tv Senator John Kerry Presidential Campaign Announcement CSPAN February 16, 2015 1:59pm-2:31pm EST
on management sometimes have shaken complacency, wrongdoing, and mismanagement. direct consumer remedies including class actions, have given cause to crooked businesses and have stopped much of this unfair competition against honest businesses. big business lobbies we should always remember opposed all of this progress strenuously, but they lost and america gained. ultimately, so did a chastened business community. now these checkpoints face a relentless barrage from rampaging corporate titans assuming more control over elected officials, the workplace, marketplace technology, capital pools -- including workers' pension trusts -- and educational institutions.
one clear sign of the reign of corporations over our government is that the key laws passed in the 1960's and 1970's that we use to curb corporate misbehavior would not even pass through congressional committees today. planning ahead, multinational corporations shaped the world trade organization's autocratic and secretive governing procedures to undermine non-trade health, safety, and other living standard laws and proposals to do better. up against the corporate government, voters find themselves to ask to choose between look-a-like candidates from two parties vying to see who takes the marching orders from their campaign paymasters and their future employers.
the money of vested interests nullifies genuine voter choice and trust. our elections have been put out for auction to the highest bidders. public elections must be publicly financed and it can be done with well-promoted voluntary checkoffs and free tv and radio time for ballot-qualified candidates. either we have voluntary public financing of public elections or business vested interest money will continue to buy and rent our politicians. workers are disenfranchised more than any time since the 1920's. many unions stagger under stagnant leadership and discouraged rank and file. furthermore, weak labor laws actually obstruct new trade union organization and leave the economy with the lowest percentage of workers unionized
in more than 60 years. giant multinationals are pitting countries against one another and escaping national jurisdictions more and more. under these circumstances, workers have to be able to organize to protect themselves. workers are entitled to stronger labor organizing laws and rights for their own protection in order to deal with highly organized corporations. at a very low cost, government can help democratic solution building for a host of problems that citizens face, from consumer abuses to environmental degradation. government research and development generated whole new industries and startups companies and created the internet. at the very least, why can't our
government facilitate the voluntary banding together of interested citizens into democratic civic institutions? such civic organizations can create more level playing fields in the banking, insurance, real estate, transportation, energy health care, cable tv, educational, public services and other sectors. let's call this the flowering of a deep-rooted democratic society. a government that funnels your tax dollars to corporate welfare kings in the form of subsidies bailouts, guarantees, and giveaways of valuable public assets can at least invest in promoting healthy democracy. taxpayers have very little legal standard in the federal courts and little indirect voice in the assembling and disposition of taxpayer revenues. closer scrutiny of these matters between elections is necessary. and facilities can be established to accomplish a
closer oversight of taxpayer assets and oversight of how tax dollars -- apart from social insurance -- are spent. this is an arena which is, at present, shaped heavily by corporations that, despite record profits, pay far less in taxes as a percent of the federal budget than in the 1950's and 1960's. the democracy gap in our politics and elections spells a deep sense of powerlessness by people who drop out, do not vote or listlessly vote for the least worst every four years and then wonder why after another cycle the least worst gets worse. it is time to redress fundamentally these imbalances
of power. we need a deep initiatory democracy in the embrace of its citizens, highlighting the humane ideas and practical ways to raise and meet our expectations and resolve our society's deficiencies and injustices. a few illustrative questions can begin to raise our expectations -- why can't the wealthiest nation in the world abolish the chronic poverty of millions of working and nonworking americans, including our children? are we reversing the disinvestment in our distressed inner cities and rural areas and using creatively some of the huge capital pools in the economy to make these areas more livable, productive, and safe? why are we not able to end homelessness and wretched
housing conditions with modern materials, designs, and financing mechanisms, without bank and insurance company redlining, to meet the affordable housing needs of millions of americans? are we getting the best out of known ways to spread renewable efficient energy throughout the land to save consumers money and to head off global warming and other land-based environmental damage from fossil fuels and atomic energy? are we getting the best out of the many bright and public civil servants who know how to improve governments but are rarely asked by their politically-appointee superiors or members of congress? are we able to provide wide access to justice for all aggrieved people so that we apply rigorously the admonition of judge learned hand, who once said, "if we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment -- thou shall not ration justice"? can we extend overseas the best
examples of our country's democratic processes and achievements instead of annually using billions of your tax dollars to subsidize corporate munitions exports, as republican senator mark hatfield always used to decry? can we stop the giveaways of our vast commonwealth assets and become better stewards of the public lands, better investors of trillions of dollars in worker pension moneys, and allow broader access to the public airwaves and other assets now owned by the people, but controlled by corporations? can we counter the coarse and brazen commercial culture, including television, which daily highlights depravity and ignores the quiet civic heroism in its communities, a commercialism that everywhere insidiously exploits childhood and plasters its logos everywhere?
can we plan ahead as a society so we know our priorities and where we wish to go? or do we continue to let global corporations remain astride the planet, corporatizing everything from genes to education to the internet to public institutions, in short planning our futures in their coporate images? if a robust civic culture does not shape the future corporatism surely will. to address these and other compelling challenges, we must build a powerful, self-renewing civil society that focuses on ample justice so we do not have to desperately bestow limited charity. such a culture strengthens existing civic associations and facilitates the creation of others to watch the complexities and techniques of a new century.
building the future also means providing the youngest of citizens with citizen skills that they can use to improve their community. that is real educational reform. this is the foundation of our campaign, to focus on active citizenship, to create fresh political movements that will displace the control of the democratic and republican parties, two apparently distinct political entities that feed at the same corporate trough. they are in fact simply the two heads of one political duopoly the demrep party. this duopoly does everything it can to obstruct the beginnings of new parties, including raising ballot access barriers entrenching winner-take-all voting systems, and thwarting participation in debates at election time.
you see, in nature, if never gave seeds a chance, it could not regenerate itself, and in politics, if the commanding parties do not give the seeds of small parties a chance, they cannot regenerate themselves. as befits its name, the green party, whose nomination i seek stands for the regeneration of american politics. the new populism which the green party represents involves motivated, informed voters who comprehend, to quote cicero, that "freedom is participation in power." when citizen participation flourishes, as this campaign will encourage it to do, human values can tame runaway commercial imperatives. the myopia of the short-term
bottom line so often debases our democratic processes and our public and private domains. and putting human values first in political campaigns helps to make business responsible and to put government on the right track. it is easy and true to say that this deep democracy campaign will be an uphill one. however, it is also true that widespread reform will not flourish without a fairer distribution of power for the key roles of voter, citizen, worker, taxpayer, and consumer. comprehensive reform proposals from the corporate suites to the nation's streets, from the schools to the hospitals, from the preservation of small farm economies to the protection of privacies, from livable wages to
sustainable environments, from more time for children to less time for commercialism, from waging peace and health to averting war and violence, from foreseeing and forestalling future troubles to journeying toward brighter horizons, all of these will wither while power inequalities loom over us all. our political campaign will highlight active and productive citizens who practice them on chrissy, often in the most difficult of circumstances. i intend to do this in the district of columbia whose citizens have full know -- have no full voting representation in congress. the scope of this campaign is also to engage as many volunteers as possible to help overcome ballot barriers in a number of states and to get the vote out.
it is designed to leave a momentum after election day for the various causes that committed citizens have worked so hard to further. for the greens know that political parties need to work in between actions to make elections meaningful. the focus on fundamentals of broader distribution of power is the touchstone of this campaign. as supreme court justice louis brandeis declared for the ages and i quote, "we can have a democratic society, or we can have great concentrated wealth in the hands of a few. we cannot have both." thank you. >> c-span's special program continues with john kerry the 2004 democratic nominee.
he emerged from a field of six other candidates that included howard dean and wesley clark. this announcement in front of the u.s. ass. yorktown is about a half an hour. >> this is a first of me just not because of the occasion it represents, but i have never in my life had that chance to talk to an audience of fluttering fans. and i kind of felt like i might just turn this into a good old baptists revival, folks. this is no ordinary campaign because this is no ordinary time . we have lived to the most deadly attack on our people in american history, the greatest job loss since the great depression, and
the greatest loss of wealth and savings ever recorded. but every time our country has faced great challenges, we have come through and we have come out stronger because courageous americans have done what's right for america. this is a time for the same kind of courage. i learned something about service from two people that i wish could be here today. my father, who, as a member of the greatest generation, enlisted in the army air corps even before pearl harbor and served in the state department at the height of the cold war, and my mother, 50 years a girl scout leader, a community activist with a passion for the environment, who took me into the woods as a young man and
said, simply, "listen." my wife teresa reminds me of the ideals of america. she is a naturalized citizen who came here from a dictatorship. and she loves the freedom and optimism that america has to offer. she is caring and strong leader on many causes, and she speaks the truth, and i love her for that, too. vanessa, alex, and christopher,i thank you for taking time out of your lives. for teresa and me, all our children and now our first grandchild give us joy and pride every single day.
as i look around at my crewmates and the veterans here today, i am reminded that the best lessons i learned about being an american came in a place far away from america, on that gunboat in the mekong delta with a small crew of volunteers. some of us had been to college. others were just out of high school. but we grew up together on that tiny boat. it was our sanctuary and a place for bridging distances between california and south carolina, iowa and massachusetts. we were no longer the kid from arkansas or the kid from illinois. we were just americans together, under the same flag,
giving ourselves to something bigger than each of us as individuals. we arrived as strangers and we left as brothers. we didn't think we were special. we just tried to do what was right. and when we came home, we had a simple saying -- every day is extra. i used my extra days to join other veterans to end the war i believed was wrong. i saw courage both in the vietnam war and in the struggle to stop it. i learned that patriotism includes protest, not just military service. but you don't have to go halfway around the world or march on washington to learn about bravery or love of country. again and again, in the causes that define our nation, and in everday life in america, we have seen the uncommon courage that is common to the american
people. today, with confidence in the courage of our people to change what is wrong and do what is right, i come here to say why i am a candidate for president of the united states. i am running so we can keep america's promise, to reward the hard work of middle-class americans and pull down the barriers that stand in the way of those struggling to join them, to restore our true strength in the world which comes from ideals, not arrogance, to renew the commitment of our generation to pass this planet on to our children better than it was given to us.
[applause] i reject george bush's radical new vision of a government that comforts the comfortable at the expense of ordinary americans, that lets corporations do as they please, that turns its back on the very alliances that we helped create and the very principles that have made our nation a model to the world for over two centuries. an economic policy of lost opportunity and lost hopes is wrong for america. an international policy where we stand almost alone is wrong for america. george bush's vision does not live up to the america i
enlisted in the navy to defend the america i have fought for in the senate, and the america that i hope to lead as president. and every day of this campaign i will challenge george bush for fundamentally taking our country in the wrong direction. i will tell you what i believe tell you what we must do for our country, and i'll show you how together we will defeat george bush next november. first, we must restore a foreign policy that is true to our ideals. we will defend our national security and maintain a military that is the strongest armed force on earth.
but if i am president, i will never forget that even a nation as powerful as the united states of america needs to make some friends in this world. and i will do that. overseas, george bush has led and misled us on a course at odds with 200 years of our history. he has squandered the goodwill of the world after september 11 and he has lost the respect and influence we need to make our country safe. we are seeing the peril in iraq every day. i voted to threaten the use of force to make saddam hussein comply with the resolutions of the united nations. i believe that was right. but it was wrong to rush to war
without building a true international coalition and with no plan to win the peace. so long as iraq remains an american intervention and not an international undertaking, we will face increasing danger and mounting casualties. being flown to an aircraft carrier and saying "mission accomplished" doesn't end a war. and the swagger of a president saying "bring 'em on" will never bring peace or safety to our troops. pride is no substitute for protecting our young men and women in uniform.
half the names on the vietnam memorial are there because of pride, because of a president who refused to admit we were on the wrong road. pride is no excuse for making enemies overseas. it is time to return to the united nations, not with the arrogance of rumsfeld and wolfowitz, but with genuine respect. for the bush administration to reject the participation of allies and the u.n. is a miscalculation of colossal proportions. we need to end the sense of american occupation as fast as possible and take the targets off of american soldiers.
in iraq and across the world, we must share the burdens with our international allies and the international community. then and only then can we assemble a worldwide coalition truly sufficient to be able to defeat the terrorists, to keep the most dangerous weapons out of their hands and out of the reach of unstable regimes. here again, george bush is taking us and the world in the wrong direction. he is poised to set off a new nuclear arms race by building bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons, smaller and more usable nuclear bombs. i don't want a world with more usable nuclear weapons.
i don't want america to turn its back on half a century of effort by every president to reduce the nuclear threat. i'm running to put america where we rightfully belong -- leading the way to a new international accord on nuclear proliferation and make the world itself safer for human survival. at times in the term of the next president, we may well have to use force to fight terrorism. i will not hesitate to do so. but if i am president of the united states, our beloved country will never go to war because we want to, we will only go to war because we have to.
that is the standard of the united states of america. and in the war against terrorism, let me state clearly what we all know in our hearts to be true in our hearts. two years after the tragic events of 9/11 we have not made our nation safe enough. overseas, our commander in chief turned to afghan warlords for the assault on tora bora. osama bin laden got away and today the taliban and al qaeda are regrouping. and here on the home front every investigation, every commission, every piece of evidence tells us that this president has failed to make us as safe as we should be. we are not making progress when we are laying off police and the jobs of sky marshals are in jeopardy. and if we can open firehouses in baghdad, then we can keep them open in new york city.
but the threats today don't just come from gun barrels. they come also from oil barrels. the dollars we spend at the pump can too easily fund the terrorists who seek to destroy us. america will only be stronger if we never have to send our sons and daughters into battle for oil half a world away. we have to disarm that danger by making america independent of mideast oil within the next 10 years. i know that the auto industry has political muscle. but we're in a time of war, and everyone should contribute to the cause.
in world war ii, detroit was the arsenal of democracy. today, they need to raise their gas mileage and build the vehicles of the future that use clean, renewable energy like ethanol. they need to help move america to energy independence. i also know there are some in our party who resist this because they fear it will cost jobs. but it's right for america, and energy independence will create 500,000 new high-paying jobs right here in this country. on energy and the environment, george bush seeks to undo the progress of 30 years under presidents of both parties. his clean skies initiative
actually means dirtier air; his healthy forests proposal actually means cutting down trees. he proposed to let his oil industry friends drill in the alaska national wildlife refuge. i led and won the fight to stop him. and we won that fight. in a kerry administration, we will recommit america to one of the greatest unfinished challenges of our time and of all time -- to save our environment, to protect our oceans, to reverse the tide of global warming. we will not let polluters rewrite our laws in return for campaign contributions.