Here is the speech that would have kicked off my candidacy in 2007 or so.
Everyone has the right to wonder what I am doing here. The leaders of this community have given me an opportunity to speak. They know that I have begun a journey. They know that I am driven to make that journey because of who I am, and what I believe, and the way I was raised. I am unable to rest. I am pushed and prodded and provoked and propelled to act, and I know that you will give me a fair hearing.
I am here because throughout my working life as a public defender I have developed an affinity for this community. It has been in large measure, for reasons we all know too well, its sons and daughters next to whom I have stood, giving everything at my command in an effort to find some semblance of justice for them and those close to them. I pleaded and begged and implored those who sat in the seats of power to offer up the best part of themselves toward justice, to act with wisdom and compassion for those accused. That was my life€™s work for thirty years, and if I don€™t make it to tomorrow, I have tasted fulfillment, as I could have chosen no better path.
But I am here not to discuss decisions I was fortunate to be able to make, but because my understanding of the nature of our democracy in this nation has undergone a profound transformation in the last year. I have come to learn that unspeakable evil on a governmental level exists at this moment in history. It is not simply evil in relation to the poor and colored of the world, or in relation to the poor and colored in this country. It has not to do, in any direct sense, with the percentage of the national treasure devoted to the stature and condition of those who hold office or the well-being of that small part of our society represented in the seats of governance. I am not propelled here to decry the pronounced apathy that attends our government€™s every decision with regard to the poor and the colored of this nation, though I probably should have been. I offer my voice at this moment because of my conviction that the leaders of this nation committed mass murder of its own citizens on September 11, 2001. Many of you, if not almost all of you, may well not have the slightest idea if the words I just spoke are the God€™s honest truth or the rantings of a lunatic. Most of us who have been given the opportunity to walk upon this earth, to flourish or perish as conditions far beyond our control dictate, have nowhere near the time to devote to ideas as presumptively deranged as these. You must invest such enormous quantities of energy to the demands of your jobs, however many you are required to have, or to the pursuit of one, if you are not so blessed. You must give to your families, to feed them, to protect them, to teach them, such a large part of yourselves that the ideas that I come here to express, must seem almost luxurious to consider were they not so deeply and profoundly disturbing.
Maybe a small number of you, or maybe not such a small number, are more than ready to believe the most disgusting accusations made about the conduct of our leaders. My brother-in-law, who teaches kids in Chicago, reported to me a sense among his students that, of course it was the government. I am not here to applaud the instincts of the most cynical among us. I have been demanding reliable evidence for my entire career, and I have no intention of requiring anything less because I find the principles and articulated policies of those I accuse to be abhorrent and thoroughly worthy of condemnation. Jesus said, €œ[I]nasmuch as yea have done it unto the least of these my brethren, yea have done it unto me.€ It is with such words that I have prayed for justice for the most desperate of criminals, and that is, in fact, precisely what I am doing at this moment. I am seeking justice for those most desperate of criminals who happen to occupy the seats of power in this country as we speak.
I have made the accusation. I ask you to devote whatever time you are able to a consideration of the evidence which can be found in numerous books and articles that have been written on the subject. I will take just a moment to tell you of what I am convinced.
First, the World Trade Center towers that were destroyed before our eyes did not collapse because airplanes collided with them, though they did. They did not collapse because of fires that started with the crash of those airplanes. They were destroyed by controlled demolition with explosives. The same is true of World Trade Center Seven, the forty-seven story building that housed the New York headquarters of the CIA and the FBI that collapsed at 5 o€™clock that afternoon without being hit by any airplane at all.
The evidence, upon which I rely for these conclusions, though not exclusively, is primarily physical in nature. Aside from the collapses having all of the characteristics of controlled demolitions that, as Dan Rather said at the destruction of World Trade Center Seven, we have all watched on television, the piles of rubble left behind included 30 to 50 foot lengths of the 47 severed steel core columns that held up the buildings. Pictures were taken weeks later of some of these pieces of steel being hauled away, and they were still dripping molten metal. Now, that is not possible unless the temperatures achieved in the course of the destruction were far greater than a jet fuel fire can produce, especially of the brief duration that we all witnessed. It is entirely possible, however, in the aftermath of the detonation of explosives, of substances like thermate, which can produce temperatures of 5000 degrees Fahrenheit. And it is explosives, and nothing else, that can severe steel in the manner found in the piles of Ground Zero. A careful examination of the video footage of the collapses of the Towers shows ejection of debris from the buildings well below the level of the fire, and Professor Steven Jones of Brigham Young University has tested samples of metal taken from Ground Zero and found them to contain precisely what one would expect from the wreckage of a controlled demolition, a substance called thermate capable of all of the destruction the citizens of this country were required to witness if not suffer. People who feel as I do anxiously await the government’s explanation for the presence of thermate at the scene of that incredible devastation, but the sober among us know that it will be silence that we will encounter without a strenuous demand by this nation’s citizens.
Second, whether the Pentagon was hit by American Airlines Flight 77, or another flying object of some sort, it was allowed to happen by the military commanders we rely upon for protection. There is evidence that explosives were employed at the time of the crash, from the smell of cordite, to the shock waves experienced by occupants of the building, to the color of the fire and smoke at the impact of whatever it was with the side of the building. The government€™s claim that the terrorist known as Hani Hanjour flew a 757 in the dramatic, described by air traffic controllers as like a military plane, maneuver, turning 270 degrees and diving 7000 feet so that it could hit the building in that spot likely to produce the fewest military casualties while flying parallel to the ground at the height of a telephone pole, is, plainly, ridiculous. Hani Hanjour€™s flight instructors said he could barely fly a Cessna. And I would like each one of you right now to think why he would choose to make such a maneuver when if he had flown straight down, he could have hit the building in its roof, the largest possible target giving hope for the grandest possible devastation, and that would likely have included Donald Rumsfeld himself.
These are just a few small bits of evidence. The whole case, were there ever allowed to be such a thing, would be overwhelming in scope and in probative value. And it would include videotapes seized by the FBI within hours after the explosions from the surrounding area, but which have not been allowed into the public domain. Unless they have destroyed them, the government has the ability to shut up forever such lonely voices as mine, should they choose to release those tapes. You may ask yourself why they don€™t.
I implore you to seek answers, to study as your lives allow. You will arrive at your own conclusions and determine if what I have to say is born out by the evidence. And then you will consider if the convictions that I here espouse are a proper platform from which to attack that tyranny, which I accuse of the most egregious of human behavior, in the arena of politics.
I acknowledge that I would not be here but for the depravity that I have become convinced took place. I might even propose that I need no other reason or argument for this political step, the quest for justice being such an essential element in the soul of the human species. But I do not come before you without having considered what policies should be implemented should any part of political power be placed in my hands. I have spent many hours of my adult life debating and studying and considering the policies of government, and I am prepared to offer you this opportunity to learn my views and to question them.
There are five broad areas in which I will speak. There must necessarily be a first and a last, but I swear, were it demanded of me, I would be hard-pressed to say which is most important, or which one is more important than some other. So for no particular reason let me first say that the dreams of a free people can never be realized until their representatives are elected by their numbers of supporters and not by their numbers of dollars.
I admit that it is the grand dream of this quest to take money out of politics entirely. But, as far off as that reality may be, there are steps which can be taken soon in an effort to snatch back from the great beast of privilege the tools of a real and vital democracy. Does everyone know what instant run-off voting is? I believe that it by itself could bring about a revolution in citizen participation in this country. You rank your choices of candidates and in the event that your first choice does not achieve a majority, your vote automatically goes to your next choice. Just think what that means. Let me right now make the proud proclamation and confession that I voted for Ralph Nader in the year 2000. I argued at the time that he should withdraw from the swing states as the race was becoming so close, but if I must, I do take responsibility for supporting his run for the presidency.
With instant run-off voting, the recriminations to which Ralph Nader and I, as his supporter, have been subjected will no longer be part of the American political calculus. Your vote for your preferred perfect candidate will never be a resource for your most dreaded political enemy. Other magnificent benefits will flow from this essential reform.
The party with the most resources will never again be able to spend its capital promoting a philosophy which it finds abhorrent, because the recipient of those funds is more likely to take votes from its opponent than from itself. I don€™t know if Richard Nixon had anything to do with the attempted assassination of George Wallace in 1968 or 1972, whenever it was, but there will as well, be no further need to wish ill of a far-off rival. If two political philosophies can coexist, the promotion of one will never again be the demise of the other.
For people like me, not quite in the strong currents of the mainstream, instant run-off voting will allow the challenge to the powerful and privileged that is impossible today without the commitment and determination that I walked through those doors hoping to inspire. How many people in 1988 didn€™t vote for Jesse Jackson in a primary because they didn€™t think he could win in November? Instant run-off voting allows Jesse Jackson, assuming he lost the Democratic nomination, to run as a third party candidate, and it allows people like me to vote for him.
I support public financing of campaigns as an integral part of getting money out of politics. There are many excellent proposals any one of which would be vast improvements over the situation with which we must live, and with which our freedom may well die, right now. But I include in my call to have our leaders chosen by our numbers and not by our numbers of dollars, a demand for the reform of our electoral apparatus. I don€™t believe that we need computers to register our votes, but if we have them, they must be accompanied by a receipt, a paper trail to which any monitor can later refer in the event of a contested election. If such a thing can be accomplished in Venezuela, it can be accomplished in these United States.
As the second plank in my platform, I call for the end of the system of corporate dominance of American life, and I say that it can never be achieved until a corporation is no longer able to claim personhood in the courts of our nation or in the halls of Congress. Now what in the name of the Creator is he talking about now? If you rely on the standard organs of information, ABC, Fox, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, and haven€™t taken a particular interest in Constitutional law or the First Amendment or the history of the corporation in this country, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. There is no reason that you should. Your leaders have not seen fit to highlight this particular imbalance of governmental process. I don€™t think this is the place for the kind of civics lesson it would take to get us all on the same page. I will leave the depth of it for your own research. A fellow named Thom Hartmann wrote a wonderful book on the subject called €œUnequal Protection.€ I will try to get by, by saying this: as the law has been interpreted in the Supreme Court, a corporation has the rights of human citizens. Most significantly the corporation has the right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment, and that has been interpreted to mean its ability to spend money for the propagation of ideas that have nothing to do with the sale of its product.
This fact of Constitutional interpretation has allowed the abject corruption of our political processes through the purchase of the free press by the monuments of capital that we all know as corporations. Now let me be very plain about this, because until the reforms that I propose have been enacted, those very corporations whose vast power I seek to deplete in some way or another are going to be able to distort and misportray every honest decent syllable that comes out of my mouth, and because their ownership by the forces of stability is total, you will have nowhere to go for my rebuttal. So, being as clear as it is possible for me to be, capitalism is the greatest engine for the production of wealth that humankind has ever known. I have a great respect for capitalism and the benefits that the world€™s peoples have been able to enjoy as a result of its unique characteristics. And corporations are the vital substructure of that engine that has allowed man to risk his wealth without risking more than his wealth. Toward that end, corporations have been chartered in the states to engage in commercial endeavors, manufacturing products for sale or the provision of services to citizens who find them valuable.
What corporations, by their charters, are not created to do is step on the scales of free expression and thereby influence the manner by which we choose our leaders and are governed. In the vision which I now seek to describe, a corporation would be chartered for one purpose alone, the provision of some service or the manufacture or sale of some product. Any activity that does not further that endeavor is, as they say in the corporate world, ultra vires, in essence outside of its charter and subject to legal redress.
Such a reform in this country would be revolutionary, if only compared to what we live with minute to minute. But what are these reforms capable of giving? I don€™t think that my imagination is up to the challenge of identifying all of the positive benefits of saying to corporate America; your business is making money legally, without corrupt practice, by the pursuit of a well-defined endeavor. It is not to speak out on subjects of public policy. You have no right to freedom of speech. You are not a person under the Constitution. I will confine myself to two absolute, undeniable virtues whose magnitude we citizens this day can truly only imagine, and they are these: 1.The media in this country would not be obliged to follow, or not follow, stories because its stewards had conflicting economic interests; and 2. The news media in this country would not be overwhelmed by corporate sponsorship of think tanks that bind the edges of permissible discussion. In my opinion those benefits are of incomprehensible value to a free society and necessary, absolutely essential, to the removal of the ties that have us bound hand and foot at this very moment.
You may say that there will always be corporate influence over media operations, because corporations can wield the hammer of withheld advertising dollars to make sure that certain stories are not covered or that they are covered in an acceptable manner. There is truth in that insight, but let me suggest to you the wondrous prospect that seeks to crawl out from behind that mountain of corporate dominion for our consideration and enchantment. If a media organization€™s corporate charter provided for the provision of news, an agent of that corporation would be bound by the newspaperperson€™s duty to tell that story, and there would be no overwhelming economic disincentive to its being told.
How exactly, I here ask, is Proctor and Gamble going to react if its misdeeds become newsworthy? In my world, if it€™s newsworthy, there will be no place of refuge to which it will be able to take its advertising dollars. Everyone will be telling the story, and Proctor and Gamble will do what good business practice, good sense, common decency, and the law demand. They will take responsibility, fire the individuals in charge, and seek not to transgress in the future. Let me repeat the essence of my claim: The system of corporate dominance of American life, including our political life, cannot be reformed until a corporation is no longer able to claim personhood in the nation€™s courts or in the halls of Congress.
The third idea upon which this quest stands or falls is the notion that a vital and healthy electorate assumes a health care system with equal access for all. This is not a foreign idea. It is not a radical idea, except within the narrow confines of political debate in American society as we know it. It is as simple as this: We have all of the resources we need to socialize the medical insurance of every man, woman, and child in this country, and just like Canada, the country most like us, we can provide care to everyone regardless of any characteristic that any imagination is able to conjure. Canada spends about a half of what we spend in this country on health care. The savings from the abolition of the health insurance industry, listen to the sound of those words, the abolition of the health insurance industry, from executive salaries to marketing to bureaucracy generally will allow all of the 46 million uninsured Americans to walk into the doctor€™s office of their choice and get whatever treatment they need and no one, no one, will be able to cancel or negate or second-guess that medical decision. You can decide whether you want to call it single-payer, government insurance, Medicare for all, but the cry that should ring throughout every meeting hall in this country as citizens join to propose solutions is FIX IT, TODAY AND FOREVER.
Next, I say that an educated citizenry of a true democracy requires a school system that teaches all without regard to race, class, or community. There is no reason to permit the inequality with which our children must struggle on a daily, on an hourly basis, in their own classrooms. I asked a teacher from an eastern state the other day, do you have to raise money to provide your students with what you consider to be the essentials of a decent education? No, she said, I teach in a middle to upper middle class community.
Does everyone understand how wrong that is? No society will ever be without divisions based on an array of factors that accompany the human condition, but should any person of power be able to say it is okay that a student in Richmond doesn€™t have what a student in Orinda has? Student expenditure should have nothing to do with property taxes, and it should be equal, everywhere throughout the state and throughout the nation. Economically well-to-do parents, were they to feel compelled, should have one other option, and it is one that I am the product of and one that I would never do away with because of my appreciation of freedom, and because they provide a benchmark of satisfactory education, and that is a private school. Our public schools should be so good, that paying for a private education would be a ridiculous expenditure, and that must mean all of our public schools. Is this a radical idea? It sure seems so if you look around this country, but I don€™t care how radical it is conceived to be. It is essential; it is necessary; it is vital to any effort to reclaim the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, all men are created equal. And they must be treated so.
Lastly, I will admit that it has always been an interest in foreign policy that has dragged me to action and thought, unfortunately sometimes in that order. I was an opponent of the war in Indochina, for shorthand, we call it Vietnam, and I marched against it. I found true, though mightily insignificant, political action when I was arrested protesting the wars in Central America in the 1980€™s. So it is with some study that I say the foreign policy of a true democracy sees all of the world€™s people as part of a common humanity and does not pursue hegemony or imperial design through the exercise of economic or military might.
I supported the war in Afghanistan after the crimes of September 11th, when I had not the slightest clue or tendency to believe that our own government was a perpetrator of those atrocities. But had I known then what I know now, had I reason to suspect that the military operation would have been carried out in the way that it was, with one of its most pronounced achievements the revitalization of opium production in the region, I would never have uttered some of the words that I did in October of 2001. Had I a voice to be heard when Tora Bora was under siege for the capture of Osama Bin Laden, I would have decried every mismaneuver that allowed his escape. And I pledge now to seek to know if his escape was in fact the result of incompetence and not the somewhere-articulated military policy of this nation.
From what I said at the beginning, you know that I think the current holders of power in this country should be awaiting trial for treason, war crimes, and murder. But beyond the one day of September 11th, the conduct of foreign policy, using willful deception to invade Iraq, the use of torture as a policy of government, and indefinite detention as an instrument of fear and terror are more than sufficient reason to impeach this President and put him in jail. When I am finished, should I ever be allowed to begin, I will have done everything I can to know the American role in the coup d€™etat of Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, and the attempted coup of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. And I will not rest until the foreign policy which led to those events is terminated. I will engage in an effort to foster democracy throughout the world. And it will not be democracy on condition that its beneficiaries agree with us. It will not be democracy only for those beholden to us. It will not be democracy for those who bow down to us because we alone possess the power of life on this planet. We will subject our agents to the jurisdiction of the world court, and we will be bound by the Geneva Conventions, and all of our soldiers of whatever rank will shutter at the thought of a prosecution for war crimes, should they decide to engage in that disgusting and disgraceful and degrading inhuman conduct.
I have not pulled my punches here. I have not massaged my message for fear of disapproval. I have no interest in power on any other terms than those I set out here. I recognize the need to compromise, it is the soul of any democratic form of governance, but what compromises I engage in will, I swear it, have as their long-term goal the five ideas that I have brought to you today for your approval, your consideration, or, should it be your choice, your rejection. I can live with your judgment knowing that I have spoken truly and honorably for, as I see it, the welfare of us all..