Ralph's Daily Audio is a segment of the Nader-Gonzalez presidential campaign that offers audio commentaries. This is "Nixon and Ford Now Seem Progressive:"
This is Ralph Nader. In recent weeks, I've been making the point that if voters don't condition their vote on some response by the candidates to the priority issues on the voter's minds, every four years both parties will become worse. Because, twenty-four seven, the corporate lobbies are pulling on both parties and if voters who are liberal or progressive are not pulling in the other way to make the least worse candidate accord with the important priorities favored by a majority of the American people, then the corporate interests have a pull without any pull in the other direction and you know where that leads. I was reading the other day some of the policies by Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s. Richard Nixon, for example, besides signing into law with enthusiastic statements, the EPA Bill, the OSHA Bill, the Product Safety Bill, among other legislation we pressed through Congress in those heady days. He offered a policy on drugs in the streets and addiction that emphasized rehabilitation of drug addicts, not incarceration and imprisonment. He proposed a health insurance plan that observers say was better than the Clinton plan, He supported and articulated a minimum income plan to move the country toward abolishing poverty No other president has done that since. And he favored vocally the voting rights for the disenfranchised citizens of the District of Columbia.
Can you imagine a president today demanding an excess profit tax on the oil companies and demanding higher fuel efficiency for motor vehicles in no uncertain terms? Well that's what President Gerald Ford did following Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
See what I mean about both parties getting worse when we as voters freak out, vote for the least worst and let the least worst be pulled by the corporate interest closer to the worst every four years? This is Ralph Nader.
And this is "Corporate Hands in Your Pockets:"
This is Ralph Nader. I was watching the CBS national Evening News with Katie Couric on Friday. And she came on with an interesting segment about how people are charged for services they never receive. She highlighted one woman who had a back operation and She was billed about $60,000 and it turned out $40,000 of that $60,000 were for phantom charges -- things she never received, were never treated with. Well that's just the tip of the iceberg. The General Accounting Office years ago estimated that billing fraud in the health care industry is 10% the entire health care bill of the whole nation. This year that would mean $230 billion.
Imagine $230 billion dollars. Malcom Sparrow the applied mathametician at Harvard who specialises in health care billing fraud thinks that that is the most conservative estimate. Have you ever heard any of the presidential candidates talk about billing fraud phenomena year after year that costs more than the war in Iraq?
Have you ever heard any of the presidential candidates -- John McCain, Barack Obama, or the primary candidates for that matter in the Republican-Democratic Party ever mention or pay attention to a rip-off phenomon that is costing more than the Iraq War at least in dollas --
Well that's why the Nader - Gonzales is so necessary to provide the contrast, the alternative to focus on the need to crack down on corporate crime, fraud and abuse that is looting or draining trillions of dollars from consumers, worker-pensions, savers, mutual funds
It's all reported in the mainstream press except this billing fraud that I just mentioned from Enron to Wall St. and yet John McCain and Barack Obama have no program to engage in the necessary resources and willpower to crack down and prevent corporate crime fraud and abuse including corporate crime ripping off Medicare in the billions of dollars.
Just another difference between Nader-Gonzalez and McCain-Obama the corporate candidate. Thank you.
GSR: How do you seek to redefine sources of electoral power come November?
CM: My political career started in the state of Georgia as a member of the Georgia Legislature. When I ran for that particular position, the corporate press all touted the fact that I was not going to win and yet we were able to win. We won because of people power. We went outside the existing electorate. We brought new people in. That is, of course, one of the hopes that we have with this campaign. We hope we are going to bring new people into the political process and let them see the efficacy of their vote. Now how is it that we can do that? We have to talk about the fact that we are operating in a political environment that lacks election integrity. One of the things I have been able to say quite convincingly because of the precedent set four years ago by the Green Party and David Cobb is that the day after the election when there are reports of disfranchisement and fraud, the Green Party is going to be there when the Democratic Party capitulates. It was in 2000 that we know that the voters of this country gave the Democrats the White House and instead they didn't even fight for the victory that the voters gave them. They capitulated to the Republicans and allowed George W. Bush to assume the presidency. Again in 2004, John Kerry promised that we would not see this kind of action on behalf of the Democratic Party that took place in 2000. In 2004, on the very next day, even as the reports were coming in from Ohio, John Kerry conceded. He gave up once again. He gave up the White House, so that George W. Bush could continue this reign of terror on people inside of this country and outside this country.
So now comes 2008. We understand that there are already efforts afoot to disenfranchise certain populations through the Voter ID laws that have been passed in various legislatures as well as with voter caging. Voter caging is just a fancy way of saying you show up at the polls on election day and you find out that your name is not on the voter list. What is your recourse? You have none. You don't get to vote. If you have the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot, there's no guarantee that the provisional ballot will be counted. We still have to deal with the electronic voting machines. The ills of the 2000 election remain with us. The ills of the 2004 election remain with us. New ills have been placed on top of those ills for the 2008 election. It will be the Green Party and activists across this country who will demand election integrity and who will move from protest to resistance. That is what we have to do now.
GSR: You mentioned protest. Define a vote for Cynthia McKinney in this election. Is it a protest vote or something more substantive?
CM: It's a values vote. What we are asking people to do is vote their values. I am so proud to say that at a recent meeting with Rosanne Barr she said, "I'm sick and tired of being put in a box. I'm going to vote my values. I'm going to vote Green." We invite people to join the Power to the People campaign. This is a campaign that seeks to include everyone. We want to draw from every population that feels that somehow their values are not represented by the powers that be. They are not represented by the two corporate parties. They are not represented by any other way, shape, fashion or form. And so perhaps the Power to the People campaign and the Green Party can express the views and the values of people who want peace for a change. They want ecological wisdom for a change. They want social justice for a change. They want real democracy for a change. That's what the Green Party vote represents and so I invite everyone to vote your values and vote Green.
Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) explains, "Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are running for president and vice-president on the Green Party ticket, but their larger goal is to reignite a mass movement based on principles that are anathema to the financiers that call the shots in the Obama campaign. They are among the voices that have not been silenced in this deformed election cycle." Meanwhile Chris Hedges encourages people to examine the health care plan Barack is proposing and to show spine, "We on the left, those who should be out there fighting for universal health care and total and immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, sit like lap dogs on the short leashes of our Democratic (read corporate) masters. We yap now and then, but we have forgotten how to snarl and bite. We have been domesticated. And until we punish the two main parties the way big corporations do, by withdrawing support and funding when our issues are ignored, we will remain irrelevant and impotent. I detest Bill O'Reilly, but he is right on one thing-we liberals are a spineless lot. . . . We need to throw our support behind alternative candidates who champion what we care about, whether Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader."