Albion Monitor /News

Nader on Clinton, Environment

Interviewed by Pacifica Radio

Also last week, Nader was interviewed by Pacifica Radio reporters Amy Goodman and Larry Bensky at the Chicago Democratic Convention. Nader again strongly criticized Clinton's stance on critical environment and human rights issues, and stressed the non-political goals of his candidacy.

Said Nader on August 28, "The major issue is what to do about the concentration of power and wealth in too few hands that has enlisted government as an instrument against ordinary people...What they've done is they've carefully narrowed the agenda over budget deficits and welfare reform, et cetera, and they're fighting more and more about less and less, stressing their minute differences in order to try and give the American people the impression that there's really a two party system when it's really a Corporate Party with two heads wearing different make-up."

On debt-for-nature Headwaters swap

Asked about the debt-for-nature swap to save Headwaters, Nader said, "Clinton knows that preserving the redwoods is a big issue in California and this is one of the last remaining large groves of redwoods, owned by a rapacious corporate chief, Mr. Hurwitz, who had an S&L that collapsed and the taxpayer had to spend over a billion dollars to bail him out.

"Now the Clinton Administration wants to swap some federal land, like Treasure Island near San Francisco, for this grove of redwoods; and what we're saying is, that they should get together with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that has sued Hurwitz' corporation to get money back for this corrupt, failed S&L, and say "Okay, Hurwitz, you and your corporation owe the taxpayer hundreds of millions. We'll reduce it by several hundreds of millions of dollars in return for the redwood grove.

And the Clinton Administration is not willing to do that. John Garamendi, the deputy secretary of the Interior, played a very hokey game the other day. He called me up, he tried to say that what I was asking the Clinton Administration to do was wrong and illegal, and interfering with an independent, regulatory agency like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation -- which, of course, is not that.

"We're asking them to cooperate between the Interior Department and the FDIC, and the FDIC, in a letter to Ron Dellums, the Congressman from Berkeley, 30 months ago, said it was willing to consider this debt-for-nature swap. And then he goes on a telephone press conference, and its chief ploy, he tries to say that environmentalists are trying to get Clinton to do a wrong and illegal thing.

"This is the Clinton Administration -- an extremely sleazy operation, full of cowards at the top and frustrated decent people at the bottom."

"Clinton deserves to lose but not to Senator Dole"

Nader mentioned that Republican chairman Haily Barber had twice recently said that he hoped Nader would be part of any presidential debate. Asked by Pacifica if he thought his candidacy would hurt Clinton's chances of reelection, Nader said, "Well, no, I think he can only hurt himself. I think, first of all, Clinton's too unprincipled to lose to Dole, and he's proven that again and again most recently with his cruel-to-children so-called hoked-up welfare legislation. I think, secondly, they are extremely upset about this very modest, no-money candidacy.

"President Clinton actually, three, four weeks ago went over to a couple people that are fund raisers who knew me and tried to get them to persuade me to back off, but I think that... illustrates the need for new political parties, for political competition. They can't stand even a little competition, because his whole tactic is to tell millions of people they've got nowhere to go, because no matter how corporatist he is, no matter how subordinate he is to corporate power, the Republicans are worse.

"And let me tell you, no Senator in modern history has been so diversely, profusely and enthusiastically a sell-out to corporations as Senator Dole. And that is what is basically saving Mr. Clinton, who deserves to lose but not to Senator Dole.

"Basically, Clinton's approach to America is, "Vote for me, I'm not Newt Gingrich."

Although Nader is on the ballot as a candidate for the Green Party, he continued to maintain neutrality about the party and its platform. " I don't have an 800 phone number. The Green Party's on its own. I just accept the successful petition drives, such as New York State and elsewhere to get on the ballot. I have no phone number for anybody to send any money to me."

Nader closed by again reminding voters that "nobody's financing my campaign... the one thing I want to emphasize in this campaign is that this is a no-money campaign, I want self-reliant volunteers and that's why I'm not going to cross that line."

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Albion Monitor September 3, 1996 (

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