Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. once again holds no punches when it comes to blasting Bush. Hat tip to Mass on the DU Kerry forum for this find.
Kennedy blasts Bush, news media
By Andy Kekacs
UNITY (Sep 24): A shameless president and a lazy press are bringing America to the brink of environmental and political collapse, according to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The hijacking of the government, the environment and even the Christian faith by corporate lackeys threatens everything that Americans hold dear, Kennedy said, from the health of our children to our rights as a free people.
“This is not just about protecting the environment, this is about ensuring the survival of our democracy,” said Kennedy, who spoke Friday, Sept. 23 at Unity College.
Kennedy is an environmental attorney and author of the 2004 bestseller “Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy.”
“I don’t believe there is any such thing as Republican children or Democratic children,” he said. “But you can’t talk about the environment on any level without criticizing the president.”
Kennedy pulled no punches in describing what he views as a government takeover by multinational corporations. He reviewed a long list of corporate lobbyists who now hold key positions in the federal agencies that regulate their former employers.
“The polluters … are running the agencies that are supposed to protect us from pollution,” he said. “Their goal is to subvert the laws they are supposed to be enforcing.”
Kennedy said the strategy is succeeding. He claimed the Bush administration had watered down or rolled back more than 400 initiatives designed to ensure that Americans have clean air and water, vibrant forests and healthy populations of fish and wildlife.
For example, he said, the Bush administration dropped Clinton-era federal lawsuits against the 75 worst polluters among coal-burning power plants in the Midwest shortly after it took office in 2000. The industry, he claimed, had donated $48 million to the Bush election fund.
“(Large corporate donors) have a choke-hold on the White House,” he said.
They also have a choke-hold on the American people, according to Kennedy, who said the EPA estimated that as many as 18,000 more people would die of asthma and other pollution-related illnesses because of changes to the “new source” rule that regulates air emissions.
“That’s six times the number of people who were killed in the World Trade Center attacks,” said Kennedy.
Bush and his corporate backers are able to get away with it because a lazy news media is not bothering to tell Americans what the president is doing, according to Kennedy.
The lack of tough reporting is as much a threat as the actions of the Bush White House, he said. Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson, Kennedy said, “If you do not have an informed democracy … democracy will not long survive.”
“We have a negligent and indolent press that has let the American people down,” he said.
But that’s not surprising, according to Kennedy, when only six men decide what news will be broadcast on almost all of the more than 20,000 radio and television stations in the country.
With right-wing, pseudo-religious talk radio the major source of news for many Americans, it’s no surprise that Bush won re-election in 2004, according to Kennedy.
“There is no difference between the aspirations and values in the red states (which went for Bush in 2004) and the blue states (which favored John Kerry),” said Kennedy. “There is no moral difference, but there is a huge information difference … The residents of the red states are just Democrats who don’t know what’s going on.”
But a short time later, Kennedy suggested there were some important moral distinctions between the conservative, deeply religious red states and the liberal, relative secular blue states.
“Massachusetts,” said Kennedy, “has the lowest divorce rate in the nation … In fact, the 10 lowest divorce rates are all blue states.
“I had my research assistant check, and a resident of a red state is more likely to murder you, impregnate your teenage daughter, commit a violent crime against you, commit a nonviolent crime against you, buy pornography …”
Kennedy suggested the religious, conservative “patriots” who are running the country are neither religious, conservative nor patriotic. “They have torn the conserve out of conservatism,” he said. “They have violated every one of the manifold mandates of the Christian faith. And I look at the White House and say, ‘How did they get all of these draft dodgers in the same place? … All of these guys loved the war in Vietnam, they just wanted someone else to fight it.”
Kennedy encouraged people to be skeptical of what the White House said. “Look at where their feet are going, rather than their rhetoric.”
In the end, a healthy environment is the foundation of America’s economic success and its spiritual values, according to Kennedy.
“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment,” said Kennedy. “We’re protecting nature because nature enriches us.”
It not only enriches us economically, he said, but it also connects us to our faith. The founders of all of the world’s major religions had their core moment of faith in the wilderness. “There we read the messages written into creation by the Creator at the very beginning of time,” he said. “Wilderness is the critical, defining element of the American character. This is where our values come from, ultimately from nature.”
Added Kennedy: “I don’t want kids to grow up in a world where they don’t know the seasons, the tides … the things that connect us to tens of thousands of years of human history. Nature is where God talks to us.”
Kennedy is the son of former U.S. attorney general and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York, who was slain in 1968 on the night he won the California primary in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The speech was part of the 40th anniversary celebrations at Unity College, which calls itself “America’s environmental college.”