[sixties-l] Nader speech

From: Paul.Lauter@mail.cc.trincoll.edu
Date: Sat Jul 15 2000 - 22:38:30 CUT

  • Next message: radman: "[sixties-l] United States, Vietnam Sign Historic Trade Pact"

    I thought some of you might like to read this, whether or not you are
    advocates of what Sid Lens used to call "lesser weevilism." paul

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Sat, 15 Jul 2000 14:44:29 -0400
    From: John Krumm <jkrumm@people-link.net>
    Reply-To: campaign@votenader.org
    To: brc-news@lists.tao.ca
    Subject: [BRC-NEWS] Ralph Nader's Speech to the NAACP


    The Washington Post

    Tuesday, July 11, 2000

    Text: Ralph Nader's Speech to the NAACP

    Following is the transcript of Ralph Nader's speech
    delivered at the NAACP's 91st Annual Convention in
    Baltimore, Maryland.

    NADER: Thank you very much, Chairman Bond, President Mfume
    and distinguished and honored guests on the dais.

    Yesterday, I read Chairman Bond's address. And I found that
    I had to adjust my remarks quite a bit, otherwise I'd be
    accused of plagarism.


    President Mfume brings back memories of what he did in 1991
    when almost single-handedly he saved the Community
    Reinvestment Act which opened up for lending...


    We appreciate it very much, because we've been working on
    bank and insurance redlining for years. We have maps of
    cities all over the country showing the discrimination in
    terms of where mortgage funds are available and lenders are
    operating. And we are amazed at the consistent attack on the
    Community Reinvestment Act led by Senator Phil Gramm from
    Texas and how close it almost came to oblivion in last
    year's Bank Concentration bill which unfortunately made it
    through and into law.

    You know, there are so many people here who are veterans of
    past civil rights, and civil liberties and economic justice
    struggles and I can see also there are people who are young
    of age who intend to take the achievements of the previous
    generation to new heights and to new levels of thoroughness,
    but I can't go into my remarks right now without
    illustrating what those new heights can be like by
    mentioning my friend, Randall Robinson...


    ... because he is really a frontiersman for justice in the
    sense that he's willing to take risks and break through
    paradigms, as he did on the anti-apartheid struggle in South
    Africa. And what he has done since then, in breaking through
    again and again, illustrates that we cannot be satisfied
    with the least of the worst options, whether they are
    policies, whether they are politicians, or whether they are

    We cannot continue to wait decade after decade for
    injustices to be prevented and problems to be solved while
    our economy goes to new levels of growth, while corporate
    profits are at record levels, while budget surpluses are at
    the federal and state levels getting larger.

    We have fewer and fewer excuses for ignoring or being
    indifferent or sloganizing the very serious and in many ways
    growing injustices in our society. We have no excuse anymore
    in terms of saying that we don't have the funds, that we
    don't have the capabilities, that we don't have the
    technology, that we don't have the know-how.

    I just bring to you a little fact from California. For those
    of you who are skeptical of people who tell you that things
    are getting better but we got to make them even better, try
    child poverty in California. In 1980, it was 15.2 percent;
    today it is 25.1 percent. And if you take near poverty --
    the children who are near poverty, who I would consider in
    poverty because I think the official levels of poverty are
    absurd, how can anyone support a four-member family on
    $17,200 a year -- before deductions, before the cost of
    getting to work, et cetera?


    If you add the near poverty, 46 percent of all the children
    in California are in the category. This is not just a badge
    of shame for our country, the richest country in the world,
    it's a reflection of our inability to focus on the signal
    phenomena that is blocking justice, and that is the
    concentration of power and wealth in too few hands. That's


    A few lessons from the past illustrate that.

    What do all these movements have in common? The anti-slavery
    movement, the women's right to vote movement, the worker
    trade union movement, the farmer, populist, progressive
    movement, the civil rights, environmental, women rights
    movements of recent decades, other civil rights movements,
    disability rights -- they had one common theme: They took
    power away from people and institutions who had too much
    power and made that power be shared by the many.

    That is what made it possible. It wasn't just the
    documentation of injustice. It wasn't just the feeling by
    people that they had to have a better life. It was the
    strategy of power. It was the strategy of deconcentrating
    power. It was the strategy that confronted the dominant
    business powers of our history which uniquely were always in
    the forefront of saying no to social justice movements.

    Who opposed the anti-slavery movement? Who opposed the
    women's right to vote movement? It wasn't just some men. It
    was the railroads, it was the liquor industry, it was
    industrial interests that didn't want women to speak out
    with voting power against child labor and the injustices of
    the Industrial Revolution.

    And who opposed the workers in the steel, coal, textile and
    other areas trying to unionize? It was the corporations. And
    who opposed the farmers, dirt-poor farmers coming out of
    Texas? It was the big banks and the insurance companies.

    And I might say it's much the same today. Who opposed Social
    Security? The corporate lobbies and their allies in
    Congress. Who opposed one advance after another in terms of
    equal opportunity of employment, in terms of
    anti-discrimination efforts in housing? Who opposed the
    consumer movement to try to reduce death and injury on the
    part of innocent consumers because of hazardous products and
    toxic chemicals and other sources of trauma? The
    corporations did.

    Who opposed the drive for environmental health in our
    country? Who opposed the effort to end this silent
    cumulative violence that we too charitably call pollution,
    air, water pollution, pesticides?

    Who opposed those? The corporations did.

    Who opposed the effort which is now 60 years in failure to
    take lead-based paint off crumbling tenement walls in the
    cities, the kind of deadly lead-based paint that to this day
    is poisoning 200,000 minority children a year, damaging
    their brain and other organs? It was the interests, the
    prosperity holders, the landlords, the big apartment owners,
    the slum lords.

    And I think all of these social justice movements finally
    prevailed, with few exceptions, and America was better as a
    result, and still we must ask ourselves, what are the
    sources of power that are keeping us from progressing and

    We live now in an apartheid economy. It is an economy of
    such staggering inequities that mere words and statistics
    hardly can do it justice. It is an economy where one man,
    Bill Gates, has as much wealth as the combined wealth of the
    bottom 120 million Americans.


    That means -- apart from what that says about the great
    software imitator from Redmond, Washington, that means that
    there are millions of Americans who are working, year after
    year, decade after decade, and are just plain broke. They
    have no capital share, they're moving, if they're lucky,
    from paycheck to paycheck; if they're less lucky, from
    payday loan to payday loan, paying outrageous levels of
    interest to the loan sharks and going deeper and deeper into
    debt, which now totals, for all consumers in this country,
    $6.2 trillion -- $6.2 trillion.

    The inequities are even more staggering worldwide. I just
    received information, the latest data: The 250 richest
    people in the world have the combined income of the bottom
    three billion people in the world.

    And to give you a further illustration, the top 1 percent of
    the richest people in our country have wealth -- financial
    wealth equal to the bottom 95 percent.

    Now let's look at ordinary working folk. We have 130 million
    paying jobs in this country; 40 million are part-time. And
    according to the Department of Labor, if you work 21 hours a
    week, even if you want a full-time job and can't get it,
    you're considered employed.

    So let's not pay much attention to the 4 percent
    unemployment rate. It's more like 13 percent generally, and
    more like 25 percent for minorities.


    But 47 million workers in this country who get up every
    morning and go to work are making less than $10 an hour.
    Many of them, 10 million of them, minimum wage -- federal
    minimum wage, $5.15, others $6, 7, 8 an hour. You can't make
    a livable wage at the level that Wal-Mart or Kmart or
    McDonald's pays, much less afford a family on that. The
    minimum wage...


    The minimum wage, I might add, today, is far less than it
    was in 1960, 1970, in terms of purchasing power. Imagine,
    we're sliding backwards at a time when our economy overall
    is booming and corporate profits are booming and we have
    government surpluses.

    Now there's a lesson in that. The lesson is why is that
    happening? There are a few principles that I have operated
    by in my 40 years of work in trying to advance justice in
    our country. One of them is the definition of freedom that
    goes back to ancient Rome. I think you'll like it. Freedom
    is participation in power. Freedom is participation in


    The second is a description of justice as the great work of
    human beings on Earth, justice. You notice a lot of
    politicians give speeches -- like I've read almost all of
    Ronald Reagan's speeches and it's full -- their speeches are
    full of liberty and freedom, but they never use the word
    justice. I wonder why. Because justice means redistribution
    of power and opportunity and income and livelihood, that's
    what justice means.


    And, third, a society that has more justice is a society
    that needs less charity -- more justice, needs less charity.

    And, fourthly, the only place where democracy comes before
    work is in the dictionary.


    And, fifthly, and this is out of ancient China. An ancient
    Chinese philosopher once said, quote, ``To know and not to
    act is not to know.'' To know is not to act, not to know.
    You can put that one on your friendly politician's back once
    in a while. They know, but they are not acting. And we know
    that they know and they are not acting.

    And let me tell you, in this country of ours, when it comes
    to indifference to injustice, I would almost prefer a
    provocateur than an anesthesizer.


    And let me just run through -- and I'd like to start with
    the global description first, because this is where we
    really see the deficiencies of a system that needs major,
    major renovation.

    All over the world, we have millions of people, many of them
    children, dying from global infectious diseases. Malaria is
    killing over one million people in Africa, most of them
    little children. Tuberculosis, which is a curable disease
    starting in the 1950s, is taking about two million lives.
    And I needn't describe the horrible scourge of AIDS.

    Now, what are we doing about this as a nation? What are we
    doing in terms of training people to deal with these
    infectious diseases that are coming our way in
    drug-resistant form? What are we doing in terms of the

    Well, let me tell you what we're doing: We're almost doing
    nothing. We are willing to spend $60 billion on a missile
    defense system that doesn't even work, according to the
    leading physicists of our country.


    And you know what we spent last year on global malaria? $47
    million. We spent about $50 million on tuberculosis. A B-2
    bomber, which the Pentagon doesn't want any more of but
    which the PAC-greased Congress majority seems to want to
    demand more to be constructed on behalf of their corporate
    sponsors, costs $2 billion.

    A few months ago I was meeting with the scientists at the
    Walter Reed Institute of Health at the Department of Army.
    These are the Ph.D.s and the M.D.s who almost alone in our
    country, on a tiny budget, are working to find vaccines and
    drugs against malaria, hepatitis and other deadly diseases.
    And their entire budget for research and development was $25
    million a year. And for the laboratories around the world
    that spot epidemics it totaled about another $70 million.

    And I asked them, How much do you spend to produce a new
    drug? They discovered three out of the four anti-malarial
    drugs, for example. And they said between $5 million and $10

    Do you know what the drug companies tell us as justification
    for their high drug prices, how much they have to spend for
    a new drug? $300 million to $500 million. That's so-called
    private enterprise, and right in our own government we have
    scientists who are showing the way, but they don't have
    enough support. It's the best keep secret in Washington. I
    had to open up appointments with members of Congress for
    these brigadier generals and captains, all of them Ph.D.s
    and doctors, to go up on Capitol Hill a few months ago for
    the first time.

    Now, that is such a distortion in the expenditure of tax
    money as to boggle the mind.

    And let me give you an illustration of how easy it is to go
    after some of the worst problems of poverty in our country.
    It comes from the UN Development Program. The UN Development
    Program, which is an extraordinary research and development
    effort, is part of the United Nations, and I just want to
    give you an illustration of what it is.

    They say for $40 billion a year -- that's $40 billion --
    applied to the needy of the world, they can provide basic
    sanitation and drinking water safety, basic nutritional
    needs, basic health care and significant education for these
    children. That's $40 billion a year in the same world that
    spends $850 billion a year on military equipment.

    Now, this is, in a sense, a message of hope, is it not? It's
    a message that if we can get enough civic power to redirect
    some of the enormous tax dollars that go to corporate
    subsidies, giveaways, handouts, bailouts, and that go for
    the military machine driven by corporate profits of Lockheed
    Martin and General Dynamics and others, we could redirect
    some of these monies to accelerate at unheard of levels the
    well-being of the oppressed and the impoverished and the
    desperate people and children in this world.


    That is the national purpose that's connected with a new
    definition of national security, is it not? Isn't that
    national security well written? The security of reducing
    poverty and infectious diseases and the destruction of
    environments which are undermining the very ability of
    people in the world to eke out a living -- massive soil
    erosion, poisoned water, contaminated, choking air
    pollution, just for starters; areas of forest cut down,
    perhaps never to be revived again.

    The concentration of power is an issue that must be high on
    our agenda. Indeed, you talk to Maxine Waters, she knows
    what the concentration of power is like. She tried to get
    checking accounts for poor people -- lifeline checking
    accounts in the bank bill last year, and the Republicans and
    the White House turned a deaf ear.

    Do you know there are over 25 million people in this country
    who cannot afford checking accounts? That's raw power by the

    John Conyers knows what raw power is. He's been trying to
    raise the issue of commercial crimes, especially in the
    inner city but generally all over, a corporate crime
    epidemic that is eating the life out of family budgets. Just
    look at the major newspapers and the TV, and see how they
    are documenting these predations.

    In just one area, health care, the General Accounting Office
    estimates $1 out of every $10 is drained away from us by
    billing fraud and abuse. You know these bills that are in
    code, who can understand them, right? You know what that
    amounts to this year? That's 10 percent of the health care
    budget. That's over $110 billion -- billion. Now that could
    cover a good many of the 46 million people who are not
    covered by any health insurance policies.

    The agenda that we are proposing here is an agenda that is
    marked by three characteristics: one, it doesn't cost all
    that much money. To shift power from the haves to the
    have-nots and give people a chance to band together to
    pursue justice, which is essential to the pursuit of
    happiness, does not cost that much money.

    And, secondly, this agenda deals with the essential premise
    of democracy, that all people have to feel that they can
    participate, they can deliberate, and they can have an
    impact on their own grievances and the future of the

    And the third is that we have to recognize that those who
    are excessively greedy and excessively powerful must -- must
    give up their privileges. They must give up some of their
    power. I will read you...


    I will read you a quote that many of you are familiar with.
    Quote, ``We have not made a single gain in civil rights
    without determined legal and non-violent pressure.
    Lamentably, it is a historical fact that privileged groups
    seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may
    see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust
    posture, but as Reinhold Neibuhr has reminded us, groups
    tend to be more immoral than individuals,'' end quote. That
    was the Reverend Martin Luther King in his Letter from a
    Birmingham Jail.


    Let me go through the agenda very quickly and you'll see
    more of what I mean. This is in addition to the NAACP agenda
    which all of you have, and it's in addition to many of the
    advocacies that you've heard at this convention. Some of it
    is redundant, but I want to elaborate it.

    First and foremost, the biggest single obstacle to honest,
    just and effective government action, a government of, by,
    and for the people, is the corruption of special interest
    money in our election campaigns.



    As the NAACP has said, we must have full public financing
    for public elections.



    Where in the world did we ever get a system where public
    schools are publicly financed, public parks are publicly
    financed, but the essential phenomena of a democracy, public
    elections, are up for bid to the highest bidder as if it's
    an auction block?


    And I commend the Fanny Lou Farmer's (ph) wonderful
    initiative that is just under way to have full public
    financing. And those of you who missed the handout here that
    described it, just look at the second page and the comment
    by civil rights veteran and history professor Roger Wilkens
    when he said, quote, ``I believe deeply that the deprivation
    of the poor and the excluded, by making our electoral
    process a rich, white, male corporate game, is as brutal an
    exclusion of the poor and the black and other minorities as
    any form of discrimination that we have known and
    categorized as civil rights all our lives. I think it is
    undeniable that it is a basic civil rights issue,'' end
    quote. Very, very well said.


    Number two, we need to discuss the question of a non-livable
    wage in our country. There are a number of ways where we can
    lift the economic standards of living of people, in addition
    to enforcing the civil rights laws. One of them is to repeal
    the restrictive labor laws which obstruct tens of millions
    of Americans from the same right that people have in other
    Western countries to form trade unions, and that includes
    the repeal of the notorious Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.


    Less than 10 percent of workers in this country in the
    private sector are unionized. This is the lowest level in 60
    years in our country and by far lower than other Western

    We need also to address the minimum wage and change its
    name. A minimum wage that is not a livable wage can never be
    a minimum wage in our country.


    The livable wage should move to $10 an hour as soon as
    possible -- as soon as possible.


    NADER: Do the more affluent people understand how much it
    costs just to get to work in America, how much it costs
    waiting for the buses that almost never come on schedule, or
    too few buses, or having to buy another car, or an insurance
    policy, and repair, and day care, and wondering who's going
    to take care of the sick parent, and being clogged in
    traffic, and losing time, and not being able to spend time
    with children or a family or community? That's the cost of
    getting to work.


    In Europe they have laws that they call a social wage law.
    It doesn't matter whether you belong to a union or not,
    you're a worker in many of these countries in West Europe,
    you have certain rights. You have a month's paid vacation,
    you know not just 12 days off for family leave unpaid, you
    have paid family leave, you have longer maternity leave, you
    have the kind of civilized rights that our country, the
    richest country in the world, still hasn't gotten around to
    provide. It is time for a change; the system is not working.


    Another way to raise standards of living is to have
    progressive taxation mean what it says, instead of these
    rich corporations and rich people who have all these tax
    lawyers showing them how they can become tax escapees.
    They're not paying their fair share. There are corporations
    in this country that get off paying virtually no tax.

    General Electric for three years, in 1981 to '83, made $6.2
    billion in profit, didn't pay a penny in federal income tax.
    That means one worker in General Electric, one worker, paid
    more to Uncle Sam in sheer dollars than the giant General
    Electric company -- which, by the way, finagled the tax laws
    where it got $120 million refund on top of paying no taxes.


    And then there's the estate tax. Have you heard about that

    I thought Charlie Rangel devastated the arguments of the
    Republicans and some Democrats who want to get rid of the
    estate tax, when it only applies to the top 2 percent of the
    estates and in terms of the $27 billion it raises every year
    it's only a few tens of thousands of super rich estates who
    didn't happen to be counseled by clever estate lawyers.

    And thirdly, we need a law and order campaign against
    powerful lobbyists and institutions. That means we've got to
    crack down on the consumer fraud that goes on in this
    country. And as you know, the poor pay more, the poor are
    sick more, the poor die more. These are some of the most
    rapacious, predatory practices that the imagination of a
    gouging corporation or merchant could possibly conceive.

    We also need, of course, a way to effectively distinguish
    the words ``welfare,'' ``violence,'' ``regulation'' and
    ``crime.'' When reporters ask me about these questions I
    say, You better specify: Are you talking about corporate
    welfare or poverty welfare?


    Are you talking about street crime or corporate crime?


    Which the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others
    have chronicled as being far more devastating in terms of
    lives lost, injuries inflicted, disease perpetrated than
    even street crime, horrible as street crime is. Far more die
    from preventable criminal negligence in the workplace, in
    the factory, in the mine. They die from toxics that they're
    exposed to -- asbestos, lead. They die from reckless
    hospital practices. They die from the kinds of addictions
    that are coming from some of Fortune 500 corporations,
    beamed to the very young to hook them into a lifetime of
    smoking and other addictions.

    Fourth, universal health insurance -- not much needs to be
    said about this except two things: It's got to be accessible
    -- it's got to be accessible, it's got to focus on
    preventive health, and it's got to be monitored by
    organizations of health care consumers so they can monitor
    the HMOs and monitor the hospital chains and in many ways be
    the majordomo to make sure that the vigilance is there and
    that these systems, once put in place, work.

    Five, we need to end corporate welfare as we know it.


    And I'm not even -- I'm not even willing to say five years
    and out. This is aid to dependent corporations.


    And it's time that their bleeding of tax dollars by
    hardworking Americans be ended so that these tax dollars be
    used for serious purposes, not for stadiums and arenas while
    schools and clinics crumble from lack of repair.


    Not corporate subsidies to big drug companies who don't want
    to do any research for drugs or vaccines on AIDS or TB or
    malaria or other diseases in this country because they can't
    make big money off of it. We have to stop that.

    Six, we have to look at our criminal justice system and ask
    why it's so criminal.



    Why is it that it breeds exactly the opposite of what it's
    supposed to deter and prevent? Why is it -- and anybody who
    says that this criminal justice system with its corporate
    prison industry, its notoriously discriminatory death
    penalty -- you know, there was a -- there was a executive in
    California the other day, you may have read it.

    He ran a sausage plant and he got really upset with two
    federal meat inspectors and a state inspector and he shot
    and killed them. And people saw it. Do you really think he's
    ever going to get the death penalty if he's convicted? No

    This is an extremely discriminatory penalty that is a scar,
    it does not deter. Defendants who are poor are not given
    competent counsel who even stay awake during the trial...


    ... much less the kind of defense that our Constitution
    warrants all accused defendants.

    And we need also to recognize that legal service for the
    poor is underfunded. I just realized the other day, its
    budget is under $300 million a year. And did you know that
    the Pentagon now has a policy of using your tax dollars to
    subsidize mergers between two big defense companies? And
    they spend $1.5 billion just for the marriage of Martin
    Marietta and Lockheed. That's five years budget of legal
    services for the poor.

    It really is time to ask ourselves how can we allow the rich
    and powerful not only to rip off people as consumers, but to
    continue to rip them off as taxpayers?

    Institutional building is another part of the agenda. In
    1908 and 1909, the same people who were fighting for civil
    rights in those days could have said to themselves, We're
    too busy fighting the specific struggles right now in
    Philadelphia or New York to start a new institution.
    Instead, they didn't do that. They started the NAACP. And
    that is what institution building is all about. Think...


    Think of the leverage -- think of the leverage throughout
    the decades from the NAACP's championing of civil rights;
    it's winning one Supreme Court case after another.

    I was a law student when I first heard Thurgood Marshall
    come and speak. And he was -- this is before he was all that
    well known. And he inspired us, all of us -- 550 members of
    the class of 1958, with two African- Americans in the

    I remember also other institutions which were built -- the
    ACLU and others. We now have to build more institutions.
    We've got to build institutions to deal with the horrific
    risks of biotechnology -- you want to talk about genetic
    discrimination, just think what's coming -- to deal with the
    artificial intelligence of computers, and the replacement of
    interpersonal education, with our children looking at
    screens, day after day, at age 6, or 8, or 9, as if they
    don't look at screens enough when they go home and watch

    We need institutions that allow us to band together
    vis-a-vis banks, insurance companies, HMOs, cable companies,
    landlords. All of these can be done. We know how to do it.
    We've just got to focus on it.

    We started in our class at Harvard -- the 1958 law school
    class. Let me tell you, there were a lot of corporate
    lawyers in that class. Yet we are now starting centers for
    law and justice all over the United States. We've got them
    in 12 states, and we're going for almost all the states.
    That's just one law school class shoehorning and mobilizing
    people of good will to start systemic centers for law and
    justice -- systemic, not remedial, not charity, systemic.

    Environment -- environmental racism especially is a disgrace
    of neglect. How long, oh how long must we wait before we
    remove this constant intimacy between deadly toxic materials
    and our children? Asthma levels in Hartford 41 percent among
    minority children -- 41 percent. And around the country,
    they're reaching record levels.

    Aren't we a country that can at least give our little ones a
    chance to breathe, literally? To breathe?


    We also need to pay attention to controlling what we already
    own. That may seem abstract, but we own, as a people, the
    public airways; we don't control them. We own the public
    lands, one-third of America, rich resources; we don't
    control them. We have $5 trillion to $6 trillion in pension,
    worker funds; we don't control their investment.

    Now, imagine, what can happen if political campaigns began
    paying attention to controlling what we own. Here's what
    could happen. We'd have our own radio station, our own
    television station, our own cable channel. People who are
    trying to improve their local cities will become civic

    Now, look at your late-evening news, if you can bear it.
    Look at it. It's 30 minutes. Nine minutes of ads; three
    minutes of street crime right at the beginning, never
    corporate crime, very superficially covered; one minute of
    impromptu chit-chat between the anchors; four minutes of
    weather; four minutes of sports and that's what happens in
    your town tonight. And we own the public airways. It's a


    I remember -- many of us remember Julius Hobson here in
    Washington, D.C., a government statistician who was a civic
    leader trying to improve education in this district. And he
    could command a press conference. When he spoke people

    Today, you have similar people trying to improve the
    District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, but they don't
    get on the evening news. Nobody knows what they're doing.
    Nobody can be motivated. Nobody can join what they're doing
    because what we own, the public airways, has been
    surrendered to the most myopic and avaricious corporations
    running these TV and radio stations as if they can
    trivialize our public trust, marginalize our public
    commitment, and sensationalize our time.


    I ask you, is there a word greater than grotesque for this

    Consider all the news of the distressed and the
    disadvantaged and the transgressed that should be on TV and
    radio so that they can commit a process of resolution. And
    then look at all the thousands of hours that covered Tonya
    Harding and O.J. Simpson's trial and Elian. Think of the
    thousands of hours crowding out the kind of real news that
    we want...


    ... and I say -- and I say...


    ... and I say it's time to have our own television station,
    radio stations and cable channels.

    And I might add -- I might add, do you know what's going on
    on Capitol Hill now? The community radio licenses that the
    FCC wants to give to neighborhood groups. You know they they
    have a three-mile radii so people can mobilize their

    The broadcast industry, having gotten the public airways
    free -- they don't pay any rent, by the way, to us the
    landlord -- they got $70 billion of new spectrum free four
    years ago. Now they're up on Capitol Hill to reverse the FCC
    and prevent the neighborhood groups from having their tiny
    little community radio stations.

    Now is there anything -- is there a word beyond greed that
    can describe that kind of over-reaching?


    Education: You've heard about repairing schools? How long,
    how long does it take to repair schools?


    I'm so tired of these symbolic gestures, you know. How long
    does it take? And you know, I know the Democrats like to
    blame a lot of this on the Republican-controlled Congress.
    But, you know, how bad a party do you have to be to let the
    Congress of the United States be taken over by the likes of
    Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott?


    But in education, I have two points to make that aren't
    often made.

    The tyranny of standardized testing is becoming the be-all
    and do-all for principals and teachers and school districts.
    It is distorting the whole curriculum.

    Now we first blew the top off standardized testing fraud in
    1980 with a study on the Educational Testing Service. And
    guess what? We found there was an invincible correlation
    between test scores and family income. I wonder why. I
    wonder why.

    We also found that these tests are straitjackets. They don't
    recognize multiple intelligences. They don't recognize the
    assets that people have that spell success in life. Do they
    measure determination? Do they measure stamina, creativity,
    idealism, wisdom, judgment, experience? They don't.


    And now -- and now they're becoming a yoke on our school
    system where school districts, principals, teachers all
    measured by test scores and guess who develops these tests?
    Corporate consulting firms who have their eye on the public
    school system of America in order to corporatize them.


    Finally, we need a national Marshall Plan to abolish poverty
    in the United States of America.


    A hundred years ago -- 100 years ago reformers said that we
    could abolish poverty in the next generation. And in the
    next generation we have enormous poverty in the country in
    the midst of enormous affluence by the few at the expense of
    the many. There are corporations who must be scheduled for
    reparations in our country, Aetna (ph) being one for

    It's often said there is an intergenerational responsibility
    for slavery, for brutality, and people in this generation
    say, Well, I didn't have anything to do with that. And
    what's that got to do with me?

    Well, you know what? Corporations have been around for a
    long time. They've got perpetual life. And they operated and
    benefited from the repression of innocent people in this
    country, and they should be required to pay.


    And I might add, you can even talk about a Marshall Plan for
    the poor in one life cycle. Our society takes away so much
    from innocent, poor children that it's only fair to give
    back some of that to them as young adults so they can have a

    Let me tell you, when I'm asked about affirmative action, I
    ask -- I answer with this question, What affirmative action?
    Three hundred years of white male affirmative action that
    have benefitted...


    ... that have benefited us?

    Talking with Justice Department lawyers -- let me tell you
    how far symbolism has gotten. Justice Department lawyers
    today in the Civil Rights Division have informed me that the
    actual enforcement of those laws in terms of litigation is
    less today in two out of three major areas than in the
    previous administration. It's less in the area of
    affirmative action and police brutality, and it's higher in
    the area of housing discrimination.

    And I think we've got to really get beyond the symbolism
    here and ask ourselves whether only by building new
    political power, new economic power, new media power, new
    civic power for all Americans, only by doing that are we
    going to turn around the headlong rush into systemic and
    institutionalized injustice shortchanging the lives of
    future generations and damaging the lives of present

    And this is why I am running. This is why I am running for
    the presidency of the United States.


    My mother once told us as a child, Determination is what
    puts your dreams on wheels. We have got to be determined
    that we are not going to be flimflammed, we are not going to
    be sweet-talked, we are not going to be regaled with
    rhetoric, that we are only interested in justice as a
    result, not justice as a broken promise.

    It is important...


    It is important, in conclusion, to look forward to this
    November as a way for people who have been told too long by
    both parties that they have nowhere to go other than to stay
    home and not vote or to vote for one of the two parties.

    If you ever wondered why the right wing and the corporate
    wing of the Democratic Party has so much more power over
    that party than the progressive wing, it's because the right
    wing and the corporate wing have somewhere to go: It's
    called the Republican Party. And so they're catered to and
    they're regaled -- like the Democratic Leadership Council,
    they're catered to and they're regaled.

    But if you look at the progressive wing, if you look at
    working families, if you look at trade unions, look at
    groups trying to advance civil rights and consumer rights
    and environmental rights, they have nowhere to go.

    And you know when you're told that you have nowhere to go,
    you get taken for granted. And when you get taken for
    granted, you get taken.


    So I hope that you will connect with us. Our web site is
    either VoteNader.org or VoteNader.com.

    The Green Party platform hands down is the most thorough,
    justice-saturated platform of any political party platform
    of the day. Reminds me of some of the great platforms of
    many decades ago when parties -- at least one stood tall for
    the working people of this country.

    And I hope that in many ways you will eschew the counsel of
    those who say that things are getting better, that just keep
    on with us, that just stick with us, and every four years
    both get worse -- both parties get worse. And we've waited
    1980 and '84 and '88 and '92 and '96, and as Martin Luther
    King said in his famous Letter from the Birmingham jail,
    ``How long can we wait?'' We cannot wait any longer. Too
    much is at stake.

    And I thank you very much for your patience and listening to


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