe ted of reinventing -- instead of reinventing the wheel, we can learn from these improvements in every possible place. so let me just end with the theme that runs right through this book in terms of a yardstick of evaluation, and that is why, why don't we have patriotic standards for unpatriotic u.s. corporations? they want to be to known as persons. let's judge 'em as persons. so if they don't want to fund research for malaria and the second leading cause of hospitalization in vietnam for our soldiers was malaria, is that patriotic? when they run away and don't pay their taxes and go the bahamas and yet they want all the services, is that patriotic? when they export our drug
industry to china and india where 80% of the active ingredients now are not very well tested or surveyed by the food and drug administration are in our medicines? after we give them massive tax credits and we give the drug companies massive free research and development of drugs up to the clinical level from nih? and this is what they do? so we need a yardstick to turn the tide of public opinion and the framework of patriotism applied to these fleeing global corporations. anybody want to get involved in the minimum wage campaign? we want town meetings in many august in congressional districts all over the country. go to nader.org, and you will get the form of how to send a petition. we call it a summons -- [laughter] to your member of congress. it takes about 3-400 names, no
big deal. we'll often get a town meeting by your representative. so few people show up if they get 3 or 400 names, it gets their attention. and you can download it and then get back to us. if we cannot bring 30 million workers to earn what workers made in 1968 adjusted for inflation, is there anything that we can do? comes in at 70% approval in the polls. so thank you very much. [applause] >> we have about 20 minutes for questions and answers. if you have a question, we ask that you approach the microphone as we are recording this for c-span. so, please, come to one of the microphones and just briefly state your question. thank you.
>> yes, sir. >> mr. nader, you identified a number of the people whose infrequency on the charlie rose show was embarrassing, but you neglected to name yourself. is that because you've never been on the show, or you were just being modest? [laughter] >> well, i've known him for many years. the last time i was on his show was 2004. >> yes. your book is full of brilliant ideas. you obviously have the best interests of this country and its people at heart, and given that fact how in the world do you justify your disastrous decision to run for president and enable eight years of george bush? >> here, here. and a war. >> now, you see this? unfortunately, this is a very important be constitutional point, and that is -- i mean, i
have a lot of answers to that, obviously. one is last i heard george bush got more votes from gore than i did. if we all have an equal right to run for election and running for election is the consummate first amendment right -- petition, speech and assembly, all three -- to say to anybody do not run is to say do not speak. do not petition, do not assemble. you may oppose them, that's part of the whole constitutional structure. but to say to them do not write, do not run is equivalent to say i don't like what you're saying, do not say it. that's number one. number two, if you ask al gore, he will say he lost the election for a number of reasons. one, it was stolen from him, so blame the thieves in florida -- [applause]
two, 5-4 decision of the supreme court, clearly political decision. put him in office, bush. and then there are all the subsequent ones like he didn't win his tennessee home state and so fort. so he -- so fort. so he is quite gracious about it. he does not, quote, blame the green party. but just think of the offensiveness of that to someone who was more concerned about the people out there who are being very badly bruised and harmed and exploited, and we're supposed to witness the democratic party becoming more and more like the republican party, dialing for the same commercial dial dollars and ignoring workplace deaths and injuries, ignoring consumer protection however their rhetoric, ignoring constitutional controls over wars of aggression, ignoring cutting the bloated military budget, ignoring the role of big
money corrupting politics, in fact, reveling in it, competing with the republicans. i moon, what's -- i mean, what's our frame of reference? is it the people back there to try to break a two-party tyranny? i think oliver hall, are you here, oliver? oliver runs the center for competitive democracy. isn't that a nice name? don't we want a competitive democracy? and here's my final response. aren't you glad there are a few people who cut out of the two parties in 1840 and voted for the liberal party against slavery? aren't you happy about that? [applause] aren't you, that set the process in motion? or how about the people who voted for the women's suffrage party or the people's party or the greenback party or the populist party. those are the people who pioneered the agenda thats that one or two of the major parties finally adopted and we now take for granted. progressive taxation, 40-hour
week, medicare, social security and so forth. so it's an unfortunate response because it plays right in the hands of the trap by each party which says you have to vote for us no matter how much you disagree because the other party's worse. [applause] and every four years both parties get worse. go ahead. >> i'm also in fave of third parties. since you ran for green party, i was expecting for you to talk a wit about environmental issue, so if you could talk a bit about environmental issues, specifically global warming and maybe george -- [inaudible] new proposed rewilding program and thank you. >> yeah. well, again, the good solutions are not the ones commercially attractive to the large corporations. so they like energy sources that you can't access, you cannot dig your own coal mine, gas well,
oil, nuclear plant. there's capital concentration there that gives them great political power as well in washington. but the sun, sun is accessible if all kinds of ways -- in all kinds of way, and et goes back 2,000 years. so that's what we have to get over. it is not so much a technological or economic problem. it's a matter of the political power. and is the solar energy industries are getting more influential. so i think it's not going to be reversible, and i think we're going to move toward renewable energy and energy copse vegas. that -- conservation. that said, the fracking which is now opening up all over the world, they're going to poke holes in the earth like crazy all over the world now, it's just, it's likely mr. obama's going to approve the pipeline and try to mollify the anger of the environmentalists by saying, well, maybe i'll go for a carbon tax or some other thing to set
it off. but the idea that we waste over half our energy, far more wasted perjury than europe or japan, and we're building a huge pipeline with dirty fuel that we're going to bring from canada to the gulf ports to export. so we're like a dirty pass-through. and it's going to be a approved. so, obviously, the renewable people and the conservation people are not strong enough to counteract that. even though bill mckibbon set the all-time record with 1500 arrests around the white house. i don't think that's ever happened in decades. [applause] so it's -- environmental pollution should be viewed as a form of silent violence. we have to change the words to apply them more accurately. and instead of talking
environmentese, we should talk cancer, we should talk respiratory, unusable, contaminated property, we should talk how many square miles a fukushima-type disaster, a chernobyl-type disaster can render uninhabitable. how impossible it is for people at indian point to evacuate. you can't even get out of new york city on friday afternoon. you're going to evacuate 0 -- 30 miles around? it's impossible. and yet it's viewed as possible as a condition of the license. so we need to use new language in that respect. >> >> i think a lot of the current political and civic discourse in people's views is based on the narrow win toe that the media places on the acceptable range of ideas. is there any ideas you have to allow more progressive views to go be back into the public discourse and reframe the issue
based on, basically, more leftist or progressoff ideas? >> well, one, i mean, i have coined phrases in that direction, like corporate welfare. that really is now catching on. corporate crime is catching on. crime in the suites is catching on. [laughter] so you have that parallel with street crime, you know? like why are we cutting down on the number of federal cops on the corporate crime beat, see? so that's one. just have a more thoroughly empirical language. the second is something that's becoming more interesting, and that is you have libertarians and progressives agreeing on more and more things, libertarian conservatives and progressives. for example, there are more and more converging agreements and
even efforts to cut back on the empire. so if libertarians don't like the empire, you look at the american conservative magazine, it has articles you think could be printed in "the nation" magazine. both, left-right, they don't like the corporate welfare, the wto and a half that. so one way to give credence is to show that there is on the ore side of the -- other side of the political spectrum where you have conservatives who are not corporatists and libertarians who are not corporatist, they actually agree with a lot -- these are not minor things, are they? you know, civil liberty, corporate welfare, wars, bloated military budgets, pulled-down trade agreements. i think there's a great possibility for taking it from verbal agreement to institutional collaboration. and i got that idea when we
stopped the clinch river breeder reactor boondoggle in tennessee, and the environmentalists were getting somewhere in congress. this was a terrible cost overrun breeder reactor. and then the conservative groups came in on economic grounds, so like it's a waste of taxpayer money. and then you had the environment issue. and it won, the senate dropped it. stunned howard baker. i mean, he wasn't ready for the vote. that was 1983. >> thanks. >> hey, mark. >> hi. you have been a national figure, but it's not my character to thank politicians. this is the second straight time i've thanked a politician. olympia snowe for seeing, after being against voting representation then finally voting for it. you have not neglected this place where you live for a long time. there are 630,000 people who don't have a vote. not even statehood, not even autonomy and sovereignty, that i
just don't even have a vote. and this is a very accepting populace. i've lived here almost now 50 years, and i came from chicago where we vote metropolitan once on election day -- more than once on election day. [laughter] will you explain the psychology of accommodation and acceptance by really this group of very informed and otherwise enlightened people to accept their second or third class citizenship? and then finally, where is the spark to propel the citizens of the district of columbia to claim their american citizenship? >> it's interesting, if they did have the vote and you tried to take it away from them, there would be opposition. like if you tried to take the vote away from texans or virginians, you know? this is something we've all pondered. we're not getting much help from the political science profession. i think one reason is that you have a two-class society here,
and the well-to-do don't see any necessary benefit from having votes. and the poor always feel powerless. so the idea of the statehood advocates is try to spell out the benefits of statehood. and what gets in the way is a rather low regard for the past 25 years of the district government. so they say, you know, you want to give them more power? some people say that. i think spelling out the benefits when you can have your own budget, you know, you can have referendums not overturned by a chief -- by a committee of congress and developing a vision on the district of district of t is not so full of poverty and depravation among many thousands or gentrification, pushing poor people out. we have a vision, maintaining a
federal district, you know, you have to maintain a little federal district constitutionally. maybe that will do it. my favorite way of doing it is if some very rich person said here's $11 million, get d.c. statehood, what would you do with it? and here's what i'd do with it. first of all, i would publicize the effort. [laughter] and second, i would rigorously find three d.c. citizens and back 'em up with infrastructure and media for every member of congress so that the member of congress doesn't go to dinner without finding someone next to -- what about statehood? [laughter] and maybe a third already are for statehood. what would you say,? if you had a vote in congress, a third, would you say? >> a third what? >> of the people there would be for statehood? >> well, there was one vote on statehood in 1993 -- >> yeah. >> there were 152 republican --
democrats, one republican, wayne gilchrist, and that's it. >> yeah. >> so 153 out of 435. there is a d.c. statehood bill. >> yeah. >> be it's been introduced, this is my form of civic activism. .. so every month they say how many more do you have? in other words, you've got to have a laser beam. it's not just come to
presidents, i guess president obama when you questioned him, did he say he was for it? >> he has never said he was for it. it took them four years for the license plate. >> i don't think he would veto it, right? >> i don't think he would veto it but he would do it at midnight. >> somebody says here's $11 million, get statehood in two years, what would you do? because so much of our imagination is stifled because of the resource question. you don't even think of what to do because the first question is, who's going to pay for the organizers? who's going to do this and that. a lot of rich people here. 11 million bucks, my guess is 11 million bucks would do it. you have these people so trained, first of all tremendously motivated. they would be half as motivated as smart which means they're tremendously motivated. they would be connected with each other and each one would have an assignment.
good luck. >> i said no senator should be safe in state. does not statehood. >> one more question. to? is there someone behind? i think it's just this one last unless there's somebody -- then we'll finish up and then we'll to the book signing. thank you very much. >> i'd like to know, what course of action would you suggest to stop the hijacking of our agricultural system and a food safety system by monsanto and its technology and? >> one obviously is to expand the work of the council on responsible genetics which was set up by harvard and mit scientists, and they're the ones are holding the four, litigation.
the council on responsible genetics won the battle by an insurance companies. we need more civic action. relaying some of the scientific analysis. for example, under gm know, food, monsanto cannot control the migration. to a from a dozen want to use. and yet they say that's too bad. in fact, they have sued some farmers who have been exposed to the migration of -- to the farm next to the. crystals be an adequate buffer under the law. the second is to focus on monsanto very, very comprehensively, like a corporate campaign. they've done a lot of very bad things. in india and elsewhere. and 90% of the people want gmo
disclosure in the supermarket in monsanto's doesn't. guess who wins? monsanto. they are organized to the teeth and people are not yet organized. the next thing is it's genetically engineered foods. the next thing is the state is where it's going to start happening. california almost got it. it's not in a couple of states, washington state, and the more states that put on the referendum for popular vote, the more the resources of the gmo lobby has spread out and they won't be able to overwhelm them. >> how could you break the stranglehold of corporate cronyism here which is enabled this monopoly to happen? [inaudible] >> genetically modified seeds, where, unlike the traditional way of hybrid seeds, they are across species. so you put in a particular seed
for khmer, maybe a gene from a mouse and that's the difference between traditional hybrid corn and genetically modified corn. the idea is to make, the plant itself impervious to herbicide compared to the weeds around it so they can flood the field with the herbicide, kill the weeds, but they can't harm the plant. what's happening is that the weeds now are mutating. they are becoming resistant. so monsanto has defined stronger or more herbicides to sell to the farmers. what they sold to the farmers really was convenient. one farmer in iowa at 5000 acres. why did you do trade for corn. so i can spend more time with the family. so there truly no overall benefit to the crops, although
that's a tremendous propaganda machine about how it's going to feed millions of salmon exposed people. -- millions of salmon exposed people. ivan fong and that a couple years before the tipping point happens. just on disclosure. it's interesting, monsanto is so proud of its gmo see seeds thaty don't want anybody to know about it. >> the superrich, you talked at all about that. >> this is a political fiction, and i posited the following -- following. we have 17 superrich americans, and they were real americans in fictional role. ted turner, yoko owner, warren buffett and so on. what if they got together and in
one year top down bottom up with the resources and the smarts in a found thousands of local community leaders, started to clean election party, did all kinds of innovative things. could they turn the country around? i put it in grade realistic detail of how they start it by renting a hotel in maui on a mountain, or they got together and planned it. and how far they got before the corporate moguls learned of what they were doing by may of that year or april, the techniques they use, how they used the money. and the whole thing was done with $15 billion. and warren buffett as described coming back from maui on one of the trips as saying tuesday, you know, we did all this on fortune, turned around. when i signed the book i always say to imagine this to envision.
we don't do that anymore. russell jacoby wrote a book 15 years ago called the end of utopia, and by documen that he t that the academic world does not imagine new possibilities much anymore. we're not talking about south's the thomas moore utopia. we're talking basically about fundamental redirection of society within the capability in with the natural rhythms of our country. and within the support of the public sentiment, as abraham lincoln once said, with the public sentiment you could do anything. so in that sense, i wanted to be very realistic, so 720 pages communism most people don't want to do that. it's a good doorstop. [laughter] however, it's interesting that when looking backwards, how many of you ever read that book when you're in college? it came out like 1886. it sold a million copies in hardback, in a country of a
fourth the size of the population. and eugene debs and all the rest would cite the. it's so exciting because it projected for two an american in 2000 a.d. what was all milk and honey, everybody, poverty is gone, alfonso one. -- health and so on. they were very excited. we'll do that kind of a gmo. we have plenty of signs fiction and all that but we don't imagine we'll possibilities. and so i had to do it by fiction. i couldn't do it with here's a 100-point program. but i held my fictional feet to the fire. this was not an easy book. in terms of the collision and the drama and how it ended up in congress and the white house. >> thank you very much for taking the time. [applause]
>> your point in writing this book as a scientist is that given these realities, the impact that drugs have on social policy, on race, on our culture is often times distorted by lack of evidence-based thinking. that instead people relied on anecdotes or on fears, rather than on the facts. so is that the heart and soul of this book? >> that's the heart and soul of the boat. one of the things that's been troubling me is drugs have been used as a scapegoat. whenever their social problems and so forth we use trucks is scapegoat. the problem for me is that people who look like me are often scapegoated more so than other folks.
and as a scientist who knows the facts about drugs, that's very disturbing. >> okay. i would think as a black person it would be very disturbing. >> that's exactly what i mean. >> let's stop for a second then and try to understand something that is race related in this regard which you say is just an outrage, which is the fact that when you look at something like a 1980s and the crack cocaine use, people identified this as a black community problem but, in fact, more whites used crack than blacks. and similarly more blacks went to jail, arrested for crack use, than whites even though more whites were using the drug. how do you explain that? >> i explain it by, kind of simple. the short answer is racism. this isn't new. when i say racism i mean what we
did is we put our police resources in the community of colors, i merely the black community, and you can easily catch people doing something illegal. no matter what, i drive my car, for example, i sometimes pass the speed limit. that's an illegal activity. now, if they want they can give me a ticket. but that doesn't happen. because the resources are not where i'm at most of the time. i hang out on the upper west side, but if you want to catch people doing crimes you put your police resources in those communities. that's what's happened. this is a new. one of the things like the crack cocaine thing, it's important to know that in the early 1900s, cocaine was used by a wide number of americans the it was in coca-cola, for example. it was a number of products. now, there was consumer black people started to use cocaine, for example, i think "the new
york times" ran an article in 1914 about black -- black cocaine being a new southern menace. and the way that the cocaine was talked about, or black people being under the influence, under the influence of cocaine, it costs them to be more murderous. it caused them to rape white women. it caused them to be unaffected by bullets. all of this nonsense. this was going on then and it's going on now. although the language has been tempered, but drugs are such easy scapegoats because most of the populations don't use drugs. you can't say these things about alcohol, even though alcohol is pharmacologically active and just like any other drug like cocaine and the rest of these things. you can't say these crazy things about alcohol because many people drink alcohol and to know the effects of alcohol. fewer people use cocaine.
so you can tell these incredible stories about cocaine. >> you can watch this and other programs on line at booktv.or booktv.org. >> if it were a state it would be in the top five oil producers in the nation. to put this in a little more context, 75% of all of oil production in california is done in kern county. and over 50% of the natural gas that is produced in california is right here in kern county. so we are really looking at, in this county, oil along with agriculture. they are the two largest industries that we have to. and it really turns the economy. >> explore the history and literate life of bakersfield, california, this weekendo
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