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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  June 1, 2016 3:25pm-5:26pm EDT

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even more clear. the japanese public has absolutely no appetite for nuclear armament. there is a strategic argument. you can come up with strategic rationales where japan should have nuclear weapons, that it should not have it because of its geography and density of the population and so forth is silly, frankly. lots of countries beginning with israel should not have atomic weapons if you think that day. but the political calculation is such that they won't do it. again, there's a range of things that the united states can do to reassure its allies and we have a long history. james gavin at m.i.t. has been researching these things and anybody who looks at this, there are lots of ways in which we can assure japan about nuclear deterrence and reassure south korea without them actually going full nuclear. now, india as a great power, i love india. i go to india regularly.
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my 25 is frwife is from india. i still love india. >> be careful! >> yeah. but -- and india has enormous potential and capability. but i have to, again, simply say india has a great capacity also for disappointing. it lumbers forward like an elephant and it also operates on its own strategic agenda. people from the indian strategic elite and i've spoken to a few of them by accident. they all seem to be related to my in-laws in one way or another, country of 1. -- you know, 2 billion and everybody knows everybody else it seems. they are not ready to play this kind of role. they are enormously focused upon pakistan and upon internal issues and that's -- and the strategic agenda. so, i don't think they're going to -- what we are seeing, though, at least in the maritime issues partly because china is
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pushing into the region and china's support for pakistan, they are interested in countering that and in certain areas we are seeing increased cooperation. i think there's a lot of room for it, for example, u.s. and its allies track chinese submarines going through the east china seas and the south china seas. makes a lot of sense almost surprising that we don't do more of that. but i don't expect great, great changes anytime soon. brought on by india in this respect. >> here and then here. and then three right here in a row. >> thank you very much. michael curtis, retired from the u.s. department of agriculture. i'm not sure my question is appropriate, but i'll ask it anyway. talk about the u.s. leadership for jonathan perhaps. is there a correlation, for example, between our leadership in arms and so on and the fact that in this country itself
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education is failing, infrastructure is failing, health is failing. so, we produce very good weapons and top of the line. but our people are hurting. is there a connection there? that's why i said it may not be appropriate because we're talking about east asia but we are talking about the united states as a global leader. so, what is the cost of that? thank you. >> just pass it right down to your right. >> jim sang, your map is cute as the word cuts off since if you look a little further north there's other countries that has an asian component which has lots of funny problems and lots of funny problems and lots of funny advantages. to what extent is there an interaction between japan, korea, china, and russia and asia? >> and right behind you, joshua. joe bosco formerly with the defense department. i wonder if each of you would comment on taiwan's arms defense needs. what it's likely to get from the
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u.s. or from other sources. >> okay. why don't you start first, jonathan. any of those. >> yes, i'll very quickly address all three with just kind of facts. the correlation between, you know, how sophisticated your manufacturing base, your knowledge economy, and your ability to produce weapons is very tight. you can make the argument that american military spending represents an opportunity cost, but one of the reasons why the united states is so good at building these darn things is that we're really good at building other things that look like it like software and large industrial projects. so, again, it's a pretty tight correlation. i'll put the normative concern aside. russia is the most successful exporter of weapons in the region. and russia is another example of i'm not sure it's a great power when it comes to arms exports. it does -- it does not really
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have the ability to make a lot of its own products, i mean, when ukraine split it really damaged big parts of the russian defense industrial complex. the sanctions from europe especially are really hurting its ability to build weapons. and so right now russia is sort of at the point where it's not as strategic in who it sells weapons to as it may be used to be. it's really just trying to unload as much hardware as possible. china is quite likely to want to take advantage of this because china's looking to get the best product from russia and then reverse engineer it. and there's also just such spectacular corruption in the defense trade for russia that it's both a competitive advantage for russia in this part of the world but it also really degrades the quality and the value of the product being transferred to other countries. taiwan, basically most other countries aren't willing to sell the products that taiwan needs so it's completely up to the
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united states, and i can't even begin to imagine what the united states is going to decide ultimately about what it exports to the region. so, i'll punt on that one. >> indeed, you know, joe bosco is the person who can tell us more about taiwan's needs. the only thing i will simply say in terms of the nationalist element in terms of russia is that there has long been a thought in japan, and one of my dear friends who is one of the sort of people who has been an architect or very much involved in the past with japanese policy sord towards russia, it would be natural for japan to reach out to russia in order to weaken the ties between russia and china. china and russia are not necessarily natural allies, in fact, many ways they are national competitors. and, again, and again recently, you know, i have a number of friends in the japanese foreign ministry feel that we are unnecessarily pushing russia into a corner on crimea and
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ukraine and other issues. however, the big problem, again, in terms of russia and japanese relations and we're going to have more discussions of that in the next few -- couple of months is the northern territories, which i did not touch upon. what the japanese call the northern territories and the russia consider the southern islands. and here again, we have a difficult situation which nationalism on both sides is playing a major role. for the japanese side the notion that you have to get all four islands back in one sitting it seems to be so deeply ingrained and it's tied in with the japanese vision of victimization that is the northern territories are the sort of symbol of russian betrayal of japan at the end of world war ii that it has hampered their ability to negotiate with the russians. and the russians for their part have a great deal of nationalist
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investment in these islands. and so for better or for worse we have a kind of lock on that particular issue. one thing i simply will say, i was just reading with regard to taiwan is that japan there's an unfortunate connection between the independence forces in taiwan and japan. it is something which sometimes makes, you know, japanese are almost embarrassed by how enthusiastic about how some taiwanese are with connections with japan and this is being picked up in the chinese press. i read in translation a chinese commentary on the new president in which they mentioned that she is unfortunately she comes from a family that profited from its connections with japan under the colonial regime and she is suspicion habits of eating rice bowls for lunch and this is part
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of the unfortunate legacy of japanese colonial rule. and i'm a little worried that under the current conditions these kinds of connections could become even more contentious in terms of sino-japanese relations than they have in the past. >> let's see if we can't squeeze in one last question. stanley, back in the corner. >> stanley kober. the economy has been touched on but only briefly. it seems to me what we are seeing in asia and much of the rest of the world is a sense of people telling their political leaders, your job is to protect our jobs. we're seeing a growth of economic nationalism. and that hasn't been mentioned yet. and i would just like to ask the panelists if you feel, you know, comfortable in addressing that. you may not since it's an economic issue and how that plays out into the political
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system in all these countries. also internationally, remember at the g7 the japanese were hinting that they would like the yen to devalue and we're saying no, no, no, because we're afraid of race to the bottom beggar thy neighbor policies. >> tom, we'll turn to you, and then we'll give jonathan the last word. >> well, i mean, i think economic concerns, this was also part i think of an earlier question by the gentleman, asking about michael curtis talking about u.s. leadership and its connection to decline is, you know, very obvious and concerned. there's a question of priorities. guns versus butter. and lots of publics basically including in nondemocratic countries would prefer that their governments should focus on the things immediately important to them, education, safety, social welfare, jobs and so forth. this is a natural tendency i think in almost any society. and it's certainly true of
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japan. japanese nationalism has evolved in many forms. back in the 1980s you talked about my home sugi, the most important thing is my home. forget about the emperor and the empire and all that other stuff. what's important is being comfortable. we should be proud we are a comfortable country. i think for the most part that is a force that mitigates tendencies towards conflict. however, it can also create perverse sensitivities especially in time of economic decline. and i think one of the big questions that we have is how will especially china respond to a slowing economy. and you've got two logical solutions. one is spend less on arms, focus on cooperation of the outside world, and improve the standard of living. respond to the people's real needs. and that may have -- may have been one of the factors which
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led to the ping and abe limp handshake at the apec meeting in 2014. ping saw you could only go so far pushing on the territorial issue because of u.s. support of japan on that issue. you can only go so far. it won't become a wedge issue between the united states and japan. and at the same time he was concerned about the slowing economy and the near halving of japanese investment in the chinese economy. that may have been a positive thing. but on the other hand we see continued tendency to do the opposite thing, to distract people -- what's it called? diversionary nationalism it's called. when the economy goes bad one sort of way of mitigating the pressures you've developed is to create an external enemy and an external project in order to do that. the jury is still out on which
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direction china is going to go on these issues. i'm not necessarily optimistic. i think we're going to continue to see china trying to do both. trying to have good relations with japan economically and at the same time not only with japan but also in the south china seas to push for chinese sovereignty and the tensions between the two they seem to be willing to live with. >> jonathan? >> super quickly, the other thing that's cut off from this graphic, if the graphic had shown csis, the graphic is not up there. and i wanted to make it clear. economic nationalism, i have good news. i'll end on good news. i think nationalism what's driving arms production decisions rather than trying to make the economy, goose the economy, the good news is no matter how much you're spending on defense -- and they're spending a lot of money on defense, it's still a tiny, tiny portion of the modern economy, and most of these countries with the significant exception of russia don't think they're
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really going to free up or goose the economy by selling more weapons or building more weapons at home. the one exception that kind of proves the rule is japan. japan has a very sophisticated defense industry. it would unleash quite a lot of economies of scale and it would actually, you know, improve in terms of trade quite a bit if it could sell weapons and its spectacular failure to do so in australia shows that there's just a lot more to selling weapons abroad. there's politics to it rather than just the economic logic which, you know, japan was pretty good on that front so, so it actually is nationalism rather than economic incentives that are driving a lot of what's going on here. >> just quickly? >> well, i want to thank both of our speakers. i want to thank all of you in the audience who spent tuesday morning with us. if you'll now join me in a round of applause for our two speakers.
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we are adjourned. >> thank you. >> thank you.
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this evening c-span will have live coverage as iraq's ambassador to the u.s. talks. what he sees for the future of u.s./iraq relations. the world affairs council is hosting the program in washington, d.c.. it begins at 7:00 eastern. here on c-span3 at 8:00 eastern we'll show you the "american history tv" programs normally seen only on weekends. tonight the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war the lyndon johnson presidential library held a retrofective on the
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conflict including a discussion on politics and music. "american history tv" prime time tonight at 8:00 eastern. and on c-span at 8:00 eastern john roberts talks about finding consensus on the court. here's a portion of what you'll see tonight -- >> mr. chief justice, you mentioned the unanimous nature of the brown v board of education decision 62 years ago. how would you describe your approach to consensus building on the court and how would you compare it to the styles of some of your favorite chief justices in our history? >> well, it's interesting. you know, it was a great benefit that brown was a unanimous opinion. but there is another side to that which is that it was unanimous in many respects because they left a lot of things undecided.
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and you had, you know, a generation of litigation trying to figure out, well, what does this mean, how does this work out. where does the obligation apply and on what basis. so, it was unanimous and that was a good thing and i understand chief justice warren's reasoning. but it's subject to criticism. even if it's going to be 7-2 or 6-3 let's get some of the things resolved so people know how to implement it instead of all deliberate speed, exactly what does that mean. there are pluses. there are minuses. sometimes when we've written opinions people have said particularly from the lower courts frankly, and they often pay the price for that, which is, well, how exactly do we do this. couldn't you have spent maybe five more pages giving us a little bit more guidance. i try to achieve as much consensus as i can. again, that's noting?
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that not something i can do on my own. we kind of have to have a commitment as a group to do that. and i don't want to speak for the others but i think we fenld a fair amount of time, i think a little bit more than others maybe in the past, talking about things, talking them out which sometimes brings you a little bit closer together. but it's been -- it's been subject to some criticism that it's just sort of can put things off and, you know, you say let's not deal with this issue. well, maybe in five years you get another case where you have to. and some people think that's bad. i really don't. i think it has something to do with judicial philosophy. i think we should be as restrained and only decide issues when it's necessary to do so. i think that's part of how i look at the job of a judge in our system. so, how it relates to others, you know, i'm not quite sure. i think in big chunks of our history -- in john marshall's
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era the idea it wasn't clear you could dissent because everything was unanimous. and i think that had a lot to do with john marshall, just the way -- the force of his intellect and his gregarious nature, you know, the first big decision he made is when we get to washington we're all going to live in the same boardinghouse. they had a lot of responsibilities outside washington so they didn't have their permanent residence there and they very much functioned as a group. if you look at some of the history, it's not because marshall imposed his will on the others, there was a lot of exchange. the other views were considered and often became part of the unanimous opinion. >> chief justice john roberts folk at the greenbrier resort in west virginia. he also talked about diversity on the court. see his full comments tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. "american history tv," on
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c-span3. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on "real america" -- >> more than 110,000 cubans flee cuba. they come the 140 kilometers to key west, florida, in nearly 2,000 boats. why do they come? why are there so many? >> during the spring through fall of 1980 approximately 125,000 cuban refugees arrived in florida from cubcuba. hear interviews and find out why they left. sunday morning at 10:00 on "road to the white house rewind" the democratic and republican conventions, bill clinton accepts the party's presidential nomination in new york city. >> in the name of the hardworking americans that make up our forgotten middle-class, i proudly accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> and incumbent president
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george h.w. bush accepts his party's nomination in houston. >> and i am proud to receive and i'm honored to accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> at 4:45, architectural historian barry lewis on the creation and evolution of new york's greenwich vision. >> when the "l" opened it gave us what we understood. west of 6th avenue was the lower west side. nobody ever crossed that line. now, the people from west of 6th avenue might cross the line to work as a servant in washington square, but believe me the people in washington square never went on the other side of 6th avenue. >> and at 8:00 p.m. "on the presidency" -- >> every time i look at washington, unanimous, unanimously president in chief, unanimously president of the united states, unanimously
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re-elected president of the united states, unanimously appointed as the lieutenant general and commander in chief of all the armies raised or to be raised for service of the united states. what a record. >> george washington >> george washington scholar discusses george washington. he was often called upon to craft policy. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to ♪ c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. on thursday, we're live in laredo, texas on the u.s.-mexico boarder to talk about trade issues affecting the region and the country. san antonio express trade reporter discusses the flow and volume of trade across the laredo border. also texas congressman joins us to talk about how trade benefits
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laredo and the country. then bob cash, state director for texas fair trade coalition and a nafta critic look at how the deal moved jobs from texas to mexico. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live from laredo, texas, beginning at 7:00 a.m. thursday. join the discussion. former presidential candidate ralph nader brought together leaders of several sichk grou civic groups to find out how to be more effective. they focus koernd individuals who started moments that resulted in change. this is about four hours. >> good afternoon. [ applause ] . >> it's my pleasure to introduce
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jim hightower. he has been around more places in the u.s., talking about and exchanging with people, progressive redirections for our country. he has a national radio commentary program. he has written many books with outlandish titles like "swim against the current even a dead fish can go with the flow." but what most people don't know about him, outside of texas, is he was elected twice secretary of agriculture in texas where he went all over the state reorienting texas farmers who are -- were beleaguered to giant
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suppliers and giant buyers of their products, very serious monopolistic hit on both sides to marketing their products directly, to moving towards more organic agriculture, to organizing themselves as a force to reviving the agrarian people in texas. he was going for his third term when dirty tricks undermined his campaign and someone by the name of rick perry became secretary of agriculture. there's little doubt in the minds of observers that jim hightower would have been the next governor of texas and then who knows where. it's important to remember that he was in most of the great
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battles over the last 50 years in the arena of progressive politics as a citizen, a candidate, an elected official and now it's almost an exaggeration to say that he's our one remaining legacy from the days when serious talk was combined with wry humor. and so i don't know whether he's going to make you laugh yourself serious, but here's jim hightower. [ applause ] >> thank you so much, ralph and each and everyone of you for tuning in through cspan for this public interest powerpalosa that ralph has brought together. ralph ask that i do a bit of an
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overview and historical perspective midway through today's marathon of presentations. these innovators, organizers, motivators, range across a wide range of issues as we've learned this morning, more to come momentarily, but all are really engaged in the fundamentals of democracy building, rallying the public to confront and defeat the plutocrat, autocratic, cliptocratic elites who constantly rule over us. by the elites i'm talking about the down sizers, privatizers, talking about the walmart wage whackers, the big oil frackers, bosses, bankers, big shots, bastards and bs'ers who feel free to run roughshod over us. this four day confab is our modern common sense. our 2016 declaration of
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independence from the multi-national trading companies run by corporate royals. just as jefferson warned, money corporations have seized control of our elections, of our congress critters, of our statehouses, the courts, the media. much of academia and even religion. they use their money, their lobbyists, their pr flakes, their front groups, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera to overwhelm people power, to take power from us. you know, they say that in sex -- i don't know a lot about this, sid was trying to explain it to me backstage -- they say in sex using a feather can be erotic but using the whole chicken, that's just nasty. and these corporate interests are using the whole chicken yet they're now on the run because we the people are standing up to them. i know some people say, well, you can't defeat corporate
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power, but remember that even the smallest dog can lift his leg on the tallest building. this breaking through power phrase here is actually what americans do on a regular basis. you don't hear about it on the nightly news or much in "the new york times", but that's the truth. i've traveled all across this country, been everyplace that has a zip code and people are standing up to the thieves on behalf of everyday, work a day people. howard zen taught us that america was not created by and certainly has not been advanced by the great men but, rather, by the mutts and mavericks, rebels, and rabble rousers, the panthateres, abolitionists, suffrages, populists, unionists, preachers, singers, whistle
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blowers, agitators, these grassroots forces not the great men have been the ones to democratize america's founding documents and the core issue throughout our history and certainly is today comes down to this recurring reality, too few people control too much of the money and power in our society and they're using that control to get more for themselves at our expense. that's what we're up against. and that's the essence of what each of these public interest champions that we're hearing from today had been battling. it's not easy to take on this power, those of you who have been involved, nearly all of you have. sometimes you get to feeling like that guy that b.b. king sings about, nobody likes you but your mama and she might be jiving you too. did you ever get to feeling like that? it's not a neat process either. you've got to be willing to get your hands dirty.
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henrik ibson said one should never wear their best trousers never wear their best trousers to go out to fight for truth and liberty. if we're ever to achieve the possibilities of america's golden values, economic fairness, social justice, equal opportunity for all people. that's what we're fighting for right there, no matter what issue. by the way, it is also a very enlivening experience. in fact, a guy told me, battling the bastards is just about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. that's the end of my clothes references today. then he attacks your patience. i come out of dennison, texas, little town on the oklahoma border. my folks were not directly political though they read, they kept up, they voted, they participated. and my father thought he was a
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conservative. if you had gone to -- been a pollster, gone and knocked on his door, a liberal, conservative, i'm a conservative. if you talk about what the bank holding companies were doing to a small business guy like him, if you talked about what walmart was doing to main street, if you talked about what big oil was doing down at the state capitol then he wasn't a conservative at all, he was william jennings brian, mad as hell. he didn't even know he had a political philosophy, but he expressed it to me frequently in these terms. he said, jim, everybody does better when everybody does better. that's what passes for philosophy in dennison, texas, and it's as good of one as i've ever heard because that's what we've abandoned. they're saying, we don't care about everybody, we care about us and we're doing better than america's doing better. we've seen the price we're paying for that. and i ended up here in
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washington to go to law school after i graduated from university of north texas. and i was in law school for a full week and a half here at george washington university and, anyway, spun out of that and hit here, there, but ended up seeing what ralph nader was doing. and so i got into the public interest world creating a project modeled directly on ralph's work called the agri-business accountability project. and we were looking at what corporate power was doing in the food industry, what it was doing to farmers, what it was doing to farm workers, what it was doing to consumers, the environment, to food itself. and we wrote a book, susan demarco and i did in that project in 1973 i think it was called "hard tomatoes hard times" and it was about the lingering college system which is a public school system set up to assist small farmers,
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consumers, rural communities, et cetera. it had turned into an agri-business playground pretty much. in fact, the title of the book "hard tomatoes hard times" comes from uc davis out there had responded to del monte corporation wanted to get rid of farm workers. they wanted a tomato harvester mechanical so uc davis dutifully made one but then that machine crushed the tomatoes. uc davis teamed up with the university of florida and they combined a hard tomato that could withstand the machine. that's where those tomatoes that are forced upon us came from, they came from our tax dollars at work. and sure enough very quickly thousands of farm workers were out of business, 5,000 tomato growers in california were out of business, rural communities
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were hurt and food was turned into a mechanical substance. in fact, demarco went to the head of u.s. department of agriculture research operation. he was very proud of these tomatoes. my god, you can ship them clear across the country. they'll be in a bin for a month and you won't notice them. they're wonderful. well, i grew up in new jersey and we had those wonderful sweet tomatoes there and these don't seem to have quite the same taste. and he leaned over to her and he said, your children will never know the difference. that's the attitude of agri-business giants versus agriculture. and that's what we're battling there. and then a little later i took that public interest attitude into of all things, politics and into texas.
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we united farmers and farm workers, environmentalists, labors, consumers, used that jesse jackson line we might not all have come over on the same boat but we're in the same boat now. that brings people together. much to the amusement of the people of texas, we won. having won, we thought, what the hell, why don't we try to do what we said we were going to do. we put the agency to work by putting its powers and resources into the hands of ordinary people. ralph mentioned farmers markets. there were no farmers markets in texas at that time. there had been, of course, years ago, but they had all gone out of business. so i campaigned on that. why can't we have farmers markets. i lived here on capitol hill and went to eastern market. "dallas morning news" ran an editorial saying this is just foolish on hightower's parts. if the people wanted farmers markets the free market would have created farmers markets. we brought some staff together,
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organizers, marketing people, put them at the disposal of local people throughout the state and said, would you like to create a farmers market? they said yes. then they would do it. so we provided resources, we provided information, we provided promotion. we didn't own anything. we didn't run it, but we became the catalyst for ordinary people putting tools in their hands and then they would create it. we had more than 100 farmers markets within two years of the time of the thing being set up. [ applause ] we took on the writing of organic standards. there were no organic standards in texas and no -- and we became the first state agency to certify organic production to do it as a state level. so we brought all those forces together. whole foods, then a little store, it was part of our operation. some of the local farmers, again farm workers, consumers, et cetera, environmentalists, they came together and we put out organic standards so farmers could move into that, they
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wanted to move into it, they did. at a very short period of time. at that time at texas a&m university professors were not allowed to use the phrase organic in a classroom. you couldn't say the word organic. now our state is moving just as fast as any place in the country into organic production across the board, organic hubs as well as farms. we did pesticide regulations. turns out i was the pesticide regulator. we said, what the hay, we have the power, nobody had done that. so we did. this totally infuriated the chemical lobby, farm bureau, et cetera. so they produced two bills in the legislature, we had a republican governor at the time, they knew he was for them. one would make my office appointed by the governor rather than elected. two, it would remove the pesticide making authority out of the department of agriculture. so they held a hearing in a
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little bitty room, they were going to ram this thing through, but they had to move it out to the house chamber, the largest room in the capitol because my lead off witness was willie nelson. my second witness was barbara jordan and my third witness was the chair lady of the dallas republican women's organization because it turns out that republicans don't want their babies eating pesticides either so at the end of that hearing none of the members would even make the motion to pass these two bills. we won because we went outside and we brought the outsiders inside. if fought inside we would have lost. inside is where lobbyists win. it's where money wins, but when we bring the outside in, then we win. that's what the public interest movement's strategy really is all about. so my message to you, i'm sure you're wondering what it is by now as i've -- that a progressive populous movement only advances when the grassroots revolts.
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the key word in movement is move. somebody's got to move. the good news is that the american people are revolting in the very best sense of that term. and they are making -- they are making big and bold changes now. the occupy movement. people said, oh, they didn't achieve anything. well, they only changed the debate nationally. you could ask mitt romney whether they had any impact or not. the fight for 15 is being led by the least likely workers in our economy. low wage, ill-educated fast food workers. they've been the pioneers calling for $15 an hour and now they're getting it in seattle first, washington state itself, los angeles, california's doing it, new york's about to do it. this is going to spread all across the country coming from the grassroots. congress won't even talk about $7.30 above $7.25 the minimum wage is set at now. the people are moving on their own.
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in elections elizabeth warner and people like that making such a difference inside the democratic caucus causing a few of them to actually have the back bone to stand up and be democrats which is improvement. [ applause ] and we've got more coming. eifer truefaut, russ feingold will get back in the u.s. senate from wisconsin. even the presidential race, it's not been the establishment that's created anything, it's been donny trump and bernie sanders. their supporters are remaking politics as usual. sanders completely put the lie to the myth of the democratic establishment that we have to take the big corporate money because we have to be able to compete. bernie has raised more than $200 million coming in $27 donations, an average of $27. you can't buy a president for $27. [ applause ]
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but you might buy one who's not going to be bought, and that's a big change. that completely alters the political equation right there. well, the first job of the citizen, they tell us, is to keep our mouth open, and we're pretty good at that, but it helps if that mouth is attached to a brain and that's what these public interest groups provide. providing the facts, the context, the messaging, the connection, the strategies to put civic power over corporate power. now what i'm advocating and ralph is as well, is that we take this week's breaking through power concept as a catalyst to forge an ongoing network of cooperative -- cooperation and coordination among our public interest groups making the whole greater than the sum of its separate parts. we might just come together a little bit we can do more. again, the cynics and
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corporatists say, that's very nice, hightower, you can't beat the corporate order. they've got all the money, politicians, media, et cetera. but as a friend of mine who's been a pioneer in the organic movement put it said, hightower, those who say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it, and that would be you. thank you for what you're doing to create democracy in america again. thanks very much. glad to be with you on this four-day hiatus here. [ applause ] we're just going to keep churning right along. my privilege to introduce a fella i've known. we served on the public citizen board together. he is the head of the health research group, has been for eons and continues to be of service there. he's always been a fighter against big pharma, fda, all the
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other forces of ill health in our society. i think of sid a little bit years ago, '70s, late '70s and '80s there was a bar in austin called the raw deal, and in the bathroom -- in the men's room they had one of those hot air hand dryers and had the big button that you push but on the big button phil graham was the u.s. senator. on here it said push here for a message from phil graham. and that -- it has been sid wolf who has challenged and confronted and defied the advertising push and message and the lies of big pharma and their shameless profiteering that they are doing. he has managed to take some 300 dangerous drugs off the market in his tenure at the health research group.
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so i give you sid wolf, champion of the people. [ applause ] thank you. it's very nice to be here. it's exciting to be here in front of these people. one comment at the end of our breaking through power. i think many of us would like the day to come when the -- what i call -- ralph calls the republicans and the democrats, the duopoly, i say there is a government/corporate duopoly and that it needs to be over thrown, but in the meantime, in the meantime breaking through power has been going on for more than 50 years. i think the anniversary of unsafe at any speed is an apt anniversary for celebrating an important breaking through power in auto safety. but it's been going on for a long time and will keep going on for a long time, and one of the
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reasons is that smaller by comparison to overthrowing the corporate government duopoly projects that are well researched, legal research, economic research, health research, focus action breakthroughs have resulted, are resulting today and will continue resulting in change to improve people's lives. i came here essentially 45 -- more than 45 years ago. i came here in 1966. it's 50 years ago to avoid the vietnam war. i was in my medical training at the -- at a hospital in cleveland and i was opposed to the vietnam war and fortunately i had spent a lot of time in medical school doing research so instead of going to vietnam i was able to get into a non-uniform services called public health services and i went to nih and literally this march, now 45 years ago, i was
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sitting at nih where i took care of patients, did some clinical research and did some lab research and got a phone call from someone i knew from my residency days in cleveland and he said, do you realize that a company making almost half the intravenous fluids in the united states has a product out there that's contaminated with bacteria. i said, yeah, but i assumed it was about to be recalled. he said, no, that's why i'm calling you. it turned out that abbott had 45% of the iv fluid market and at the time this guy had called there were already ten deaths and several hundred cases of blood infection in people who got these fluids, hospitals recognized it because it was an unusual kind of bacteria and they stopped using it. no more infections. but he said -- i said, what's the problem? why isn't it coming off the market? he said, again, not to misuse or over use corporate government duopoly, abbott had convinced the food & drug administration
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and the cdc that it would be a much greater tragedy because of all the deaths that occur than the people that seem to be getting infections and dying. and i said, did they present any evidence for that? he said, no, the government just believed the company, abbott. so i said why are you calling me? he said, i know that you've worked nights, weekends monitoring medical students for ralph nader, maybe he can do this. i said, i have to look into this. the first thing i did was to call all the other major iv fluid manufacturers and say, how many bottles, thousands of bottles do you have on stock? it was clear that abbott had lied to the government and the government had believed them because there were more than enough iv fluids to go around so that there would be no way that there would be any kind of shortage of fluids. so mr. nader and i wrote a
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letter demanding a recall, and the initial reaction was, we're not going to recall them because there will be a big health hazard even though they ignored the fact that there were plenty of other supplies there. two days after our letter, which was delivered to the press, they recalled all the fluids in the united states. [ applause ] and ultimately the centers for disease control said this was the biggest outbreak of nosicomial, meaning hospital acquired infection. the numbers when they counted them up was between 2,000, to 8,000. and i was still at nih. i started getting phone calls from people in the fda, you think this is a problem, look at
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this. i got a call from my dear now departed friend tony mazaki saying would you come and visit these workers who have mercury poisoning in philadelphia. i said this is more exciting than being in the official public health service. i had to take annual leave to take these forays. we decided to start the group. quickly after the first group of public citizen was started we were joined by the public litigation group headed by alan morrison who i think is in the audience. can you stand up, alan, if you are there? okay. [ applause ] and alan was with the litigation group for 32 years and headed it for 25. we were also -- he's been succeeded since then by david vladick, by brian wolfman and allison zeeve.
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he believed we had a tripartheid government. the public interest movement has to work through the three branches of the government. the executive branch, which is where the fda is, the courts and the legislative branch as well. so quickly after the health research group started there were these other groups to be followed by others such as global trade watch, you'll hear from lori wallach. well, the principals of that letter were ones that we had followed not only in the food, drug, particularly in the drug area, medical device area, but also in the areas of occupational health we've worked on and looking at doctors who aren't practicing the kind of medicine. the principles are there's a clear, unequivocal problem. there are safer alternatives in the case of that non-contaminated abbott --
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non-abbott iv fluids and the government has the authority to do something about it. and that has been the principle for most of our work on drugs. if a drug has no unique advantage, has a unique risk, it should never be approved in the first place and if it was by mistake, quote, quote, the company's mistake pushing the government, then it should be taken off the market after it's been on the market. over the years we have not casually but 39 times asked the fda to ban drugs. 2/3 of these drugs are off the market now and the rest of them are mainly in very limited use. and in addition to taking action through the regulatory means, petitioning the fda to ban drugs, we also have informed people. we had a book originally published in 1988 by ourselves and phil donahue mentioned earlier in terms of helping
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public interest groups had me go on his program, presented six patients who had clearly drug-induced problems reversed when they stopped the drug and in one hour on the program the book sold 400,000 copies and then the program was repeated. so he was very helpful, but the broader point is that getting books out, a newsletter which doesn't have the 700,000 circulation that mike talked about in nutrition action, but ours has 150,000, but it's on the web at also gets information out to patients. in addition to getting the large number of drugs taken off the market, we've also let people know about an even larger number of drugs well before they're banned. one of the first drugs we asked the fda to take off the market in 1978 was darvon. a widely used, dangerous but not very effective painkiller.
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it was not taken off the market until 22 years after our petition, and we warned people back then, don't use this drug. one of the things that we have -- we have coined the phrase as the wrong phrase, it's do not use. if we see a drug that does have a unique risk, no unique benefits, we tell people not to use it and there are hundreds of such drugs including many that have been approved recently in the last year since the book was published. one of the things that people would find it hard to believe if i told you that this year $800 million in drug company money goes directly to the fda and funds most of their drug review, most people, a, don't know it and, b, would say that's some kind of rhetoric. it's not rhetoric and it's been going on since 1992 because of a law that the congress passed in
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order to balance the budget. let's let the drug companies fund the fda. that's a really good idea. well, turns out it's a good idea for the drug companies because the process of approving drugs has gotten faster, it's gotten sloppier. we published a paper a couple of years ago looking at all the drugs that had been approved before this law was passed in 1992 and all those that have been approved afterwards and guess what? the ones that are approved afterwards were much more likely to either be taken off the market when they were after approval found to be too dangerous or to have black box warnings needed because of new risks that we either unsuspected or not revealed at the time of their approval. when we surveyed doctors at the fda they told us secretly and without attribution that they felt that the standards of safety and effectiveness had been lowered once this law was
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passed because the companies were getting their money's worth by paying their now $800 million to the fda to fund most of their staff. so in the area of drugs and medical devices, the same thing. the fda is funded by the industry and, yes, there are some breakthrough drugs, a minority of drugs that are for treating problems that don't have any other solution or don't have as good of a solution, but most of the drugs are me too drugs that get a patent and that get into a market with pretty low standards of approval and cause more harm than they don't. many of you may have read a few weeks ago that the third leading cause of death in the united states now is, quote, medical errors. these are unsuspected, unintentional errors by doctors, by hospitals and so forth and don't even include those errors that didn't show up in some way on a death certificate. the number is even higher. parallel and somewhat
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overlapping with that is the fact that there are about 100,000 deaths from adverse drug reactions every year and many of them are preventable because someone is getting a worse pill, a do not use pill in our view, as opposed to a better pill. so that is the kind of thing that we've done in the fda area. we've also petitioned the fda 19 times to set safer workplace standards. again, the principle is if a lower workplace exposure will work in terms of producing whatever they're producing and it's safer for workers, why is osha not lowering the standard making it more safe for workers? the answer is the industry doesn't like it. if the industry doesn't like it, again, the corporate government duopoly goes with the industry. in all but one instance we have had to sue osha in order to get them to act. the most recent one still
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pending now because they haven't finalized the rules for beryllium, a very dangerous chemical which in addition to causing lung cancer causes a serious irreversible lung disease. one of the more recent things which happened just in the last week or two is that the government, the nih in this case, and the corporation is the not for profit corporations called hospitals in this country by and large, the nih funded a study in 22 noted medical centers in the united states, including brown and stanford and so forth to do experiments on little three pound, 20-week premature babies. the experiment was half of the babies would get high oxygen, higher than the normal -- the high end of the normal range which could cause retinal damage and the other half would get
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low. the lower half got 85 to 89 and the high half -- percentage oxygen and the high half got 92 to 95. clear evidence before this experiment that there was a risk of death, neurologic damage to the low babies and to the high risk of retinal damage. the parents were not informed of this and the paper we published -- and the government went after at least one of the main institutions in this study for not giving informed consent to the parents, many of whom would not have participated. the paper we published just a few days ago found two things. one, it found that when we examined the informed consent sheets of the parents, 20 of 22 said to the parents, you're getting usual care. usual care is somewhere in the range of 85 to 95 but not just the low range or just the high
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range and 11 of them pretty much told the parents that you have minimal risk to your babies. it's not -- so they essentially misled people into an experiment. the other finding was that the usual care range in almost no hospitals coincided with the low range of 85 to 89. so the government had funded a study to clear ethical review boards and it had gotten done by 22 major medical centers and ultimately the experiment did cause more deaths in the low range babies. so the whole issue of human experimentation is one which we've gotten more into as a result of someone that i'll mention at the end of my talk who has taken over the leadership happily of the health research group from me, but human experimentation, whether it is the overt kind in medical
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centers, so forth, or in the workplace where many workers are being experimented on because they are working at unsafe levels of chemicals and they certainly don't know that they are being exposed in that kind of way. so the three areas that, again, i mentioned at the beginning, fda, unsafe drugs, medical devices, ones that don't work very well, occupational health and human experimentation, i also mentioned that we do certain work overseeing the medical profession by monitoring state and medical boards, most of whom are doing a terrible job in disciplining those doctors who have gone really over the top and yet are still allowed to practice. i'm going to close with a little bit of a discussion back on the issue of breaking through power and transitioning.
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i think of the people speaking here today, this is not a boast but a fact, i am probably the oldest one and for a number of years i thought about what will happen after i leave. i need to get a really good successor, and i think looking back on my time here, and i'm still working, very satisfying to do hard work, to have excellent colleagues doing work both in our group and, as i mentioned, the litigation group and our lobbying groups to push some of these ideas onto the hill, and it's very satisfying to break through power, period. we don't have the goal yet and we have the goal but not the wherewithal to have a revolution that really knocks over the corporate government duopoly, but in the meantime we have enough successes to sort of keep going. i am fortunate to have been able
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to spend 45 years in this exciting, rewarding work, and hope to continue as long as i can. i would like mike carome to stand up, i believe he's here. yes. over there. [ applause ] mike -- mike is an internist, as i am, and he came to us five years ago. he is about to enter his fourth year of leading the group. he's doing an extremely good job. i mentioned before that he has before coming to us more than ten years of experience in the government overseeing unethical human experiments. i would add finally just to the title of the talk -- of the meeting, not my talk, breaking through power, i would add sincerely that it is not just breaking through power but winning often enough to keep going for another 50 years and then another 50 years.
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thank you. [ applause ] if you want to look through it. it's the greatest resource for people to distinguish the medicines that they take. they're all approved by the fda, some have bad side effects, some have less bad side effects. this is a great service sid wolf has provided. our next speaker is robert falmouth who is the founder of the children's advocacy institute at university of san diego law school. i think it's without much argument, he's the greatest advocate for children in the united states today. he does it by research, by investigation, by litigation, by lobbying.
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he is a full spectrum children's advocate. the level of his work is absolutely prodigious, that's why in our circle we call anybody who can pour out a lot of written pages falmethian because he has written reports, books, surveys. he put out a regular review of california state regulatory agencies. he reviewed the boxing commission and recommended. he's been a chief architect of revising lawyers' ethics in california. when he was a student at harvard law school, we asked him to receive all of the resumes from law students there and around the country of students who wanted to come and work with us in 1969. he handled hundreds of them.
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based on his principle rule to writing the famous federal trade commission report which led to the nomenclature nader's raiders that was the headline in "the washington post" article when he and others testified before congress as law students to reform the federal trade commission, which was actually subsequently reformed under richard nixon, no less, he -- he sparked this whole tradition of students coming, disproving their elders and doing very serious work investigating corporations like dupont, investigating situations like savannah river pollution, investigating department of agriculture, food & drug administration, bureau of land reclamation, the forest service. you name it. and that i think was a tremendous encouragement to young people all over the
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country, especially law students, who saw that they were given serious responsibility to do work that was usually reserved for people 20 years their senior. he's worked as a deputy attorney and assistant u.s. attorney in san diego. he has litigated 22 anti-trust actions. founded the nation's first anti-trust unit in a district attorney's office. he serves on a board of directors of public citizen foundation, headed the national association of council for children on whose board he still -- he's still active. and the one thing about bob falmouth is he teaches legions of law students, and i meet them all over the country. more likely than not they want too do public interest law. so he's a teacher as well as a writer, litigator, lobbyist, strategist.
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prodigious. i give you the falmethian robert falmouth. [ applause ] >> well, from that introduction it's going to be downhill from here. i'll tell you a little story about nader's raiders since ralph mentioned it. there were three of us writing the report to the federal trade commission. we were told we had to testify before the ftc. it's pretty intimidating to testify against the group you're testifying in front of. bob, you write the testimony but john schultz, you deliver it. and john, of course, is older than we were, he was a yale law graduate, very handsome. so i hated him. and so -- but i was supposed to write the testimony, he was supposed to deliver. i started out with this agency has failed to and followed that with this agency has failed to,
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and this agency has failed to 27 times and then ralph looked at it. he's not going to let it go. he added the last sentence about geritol and tired blood. john is giving me dirty looks while delivering it. he's also, of course, very friendly with the secretary of the personnel director of the agency, very friendly, and we got all the documents that were flying through the ftc during this period and so that's the backdrop for our being coined nader's raiders. it was quite an amusing point of my life. during that period i was a law student. i was involved in the real world. when i became a law professor, i said to myself we really ought to be doing it to the students they have today. i did a report on the federal trade commission with two other authors and there's huge headlines.
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i go to the press area and there was the "times picayune," nader's raiders attack ftc. i said, jesus, was that me? i hope my mother's not seeing that because she's going to critique my report. she's a linguistic's professor. i didn't want that to happen. so i was very amazed, but here comes the ftc improvements act. we did the interstate commerce commission report. here comes the deregulation act. before i graduated from law school we were writing statutes and we were part of the consumer movement. i said, my students should be able to do that. one of my goals has been to get students to do what ralph got me to do, enabled me to do. if you are a student, we have one student who just recently got a bill through on domestic violence.
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she got it through before she graduated. we have 40 students on our trail blazers wall and they're all over the country. when you're a teacher or a parent, you take credit for your students or your children for the rest of your lives. if they screw up in that they didn't listen. if they succeeded at all, it's of course because of you. i'm shameless about that and taking credit of my former students. in any event, i wanted to mention that cpil which is the center ever public interest and law. it's run by judy deangelo falmouth. also my wife, i want to get some hugs tonight, extremely competent. she runs the center of public interest law. it focuses on state agencies as well as ralph briefly mentioned. it monitors the agents. you might think, well, that's esoteric and very important.
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they regulate much more pervasively and detailed well beyond any federal agency, well beyond. they regulate the lawyers, accountants, dentists, veterinarians, the contractors. you name it, it's a state regulatory agency doing it. and when i took ninth grade civics i took very seriously this notion that government should be separate from private interests. i didn't like and still don't like socialism where the state owns and operates the means of production. i'm sorry, bernie, i don't like that. there's a worst system, industrial system. to me the ideal system is you have two independent entities, the state and commercial enterprise and they're independent from each other. one does not capture the other. one is not over balanced of the other. there's a check and balance there.
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we've seen that being corrupted with campaign contribution influence, 1500 lobbyists in california, almost all representing horizontal associations. what is a horizontal association? american medical association. horizontal association. any grouping that gets together who are normally competitors but who are now cooperating, that's a danger. the hair on the back of my neck stands up. coming from prosecuting them. they do bad things and they are allowed because of the north pennington doctrine to collude government and they protect them in terms of antitrust violations and they give them immunity.
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it's not just the trade it's not just the trade it's not just the trade associations dominating, they put their public decision makers on these boards. they directly control them all over the country. happened the last 40 years. these are entities that are supposed to represent us the people, not the profession or trade. and that form of corruption is the most extreme form of corruption and it's endemic. you may not know this, but 15 months ago -- [ applause ] -- 15 months ago the u.s. supreme court, believe it or not this u.s. supreme court held a north carolina dental board versus ftc that any state body controlled by active participants has no sovereign status. it's not the state. that's very important. a 6-3 decision. the most important decision i think during my lifetime in terms of anti-trust law because all of these boards and commissions control supply. they license.
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and there is a need obviously to control supply and to license, but they do so in a self-interested fashion in place after place after place. they're in the castle. the draw bridge goes up. and often not related to actually ensuring competence. so we have this problem of the master price fixing. if you control supply, that's a form of per se price fixing. it's per se unlawful period, end of discussion. your only defense is if it's the state doing it. guess what, they're not the state. they don't have active supervision from an outside force. this has been going on for a year. so cpil, center public interest law joined with consumers union to write the attorneys general of all 50 states with a public
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records act request of all of them. what are you doing to change the membership of your regulatory agency which is the body poll -- politic and not the industry being regulated. we'll see what happens. we're getting lawsuits together and we'll be challenging these practices all over the country to reform the basic structure. yes, your expertise is valuable. yes, we want to hear from you. we have lobbyists all over the place. we know you should be there. that's fine. you should not be the decision makers. that's fine. that's going to happen. that's going to change. now turning to children. and the reason i'm up here, well, there's an old saying the hopis have that is our lone star. i did not inherit this earth from my parents, i am borrowing it from my grandchildren. that's a lone star for all of us. to look at how we are going to be looked at 240 years from now, we look back and see our founding fathers. they gave up everything for us. they had comfortable lives and risked it all for us.
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how will we be looked at? in terms of using non-renewable resources up. i don't care if you believe in global warming or not. we are using non-renewable resources. if you are, that's a problem. if you are using up non-renewable resources, put a fee on it. have it increase year after year so people can stop exploiting and discovering. it won't be that much harm to them because they stop new ventures. they don't have to stop what they discovered. you let them know it's going to double and triple and quadruple. that's how you internalize an external cost. he's right. children have a problem. they don't get media attention unless you have a microdrama, a chelsea's law and amber alert, most of the problems are gradual.
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the media does not pay attention to gradual no matter how momentous. you have serious problems with regard to where they are going with charge. you have the cost of tuition going up. four or five times the cost of inflation and houses going up in cost enormously. serious cultural problems here. they don't vote and can't get the campaigns. in terms of lobbying, they did a study of lobbying in d.c. the retired person spends $20 to $25 million a year. somewhere here, here's the director of lobbying and all of them combined, less than 1 million.
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compared to what wall street spends. it's out of balance and out of whack. we have to do something about campaigns and lobbying and about that whole area. i will go through this quickly because i don't have a lot of time. we have an academic program. this is purposes, white children and the future interest. obstacles. you can imagine. results and the academic program we have. that is the text. i am doing my fourth edition right now. it can cure your insomnia if you
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have a problem. it's a program and we have clinics and dependency court. our students do policy work and get involved in legislation and litigation and rule making. we are in all of those. if you are not in one, you are going to lose. we got a bill enacted to make sure you are going to in fact report child abuse deaths. the state ignored it and went to court and won there. it's important to be in all of those places. before the legislature in the courts. we do a lot of advocacy. we go into the treatment act and the feds have floors and let the states violate all over the country. we did a report on that.
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you have legislative highlights and statutes enacted with helmet and swimming tool safety and 10 or 12 other areas. and try to use them as models in other areas. here's a kid's place. californians love their license plates. we got the heart and plus sign as symbols and the money goes to children, millions of dollars are flowing. they have to have a special group to review them because californians are so creative like old f and a heart. millions of dollars are flowing in.
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litigation we had big wins in one case where we got the money increased to foster care providers because they were not paying what the feds require. t. again, violating the floor. we went to court. we had morrison and forrester with us, they were doing a pro bono case with us. we won the case and got the compensation increased from $530 to $780 a month by the way the group homes charge $6,000 a month per kid. we want them with families. not group homes. we got it raised. and these families with all these foster kids and everything started sending us these pictures, these drawings of us in court and stuff and pictures of them. 100 pages of these, like, school kids will do when you visit the classroom or something. and the partner in mofo called me and said i just got this
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album of 100 messages from all these kids and these parents and it made me cry. and i said, kim, your clients make me cry all the time. morrison and forrester represents every corporation in america. she did laugh, fortunately. in any event, we've had major cases. we contributed to amicus cases in the supreme court and we won other cases. we have a case going on right now against facebook which i'm worried about. facebook has settled a case with a private class action attorney who they agreed to pay him $10 million in attorneys' fees after one year in litigation. he's ended up with $4.5 million in attorney's fees. it's reduced somewhat. and facebook has as part of the settlement to include to the terms and conditions with teen subscribers the teen has permission from the parent to have facebook remove and seize anything posted, a picture, posted, rearranged and send it
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to them whenever facebook desires you got any prior consent from parent or child or even notice to the parent or child that it's going to happen and that was stuck in a term and condition. we're challenging it now. we're petitioning for a cert to the ninth circuit, so wish us luck because we're right on that one. absolutely right. so wish us luck. so, there's are some of the litigation highlights. there are other cases, of course, 10 or 12 cases. regulatory advocacy, we do a lot of it before various agencies. i won't bore you with that. you can get the power point and details at our website. we have a roundtable where you get all the child advocates together in california for meetings. we have the homeless youth outreach project. we have all the projects going on. we have regular publications and we get a legislative report card
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where we have the kids grade the legislators from "a" to "f" which i think is appropriate. we have publications. here are publications. i'll just kind of let you see what they look like. special reports. here's a special report on home rates. here's a secrecy and child deaths. here we're releasing a report at the capitol. here's another special report. another special report. i guess i'm making ralph's words seem correct on the writing. anyhow, special report. special report. the financing of foster care in california and so forth. special report. special report. and in our reports we don't just put out a report we'll put out a subsequent edition three or four years so they know we're not leaving the subject and we'll be back. here is the last one shame on the u.s. where we documented the failure of the obama administration and previous administrations to enforce the federal floors to foster children. they are not enforcing them at all and we documented this in several hundred pages here in this report which if you bapt to
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really get discouraged and don't do it unless you're surely not contemplating suicide. but it's a very discouraging publicallication. we do leadership and collaboration with other groups, of course, and then we have our funding. our funding is the university does pay for the academic program but all of the advocacy, the sacramento office, the d.c. office, all of that work is funded with the soft money contributions, i'm proud to say the majority of the faculty of usd law school gives money to us. it's very difficult, the cost of the office with two attorneys full time is $500,000 a year and that's our budget. they don't work for high pay but they work because they love it. and they're top notch all of them. so that's it. thank you very much. >> all right. good job, bob feldman. now, bring on mack mcpherson,
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he's executive director of veterans for peace. this is a guy who is not afraid at all to confront injustice. i think of something george bernard shaw said about 100 years ago said you don't make progress by standing on guard but by attacking and getting well hammered yourself. now, the fact that i used to be 6'5" will give you an idea of some of the fights i've been in. but michael has been in even more. he's -- in addition for being head of veterans for peace for a while he's co-founder of the don't shoot coalition following up on the michael brown police killing in ferguson, missouri. he was a field artillery officer in "desert storm." he's very active. based in st. louis. very active in the st. louis association of black journalists and the st. louis chapter of the naacp and is on the steering committee of bring them home now campaign to introduce michael and veterans for peace we've got
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a short video and then michael will be right here. ♪ >> i'm the president of the national board of directors of vet rantion for peace. veterans for peace is an international organization for veterans. across the united states here we have about 160 chapters and we've had chapters in ireland. we're forming a chapter in okina okinawa. we have a chapter in mexico. what we have learned in our collective experience as veterans is in the long run
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violence does not win out. it doesn't pay and it's counterproductive. >> our main initiative really is the cost of war. that's what we talk about as an organization most of the time. and when i say "cost of war" it's not just the financial cost, it's the human cost. it's the environmental cost. it's all the cost of war. veterans for peace wants to make sure that people under that war's not a game. that there's a deep, deep cost, emotional cost to war. these are the types of things that we talk about and try to educate people on so they understand that war is a choice and that war is not going to solve the problems that it's claimed that it will solve. >> who knows better than anyone else what the cost of war really looks like. it's not necessarily those of us who have been anti-car war actis all our lives, it's the people who have gone through wars and
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come to understand things afterwards so it's an incredibly important organization. >> the cause for peace is extremely healing for myself and my other brothers and sisters out there who need that type of support. >> so, our mission is to abolish war and when you look at that, that's a huge, that's a huge task. the fact that we are for peace means that we have to build peace. build peaceful communities. and in order to do that, you have to stand in solidarity with communities that are struggling with economic and social justice issues and the way i see it is that it's impossible to build peace abroad and just look at international issues if you're also not look at what's happening at home. we're not going to be able to change u.s. foreign policy from waging war to waging peace or endless war is what we have going on at this time by ourselves. veterans for peace can't do it alone. the peace movement can't do it alone. we cannot move our mission forward if we don't do it together.
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>> you can learn about veterans for peace by going to our website at you can follow us on twitter. we have a facebook page. you can follow us there. i hope you will consider joining us. >> hello, everyone. thank you for being here. my name is michael mcpherson and i'm the executive director of veterans for peace and i'm very excited to be here today to share with you information about our organization and our work. as you can see i have this hat on because i don't have a veterans for peace t-shirt on. today i have on my tie. you wouldn't be able to tell i was a vet unless i had on this hat because who wears a hat like this other than a veteran, right? so, i'm going to take this off now that you know i'm a veteran. this is a very important gathering for us because we know that to forward the goals of veterans for peace specifically to abolish war and move our
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nation and world towards a more peaceful and just way of living and being it will take a collective effort of individuals and organizations, many of whom do not necessarily see themselves as working for peace but we understand that peace is not simply the absence of war. while i will not try to fully quantify what peace is, i will say this. taken from dr. king's letter from a birmingham jail, i don't think we're looking for a negative peace, which has the absence of tension and is more devoted to order than justice, i think we are all working for a positive peace, which is the presence of justice or in my words although i might have heard someone else say this so maybe they're not really my words peace is justice in action. thanks. i hope they are my words. this leads me to say the elements of peace that i believe all of us are working for -- when i say all of us, i mean all
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of us here, the organizations that we have gathered here today -- are that all people have their best basic needs met. we all feel secure and have dignity and a sense of purpose. this four-day gathering breaking through bars an opportunity for all of us people from various advocacy areas and movements and struggles to come together to envision a better world and move forward the process to obtain it. none of our organizations can do it alone. or what i'm sure we all want, which is to put ourselves out of business. we need each other. the film you just watched gave you a basic overview of veterans for peace. i will now quickly give a little more detail. okay. so, veterans for peace is a nonprofit 501c-3 organization that educates the public on the true social, ecological,
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spiritual and economic cost of war. envisioned by our original founder who brought together a number of vietnam-era veteran, the organization was founded in 1985 by veterans and associate members because of concerns about nuclear proliferation, u.s. gintervention in central ad latin america. from the beginning the importance of uplifting the unique voice of veterans while working for peace while also working hand in hand with associate members was recognized. our statement of purpose one of the reasons other than meeting great and wonderful and dedicated people i joined veterans for peace is because of our statement of purpose. in the 31 years that we've been in existence, the statement of purpose has changed very little. i'm not going to read all of it to you but the first part, we having dutifully served our nation we hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. towards this end we will work
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with others and you can see some of our points, our points of what we're trying to achieve. and then the last part, to achieve these goals, members of veterans for peace pledge to use nonviolent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace. thank you. i do believe it's a powerful statement. our members include veterans from world war ii to the current era of u.s. wars in every branch of service including the coast guard. when i joined in 2003 we had members who served in the abraham lincoln brigade fighting -- who fought in the 1938 spanish civil war which i just thought was crazy that we had people and i met some. they were super sharp guys.
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though we are vet -- though we are veteran led, we also welcome associate members or people who are not military veterans who agree with our statement of purpose. so any one of can join veterans for peace. we are a small organization with a huge mission working for peace and justice across the nation. we have about 3,500 members with 120 chapters in the united states including hawaii and alaska. one of our greatest successes is that we are an international organization with chapters in japan, mexico, ireland, south korea, the united kingdom and vietnam. we also have members in australia, canada, indonesia, the netherlands, new norway. we have a goal to have veterans around the world speaking out against war. just imagine the power of that. our board is a 13-person group of diverse veterans what you see
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up there is our executive committee from veterans from vietnam war to the current era. we also have a distinguished advisory board. some names are well known. others are up-and-coming names. all are accomplished and dedicated to peace and justice. a number of them will be speaking on on wednesday breaking through war, phyllis bennett, matt hodge, and chris hedges and one who has already spoken ralph nader. our work. using our statement of purpose as a guide, chapters decide which activities and program efforts to pursue that best fit their communities. our statement of purpose and two fundamental understandings also guide our national efforts. we believe peace is possible.
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the name of our organization is not veterans against war. it is veterans for peace with a capital "f" to emphasize "for peace." >> yeah! >> thank you. we know peace is possible. we know that to effectively advocate for peace we must believe in peace. we cannot be champions of peace if we do not believe in it. peace at home, peace abroad. this is the proactive answer to service members fighting a war abroad and then coming home to face street violence, unemployment, homelessness, et cetera, or what people call war at home. we understand that if we are to have peace we must not look at it in isolation. we cannot only think of peace as an international issue. we cannot ask people to advocate for peace when they do not feel at peace or see ways to work for peace in their own communities. if a person faces gun violence,
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homelessness, unemployment, bigotry or other social ills, how can we ask them to believe in or act for peace thousands of miles away. two recent efforts we are just getting off the ground that speaks to peace at home, peace abroad as well as justice for veterans and victims of war are our deported veterans work which seeks to help deported veterans return to the u.s. and receive their benefits. and veterans challenge islam phobia come pain where we include our voice to defend religious freedom and call for the end of racism and bigotry in general and specifically the demonization of muslims. we stand in solidarity many of whom are u.s. military veterans in opposition to those who are trying to deem them as the other or enemy making it easier to justify more war. thank you.
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so, our national work. we identify our national work in three broad categories. although the efforts may have elements of all three and more. education about the full cost of war and militarism. our military veteran voices for peace. our strongest asset is our voice as veterans speaking out against war. it is the reason we organized as veterans because we know that our perspective as former war fighters speaking out against war and for peace is unique. it is also our greatest accomplishment because we shattered the stereotype that all veterans support war. as veterans speaking out across the country we are changing the conversation about war, peace and u.s. foreign policy. in the video you saw the golden rule. it is the original peace vote. in 1958 a crew of anti-nuclear weapons activists set sail to interpose themselves with the boat between the u.s. government and the testing of nuclear weapons. they were arrested and tried and
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jailed in honolulu. but far from being defeed their example helped to ignite a storm of worldwide public outrage against nuclear weapons that resulted in the limited nuclear test ban treaty of 1963. their example helped set into motion many environmental and peace voyagers including the phoenix of hiroshima and green peace and the sea shepherds among others. we recently rescued the golden rule from the bottom of the ocean and it's now traveling up and down the west coast educating people about the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. before you join is an effort to make sure people who are thinking about joining the military have all the decision-making information they need to make an informed decision before they join the military. vietnam full disclosure, the pentagon has been appropriated $65 million over a 13-year period to commemorate the u.s. war in vietnam.
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we know that the government will tell a one-sided story that will benefit its aims. the purpose of vietnam full disclosure is to make sure the complete story is told, good and bad, about the u.s. war in vietnam and not use to justify war glorifying war for using war in the future. second area is resistance to u.s. militarism, efforts to end wars and change u.s. policy, foreign policy, away from war. so, that first is end current and prevent threatened wars. i think that's pretty obvious because we've been at war a pretty long time. and, in fact, there was an article in "the new york times" about president obama being the first president who's been at war the whole time he's been in office. i would say to you that's a marketing ploy because i fought in the first gulf war. we never stopped military operations in iraq.
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so, we've been at war at least if you count from the first gulf war to today 25 years. they just want us to believe that these are different wars, but they're not different wars. they're the same wars. and i stand in front of you today as a person whose son fought in the same war i fought in which i think is crazy in and of itself. the asian peace pivot, we have the korea peace campaign. the asian peace pivot since the president said that we have an asian pivot, we're looking at an asian peace pivot. weaponized drone campaign to educate people about the use of drones and who's really being killed and support our resisters and whistle-blowers because it's important for there always be resisters to war and we need people to tell the truth about what's happening. healing and building peace. to be for peace we must also work to heal from war and build peace. so we have the vietnam agent
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orange relief and responsibility campaign that seeks to educate people about agent orange, justice for the victims of agent orange both veterans and children of the veterans and the people in vietnam, in international peace day which is unofficially known as the world peace day on september 21st. we wanted to make that a popular culture understanding that everyone knows about. the iraq water project was launched in 1999 because of the sanctions in iraq water filtration systems in iraq were destroyed so we have deployed 150 water filtration systems across the country. armistice day known by many as veterans day, we want to reclaim that because originally it was supposed to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and now it's used to glorify war and the brand pact that few people know is a time when countries came
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together and denounced war and the united states signed that pact in 1928 and endwventually other countries signed it. most people have no idea about that and we want more people to know about that. got to go back. okay. so, just to give you an idea of our budget. i only have a few seconds left. i wanted to let you compare our budget of around $450,000 to the federal budget. and then if you look at the discretionary budget and the reason i put one up there national priorities project might be considered left, right. where as this other group the peter g. peterson foundation is definitely more government oriented. and that graph up there is projected from 2012 to 2022 and
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i want you to notice how discretionary fendi inspending, pentagon spending. lastly, i want you to look at how much the united states military spends when compared to the next nine countries who spend money on their military and how we actually spend more than they do. of course, all of our budgets, the organizations here, is minuscule compared to that number of $800 billion. so, as dr. king said in 1967 in his beyond vietnam a time to break silence, a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. and i guess that's what we're doing but the reason we're here is to stop that, to pull us back from the precipice and we will do that so -- please think about
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veterans for peace as it relates to your work. please support us and think about joining especially if you are a veteran and thank you once again for coming together for us to think about how we're going to move this nation and world forward to a more peaceful way of being and living. thank you. >> thank you very much, michael mcpherson. he had a lot more to say if he had more time about how they do direct action. the veterans do wonderful direct action. in addition to all the other things he related. i notice that his budget is equivalent of 11 hours of mr. gabelli. 11 hours.
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in other words, mr. gabelli works one eight-hour day and before he goes to lunch a second day. someone said we reward what we honor. and we've got to change the definition here of priorities and seriousness. because if you ask the american people who do they prefer most. they prefer their own health safety and economic well-being that all the workgroups are working for. i don't think they prefer the kind of misallocation of resources that have been referred to so far and will be in the next few days to the very few. our next speaker is clarence detlow director of center from auto safety and engineering degree from lehigh and advanced degree from harvard law school. if you own or rented a car he's
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affected you in a safer manner. no one has been responsible for more recalls of more vehicles for defect correction than clarence detlow and he's been very busy in recent years as the press has reported. the auto industry has recalled far more cars in the last few years than they've manufactured. and they include sudden acceleration, they include ignition switch defects, air bag defects, all kinds of problems that raise once again the lack of quality control by the industry and the lack of quality control imposed on the suppliers to the industry that has so grievously failed. he has written numerous publications on consumers, auto safety, air pollution, transportation, including "the lemon book," "little secrets of
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the auto industry." he knows a lot about auto dealers and their relationship with the auto industry. "sudden acceleration the myth of driver error" and "tapping automaker ingenuity." he added a six-volume work published annually by west publishing. to say he works night and day is to say the obvious about clarence detlow. he has in his modesty a deep-felt sense that for millions of people who may have never heard of him, he holds a public trust of preserving their lives over their loss of lives in car collisions. thank you. clarence detlow.
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>> well, thank you. i want to begin by saying that unsafe at any speed is one of the true public health stories in america. since unsafe was published there have been 3.5 million lives saved by virtue of the safety standards, the highway programs, the information on vehicles. and i can't think of anything out there that has saved as many lives as bringing the auto industry, bringing the highways to safety. now, at the time that ralph was laboring away writing "unsafe at any speed" i was at lehigh university getting a degree in chemical engineering. and i kind of look upon lehigh
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educating me as a counterbalance to having educated lee ia c iac some ten years before. i was having lunch with him when i said to him, you know, lee, you make them and i recall them. but when ralph founded the center for auto safety along with consumers union, it was one of ralph's great tactical strategies, he provided the inspiration and consumers union provided the funding. just a perfect match. and although i wasn't there in 1970 when the center was founded were, the staff were there said that the two things that ralph did is he came in with 10,000 consumer complaints. they were stacked up that high.
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many paper bags. and in those days we didn't have digital complaints. we had paper complaints. so, ralph said, go through all these complaints and find something. why are people complaining about cars. what are their rights and their remedies. so, the staff went through it, and we created the lemon book, what to do with your bad car. and in essence in 1970 consumers had legal rights but no remedies. under contract law if you had a lemon, you could get rid of it. but here's the dynamics. in those days cars might have cost 5,000 to $10,000, well, suppose it was 10. by the time you hire a lawyer, go to court, you have to pay $3,500 to $4,000 in legal fees and costs. but you get a new car. you get your money back. well, think about the dynamics
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of it. you could take that very same car, trade it in and hope your next car wasn't a lemon. and that's what most consumers did. but we published the lemon book and we got the warranty act published or passed after that. and what it did is it provided for an award of attorneys' fees and costs. so now if you had a $10,000 lemon and you sued and you got your money back you got to keep the entire $10,000 because the manufacturer paid your legal bills and your costs. so, that's one of the strategies that we've always pursued at the center for auto safety is a self-help mechanism creating a legal remedy and a right at the same time. and what it does is in the days of 1970 there might have been 500 lemons brought back every year, tops.
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after the passage of the warranty act and then the state lemon laws, there are now over 100,000 lemons bought back every year and most of them without lawsuits. so, all of a sudden consumers had a right that they never had before. and if you -- and one of the things it does is, hey, if you are the auto company have to pay not only the consumer's attorney but your attorney, and i guarantee you that whatever your attorney as a consumer charges those silk stocking lawyers charge a heck of a lot more. so, they're being socked for two sets of attorneys' fees, but now all of a sudden the economic balance has changed. it becomes cheaper to build quality in and get rid of the most egregious lemons. so, that's what we're always striving for is make the system
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work. but it's a really uphill battle. the other thing that we did that ralph charges on was air bags. he said that -- i told the center for auto safety staff in 1970 that for the foreseeable future the next three years, your main project will be to get air bags in every car. well, ralph is the eternal optimist. we got air bags in every car, but we didn't get air bags in every car until 1994. and in the interim, we took the reagan administration at that time to court over their revocation of the air bag rule in 1981. and we got a decision the following year from the u.s. supreme court. a nine-zip decision, and that decision the court wrote the auto industry has waged the
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regulatory equivalent of war against the air bag and lost. that's a verbatim quote. that's the supreme court. you know, that's an institution that is not a liberal advocate. and you think about that. that happens time and again. the industry is out there challenging safety standards. i once was at a conference which some oil companies were at because it involved fuel economy. and they were concerned that, oh, god, if we make cars too fuel efficient who's going to buy our oil. well, i think that's one of the impediments to getting fuel efficient cars. but what the oil industry said, i was talking to one of their vice presidents. he said to me, we talked to the auto industry and we asked them, why do you oppose every single regulation if it comes out even if it's so small.


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