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News :: Environment
Ralph Nader Campaign Speech Boulder, CO Sept 18, 2004
19 Sep 2004
Modified: 03:48:52 AM
Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader spoke on Saturday afternoon, September 18, 2004 at the Flatirons Theater in Boulder, Colorado.
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Listeners will likely regain some of their year 2000 appreciation for Ralph Nader and his familiar but true arguments but they will not - I'm guessing - be swayed to vote for him and let W finish off his demolition job. Nader talked about various issues where Americans are deserving of policies serving them better. Judging by this speech, however, Nader does not seem to be fighting for the presidency but appears to be merely in the race to jumpstart and inform a progressive movement.
54min (speech only, Q&A may be uploaded later) encoded at 64kbps mono. This event was filmed by me, video available if needed.
Photo: Martin Voelker
Ralph Nader Sept. 18, 2004, Flatirons Theater, Boulder, campaign speech.
(summary transcript by Martin Voelker)

Imagine a party calling itself the democratic party trying to keep a party off the ballot.
Reps excelling at keeping voters off the rolls as in Florida, Dems of keeping candidates off the ballot.
US being a one party state where manipulative redistricting leaves local voters with no choice because the outcome is predetermined. 95% of the House seats are not competitive. "when you don't have selection there is no election"
Now, with redistricting the party pick their voters, not voters pick party: this is how degrading our entire political system has become.
2 party rigged system
System runs on money from the commercial interests where these get so influential that they send their own execs to run the government in high level offices, plus they have 25.000 lobbyists full-time.
Meanwhile they institute laws making it exeedingly difficult to get on the ballot (compared to Western democracies) (outrageous examples from NC, TX, AZ).
We are stressing this corrupt system sop that the smooth veneer and its symbols of democracy its fictions of political choice are submerged and up comes the ooze, the bile, and the mucus for us to go after and change.

The power structure is laughing at us, they are doing things that are bad for and they say: we dare you to change it, you can' do something about this.

Personal example: bounced checks really cost the bank $1.50 but they debit you $30. Objections go nowhere except that you're kept on hold.
Corporate benefits: billions of tax credits, taxpayers' funded R&D for drugs handed over to drug makers.
We don't have freedom of contract in this country: corp. legislators draw up the rules.
Taking away the constitutional right to go to court with "binding arbitration"
How much of this are we willing to take? Everything is getting worse, and our choices are between worse and least-worst.

Why is the US alone in not offering health care as ?
Why 45 million without health care (up from 32 under Clinton), 13 million children going to bed hungry? die for lack of care annually.

They're laughing at us, they're flattering us so they can fool us so they can flummox us.
They don't care that half the people don't vote: they make it hard to register, to vote, to count the vote because they are not us - they are (international) business agents that have no allegiance to this country or any country. Example: Walmart forcing US suppliers to meet the Chinese price by cutting wages and benefits. This capitalist corporation is using the communist dicatorship as their labor enforcement arm with the blessing of Bush, Cheney and several Dems.

What do we do about it? We continue to go to Walmart - through shattered local downtown, rewarding a union-busting super low wage shop offering no attainable benefits: Health insurance only if you co-pay which is elusive at their hourly pay of $6.50-9/hr before payroll deduction. You can't make it on that amount.
By shopping in like companies you're helping a downward spiral in US wages.

Example Henry Ford I: he doubled this workers' wages so that they'd be able to afford the cars they were building: that's the spiral up: better pay, consumer demand,

I (RN) have never been to Walmart and "would never cross the threshold of that unpatriotic, low-wage, standard of living-crushing enterprise owned by right wing billionaires who vote against your interests all the time.

Living family wage - should have been solved long ago with the minimal wage law. 47m full-time workers make less than $10/hr. Bush don't care, Kerry supports $7 by 2007. RN told Dems: to take the House back do this: people hunger for governance by moral examples: Say that from now on Dems will oppose every congressional salary increase and refuse to take one until the American people have a living wage. People are hungy for a diminution of political hypocracy, hungry for people in DC who pay attentino to the necessities of the people. For about $2b the government is for sale, the best bargain in the world. $2b in campaign contributions. The mining industry gets land for $5/acre.

Criminal injustice system: nothing done about it. Failed war on drugs, 800.000 people in jail for non-violent drug offenses. We don't send alcohol addicts to jail!
Example of a marihuana offender facing 63ys jail versus corporate criminal responsible for large scale looting, killing, maiming going to jail for 4 ys max. if at all.

Tort reform facing propaganda full of lies: not rebutted by the Dems (even though they vote against it). After years of repeating fraudulent claims people start believing it. Press never asks for evidence, either.
RN polls this audience: who has ever filed a lawsuit (excl. divorce)? Result: perhaps a sixth in this theatre.
Only 10% of gravely injured patients even file a malpractice claim, much less a lawsuit.

Energy: we should have done Solar years ago - instead we went nuclear.
Why don't we do something about it? Because the 2 parties in Washington are marinated in oil, because they're taking money from the globally distructive forms of energy (global warming, climate change, depleted ocean oxygen levels, stripmining. Nothing can eclipse the potential of the sun. Problem is the sun is not owned be a corporation - but the government is. Solar just has to be raised to a level of political priority where the folks in DC can't ignore it.

Corporations do strategic planning to maximize sales & profits. If you give them too much power - as we did - they start planning our military future, our foreign policy future, our communications future, they're planning our food future, our genetic future, health future, our elections, they're even shaping childhood in this country; they're planning everything. They're corporatizing universities. For decades they've planned to hook you on tobacco, on foods that make you obese?
They're pushing junk food, pornography and violence as part of the upbringing of children "expanding the corporate parent for the corporate child" while the real parents are away.

There is no limit to their greed. The mercantile mindset is so singleminded, omnivorous and so motivated that anything it meets in terms of other value systems it tramples, weakens, circumvents or collapses. In our country this means: democratic processes, clean elections, health and safety standards, the nurturing of childhood, freedom of universities from commercial cooptation.
Why have we given it to them? Because we spend very little time on our civic duties. But historically tiny minorities - through decades of work - have achieved monumental change: women suffrage, trade unionism. All has associated 3rd parties which pioneered what was eventually picked up by the big parties made possible by voters who did not go for the "least-worst". This is what we need to remember now today: look at the declined power of big Tobacco. Look at what our country is doing compared to what it could be doing. We're falling behind on indicator after indicator but occluded by the controlled media which only shows corporate indicators. Greenspan pronounces the economy "sound" when it is in fact unsound. RN once wrote a speech for Greenspan out child poverty, consumer debt, workers working 2, 3 jobs. "They (the workers) know that our country produces a lot of jobs because they have three of them (laughter)". 10s of millions without health care or housing, can't afford the necessities of life.
Those who control the yard sticks and the measuring is going to control the policies.
Comparison to SAT school testing.

The issue of this campaign is what even Business Week magazine contends: that there is too much corporate power in the US. They conclude that corporations should get out of politics - can you imagine Bush or Kerry saying that? Business week means that corps are not human beings and thus should not lobby and influence; only people have the right to do that. Corporations have become our masters even though we created them. A majority of people say Bush cares more about corporations than people - so why are the Dems behind the most craven republican administration of the 20th century? Who say we like a health care system where you can pay - or die? Or send Americans into an unconstitutional war based on a platform of lies, fabrications and deceptions. Why are the Reps landsliding the Dems instead of loosing to them, despite their preference for giant agro business over small farmers, tax loop holes for the rich, curtailing civil liberties pushing through the Patriot Act and enforcing it cruelly?
Why aren't the Dems landsliding the Republicans? Because they do the same thing. (Applause). Because they voted for war, too, anointing Bush as a war time president and making him immune to criticism. Only Russ Feingold voted against the Patriot Act. They voted for the corporate subsidies, for the bloated wasteful military budget that now accounts for 50cents on every federal dollar. Even though there's no major enemy left in the world. China, eg, is preoccupied in converting criminal communism into criminal capitalism, they're not concerned in sending missiles over here! Our arsenal now can blow up the world 300 times over but enough is never enough for the military-industrial complex. They see no limit to allow our civilian necessities to get some of our tax dollars back to repair America: the schools, the libraries, the drinking water, the public transit?
Is there any limit to their greed? When commercial values collide with civic values and those civic values are not backed by millions of Americans who sit around rationalizing their futility and forget about the histo Try of valiant seekers of justice who overcame huge odds in our past against corporate powers, such as the railroads or the banks. And they did it, those farmers and these workers, they did it without electricity, without telephone, without motorvehicules, they even did it without emails and faxes, can you imagine? And we sit around claiming futility and watching 20, 30 hours of TV every week, claiming we're not into politics. If you're not into politics, politics will continue to be into you in a very disagreeable manner.
2 or 3 million people across the country determined to give a few hundred hours of their time and some of their money can in one area after another turn this country around. There are only 535 members of Congress. Why should 1500 corporations control the majority of those, when there can be 2, 3 million of citizens, strongly organized, representing broader values for a better America and a better world can take control of those 535 members of Congress.
here in Colorado, what's a possible excuse for your congressional delegation that goes to DC with your votes and then votes against you on behalf of their corp. paymasters. There is a level of shame lacking here.
Going around the country (which the liberal intelligencia fails to do) and you situations you cannot believe: examples of delapidation, poverty, despair, pollution, lack. Things you don't see in Western Europe. Housing projects/schools built on cancerous toxic waste sites. 40% asthma levels in innercity Hartfort, CT. Slum schools falling apart. Example: Cabrini school lets students research the school's situation and press for change. Cp this to standardized testing "leave no child behind" nonsense. Those school are all over. If we need motivation let's develop a refinded sense of shame that drives our moral indignation so that we recover our country and we take these global corporations and we say: if you aren't going to obey the necessitites of our people and the principles of an economy with democracy or you're not going to do business here.

Almost everything big business does small (or smaller) business can do better. They obey the dictates of the marketplace unlike the big ones who run to DC for bailouts. They don't threaten to go overseas, stay in the community, are more likely to be accountable.

Our website, is designed to get you engaged. We only take individual donations and voluteer time, looking for people with all kinds of skills. We handed out to the audience the 12er pledge, a mechanism to bring friends, relatives, coworkers to the polls.
Eugene Debs said: I'd rather vote for a candidate who loses I believe in than in a candidate whom I don't believe in who wins. That's called a vote of conscience, not a tactical vote or a hereditary democrat or republican vote. (applause)
He also said, near the end of his carreer, that the people can have almost anything they want but it seems they don't want much of anything at all when it comes to election day. He was always wondering why so many of them are so easily flattered, fooled and flumoxed into voting for politicians who vote against them and their interests.
There is more than a few million voters who don't do their homework and I say to those voters to be as diligent here as you are as sport fans where you know the data, the strategies, the statistics, the history of the team, where you don't care about the rhetoric and only the performance and you sure as heck know to assign responsibility to the players and owners, managers, umpires and coaches.
We have to be a little demanding of ourselves and demanding of our candidates. This is the future of the world that's at stake as the risks go up. This is the future of your family and our decendents, of our country and our community.
It is certainly worth a significant reorientation of our routine in terms of our time, talent and resources.

Introduces Greg Kafouri who organizes his campaign and says he'll be back for the Q&A discussion.
See also:

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Re: Ralph Nader Campaign Speech Boulder, CO Sept 18, 2004
19 Sep 2004
Playback works fine in MS Explorer, but using Safari (Macintosh) a broken icon is displayed. Switch browser if you run into problems.