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2009-09-21

Ralph Nader on the G-20, Healthcare Reform, Mideast Talks and His First Work of Fiction, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!"

Guests

Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate. He’s the author of several books and his latest work is his first work of fiction. It’s called "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!", and it’s out this Tuesday from Seven Stories Press.

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As the United States prepares to host the Group of Twenty nations summit in Pittsburgh later this week, we speak with longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic, author and presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Nader discusses Congress’s failure to pass any meaningful financial reform on Wall Street over the past year and critiques Obama’s healthcare reform proposal. Ralph Nader also talks about his first work of fiction, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!" Nader describes the book in terms of a practical utopia, a fictional vision that could become a new reality. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As the United States prepares to host the Group of Twenty nations summit in Pittsburgh later this week, President Obama vowed Saturday to prevent a repeat of last year’s Wall Street collapse. In his weekly radio and internet address, the President promised to work with G20 leaders to take on the, quote, "reckless risk-taking and irresponsibility" that led to the crisis.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The first meeting of the G-20 nations in April came at the height of the global financial crisis, a crisis that required unprecedented international cooperation to jumpstart the world’s economies and help break the downward spiral that enveloped all our nations. At next week’s summit, we’ll have, in effect, a five-month checkup to review the steps each nation has taken, separately and together, to break the back of this economic crisis. And the good news is that we’ve made real progress since the last time we met, here at home and around the world.

    Because of the steps taken by our nations and all nations, we can now say that we’ve stopped our economic freefall. But we also know that stopping the bleeding isn’t nearly enough. Our work is far from over.

    We can’t allow the thirst for reckless schemes that produce quick profits and fat executive bonuses to override the security of our entire financial system and leave taxpayers on the hook for cleaning up the mess. And as the world’s largest economy, we must lead, not just by word, but by example, understanding that in the twenty-first century financial crises know no borders.

    Not surprisingly, lobbyists for big Wall Street banks are hard at work trying to stop reforms that would hold them accountable, and they want to keep things just the way they are. But we can’t let politics as usual triumph, so business as usual can reign.

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd is expected to propose a new plan to oversee banks that would merge the four banking agencies into a single regulator. His suggestion would combine the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency into a single agency. The plan is expected to run into opposition from House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank, as well as President Obama.

Well, for more on the ongoing fallout of the economic crisis, a look at healthcare, as well as his new book, I’m joined now by a leading critic of the existing financial system. Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, corporate critic, attorney, author, activist, former presidential candidate a number of times over. For four decades he has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, work in safer environments.

He’s the author of several books, including In Pursuit of Justice and The Good Fight. This time, Ralph Nader is out with a work — well, it’s not exactly fiction or nonfiction. He calls it a practical utopia. It’s called “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!”

We welcome you to Democracy Now!

RALPH NADER: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us, Ralph.

Well, let’s start on the economy, on this year anniversary of the collapse, and where you think we have come to in this year.

RALPH NADER: Well, President Obama is engaging in political progressive talk, but one year later, nothing has happened in Congress. There hasn’t even been a bill to financially regulate, bring under the rule of law and accountability Wall Street and the financial industry, hasn’t even gone to a committee yet. They’re just going to begin hearings in the Senate Banking Committee. There’s a massive attack on the consumer regulatory agency to protect people who have mortgages and credit cards and other financial instruments by the Chamber of Commerce and other corporate lobbies. So you see the corporate lobbies swarming over Congress, political action committee money, but no legislative action whatsoever.

I don’t think this has a precedent in American history. There’s never been a criminal, speculative, massive collapse, such as occurred on Wall Street, affecting trillions of dollars of worker pension money, mutual funds, savings, jobs, affecting communities all over the country, and no action in Congress. That’s the test. It’s not the rhetoric. It’s whether these bills are moving through, by 535 men and women who put their shoes on every day like you and I do. And that’s not happening. And that’s the way you want to analyze it.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think needs to happen? What is that legislation that needs to be passed?

RALPH NADER: Well, there’s a proposal crafted in part by Elizabeth Warren, who’s head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, to make sure that the Wall Street firms behave themselves. And she’s a professor of law at Harvard Law School. That’s a very well-drafted bill. There are some proposals to strengthen the organization of financial consumers, bank depositors, insurance policy holders, etc., that needs to be put in there. But the overall bill to repeal the Clinton-era repeal of Glass-Steagall, to repeal the Franklin Delano Roosevelt reforms — you have to repeal the repeal of those reforms, which set the stage in 1999 and 2000 for the rampant, wild speculation with other people’s money by investment banks and banks — Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and others, Goldman Sachs, of course.

AMY GOODMAN: The poverty rate, the number of people who are losing their homes, foreclosure, where do we stand?

RALPH NADER: Well, again, the administration cannot level with the American people, because whether it’s Obama or Bernanke or Secretary Treasurer Geithner, they cannot say anything negative, because they’re afraid of the markets. And so, all they say is mild positives. And so, they can’t level with the American people. So they use indicators that favor the corporate balance sheet, but not the worker balance sheet or the pensioneer balance sheet.

And so, poverty is going up, unemployment is shooting up, underemployment is massive. There’s probably 17 percent of the American people are unemployed or underemployed. Wages are stagnant or declining. And, of course, consumer debt is increasing. Home foreclosures are increasing. Those are the indicators you’ve got to put front and center. They’re the people indicators, not the corporate, business, economist indicators.

Hey, the banks are starting to make more profit. Yeah, but they’re being bailed out by Washington, and they can be technically insolvent and still make more profit, because they’re charging such high interest rates, fees and penalties.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, you talk about legislation saving us. A new report by the watchdog group Common Cause reveals the financial industry spent $42 million lobbying Congress during the first six months of the year and that nine of the top recipients of securities money so far this year are Democrats, like Senator Schumer of New York, topping the list, taking in something like $680,000 in campaign contributions.

RALPH NADER: It’s the same old rut. And that’s why I really wrote this work of fiction, because we are not imagining, Amy, what is necessary by way of money, organizers in the field, strategy, smarts, determination to break this massive corporate-state gridlock that’s put our country into a paralysis. Our country is stuck in traffic. It is being prevented from solving many problems or diminishing them — public transit, housing, consumer protection, living wage, universal health insurance, single payer, all these corporate crime crackdowns. All of these are problems that can be addressed and solved, but not when there’s too much power in too few hands, who make the decisions for the many to the many’s disadvantage.

So we have to — we have to ask ourselves the question: What will it take to break through? What will it take to put the people back into their sovereignty? What will it take to make sure that we enforce the Constitution and we don’t get in these foreign military adventures that are unconstitutional, violate statutes and violate international treaties, not just under Bush-Cheney, but there’s an unseemly continuity in this area under the Obama administration.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ve been talking about Congress. What about the G-20? I mean, you have world leaders gathering in Pittsburgh later this week. Also, many thousands of protesters are expected. But where does this story, whether we’re talking about the economy or healthcare, fit into the global picture and G-20? What can be accomplished there?

RALPH NADER: G-20 is a talk fest. It’s good for the Pittsburgh economy for about a week. The rallies are good, indicates that people are still trying to fight back. Nothing’s going to happen. We’ve seen this again and again with the G-20 and whatever G-number has had these meetings, whether in Canada or Europe or United States.

The issue again is, are we going to get the leadership from the enlightened super-rich to put the field organizers on the ground and to put the money into progressive campaigns and citizen action? For example, $1 billion will get us single payer in a year — that’s my sense — if we had field organizers and mobilization in every congressional district. I mean, if there was a private vote right now in Congress, about a third of them would support a single-payer system. But they are surrounded by these drug industry and health insurance lobbies and the money that’s dangled before them.

So we have to break through, and the only way we can break through is the majesty of our mind generating a higher level of imaginative "what if." What if we have this kind of resource or these kinds of film organizers or these kinds of mass media attentions? Which is why I wrote this book, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” And that’s in quotes. And it comes from a very interesting story at the beginning of the book that I can tell you, if you’re interested.

AMY GOODMAN: And we’re going to hear that story after break. We’re talking to Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate, ran for president of this country time and time again, raising issues like those he’s raising like right now. And he has a new book out. It’s not his typical book, not that any of them are, but this one is a — well, a kind of work of fiction, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Ralph Nader. He has a new book out. It’s called “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” The title may surprise you, and we’ll find out why that title in a minute.

But we want to talk about healthcare first. President Obama was on five networks on Sunday: on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and Univision. He skipped Fox, because they skipped his healthcare joint address to Congress. I want to play a clip from his appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As I’ve said, about two-thirds of what we’ve proposed would be from money that’s already in the healthcare system but just being spent badly. And as I’ve said before, this is not me making wild assertions. You know, you always hear about waste and abuse in Washington, and usually it doesn’t mean much, because nobody ever finds where that waste and abuse is. This is money that has been directly identified, that the Congressional Budget Office, that Republican and Democratic experts agree is there, that is not improving the quality of our health. So the lion’s share of money to pay for this will come from money that’s already in the system.

    Now, we are going to have to find some additional sources of revenue for the other third or so of the healthcare plan. And what I — and I’ve provided a long list of approaches that would not have an impact on middle-class Americans. They’re not going to be forced to pay for this. Insurance companies, drug companies are going to have to be ponying up, partly because right now they’re receiving huge subsidies from folks.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: But aren’t they going to then pass that on to consumers? I mean, that’s what, you know, the Chamber of Commerce is saying. They’re starting a big ad campaign —-

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: —- right now. They say you’re going to put these taxes on these insurance companies, on people that make things like x-rays and lab tests and all of that, and they’re just going to turn right around and pass it right on to the consumer.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Here’s the problem. They’re passing on those costs to the consumer anyway. The only difference is —

    BOB SCHIEFFER: But this will be more.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No, the difference is, is that they’re making huge profits on it, Bob. Look, bringing about change in this town is always hard. When you’ve got special interests that are making billions of dollars, absolutely they’re going to want to keep as much of the profits that they’re making as possible. And by the way, those insurance companies, even during these down years, have been making terrific profits. We don’t mind them making profits; we just want them to be accountable to their customers.

AMY GOODMAN: President Obama on CBS’s Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer. Ralph Nader, your response?

RALPH NADER: Well, it just shows is — he’s saying the right things, but the proposals he has are riddled with verbal indecision, like he won’t say if he doesn’t get a public choice or a Medicare alternative for people who are unable to afford private insurance, he won’t sign the bill. Now, in Congress, if you don’t draw the line the way LBJ used to, for example, or Franklin Delano Roosevelt, they eat you alive. They sense weakness. They sense excessive concessions. And that’s what he’s doing with all the media coverage he’s getting. He’s not putting forth a straightforward “this is what has to be done if we’re going to reduce the gouging and the waste and the fraud.”

The only approach that can do that is full Medicare for all, full government health insurance with private delivery, free choice of hospital and doctor. You’ve heard it a hundred times. That’s the only way, in western Europe and Canada, they’ve been able to control costs. So, in western Europe and Canada, they cover everybody for less than $4,000 per capita a year. In this country, it’ll be $7,500 per capita this year. And there won’t be — the tens of millions, 50 million people, won’t be covered, and tens of millions will be underinsured. I mean, to see all this data, it’s on this website, singlepayeraction.org.

But the point is that he keeps saying we’ve got to squeeze the waste and fraud, etc., and there’s enormous fraud. There’s $250 billion of billing fraud and abuse. And you can check the — Malcolm Sparrow at Harvard University has got the information on that. There are $400 billion out of $2.5 trillion, which is the health expenditure bill — $400 billion in administrative waste, all these people in Aetna and CIGNA and other companies denying people’s benefits and all the bureaucracy that these corporations generate, and not to mention their executive compensation.

So we really got — we have documented these problems. This country’s progressive movement has documented these abuses from A to Z — books, articles, documents, congressional reports. It’s time to ask the question: What is it going to take in terms of money, organizers, resources, creativity, to turn this country around in the reflection of what most people would like to see the United States of America become?

AMY GOODMAN: Your book, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!”, it’s just out. Kind of fiction, not really nonfiction, you call it a practical utopia. Where did you get the title?

RALPH NADER: The title came from — Warren Buffett was watching post-Katrina in his living room in Omaha, and he saw these streams of poor people fleeing the floods and the winds, and no food, no water, no shelter, on the highways north of New Orleans. And no one was helping them. And so, he couldn’t take it anymore, and he got a whole convoy of supplies, and he took them down to the New Orleans area. He went down himself and distributed all the food and the tents and the medicine to these desperate families and came across an African American family, who was helping, and the grandmother grabbed his hands, looked up at him and said, “Only the super-rich can save us.”

And that haunted him all the way back to Omaha, where he developed a plan to get seventeen older super-rich enlightened Americans at a hotel on a mountaintop in Maui, Hawaii, and basically asked themselves, what is it going to take to turn this country around? It’s going to take mass media. One of the seventeen is Barry Diller. And it’s going to take a reversal of the insurance industry. It’s Peter Lewis. It’s going to take dealing with deficits and subsidies and organizing the veteran and veteran groups and the women’s clubs around the country. Ross Perot. It’s going to take a real coordination and putting in a lot of money. That’s what they all represented. Bill Cosby is one of them. Phil Donahue is one of them. Yoko Ono is one of them. William Gates, Sr., Leonard Riggio, Bernard Rapoport. These and others get together, and it all happens in one year, 2006.

When you read this book, you’ll not only get a lift in terms of the feasibility of change, if we only change the predicates and stop trying to go after trillion-dollar industries with a few million dollars of citizen group budgets, and you not only get a lift, but you can see, step by step, the strategy, the tactics — how they set up a People’s Chamber of Commerce with tens of thousands of progressive small businesses around the country; how they set up a sub-economy, where they bought all kinds of businesses and got inside the corporate beast, because they own these companies; how they developed mass media; how they got people’s attention through the use of, for example, this parrot, Patriotic Polly, which got on TV early in 2000 and got millions of emails when it kept saying, “Get up! Don’t let America down! Get up! Don’t let America down!”

You know, in the early part of the twentieth century, Amy, and the latter part of the nineteenth, there were practical utopias, or there were just plain utopias, like Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, that really infused and raised the horizons of the progressive movement and people like Eugene Debs. In fact, that book sold a million copies, Looking Backward. We’ve stopped doing that in the last two generations. Our imaginations have been stifled by the grim reality of concentrated corporate power.

But when you see how these Meliorists, which is what these seventeen super-rich elderly progressive Americans called themselves, when you see how Sol Price, who started the Price Club, took on Wal-Mart to unionize Wal-Mart, you will see what happens when there’s smarts, determination and adequate money to take on a behemoth like Wal-Mart. You’ll also see how entrenched right-wing politicians, when they’re surrounded with mass movements back in their congressional district, and they’re basically confronted with ultimatum in this climactic scene in Congress at the end of the book, how they react.

And it’s important, I think, for all of us to stop just documenting and documenting and diagnosing and proposing these things, when there’s no power behind, there’s no juggernaut, there’s no pressure to organize the mass of the citizenry in the directions that really reflects their public sentiment, to use Abraham Lincoln’s phrase.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, why fiction?

RALPH NADER: Because nonfiction prevents you from imagining. You have to, in effect, document Blackwater. You have to document the atrocities in Iraq, the military-industrial complex. All of these books, wonderful books, are coming out, more than ever in American history. You’ve had many of the authors on your program. But they are bound by nonfiction. They’re bound by the realities of concentrated power, which they are exposing in terms of their abuses. So you have to have fiction to raise the imaginative capability, what is feasible to fulfill life’s possibilities for people in this country and abroad. And that’s why fiction is so important.

I didn’t take the novel approach, because that’s very restrictive. That’s why it’s called a practical utopia. A professor in California, Russell Jacoby, wrote a book in 1999 called The End of Utopia, and I picked it up. I said, “What’s this all about?” because, you know, utopia, in most people’s minds, is like off-the-chart science fiction. It turns out he documented how, even in the academic world, the capacity and ability to imagine has been frozen. It’s been stuck, just like the society is stuck in traffic. So that’s why the fictional approach was used.

And also, look, you have a mega-billionaire. His name is Jerome Kohlberg. He was a big acquisition, merger person on Wall Street. His passion is election reform, which is part of this book. And while he started it a little bit, and then nobody, you know, rallied to his cause, but the key is, was he willing to spend a half-a-billion dollars getting it underway? That’s the key here. This entire redirection of our country embodied in this fiction of “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” was pulled off not just by smart strategies, legions of organizers, legions of grassroot lecturers, but the whole thing cost less than $15 billion.

And you know there are people — Bloomberg is worth more than that. Carl Icahn is worth more than that. One multibillionaire. We have to imagine, step by step. So there are no magic wands in this book. This is a very realistic, month-by-month strategy for a titanic power collision with the entrenched CEOs and their political allies.

Leslie Stahl read this on her vacation in August, and she wrote me a very nice letter. You know, she’s the correspondent for 60 Minutes. And she thought the book was engrossing, creative and funny. And I said, “I’ll take all three, Leslie.”

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, why do you call these people “Meliorists”?

RALPH NADER: Because they were trying to figure out what they were going to call themselves to avoid a Bush Bimbaugh-type smear. One of the characters in the book is Bush Bimbaugh, who we all know is a takeoff on Rush Limbaugh. And a wonderful scene there when he invited Ted Turner into his studio, because he was losing ratings because of the growth of the progressive movement. They were saying, “What do we call ourselves so we’re not smeared, you know, by the editorialists of the Wall Street Journal or others?” And they came up with this word Meliorist, which means betterment. These are retired, progressive, enlightened billionaires and mega-millionaires who want to better the country. That’s what they called themselves.

But they didn’t go public until the mid-year, as they — that they were a coordinated effort. And as a result, they were able to engage in a strategy of coordinated surprise when they took on the CEOs.

And the Darth Vader in the book, who’s called Lobo, retained by the CEO Goliaths, represents every conceivable effort to stop the Meliorists. This is a titanic power collision. It’s not philanthropy. It’s not soft charity. It’s shifting power from the few to the many, top down, bottom up. That is, top down from the mega-rich, enlightened older people who are the Meliorists, down to the low [inaudible].

There’s a very good section in the book on how they did it in southwest Oklahoma to take on a thirty-eight-year-old veteran, House Rules Committee veteran, Republican — remember, the scene takes place in 2006 — how they mobilized it in very practical ways. It eliminates all the stereotypes that we’ve learned to swallow as progressives about red state, blue state. It gets down to the concrete lives and the concrete hopes and the concrete capacities of our country.

AMY GOODMAN: So, have you lost faith in grassroots movements making that difference, making that change?

RALPH NADER: No, they can’t make it without very significant resources. If you want to set up 2,000 people organized in each congressional district, as the Meliorists do, you’re going to need tens of millions of dollars to get the staff, the offices, to find those 2,000 people, to root them so they go beyond the first year and they institutionalize themselves.

And this book, I hope, will be read by mega-billionaires. I hope they’ll say, “You know, all this time we wanted to do something about the crazy war on drugs or the prison reform or tax reform” — it’s inside their heads, but they’re very discouraged. I’ve talked to a lot of these super-rich, enlightened people over the years. I’ve never seen them so demoralized about the state of their beloved country. And in their advanced years, they don’t want to just watch it decay. But they’re all very egocentric, in a way. I mean, they’re entrepreneurs. They’ve done it, you know, without great help. And they don’t collaborate. And that’s the key, that the seventeen Meliorists are far more powerful than the sum of their parts, in terms of what they bring to this gigantic battle with the corporate and political power structure.

AMY GOODMAN: Have you gotten reaction from any of them, since this is a fictional account, but you’re using real people, real descriptions, real super-rich in the book?

RALPH NADER: I think they’re starting to read it now. They’ve had it for a couple weeks. It’s going to — you know, it’s a pretty hefty book, and the whole reason is because it’s all in the details. And the details are not dull. The idea here is to make apathy boring and to make civic action exciting. There are parades and bands, and the activity is in the rhythm of people’s cultural habits as they’re eased out into the public arena from the desperation of their private lives, economically and otherwise.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, as we go back to the issue of healthcare and what needs to be done, one of your key issues over the decades, Max Baucus, after months of negotiation, comes out with a bill, which now has no Republican support. Many Democrats are saying they will not support it. What do you think of Baucus and his plan and where really this is going to go and what you think needs to happen? Would you support a plan without a public option, though you are a single-payer advocate?

RALPH NADER: No, the public option, or what they should have called it, “public choice,” if they knew language, it’s not going to work. It will always be strapped by all kinds of restrictions. Even if it passes, they’ll have it straightjacketed. Only a certain number of people can even buy insurance from this proposed public option.

Senator Baucus is a typical Democrat in Republican clothing. He’s a crypto-Republican. Now, would he get away with this if there were several million dollars in grassroot mobilization in his home state of Montana? I mean, Montana has sent some pretty progressive senators in the past. The people haven’t changed. They just are not being brought together by field organizers in the kind of effort that’s described in this book, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” But there’s very little going on in Montana. There’s a few rallies. There are a few demonstrations. But there’s a critical mass that’s needed there.

It looks like Baucus’s version is going to prevail with some tweaks in the Senate. Then you’re going to have the Waxman version in the House in the various committees. And then what are they going to do when they come into conference with the swarms of drug and health insurance lobbies? The drug companies have 450 full-time lobbyists on Capitol Hill, almost one to every senator and representative, not to mention their nationwide support network.

Now, the single-payer people, I don’t even know if they have one full-time lobbyist. So we have to ask ourselves, are we serious here? And if you are a super mega-rich, enlightened elderly person, or not elderly person, are you going to get serious, in terms of where you, without anybody persuading you, where you already want this country to go? That’s what we have to confront here.

The single payer is a majoritarian issue. It’s supported by 59 percent of physicians in a poll last year. A larger number of nurses, a lot of health economists support it. Why isn’t it moving? Because the people are not in charge of the Congress, even though they’re the only ones that have the vote; corporations are in charge, even though they have no vote.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, last question, and we only have less than a minute, but the White House has announced that President Obama is going to be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Palestinian President Abbas in New York on Tuesday. That’s tomorrow. This, after US special envoy George Mitchell left Israel with no deal on a resumption of peace talks in the region. What do you think needs to happen there?

RALPH NADER: For a minute, I thought you said President Obama was going to meet with progressives in the White House on healthcare, which he’s never done. He’s met with CEOs.

I don’t think President Obama has any cards with the Israeli military approach to the Palestinians. He’s not going to cut off economic aid, which Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1996 in a joint address to Congress said he was going to phase out, because Israel is a modern economy, which has universal health insurance, by the way. He’s not going to cut off military aid. What are his cards? Poor George Mitchell is shuttling back and forth between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Ramallah. He has no cards either.

The only way to begin changing this is to bring the Israeli peace movement to the US Congress for widely publicized hearings. These are ex-generals, ex-security chiefs, former mayors, members of the Knesset, former ministers. They’ve been pummeled by the recent events of the militarists. But once they’re given a national exposure here in this country, they will connect with about 50 percent or more of the Israeli people who want a two-state solution.

You know, it’s just like anything else. The majority of the people were against the Iraq invasion, yet the neocons and people in the White House, a minority among public opinion, plunged us into this war. Similarly, in Israel. Once the Israeli peace movement, with all those credentialed and accomplished people, connect with the Palestinian peace movement, with whom they have worked out in intricate ways in the Geneva meetings years ago a two-state solution, then you’ll see Israeli society begin turning around. And that’s about the only political lever the Congress and Obama would have. Put them up before the Senate and the House. In sixty years, they have — Israeli peace movement leaders have never been invited for one hour of congressional testimony.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. Ralph Nader, thanks so much for being with us, longtime consumer advocate, presidential candidate, his latest book called “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!”

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