Tuesday, June 4, 2013

American Fascism: Ralph Nader Decries Big Business

I always feel happy when I see Nader in the spotlight.  I just wish he were the President calling the shots.  He can still do it, or at least, show how it can be done for some future leader.


American Fascism: Ralph Nader Decries How Big Business Has Taken Control of the U.S. Government


Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate. He is now organizing with the campaign, TimeForARaise.org. His latest book is Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns, with an introduction by Jim Hightower.

Describing the United States as an "advanced Third World country," longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader calls for a new mass movement to challenge the power corporations have in Washington. "It is not too extreme to call our system of government now 'American fascism.' It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism," Nader says. "We have the lowest minimum wage in the Western world. We have the greatest amount of consumer debt. We have the highest child poverty, the highest adult poverty, huge underemployment, a crumbling public works — but huge multi-billionaires and hugely profitable corporations. I say to the American people: What’s your breaking point? When are you going to stop making excuses for yourself? When are you going to stop exaggerating these powers when you know you have the power in this country if you organize it?" Nader has just published a new book, "Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns."

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AARON MATÉ: For the rest of the hour, we’re joined by Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, corporate critic, attorney, author, activist and former presidential candidate. For well over four decades, Ralph has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water and work in safer environments. His devotion to political reform and citizens’ activism has fueled a number of critical policy victories and the creation of generations of watchdogs and activists to carry them forward.
AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader came to prominence in the early '60s, when he began to take on powerful corporations and work with local activists on their campaigns, putting himself on the map in 1965 with his book Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile. In this interview from that same year, Nader pointed out the safety flaws of General Motors' Chevrolet Corvair.
RALPH NADER: What aggravates the problem is that the rear wheels of the Corvair begin to tuck under. And as they tuck under—the angle of tuck under is called "camber." And as they tuck under, it can go from three or four degrees camber to 11 degrees camber almost in an instant. And when that happens, nobody can control the Corvair. Interestingly—
CBC INTERVIEWER: Well, then, surely they did the right thing. They found out there was something was wrong with the car, and they fixed it.
RALPH NADER: Yes. The question is: Why did it take them four years to find out? This is my point. Either it’s sheer callousness or indifference, or they don’t bother to find out how their cars behave.
AARON MATÉ: Ralph Nader’s exposé led to the first of a number of federal laws bearing his imprint: the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. As he moved on to public and environmental health, Nader would help spur landmark bills, including the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, and the creation of federal regulatory agencies, such as the Environment Protection Agency. Meanwhile, Nader also helped found a number of nonprofit organizations dedicated to the common good, including the Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, and Public Citizen.
AMY GOODMAN: In recent years, Ralph Nader’s name has become synonymous with challenging the nation’s two-party political system. He ran for president in 1996 and 2000 as a candidate on the Green Party ticket, again in 2004 and 2008 as an independent.
Ralph Nader is just out with a new book—it’s his columns—called Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns. It’s an anthology collecting Nader’s weekly opinion pieces. Throughout, Nader tackles the major political issues of our time while offering practical solutions rooted in collective organizing.
Ralph Nader joins us for the first time in our studios, the greenest TV, radio, Internet studios in the country.
Welcome, Ralph.
RALPH NADER: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. So, the title, Told You So?
RALPH NADER: Yes. I’ve been impressed by how all the warmongers and the false predictors get promoted, and they get on op-ed pages, and they get jobs after they have failed in the U.S. government. We know Robert Rubin and Larry Summers and Wolfowitz and Cheney and all these people. And we don’t—we don’t recognize people who have predicted accurately, who have spotted problems arising, as we should. And so I decided to say—excuse me—I decided to say, "Told you so," as we told Nixon about the rise of corporate crime. We warned about the Iraq War and the consequences. We made sure that the consequences of repealing Glass-Steagall were going to lead to huge speculation and serious problems on Wall Street for trillions of dollars of workers’ money. And again and again and again. And there’s something wrong with a society that marginalizes, in so many ways, the people who were right, the people who predicted right, who cautioned, who sent up the warning signals to the American people; and the people who got us into Iraq and warmongering and militarism and corporatism, they’re the ones who get applauded, those are the ones who get $100,000 speeches, like Bush is getting, $150,000. So, I decided—
AMY GOODMAN: Where did he get that?
RALPH NADER: I decided to throw down the gauntlet and say, "Told you so."
AARON MATÉ: Ralph, can you compare our capacity for taking on corporate crime, one of your big issues, from when you first started out to today? Have we developed any improved regulatory framework to tackle the crimes of corporations?
RALPH NADER: No, the corporate criminals have overrun the government. The Justice Department now has expanded Bush’s practice of deferred prosecution. So, Attorney General Holder and President Obama now are basically saying to corporate crooks, "You don’t have to admit. You don’t have to deny culpability. We’ll defer prosecution. Just pay a fine that’s a fraction of the cost of doing business." So the drug companies may pay individually when they’re caught, $500 million, a billion dollars, but they’ve gained numerous billions of dollars. Nobody goes to jail. No corporate charters are pulled. It’s basically above the law.
AARON MATÉ: Ralph, in the past few months, fast-food workers across the country have walked off the job in a bid for a higher minimum wage. They’re seeking $15 an hour and the right to unionize without harassment. The one-day strikes have hit seven cities: Seattle, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago and New York City. This is organizer Jennifer Epps-Addison of the group Citizens Action of Wisconsin.
JENNIFER EPPS-ADDISON: Fast food, in retail, it’s one of the fastest-growing industries. It’s one of the most profitable, with $200 billion in profits. And yet, these are the lowest-paid workers in our economy. They’re standing up and saying, "Our families can’t survive on $7.25 an hour."
AARON MATÉ: Ralph, this is a big issue of yours, seeking a higher minimum wage. Your thoughts on this fast-food strike?
RALPH NADER: Yeah, it’s a good start. And we’ve got to show the American people it’s easier than they think to turn the country around in many ways. And let’s start with the lowest bar of all. Thirty million workers in this country are making less today than that workers made in 1968, inflation-adjusted. These are the workers who clean up after us, grow our food, serve us in the stores, take care of our ailing grandparents. Just let that figure sink in. These are the workers that are most underemployed, underinsured. They work in often the most dangerous situations. They don’t have unions. And the question is: Is our society so inert, is our society so surrendering of any kind of civic sovereignty, that we cannot get a minimum wage equal to 1968? That’s supported, by the way, by 70 percent of the people, including Rick Santorum, and until last year, Mitt Romney. That’s how basic it is. So, we have a president saying in 2008, when he was campaigning, he wants $9.50 by 2011, and now he’s down to $9.00 by 2016. The Democrats are sitting on inadequate bills in the House and Senate and not really pushing the Republicans.
So, here’s what we’re trying to do. August is the big recess, where the members of Congress go back home. So we want people to get 300 to 400 signatures on a summons by the people back home, summoning the congresspeople and the senators to exclusive town meetings in each district. And those of you who are watching or listening to this program and want to show how to turn this around—it’s a great economic stimulus, by the way, to give people who desperately need the necessities of life more money—if you want to take 30 million people up to $10.50 an hour, which catches up barely with 1968, even though the worker productivity has doubled, by the way, since then, just go to timeforaraise.org. Remember, this is—if we cannot do this, it’s doubtful we can change anything in this country. Timeforaraise.org. You’ll get a "whereas ... whereas ... whereas ..." very well done summons that you can go around and get people to sign—it will be the easiest petition you’ll probably ever get to sign—to the congressperson or the senator, saying, "In August, and in a municipal building or wherever, we want you to show up, and we’re going to let you know what we want you to do." That’s why I called it a summons instead of a petition.....

see the rest at       http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/4/american_fascism_ralph_nader_decries_how

No comments:

Post a Comment