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Forum Post: ra[ph nader on the left right alliance

Posted 3 months ago on April 29, 2014, 7:41 p.m. EST by flip (6878)
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RALPH NADER: Yes. You’ve got to think of politics in America now as two stratas. On the top, dominating the left-right emerging alliance, are the corporate powers and their political allies in the Congress and elsewhere. And what we’re seeing here is a corporate strategy of long standing that fears a combination of left-right convergence on issues that would challenge corporate power. So, they really like the idea of left-right fighting each other over the social issues. They really work to divide and rule these left-right public opinion and representatives. And so far, they have been dominant, the corporatists.

But they’re beginning to lose. And we have enough historical evidence to show that the tide is running against them. For example, on the minimum wage fight, that comes in 70, 80 percent in the polls, which means a lot of conservative Wal-Mart workers think they should get a restored minimum wage, at least to what it was 46 years ago plus inflation adjustment. That would be almost $11 an hour.

The left-right alliance is coming through at the state legislative level on juvenile justice reform and addressing the whole problem of prisons in our country. Newt Gingrich and others have started a group called Right on Crime. And the progressive forces are working hand in glove with right and left state legislatures, and they’ve gotten through some bills in over a dozen legislatures.

The third area where it’s breaking through, the left-right alliance, is to block the further expansion of these globalized trade agreements. The Pacific trade agreement, which is being negotiated with Asian countries by President Obama, is not going to be blocked under an opposition in the House of Representatives to fast track. In other words, Republicans and Democrats, I think, have about a majority of the House, even defying their leadership in the Democratic and Republican Party, Boehner and Pelosi. They have enough votes right now to block a fast-track, zip-through-the House trade agreement. And that’s a left-right.

A little over a year ago, there was almost a majority vote in the House to block the NSA from dragnet surveillance. That was a bubbling up of public opinion, going from the grassroots all the way to the House of Representatives, in defiance of Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

So we’re seeing this emerge. And if we really want to get things done in this country, long-overdue redirections, then we better pay attention to this emerging left-right alliance that I describe in detail. There are 25 areas of left-right convergence in this country, and they represent a majority. That’s why I called the book Unstoppable. And all we need now is to start the conversation level locally, have it bubble up into the media—the media sort of likes this idea of unlikely allies, especially at the local level—and have it move into the political stream and then put it on the table, all these issues, for the electoral campaigns that are coming up.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, I want to go to this global issue of the TPP, because over the weekend President Obama spoke to young leaders during this town hall-style meeting at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His talk was briefly disrupted by peaceful protesters holding up signs denouncing a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership—the TPP often referred to by critics as NAFTA on steroids, as you were talking about, establishing a free-trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompass 800 million people, about a third of world trade, nearly 40 percent of the global economy. Obama defended the TPP.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The trade agreement that we’re trying to create, the TPP, part of what we’re trying to do is to create higher standards for labor protection, higher standards for environmental protection, more consistent protection of intellectual property, because, increasingly, that’s the next phase of wealth. All those things require more transparency and more accountability and more rule of law. And I think that it’s entirely consistent with Malaysia moving into the next phase.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s President Obama in Malaysia. Who is advising President Obama on TPP? The unions? Environmental organizations? Ralph Nader.

RALPH NADER: Well, they can’t get back through the secrecy of these negotiations in these drafts. As Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch has pointed out repeatedly, even members of Congress couldn’t get the draft negotiations from the TPP, although the corporate lobbyists have access to these drafts. But it’s quite clear that the TPP is nothing more than an extension of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization on steroids.

And here’s where we have a left-right alliance, each one with their reason. On the left, they’re opposed to these agreements because they’re bad for workers; they’re bad for the price of medicines being affordable, under the intellectual property rules that are being negotiated; they’re bad for open government; and they’re bad for the environment. On the right, they don’t like these trade agreements because they shred our sovereignty. I happen to agree with that, too. All international treaties reduce sovereignties, by definition. But this one, these trade agreements are the greatest usurpers of local, state and national sovereignty in American history. And so, we have this growing alliance. And, by the way, it goes back to documents like the 2002 Texas Republican state platform, that was dead set against these trade agreements on sovereignty issues.

So, I don’t think President Obama is reflecting his campaign assurances in 2008 when he said he was going to work to revise NAFTA and WTO for better environmental, labor and consumer protections. He hasn’t done that for WTO or NAFTA, and he’s not doing it for this trans-Pacific trade agreement.

........................................... AMY GOODMAN: And yet, interestingly, talking about the left-right alliance, although I’m not exactly seeing left here, but Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat; Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican; Spencer Abraham, Michigan Republican, former energy secretary; and William Daley, the former chief of staff of Obama, being—starting this new lobbying effort for the nuclear industry.

RALPH NADER: Yeah, and there—

AMY GOODMAN: And since we just have two minutes, if you might pivot to the issue of militarism, which you take on in your book, Unstoppable?

RALPH NADER: Well, a lot of these coalitions are funded by the nuclear industry themselves. By the way, there is a corporate-liberal convergence with corporate conservatives for years. That’s what’s driven this country into the ground—corporate liberals like the Clintons and corporate conservatives like John Boehner, etc.

The militarism part is another invitation for an emerging left-right alliance. Barney Frank, Congressman Barney Frank, left, and Ron Paul, Congressman Ron Paul, Libertarian, got together in 2010 to develop a caucus against a bloated military budget and the militarism that comes from it. That’s an example in Congress of a far larger number of left-right convergences being repressed by their leadership, which has other corporate campaign cash incentives in mind. So what we’re seeing here—listen, even after 9/11, there was a public opinion poll saying that we shouldn’t do war on Afghanistan; we should pursue the backers of 9/11, bring them to justice, but not this massive invasion of Afghanistan. And for years, left-right public opinion polls have said we should get out of Afghanistan. So there is a large, emerging left-right alliance here against militarism. It was against the invasion of Iraq by Bush and Cheney—the unconstitutional, criminal invasion of Iraq. You had over 300 retired generals, admirals, national security leaders and diplomats speaking out against it before the invasion in March 2003, and they were Republicans and Democrats.

So there is this huge potential here to turn this country around. I don’t sugarcoat the obstacles in this book, Unstoppable. I go into them one after the other, and how we can overcome them and how we can establish a new political realignment here. We have enough historical precedent of successful left-right breakthroughs. We’ve got to break through to the political and electoral sphere here and start turning the country around.

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[-] 2 points by flip (6878) 3 months ago

not surprised but you seem to forget that gore won florida and the supreme court gave bush the presidency. if you want to blame any one person you might start with that lame shit gore for his extremely weak campaign. or his boss Clinton for doing the same thing Obama has done. after 8 years of Reagan and 4 of bush the country elected Clinton to make serious change - and what did he do - the same thing we are watching now. sell out to the banks and the rich. as for the rest of it - also your usual. you forget or do not know what ralph has done - especially when compared to those who you seem to adore. now complete the circle - give me a motherfucker and we can be done - oh maybe you would like of the crimes of the clinton/gore administration - we can start with the sanctions which killed how many - 500,000 - then of course the bombing of Iraq and Kosovo. we could talk about Waco but how about this from noam -

-"Actually, al-Qaeda, if you look back, was barely mentioned in U.S. intelligence reports until 1998. Clinton put it on the map. Clinton’s bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998 effectively created al-Qaeda, both as a known entity in the intelligence world and also in the Muslim world. It was an enormous boost for them. It also put bin Laden on the map. Before that, he was regarded as a kind of minor financier of some kind. But that created him as a major symbol, it led to an increase in recruitment, financing and general support for al-Qaeda-style networks, and it also tightened relations between bin Laden and the Taliban, which had been quite hostile before but they became close after the bombing.

The bombing of Sudan, in particular, infuriated people throughout the Arab world. It’s another one of those things that didn’t happen because we did it. The Clinton administration knew perfectly well that the target was the major producer of pharmaceutical and veterinary supplies for a poor African country. They may have believed it was producing chemical weapons or maybe not–that’s what people discuss–but it doesn’t matter. They knew they were bombing a core part of the pharmaceutical industry. Of course, that’s going to have devastating effects. It was known instantly. We don’t know how much, because, again, we don’t investigate or care about the results of our crimes, which didn’t exist. But the few credible estimates that are available from the German ambassador–in a paper published in the ultra-left Harvard International Review–and another in the Boston Globe by the regional director of the Near East Foundation, who had field experience in Sudan–both estimate several tens of thousands of deaths, which is plausible, maybe more, maybe less."

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[-] 2 points by flip (6878) 3 months ago

your usual well thought out response. you are very predictable - is that the way you like it. if you want I can write your responses for you and save you some time. let's try and see how you like it

[-] 2 points by flip (6878) 3 months ago

flip motherfucker flip - is that ok?