Ralph Nader

We [the US] are in the advanced stages of being a corporate state, where — as Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned Congress in 1938 that when government is controlled by private economic-power, he called that fascism.

The clinical definition is what he was saying. It was obviously colored in a different context in World War II, but the clinical definition of "fascism" is when private, concentrated economic-power takes government away from the people, turns government into a guarantor, a subsidizer, a covering of corporate power.

...we have a lot of solutions that we don't apply in our country, because concentration of power in the hands of the few allows the few to decide for the many, but we have a large amount of unused democratic power, unused civic power, that can be unleashed, organized, to take back our government, if people stopped believing that they were powerless, which they are inbred in ever since we entered elementary school. You know the old phrase, "You can't fight City Hall." cooperatives, like replacing the HMO insurance companies with full Medicare, like decentralized solar replacing more and more of Exxon and Peabody Coal and the nuclear industry.... ...democratize technology.

...giant corporations are dictatorships. ...autocratic dictatorships that prevent constitutional rights from being with workers when they go to the workplace.

The debates [presidential-primary debates] are sterile. The debates are exercises in parallel news conferences repeating ad infinitum the same words and phrases of evasion.

These guys at the top, who are paying themselves $10,000-$12,000 an hour in compensation, the CEO's, basically have repudiated the cardinal principle of capitalism, which is if you own property, you should control it. And now they have said to their owners, "Get lost! Don't dare tell us what we're going to pay ourselves. After all, we're only your hired hands."

[About the presidential candidates] ...mount an assault on the WTO and NAFTA. WTO and NAFTA are basically an albatross around the neck of workers, of consumers, and of clean environments, to begin with. They are an end run around our courts and regulatory agencies. We couldn't have gotten airbags under WTO, because that would have been considered a unilateral move under this global-trade agreement and a non-tariff trade barrier. It would have been considered too high a standard imposed on importing cars, even though it's the same standard on domestically produced cars. What WTO does, it prevents us from being first in the world. It pulls down our standards so our workers have to compete with brutalized child labor in third world countries. It makes it impossible to prohibit the importation of products from child labor — that's a violation of the WTO — even though you can't buy a product here in the US made from child labor in the US.

...pull up the rest of the world and our standards, instead of pull-down trade agreements that subordinate health and safety to trade agreements.

...they subordinate health and safety, consumer, environmental, and worker rights.

We should repeal the notorious anti-worker Taft-Hartley law of 1947...., which basically obstructs the organization of unions, which transfers control of union pension funds to management. With all these trillions of dollars, imagine the power that workers could have. They would own a third of the New York Stock Exchange. They would be able to put real muscle in investor ownership. And it prevents workers from helping one another, called secondary boycotts, among many other notorious provisions.

When you ask Democrats in Congress, "How are you doing against the Republicans in the coming election," the first answer is about money. It's not about justice. It's not about agenda. It's not about mobilizing people. It's about dialing for corporate dollars. These two parties have sold the US government and the American people to the highest bidders.

We are in the process of seeing the corporatization of our highways, the corporatization of our water systems, and still people on our side use the word "privatization." They use the word "white-collar crime," instead of using the word "corporate crime." They use the word "private sector" instead of "corporate sector." We have to stop using the words of the opponents, because they control the language. Democrats should use the words "corporate welfare" more often. They should talk about cracking down on corporate crime, fraud, and abuse that are ripping off Medicare and Medicaid and the US taxpayer across the board.

...the media focuses on the horse race: who's raising the most money. The candidates who raise the most money get the most attention.

...they have made possible a private form of corporate government, known as the Commission on Presidential Debates. So this commission was created in 1987, as you know, to get rid of the League of Women Voters, which sponsored presidential debates. And they went around, and they got money from Philip Morris and Ford and AT&T and Coors beer. And they now control the main gateway to tens of millions of Americans. No matter how many states you run in as a third party or independent candidate, if you don't get on those debates, you don't reach tens of millions of people.

And who is the gatekeeper? The Democrat and Republican parties, who even kept Ross Perot off in 1996, after he got 19 million votes in 1992. I called him up, and I said, "Ross, how does it feel for a billionaire to be excluded?" And he says, "Absolutely right." He said, "I couldn't even buy thirty minutes of airtime." They refused him to buy thirty minutes of airtime so he could do his charts on, you know, on the deficit.

And, yeah, these TV stations are using our property. We own the public airwaves. We're the landlords. They're just tenants. And they use our property free. They don't pay as much as you pay for your auto license. And they decide who is on and who isn't on TV or on the national debates. So if you don't break that connection between the Debate Commission and ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, you can't break the power of this corporation called the Debate Commission and have more diverse debates with more voices and choices.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a corporatist.

She has never taken a stand on corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways, bailouts.

...she is severely lacking in political fortitude.

The Clinton-Gore years were — they further allowed and even encouraged, with this reinventing-governments movement, the further consolidation of corporate power, agency by agency, department by department. Eight years went by, and there wasn't a single chemical-control standard issued by OSHA.

They didn't issue one fuel-efficiency standard. Where was Gore? Gore knew about this. He called the internal combustion engine, in his first book that came out in 1992, a major threat to the planet. But when he was vice president, he was either muzzled or went along with Clinton, who right from the beginning signaled to the auto companies: you've got a four-year pass; in fact, we're going to spend a billion dollars subsidizing a joint program, which was a complete waste of money, to develop some sort of improved engine efficiency — a partnership between the White House and the three auto companies.

Washington, D.C. is corporate occupied territory. The Democrat and Republican candidates are fighting against one another to see who's going to go into the White House and start taking orders from their corporate paymasters. When are we going to understand that either the people are going to control our government or we're going to cede control increasingly to global corporations that have no allegiance to America, no allegiance to communities, other than to control them or abandon them as they see fit to communist China, with the industries, or elsewhere?

I was very upset the other day when I heard him [Barack Obama] say publicly that he wanted to expand and modernize the military.

It's already half of the budget, the operating budget of the US government.

You [the neocons] pursue a policy against terrorists with state terrorism. You pursue a policy against terrorists and expand the number of terrorists.

You look at [Bill] Clinton's speeches. It's all middle class. He never would say "poverty." He'd never talk about 50 million Americans in real poverty and tens of millions of more Americans in a state called — a category called "near poverty."

Don't bet your civil liberties on Giuliani. He thinks the PATRIOT Act is weak. So there's a real authoritarian language. If you look at the language that he's conveying around the country, it's frightening.

...the biggest problem is getting on the ballot.

...ballot-access obstructions is the political bigotry of American politics. It's very hard to get liberals who love civil rights and civil liberties and who are Democrats to be at all excited about the systemic obstruction of fifty state laws at one level or another that can be used by either Democrat or Republicans against third-party candidates.

...that's where all the great ideas came from. In the nineteenth century it was the anti-slavery party, the women's suffrage party, the farmer party, all the things we read about briefly in our history books that pushed these social-justice movements before one or both of the two parties picked up on them. So they're — you know what I like to say? What would happen to nature if it prohibited seeds from sprouting? What would happen if big business could totally extinguish small business? That's what the big two-party elected dictatorship is doing to a whole array of local, state, and national candidates who would like to give the American people more voices and choices.

[A healthcare system designed by Ralph Nader] would look like full Medicare for everybody, whereby the government is the payer. The government now pays over 50% of the healthcare bill. Huge amount of waste in fraud inflicted by these corporations on Medicare and Medicaid, for example, drug companies getting all kinds of corporate subsidies. So the government is already over 50% — federal, state, and local government. So it's full government — it's called a single payer, which means it can almost eliminate $200 billion of computerized billing fraud and abuse, which has been documented by the General Accounting Office and by the leading expert on this, who should be on your program [Democracy Now], Malcolm Sparrow, a lecturer at Harvard University. And when I said, "$200 billion, Mr. Sparrow? Every year?" he said, "That's the lowest estimate."

...the per capita administrative expense in this country in healthcare is almost $1,900. In Canada, it's under $500.'s more efficient. It's less corporate crime. It covers everybody. It saves lives.

...the outcomes are better. In Western countries, the outcomes in terms of infant mortality, in terms of life expectancy, in terms of lower levels of anxiety — they don't have to worry about losing their life savings for a tragic illness — are all better than the United States system.

...tragedies due to the healthcare system — denial, malpractice, corruption, insensitivity, deferral.

[George W. Bush] is a national-security menace. He's a destroyer of our Constitution, a violator of our statutes, a revoker of our regulations. He's a warmonger. He's a war criminal, clinically a war criminal.

...just look around this country and see the tragedies, the dispossession, the injustice, the exclusions, the disrespect, the gouging, the rip-offs, the using of taxpayer dollars against those small taxpayers themselves, the lack of health and safety, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost every year in occupational disease and medical malpractice and air and water pollution and denial of healthcare and so on — who weeps for those people?

...when word of mouth takes over as the prime communications system in this country, nothing can stop it.

Amy Goodman: Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, speaking at a three-day conference on "Taming the Giant Corporation." I spoke to him in Washington, D.C. in June.

Comments July 9-10, 2007: Ralph believes in civic involvement: Working within the system for change. He was raised that way. So was I. I used to believe in it too.

9/11 began the process of change for me from believing in working within the system to realizing that the system is woefully impossible. It's a sham. The house is inherently divided. It is built upon half-truths. It is a failed attempt at creating a permanent state of duping.

The US Constitution was designed by the forces of selfishness. It is from the dark side and will not stand.

It takes clearing away the smoke screen to see it. It takes going against decades of brainwashing.

The system has been an attempt to convince the righteous to falsely imagine unity with the self-centered, the greedy, the violent, and the depraved. There is no such unity possible. That is the message of Jesus Christ.

The greedy have wanted this false-sense of unity for the sake of their personal estates. Without subservient, compliant, brainwashed workers, the rich would have to work. They would have to share. They would not be able to live in obscene luxury while others starve.

That's the truth.

Why invest in a sinking ship that will go to the bottom of the lake of fire? The establishment will fall and be replaced by heaven on earth when enough people have made the choice to live the giving and sharing way of the first Apostles.

Help to bring forth.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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