Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wants to run for Attorney General of New York State.
He might announce his candidacy within the next two weeks.
He's the son of Robert F. Kennedy, the former Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy.
In 2001, President Bush named the Justice Department building after RFK.
The young Kennedy attended the ceremony.
We asked him what he thought of President Bush naming the building after his dad.
He said he wouldn't comment on the record.
But he did call President Bush "the most corrupt and immoral President that we have had in American history."
Not that he was enamored with Senator John Kerry.
Early in the campaign, Kennedy endorsed Senator John Kerry for President, but last month he expressed disappointment in Kerry's campaign and in the Democratic Party.
"The Republicans are 95 percent corrupt and the Democrats are 75 percent corrupt," Kennedy. "They are accepting money from the same corporations. And of course, that is going to corrupt you."
He has spent the last 18 years as a sort of private attorney general -- suing polluters to clean up the Hudson River.
Kennedy says that in the late 1960s, the Hudson River was "a national joke."
"It was dead water for 20-mile stretches north of New York City and south of Albany. It caught fire. It changed colors," he said. "Today, it is the richest water body in the North Atlantic. It produces more pounds of fish per acre and more biomass per gallon than any other waterway in the Atlantic north of the equator. It is the last major river system left in the North Atlantic, on both sides, that still has strong spawning stocks of all of its historical species of migratory fish."
He is seeking to close down the Indian Point nuclear power plant 22 miles north of New York City.
"After Chernobyl, 1,000 miles around the plant were uninhabitable. One hundred miles around the plant are permanently uninhabitable," he said. "One hundred miles around Indian Point would be all of New York City. So, imagine a world without New York City. Well, the terrorists already have. According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohammed Atta cased Indian Point before deciding to bomb the World Trade Center. But he believed, erroneously as it turned out, that the plant must be so heavily guarded, that it would be impossible to crash an airliner into it."
Kennedy charges that his appearance on MSNBC's Charles Grodin show in November 1996 got Grodin fired.
Kennedy was invited on the show to talk about his book and group by the same name -- Riverkeepers.
On the show, Kennedy ripped into GE, an owner of the network, for polluting the Hudson with PCBs.
On the show, Kennedy claimed that "every woman between Oswego and Albany has elevated levels of PCBs in her milk because of GE."
Grodin was soon thereafter fired.
Kennedy wrote a book last year that he hoped would change the direction of the country.
But it's a great book, nonetheless.
It's called Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and his Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy (HarperCollins, 2004).
For the past couple of years, he's been giving 40 or so speeches a year, mostly in the red zone, mostly to conservative groups.
He speaks about the corporate attack on the country.
"There is no difference between the reaction I get from Republicans and Democrats, because Americans share the same values," Kennedy told us. "If you talk about these issues in terms of our national values, everybody understands it."
In the book, Kennedy implies that we live in a fascist country and that the Bush White House has learned key lessons from the Nazis.
"While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business," he writes. "My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as 'a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism.' Sound familiar?"
He quotes Hitler's propaganda chief Herman Goerring: "It is always simply a matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
Kennedy then adds: "The White House has clearly grasped the lesson."
Kennedy also quotes Benito Mussolini's insight that "fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
"The biggest threat to American democracy is corporate power," Kennedy told us. "There is vogue in the White House to talk about the threat of big government. But since the beginning of our national history, our most visionary political leaders have warned the American public against the domination of government by corporate power. That warning is missing in the national debate right now. Because so much corporate money is going into politics, the Democratic Party itself has dropped the ball. They just quash discussion about the corrosive impact of excessive corporate power on American democracy."
Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter, http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, http://www.multinationalmonitor.org. They are co-authors of the forthcoming On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press; http://www.corporatepredators.org).
© 2004 Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman