tv Earth Focus LINKTV December 26, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm PST
>> at link tv we are dedicated to bringing in you depth investigations into the issues that matter to us all. hi. i'm kim spencer. every week, our original series "earth focus" tackles important environmental topics. today, we're going to lock at two reports from our investigative team. now, as you watch, i hope you'll remember that link tv is a noncommercial independent network. we depend on your financial support to bring you original programs. and to keep link tv on the air day after day. all you have to do is dial the toll free number 1-866-485-8848 or go to our website. linktv.org.
now our first report from "earth focus" probes safety issues at nuclear power generating plants. nearly five years ago, a giant earthquake and tsunami in japan destroyed the fukushima nuclear power plant. which has the same containment design as a number of american reactors. what does that mean for us? let's watch the "earth focus" special report fukushima, can it happen in the u.s.? nly here on link tv. >> today on "earth focus" a fukushima nuclear disaster in the u.s.? dr. edwin lyman of the union of concerned scientists on the possibilities. coming up. n earth focus. >> there's no nuclear reactor operating in the world today that is completely immune to accidents. my colleagues and i wrote the book about fukushima to try to produce the most accurate
representation of the accident. because if you don't fully understand the technical basis for the accident, then it's very hard to come up with solutions for preventing the next one. our book does conclude that an accident like fukushima could happen here. and we do have the opportunity to try to reduce the possibility. however, what we're seeing in the united states and the aftermath of fukushima was the various government officials including the nuclear regulatory commission and the nuclear industry telling the american public that what happened at fukushima simply couldn't happen here. >> all of the plants that we've licensed and all of the plants that we are currently reviewing will meet strict safety standards for earthquakes and other natural phenomenon. so certainly for the existing plants we believe absolutely that they can withstand an earthquake and they can meet the high standards that we've put in place. >> when you start to say
something can't happen here, you're practically inviting it to. because you're going to let your guard down and that's the biggest danger. no regulator can predict every possible contingency that could affect the nuclear power plant. you have to be prepared for anything. but it is simply too expensive to prepare for everything. in the united states, most of our plants were designed, licensed and built decades ago. and -- in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's and they were designed to a certain standard that was considered to be the best knowledge at the time, for instance, what's the most severe earthquake? and the historical record, what's the highest flood? that information was taken into account. but in some cases, the methods that were used for analyzing that data were faulty. things were left out. for instance, the impact of an
upstream dam failure was not considered. but now we believe that to be a significant risk. the acony plant in south carolina is one that's been known for a long time to be ulnerable to a dam fale -- dam failure. owned by duke energy. a plant quad cities in illinois and river flooding could put that plant under water in which case the operators would have to resort to extraordinary measures to keep the plant safe. seismic vulnerabilities is a big issue. and the most obvious vulnerable plants are those in california right now. there's only one operating nuclear power plant that's diablo canyon. the other two have been shut down but they spent nuclear -- nuclear fuel is still on site in those plants. in the central and eastern united states, over the last couple of decades, the u.s. geological survey has come to
the conclusion that seismic risk is greater than was previously believed for a number of these sites. and so these are plants where they were formerly believed to be low risk but are now higher risk. there is one plant in the united states which really needs to be considered as a unique case. and that's the indian point nuclear plant. which is only about 25 miles from the new york city border. and within the 50 miles of indian point, there are about 16 million people. and so it's certainly the highest population density around any nuclear plant in the country. as a result, it deserves special scrutiny. not just for safety vulnerability but also for vulnerability to sabotage. because we know that new york historically has been one of the most desirable targets for terrorists and indian point is a nuclear plant, fallout,
melted down, would be aimed directly at new york city. it has to be taken seriously as a potential sabotage target. one very important aspect of fukushima is that it demonstrated that the hazards of a nuclear plant accident extend far beyond the 10 mile zone that is typically designated as the evacuation zone for a nuclear plant. here the -- in the united states the n.r.c. requires every plant to make plans available for evacuation within 10 miles. if it looks like there was going to be danger, to people living beyond 10 miles, this would be plenty of time to evacuate. for some plants like indian point, you're talking about millions of people who had no idea that one day they may be asked to evacuate from a densely populated region with terrible tragedy. and i think that to rely on the ability to expand that
evacuation zone on an ad hoc basis if an accident happens is asking for trouble. right after fukushima happened, the chairman of the n.r.c. convened a task force to take a hard look at safety of nuclear power in this country. and that task force came around with 12 recommendations. so anyone who thought before fukushima that we hadn't -- no room to improve here in the united states, was probably taken aback by this thick document of all the things that we need to fix. that task force report was taken by the n.r.c. and then put through its regulatory meat grinder. and as a result, some of its recommendations remain somewhat intact. others were watered down. others have been discarded completely. nuclear power is just a very complex and expensive way to boil water.
if we don't fully learn the lessons of fukushima, and incorporate them into sfour that we are s here setting the stage for catastrophe. simply because we have the opportunity now to correct some of the problems of the past, and if we don't take that opportunity fully, then we'll -- no one but ourselves to blame when -- when or if it does happen. >> we will go back to more special reporting from "earth focus" but i want to talk with you what about it takes to bring this unique programming. we created the weekly "earth
focus" series 10 years ago because no one else was covering the environment on a regular space. now with our ground-breaking reports on fracking, unsafe chemicals in the home, the pesticides that are killing our nation's honey bees and so many other topics, we make sure you are informed about threats to our environment and to ourselves. if you see the value of the "earth focus" weekly series, and if link tv is a crucial part of your life, then become a supporter today. making a contribution is easy. just visit our secure website. link.tv.org or call us at -866-458-8848. -- 1-866-485-8848. look at what you can get when you make a donation. because of your financial support that link tv is able to bring you engaging, informative and motivational programming. so make the choice right now. to become a sustaining supporter with a gift of $25 or
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programs like "earth focus" and keeps link tv on the air week after week. maybe you've been sitting at home watching our programs intending to make a donation to link tv. but still haven't quite gotten around to doing it. well, there is no better time than now. just go online to our safe and secure website. that's link.tv.org or you can make your tax deductible donation by calling 1-866-485-8848. let's take a look at ways you can help. >> link tv brings current topics, cultural events and rare and informative programming thanks to your support. take this time right now to make a generous donation of $1,000. and in return, we'll send you the best of link tv. books. d.v.d.'s and logo items. everything to keep you up to date with all that link tv has to offer. plus this collection comes with an exclusive audio u.s.b. drive filled with your favorite earth
at risk speeches. from derrick jensen, to van dana sheba to alice walker to fomc lindsia, take this with you to be informed and inspired. because of your support link tv can bring powerful stories in unseen perspective he is. thank you. >> your contribution helps us present "earth focus." the weekly series on link tv that is the leading environmental investigative program on american television. now, we're very proud of that fact but it's a sad commentary that no one else is covering the environmental beat. this comprehensively upon national tv. when we need it most. each week, we commit prominent air time for "earth focus" so that the people fighting threats to the environment, countering climate change, and working hard to come up with sustainable alternatives can reach the millions of people who watch link tv each week. you can heche make that happen. call 1-866-485-8848.
and make a generous contribution right now. or go online to linktv.org where you can check out the special gifts that we have to offer. it's our way of thank you for keeping link tv alive in communities all across america. remember, as a noncommercial channel, we do not sell advertising. and get no funds from the monthly fees that you pay your satellite provider. that's why we have to interrupt link tv's commercial-free schedule and turn to our viewers a couple of times a year to meet our modest budget. and to produce our unique programs that enlighten you about critical topics like the environment. so please call today. or go to our website link.tv.org. now, let's watch another "earth focus" report. cold rush looks at the opening of the arctic region as climate change melts the northern ice pack, leading to a new russian-american competition for shipping lanes and poile-gas exploration.
-- and oil-gas exploration. only here on viewer-supported link tv. >> today on "earth focus" the global consequences of a changing arctic. coming up on "earth focus." >> having traveled to the arctic region it's really hard to describe the experience. of standing and looking out over miles and miles and miles of ice floes as far as the eye can see. a majesty unparalleled. on the planet. >> at the northern most part of the earth the arctic covers over five million square miles. and includes parts of the u.s., canada, greenland, iceland, norway, sweden, finland, and russia. >> the arctic is very, very different depending on where you go. even within individual countries. you might have a very developed aspect.
in the arctic and then you might have underdeveloped areas. >> this is a place where with significant urban settings, as well as very small indigenous tribal communities. >> northern norway called the paris of the north. beautiful city. amazing infrastructure. better roads than washington, d.c. they have underground tunnels and roundabouts. >> much of the arctic is unpopulated and little explored. winter temperatures can plunge below zero fahrenheit. summers average 50 degrees above zero or higher. >> it is a very challenging region to do work in. it is cold. and it is dark. and it is remote. >> in the arctic everything happens at a very slow rate. if you put your foot down on some piece of moss or some grass it will take years or decades to regrow. >> the one thing that is not happening slowly in the arctic is change. >> scientists tell us that every day, they are profoundly
stunned by the dramatic change that is occurring in the arctic. >> the arctic is warming faster than any other place on earth. and one of the ways in which that is demonstrated is in the retreat of summer sea ice. which has been shrinking dramatically over the last several decades. >> according to nasa scientists, the arctic is losing about 30,000 square miles of sea ice each year. that's an area the size of maine. since 1980, 40% of sea ice cover has disappeared. scientists expect the arctic ocean to be largely free of summer ice by mid century or sooner. >> the ice reseeding -- receding has an impact on the environment and on the flora and fauna in the arctic and that changes traditional with a ways of life in greenland or alaska that hunters can no longer get to the seals because the ice is receding. >> but there are other more troubling consequences.
melting sea ice accelerates warming. ice reflects the sun rays back into space. but dark open waters exposed by loss of sea ice absorb them. >> what scientists believe is happening is the more that ice cap shrinks, that dark water absorbs heat faster. and it becomes the cycle where the warming actually begins to go faster than what has been projected. >> so the less ice we have there, and the less surface for the sun to bounce its rays off of, the warmer the whole planet becomes and that's what we get into what we call feedback loops. so the arctic is a bellwether for the rest of the planet. that if the arctic absorbs a lot more heat, because the ice is gone, it could have ramifications for the rest of the planet. >> the arctic is a global air conditioner. it helps regulate climate and weather patterns. as the arctic warms, wind patterns shift affecting weather in north america and europe.
the melting of the greenland ice sheet will also have ramifications for the rest of the planet. it stands to raise global sea levels by 20 feet or more. >> that will impact places like bangladesh. asia. even in the united states. the louisiana coast. the florida coast. >> in will still take several hundred years. but that's many times quicker than anything we've previously seen. and the greenland ice sheet is definitely melting at unprecedented rates. >> throughout the arctic, permafrost, frozen ground below the soil, is melting. >> permafrost which would be a very firm foundation year around on which to build airports, roads, schools, houses, is thawing causing foundations to sink and crumble and having buildings actually collapse. that's not just happening in alaska. it's happening in russia and
other places as well. so the engineering and designing and construction of buildings and public facilities has to change. it has to change pretty quickly. >> but permafrost melt is not the only problem. as the arctic sea ice melts, storms produce stronger winds and waves. exposing coastal communities to severe erosion. >> coastal erosion, which is eating away at the shoreline of villages, means that people are losing schools and tank farms. and roads. to a very powerful storm season. it didn't use to happen. >> 180 alaska native villages are presently suffering from floods and erosion. one of them is kivalina. this bear-year island village is losing up to eight feet of shore to erosion each year. it's long-term survival is at stake. alaska's northern coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world. >> over 20 communities on the
coastine of northern alaska have been identified as places where either they have to move or they will have to move. because they won't be able to be sustained where they are anymore. but where is the money going to come from to move those villages? >> the warming of the arctic brings many destablizing changes. but at the same time, it opens up the region to new opportunities. >> that shrinkage of arctic summer sea ice means that people are speculating about the possibility of everything from shipping to oil and gas to additional economic development. that might have some rather major implications both domestically and internationally. >> right now, there are two main passages, the northern sea route or the northeast passage over the russian arctic. primarily. and then the northwest passage which is through the canadian archipelago. >> the northern sea route is the one right now that has the most economic potential. rotterdam to tokyo, for
example, from the netherlands to japan, is 40% shorter through the northern sea route compared to the suze canal. the northwest passage still a lot of ice. the ice likes to stay between all the different islands and not really a shortcut to anywhere. >> the northern sea route stands to potentially transform global shipping. >> this arctic seaway -- >> today only limited traffic along the northern sea route. but turning this route into a global commercial highway is a strategic priority for the russian government. >> so the arctic is very closely tied and linked to national development. in russia. if russia wants to remain prosperous or develop hydro carbon resources they need to do it in the arctic. >> the arctic remains one of the most promising areas in the world. for future oil and gas opportunities. so it is an energy storehouse. there are also significant minerals available in that region. >> there's these famous numbers
by the u.s. geological survey that 13% of undiscovered oil and 30% of undiscovered natural gas are located in the arctic. >> shrinking. ice cap now makes offshore exploration in the arctic feasible. most of the reserves are thought to be in the russian and american arctic. >> so what russia needs is technology. they do not have the technology to do offshore drilling. so they needed western technology. and they also needed western financing to help. >> so what we see are joint ventures between western corporations like shell and exxon and state-owned companies like rozneft and gazprom. >> after the crisis over crimea and ukraine western european and american sanctions have targeted technology needs. and those companies cannot provide the technology and they can't provide the financing that would help. so now that energy production has slowed.
and exxonmobil has left. its prourks -- production project -- >> you could argue the ukraine sanctions might have put certain development five or 10 years behind. >> the collapse of oil prices in 2014 has stalled offshore oil drilling plans by chevron and norwegian, danish and french oil companies. offshore development in this faragal and pristine environment has some experts concerned. >> many of the technologies that have been used in the lower 48 in responding to spills, whether they are a small or large, involve mechanical recovery systems that do not assume that they are operating in ice. and ice creates a variety of problems. in terms of responding to spills. >> a recent government study said that if oil is produced in the -- off the coast of alaska, there's a 75% chance of an oil spill. that would -- that could
absolutely decimate communities on the north slope of alaska who rely on the animals in the ocean for food. if there was a 75% chance of me getting on plane and having that plane crash, there's no way i would go near it. >> environmental concerns about spills in the arctic led greenpeace activists aboard the go 0 on c sunrise to owned -- m of >> does not present any threat to safety and security of any person. or property. or the marine environment. and unacceptable risk to the arctic environment. both in russia and globally. >> the first thing we have to do is to stop the hosing, stop the hosing because they're in position, it becomes unstable and may fall 15 meters on the foot of the platform. so we have to stop hosing so we
can entertain the situation of the activists. over. we propose you evacuate all personnel because we will start our -- so we think that more people will be injured. >> in the end, russian authorities arrested all 30 members aboard including two independent journalists. and imprisoned them for three months. this group of activists is known as the arctic 30. they were eventually granted pardon and released. >> it was a very strong russian reaction. i think that also was telling us that russia is asserting its sovereignty in the arctic. and people who cross that sovereignty better beware. >> will the opening of the arctic lead to more clashes? will this resource-rich region become a source of conflict and tension? >> to date the relationship of
the eight arctic nations including russia has been a good relationship. i think largely based on a pretty simple premise which is that there is more of a shared interest than there is a competing interest. >> i would say that there's very little risk of escalating tension in the arctic. that is of course not to say that the conflict somewhere else in the world could potentially migrate into the arctic. >> and maybe the arctic could be a place where we can rebuild trust. and rebuild the dialogue with russia. because the arctic is so important to them, maybe this is place where we can start again. >> if countries can come together and protect this incredible place, and say this is a place where we're not going to exploit, we're going to protect it, then i think we have a shot at preserving our future.
>> aye. i'm kim spencer back with you after another great "earth focus" report. link tv's research shows that millions of americans watch this original series each year. and that nearly 70% of regular "earth focus" viewers take some kind of action based on what they've seen. whether it's volunteering with a group or calling their elected representative. this is the kind of impact link tv is having. but to keep us on the air, we need you to make a tax deductible contribution today. call now. toll free. 1-866-485-8848. or visit our secure website. link.tv.org.
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a lot in common in our country, and that is we want to get things done. we're rather upset by the inability of decision-makers, for purposes of their own careers, or their own avarice, or their own myopia, simply not leading, not reflecting, what abraham lincoln called "the public sentiment." and he once said, "with the public sentiment, you can do anything. without the public sentiment, you can't do very much at all." we also, whether we call ourselves conservatives, liberals, libertarians, or progressives, we also have not been individually winning much these days. and one of the reasons is because in the time-honored strategy of divide and rule, the people who have extraordinary power in this country, whether they're in washington, whether they're in wall street, relish focusing on the areas
of disagreement between, just to shortcut the categories, liberals and conservatives. and we see that every day. we see the battles in the congress, in the state legislatures, out in the arenas of public discourse. we see it on issues like reproductive rights, school prayer. we see it on issues like constitutionally-required balanced budget. we see it on gun control, and a number of other issues. constantly, these are the areas where the battles occur, less regulation, and issues like reducing taxes, sometimes too general level of deliberation. what we don't see is where we agree, even though it's already out there in terms of public opinion, convergence between liberals and conservatives,
and even though we have historical examples where odd bedfellows, as the press usually calls it, have gotten together and achieved what either group could not achieve by itself. the conservatives couldn't have done it and the liberals couldn't have done it. and when they got together, it happened. and this book is about the areas where it has happened in recent history, it's about where it could happen, and it's about changing our psychology. because what happens when we get into ideological cul-de-sacs, it's a comfortable thing. we love to talk to people who agree with us and we tend to exaggerate and stereotype the other side. why? because all the radio talk show hosts focus on the conflicts and the politicians focus on the conflicts because that's one way they raise their money. they say, "well, we represent left. we represent right.
you got to support us." and then they list the issues that we're disagreeing about. so the premise of this book basically is this, there are a lot of things we can get done in this country. the country is full of problem it doesn't deserve and solutions it doesn't apply. and that's really the democracy gap. and the democracy gap is that vacuum where millions of people want to see redirections, changes, and reforms in this country, in this place, in the world, but they don't know how to get it done. and if they try to get it done, just with liberals or just with conservatives, they can't get it done. but if they align together, a lot of things happen; people's morale go up, they sense victory because a left-right alliance in almost all cases is a significant majority. and not only it's a significant majority, but it gives cover
to a lot of politicians who might want to do the right thing, but they don't have cover. they don't cover by their side or they'll be exposed to the other side. now, i want to give a lot of examples because i've always had this theory that if you talk about important matters in a society at a general level, people don't remember it. i don't remember it, goes in one ear and out the other. remember in our college or high school classes, what do we remember? we remember when some teacher did something very concrete. in the fifth grade my teacher, ms. thompson, came in one day and she took up the chalk and she wrote on the blackboard, "gone forever, one minute. don't bother looking for it. you'll never find it again." and i never forgot that. [laughter] >> so let me start with the first idea
that i had that sparked the book was we were fighting the clinch river breeder reactor. it was nuclear reactor that was supposed to breed its own fuel. it was gonna be built by the taxpayer on the clinch river in tennessee. and it was basically what would--the right wing would call crony capitalism. we'd call it corporate welfare. mr. reagan was for it. president carter was against it. but this was 1983 and mr. reagan was for it. general electric, westinghouse, a lot of companies, engineering firms were for it. and it started out as a projection of 1.5 billion, and then it was going to three billion, and then there were some official estimates it was gonna end up at eight billion. and they already spent a billion and a half, and it didn't even dig a shovel on the clinch river. so we opposed it because we thought that it would lead to plutonium vulnerability in terms of national security and that it wouldn't work technologically.
and the right wing support-- opposed it because it was a tax disaster. it was waste of taxpayer money. we're trying lobby the opposition in congress, senator bumpers from arkansas calls up and says, "why don't you connect with some of these right wing or rightist-centered groups, like the competitive enterprise institute?" so, we thought that's a pretty good idea. so, we got together and formed a group, taxpayers against clinch river. and in a stunning victory, we beat them 56-40 in the senate against real heavy corporate law being supported by the president. and i said to myself, "this is really quite an opportunity." this is a situation where we cut the mustard. a left-right alliance is not bipartisanship. it's not where we say, "well, lets agree. the military can send five submarines to afghanistan. the right wants five.
the left wants nothing. and let's say just two and a half, huh, submarines." no, no. it isn't that kind of thing, you know. it's where we already agree that we don't like the patriarchs' restrictions on civil liberties, and it's coming up for renewal next year and we wanna-- we wanna amend them in specific areas that left-right already agree. and it's where left-right doesn't like the bloated military budget, and empire, and disastrous wars abroad, and the violation of international law, and the drain on the treasury, and the damage to our soldiers, and horrendous damage to the natives in these countries like iraq and afghanistan that's boomeranging. no. we want to-- we want to come back. there's america to build and renovate at the community level all over the country, creating good jobs that can't be exported to china. so you have left-right that in effect
does not like corporate welfare. they don't like corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways, bailouts. i interviewed ed crane, the--one of the founders of the arch-libertarian cato institute in washington, and he's very concise. one would always say he's brisk. and he said, "ralph, i oppose all corporate subsidies, unconstitutional wars, liberty-restricting patriarch, and the federal reserve run amok." and i said, "well, that's a pretty good start, ed." [laughter] >> that's a pretty good start. and so, we're dealing here with different categories of left-right stages. you start with public opinion. for example, counter-intuitively, 70, 80% of the american people favor restoration of the minimum wage at least inflation-adjusted from 1968 would be $10.90.
it's federal, $7.25 stuck, and california's gonna go to $9 and maybe higher. you have 30 million workers in this country. just think of that, thirty million workers out of about a hundred and forty million, who are making less today in inflation-adjusted dollars purchasing power than workers made in 1968. that holds true for walmart workers, for example, under sam walton, walmart workers made in real money more than they make today, even though worker productivity has doubled throughout those years. i mean, you come in at 70 to 80% on an issue. you know there's a lot of conservatives and liberals in that category. and that is starting to go operational. it's operational in cities now, like san jose, that have raised the minimum wage to city level. it's going operational in 21 states that have moved up to 8.50, $9 an hour. and congress itself is starting to get the message.
and it turns out a few weeks ago, almost in the same week, mitt romney, rick santorum, and tim pawlenty, the republican, former governor of minnesota, came out for a restoration, the minimum wage, joining that archconservative, phyllis schlafly. so, you see? it's moving, operational. so you're--its got about four stages. it starts with public opinion, then it congeals, becomes more visible, whether through petitions, or referendum, or marches, rallies, left-right. and then the press starts reporting it. and then it reaches the table of some candidates for office, incumbents or challengers. and once it reaches the table, it is discussable. most of these left-right alliance issues are really off the table of the republican-democratic party. they do not want to discuss it. and once it's not discussable, obviously it's going nowhere. and what the left-right
alliance says is, "no. we're gonna-- we're gonna have this discussed in elections, and public opinion, and debate." so, we see, for instance, this tiny budget in the federal realm, you know, the military budget, 800 billion dollars, it's half of the federal operating budget. there's no more soviet union. china is not gonna send missiles, not while we send them their job--our jobs, and industry. so why do we have such a large budget? well, that's what eisenhower warned us about, the military industrial complex is insatiable and it's always looking to find an enemy to justify all this armament and all these military contracts. and it's pretty hard, you know, trying to make 800 billion dollars worth of fighting some criminal gangs abroad or some exaggerated third world country peril.
so what happens is you have to cover up. and the way you cover up is you don't audit the pentagon budget. pentagon budget has not been audited decade after decade. now, any business person knows that if you don't audit your business, you're not gonna find out where the money is and where it's being spent and wasted, never mind prudent business strategy and allocation. and so, the government accounting office, the arm of congress, every year, it reports on the different departments and agencies. every year it says, "alas, we don't have the data that would allow us to audit the pentagon budget because the pentagon doesn't have the data. and so, we discovered nine billion dollars disappeared in the few--first few weeks of the invasion of iraq, which is a criminal invasion, unconstitutional based on lies and deceptions, now taken for granted, except by dick cheney. [laughter] >> and under--and the state
department's not that better under hillary clinton. six billion dollars couldn't be accounted for. so, what do you think the left-right comes in on auditing the pentagon budget? now, it's screamingly high, screamingly high, over 90%. it comes in, left-right, 90% to break up the big new york banks that are deemed too big to fail. and therefore, if they crash again, they crash the economy, and the taxpayers have to bail them out. that comes in about 90%. the idea of initiative, referendum, and recall, there's a lot of procedural democratic reforms that left-right are insistently on the same side. on the same side, they want voice. whether they agree or disagree, they want voice. and if the lawmakers don't provide a way to reflect that voice, then they want the initiative, referendum, and recall. the drug wars are now being subjected to a left-right alliance. and grover norquist
and newt gingrich had started a group called "right on crime." they got too many people in jail for long sentences for non-violent offenses, and it's costing billions of dollar, and the right wing doesn't like that. it's a waste of money. and the left thinks it's also a waste of money, they think it's a terrible way to treat people if you want to avoid recidivism, and if you have any sense of human rights. and so, sometimes it-- they're both on the same side, left-right, but for different reasons. try nafta and the world trade organization, left-right. now, in the house of representatives represent enough to stop what's been called "nafta on steroids," which is the trans-pacific trade agreement. and it doesn't just deal with trade. it deals with subordinating consumer worker, environmental standards to the supremacy of commercial trade all in secret, all decided, literally in secret tribunals such as the ones
in geneva, switzerland; quite different from our open courts and our regulatory processes, and the--and the legislative processes. so why is the right wing opposed? because they think it shreds our sovereignty. why is the left opposed? because they think it shreds our decision-making, but they also think it unfairly ships millions of jobs and industries to autocratic regimes, fascist, communist regimes who know how to keep their workers in their place at 80 cents an hour. so we have juvenile justice reform being passed in 15 states now because of left-right legislators getting together, and shortening some of those outrageous sentences for small possession of marijuana or other street drugs. now, in the book on page 65, 66, i have 25 areas of convergence. and as i go around the country, people suggest other
areas of convergence. some of them are national, some of them are local. the liberals have to get over their distaste to even associate with right-wingers. i found that the right-wingers are more interested in this book than the left. and i asked myself, "why?" and i want to be very concise, because in television, you got to give people sound bites. so, a television reporter asked me, "what's the problem with liberals not, you know, getting together with grover norquist and newt gingrich, i mean, do you know what these people stand for? i mean, how can you stand it?" and--so i've got it down better than a sound bite. it's called a sound bark. here's the problem, it's the "ehk" factor. like, "oh. how can we associate with these people? how can we deal with them? we disagree with them. well, you disagree with them on a, b, c, d?" so what?
that doesn't mean you don't work with them on w, x, y, z to lift the taboos and all the repressive forces that keep people from saying what they think and doing what they want, and building a better society, and having the us be known as a humanitarian superpower instead of a-- just a military superpower with enough armaments that it can blow the world up 300 times over and make the rubble bounce. that was one calculation by an industrial engineer.
into the next stage. cracking down on corporate crime. people are very upset that the people in wall street, who for a variety reasons, criminal greed, negligence, stupidity, excessive speculation, never were persecuted, and they did violate laws. and not one went to jail. some inside traders went-- a handful went to jail, but not the bosses. that comes in overwhelmingly left-right. what happens when you're dealing with left-right issues, and you go down the abstraction ladder from the ethereal ideological clashes to where people live, work, and raise their families, right down where they live, work, and raise their families, a lot of the ideology dissipates, because whether you're a conservative family or a liberal family, you're facing reality. and when you face reality, you have some of the common principles of fair play,
if you will, a golden rule, becomes the applicable yardstick for evaluating proper behavior. and also, they have children. and what? republican, democrat, so what? the koch brothers are putting money into state legislatures to sur-- trying to surtax solar panels, because now, solar panels are competitive with their oil and gas interest. and so, they're putting money in counter-intuitively to raise taxes on solar panels. and guess what? they're losing, because in these legislatures, there are republicans and democrats who say, "what? are you crazy? you mean there's a republican solar panel or a democratic solar panel? we want solar panels. it creates jobs in the communities." they're not getting what they usually get, the koch brothers. so i think it's important for us to discuss these issues. the book is designed for discussion. it's designed to turn some of the 90% of the thousands of book clubs
in this country who will only deal with fiction books, as they don't want controversy. you know, "i go fishing with ray, but i never talk politics." you know how many times you heard that one? like, "oh. that's sinful. you don't talk politics." that's only the central way that we try to have a rule of law and have a system of equity so we can get things done and fulfill human possibilities. they turned politics into dirty work. how many times have you confronted people who think they're smart because they're cynical? a pox on both their houses. [laughter] >> right? and you--we should say to them, "you know, there are two easy ways to go through life. one is to believe everything and the other is to believe nothing, and they both avoid thinking." and if you withdraw, and if you quit from democracy, you create a vacuum and, you know, power abhors a vacuum.
and so this book is designed to be vibrantly discussed. i must say, no one's written a book like this before. i go into the conservative philosophers, the big ones, like adam smith, ludwig von mises, friedrich hayek, fred meyer, russell kirk. and i found out that the corporatist who masquerade as conservatives have distorted these people. that sure they were dead setting in socialism, dead set about centralized government planning, but they're incredible humane in terms of their social philosophy. friedrich hayek is cited by congress and paul ryan as his mentor. and one reason is that he opposed medicare and medicaid. he opposed medicare and medicaid because it was discriminatory. he wanted health insurance for everybody. [crowd chatter] >> and he--and he also wanted a minimum--a minimum incomes plan to deal with raw poverty, which milton friedman picked up and persuaded nixon
to send to the congress. unfortunately, the congress didn't pass it. ludwig von mises, i mean, he said, "do not put too many burdens on the market system. there are other important value systems in the society that cannot be reflected by a market system. another way of putting it is, "markets are good servants, but bad masters." corporations are chartered by the state to be our servants. that's a historical reality. they have turned so often into giant conglomerate fashion to be our masters. and so i hope that you will take this idea and meet your counterparts in the community and start forming liberal-conservative alliances on whatever issue you think you both agree on instead of the being divided and ruled. we're running out of time in this country where we can continue to call ourselves a democracy. it's increasingly, and i see people
who are very wealthy using these words, "it's a plutocracy or an oligarchy." one of the richest men in america told me, "how's--how are things with the plutocracy, ralph?" i couldn't believe it, that they're talking about it that way. and the figures bear the amount. the top one percent of the richest people have financial wealth equal to the financial combined wealth of the bottom ninety-five percent of the american people. i'm going to end on this note, whether it's eminent domain, taking homes, and giving it to pfizer corporation in new london, or whether it's cartel regulation, that is regulation that impedes market competition, and is pushed through congress in order to favor certain commercial interest over others or whether its examples of great success of left-right alliance, the auto safety act passed unanimously
in the house of representatives against powerful auto industry, free information act passed against commercial lobbying opposition in 1974, the false claims act, it has saved tens of billions of dollars of fraud on the government, passed against powerful commercial interest because republican senator grassley teamed up with democrat howard berman in the house of representatives and got it through. and last year, we had the whistleblower protection act that was opposed by corporate lobbyists. left-right got it through. left-right almost got a bill through the legislature against the republican-democratic leaders to ban the nsa from dragnet snooping over the american people, just missed, stunned the congress. but when members of congress see a left-right coming in, whether it's emails, telephones visits, they know the writings on the wall
and they know it's unstoppable. and what we have to constantly keep in mind is not just past successes, but how fast we can turn this country around, a country, again, that has more problems than it deserves and more solutions than it applies in one area after another. anybody who thinks that we have to wait 10, 15, 20 years to make major changes, long overdue in our country, many of them already made in western europe, like better public transit, four weeks paid vacation, like better labor laws, higher wages, in the lower one-third category, free tuition for higher education, and such things as better pensions, a whole number of things, which is, "well, the taxes are higher." well, they may be a little higher, but look what we--
look what they get for it. they get universal health insurance. they never have to go into student debt. they get the residual back from their taxes and our residual goes into massive military budgets and corporate welfare boondoggles. last point goes into history. i just read a book recently called "the first american revolution." and it was--it was before lexington and concord by a year, the farmers in central and western massachusetts. you know, boston takes credit for lexington and concord. boston was a military garrison run by general gage, the emissary to king george iii. one out of nineteen people in massachusetts lived in boston in 1774. it was the farmers that started it. and the way they started it was completely nonviolent. it was extraordinary. when king george ruled that he was going to appoint,
through his emissaries, all the town officials, and the sheriffs, and the judges; that was the last straw for the farmers. and what they did was they picked out these tories in their midst who were trying to implement this draconian law, and they would show up around the house of the tory, very quiet, very dignified, they'd knock on the door and they'd say, "we're here. we're your neighbors. we provide you with food. you know who we are. we want you to recant. we want you to say you will not enforce that law." and do you know how many showed up? five hundred, one thousand showed up in those days. it wasn't easy. there weren't really many roads. there were dirt paths. but they showed up. and they were very, very keen on not being accused of being riotous. and they showed up. and this is what we have to do. we have to show up.
my favorite bill is a two-dollar bill. i don't know how many of you have seen the picture, the picture on the other side. it's a picture of the people who showed up to sign the declaration of independence in july 4th, 1776. okay. they're white males and they were upper income. but when they signed that declaration, they knew they were possibly signing their death warrant because they were taken on the most powerful military force in the world, the british empire. and so i say to all of us half of democracy is showing up. and if we're not gonna show up, especially in the left-right alliance town meetings, the precincts to vote, the courtrooms, the marchers, the rallies, we won't get this great democratic experiment maturing
as it should in the 21st century. and if we don't do that, given the trends of decay and decline, our descendants are gonna curse us for the kind of country we handed forward. and all of us have our known occupations, professions, and businesses, but we also are all citizens. and we have to allot time for that precious, that precious and most important responsibility. thank you. [applause]
>> people have seen me fiddling with these cards. a lot of people asked us a lot similar questions. they're all very good by the way. who do you think will be the candidates for president in 2016? [laughter] >> i could be flippant and say it's not relevant, because they represent the same interest, except for a few categories that are important in the civil liberties area. but on national security, and corporate welfare,
and not doing thing about the tax code, and empire, and war, it's so drearingly similar by both parties [indistinct] a number of other categories. if i had to guess now. >> uh-hmm. >> and it'll be a wrong guess, but right now, the dynasty returns, jeb bush and hillary clinton. >> and will ralph nader jump into this? >> no. >> no. >> but i do want to encourage a billionaire to turn it into a three or four-way race. and there should be an enlightened billionaire, especially in this area of the country who, you know, rather seriously concerned about state of the country. and i'm serious about that. i sent letters to 20 billionaires... >> yes, i know. >> ...urging them-- urging them to do that. and, however, you know, it's a long way to iowa and the caucuses, so anything can happen. i just wrote a letter-- i just wrote a column saying, "i think jerry brown is not gonna go in iowa,
in new hampshire, but i think he's standing for president. and he's waiting-- if hillary falters, he's ready. and he's done everything, plus and minus, to be as invulnerable as possible to political attack. plus, he's balanced the budget. so--and he's run three times, so he still has that taste. >> so, i read your book, "unstoppable: the emerging left-right alliance." and you talked about how republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives have a lot in common. which republicans have you voted for? >> first of all, i never say who i voted for. i believe totally in the privacy to vote. [applause] >> but you--but you also talk about transparency. and you believe that we should know who gives money to whom and everything else. >> yeah. but not-- i have never asked people. they often-- most people tell you who they vote for, but i've never done that. >> have you voted for any republicans?
can you say that? >> trying to seek an answer in, huh? [laughter] >> let's put it this way. i'm a very unorthodox voter. and if i don't like who's on the candidate-- who's on the ballot, i'll vote a write-in. but i do believe in binding none of the above. my favorite reformer comes in 85% in the polls. so, if you go to the polls, you don't like who's on the ballot, you vote none of the above. right now, you can only vote yes when you go to the polls. so it's a no confidence vote. and if it--if it-- if it wins over the candidates, it starts new elections and new candidates in 30 days. >> okay. this is a great question. is it disheartening to you that nearly 50 years after the publication of "unsafe at any speed" auto makers are still covering up safety issues. what do you think should be done? >> well, you're probably referring to the gm cover-up for 10, 12 years on the ignition switch, and there have been other cover-ups,
i think the congress is now seriously considering tightening the auto safety laws, increasing the auto safety budget, the enforcement budget. that would be a good thing out of this tragedy. that's what we're pursuing for. laws have to renovated; just like machines, human beings, they have to be renewed, and this is just another renewal. at least now they're talking about recalls. when i started, they wouldn't even admit recalls. they either would never recall or they send a secret bolt into the dealer, you know, "if your customers bring in this car, you know, it does have a sticking throttle, so, you know, here's the repair unit. >> has gm broken the law? >> oh yeah. >> should people be prosecuted? >> yes. >> for what and what would be the just punishment? >> well, when we lobbied the auto safety bill through, the opposing lobbyists for the auto companies cut out the criminal penalty, even willful knowing violation of safety standards
that kill people, only civil penalties, and not that many millions of dollars in maximum fine. so, now, that's one thing we're proposing in the renovation, the criminal penalty. but gm violated another law, which basically says you have report immediately when you find a defect to the department of transportation. and the justice firm has a ongoing criminal inquiry now into the gm matter, and another law that they violated which is omnibus, it's across the broad, it's obstruction of justice. so if they document gm stonewalled, covered up, didn't deliver the emails, the internal memos to the investigators from the department of transportation, they're in deep trouble. >> and the just punishment would be? >> well, some would be, you prosecute people up. you don't just prosecute a lowly engineer, which is what gm is trying to get away with. you prosecute people up. you have a--there's gonna be
a very heavy fine on gm. it's gonna be well over a billion dollars. they hit toyota for 1.5 billion a couple years ago. that's not that much, by the way, for gm. but the other part, and if there's a settlement, there's very rarely a trial, gm will have to restructure its operation so that the ceo is immediately informed of defect discoveries and can't say, "i didn't know about it," and the top brass cannot say, "i didn't know about it." so i've suggested an independent ombudsman who receives confidentially the reports of conscientious engineers inside gm where they're protected from retaliation against their career or promotion. and then the ombudsman has to zing it right to ceo, in this case mary barra, and she has to decide, and she's got the skin in the game. she's on a hot seat when to send it to the department of transportation.
they're trying to shuffle the company this way, that way, horizontally, vertically. it's a huge bureaucracy. it's not gonna work. it--this is the way it works. >> i've got a question i've been dying to ask you all day. have you ever used uber or lyft? >> no. >> what-- have you ever used airbnb? >> no. >> so what do you think of these new startup companies where people just give someone a ride in their car or have them stay in their house? >> it's the same question we would all ask, "are they regulated for safety? are they licensed for being expert drivers? is the car inspected?" they usually have to have a car that's no more than three years old or so for uber. and it's unfair if they are not properly regulated, certified to safeguard the passenger. it's unfair to the cab industry. the reason why it arose is because people were tired of waiting for cabs. in washington, you can wait half an hour. people want right away. and, now the cab drivers
are answering the phone more quickly. >> ( laughter ) >> i see fewer busy signals, you know. so it's had that sedentary effect. in new york, they're starting to regulate uber, and i think that's the way it's gonna end up. and of course, the more drivers there are, the less uber drivers are gonna make. right now, they're making quite a bit of money compared to cab drivers. >> and do you have an opinion on airbnb? >> it's the same thing. i don't mind, you know, decentralizing, you know, making people ad hoc small business. i don't--i don't mean-- mind that. but you got-- i mean, if you're gonna find a room in some house on elm street, there have to be certain standards, you know, instead of going to, say, a motel. >> so, should there be-- the--should the--should the city of san francisco heavily regulate airbnb? >> all that should be regulated. if you're challenging a regulated industry, and you're unregulated, and you can see the problems, they're not just theoretical,
it's unfair competition. >> this is a great question. and this, to me, is one of those issues where the right and the left can quickly agree. mr. nader would you share your opinion of gmo corn-- well, not that one. in the ethanol fuel mandate, that one. >> oh, yeah. no, i don't know about liberals on this. >> uh-hmm. >> but i think there's a lot of conservatives and a good slice of people liberal who are discovering that ethanol is a waste to taxpayer dollars. it's a subsidy. number two, it does not help the environment the way it was exaggerated in its introduction. i mean, sugarcane ethanol is much more efficient. number three, it almost costs as much to produce the corn as the btus you get out of the corn when it's burned. number four, why do you want to burn food in a hungry world? and number five, you're likely the increase,
and the studies have shown, you're likely to marginally increase supermarket prices because of any shortages that occur, because, let's say they're replacing soy and are replacing other products that are often in a cyclical short supply, up it goes. i'm all for the abolition. but when i was campaigning in iowa, right from the start they asked me, "what's your opinion on ethanol?" and i said, "out of here." that made me real popular. [laughter] >> and i'm sorry, and gmo corn? >> well, any gmo, any gmo. first of all, it's corporate science, monsanto. it is not academic science. corporate science is secret, proprietary information, it's not peer-reviewed by other scientists, it's not open, has political power, which, you know, it goes beyond its merits, and it is commercially driven in terms of what you chose to do research on. academic science is open, peer-reviewed. some scientist may want to support something that doesn't have to
make an immediate profit, but it's very good for human beings. the other thing, and i've just written a long introduction to a book called "the gmo deception" that is full of articles by scientist and investigative reporters saying, "open it up folks." this is too secret and too tumultuous a technology. changing the nature of nature, flora, fauna, corporations owning our-- owning our genetic sequences in terms of monopoly patents? let's have a discussion. there's no ethical and legal framework. it's essentially unregulated. and you have farmers who don't want to gmo crops. they're being contaminated by the winds wafting the farms that do use gmo crops. so it is a trap. in other countries, it's worse than that. it allies itself with the industrial farming dispossessing millions of farmers in places like india. [applause] >> speaking of india... >> there's a left--
there's a left-- there is a left-right alliance on that. >> as i heard you say-- talking about that, i started thinking about ivf pregnancy, all of the things that are happening in the world of reproduction now where there are surrogates for--to carry babies for people, some in india and other third world countries, what's your opinion on that? >> i don't know much about that. and when i don't know much about something, i am very quick to admit it. so--and so a ( indistinct ) calls me up and as they call all of you up from time to time, they say, "we want to survey you on x subject." and if it's an x subject i don't know about, i say, "you're not going to pull ignorance on my back. try someone else." so i really don't know that. i do know enough about it to know they're some of the most horrendous ethical questions that we'll ever face. >> uh-hmm. nasa scientist james henson has suggested that eliminating the development of breeder reactors
was a big mistake in our quest to reduce co2, global warming. what's your opinion on that? >> my opinion is the best fusion reactor we'll ever have is the sun, photovoltaic, solar, thermal, wind power. and, you know, if the sun could ever write a letter to the earth, it would say, "you stupid people. i gave you vegetation, which congealed and went down, down into the ground and turned into oil, gas, and coal. instead of looking up at me and having more wind power and all the rest that i gave you, you're digging deeper and deeper and bringing it up and poisoning your own people and devastating flora and fauna, and soil erosion, and toxic desks for workers and pollution. what is going on here?" here's what's going on. the problem with the sun is it's super abundant, it's everywhere, and if you can get the infrastructure,
it's free. and exxon mobil doesn't like that. ( applause ) and so, there is-- there is-- there's a natural disposition for conglomerations of capital to lock in the highly-capitalized local sources of energy like coal mines, oil, oil wells, gas mines, nuclear power, because then they control it. and solar energy is very decentralized. you have now in california, trucks installing solar panels all over the state because the prices dropped precipitously in the last three years. and that's why the-- i think solar energy is now irreversible. it's had some false starts. it started over 2000 years ago, the ancient persians and the ancient greeks used their construction in a way to get the benefits of the sun in the winter and not so much in the summer. east africa, you have tunnels
where cold wind came in. it's been around a long time. it's time to bring the sun back, forget about all these hazardous highly-complicated, high-centralized, highly-autocratic, and highly-risky technologies. the sun's gonna be around, and we are told, for four billion years. so it allows for long-range planning. ( laughter ) ( applause )
on... ( applause ) >> ...on consumer financial issues, debtor-creditor relations, big banks, bailouts. you know, she really knows her stuff. i don't think she's very good on foreign and military policy. i think she follows the obama line partially because she doesn't know that much. it's not her area. but i hold her up to higher levels. rand paul, he-- i can't stand his positions. he's against medicare. he's against health and safety regulation. he doesn't like environmental standards mandated. i don't--i think he's skeptical on climate change. and he hates taxation. you wonder where all of this is going to be funded. but he's against empire. he's for open information, and he's against the bloated military budget. we had an amazing thing happen in 2010, barney frank and rand paul, his father, they're both congressman, they got together in a--
in a caucus and they staffed it to take on the bloated military budget, left-right right there. a lot of taboos get lifted, and you'll find a lot of politicians who you don't think agree with you, and they're free. they can be like martin luther king, "free at last. free at last." why don't you take those taboos out. i can go on with the, you know, the others. i mean, in the congress you're talking about, debra? >> uh-hmm. well, the question was in washington. so... >> oh, yeah. i mean, look, i would vote for 15% of the congress. i'd willingly vote for them, one five, it's going-- then going down. >> i know you like jerry brown. who do you like from california? >> california, well, again, on domestic issues, george miller, i like him very much. >> he's retired. >> yeah, he's retired. henry waxman represents, to me, you know, i have this rule,
i'm for term limits, but not six years, twelve years. "why?" they ask me? because after 12 years, most members of congress either wear out or sell out. they wear out literally. they just lose their spark and their initiative. and henry waxman has done neither. he's really--he's a-- he is the supreme legislator. the greatest legislator in my 45, 50 now years in washington was congressman john moss from san--sacramento. hands down. >> how can corporations be stopped from moving their businesses overseas to prevent pain? >> well, this is where president obama is doing the right thing. he asks these corporations, "where's your economic patriotism?" and it's legal to do, debra mentioned, strip themselves of their us citizenship, corporations, charters, and reincorporate in switzerland, luxemburg, ireland
which has a lower corporate tax rate. and he says it may be illegal. it's the wrong thing to do. the idea is they keep the 8,000 walgreen stores. pfizer keeps getting all these benefits from the nih, free research and development clinically tested for drugs to give away free to various drug companies. all the public infrastructure, the law, the enforcement of contracts, the courts, they get all of that because they don't want to pay their fair share of taxes. and the people-- you hear--you hear the wall street journal say, "you know, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the western world, 35%." who pays 35%? some small business may. the average tax-- income tax payments of the top 500 corporations is 13%. you have year after year, general electric making billions of tax, billions of profits in the us, paying zero federal income tax. one ge worker sends more money to the us treasury
than the entire general electric company. and if you want to get the list of all this, extremely accurate, go to citizensfortaxjustice.org, ctj.org. you'll see twenty-five major corporations, most of them paying either no taxes, three percent, five percent, whatever. as far as i'm concerned, a major yardstick to evaluate giant us corporations from now on is patriotism. the corporations are told by the supreme court that they are persons. that they are people. okay? if they're persons and they're people, we're gonna-- we're gonna judge them by people standards, whether they're unpatriotic or whether drug companies are kleptomaniacs, whether hospital chains suffer from attention deficit disorder with their patients or whether gm refuses to be toilet trained, from now on is anthropomorphic. ( applause )
>> now, this is not a question i would ask. but how do you feel about causing al gore to lose the election and making george w. bush president? >> this is amazing. how many answers in rapid fashion do you want to that question? here's one. here's a basic one. and we use this in petitioning, because people often didn't want to sign our petitions to get on the ballot in state after state because they were the democrats or they like the two-party system. and what worked almost all the time was saying, "you may not agree and you may not vote for ralph nader and winona laduke. but will you sign this petition to get on the ballot in order to give the people in california who want to vote for nader and winona laduke the choice to do so?" okay? so either we are all equal, have equal right to run for president, and therefore, we're trying to take votes from one another,
and therefore, we can be called spoilers of one another or none of us are spoilers. third party candidates, libertarian green are not second-class citizens. and the last i heard is george w. bush took more votes away from gore than i did. huh? now i've asked gore this, people have asked gore, "gore doesn't even come close for blaming the green party." he says, "there were dozen things that happened." he thinks it was stolen from him in a variety of ways in florida. he thinks he lost his home state of tennessee, had he won it. everything else happening the same, he'd been in the white house. he didn't think that winning the popular vote should lose him the white house because the electoral college. i mean, that's gonna be abolished in about two, three years by an interstate compact. imagine coming in second like bish--bush did in the popular vote. and he--and he's appointed by five, four of the supreme court, and they had no business doing that. so there are about
( indistinct ) anyone of which would have put them. but how dare they? how dare these two parties who turn their back on workers, and ignore consumer abuses, and get us involved in all kinds of wars and huge loss of money and sacrifice of soldiers boomeranging against us, they both need your-- and give the authority to the president, bush or obama, unconstitutionally to decide when to initiate wars, and they give our tax dollars for all these subsidies and bailouts? i mean, how dare they say that someone shouldn't challenge them from either the right, left, or center. it's actually outrageous. it is political bigotry at its worst. >> ( applause ) >> by the way, two hundred and fifty thousand democrats in florida voted for bush. who's gonna blame them? i suppose... >> i commend them personally.
>> yeah? >> what is your opinion about illegal immigration? what would you do about it? >> well, first of all, i'd change the american foreign policy to stop supporting suppressive dictators and oligarchs in mexico, central america that... that so abuse and starve their people, that these people have to go north of the sick rio grande to feed their families. most people don't like to leave their native land. and if these countries are allowed to prosper, and they had interesting population ratios, 50, 80 years ago in terms of natural resources, central america couldn't feed itself, mexico. that's step one. step two, nafta dumped a lot of taxpayer-subsidized corn into mexico and dispossessed a million mexican workers-- farmers and their families heading to monterrey, mexico city, or north. that was in effect there. third, i believe we have
to control our borders. we have to control them so we don't drive down wages in this country. the wall street journal wants open borders, and we know why. we have to control them for smuggling. we have to control them for infectious diseases, and we have to control them for two-way pollution trends. so that, i believe in controlling borders. finally, if there are immigrants who come in unlawfully, and after five, ten, fifteen years, employers hire them, they pay their taxes. they do work honorably. there comes a time when the equitable doctrine of laches moves in. in other words, it is a misdemeanor to come in illegally in this country. it's not a felony. there comes a time when we have to say they've proved--they are merited and they should be kept here. and if we want to prosecute anyone, we should prosecute the poultry processors, the meat packers, and the various employers
who bring--who want to lure them in so they can pay them dirt wages and challenge them to object to horrible working conditions like in the tomato fields in florida, because if they do, they're exposed and they can be harassed and thrown out of the country. so they got captive workers there. the employers have a serious responsibility here.
of the dream act for--to... >> yeah. when it comes to children who are born here... >> uh-hmm. >> what's their responsibility? they should have equal rights, you know, with the rest of the people. however, we shouldn't, you know, in the next 15 years, allow 15 million people to come into this country. we can't keep doing that. and i don't believe in brain drain. i think we should restrict that h-1b visa. the very idea that we tell developing countries, "get yourself in order here. use your human resources. get yourself more engineers, scientists, doctors, nurses, come on, develop your economy, and then we brain drain them into our country instead of developing our own talent and having more people skilled
from lower income areas in this country." other nations in africa, in asia, in south america, they need doctors, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, nurses desperately. why are we importing doctors? we don't have enough brains in this country to increase the number of primary care doctors? this is a very bad brain drain. i would have very strict controls on h-1b visas. >> and what about these 50,000 plus unaccompanied minors who are coming to the border now? there's a big, you know, the president is--his-- well, i'm not sure what he wants to do actually. he seems to have changed his mind a couple times, but his--but he wants to change the 2008 wilberforce act or he didn't then he change his mind on that. sorry. but, i mean, what would you do about it, if you--if you were president? >> you know, tens of thousands of people been killed in mexico in the last few years, and now central america because of the drug wars.
it's filling over in this country, worse and worse. we also have our drive-by shootings, right? what are we doing? what are we doing not decriminalizing, regulating these drugs, and having a major effort, a slice of what the drugwar costs us for rehabilitation at all ages in order to detoxify and get these people off drugs. are we willing to pay the penalty of constant underground drug machinations and drug wars where in these countries they're killing judges, they're bribing police. no one talks about that. now, when we-- what would happen if we criminalized alcohol consumption or tobacco smoking? drugs, all nar-- all addictive substances should be viewed first and foremost as health problems not as criminal behavior for uses. >> well, what about--
so, what do you do about traffickers? >> pardon? >> what do you do about traffickers? so if you-- you want to decriminalize usage, what do you do with the--with the--with the... >> once--there are no traffickers once you illegalize it. they're only store keepers. >> well, you said you want... >> and they're taxed. >> okay. so you want to legalize all drugs? >> you have to. i mean, by the way heroin and cocaine, 19th century, they weren't illegal. >> uh-hmm. >> we have a different society now obviously in mobility, transnational migrations. but look, you can never suppress addiction by law. it's gonna burst out in the most ferocious, destructive, addictive ways right down to suicides and homicides. the only way is to bring it up, surface it, decriminalize it, regulate it, tax it, and then move toward rehabilitation clinics all over the country. that's what we're doing in tobacco. that's what we're doing in tobacco now. >> i'm sure you noticed the new york times editorial
that called for the legalization of marijuana into the federal ban. >> huge editorials, three of them so far. >> that's right. it was-- now, do you--do you think that this country will legalize marijuana in the next five years? >> yes. i mean, i do not like drug addiction. i mean, let me tell you, i'm very strong on this, but i have studied the history of trying to criminalize personal addictions. it's what the former dean of the harvard law school once said about other things, "there are certain patterns of behavior in human society that are beyond the effective range of legal action. you can't prosecute them. enough. they'll proliferate all kinds of brutal ways. and so, surface it, regulate it, tax it, and rehabilitate. that's what's happening. when i started opposing the drug--the tobacco industry in 1964, when the surgeon general's report came out,
47% of all adults smoke. it's now 18% lower in california. nationwide, that's a huge consumer movement. that is 400,000 people a year die from tobacco-induced diseases. i mean, you wanna talk about a terror. but now, it's gonna decline. and also, you won't be able to absorb other people smoke non-smoking. we push for non-smoking compartments in railroads, buses, and airplanes, and then eliminate. and 1988 was the fact-- last day when you can get on a us airliner and have anyone smoke. and i happened to be on the flight from washington to buffalo, and i was the last guy on the plane, there was one seat by the window in the rear, and i'm going down the aisle with my suitcase, and this guy in the middle looks at me with a glean. he can't believe it. i'm sitting next to him, and he said, "you. it's you who did this."
( laughter ) >> and all the way-- and all the way to buffalo, he's blowing-- he's blowing smoke in my face, and i'm doing the vent, you know, trying to get-- ( laughter ) when we landed, and it was the last time he could ever smoke, he blew--he blew the last thing in my face, and he said-- and i said, "are you satisfied?" he said, "yes, it was worth it." and i said, "well, i hope you enjoyed it 'cause you're never gonna do it again." ( laughter ) ( applause ) >> that is called gloating. i'm afraid i-- i've asked the last question. so let me--please-- let me--i thank ralph nader, political activist, author of the new book, "unstoppable: the emerging left-right alliance to dismantle the corporate state." i also wanna thank our audience here, audience on radio, television, the internet. and i want to remind everyone here that copies of mr. nader's book are on sale on the lobby, and he'll be pleased to sign them in this room immediately following