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Playboy _nterv_ew: Ralph Hader

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Length: 31 pages

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Abstract

Ralph Nader, whose headline-making indictments of auto safety angered Detrait, prompted one car company's abortive investigation of his private life and finally spur~ed pa~age of the 1066 Teah fic Safety Act, would seem at first glance an unlikely nemesis for the auto--or any other--industry. NadeVs parents emigrated front Lebanon to the United States in 1925 and gravitated to the small town of Winsted, Connecticut, a WASP- ishly conservative community of 10,000, where Ralph was born in 1934.

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Box
0565
Named Person
Carson, Rachel
Clement, Earle C.
Clifford, Clark
Cutler, Lloyd
Dirksen, Everett Mckinley
Franken, Peter A.
Goldwater, Barry
Haddon, William
Hader, Ralph
Kadish, Sanford
Long, Russell
Morgan, Karl Z.
Nader, Ralph (Consumer Activist)
Consumer activist long renowned for a career of exposing corporate deception and wrongdoing that result in human harm.
Norden, Eric
Savio, Maria
Steffens, Lincoln
Tarbell, Ida
Named Organization
Army
Atomic Energy Commission
Boeing (Aircraft manufacturer)
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
Consumer Reports (magazine that tested tar content in 50s)
Covington & Burling (Tobacco Industry law firm)
Tobacco industry law firm. Was involved in organizing the Whitecoat Project.
Daily News (newspaper)
Department of the Interior (DOI)
*Department of Transportation (use United States Department of Transportation)
DuPont
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Federal Trade Commission (Enforcement agency for laws against deceptive advertising)
Enforces laws against false and deceptive advertising, including ads for tobacco products. Ensures proper display of health warnings in ads and on tobacco products;collects and reports to Congress information concerning cigarette and smokeless tobacco advertising, sales expenditures, and the tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide content of cigarettes.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
General Electric Company (appliance company)
Harvard Medical School
Hitachi
Indiana University (Located in Bloomington, Indiana)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
New York Times
Newsweek (Weekly News Magazine (U.S.A.))
Playboy
Princeton University
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Senate
Tobacco Institute (Industry Trade Association)
The purpose of the Institute was to defeat legislation unfavorable to the industry, put a positive spin on the tobacco industry, bolster the industry's credibility with legislators and the public, and help maintain the controversy over "the primary issue" (the health issue).
University of Michigan
Wall Street Journal
Westinghouse
White House

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PLAYBOY ~NTERV~EW: RALPH HADER candid conve,-sation with the zealous consuraer crusader and wave-raakhtg author of %nsafe at any speed'" Ralph Nader, whose headline-making indictments of auto safety angered De- trait, prompted one car company's abor- tive investigation of his private life and finally spur~ed pa~age of the 1066 Teah fic Safety Act, would seem at first glance an unlikely nemesis for the auto--or any other--industry. NadeVs parents emi- grated front Lebanon to the United States in 1925 and gravitated to the small town of Winsted, Connecticut, a WASP- ishly conservative community of 10,000, where Ralph was born in 1934. His father; Nathra~ transformed a seedy din- er into a prosperous restaurant, the Highland Arms, and with Sha[, Ralph's 40-year-ohl brother, threw himself into local politics aml such civic issues as ban- ning parking meters from Main Street and creating a community colh, ge. Nader's parents also imbued hint with a deep sense of the individual's responsibility to im- prove satiety. Ralph learned this lesson well~ and a pattern of passionate idealism and uncompromising individualism was ingrained in him at an early age; by the time he was admitted to Princeton Uni- versity in 195l, Nader was already a dropout from his "'silent generation." His first brush with Princetonian shib- boleths came when he relused to suc- cumb to what he railed "white buckism --the unspoken rule that eyeD, body has to wear white-buck shoes, white tennis socks, khaki slacks, etc.. all of which are really ],st a ~ymbol of Princeton's r~idly conformist behavioral code." Nader also opposed the inflexibility of the Prince- ton curriculum atul the administration's right to arbitraD" suspension and expul- sion o] students; but when he attempted to involve his classmates rn a struggle for student rights, he was met with iudiffer- once; in 1953, as he pnt~ it, "Berkeley was not even a gleam in Maria Savio's eye." While tilting at such academic win&nills, Nader majored in Oriental studies and now speaks fluent Chinese, as well as Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and the Arabic he learned in childhood. While at Princeton, Nader engaged in his first public controversy,, a campaign to end the spraying of trees with DDT, which was killing off the campus song- birds~but Nader was dismissed by fac- ulty and students alike as a harmless crank; this was eight years" before the na- tional Juror over insecticides sparked by Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." It was also at Princeton that Nader grew inter- ested in a problem that still absorbs him --the dehumanization and exploitation o~ the American Indian. On his vats. tions, he traveled to Indian reservations in Montana, New Mexico, Arizona and CaliIornia and wrote a long paper con- demning the Department of the Interior, state governments and private industr~ for ignoring the Indian's prob lems " t~.,hen they did not act in collusion to steal his hind." Nader graduated PI, i Beta Kappa from Princeton in 1955 and entered Harvard Law &hool, which he found 'Just a high-prk'ed tool [actoq." He be- lieved the institution's main function was to prothtce "cogs ]or the corporate legal machinery." But it was at Harvard Law that Nader first became absorbed in the issue of attto solely that would subse- quently propel him to national promi- nence. It was also at this time that Nader disposed o[ the only car he has ever owned, because ol its solely delects. After receiving his LL.B. degree from Ha~'oard in 1958, he stayed on as a re- search assistant, then served a slx-month stint on active duty in the Army (most of it as a cook at Fort Dix). and left the Service to take a budget version of the grand tour, travelh~g ]ram the U.S. to Ethiopia, eastern Europe and across Latin America before returning home to ]oin a private law firm in Hartford. Nader haudled accident-claim cases in court, continued his research on auto salety, wrote magazb~e articles and indig- nant letters to the editor., addressed civic and prolessional groups and testified-- with little ellect--belore Connecticut. Nero York and Massachusetts state senale committees on auto safety. He sue- ceeded in winning the support of some voluntary organizations--fimior cham- bers of commerce and women's --but their resolutions were not lowed up by action and had no impart. In 1~64, despairing o[ progress on tilt" local level, Nader decided to me,r, Washington and ,pply h~s el[arts at the heart o] what he terms "the powc. complex." "l had u'atched ~'ear~ go I,; and nothing happened," l~e "'Before that, decades had gone by. decided that it took total Nader's campaign against the ttuio in- dustry began quietly and, at fi~st, inaus- pieiously. Urbanmffairs authority Daniel "'A safety car would not be a lumbering monster with a top speed oI 30 mph, fit only [or SO-year-old grandmothers; it r~,ould be just as sleeh, just as handsome and just as last as current models:" "I place the needs of our society ahm,e n,y own ambitions; this seems to baffle people. Is it so implausible, so distasteful, that a man would beti~,e deeply enough in his work to dedicate his tile to itF" "Ethical standards h~ industry are dis. tresslngly low. We're always hearing about "crime in the streets" toclay, but crime in the exetnttiz,e co~tference room affects [~r more Americans." 73 Ti26030220
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7~ WE LOAD THE BARGES AT MIDNIGHT. We find it very difficult to recruit poople for our shipping department. Everybody knows the job requires long hours and can be risky. Too many Dutch pipe smok- ers want to keep all the AMPHORA at home. Evidently you Americans believe it belongs in the States, too. in fact, AMPHORA is the largest selling imported pipe tobacco in the U.S.A. Don't despair, America, we'll get AMPHORA to you. Somehow. Sul:~rb Dutch tobacco shipped hare •.. cautiously. AMPHORA Br~:vrvRegulaP, AMPHORA Red-FuIl Aromatic; AMPHORA BIue-M|]d Arom~tic= P. Mo')'~zihan, then serving as Assistant ?Secretary of Labor, had corres[aondecI wilh Nad~ ~ since the two m~ wrote ~mul~aneo~ arlid~ on auto safe- ty in 19~9 ~q~d~.~ in The Nation. M~,- nihan's in The ~epor~cr~md he gave h~s yom~g ally a job a~ consultant on tra~c saJely i~ the Tobar l)~ar/menlN O[fice Of Plannillg a~nl Rest.arch. Ntrder timted writing and Iohbvh~g [rom his llra.~hinglon bcadthead, but made headway until one oJ hz.~ b'tter~ ~.athed Senator rtbrahanz RibwoJL chairman o[ the Semae Subcommittee on Executhu~ Remganizalimb ,'ho in,.iled him to sen,e a.~ an ~tn~aid totls~tllant on anlo safcl),. Nader eagerly resigned his position in the Labor Deparlmenl to prepare well- reaso~ted and exhauMirel), re.~carched sition papers [or .~uhcommitlee members attd worked lireh,s~l~r lo iniliale hem- ings on attlo sa[et),. Fimdl),. Ribicoff am~omwed an im'cstigation o[ the toslic carmtge" on the nation's highways, and exlensh~e hearings began in lhe .~utltnit'r o] 1q¢~5. Tin" fi~sl salvo in Nath'r's barrage agMn.~t Detroit had been fired. Itt late lqh$~ hC i.~sut'd his srrond bhal: "Unsale at .4,y Speed,'" a documeuted expo.w: castigaling Detroit building "'deathtraps" that kill 50,000 people annually and maim or injure ~500,000 more. It was taste.ally hailed as a major tonIHbution to ¢tltlo ty. The Wall Street Journal tolled it "pou, er[ul and pe~:masive," and Road Test magazine termed it "rcqufi'ed read. ling.'" "~. ~laa[e htt the best-.~'eller lisLr told stayed there ]or 1~ weeks; it has ~in¢~ sohl ov,.r t ~0,000 tobies in .hardcm,er and paperbaclt editions, been translated into Dutch, French, Spanish, ltalian, Swedish, Danish aml Japanese. and earned Nnder $5L000 belore taxes~money that he promptly poured back into his fight uuto sa[cty. The book also u~on Nader a citation ]~om the ultrapre.~tigious Nieman [e/lows at HtoT,ard. and em'u inspired cartoon in The New Yorker, depicting a u~ed-car salesman zeroing in on a buyer with the taption. "I huppen to know Ralph Nader's mother drives this model.'" The commercial ~uccc.vs of "'UmaJe at duy Spccd" had an instant and [oundly Imumalb impact on the auto imlush7. "'ln Detroit," t.ffe ~eported earl), 1966, "p~wctically ~,eD, auto exet~ ttlh,¢ has a t'olo~ o[ Ralph Nad~'s book on h~ desl: [and] when the, discz~s they tan rarely azmid raising their voice." But l)ctroit3 anger u.a~ not xtricled to exccuth,e board roon~t. IVilh here hearing~ on auto sa[ety coming General Mottos" hired a small m~ny of ~rivatc deteclh,es, led by ex-FBl agent I'inc~t Gillen. to d(E deeply h~to ,Nra- der~ bachgromzd. Gillen% im,est(~ators inte~ieu,ed 60 o[ Nader's ]ffemls and relatives, oM'ay.~ ltntl¢) the pretext o[ a pre~mpl~'ment im,e~tigation, and quircd i[ he n'ere er homo~exrml, tm ]~,l;t, t tt~ ml,]~,l m" tzr~ ~nti-S~nite. Gillen r~'~Ts al~o ordered to keep ttnde-r mt~weillance-~a rrtm~c that ~- tually bl~ the wh~tle on the ~tire operagion wficn two o[ Gt~rn's agent.s lost tracl: o[ Nader in the N¢~v Senate 01h¢c Buihling and imm;cd the l~icton of gum'd~, who took thri, and asked lhem to fern,,:. ~r,-n.s o[ the incident reached Con,~r'~ aml Senator Ribkoff i~l.~l)tlth'd C;Al o[flt'ials Io pear bt.]OIc hi.~ MtlttOlltlllilldt' tO e:¢l~btm lheir action~. ('nder St'l~alortal cxaminalion, (;31 Prestdt'nl (now board chairman) J~utt'~ Roche madr" bi.~ Jan~ott.~ publh" apology Io N~Mer aml /)/edged that "lt ;viii not be ore polhy in ]utnre to undertake im,c.~ltgalion oI those zoho speak or write c,'itical(y of our prod- ~tt ls.'" One ScHalof t~x~lcs.~ed art opimon t~rcvalcnt on Gapilol llill whcu he tuhl New York Times ~eporter: was ouh'aged thal a g~eat to~Jmrttlion oul to tlobber a gay bt'talLw he ;l'lolc crilholl), aboltl Ihem. .~l lhal point eve~Tbody said. "The hell wilh lhcm: " The ~z'saltnnl Tra[]tc .Salcty ,4t t reqmred the t~s'lablishment oI l'cdcral aaJety slanthtrd~ ]or all vt, htth's sold alter ]annmy 31, 1068. Presidt:nl termed the act "'hotthaarh legislation," adding lhat "[or the first time in oar his- lor), lt,fl (all 1HOlIIII a Irtlly coml~rehen~ive attack on the rising toll o[ dealh and deslruttion on the nation's highu,uys." ~:adcr has tlol beeH ( olth'ltl Io leM the hmrels won in his aulo-~uJety cru.utde. 1Vhile he still keeps Delroit tamer rlose critical seruLiny, he has added u number o] other t'o~lsumer i.~.iues to h& li.~t. including sanila~T conditions in. the meal and fish induslrics, tim dangc~a radialion m,e~exposme in the tonrse ~nedical and denial X ray.b industrial salety conditions, gas-pipeline .~a/ety enoh'onmental ha~n'ds Sltth as ait water pollution. Nader's to,pongee ene- mies, along n~ith their Gongre~aional and journalistic allies~ htwc multiplied com- mensurately with lhe widening o[ own horizon.~. Synditated colnmnisl John Ghamberlain, writing in the consenmth, c National Review. has charged thal "'Mr. Nader's anthapitalist bias is appmcnt when hc urges tt ge/teral em:roachn~enl o[ gouermnent on the old managerial Int,. rogatfi,cs o] b(g cmporationsY and warns that "'NmleHsm ... could I~trn out Io be a pmitive danger;'" And another ~ritit. talking to a reporter lot the Nezt, Daily News, characterized Nade= a~ egghead, t~'en a juss-budget." When Nadcr testified on auto be[ore the House lnter~tale and l;mcign Commerce Committee, pr~Detroit Rep- Tesenlative (;h,nn Gunnblgham thai. &aged his qualifications and charged he ;t,a5 engaged in "'a cl~'r~ way o[ re~resrnlntg trial lrta3"er~, so.called ambu- lance chasers, b) [~tI:ing on b(g inthL~- liT.'" tNadrr rrl~hed qutetly: "'l am T!26030221
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u-mo,~l, room or hh musl br iu~t a o~l¢ Iohh~'t~t g~umhlrtL "llt".~ gol 1o hove" plaintii.ety hr added. "'Doe~n'l he?'" He do~,~n'l. 3.~d,.r lfi,vs monklike his drab [mui.~hvd room i~t a boarding- house on a trcr-tined ~lreel near IVash- ingtonq Dupont Circle. surrounded by magazines, mm,.~papers. (;m,ernmcnt re- ports, tr,thnh'al and hLffal journals copie.~ ol the Cougressional Kecord. Working 2o horns a day. he also main- rains a din~9. $O7.a.month office in down- town Washinglon, but keeps the address and re&phone number a closely guarded se~et. ('V/ people knew where ~o me. l"d n¢7,er get any work done.") NadeVs e[lorts are vndenvritten solely by his ozon earnings--wh&h, in News- week's words. "by the standards o[ most o] Washington's lobbyists . . . would support perhaps one ~edium~dzed cock- tail part), at the Skin,ham." Royal- ties [rom "Unsale at Any Speed" are now petering oul and the main sou~ves ol Nader~¢ income are speaMng engage- meats and an occasional art&le [or The New Kepublic. His biggest expense is his telephone bill. which rnns an aver- age o~ $250 to $3~0 a month: to meet it, he ~ats in cheap cafeterias, wears inex- p~mive off-the-rock clothes and o[ten walks long distam'es to save on cab and bus late. This ascetic ~ay of li[e~which Nade~s critics explain as a deep.seated disap- proval and mistrust ot a~uence~[its in with the& view o[ h~ as a puritan whose sel[-rlghteous conscience u~ill not let him or his corporate enemies rest. They label him a zealot deluded into belieuing that his re[o~atoU, motives are purely altru- istic. Nader sees hi~'ell, according to one indust~ spokesman, "as a lone Saint George protecting the lamblike consumer from the ravening drag~ of big busi- ness." l'Vha[ his admirers consider cru- sades, his detractors call ~endettas; in either case. both concede that h& effec- tiveness in waging them is remarkable, indeed. Seldom, i[ ~er. in o~cial Wash- ington has one man done so much with so little. %Ilany others have shared h~ ,lira v&w o[ cmporate Am~ica;" com- ments The New York Tim~. "'and have expressed their doub~ in more detail and more persuasively, tVhat se~ z~ader apart is that he has m~,ed beyond ~itidsm to effective political action~" One se~et o~ Nader's ~tcce~ lles in his ability to work smoothly with ~uch [lu~tial Senators as Rib&off ol Con- Ctm[4,t~,rm~t Io htkt trl[ flee rr*'dil+ "'.I +a+'+. "'That'+ nol mo+h++l+, iud fitrllc.+. I ¢al1 ~t'I lhrcr St, Jl~ilor~ to tn~. ilk belier Ih,tn for me Io .~ay il." h.s also dm~elopt'd a good u'orhtag latimtship with the prt~*.~: ¢lHd wheo he way.~ printcd. One reason is that .Xratler has e.~-tabhshed an untm~dshed ~ly rcrord, "lVht'n I gel a sto~" ]tom l~alph.'" one reporter s, vs. "'1 don't have to double-Hieck his Jails?" Upon exami. nation, co~ttedt~ q'be New York Times. "'.Vadegs allegations abnost always prove to be based on Government repmls . .. or on expert opinion.'" As a ~,snlt, when Arader speaks. Con- gress listens, zllmost singlehandedly, he has induced a new Congressional recep- tivity to consumer isstte.~. When Presidial Johnson signed the Flammab& Fabffca Act al the White Hoarse in 1967, he ex. horted the assembled Congressmen: "You better get with it. because women art tired oI meat with worms in it, blm~es that burn and pipelines that blow up un. der the& house.C' It coltld have been ~alph Nader speaking~and perhaps it was. The New York Times Magazine re- cently summarized Nade/s career as supe~Ombudsman: "When Ralph Nader came to Washington bt 196¢ and began a one.man crusade [or automobile sa[ety, was widely regarded as a high-minded ~ackpot .... To~y, as he moves quietly about town. as a selpappointed Iobby~t ]or the publ& interest, he shou,s s~gns becoming an institution." In order to explore his motivatiom and aspirations, and probe mo~e deeply into the issues he has articulated in the past and plans to raise in the ]uture. r~vzov inte~i~ed Nader in his ]ur- nished room in Washington. The view, conducted by Eric Norden, began with a question about the resul~ o[ Na- deals ~usade [or sa[er cars. PLAYBOY: HOW effective has the 196~i Traffic Safety Act been--and how much real progress has there been in auto safety since the Congressional hearings? mAOmm: There has been genuine prog. tess. The passage of the Traffic Safety law has created the scaffolding within which a truly safe car can be built. Bas- ic safety features that have been techno- logically and economically feasible for several decades have finMly been taken off the shelf by the indttstry anti added to cars: safer windshields, collapsible steering columns, seat belts and safer dashboards, shorn of many hazardous lcnobs and sharp edges. The basic prog- ress, however, is that auto-safety issues ,axe now public issues and not tim pri- ~zecticut and 3fagnuson o[ Washingttm .--- rate domain of the auto manufzcturers; outside the ittclustr,/, by Government, tmiversitie.s aml institutes. Ttte f~Jrth- tomin~ c.'~tahlishmt, t~t n[ Federal '+ehklc inspection sta~dards and the reporting of del'ect~ to the Government h,y the itv mean tb:tt issue~ affccting millions of Ameri~ms arc no longer deeded behind dos~l doors i~ a Detroit board ~om. This is all good, but it isn't nearly enough. We will have to allo~te far more resourc~ to tra~c sa[ety~al least several hundred m~lion dolla~ a Tear in the immediate future. In this fis~d year, the Government ~ spendin~ only 546,000,000 on tra~c sa fety~a vlrlual pit- tance in light of the gravity of fl~c prob- lem and its billion-dollar-a-month cost. So there has been limited progre~, but there's a long way yet to go. There is still a level o[ slaughter on our highways that strains credulity; if it continues at the present rate, one out o£ every two Americans will be either killed or hospi- talized by auto tz~hes. So this is a problem that obviously touch~ all of us and ~nnot simply be delegated to a few timid bureaucntts and then forgotten. The fight doesn't end with the passage oI a law; it ~ust begins there. Without daily concrete support ~rom dae private sector, the law could be rendered a dead leith. ~goY~ Until recent years, the auto indust~ did not disclose to the public its recall of cars discovered after sale to ~ defective; but the Tra~c Safety Act requires the manufacturer to notify the National Motor Vehicle Safety Bttreau whenever a recall campaign is initiated, tiros subjecting tim repain and the origl- hal hazard to Federal supervision. Do~ the act place an obligation on the buyer Io return his car to Detroit once be has been notified of the defect? ~O~R~ No, it doesn't. In fact, the recall Jaw doesn't e~en require the car's return to the automobile dealer for co~ectiou~ and if the defect is complex, a local franchised dealer may not do the job adequatel~ or receive the parts from the manufacturer without long delays. Un- fortunately, many motorists are negli- gent and do not return their vehicles to their deaIets after the manufacturer sends them a certified notification ol the de- fect. Th~fore, we sbotdd amend the law to provide penalti~ for noncompli- ance, either b~ fining the owner or by der~istering the car nn01 it's repaired. PLAYBOY: LetX tuke a /ook at some spe- cific *chide featnres. The 1968 staudards i~ucd by the National T~c Safety Burmtu require Dt'troit to improve rite t~Itwordtinc~ ol ~rintlshlelc~. ls wind- ~ad g~" now ~t~r~ ] i Ti26030222
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proved. W'indshields now ha~-e a double vinyl layer between the glass that your hc;M. Bul if bh x~ilh ~ulhtic~;~ :rod i~ such a jag~ed mantlet ~rotmd cdgcs l]l~tt it cn~ st-~erely t't~t Ihe paut around the I~e~k as his head tracts, once lhe collisio~i force suhsitle~ the so-called windshield coll;~r. So the situation is far from perfect; bu~ l'm ~[ul tbat we will see substantial ~aents in the next few years. ~or: You've also been critical tinted win~hields. Wby~ ~: Because while ordinary glass re- duces light transmittance by roughly 1~ percent, fully tinted windshiekls re- duce it by ~0 percent or more. The driv- ~ ~ees enough problems on the road ~thout suel~ a reduction of his visibili- ~, whi~ is particularly serious at dusk and night or in bad weather or in the e~ o~ older drivers. Of coarse, no milan ever mentions rednced visibili- t~ when he makes his pitch for a tinted wi~hield; he peddles it because it gives that cool, soothing greenhouse atlra. He a~ claims it's an adiunet to air cmnli- tionlng, since it allegedly redacts heat a~tion, al~ougb the pre~nderant ~unt of heat is actually ~d~sorbed t~ough the roof of the ~ar. It's become ~t impossible to buy an air-condi- t~ ear without a tinted windshiehl. ~ dealer ~requently tells a buyer that ~ be accepts a tinted windshiehl, he wi~ have to wait several weeks or ~s for his car ~o come through. The ~ic twist to all this is that, since ~nt~ win~hields are mid as extras, the ~nsumer is paying more for less ~d~lity~and thus le~ safety. ~oY: You've sakl that power ~indows a~ still a safety hazard. In what way? ~: When power windows first came on the market, they operated wilh ~: extessive force. This force has heen re- ~ dueed in most models, bat the power is ~ still su/flcieut to cause strangulation. I've .[~ had eases brought to my attention of ~ cbildren who would he playing in a ear parked iu the driveway or ~wage wifl~ ~ the ignition turned off, and a playmate presses the power button while anolht:r d~ild is l~kiug ont the witulow; the child will be hoisted up. slrangled uud left hanging out of the atr. In early April of fltis ~e:tr, a two-year~ld hoy was strangletl in %~r~t Los Au~eies as he pla)ed with his one-)'e~ir-ohl sister in their lather's 19fi7 Lincoln: the i~nition x~7~s off arid die b.u)+ had ll~ h~d out the wind~v; ~-heii his ~tcr "~priL an eight-)-ear-o!d boy in Dunsmuir, (:.difornia, was strangled when one of hi, plavn-mtes; accident:dI~ p~.h~-d window ~o t;~1, ;,~:,~ .,m. .,.h ~,~( .,s window snapped dn~t mtd d~oppetl her finger off. "lhese :~t" hazards be remedied by .~ simple eng~net.riug modification Ihal will slt~]~ .~ whenever it encoltnlcrs an ObntractiOII, 5u~ as an amx or ;t hand. But that ha~fft ~en done. And many models still allow such windows to be operated on the ~v~'s side wida the igaiition off, and • e rest of the windows ctn be operated by turning a spedal switch. The Na- tional Highway Safety Bureau recently warned dae public alJoul power-window d~ge~ and u~ed motorists to have a "mechmfic or dealer adjust the wiring so ~at the windows cannot operate u~ess • e ignition switch is on." This is a ~airly simple and inexpensive modifi~- tion, yet the manufacturers are still al- lowed to produce cars widmut it. ~o~: Are you satisfied with the padded dashboar~ added to all file new models? ~: This is one area ~here im- provement has been encoura#ng. There are still, however, dan~rous interior features in many ~rs. For example, in numerous models, the ignition key still ju~ out at knee level, and upon even ~w-speed impact, can stab through the driver's kneecap. Many can also have sharp coath~ks that can cause serious injufi~ in a crash. And the over-~l en- ~ abso~tion or yielding qualities of ~sh pands could be mu~ more effec- five in diminishing ~e severity o~ inju- ries. The 1969-model standards will offer little new, ~xcept for head supports to diminish neck injuries in rear-end col- lisions. ] also know of one cas~a mile-an-hour collision~in whi~ a little girl was virtually decapitated when ~e glove compartment sprung open on im- pact and, in effect, guillotin~ her. This type of hazard is easily avoidable by the simplest and l~st ~pemive ~te~don of ca#riveting desi~--~ ~ange ~e auto compani~ have never bowered to m~e. P~BOY: A ~dal client in any ~r's ~n~n~ is its sus~n~on. How good~r bad--is susp~on in Amefi~n ~rs? NAO~R; A ~r's ~spension s)'st~, whi~ dete~iues how the verde inte~cm the sho¢~ produced by mad ~vd, h~ a ~'o[old function: dir~ionM ~d sho~- ah~rb~g- ~ you ~oint out, it pe~o~ a ~ti~ role in ~ ~ ~ Unfort-tmately, suspension in .%~cri~,;~ lctrl tht. dillcrcme. Amc ~ i¢;u~ .~t,., lllillVll promises Ill:it d)Sving :, l~:wlicuh~r (:,r like llonting on :tit. qq]is typc o[ ,tild high-slXred cm~wrlnX problems th-ixers, par~itulady in quasi-emergent. situations. Suspension must be improv~ and 1 hope su~cient research and dev~ opment will be done in this area so by 1970, the first Federat safety :u'ds on suspensiou ¢iln be issued. ~tAYBOY: Do sports cars tend to be 1~ s;ffe than standard Iour-door models? N~R~ Well, you cert;~inly wouldn't want to be driving one in u collision; the smaller the car~and this applies to ~e smaller European sedans as well as sports cars~the less the protection the driver on impact. And even apart from size, they're pretty low on the ~ale as f~r as general a'ashworthiness go~. But some sports cars handle very well and have the added advautage of ma- neuverability, which is the one plus tor for a small car. In a collision between a small car and a heavier cm', the gen- erally larger, heavier American car prove considerably safer. Certain specie Ieature~dashboard design or brake~ are better in some models flmu ~n., others; tires and braking systems E~opean cars, for example, are gen- er~ly superim; relative to the dem~ made on them. But about the only way to be info~ed of fl~e superiority or in- feriority of such features, and thus to make an over-all decision on an~ ear, is to read the test studies and commenta~ published in Consumer Reports or independent auto magazine called Road Test. But this is far from enough. Even. tually, the Federal Government is going to have to institute a computerized auto- rating Wst~ under which each model e~austively tested, a comparative anal. ysis made and the public then told whi~ is ~e best and which is the worst. ~. William Haddon, head o~ ~e Nationnl Highway Safety Bureau, has said ~at tiffs is the dtimate objective of the Federal Government. ~YBOY: Some auto-indust~ ~iti~ hax.e alleged that Detroit's resistance to sa[et~ innovations stems from Oae fact that ob- ~leseenee ~s built into ea~ and that t~ly sMe ~r avould ;~ be a longer- lasrng one. Do Sou a~ee~ ~A~: ~e pfima~ reason tim industu" h~ been a~tinst safety is ~at it ~a~s ~o~fl it ~i= to ~a visible style Ti26030223
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a corrdation between safety and dura- liceming requirements, perhaps Federal- bility, and there's no doubt that tim ized and made uniform across the coun- manufacturers build their cars to deteri- try, ensure that potentially lethal cars orate after three or fou~ yea~s and thus are more expertly and soberly driven? Jncr~se~he~market turnover. The cur- NADIR: I'm all in favor of tougher liceus- rent spate of safety accouterments--seat ing~ests and ~mprove~ driving eMil-s;, belts, padded dashboards, etc.--hasn't yet affected durabfllty; this will be the case, however, when real brake, han- dling, tire and structural crashworthi- hess standards are mandated. But to really understand why the industry nev- er voluntarily introduced safety features such as collapsible steering wheels and shatterproof windshields, you've got to ask file question: From their perspec- tlve, why should they? What incentive did they have to change? Only an ethi- cal incentive. Big corporations seldom, if ever, act out of altruism. PtAYBOY: Of the 53,000 people who die in auto accidents each year, has it been possible to break down the percentage who die from vehicle deicers, as op- posed to carelessness, drunken driving, bad weather conditions or poor roads? NAIling: No, we don't have that kind of precise statistical analysis and perhaps we never will, since there are so many contributing factors leading to accidents, dmths and injuries. You should also re- member that not only are the occupants buried in the wreckage but evidence o[ the specific vehicle defect is hidden or destroyed. Of course, the problem is compounded by the fact that in the past '10 years, nobody has pored over the re- mains to determine if or how faulty con- struction caused the accident, unlike the situation in aviation, where Government and company investigators sift through every bit of debris to see if mechanical malfunctions were responsible. There have heen some studies in this area re- cently; a report from a research team at the Harvard Medical School concluded that vehicle defects and deteriorations were the number-one cause o£ deaths in the accidents that they investigated over a five-year period. However, drunken driving is definitely :, very serious prob- lem; an exhaustive study hy a professor at Indiana University reveals that if you eliminated all drunken driving, you'd reduce fatalities by at least 1~ percent, which is a very significant figure. So it would appear that better detection of and harsher penalties for drunks behind the wheel are also needed. But controb ling drunks is much more difficult than controlling the safe design of vehicles, which will protect you and your family against drunks or any other cause o£ vehicles going out of control. P~oY: You appear, here and else- where, to place what many consider a disproportionate emphasis on vehicle as opposed to driver safety. Why do you stress the necessity of so-called safety ~trs hut virtually ignore the problem of the driver? CouJ.dax't much tougher the concepts of driver and vehicle safe- ty, far from being mutually exclusive. are actually complementary. But for 40 years, all the emphasis in the area of auto safety has been placed on the driver, and still the death and injury rate spirals upward every year. At our present level of technological proficiency, it's much easier to make a safe car than it is to create a safe driver, and it's far more feasible to change the engi- neering to adapt to the needs of vehicle safety than to expect drivers to behave properly at all times and under all conditions----particularly when operating a vehicle that is often unstable and un- safe. I certainly don't mean to minimize the very real problem of poor driving; but if your objective is to reduce deaths and injuries on the highways, then we must develop the most practical and effective remedy. Whatever causes acci- dents and casualties, vehicle safety is the most sensible and efficient means of preventing them. I[ you wish to avoid the locking of brakes, for example, you could subject 95,000,000 drivers to train- ing courses that would teach them how not to lock their brakes, particularly in emergency stops on wet and slip- pery pavement. And after they have learned all this in a special driving school, you can hope that they will re- member it five weeks or five years in the future. But if you take the engineering approach, you could easily build an antilocking brake system into the vehicle so that the driver can't lock his brakes even if he passionately desires to do so. I also can't stress enough that wi~ proper design, accidents can be sa[e. A car can skid off the road, crash head on into a tree and be constructed in such a way that the occupants are not injured. What we are confroutlng in this area is a Pavlovian-type advertising indoctrina- tion over the past two generations that has brainwashed the public into be- lieving it is the driver who must adapt to the vehicle and not the vehicle that must adapt to the driver, l'm all in favor of good driving, but even a race driver like Graham Ilill couldn't escape un- scathed if his brakes failed at high speeds became of an engineering or struc- tural defect. Let's have good drivers--but above all, let's have good cars for them to drive. We'll always have accidents and, human nature being what it is, we'll always trove bad driving--but with a safer car, there is no reason the two must converge in the death or maiming o£ the driver or of those in another car. Pia~¥gO¥: New York State has subsidized the fea~b~ty study of a Frototype safety car. How successful has this effort heart? ~Amm: The pro~ has ~en xe~ en- cou~g~but it has lardy smpp~ The ~bcont~ctor, Republic Aviation, h~ compiled ~ ~~ ~i- biHty studi~ that ~ndude ~at a s~e, attractive and rea~nably priced ~r suit- able for ma~ production ~an ~ de- veloped~ne that x~'ould protect ~e driver from almost any injuries at colli- sion-impact speeds of up to 50 miles an ho~ and make higher-speed collisions at least su~ivable. Just how significant • is is can be seen by ~e fact that a~ut 70 percent of all moto~st dea~ ~d serious injuries oc~r at impact speeds of 55 mph or less. So this is ~- tremely good news. What is rather dis- couraging is that New York State will no longer fund the project, which was orig- inally planned to cost $5,000,000 for research, development, construction and testing of about 15 prototype safety ve- hicles, and the Federal Government has ~anted only $70,000 for its continua- tion. ~is is particularly unfortunate be- cause New York authorities estimate that such a rese~ch project could have been completed in 18 monks i£ the $5,000,000 had been available from the outset. And yet the U.S. Government, which spends d~ree billion dollars eve~ month in Vietnam, which spends $120,000,000 lor an atomic submarine, which spends $6,000,000 for one F-111 jet plane, which spends at least $200,000,000 a year for a civilian supersonic-aircraft pro~ect, which spen~ $100,000,000 to $1b0,000,000 a year for highway beauti. fication, which spends $40,000,000 a year for the safety of minatory birds, cannot invest $5,000,000 in a vehicle vacdne that could prevent the dea~s and injuries of millions o~ Americans eve~ year~ many times the mtmber of those killed in any of our wars. What a tragic distor. tion of prlorltiesl But the exclusive control of automotive technology by the auto companies is nevertheless being ~adually broken down, and the ~uture funding o~ many projects iu design safe- ty by the Federal Government may speed up the arrival of ~a age of ~cit- ing automotive innovatiou~aud safety. P~YBOY: Despite your claim that com- plete automobile safety would not be inconsistent with good design and high p~fo~ce, many of your criti~ suspect that your proposed s~ety car would have aR ~e style, speed and maneuve=tbility of a tank. How wo~d you answer ~em? ~Ao~a: The toucept o[ attractive desi~ and good perlo~ance aud the concept of a safe~, car are far ~om incompati- bl~ Va~om protot)~e f~ibility studi~ on a ~ety ~ show that it ~n be eve~ bit m at~ctive stylisd~ly and have jmt ~ ~ooth ~fo~ance ~ the ~- r~t mode. There isn't ~ automotive (continued on page 196) TI26030224
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PLAYBOY INTERVIEW stylist worth a dime who woulch~t't agree that a safe car could be attractive and perform well Why should-enhanced aerodynamic characterisdes, better brakes, better hmldiing, better cornering ability advcrscly affect a car's performance? Quite file opposite; all these safety inno- vations would enhance performance. A s,-ffety car would not be a lumbering monster with a top speed of $0 miles per hour, fit only for 80-year-old grand- mothers; it would be just as sleek, just as handsome and just as fast as current models. And for the sports-car aficionado, driving would be just as thrilling--the only difference being that accidents would be far less likely, and when they did occur, the occupants of the car would be far less likely to end up in the hospitaI or the cemetery. I,L~YI~OY: Wouldn't the cost of incorpo- rating all the safety features you pro- pose necessarily inflate retail auto prices? NAI)I:R: The industry's claim that a safe car, in addition to being tanklike, would cost many thousands of dollars is as phony as the simulated air scoops on many American automobiles. There is no reason why a safety car should cost any more than the present unsafe mod- els; it could, in fact, cost less. The manu- facturers would have to retool, of course --which is why flley have resisted safety innovatlons--but their profits are already so astronomical, and their markups so high, that all the basic safety innova- tlons could be introduced without significantly denting their prosperity. member, in each succeeding year, the productivity of the auto industry is in- creasing, and costs are decreasing per unit, all of whidl will make it far easier to produce a safety car at minimal pro- duction cost. And let me stress here that production and labor costs are really far less than the industry has long claimed. Labor cost is actually a very minor com- ponent of over-all retail cost; this year, for the first time in automotive history, one major domestic manufactu.rer made public the basic raw cost of its cars and revealed that a model with a retail price ranging from $2500 to ~000 has a di- rect and iudirect labor cost of no more than $~00. On a couventional popular car, the engine will cost the manufac- turer less than ~']0 to produce; a radio, less than $20; a seat belt with attached shoulder harnesses, less than three dol- lars a~ purchase price from the sup- pliers. V~rhen you add the cost of sheet metals, glass, etc., that comes to a total labor, parts and production cost of less than $1500 for a standard four- door, fully equipped model now retail- ing for ~2-~00. So the industry can ea~Hy afford to intro~luce safety ilmovation..~--some of 1E3 whidx wou/d actualIy ted,ace the_ cost of (c, ntinued [rom page production. For ~:ample, if ~fou elimi- nate sharp ornaments in a ~, or of ~e front sea~ ~aM~xpos~ a passen- g~ to added probabHi~ of inju~ in a ~ash, you're saving money. ~e ~e oth~ me~r~, ~ ~ using p~nt instead oi glow-produdng body pa~t--which ~us~ #are--that would n~er add to nor detect ~rom the pro- duction cost. ~d where safety innova- tions do add to ~e cost of producfion~ head r~ts or an antiloc~ng brake sys- t~, for ~xampl~it would be ~ssible to o~et the cost by eliminating some pensive and unnecess~ stylistic ~anges intended only m differentiate ~is year's m~el from lint year's. ~is is an im- ~rtant ~int, because some yem ago, a study by a te~ ~ Ha~d and MIT economists estimated ~at out of re~il price of the avenge c~, approxi- mately $7~ is paid by ~e consumer ~or • e annual s~le ~ange~a ~nge ~at is generally ~vial and supe~dai. But even if the manu[a~urer do~ have to interne his production costs to interne safety, I see no reason why the cost shouId be pa~ed on to ~e consum- er~as ~e industry, for obviom remons, always warns ~I1 be ~e case. The auto indust~, as I've a~eady indicted, has such high markups and such huge profits ~since World War Two, it has averaged approximately do~ble the rate of return on investment received by American in- dnstry in general~that it could easily afford to absorb dm added costs of the~ long-overdue safety features. When con- sidering • e cost o~ a safety ~r to the consumer, you must also remember ~at the over-all price of the vehicle includes insurance premiums; and if safer ors reduce accidents and deaths and injures, thus leading to lower lo~ claims, the insurance companies should be required to reflect this lower lore incidence and commensurately lower ~eir premiums. You ~an just imagine what a one-third premium reduction would memx in a major city; it would involve a saving an~vhere from $400 to $I000 over a five-or-six-)'ear life period for the car. PtAY~OY: If Detroit refused to absorb the cost o[ all the safety features you recommend, how much would ~ey cost the car buyer? NADIR: That's hard to estimate, hut let's say ~at a totally crashproof car might cost the consumer $1000 more than pr~ent mo~e~; that's an extremely ~gh fi~re, since Republic Aviation, ~e that did the feasibiH~ stu~ for New York State prototype safety car, concluded that a fully safe ~ could ~ld with~ the price ~nge of today's mod~. But let's ~y that it did cost $10~0 more; ~ would stir ~ount to I~ ~an fl~ee doH~ a day over a one- )-ear period. If you ask )-ourself what you would pay to pr~erve )-our life or to keep from being crippled or maimed-- not to mention the cost of hospitalization --this~ho~Lld str~e ,'~OLLa~ a considerable bargain. Whoever pays the additional cost for a safe car. is there any price too high to pay to preserve life and limb in an auto accident? PLAYBOY: X-Vhat specific features would your proposed safety car incorporate? NAI)ER: There are literally huudreds of features in the automobile that can and should be improved for greater safety. It should have improved nonskid or anti- locking braking systems with nonfade characteristics; Ford xs offering ~ts versmn of this on its 1969 Continentals and Thunderbirds. A safe car should also have improved tire performance to give better traction, durability, cornering and anti- blowout resistance. It should have vastly improved suspension and handling, thus allowing the driver to make effective evasive maneuvers in an emergency. It should have improved visibility. The in- terior of the car should be designed to eliminate all sharp edges and protruding knobs; and all surfaces~not only dash- board but steering assembly, doors aud windshield--should be yielding, in order to absorb an impact blow and atteuuate or dissipate the energy forces. For ex- ample, the windshield could have an elas- tic characteristic and thus stretch before it begins to shatter, thus absorbing part of the coIlislon forces that wouhl nov really be absorbed by the head of the driver or occupant as it strikes the wind- shield. Some progress has been made in this area already--padded dashboards, improved windshield glass--but much remains to be done. All seats in the car, furthermore, should be fully integrated systems de- signed to forestall driver fatigue over long periods on the road and to protect the driver and occupants against side collision, prevent passengers from being thrown into the front o[ the car as a result of seat uprooting, and give neck- and-head-restraint protection in the com- mon rear-end collision. Again, since the passage of the Traffic Safety Act, we've been moving in the right direction with headrests anti seat belts, but the progress remains halting. The side structure of the car would be so designed as to reduce the penetrating probability of vehicles crashing at right angles---currendy an extremely exposed area in all foreign and domestic models. Various energy-absorb- ing characteristics would be built into the front and rear of the car; Ford says it plans to introduce these improvements on some 1959 models; and GM is putting a steel band through die door structures of some 19fi9 models, whidl they claim provides protection in the event of a side collLdon. The rue/ tank of a wafer7 car ~hould T126030226
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be fooli~ enough to tr~ any tricks. I leave in hall an hour_ And you may stay rill R is time for ~-our Miss Hortense pulled open the saIon door as Balflla~ar stepped quiedy hack against the wall. He followed her along the hall to her room. She said you musm't come in. And he went to the bath. and came bac~ and came in. Her ~tse packed and open on ~ed. '~aItha~r yotl shooldn't That was a mean thing to do." "Bella you said you wanted to me." "Yes. But it wasn't for you to hear." "Because we could never ma~y. O God I'm going otlt o[ my mind." "I have a cold cloth here [oi your eyes." "Yotfre sweet. I don't mean to be an- gry at yon. But your mo~er thin~ I've corrupted you. That I want to get you iu my clutchs. Get your money and get your life. That~ what she thinks. Maybe it's true, But I love you too." "Bella, don't be sad ~md cry." "I want to leave and go right away now. ' ~ "Please wait till it's time for your train." "No." "Then [ shall get dre~ed and go with you. "No." "'Ye~ I should be at your side. And please do not wear your hat and cover up your Miss Hortense stoocl, her~nees against the blue ~nun ~unte~me. H~ han~ hang dm~m and the veins are hm~ and swollen blue. ller lips a~c open and her %elk~ hang gemly down. And under lurk her eyes wlth just their touch o~ iaught~ left in theh ~dlant ~een. And she takes off her hat. "God what have )'on done to me Bahhazar. What have you done to me"" At Gate St. 1,a~;tre. Out on the train at nearly six o'clotk. They went afternoon up to Sa~6 Coeur, climb- i all the steps. And sat iu the a proce~iou moved around with cromes held h iu blue and red lowedwith empty eyes. pasty skins in their fat. as they left .~ Palais Roy:d, his stood in and waved her shook bet head slowly The train doors Heads sticking farewell from dows. A whis- de blowing. A gree~ waving. A chug of steam. And car- tinge begins to l'he last thing we did was to each with a sandwich in a the street, little and then at all. We were two lonely pex~ns. Like we had never been beEore. And she put her hand aero~ the table to me antl bent her head. And Hie tear~ poured from her eyes. And ] knew it ~ts time just to touch her. And not sa)" we will meet again write.. Because she wouhl ne~er of my mind. While there was a light. I knew becau_~e could her sittiug there. Just taossing her Where my lamp was lit and ol were out. Aod np now. IIer teeth over her lip. :r hand touching the blue ribbon she ,ut in her hair. Ghoo choo choo. I can- not move or run. I stand. The train is gathering speed. Taking with it so many years. Dragging them away. Faces star- ing out the big glass windows. Wheels torning. Hard wlfite steel on steel. Goodbye Miss Hortense, goodbye. And wheu The Channel Comes And you slip out On the Gray and greeny White Whisper to it And God love you Tonight. You don't good. a pinch between your gum cheek, and enjoy it. Without or even chewing. blet in know it's fresh. to smoke? Yes. And it too, Sure beats smoking! TI26030227
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0 1~.. s,~ dt~,i,..ned ,and sitaated as to .~-reatly r~-d~c t]~t. prob;thilit) of ~ptu~n~ and ~htmld be modifitxt I~ pre~cnt the intr~ du~on oI tl~tll~ carf~on monoxide into and uplml,tei3" ~houhl he nonflaimnable ;H~tl ~lon~t.lt:tblo. i~ or(ler to reduce the burn or asphyxiate many occupants who survive the initial crash. These are s:tfely innovalion~ th:tt could be intr~ dnced iimncdialelv and at lnhliln~ On the horizon wldxin the next dec- ade. ] can see laser or radxr detection systems lndh into the frohl of cars to detect impending collisions antl 3u'o- matically activate tlm brakes to avoid them, thus allowiug crashes to be pre- vented independently of the driver's mo- tlons. Another innovation that should be on the boards within three or tbur years is an automatic restraint system. The most refined concept is a plastic-air-bag restraint system that was ]au#ed at by the industry when it was first suggested some 15 years ago. Upon impact with anoflxer car~r with a wall or a teM- phone pole--the air bag is triggered within 20 milliseconds from its com- partment, which for tile driver may be located in the steering assembly, for front-seat pa~engers in the dashboard area and for rear passengers in the back of the front seat. Once triggered, tim Mr bag expands in front of each occupant and swells to a~ut the ~e o~ a f~tbfll dummy. The ~cupant w~ ~ ~ forward into thi~ air tuslti~ti, x~liitl~ x~iII co~t-r u~tl pi-~,~c~t /tim lrom llt~l t~ their t.mt~artmt-~t~ Thi~ n~Mt'llz. ~ddth is x~'idliu the rcahn of immediate fail-safe practic;tlity :rod i~ now bcin~ studied by the" N:~tionnl Nighwny ~;tlety l~ureau with grcat interest, lhi~ wnuld eliminate rite nccc~ity lot indivtdual compliance with seat beI~ and would be a far m~re dteetive protective device in ~e o£ a ~tsh. "l'here are scores oI other imagh~a- tire safety plans already on the drawing boar~: so there is practically no~ing we cmmot do in tile safety area at our prc~eut level of tedmological and en- gineering proficiency. PLAYBOY: One automotive innovation al- ready on dm boards is the electric car. How far al~ we from developing a func- tional model? NA0~R: Not nearly so far away as the attto industry would like us to believe. The auto and petroleum indus~ies have delayed the te~nological innovations that would l~td to an effective electric car, because such a car would displace their tremendous capital investment in the internal-combustion engine. I think it's time some~dy blew the whisde on the vestigial internal~r infernal~ combustion engine: It's outdated and ~e~dent, a technological anachronism that should be replaced by either an dec- trie or a steam en#ne. Such ~ would tim geatly redu~ ~e air-pollution prob- Icm. :ince -'mrnnr,)ti~c l:ollution Nm~'. thv m:du (~h~r:,de to Retti~g the Gencr:d Elcctrk-, ~l~ich Im~ been leader in de, doping the electrk ~tr. has no~- dcvdol)ed n vc~ advanced hybrid ~ue/ cell that, within two or three years, will allow the pIoduction of electric with a top speed of 80 miles au honr and a range of 200 miles without re- charging. The reclmL~ing proems iuelf would take only ten minutes. Sudx a car could, of course, displace many cars on the ronds today because of its range, speed and redmrging flexibility, as well as the bonus of no: having to buy g~ line. There's nothing eternal about the internal-combustion engine. PLAYBOY: How close are we to a steamcar~ ~aoEa: Veq close. Wi~out in any way down~adiug the electric car, which is a big step forward, I believe that the car of the near future should have a steam engine. This is the ideal alternative to the internal-combustion engine, and ~e technolo~ is so perfected that we could put a steamcar into mass production within two years. The steam engine in its cu~ent advanced form has a ~eat many attributes: It is at least the equal of the int~nal-combustion en#ne in re- sponse, acceleration and peak power; it is almost noiseless; it emits 1~ ~an one percent of the pollution; it bums k~o- sene--rhereby cutting the motorist's fuel bill in half and totally eliminating the ~ pollution inherent in leaded ~ lin~in a far more e~dent manner thaa in,hal-combustion engln~ now burn ~line; and it would be much cheap~ m construct, since you could eliminate ~ transmission, the clut~ and all the ot~ cumbenome components of the in~nal-combustlon engine that add to ~ latter's compl~ity, weight, cost and ~ntenance. One additional attribute ~ steam engine is the fact that, since it bums kerosene or other fuels, it is far ~ likely to incur bitter industrial op- ~itlon from the petroleum lobby, which i, a ve~ potent force in Washington. $team en#nes would pe~it tbe oil com- mies to recover more salable fuel per ~el of ~ude, due to the absence ment refining complexities. What is rest needed now is Government allo~- ~n of £unds to develop alternative automoave propulsmn system, steam or ~ctric, by private indus,. If ~tionali~ ~ e~oen~ prevad m the auto m- dints, dm last ~trd of the 20~ Cen- m~ ~a be the age of ~e steam~r~ 2:~[ ~d cleaner azr. ~x~' ~o~: When P~ident Johnson rimed 17 mmbers to ~e Nationfl tot Y~de SMety Advimo, Coundl 1957, your n~e w~ com~i~0u~y ~t ~m ~e ~ w~ con~ned T!26030228
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many pro-indnstry names. Why do think you weren't appointed? ~u Be~e ~e Adminis~fion ~nt- ing consumer advocates to counteract the indus~" adv~tes on the CounfiL Of fl~e ~7 membe~ ~ppoint~l. ~ majority must. by law, be drawn Irom the public; the r~st are representatives o~ the indus- t~ and tl~e dealers. As a pr~cons~mer ~dvo~l~. I was obviously deemed too controversial, but it was eminently prop- er to appoint executives who support the auto indust~'. This is the basic prob- lem we have Io solve beIore tl~e Govern- ment will be an ally of the consumer rather tlum a toady ~[ big business. ~t~wov: Isn't that a rather sweeping generalization? ~: Yes, but not an unjustified one, wheo you consider that the Federal reg- ulatory ~nd suhsidizing agencies that are charged with protecting the public interest bare largely been taken over by fl~e industries they are supposed to be supervising and/or subsidizing and are ignoring, or relegating ~o secoudary sta- tus, the interests of the cousumer. The Interstate Commerce Commi~ion, for example, has long appeared lo be a pli- uble instrumeut of the railroads, the bus lines and the trucking industry. The partment of the Interior has ladled out at shockingly low prites rich leases public land to the oil and gas industries, which it further protects by imposing rigkl quotas on cheap oil imports that could saw homeowners ~lld motorists billions of dollars every year. The ~e- partment of the lmerior serves d~e oil and gas industries in a host ol ways that shield them ~rom public scrutiny and accmmtahility. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry organization, has even hired prol'essional writers to pre- pare promotional hrochures for the in. dustry dmt are then printed ~ree charge hy the Deparm~ent of the Interi- or and distrilmted all a~o~s fl~e ~ if they were olficial Government pu~ lications. The Federal Communications Commission does little to encourage the broadcasting industry to bring its per- [ormance up to its potential. The Atom- ic Energy Commission, subordinating responsibility Io set vigorous safety staud- ards over what couhl be America's most destrucfixe domestic catastrophe, shouhl there be a radioactive disaster in public or private atomic-ene~ plants, instead vigorously promotes and subsidizes vate atomic-enemy interests. And the Departmeut o~ Agri~dtu~better n:~l fl~e Department oI A~o-B~inms ~is a ~aithful lap dog of d~e ~at ~in, meat ~md ~t~ inter~ts; ~ it go~, a~ ~e ~)" down the lin~ Big busin~s has waxed fatter on Big Governmen~ It's not t~t the o~fi~s Fede~l a~cies have been bought A by industry--although I wouldn't entire- ly rnle that out in some cases--but primarily that the agency becomes iden- tified with the interests of the industry it is supposed to be supe~'ising and, in order to "holster the ecouomy" by in. c~asing that industry's profits, becomes little more than a public.relations agent ~or big husiness. Another problem that agency o~cials often come from ve~ indnstries under purported regula- tion or leave the agency to ~ake a joh in that indust~. Repeated shuttling back and forth between business and Govern- ment is not uncommon. Remember. a Governmeut regulatory agent7 is really just a mediator, a referee betweeu busi- ness aml [lie consume~ i[ reacts to pres- su~s brought to bear on it. rather than ~izing the inhlativ~ And most of the ~wer comes kom indus~'s side of the street. Inevitably, if industry is the only one knocking on the door, it will receive aE thv attention and deference, and the uno~ized and unrepresented consum- er ~11 be left out in ~e col~ That's ~'hy I speufl ~ much of my time t~'ing to mohilize consumer pressure to bring the regulatory agencies closer to tile people they are supposed to serve first. I'tAYIIOY: You seem to feel that all the Government's industrial regulatory agen- cies are corrupt and venal. NaDir: Very oflen, even with the ngen. ties that fail the public most egregious- ly, it's not a problem of corruption or venality hut of shortsigl~tedness, weak- hess and a misconception of Govern- ment's respousibility to d~e consumer. In a way, this is even more serious than venality, hecause corruption can be dis- co~ered and corrected: myopia and timid- hy can't. The regulatory agencies are in a pretty sorry state: one of the better ones is the Securities and Exchange Com- misMon, which has takeu positive steps to reduce the sharp practices of the stock. brokerage houses, despite the latter's strong and politic-ally potent opposition. But even the SEC'~s record is, I'm sorry to say, spotty. I originally came to Wash- ington with a great deal oI hope that the regulatory agencies would champion the consumers" interests, but it didn't T!26030229
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~ake me very long to become dis~u- sloned. Nobody sex/ously r.kallenges ~e fact that the re~lato~ agend~ have made an a~o~oda~on wi~ n~ they are ~p~sed to regulate~ and that they've done so at ~e ~xpense of ~e public; eveo' joun~alist, politician and Government oSdal in Washington knows it. Only agen~ spok~men deny the fact. You don't need to stay in Wash- ]ngton more ~an one week to discover how apaCe,[c, how bureau~tized, how dmttded to big busine~ and how indif- ferent to the public these agencies are. But I don't despair of changing ~e agencies' present ant[consumer bias and injecting them with new hlood and new purpose, lt's fully understandable why the agencies act as they do: after all, for yea~ thousands of lobbyists have manned tlae ba~icades Washington, using their considerable influence, by means of an assortment of quasi-legal methods, to sway agency of- ficials and legislators to look favorably on the interests of their clients. The con- sumer's side o~ the £ence, meanwhile, has been represented [all time by vir- tually nobody. This situation is now d~anging, and the Federal regulato~ agencies will evenlnally ~hange with it. ~t~v~oY: Until the re~lam~ agencies live up ~o your expectations, who are you proposing shouhl assume their rune. tions~ Ralph Nader? ~A~: The lmblic must exercise its power and influence through its elected representatives in Washington, through consumer organizations and through pri- vate individuals, such as myself, who are able to generate political action. There is. ol ¢onrsc, considerable public apathy, but I'm constantly heartened by the thousands of letters I get from can- corned dtizen~many of them including valuable, and sometimes confidential, in- formation. I've been particularly form- hate in having been able to develop ~urces of info~ation within different industries; where necessa~, I protect • eir identity to avoid their being fired. Some people in the corporate machine~ do, I'm happy to say, have a social (on- sden~ and reject the notion that cor- porate loyalty encompasses all human v~nes and responsibilities. ] tl~nk that i[ more ~ople within indust~ Would disclose material that is vital to public safety, we would be able to atta~ s~cific probl~ before they readied ~isis propor~ons. I'm not su~esfing ~at an employee subvert or ~ disloyal to his co,orate employe~ hut parfi~l~ ~ety or h~ h~ard to the attention of his su~o~ and ~ey i~o~ it ~me ~ey place profit above public sffe~, $~ I ~ it's his du~" ~ a d~- z~ to go dun[de ~e co,orate s~cture ~d rev~ it to ~e au~ofi~ or ~ p~- rate ~em su~ ~ m~f, who ~e a F~fion ~ ~e ~e ~tua~on ~d to cosec, i~ But to ~ply by sa)Sng that they just "'took orders" doctor, an accountant or an engineer to is inexcusable. The code of professional receive compensation for his profe~slonal ethics of the Nation-.d Society of Profes- services. It's just that I don't ~,Ssh to do sionaI En,~neers, for ex~mple,~pedfically so. The Fnduary rmnormongers appar- tells them that if snffident attention isn't being given by management to their dis- closures, d~en they must go outside the corporate strucrnre and appeal to the public authorities, because human life is at stake. I't~Vl~OY: You mentioned the "methods'" ttsed by industry representatives and lob- byists to influence members of the regu- latory agencies and other Government officials. V¢ould you be more specific? NA~R: There are numerous means open to them: the implicit promise of jobs iu industry when an official leaves Govern- meat, as I've indicated; leverage at the top of Governmental departments to turn the heat on a lower-level official who sticks his neck out for the public; donations to a Congressman's campaign fund or industry business for some who have law firms; and the forging of social friendships at the golf dub, country club or professional o~aniz;ttion. There are many specific ted~niques tailored to specific industries. The auto compa- nies, for example, have "special plans" that allow important people to buy new cars at low prices. A manufacturer will select groups o~ influential people~ newspaper editors and reporters, politi- cians, racing drivers, prominea}t clergy- men--who they believe could promote the image and interests of their corpora- tion in one way or another; the particu- lar individual chosen is then given a new car at ]east 2'.5 to 80 percent off the dealer's list price. He receives even more than tbat, however; his car has been given a particularly careful inspec- tion on the assembly line and a thorough road test, unlike the cars sold on the open market, which are driven about 100 yards from the factory to d,e at*to trailer iu the parking lot. So this is just one elementary way that the m~mufac- turers make friends and influence opin- ion makers. PLAYBOY: Your opponents in Washing- ton have reportedly hiuted to jonrnalists that you've been receiving sizable kick- backs by referring negligence cases to a pri~ate law firm. Is this true? N~t~E~: It's demonstrably false, and cal- culatedly so. I have never accepted a referral fee. I provide a lot of free ad- vice on auto safety and other consumer issues to anyone who asks me, but I do not receive remuneration o£ any kind. If my accusers can prove that I have ever received sud~ a material reward, I'll gladly quadruple the sum and donate it to their favorite charity. Let me empha- size that there is nothing even remotely wrong with a la~3er receiving compen- sation for such legal ,-rod technical serv- ic_~, any more than it's wrong for a cnt]y believe that only material incen- tives motivate men, and they try vainly to spread that notion so as to z'educc cffcctlven~s. But the more flac~ ~-, the more they have reduced their own effec- ti~-~ wi~ the Goven~ent o~cials they work to influence. ¢~g~og: Some of thee same tTitits charge that you are haslcally opposed to the Iree-enterprise system and virulently hostile to business. Is it poxsible that your position might lead to Government inle~'entlon in every area o[ the econo- my~and inevitably to total socialism? ~A~R: No. There is still mud~ that positive in a lree-enterprise syst~h and I have little htith in the automatic power of Government to right all wrong; in any area of Government control, there is always ~e danger of inaction, overbureauffatizatinn, under- imagination and surrender to special in- terests. Some fo~ of socialism may very well be a solution for poverty-ridden countries of the "third world"; hut in Ame~, the answer is not to scrap the free-enterprise system but to re/orm by correcting the abuses committed its name and ensuring that it operates responsibly and effectively. ~e two essential elements of any heahhy capitalist system are the free market and competition, and I see value in both concepts; but too many of the huge corporations, while paying them ritualistic lip service, are in practice op- posed to the free market and comic,i- t[on and seek a controlled market; they prefer dosed enterprise to ~rce cnte~ prise and price- and product-fixlng to competition. The essential prerequisites of lhe free-market syswm are tba~ the consumer have a meaningful choice produc~ and that he be snpplied the info~ation on whid~ to intelligently base that choice. Bul the consumer does not have access to such info~ation; and in the highly concentrated industries, fl~e top manufacturers deliberately produce products that are virtnally identical, thus eliminating effective competition. In the auto industry, for exmnple, the only fundamental distinction between year's model and ]ast's is often whether or not a ~e pattern g~maces or grins or whether there is a fake air scoop on the side of ~e ~r or a st~p o[ chrome. ~at we need here, to quote from Barry Goldwater's 1964 =~mpaign, is a drake and not an ech~a dmlce that a h~dthy free-market system ~tould and must p~o- vide. Unfortunately, the megacoqm~- fio~ are basi~y an~-free market, ~d ~ actually ~ti~eti~ to whets I ~ ~ in favor of fostering T!26030230
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genuine free enterprise and putting the p~oople back into people's capitalism. Of course, I do b~ieve flint some de- gree el enlightened Government regula- tion is necessary in such a comp/ex and interacting economy as ours. But the real question is not whether such a Gov- ernmentaI role is deslrable--it is inevita- ble-but whether the Government will iuterveue on the side of the public or, as is all too often the case today, on the side of big business, whenever the interests of each fail to coincide. Governmental control of industry--as opposed to pru- dent snper~'ision--becomes necessary only when industry fails to respoud to the public interest; drastic state interventions in the private sector, like revolutions, are precipitated by a pnblic demand for the correction of long-standing abuses. Socialism will come to America only if the huge corporations succeed iu subvert- ing the free market while extolling it at stockholder meetings. It is this kind of breakdown that consumer advocates such as myself are trying to prevent. PLAYBOY: Despite what you've said, some critics feel that your Government-regu- lated approach to the protection of con- sumer interests is essentially coercive. They accuse yon of being contemptuous of the consumer's ability to discern good products and services from bad and to exercise his free choice in the market place. Do you think that's valid? NADI~R: ,~s I've already indicated, before tile consumer can e2cerclse an intelligent free dlolce and thus encourage more and better competition, he must be supplied ~ zele~xat informzrtion about tim product he buys; unless there is a full dis- closure of this information, and a full disclosure of available alternatives, such free choice is ouly a sham--as it is today in many areas. The only way a consumer can now make a free choice widlout outside assistance--from consumer groups or Federal agencies--is to train him- self as a mechanic and structural en- gineer before he buys a car, to carry a spectrograph when he buys home appli- ances or a Geiger counter when he buys a color-TV set. I don't want to lorce him to buy attything--but he can't make up his mind in a vacuum. Is it "coerclou" if the Govermuent sets standards to pre- vent the public from consuming diseased meat, or driving dangerous cars, or being overexposed to X radiation through med- ical and dental X rays? I don't think so; and if you have ever seen any of the horribly mutilated corpses of those who have been struck down on the highways due to engineering defects in their cars, you would consider tile question of "coercing" them into buying a safe car rather academic. PI.AYBOY: If you realized all your aims, according to some of your opponents, we might find ourselves living in a dull. homogenized consumers" utopia in v,qaich all products would be blandly standardized, all services uniform. Do you consider that a fanciful prediction? ket system--which, as I've pointed out, we don't have today--compethlon would be a vibrant reality instead of banquet rhetori~ anti mamtfacturers would vie with one another to produce new, better and more exciting products. The whole point of consumer safety movements is to generate change, to stimulate innovation, which means more alterna- tives, not fewer. Cars don't all have to look clrably alike just bet,-ause safety is engineered into them, any more than all food products have to taste the same simply becanse putrescent fish is out- lawed. ~s there anything exciting about being mutilated in an auto crash? Would it be epict,re:m to eat meat from diseased auimals? Wotdd it be boring to live without tile possibility of burning to death in a suit made front a fl,'unmahle fabric? I find it difficult to visualize a time when many people will be lament- lug to their psychiatrists, "Doctor, there are no more unsafe cars, diseased meat, air and water pollution or radiation overexposure around. Life has lost all its zestY' PlAyIloy: You have recently widened your critical sights to include other branches of the transportation system Now swing with Hitachi 4-track stereo... for only $169.95.* The time is right for real stereo --for you. $~69.95" is almost as low as you'd pay for a good monaural recorder. Yet the new Hitachi TRQ-717 is a full-fledged 4-track solid state portable stereo tape recorder, with two 6" x 4" deflection speakers. A/m 'era as you like, for unbeatable sound all around. What's more, you'll record distort/on-free sound automuticaIIy. Reason? Hitacki's special "Level-matic" tone control. 3 speeds. Capstan drive. Pushbutton controls. 2 VU meters. Tape counter. Up to 6 hours' stereo playing time, 12 hours' monaural The price inc/udes speakers, microphones and accessories. PIease your playmates and your budget w/th the TRQ-7t7: another b/g-value product from HitachL @OuaEty ~lways comes first at HITACHI Japan's largest m~nufacturer *Sugg~te~ li~t price. Slight]}- higher/n ~2.re~t. Sou~w~-t. For facts about other surprise values, write: Hitachi S~Ies Corp., D~pt. P-2, 43-59 3.tth St.. Lon3 IsI~tt Ci~, ~'.ri" 111C1_.. 201 T!26030231
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Le~ides the auto indusLry. Not long ago, for example, you criticized safety condk tiol~s on Creyhound bnses, gVhy? the larg~t co~ercial bus company in the United Stat~. hi~ used regroo~ed t~res on the rear o[ hs buses, of a pattern and tread wear that makes them ~x~r~y unreliable on wet, slip- pery pavements. Whenexer the treads on a Grcyhonnd rear tire wear down. they have been poorly re~ooved--not ouce hut repeatedly~and replaced on the bus. A UCLA the specialis~ revealed recendy that Greyhound's re~oovlng patterns gise no more t~action than the tires were abso]mdy bald. ~umer- ous accidems have resuhed fi'mn practice. A Greybonnd bus will be round- ing a curve on a slighdy wet higbway, tl~e driver will brake, Ihe tires will fail to grip and d~e bus will go ~kidding right off d~c highway. Such crashes bare occurred in various parts o~ d~e coumry. In N~" Jersey in May IS67. a Grey- hound ~areened off a rain-slicked high- way near Hackeustown and plunged feet down an embankment, killing one passenger, a 73-year-ohl woman, and injnring I2 others. The sime police fonnd dmt tl~e r~rooved rear rices bad worn so thin that the canvas was show- ing throngh. The case was refe~ed to the Department of Transportation, which recommended criminal prosecution of Greyhouml tbr knowingly violating d~e Motor Carrier Safety Act. Unfof iun;aely, even if convicted. Greyhound is only subject to a SI000 fine. since there are no other ~nal provisions nnder the law--whid~ is iust one more reason for making all knowing and willful violations of sagety regulations criminal rather than dvil offenses. What is particularly repugmmt a~ut riffs is dmt Greyhonnd uses sud~ tires lot only one reason: to cut costs and swell profim No one cau ever say that Greyhound had im back up against the finandal wall and. therefore, had cut costs for reasons of economic su~iv- al; this is a mammoth ont~t that is mensely profitable and has so much lhluid capital that it owns ~8 mulfimil- lion-dollar Boeing 707 and 7~7 jets leasinK to the ~mmerdal airlines. And yet, to save a few dollars on new tire, is willing to jeopa~ize the lives of i~s passmgem. ~is provides quite an insight into the ethi~ of a modern co~oration. But tirm aren't ~e only a~ where Greyhound is at ~aulL Consider a ~ecent major Greyhound accident in Bake, California, which took ~0 live. The b~ was s~ruck by a ~r tmvding in the v,~ong lane and flipped over on im door side. l~e ~m~le ~pos~ fuel rank the b~ ~ptured, O~e fuel ~gnited ind~:erated 20 oc~up~m~ trapp~ in a Ires with no em~m~" ~i~ ~e who c~cnped were ehhrx ejected by the hfiti~,l impact or managed to climb out the shattered front windshield. Proper design ot buses for safety would-lmve saved mauy Ikes in suda a collision. Greyhound management poured pres- sure on d~e Nr, tional Highway S:dety Bure:m and UCI.A m keep a highly ~t- i~l report by U(;L~ spedalis~s ou Greyhound bns design from being made publi~ One rea~n lot this is that Greyhound has a new bus design hcing examined by the Department of Trans- portatiou~a design, incidentally, that shows virtually uo safety improvements. Greyhound obviously fears that ~idques of i~s design and perfo~ance may jeopardize approwd of this "new" design. ~t~vaoV: Is Trailwa)s, Greyhound's main competitor, any safer? ~Aa~a: Trailways has had a generally lower accident record than Greyhound. On the Washington-New York run, which I'm acquainted with, some Grey- hound drivers consistendy violate the .speed limits: their driving methods, par- ticularly in the e~ly-moruiug hours, woukl turn your hair white. I've been t~i~g for over a year m get a precise s~atistical comparison ol Greyhound and Trailways accidents made public, but tl~e Bureau of Motor C:n~iers of the De- partment of Transporlation has refused to release the comparative figure. Their explanation is d~at it would serve no nsefnl purpose. Well. it might serve the purpose of informing the traveler which bus line he's less likely to get killed on~ ilild rewarding the safer line for i~s in- centive and responsibility by giving it bush~ess. It's qnlte obvious that the BMC is covering up for Greyhound, as it has done for years: the BMC has never released the fu~ contents o[ its in- vestigations of accidents involving Grey- honnd or other bus companies. The BMC has also been sitting for three years on a proposal to require seat belts in buses. I would nrge a Congressional iu- vestigation of the relationship between the BMC and Greyhonnd. which amounts to a merger of business and Government in a joint ventnre to protect each other and delude the public. Here again, we have ~e problem ol a regulator), agency whose duty is to protect the public de- ciding that its first alle~ance is to the indust~'. ~vaog: How safe are the railroads? ~A~R: Kailroad acddents are sharply in.easing. If you ~ad your news~ape~ ~refully, you'll find that hardly a week g~s by without some repo~ of a rail- road crash, or derailment, or a head~n collision be~een two mfim ~mt~'here in the countD,. As our ~ilroad system confinu~ to deteriorat~ ~a~al~ and ~dkoad acci~en~ are fislng, and ~orm to s~nglhen ~iho~td saK.ty tnu iuto the g~me tedmologi~l and lmr~tz~fic o~ ~d~-s flint we tirol in tI~e ~eld of auto safety. The Department of T~msporta- don proposed the first ~mqroad safety. hill in decades to Con~oTess last Mav~. but it hasn't been acted upon. PLAYBOY: xAqlat about airline safety? NADER: Commercial aviation faces a prob- lem, in the aggregate, that is not nearly ,'~s serious as auto safcty--not ~ct. any- way. But aviation safety wilI present serious challenges in the coming )~ars because of the growing congestion not only in the skies but at onr airports: we had better begin right now to allo- cate more resources and more public attention to this area. As it stands today. roughly 1200 people die in air accidents in this country each year, as compared with more than 50.000 in automobile accidents. But there i~ ~till considerable room lbr improvement. For one thing, our planes are far from being as crashworthy as they tould he: much more attention should be given to the kind of eugineering improvements that would increase the likelihood ol su~,ival after a crash landing hy strength- enlng the plane's structttre so that it wouldn't always disinte~ate on impact aml would al~ reduce the ene~7 forces before they're transmitted to the sengers. In addition, a great deal of work is needed to improve our jet fuel systenz~, in order Io reduce the possibility of rnp- tures and fire. One remarkably neglected area o[ aviation salety is this whole questiou of fire after a crash. Many air- crash victims don't die from hnl~aCt bnt are burned to death or asphyxiated be- lore they can escape the wreckage. There is no reason today, technologically or even economically, why thi~ should hap- pen. It is now perlectly feasible to adopt protective systems developed hy the Air bMrce that triter ou impact and prevent the hml front igniting. Additional lives could be saved by making stronger seats that are secnrcly anchored to the body of the plane: to- day, many seats just snap oil on impact, propelling themselves aud their seat- belted occupants through the compart- ment. Few penple realize that airplane seats are even less adequately setort.d than automobile ~eats. O[ com~e, as go on to hi#mr ~peeds and supersonic transports, the problems of safety will become even more uLgent~bnt far sn~eptible to simple so]ntions, i think the situation iu general wnuhl I~ con- siderably improved, however, if the ~mmerdal airlines and the plane manu- facturers would channd some of their multimilllon-doll:~ revenues into ~fety research and safer plan~. p~Vaov: Have the commercial ca~iers and ai~lane manufacturers r~nded to deman~ for improved Mr safety? N~ Let me give you a con~ete ex- ample. The Allison tmnpany, a major ai~lane ~nuh~ctvr~, divvied in 1~57 ~t a numl:~ of Convair 5~s it T!26030232
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h~d ~Id to commc~dal amines had de- t~on of zI~ p~-olw~Icr, xvI~icI~ will fl~n cu~ into tkc ~L~gc and d~m)y ~h~ pLmc. immediate notiti, ation of the operato~ of sud* plan~ to h~ound. and repair fl*em. All~n didn't do nor did it info*m the Federal Aviation Agcncy of the defect. Some ~ime after Allismfs discovery of fl~e problem, one of the Convair 580s fl,ey had sold to Lake.Cent~l ~shed in Ohio. killin~ all g8 persons aboard. A sul~cquent inves- tigation proved beyond doubt 1hat the plane crash was caused by a soft piston; and as a result, the FAA fined Allison the su, ggering sum of S8000~which works out to approximately $200 per fatality. Allison fought v~iantly to have the fine reduced to .$4000, but it did not succeed. The trivial nature of this fine and of the dete~ent proceeding from it is accentuated by the fact that the prior six years, Allison had been fited by the Federal Aviation AgenH over 100 times for manufacturing irregu- larities in propeller production. ~ere are, unfortunately, no criminal penalties regarding air.aft hazards fl~e Federal Aviation Act, not even airlines or manufacturers that willfully nnd knowingly allow defective plan~ to be sent from their plants without warning the purchaser. If someone had planted a bomb on that plane to kill a relative and collect insurance money, he would have been sentenced to death or li~e imprisonment for the murder of ~8 people; Allison was fined $8000. Anoth- er long-standing violation on which the FAA Ires ~emained silent involves fire- det~tion syst~s on m~ny aircraft, in- clnding many Boeing 707s and 727s, which have not met the FAA's require. ment of a five-second response time to warn the pilot of a fire in the pow~ plant. These systems now take up to secon~ to signal an ala~, whi& modern aircraft is a ~iti~l delay. ~tavsov: Are the legal penalties meted out to other fir~ &at violate the law as lenient as the one levied on Allison? ,a~a: Lenient is h~dly fl~e word; we were as lenient toward individual crime m we are toward big-business ~ime, we'd empty the prisons, dissolve the police forc~ and subsidize fl*e ~m- [nals. The basic problem here is that we ndopt a double standard in dealing with individual crime and business ~ime. Take t~'o men, both ~iminah: One hm stolen a car and ~e other is a d~g- ~ompany exe~tive mho has failed to warn the Food ~d D~g Ad- mi,fist~tio~t or d~e medial prof~ion of serious health ~ange~ ~om a p~ti~ ~uwd ~o l~h~l in~uD" to ~'bod~. TI26030233
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/ will be deaIt vrith severely hy the courts; while the drug e_xecutise, whose illegal action may have iesuIted in many injuries and even death, is let of[ with a rapon the wrirt--if he's reprimanded at all. Coal-mlne companies, for example, have been cited for thousands of recur- r~ng safety violations by tlte U.S. Bu- reau of Mines: but with one minor exception, no penalties have ever been levied for such violations, which are kill- ing or injuring hundreds of miners. To correct this double standard, we've got to redefine aud recoflify crimbval law, which is almost wholly oriented to acts of individual crime and rarely, i~ at all, addresses itself to corporate crime and corporate execmives. The problem is particul:,rly severe today, because ethi- cal standards |n industr7 are. more often than not, distressingly low. A Hmvard B~rnes~ Review survey found that four out of every seven business execntives polled said they "would violate a code of ethics whenever they thought they could avoid detection." We're always hearing M~out "crime iu tbe streets" to- day, but crime in the executive confer- e~lce room affects far more Americans. Bnried in the most recent task-~orce report of the President's National Grime Commission is n brief section on bnsi- heSS crime, which reveals that every year, the public is mulcted of from $500.000.000 to one billion dollars by securities frauds alone. Dishonest and illegal practices in the area of drugs, therapeutic aids anti home repairs rob the consumer of even more untold hnn- dreds of millions of dollars annually. The antomobile industry has knowing- ly permitted cars with safety defects to reach the market, with no effort to recall them or to inform the unwit- ting bayer, irresponsible use of pesticides and chemicals poison and kill thousands of human beings every year. Yet willfnl violations in all these areas are punished only by mild civil tines that will never deter corporate malpractice. 'The civil penalties generally meted out are so modest that the big corporation won't even blink an eye at them; and on the rare occasions when the clues are stiff, the corporations jnst pass the cost on to the consumer in the form of higher retail prices. In order to correct this situation, we must amend the laws so that all willful business violations of Federal safety codes come under criminal rather thau civil law and convictions are punishable by imprisonment. Such criminal penalties would pierce the corporate veil and reach the particular executive or official respon- sible for the violations and thus make the company more carehal in the future. X, Ve already have criminal penalties in the area of prlce-fi.x/ng; as you may re- member, sevexal GE and X, Vestinghou~e o:ecutives were subject to brief jail sen- te~c~ in the earl)- Sixties for systemat- ically fi.,dng prices over the period of a decade, a practice that led to over- charging consumers by hundreds of rail lions of dollars. So I see no reason why we shoultI exempt t~ffe auto, gas-pipeline and electronlcs industries, or any other big corporation, from similar criminal penalties, when their illegal practices jeopardize the health and safety of the consuming public. In the case of General Electric, the deterrent to price-fixing was not the title but the jail sentence, and this is true in every industry. This is the one penalty that can readi the cul- pable executive. He cannot elude it by interposing a buffer of corporate privi- lege or by hiding behind some company bylaws that indemnify him from any fines or liabilities, civil or criminal. I~IAYBOY: Why are economic crimes such as price-fixlng more likely to be puuished by cTimiual sanctions than violations of safety and health laws? NAILER: Because the latter laws are of more recent origin aud industry lob- byist-lawyers have been successful thus far in averting most proposed crimiual penalties iu this field. As far as the law is coucerned, we were much more stringent toward corporations at the turn of the century than we are today. I don't believe there will ever he real progress in corporate reform until we put teeda into legislation by providing for criminal sanctions whenever the law is deliberately violated to the detriment of human life. I can't overestimate the importance of this; not only are Ameri- cans being injured or /ailing flI becaum of business crime; not only are future generations being subjected to higher risks of physi~-aI and mental deformity and debilitation as a result of today's chemical and radiation hazards; but people are also being fleeced of millions mad millions of dollars. One authority in the field, Professor Sanford Kadish, told the President's Na- tlonal Crime Commission that "It is pos- sible to reason convincingly that the harm done to economic order by viola- tions of . . . regnlatory laws is of a magnitude that dwarfs into insignificance the lower-class property offenses." If one looks at all the big corporations that are abusing the consumer and getting away with it. the bank robber who stems $10.000 and is bunted dowu by the whole machinery of state, local aml Federal po- lice and spends 20 years in prison looks almost pathetic hy comparison. Next to the executives of our large corporations, he is a pretty small fish, indeed. The same bank might have made more than that in the same day with concealed in- terest rates on its loans. PtAVI~OY: Who are the "'lobbyist-lawyers" you criticize for persuading Congress to go easy on corporate crime? NAOER: First of all. let mc explain that there are two basic strata in the legal profession in this country. On the one hand, 7ou have a majority of lone lawyers "'Sir, I'd like to req~test transfer out of the Light Brigade.'" Ti26030234
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who work with poor or middle-class clients; you can have serious ethical problems with this t3"pe of lawyer in the abuses generally affect only individual clients who are exploited in one wa~ or another. This is the more petty type of legal chicanery, which, while it must be corrected, does not create a legitimizing legal framework for itselL But you also have tile wealthy Wall Street-Washlng- ton law firms that represeut the huge corporations, and here the ethical prob- lems become really acute. The worst problem is at the top, not the bottom; the legal profession, like a fish, rots from the head down. My interest, conse- quently, is primarily focused on these mega-law firms, because they are among the strongest power brokers in our socie- ty, particularly between industry and Government; and they are also the least understood power elite in the nation. These law firms, as the legal agents of the htrge corporations, are involved directly in preserving and extending cor- porate exploitation of the consumer, of- ten under Government protection via laws they draft. Such lawyers lmve ab- dicated or distorted their legal ethics and their responsibility to the public in- terest for million-dollar retainers. The behavior of these firms is particularly i~Tesponsible becat, se they also set the ethical tone for the little lawyer who works with individual clients; as he gazes up at the Olympian peaks of the Wall Street-Washington law firms and witnesses the sqnalid hlue-chip cavort- ing of the country's best-paid aud most respected lawyers, it's inevitable that he will want his slice of the pie, too. After all, he'll say to himself, if they're re- warded with $500,000 homes and invi- tations to the White House, why shouldn't he, in his own litde practice, emulate their example? Anti so the whole sordid ethical code of these large firn~s filters down the line and helps create tile same kind of operational atmosphere for other lawyers. t'l.~.'~sOy: What specific unethical acts do you claim these large law firms commit? N~,~: Let me give you two examples. And let me stress at the outset that their activities, while profoundly unethical, are rarely illegal; they stay within the strict letter of the law~whidt they or their predecessors often helped write. As a case in point, let's take the cigareue- labeling legislation that passed Congress in 19fi~. Here you had a question of great and lasting significance for public health: x,~nat should Congress do, if anything, in the light of the Surgeon General's re- port on the health hazards of smoking? There was a cor~iderable demand, voiced by the public and echoed in Congress, that strict legislation be passed, warning the con~er of the dangers of smoking and initiating antism~king campai~ns and rese~.rch for m_fer dgarettes on a large sca/e. As this controversy got under way, the tobacco industry began marshal- inn its forces in Washington through its ex-Senator Earle C. Clement.s, which mo- bilized legal snpport for the industry. Nm~'..volt're got to remember that whenever a major industry gets into real trouble,, it doesn't go to its trade associa- tion or its house counsel, but to these Washington-~Vall Street firms that are staffed by men who /lave served in Government, who ha~e penetrated the interstices of power and who are thus eminently qualified to mediate and re- solve problems--who are, in short, mas- ters of preconflict resolution, or the art of setOing problems in the back room before they burst into the public lime- light and generate democratizing pres- snres that cannot be controlled. In this case, the Tobacco Institute, the industry spokesman, enlisted a number of top Washingtou law firms, tile most impor- tant of which were Arnold, Fortas & l~orter--at which Abe Fortas, now a Su- preme Court Justice and a longtime friend of L. B. J., was a senior partner~ and Covington & Burling, led by Thomas Austern, a veteran la~'er and backslap- ping Washington contact man. These lawyers, with the occasional help of Mr. Fortas, met daily to plot a strategy that would decide the Government's pnb- lic policy ou a major health problem for years to come, anti they lobbied relent- lessly with Congressmen, bringing to bear all their influence and :dl the eco- nomic power of the tobacco industry. What was the result? Congress passed a Cigarette Labeling Bill~spearheaded by Dixiecrat legislators from tobacco states---that was completely without teeth; a bill, in fact, that the tobacco industry had desired desperately and which £ulfilled its every corporate need. The bill did three major things for the industry. First, by requiring that each cigarette pack be labeled on the side with the message "Smoking may be haz- ardous to your health," it put the smok- er on notice and gave the industry a persuasive defense against potential lia- bility suits. Now they can say Io the plaintiff in court, "Since we warned you before you assumed the risk, we are ab- solved of all responsibility." Let me add p, .arenthetically that even the wording of this warning was,n'eak: "Smoking may be hazardous to your health," instead of, as the Surgeon General's report and every other serious study demonstrates, "Smok- ing /s dangerous to your health:' The second boon the bill gave the industry was that it headed off the states from tak- ing any action to protect consumers from smoking hazards at least until 1~89. This wa.s very important to the industry. ~e- cause legislators in Ne~,- York State, under the leadership of state senator Ed-~d Spirit. were on the verge of passing very tough legislation against cigarette adver- tlslng, and a number ~ other states seemed ready to follow New York's lead. So the bill gave the industry a five- year breathing space, during which time its products could continue to be sold while innovations such as the millimeter cigarette could be introduced. The third thing the bitl did for the in- dustry was to preclude the FederaI Trade Commission, which had just issued some stringent proposed rules concerning cigarette advertising, from acting in any way again, at least until 1969. So this bill, which many naive citizens viewed as a blow to tile tobacco industry, actually con- stituted a Congressional snrrender to the industry. And who were tile architects of this remarkable tour tie force? Wash- ington corporate attorneys who listen to after-dinner pontifications ahol,t law- yers' beiug the soul aud conscience of society. Let me give you just one more exam- ple of this type of thing. One of the smallest but most powerful Washing- ton law firms, which is also most adept at defeating the public interest, was Clifford g¢ Miller, headed by the re- doubtable Clark Clifford, friend of Presi- dents and presently our Secretary of Defense. As ;t result of tile conviction of Genend Electric. Westinghouse, Allis- Chalmers and other companies for viola- tion of the antitn~st act by collusive long-term price-fixing, which was de- signed to maintain high wholesale prices for GE's and other corporations' electrical equipment, a number of mu- nicipalities and other customers demand- ed repayment of overcharges. After a good deal of grmnbling, the companies agreed to pay out about $~00,000.000 in punitive damages. Prior to most of these setdements, GE called in Clark Clifford, who knows his way around Washington, aud asked him to use Iris considerable influence to per- suade the Internal Revmme Service to rule that the money GE and the other culpable companies had to pay out iu damages was tax-deductible. After some pe~uasive representation by Clifford, believe it or not, the IRS ~ded just that~which meant that the punitive damages GE and iu price-fixing part- ne~ paid out ~ r~fitution for their own ~iminal activities were written off as "'ordin~y and necessa~'" b~iness ex- penses; and as a result, the amoun~ w~e offset a~inst profi~ and the Fed- e~ Government got 50 percent less in tax pa~en~ from the electri~ compa- nies involved~a difference ultimatdy unde~tten by ~e Am~can tax- payer. So Cl~k Clifford saved GE ov~ $1~0,0~,000; ~'en a one-~c~t fee for ~ ~'i~ wo~d ~ount to $I,0~0,0~0. ~ ~ ~e ~nd of lev~ge~fl Ti26030235
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incentive--4_hese top Washington lax;~,ers bare_ Even if the public intexe~t is sac- rificed in the process, no criticism is Ie~Ied~a~ 4:hese a~ne~. PLa, V~OV: How do the top corporation lawyers gain ~uch influence? NAD~: By skillfully coordinating the inflnence of their corporate client with their own personal iufluence in Wash- ington. They have done this iu mauy ways, but the most important factor has been their ability to curry Presidential or Cabinet-level favor--by helping the President, for example, get business sup- port for his tax legislation and balance- of-pa~ents policies, by lobbying in Cougress for his legislative programs, by working for the parly organization and raising campaign funds, by setting up key task-force adv~ory committees, by per- suading prominent businessmen to a~cept higMevel Government appoiutments and by frequently assisting the Chief Executive and other high o~dals on a wide range of ticklish policy matters. Now, all of these nonremunerative "pnblic services," of coarse, have an implicit q~tid l~ro quo. The lawyer is repaid with special early access to (;ov- crnmcnt information ~at will be of use ~o his corporate clients on rulings, regu- lations, licensing or quotas; or the Gov- ernment will take :t stand favorably disposed to a particular economic inter- est represen*ed hy sad, a lawyer; or a Federal agency will delay in acting cou- trary to that economic interest. at~vaov: Wouldn't lawyers such as Cli[- lord and Fortas answer you with the argument that they are only serving their client and that in a free society everyone has a right to legal representation? N~a~R: No one questions a company's or an indust~'s right to legal ration. It's how they're represented, and for what purpose, that is the issue. there were law firms on the other side to repre~nt the consumer, to make secret info~ation public, to en~age in meticu. lous advoca~, to expose pay-offs and other undesirable prattit'es, then lawyers like Clark Clifford would not he sud~ inflnential industry lobhyists. There's nothing reprehensible or unethicM, for example, about a criminal lawyer repre- senting a crime d~ieftain, be~,use his efforts are countered and the public pro- Icctcd by the district attorney's o~ce. the police and d~e whole prosecuting nmchincry of the state. There are. un- [ortnnatdy. no such counted'ailing forces ip ~Vasbington. It has to be driven home to the Amer- i~m people that the relationship between big busin~s and these top law fi~s is not a no~ attorney~ient one bat a pa~ne~hip extending far b~nnd the court proc~s intu legi~atiom atlmlnist~t- tion. Folitieal :~nd diplomatic lobbying. husin~s inv~tments and dire~ord~ips. Tile Araeri~n people must knox;" how mud~ power the~e lax~Ters have and how that power is frequentIy ~xercised to the pnblic de~rimen-L L~aHng the 1966 auto-safety battle in Congress, for example, the fonr U.S. auto companies hired attorney Lloyd Cutler to represent them. Cutler had the special task of pre- veuting file law from including criminal peualties [or willful and knowing viola- tions that woukl endanger human life. Somehow, he persuaded (:ongress that trimin;d st|notions for sndl acts as kuowingly putting defective vehid~ on the marke~ and not recalling ~em, watering down or adulterating brake Iluids. tic.. wmdd be pnnitivc, un- necc~ary and impossihle to enforce. Be- lore Confess caved iu to Cutler, who applied a good deal of pr~sure, Senator Vauce Hartke, who had introduced the criminal-sanctions provisiou, asked why there was such desperate lobbying by auto industry to forestall a sanction that would apply only ~o knowing and willful violations of the law and not to slructura[ llaws or failure to innovate safety im- provements. He didn't get an answer. 1)id Mr. Cutler have an ethical and pro- fessional responsibility to cousider the human and social effects of his se~'ices? ])id he appreciate the fi~ct that he was exempting from crimiuul pen;dries not only his four auto-company clients but also thousands of suppliers and distribu- Iors whose integrity Mr. Cutler might not so easily vouch for? Apparently, he lost little ~eep over this dilemma. a~kvaov: Which Cougressmen do you feel are the most receptive to pressure from these lawyer-lobbyists? ~AO[~: Well, by tar the most dedicated anticonsumer legislator in Confess, and the one with the most power, is Everett McKinley Dirksen, the G. O. P. Minority 1.eader. The honey-Imaged Senator has made quite a hit in pop music receutly, hut he's been singing the nine of the corporations for yea~. and with consid- erable clout. Dirkseu is really a ~eat boon to every business lobbyist Washington. His olfice is packed with them; he spends much of his time minis- ~ering to their demauds. And he is a rect pipeliue from the lobb)dsts to the Cougrc.~.ffomtl Record: he doesn'~ even bother to fiher the speeches and state- men~ they write [or him, bat delive~ them verbat~ on the Senate floor, with all the power and prestige of his office behiud them. Dirksen has been an er- rand boy [or the auto indust~, the rail- roads, the pip~ine indust~, ~e private utilities, tl~e atomic-power indust~, the t~ug indus~, the steal and aluminum indus/ri~, the oll imhts~D-: yon name nny ]a~e co.ornate inter~t and Everett Dir~ is i~s f;dth[ul emissa~. P~Y£OY: What other Senato~ do consiJer anticon~umer l~giskttor~? NADir,: Some others are Senator~ Curtis and Korean Hruska of Nebn~k;L Spessard Holland o[ ~o~da and Jack whom many ht~sines~ inter~ts are mos~ anxions to x~Sn over is Jacob Javits o[ New York. His liberal image, secure electoral position witltiu the nation's most power- tiff ~tate and his conGm ing adxoc;tcy of au issue are all l)remimu altrilmtes, in their e)'GS. And SenatoF Javits has llot heeu reluctaut to bend these talents in the interests of the hig torporatinns point that even some of his admilxrs lieve thwarts ~e public interest. Other Senators, while not across-the-board foes of the consumer, have vigorously pro- moted the interests of s~cific industries that are important political and econom- ic factors within their own states. Senate Majority Whip Russell Long of ana, for example, who is strategically placed to influence legislation, proudly admits that he represents oil and other industries operating in his stale. I've heard lobbyists w~,ly remark that the way to neutralize Senator Long's opposi- tion or even gain his support is to build a plant in Lonisiana; at the presen~ rate of constrnction, Louisiana will be in- dustrialized withhl tile next decade and the erstwhile populist Senator may have forgotten the consumer completely. A simihtr attitudinal evolution has or- cuffed, I'm sorry to say, with other Sen- ators who initially championed consumer issues but then "mellowed" in Ptlwov: In order to at least patti:ally counteract the influence of the lawyers who work as lobbyists fro" the big cnrpo- ratio~ls, we nuderstand you plan to of ganize a lmblic-interest law firm. llow will it operate? NadiR: It will be exactly what its name implies: a law fi~--the first of several. I would hope~to represent the interests the public whenever and wherever they are jeopardized by corporate irresponsi- bility and Governnient inertia. The firm will be composed of attorneys lint will also eventually encompass talents from the medical, scientific, engineering, eco- uomic and accounting professions. It will be based here in Washington, that we can keep our finger on the pulse beat of power, aud will handle no indi- vidual cases but, instead, represent the consumer by nnearthing evidence of corporate abuses, cooperating with Con- ~ssional cmnmitlees and appearing before re~lato~ agencies, sud~ as the Federal Trade Commission aml the Na- tional Highway Safety Burean. When- ever consnmer-related issues bare been considered up till now. illdllM~' men and lobbyists have turned lip ill drov~ ;~nd dominated the pro~ccdin~. bemuse thee luts been no organiz¢d counted'ailing forte rel'~re~entin:£ the t~nsum~. I Impe that fl~is pubtlc-inter~t T!26030237
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l;tw l~ml x¢ilI start to fill that large .c,~p. PLAYgOY: I~n't what )-ou're proposing 1~ there wiR he other ~ilh supportive o{ lhe attome).~. ~- cmq)Imsis wilt he on atlract bright and idcali~llc 3oung law gn~dnates izzto [l~e ~eta~ce of dte public before they z~ nb~rbed into t~d)lish- mcntarian law fi~s. I believe the cou- tept of a public-imcr~st law tirm conkl add a new and positive dimcuslou to the legal profession and help orient it to its l~rimau' lmrlmse of ~erving the imbllc~ uot just pushing for commerdal in~er- csts. as it is today. The real distinctkm between these pnhlic-intcrest lawyers and traditional lawyers is that these are lawyers without specific dlents, wldaout retainers. Their only clieut will be the American public. ptAYSOV: How much will it cost to estab- lish snd~ a law firm? ~AD~g: To begin a fi~m at a modest level of 12 professional ~ople, with secretarhd and other overhead, I would estimate that the cost will n~n in the neighbor- h~d of S~00.000 a year. ~tAVaOY: Where will you get the money~ N~D~R: I hope it will come fl'om pnblic- spirited individuals or foundations. PtAYBOY: Along these lines, in the past two years you have broadened yonr ho- rizons to encompass a wide range o~ is- snes affecting the public's health and well-being, from conditions in meat- processing plants to radiation overexpo- sure during medical X rays. Taking them one at a time, why have you added sanita~ conditions in the meat ind~uy to your list of consumer causes~ ~: lm 1~, Upton Sinclair pub shotking;y b:~d health tomlitions in Chi=~go's packing hmts.~s. There x~s a qcddy ~osc~elt iuviwd him ~o the the siluatlon. As a tlhctt ~t-stdt tff Ihat o,c boo~, Congress p~x~cd the lrcdcr;d hl~pcctlon of ~[;tughtcrbousc~ en- gaged i~ intcvntate commerce, nnd tile nation heaved ;t collcttive sigh of relief that a glaring abuse was o~ tl~e way ameliou~tion. Cixic textbooks still cite The" .]ll~lgl~" as 1~ cl;~ssic case o[ a gillv;t- nized lml,lic risiug up to stamp out corl,orate abuse, lint today, 1i2 years later, hcallh couditions in much of the meat industry have aclually deterlo- rated. At the mru of the centnry, plants were uudeni:d~ly foul, but it wasn't as easy to pass olt meat from cancerous or diseased pik~ to the pnblic; the stench of decay alooe was a give- away Io the buyer. Today, howe~er, thanks ~o the marvels of chemical doc- toring and deep-Freeze storage, ~e con- sumer can no longer depend on his sense of taste. ~mell or sight to warn him. As a resnl~, fl~e American public is consuming large ¢lUaUtities of putrescent and disease-ridde~x meat. PtA~OV: Conld you give ns some exam- pies? ~a: You have to break the problem down into three distinct but interrelated areas. First, take the animal on the h~f. Are d;sensed animals ntilized for hu- man consnmption? The evidence is that hundreds of thousands of "4D" animals ~"Dead, Dying, Diseased, Disabled"~ a~ pr~d in meat plants across lished The 1ungle, a graphic novel about country. There are "specialty buyers" of • " .~,':::r" :.C... ,:.~,. , -~ ,.,~,:~ ,,,t .... ~, . ~.~L ~ . ~, "" q- : ::,.' .. such -I1) ;mind.dr, at li~t'~txk a~rtfion,,. ~dxo Imp- lht~u at lr~w tt~st and lhcn immtmc ~,, Federal inspectlm~. "l]~c buye~xd~, :~re not jt~t fl~.hpn~4~t op~to~ bat ofto~ repr~ent ~ub,I;mli;d h~haxc, of course, a big conap&itive edge oxt'r Ihe I,tt~er of he:dthy meat: ;rod a kind of Gresham's Jaw com~ iuto play. whereby dinea~d meat lorces wholesome meat out o[ :x m;trke~ Once they get d~cse animals Io the stork- yards, all fl~cv do is ~uae out the diseased portio~l of the sleet and p~ce~ the remains for your dining table~;dter proper doctoring by artiliciM preserva- fives, seasoning agents, antibiotics and cveu detergents. So lhe ~1) auimal is one major factor in the situation. The seLond area of importance is the sanitary condition of the slangbterhouse and packing honse; here, a realistic de- so'iption becomes .~ nauseatiug as to stralu credulity. If you examine the re- por~ of Federal or state inspector~ ulost of which are l~ot acted upon by the relevant regulato~ agency~you'll read of planLs where rats, l~aches and other vermin have free run of the prem- ises; where paiut tlakes off ceiling and walls and f;dls into fl~e processing vats; where couditions are so filthy that car- casses are contaminated by cobwebs, worms, stale blood and decomposiug fat caught in table crevices; where the ma- chines are unwashed and rusty; where workers with hairy forearms pause as they mix the meat to scrape it off their a~s and into the vat, with their hair and sweat as a bonus to the consumer. The Department o[ Agriculture re- cently supplied mc~reluctantly~wi~ an unpublished state-by-state study of intrastate meat-processing plants, whi~ are not subject to Fede~ inspection. ~xere are lfi,000 sud~ plants aud they ac~unt for E5 perceut og all meat sold in the United States, or almost eight billiou l~unds~euough meat to feed ~,000,000 people annually. This studb prepared by 1)r. M. R. Clarkson, had ~n gathering dust in the department's ill--and it's not designed for bedtime ~ding. Let me read you its coucluslon, whi~ coudemm the meat proctors ~d pa~ers for "allowing edible pot- ions 0[ carcasses to come hi contact with manure, pus and other sourc~ of ~nt~ination during ~e dressing oper- a~ons; allowing meat food produtts dur- ing preparation to b~ome con~minated with filth from improperly cleaned equipment and facilities; failing to nse pr~cdures to detect or couu'ol p;mtsites ~nsmitted to man that could lead to disea~s sud~ as trichinosis and ~'sticer- ~sis; failure to sup~,ise d~c~on of obviously di~ ti~u~ and spoiled, put~d ~d filthy materials." This ~ort was prepared in 1968, and recendy, gepr~entafive Purcell re- quested ~e Dep~ent o~ .~lture T126030238
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to launch a t~ew study of intrastate plants to determine if there had been any d~ange in conttltlons. A Dep,-rrtment ofi~cLal .subseqtlentl~ confessed that there had, indeed, been changes: the rats and roaches of 196~ had shufIled off this mortal coil. but their descendants "were carrying on business as t.sual. In 196fi alone, Federal inspectors condemned 250,000,000 pounds of diseased, decaying or contaminated meat, hut it was only a drop in tile vat. Parenthetically, let me add that while this type of meat is sold across the counter all over dxe coun- try, the most unwholesome meat of all finds its way to the bl:tck ghettos, where it is sold at reduced rates to unscrupu- Ions retailers, who then peddle it at inflated prices to the Negro slum dweller. But the third and final major £actor in meat processing, the "additive stage," is in some ways even more insidious than the use of 4D animals and the prev- alence of uusanitary health conditions. Additives are very convenient when you have a situation where diseased animals are being processed and even healthy animals are contaminated hy fihhy con- ditions in the plants. The consomer is obviously not goiug to be thrilled widx maggoty or putrescent meat, so some- thing has to be done to mask its real state. Enter the additives, seasoning agents, preservatives, antihiotics, coloring agents and a snpplementary battery of chemical adulter:mts that effectively pre- vent the consumer's uose or eye from spotting the true condition o~ the meat sold to him. This is probably the most £undamental type of consumer deception prevalent in the market place. Not only do these additives neutralize onr senses of detection, some of them are them- selves patently unsafe, and others present unknown risks. As a corollary to these three basic areas of abuse, there is also an addition° al health problem in the meat industry: the effect of the attimal's own orgaulc condition on onr bodies. I~ too much fertilizer has been nsed in growing the gr, dn or grass eaten by a particnlar anl. real, for example, we ingest inordinate amounts of nitrates when we eat a por- tion of that animal. And what of the insecticides an animal absorbs through its diet? And what about all the anti- biotics that -'ire i,ijected into the animal while it's alive and are frequently used as additives while it's being processed? Anyone on a steady diet o~ sudx meat is, in effect, immunizing himsel~ against antibiotics--so that dmy'll have little effect on him when lie really needs them --as well as absorbing whatever unde- sirable cumulative effects they may have on his system. The Food and Drug Ad- ministration is now proposing to tighten safeguards on antibiotic ingestion prior to slaughter. Basically; you see, the con- ~,~m= is just not a~xre of what is really Levi's® Sta-Prest® Stitches are geared for action! Ready... high rev...scramble! In the smooth, tough ones from LEVI'S with the contrasting double row of stitches...the crease that comes on sharp/. The fabric is Avondale's equally smooth, tough Pebble Tarp in Dacron~ Type 59 and cotton. Colors are Nite Sky, Au- lumn, and Black Forest. Men's26-38waists,$6.98; Boys" Regular 6-12 & Slim 6-14,$4.98. Ti26030239
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0 happening to him whe~ l~e sits down to that juio/ steak or mund~ on a ham- huNcr. ~e more we find out about ~ ~ it~ ~r ~odg ~e nmr~ cerned hlologists and nutritionists are becoming. A recent conference of leading genctidsts ;,rid b~ologists brought forth expr~gsions of deep coucern about the effect of f~d additives on our d*romo- some MrttOttre. ~tll thanks to the meat indnsl~-'s m~bordin;~tio~ of health to profits and the Goserument's indiffer- ence. lil~le ha~ bt't'~l done to improve Ihe situation. PLAYBOY: is Ihcre ;,~y meat product you would single out as the most dangerous? ~ADER: The worst offenders arc h;inl* borgers, hot dogs, sausages and all hlllCheOll lneals, stlch as bologna, salami and livc~vurst. All these procc~sed llleals COl~S~ilt~le all imagin:tti~e food i~- nox;ttion: Ihcy are o~ten used as a handy and prolitable ehm~p that allows ~l~e packers to get rid oF their scrap meat, sllbst;indalal or diseased meat and their less desirable cuts. All they do douse all thee inferior leftovers with ~oloring and seasoning agenls and kct them Io au nnsuspecting public. Court evideucc has shown that contami- nated me:tt, horse meat aud meat from diseased animals that were originally slat. cd for dog or cat food have o[teu wonnd up as hamburger or s; usage whil~ lullgs. eyeballs, pig hlood and chopped hides are mixed into hot dogs and lnncheon meats. To reduce fl~e stench and foul taste, such hamburger is frequently impreg- nated with sulfite, an illegal additive flint gives old and decaying meal a heallhy pink blush: a recent s~ey in New York discovered sulfile additives in 26 out of every ~ll hamlmrge~ sampled. Since d~e meat used is ofteu filthy, lergents arc frequcmly nsed Io wash the dirt and. Io stretch the profit, so- called binders are added Io hold the shreds of meat togetber~gcnerally cere- als. but occasionally sawdnst. Nol sur- prisingly, I would personally never eat a hamburger, a hot dog, a sausage or any Ittnch~u meat: it's not beyond reahn of possibility that you couhl ge~ good hambnrger, hot dog or sausage, bat why take a p~aOY: Are you sayiug that such well- known meat p~cegsors as Swift, Wilso~ a~d A~om'~:tnd such well-known relail- ers as Safeway. Kroger and A. ~ P.~ell tontaminaled meat to their customers? ~¢tR: Yes. Stu~ey~ made by ~e U.S. Department ot Agriculture iudicate that even d~e large and well&nown ~s have often engaged in purcha~ and sale uI contaminated meat produc~. One must a~ibe to the~ compani~ a ~r- tah~ degree of a~ren~s and Knowledge about ~e pr~ucts the, :~e ~ling to thdr ~tome~particul~ly when ~t repots have brougl~t tl~e situa- tion to tI~eir :~tlentio~L FLAYBOY: Yet most of the abuses dted have occurred in intrastate m~t- processing and pac_Ica,~ng plants, whid~ .~e immune ~o-Federat ha.~ecdon. ~ effective h~ Federal inspection beeu i~ interstate plancs? I,,IAOER: Fcdcral in.spcct~on is certainly mud~ better thau st:ate inspection, hut that's not really saying a great de;d, he- catts¢: most of llle state illspet-lnrs are snugly in tile pocket of the nleat imlu~ try. Stale inspectioll agencies are heavily larded with patronage appointments have political ambitions and view fl~cir po~ts as sinecures, and the industry handles them with the requisite friend- ship, courle~y, pe~uasion and generosity to make tile whole system an empty faqade. But there is a professional torps of veterinarians working as Fetle~tl ~pcctors. aml in genend riley do dwlr besl; but there arc too fcw of them to adequately inspect II~e Ihottsands o1" plants across the conntry. The inspt.c- tlon agency cannot agscmlde an ellk'etive staff because it has been ttnde~ubsi- dized by Congress, which in tile has been altogether too receptive to lob- byists l~r the meat industry. Not only d~ we need more ins~ctors, we ueed a better rotation system so they don't get Ioo chummy with lhe industry and close their eyes Io violations; and, above all. we need to train far mot~ veterinariuns as inspectm~s. But there will be no real improvement until all meat-packing at~d proc~sing plants, inlra, as well as inter- state, are brought under strict Federal supervision. The meat packers and proces- sors and state departments of ;tgricullnre are. predictably, against any extension of Federal inspection~and, nnl'ortunarcly h~r the consumer, they have ;t strange ally in the U.S. Department of Agrknl- Lure, whid~ has avoided voluntury release of the evidence of its own abottt conditions in the meat industry. pt~VaOY: Why? ~Aa~R: Because the Department is pri- umrily concerned with "helping the economy" by promoting meat sales fears that any bad pnblicily would hurt business. Of course, the Department's promotioual ;rod regularity rol~ fre- quently clash~bnt the regtdatory role always seems to come oat on the short end. Over the yca~, (lougrc~ional hear- in.q~ on hadth conditions in d~e meat indnstD" could have been called at auy time the DepartInenr rtxlueslml thent~ bttt it never did. And the Dcpar~ent is now roofing to let certified state i~pec- tors approve m~t ship~l in interstate commerce, which could seriously erode d~e Fede~l inspection system. FIere is a situation where ~onsible Gov~ent action could protect the h~dth of mil- lions of citizen~yet the Government has chosen to sit ou dae fa~s, hold the l~nd of the m~t industD- a~:d shud- der when~er tl~e state of a~c/~lture belinda'. Only public vigilance by Congress and inter- ested citizens will dmnge this situation. PLAYgOY; ~'our exposure o[ abuses in the ~ntlamr~ over the ~ ~ lar~ly rmpons~le for the pasgage 1~11;7 or roughened ;~mendmenls to ~he Federal Meet Inaction A~. which com- pels the states to enforce on packers and proteg~rs the same hygienic code im~sctl hy Fedc~d inspection ,iaudar(Is. Have ~mita~" rouditions ira- prosed sin(e Ihen? HADER: To ~ollRr CXltqll. I)nt nlll(h fir- I~;lill~ In be done. Under tlae new law. Ihe slales haxe ;d/out Iwo years In d~eir inspection progr;uns up to Federal st:mdartln or fate a Federal take-over. Already. hm~dreds of plants considered a Ihreat to health have been closed down permanendy or suspemled pending dean- iqJ. ~'h;it is really needed now, however, is to ~dvauize dae Agricnltnre ])eparb nK'nt hHo e~l~or(e~nu~t and compel il to sever its Damon-Pythias relationship witl~ the meat indust~% The tragedy is that all we really need to dexelop a ¢ompreheu- sire nationwide iuspeclion service Ihal would ensure a wholesome meat ~upply is $35,11(111.000 more than we're now spending~roughly a third the cost nile alonlic stlbnlarille. P~V~O~: After nnsanitary couditions Ihe meat industry were widely publi. cizcd, l)rimarily due to ~our own ettbrls. ln;llly health-follsciotls constlmel;s Iiirne(l to fish as an alternative. Are fish prod- uct.s safer Ihan meat? NADIr: Fish are substantially less sus- ceptible In disease thall alllnlals: so that respect, you start with a plus. Never- theless, millions of Americans are ~tling poor-qtmlity and polhtted fish prodncts today. Deterioration. la~ of proper sanitation in the tisheries, contamination of shellfish by polluted waters and ap- plication of d~cmical ~tdditives affect the quality of all fish sold on the market to- tl;t}~calnted, jarred, frozeu or fresh. One problem is the manner in whidt the fish are caught; lisbing boats are fre- quently okl and shockingly unsauitary. alld eVell o1~ tile most nloderll ~ats, lish deterim'ate iu "hold pens" for five to fourtcx.n days before they t~tch the fishe~T, with no refrigeratioa other than a few blocks of itc. Any fish stored at a temperature aboxe freezing begins to deteriomtte almost immediately and pre- sents a health problem, aud ve~ few fishing boats have anywhere near ade- quate refrigeration. The second pt~bl~u ~on~ts d~e fishe~ phmt it,ll. There are ~200 fish- proce~ing plants ~lling interstate iu the United Stat~, and sanitary conditions many of them are bad. Th~ situation hasn't changed since the days whm~ I mtw mine of th~ plants in N~v land as a boy. I've spent ;t goal tied of time studying sn~eys pmt~ng plants by the Foo8 ~d D~g Atlministr~tion: l~e is n mild ext~xt~ T126030240
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from some recent reports: "The lash ~ere hung on wooden sticks for the processing; operation. The stic~ and ~1~ and portid~ ~m ~vious ~ es. Debris f~m previous batch~ of ~h w~ ~p~d in the nicked tabletop, s/n~ no attempt ~s made 1o d~n and ~iti~ ~e table betwe~ o~afions. The~ ~idues s~ to ~nmminate ~1 ba~ of fish that pa~d ov~ &e ru- ble. No attempt was made to clean the rusty wire dip neu that we~ used ~ remove the fish from the thawing and brining casks. The nets had build-ups o[ bits of rotten fish flesh and entrails .... A ~sty perforated metal s~op was gen- e~lly used to mix the brine solutions. In one instance, an employee picked a stick off the floor and used it to mix ~e brine. ... After smoking, the fish were allowed to stand at room temperature for a~ proximately four and one half hours b~ fore they were placed in a regrige~tor." Fish contaminated by such ~ossly unsanitary conditions have led to ~rio~ outbreaks of illne~ and di~a~: people have died from botulism, salmondlosis and shigellosis caused by infected fish pmduc~. During the 196fi Memo~al Day weekend, br example. 400 wople in New York City suffered Salmonella poimning as a r~ult o~ eating smoked fish proc~sed in unsanita~ fisheries; and in 19~L nine people died o[ botu- lism poisoning aft~ eating canned tuna. Defectivdy sealed ~ns of salmon or tuna frequently otue ~etion of the deadly botulism organic; in 1967. the Food and Drug Administration had to recall and test over 2,000,000 ~ses of Alaskan salmon before they detected sev- eral thousand cans with unsealed seams. A related but slightly different prob- lem is &e rising inddence of infectious hepatitis, which in significant measure is due to the consumption of she~fish from waters polluted by sewage, garbage and industrial waste. This last hazard is the responsibility of ~oups other than own- e~ of the fishing vessels: but it ~uld be avoided, wherever possible, by alert fisher- men. Professor John Nickermn of MIT r~ntly appeared before a Senate ~m- mittee investigating sanlta~ onditions in the fisheries and recounted his experb en~s wi~ a typical fishe~ owner who said flatly that he "~uld make jmt ~ much money selling bad fish as he ould selli~ ~od ~h." This, unfortunately, appea~ to he too ~mmon an attitude in the indust~, even when ~e~ is no p~ o~ ~t~l dis~ p~t. ~mu~ of the ~t ~ o[~ standa~ qudity~ has ~n demon- ~t~l by ~udg~ mnduct~ by both t~ Depar~a~ ~ ~e In~r a~ ~~ U~at it's ~ ~- than sev~z percent of meat consump- t/on; cleaning up conditions in this in- but to increase fish consumption; so it wonld be in the industry's own self- interest. I~LAYBOY: After your exposure of un- sanitary conditions in the meat and fish industries, Congress held hearings on the subject and the prospect for reme- dlal action brightened. You had already turned your attention to safety condi- tions in natural-gas pipelines. Way did you become involved in what seems to be such a marginal issue? NADER: It's hardly marginal, when you consider that some 800,000 miles of gas transmission and distribution pipelines wend their unobtrusive way under woods and fields, by schools, homes and busi- nesses and right into the heart of our cities and towns. Corrosion, inadequate welding, lack of sufficient installation depth, brittle and thin pipe~sometimes only one tenth of an inch thick--and other deterioration have caused numer- ous leaks and ruptures and created the potential for catastrophes caused by ig- nition of this gas, which is propelled through these pipelines at extremely high pressures, ranging up to 1300 pounds per square inch. Under such sub- stantial pressure, there is always tile danger of leakages that lead to explo- sions and to a particularly dangerous kind of fire, one that feeds on itself as the gas mixes with oxygen and rages like a giant flame thrower. To prevent this, of course, you need to have extremely strong and durable pipe, properly installed and regularly inspected, to make sure it stays in good condition--neither of which universally obtains today. To give just one example, sections of pipe were recently dug up beneath St. Louis and taken to a Con- gressional hearing on the snbject. They had deteriorated drastically; pockmarks and small holes abounded and many gaping fissures in the pipe had been wrapped around with cloth as a stopgap measure to prevent leakages. It's a mira- de that with the pipes in such condition, there has not been a major explosion and/or conflagration in St. Louis. ~But these conditions exist all over the country. Sources on the Federal Power Commission estimate that up to four percent of the gas transmitted regularly leaks out of pipelines underneath our major cities, which means that there are thousands of cubic feet of highly vola- tile gas floating around waiting for somebody to strike a match. Actually, it's quite remarkable, cousidering condb tbns in the pipelines, that there haven't been more accidents. The Federal er Conzmlssion was told by the hdzzstzy og o~ly 64 cieath~ azzd £2~ inja~/es from Other ~ think these figareg ~r- ticularty the injuries, are greatly under- s~ted. Casualties for ~e mudz ]azger distribution line mileage are not com- piled by the Government, astonlshlngly enough. But there have been too many do~ calIs for comfort. A rural school was btown up by a gas explosion only a few hours before it would have been packed with chiklren; antl in Queens, there was a tremendous gas explosion last year that totally destroyed nine homes and seriously damaged eight oth- ers. Miraculously, there were no injuries ~thanks to prompt evacuation. Others haven't been so lucky. In Nau- gaoutouches, Louisiana, last year, a pipeline fire incinerated 18 people in their homes. The total damage settle- ment was $750,000, which the industry considered a d~eap price to pay when compared with the cost of replacing old pipe with new. Since January of this year. explosions have taken the lives of seven children at a Georgia nursery and seven people near Pittsburgh; gas was also critically involved in a Richmond. Indiana, blast that incinerated several city blocks, kilIing 45 and injuring scores more. Numerons other gas fires this year have destroyed property and injured people. We now have an opportunity, before the situation reaches crisis propor- tions, to develop the type of safety pro- cedures that will foresee and forestall such disasters. Must we, as in auto safety, point to a mountain of dead bodies before the Federal Government or industry takes even the most halting action? No industry should be granted the right to a free major disaster. The time to act is ~OZ~. PI.A¥BO'g: Another issue you have re- cently championed is health conditions in nranium mines. But the uranium- mine workers who are exposed to radia- tion constitute only a tiny percentage of the population. You have warned that a much larger number of people are being overexposed to X radiation in the course of medical and dental X rays. What led you into this area~and how serious is it? ~AZ~l~lt: Early in 1967, I came across a technical paper by Dr. Karl Z. Mor- gan, director of health physics at the Oak P~idge National Laboratory, that warned of dangers to patients from overexposure to X radiation in medical diagnosis. 1 began corresponding with Dr. Morgan and I amassed a good deal of data on the subject, most of it from Federal and state health bureaus, health physicists and radiologists. What I found was shocking. Dr. Morgan, an acknowl- edged expert in the X-ray field, esti- mates that there are approximately 3600 deaths each year due to X rattia. tion and. in his o~n wocd~ "probably aatt~a] ea~'iro~mental ~__ T12.6030241
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from roc~ a~d from cosmic rays filtered through the a~osph~ w~ ~ ~om ~-~ ~es. We ~n do little a~ut nam~l ~diation, but most b~ the man-made ~diation to whi~ were ex- posed com~ from medi~ ~d dental rays: in 19~6 alone, 1~0,0~,000 X rays and 7,000,000 fluoroscope films were taken in U. S. ho~itals and doctors' and dent~ts' o~c~. The fluor~ope, inci- dentally, is a kind of X-ray movie era that gives ~posu~s of radiation from I00 to 200 percent ~eater than comparable radio~aphic X rays. Morgan poin~ out ~at "no matter how ~eat the medical benefits derived X rays, this is no justification of the fact that because of poor techniques wi~ obsolete and improperly operated equi~ meut, many X-ray exposures are ten or more times ~at needed for the best diagnostic results." The problem is compounded by ~e fact that the radiation doses re~ived during medical or dental di~osis Ameri~ are far higher than those in other ~dustrialized nations. The consen- sus of scientific opinion today rejects the previously held belief that ~ere is a limit beyond which radiation is not bagful; it's now conceded ~at zadia- tion damage is cumulative, that the more X radiation you absorb, starting from point zero, fl~e ~eater the deteri- orative effect on your ph~iolo~ and genetic structure. It's only relatively re- cently that we've discovered how dan- gerous such X radiation can be; it induce ~taracts, leukemia, other fo~s of cancer and lesser s~ptoms, m~ as the loss of hMr~and we're just begin- ning to observe d~e results of over~- posure to radiation a generation ago. You may ~member that starting be- fore World War Two ~d continuing till the Fifties, many physicians tried to remove a~e wi~ X ray~some de~a- tolo~s~ still d~and it was a common practice to treat children's tonsils with X radiation to avoid su~e~. Doctors would subject a child's thalamus ghmd to radiation, in the belief that its reduc- tion was necessa~ to relieve the child's ~spimto~ problem. They pmfli~tdy employed X rays to treat a wide ~ of problem, some of them quite withont any concept of the long-t~ ¢~ns~uences of such ~tmen~. A ~ ~up at the ffniv~ity o[ CMi- fornh's Medical Cen~ ~ntly studi~ ~e m~i~ ~ of patien~ o~ ~t 45 ye~ and found ~at incidence of th~id ~n~r ~d ~wn "at an un- pr~t~ rote," f~ t~ p~t in • e Twentim to 15 ~nt for ~¢ 195~ tt~'t'~O¢: Yo~ also mentioned the ge~tetic effects of X ra~. I~IAI~O.= I did, indeed. In addition to its somatic etIectgX~atti~an alter genetic inheritance and increase the risk ol mutations. A patient who gets his teeth X-rayed in a dentist's chair often has other parts of his body irradiated. 'The average dose of X radiation absorbed by the gonads during medical diagnosis is I00 times the dose from radioactive fall- out. A pregnant woman overexposed to X rays in a doctor's office may give birth to a deformed or retarded child; Dr. Morgan believes that X-ray overexpo- sures cause "hundreds and perhaps thousands of children to be born each year with mental and physical handi- caps of varying degrees." And the great majority of these defects go undetected throughout the dfild's llfe. How, for ex- ample, do you measure a 10 or 15 per- cent reduction in a child's potential mental acuity or physical coordination? Dr. Morgan war,is that "there may be as mauy as 10,000 nonvisible mutatior~s for each of the visible variety [and] these more subtle forms of damage . . . may in the long run do greater damage and place a greater burden on our society than those forms of radiation d~unage that result in the death of the individu- al.'" We are living in an increasingly radioactive enviromnent~thanks to man --with emissions from many sources; something has to be done about this situation, and soon. pt~'~0Y: What do you suggest? lqAi)I:R: Well, since 90 percent of all man-made X radiation comes from med- ical and dental diagnosis, we obviously have to start in the office of the doctor or the dentist. Dr. Morgan has pointed out that by properly shielding the pa- tient and adding simple improvements to the machine, it is possible to receive even better diagnostic inio~natiou from X rays with 90 percent less radiation ex- posnre. He has prepared a detailed list of 65 specific mm~sures that can be tab en~none of them unduly complex or expenslve--to reduce radiation overexpo- sure in dental and medical X rays. The use of '~slow" versus "f:tst" film is just one example; if you take fast film--at one-half- or one-quarter-second expo- sures--as opposed to slow four-second exposures, which are widely used today, there's a tremendous reduction in the dose of radiation the patient receives. Such new high-speed X-ray film is avail- able, but most doctors and dentists re- fuse to buy it because it's a fraction more expensive and they would have to spend a few dollars to modify their vital; Dr. Hanson Blatz of the New York fet-tively shiekled X-ray madaine~ sprayed offices of the ~tme building. The en- couraging thing about this situation is that it is so ea~ to solvb; a few simpl:~ and inexpensive safety applications-- along with better training ior X-ra~ technicians, which is presently superficial and desultory--would markedly alleviate the problem. And yet the medical and dental professions remain unresponsive and refuse to concede pubildy that a problem exists. ~l~vsov: Why, in your opinion? ~A~: They are afraid that their public professional image will be tarnished if they snddenly admit that for years they have lacked competence in radiation safety--and they view a tightening of safety procedures as a tacit admission of this failure. In additiou, there is a basic problem Of changing established ways of doing business. The other aspect of this is, of course, economic. Stricter safety standards would require dentists and doctors to hire proficient X-ray technicians, which would add to their payroll; and if a machine has to be modified, it will cost money. Though less than a day's revenue will add a timer for film speed to a dental X-ray machine that would substantially reduce r:~diation overexposure, many dentists don't want to make even that miuimal investment; but, of course, everyone knows that doctors and dentists, next to Negroes, American lndians and a few pockets of Appalachian miners, are most impoverished economic groups in America. So in order to preserve the sta- tus quo, leaders of the medical and den- tal professions have just pooh-poohed the dangers of radiation and they have got- ten away with it, becanse there is seldom a direct, dramatic, dearly demonstrable link between overexposure to radiation and svbsequent somatic and genetic dam- age. And they'll continne to get away with it until the public demands change. vt~vsov: You have charged th'4t another common source of radiation overex- posure is the color-TV set. How ranch radiation do such sets emit, anti how dangerous is it? Iq~l~a: Color-television sets require high- er voltage than black and white, and unless the high-voltage tubes are ade- quately shieldet~ there will be an emis- sion of X radiation. The radiation can come, depending on the defects of the particular set, from its sides, from its front or from its bottom. Now, t_he radi- ation is not sufficiently strong to have a harmful effect on an average adult sit- tlng ten or fifteen feet from the set; but children have the habit not only of watching many hours o~ TV each day bctt of s/tting within two o~ three feet ticulasty semitive area. to a TI26030242
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,/ Exposure ~ st~ ~diat~n ~y not have ~diate delere~ons eff~ts on ~¢1~ ~ h ~~ ~ta~cts lat~ life, and many ~cienth~ ~ fear • at a diild who ~ffers sustained ex~sure to X ~diatJon may suff~ seveie phy~i~l and genetic damage. P~Y~O~: Were the mannfacture~ a~are of the danger before you pointed it out? UAO~R: Oh, they were aware of the danger, all righL But co~ecting it with protective ,hielding mi#~t co,t appro~- mately a dollar per set. anti we all know that the big television manufactnrers, like the medical profession, are walking a fiscal tightrope over perennial bank- ruptcy. This whole problem of radiation in color-TV sets came to public notice only after GE was forced to admit, after prodding by a newspaper and the U.S. Public Health Service, that f12,000 sets already in the hands of their customers emitted exce~ive X radiation and that some of these sets were irradiating the public at levels up to 100 or 1000 times higher than the safety levels established by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement. As a result of the publicity. GE was forced to dis- patch repairmen to modify the dangerous sets. ~IAV~O~: As things stand today, would you own a color-television set? ~ Only iI a radiation check were made on the set---a very simple te~_ PI,~YBOY: Has the Federal Government enforced safety standards in this area? NADER: Not d[re~Iy, but Iegista~ just been passed by Congress dtat author- izes the setting o[ Federal standards for all electronic components etnitting X radiation. I just hope the lobbyists for the electronics indnstry won't succeed. with their customary finesse, in side- tracking or markedly weakening the en- forcement of the law. This is becoming an increasingly important problem, be- cause we're moving into an age when more and more of our workiug and household environment--home micro- wave ovens, for example--will invoh-e machinery anti appliances that emit radiation. Unless we take stringent ac- tion now to reduce the hazards of X radiation from all sonrces--inchtding nu- clear power plants, which should be built below ground and away from metropoli- tan areas, unlike the current practice--- millions of people will suffer serious so- matic and genetic damage in the future. PtAYBOY: Recently, you concerned your- self with another safety issue--flamma- ble fabrics. Is this a serious problem? NADIR: Well over 12,000 people lose their lives in fires in this country ever,/ year and, according to insurance data, a substantial number of them die because raxlous hbcics and materi~ in their hen,us catch on ~re and are so Ilamma- hie that the tire quickly spreads. The clothes we wear anti our household ew, qronmeat~Ja'apes, sli~ cover,~ bed- spreads and rugs, among other tMngx-- are not only too often flammable but emit gases that can asphyxiate the vic- tim before he has even been burned by the fire itselt. The situation has become more acure with the mass marketing of synthetic-fiber produtts in both clothing and decorator items. This problem is also serious in auto safety, because over a decade ago, the industty decided to cut a few corners and began switching its upholstery and coverings from wool. which is highly fire-resistant, to synthet- ic materials that not only are flammable and emit gases but also melt, creating a molten liquid that produces the nmst horrible kinds of bprns. The Flammable Fabrics Act is so grossly ineffective-- there were so many exemptions, includ- ing auto and airphmc fabrics---and so unenforced Ihat Cougress this year wits finally compelled to pass amendments that shou!d ~orce the textile manufac- turers to reduce the flammability of their fabrics. PtAYBOY: Is industry pressure the only reason the Feder;,I Government has tend- ed to resist corrective legislation and euforeement in the areas of health The place to enjoy is m ico For water sports~fishing, surf- ing, yachting----and hunting, Maza- tlhn, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas are brilliant gems in Mexico's glittering tourist crown. Mazatl~n, it,s:: ,.,,- annually the scene of in- ~ .". ..... ternational regattas and ~j~ fishing tournaments, also stages one of Mexico's ""-''" time most colorful carnivals. ..o Directly across the Gulf ~l~raw~; of Cortes is another fabulous fishing ground. ~'O'U ~. In the sierras deer, jaguar and wildfowl also abound. BE SURF- "IO MAKE YOUR RE$ERVAIION IN ~DW~CE (X)NSULT YOUR TRAVEL AGENT OR OUR OFRGES 6~K} F~f~ Ave. Suite ~ New York. N.Y. 10020 210 North Michigan Ave. Chicago, IlL 60601 Paseo d~ ta Reforma No. 45 M~xico 1, D. F. MEX'iCAN GOVERNMENT TOURISM DEPARTMENT NATIONAL TOURISM COUNCIL ~ E~t s~ods eve,t wo. mu m m co TI26030243
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for II ,fl THE NEW TASTE IN SMOKING IThe all.male taste, yet so~ mild and flavorful you'll have ~, trouble keeping it from "her", I Alrcgrate Changeable bowl. Metal grate suspends tobacoo,.e~,95, blasted finish. Yello-Bote is ma~e for mea who like their smoking rk~'~ md f~li flavored. To create ~is uaiqu~ tas~ I~e be~ is pr~-caked ~ a aew~formula honey reached crisis proportions? NADER: That's part c)f it. hnt it's aL~o a basic misallocation of r~sources and ener~. I.et me give you a specific ex- ample: Conside~ng the billions of dol. tars tbe Federal Government is spending to prot~t and enlarge our defenses against nuclear attacL one might think that it would spend a few million dollars to understand and de~ect ~he imminence of major earthquakes in riffs country. I'm referring particularly to the situation in California. whidz in recent months has beeu alarming earthqnake specialists to an unprecedented de~ee. The problem is the same, basically, as that whid~ rmulted in the great California earth- qnakes in 1857 and 1906. It stems the San Andreas Fanlt, which shows dangerous si~s of increasing instability. It was the release of strain, through a big slippage in dais fauh, that led to the of much of San Franci~o the earthquake of 1906: and recent meas- uremenLs have indkated that in some areas sonth oi San Francisco. the terrain is being serionsiy wa~d again. Earlier ~lzis year, Dr. Peter A. Frank- en, a physics professor at the University of Michigan and fornterly special-proj- ects director at flze Pentagon and direc- tor of the Pentagon's Advanced Kesear~ Projects Agency, cautioned that the strained level along the hnlt probably exceeds that prior to the 1906 earth- quake, and warned of a catastrophe that could severely damage both San Francis- co and Los Angeles. And he's only one of many scientists who are predicting that some time in the next ~0 years there will be a really serious earthquake in California that could lead to the crumbling of tbe Goklen Gate and Oak- land Bay bridges, the disintegration freeways and nntohl lon~ of life aml dam- age to housing and other bnildings. Such aa earthquake conld be ~o disast~us that it would render trivial by ~mpafison any ot the disaste~ that have hit ~e North American continent in the past two centuries. As an indication of the ~nd of de- struction that a sudden ~ft would tail, there a~ hu~ housing pmjeca ri~t over the fault, l~ sudz a ~me without any wa~inD it ~uld ily take the lives o~ 1.000.~ p~pie. it ~me with ad~uate ~m~ it's not likely that the~ ~ ~ any su~an- ~tly. t~ F'~I ~'~t ~ e~e ~ ~t ~ ing spent on tiffs entire p, oject--:t rela- *i~e pittance, when you ~onsider gravity o[ the problem and the work tbat has to be done. Here is an example the really irratiomd, il not insane, alh~ c:~;on of resources in tbi~ country. P~YBOY: All of Ihese problems, from safer cars to pr~'enfion of ]o~s ol life in earthquakes, are incontentably o[ social importance. But while yon attack our national order of priorities, touldn't you be accused of misallocating your own priorities? Most of your tonsunzer address themselves to econonfic injustites directed against the affluent white middle class that can afford automobiles, color- TV sets. and the like. Don't the problems of the black ghett~whicb are at the root of the explosive racial sitnation this countz7 today~seem zo you more u~ent than earthquakes and auto ~alety? NADER: The problems I deal with inti- mately affect most Ne~oes, as well as the rest of the population. As a ma~zer or fact. in many areas wizl~ which dze ~on- ~[l~le~ movcmcll~ is tozlc('rned. Negl'OCa ;u'e far more exploited than the white population. As 1 said earlier, the worst meat always finds its way into the ghettos; and Negroes are systematicall~ overcharged for a wide range of pzotl- uc~s and services. A poor ghetto dweller can afford the exorblta.t markup box of detergent or t~tlz paste or on a container of milk far le~ d~an a white suburbanite: they're both bei,g cheazed, but ~e N~o feels it more, because he has le~ to spend and thus mo~ to lose. The cousumer movement in which I'm involved deals not only whh the sagety o[ the p~duct, whkb affects rich and poor alike, but wiflz ove~harging and low-quality merdzandising, bodz of wbkh involuntarily reduce a man's income ;rod both of which are particularly flagram and acute problems in the nation's ghettos. The ~nsumer-protection move- ment a~o deaLs with the ~ntaminafion of our e~i~nment~air aml water l~l- lution, soil ~ntamination. dzemical and radiation ha~s. etc.~whidz obviously :~ts Ne~ as much as whizes. All the~ ~int~p~duct safety, reasonable pri~s, quality me~andising and en- vi~nmental pufit~a~ ~lat~ as muth to the quafity of life in the ~etto the quality d life in ~ale or Grouse Pointe. But ~e ~hl~ to whi~ ]'xe been ~ "1~ h a ~ ~. a~ the T!26030244
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me~t is toward structu~_J corp~ate re- form_ It is sud~ reform that m~st be uratertakea if we are going to solve sources~whid~ will determine how much money and effort we give to the grossly underprivileged sectors of the econo- my. such as the url)an slums: without this reform, the Negro's lot will never improve. As it stands today, 200 of the largest corporations in the land own ap- proximately two thirds of the manufac- turing assets; they are the ones who control our allocation of economic re- sonrces. To the degree that poverty is allowed to continue unchecked in this country; to the degree that huge pockets of unemployment remain; to the degree that regions like Appaladfia are kept poor because the coal interests have discontn~ged other diversified industries from entering .'md improving the re- gion's economy because they want to maintain their iron grip on the labor pool; to the degree that corporate power influences Federal, state and local gov- ernments to sumd pat with the sltll~ quo and avoid necessary public invest- ment in the ghettos; to the degree to which industrial lobbyists have cultivated regulatory and enforcement officials and enticed, bribed or intimklated them into not enforcing Government laws, such as the building codes---to this degree is cor- porate power directly responsible for the continuing plight of the poor. blore than any other single factor3 cor~rate re~o~ ~uld contribute to the alleviation that plight. Thus, the consumer movement, in both its immediate and its long-range impacm, is intimately rdated to the problems of the poor and to the p~b. lem of the urban ghettos. I have not dr~ed myseff to specific areas of ~e civil rights strnggle, becanse ~ere are many people working in this area al- ~ady, and with considerable political muscle. My prime abilities are as a lawyer and as au investigative reporter, discovering new facto in a~as in which no action is being taken and in generat- ing mom~tum for poli~ changes. In the area of civil rights, at least, no one denies the basic facts zbout poverty and exploi- tation; but flint's ~rtainly not the ~ in auto ~ety, o~xl~ m X ~dia. tio~ h~lth ~nditions in the m~t and fish industri~, worker safety ~nditions ~ the ~ and u~nium ~nes, and a h~t o£ oth~ ~ ~ith wbi~ I'm c~ ~ The basic p~b~ in 6~il rlgh~ ~ to ~m~ ~ vdition and ~ntum m~,r~': The ~ of the American tare deslmir and psychologically t-orcosive Indian is in many wa~ analogous to feelings o.f cultural inleriority and alicaa- that o[ the Negro. You were concerned t.ion; it's no coincidence that Indians ~¢ith r.he Indian's_plight as early_ as your under 17 have the highest suicide rate of days at Princeton. Are yon stiR? any group in America, NADER: Yes. The plight of the Indian has become even more desperate than when I first became concerned about it, and public apathy and bureaucratic indiffer- ence and mismanagement are directly responsible for it. The American Indian is the most economically and culturally deprived minority gTonp in the United States: The Indian has a life expectancy of 45, a tuberculosis incidence seven times the nationwide average, an annual family income one fourth that of the white majority--or about $1500--and a shockingly high infant-mortality rate. The Indian population receives dismal health care, lives in substandard housing, has a 40-percent unemployment rate and a 30-percent illiteracy rate. The average Indian receives only live years ol school- ing, and the high school dropout rate among Indian children is over 50 per- cent--and for good reason. Recent Sen- ate hearings have shown that reservation schools are severely inadequate and nut- The children who attend these insti- tutions are never taught anything about their own culture and heritage; when- ever Indians are discu~ed at all in dagsrooms, it's in terms of the stock FIollywood stereotype. And most Ameri- cans are unaware of the deep and bitter anti-Indian prejudice among whites in areas surrounding the reservations; In- dians are despised as subhumans, denied jobs and thwarted at every conceivable step when they try to earn a decent liv- ing. As a result, 200,000 Indians have left the reservations and migrated to the urban slums---where, with inadeqnate education anti no job training, and their cultural roots torn up. they are even worse off than before. All this is a graphic and depressing commentary on our un- willingness to deal humanely with the first Americans. FLAYaOY: Is the Bnreau of Indian Affairs doing anything about this situation? NAI~R.: Yes. Perpetuating it. The ]3ureau, "'Say, I wouldn't mind doing a little tampering ~oith that ~ury mysel[ .... "' T!26030245
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"'You gladden my heart, Tom. Too many sons behave indifferently toward their dads." ! which has 15,000 employees, is one of "" can Indians issued a fine report in 1966 die most moribund, unimaginative and ineffectual bureaucracies ever created by the lCederal Government. The Indi- an's lot would improve vastly if the Bureau's annual appropriation of some $280,000,000 were paid direcdy to Indian heads-of-family, instead of undergoing its customary bureaucratic attrition. For pnhlic consumption, its mission is to im- prove conditions for the Indians; in realty, its task for 119 year~ has been to help private intere~t~ eneroack on Indian territor7 and exploit their natural sources. As a result, since the Bureau's establishment, the total Indian land area has diminished fxom 150,000,000 ac~s to 5~000,000 acres. The basic problem here is that the Bureau is pa~t of the Depart- merit of the lmterior, ~ida has ~ it, primm-y minion as ~ pro- te~tio~ o£ the big mining, timber and grmi~ i~te~,ts. on the Indian situation, but all its basic recommendations, including a call to transfer responsibility for Indian affairs from the Secretary of the Interior to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, were rejected by the White House, which still keeps secret the Task Force's 104-page report. I have been able to see the report, however, and it reflects the disgust with which many member~ viewed the Bureau of Indian Affairs' treatment of its "wards." The port revealed that everywhere they went, Indians believed, with justification, that "too many BIA employee~ were simply timeservers of mediocre or poor compe- tents who remained indefinitely because they were willing to serve /n mxattrac- tire posts at low rates of pay for long periods of ~ that many l, md sclom~ anti-lnd~ma attitades and are ~ottv/nc~ that Imiiam m'e rea~ hope- / ing maiority of ~x~servat/on Indians-- aM 1%-e traveled to many reservations ~ince t-wrotemy fi~t artide ject, "'People Without a Future," in 195~--view the BIA ~,ith despair and contempt. At the same time, they feel it is a buffer against further encroachments on their tribal land base. Even so. ouly a few Indians on the reservations asso- date with the Bureau. eager for the material benefits deriving from it; mili- tant young Indians call them "Uncle Tomahawks." PLAYBOY: What could the Government do to help the Indian? u~t~[t~: The awfid thing about this situ- atiou is that, like so many o[ the other wrongs I've talked about, it conkI be so easily improved. There are only 400,000 Indians on the reservations and 200,000 in tile cities---many of them in Los Angeles, Denver and Minneapolis. The opening up of only 45,000 new reserva- tion jobs could put tile Indians on the road to economic self-sufficiency and so. cial health. The Government could pro- vkle some of these jobs, and others could be created by an ilnaginative program spearheaded by the Government and the private sector. Tile cost for ot~e year would probably be no more than we spend in Vietnam in oue week--and yet nothing is done. Tile ludian con. tinues to live in squalor, his childret~ continue to be robbed of fl~eir sell-respect by smugly ignorant white teacherm and this shame of America continues. And it is our shame: we have left them to rot in camps of human degradatima while our gross national prodnct swells to ~onomical heighLq year after }ear. Before it's too late. we mttst ha~e a massive infusion of intelligendy directed funds to improve education, health :rod housing on the reseiwations and, above alI, to create jobs. The ~lut[oll is get rid of the rese~ation system aud "ab~rb" tile Indian into American lile. because that would destroy his ctdture, which is land based, and would consti- tute the ultimate annihilation of the Indian, even if his assimilated descend- an~ su~ived. It would be the final ~e[~. Ano~er qn~tion here is: How car we ever expect to deal compassion- ately or ~ationally with the uutle~level- op~ a~ of the world, much ~mp~hend their ~ltu~s, when m'e not even t~t d~ntly the fi~t inhab- i~ of our own land? The Indian, like the Ne~o, is a a~r for Ameri~ttz ~de~, and h~ d~pair ~ our ~.ilt. ~t&~o~: You a~ working to ~ne~te ~n~onal mion on b~flf o[ the ~n. Im't this a ~ [r~ ~ur T!26030246
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/ mo~en~mt. I'm wocl~i~g o~ the Indian question because, ~ke d~ r~ m ~ce, k ~ ~ ~e ~ h~ been n~- t~ef~e~, ~ little or no politi~ m~de bmu~t ~ bear in ~ashington on behMf of the Indian. I hope that ~it~ffon will ~ange wi~in the n~t year. P~Y~OY: Became o[ your dedi~ou to the ex~sure and ~ection o[ su~ ~dal problems, your press image has ~ &at o[ a humorl~ [~atic, a tire[~ ~sader with lhtle or no time for other human beings. Do you think fl~at des~ibes you~ NA~a: N~but I do teel intensely about social issues and I tend to place the humau needs of our society above my own particutar needs and ambitions; for some reason, that seems to ba~e people. I'm afraid the public tends to have a ~eaLer tolerance for who utters rin~ing phrases but doesn't follow ~rough, someone who profe~es idealism but practices expediency. Per- haps, in a life where little compromises are the rule, it's easier to understand su~ a person and identi~y wi~ him. Bu~ when somebody persistendy pur- sues a conrse of refo~, an i~ge of him as a fanatic ~usader evolves. Is it so un- usual, ~o impiausibM, ,o distasteful, that a man would believe deeply enou# in the wor~-whileness of his work to dedi- cate his li~e to it? If it is, I think that's more of a commentary on the alienation of our society than it is on the zeal of Kalph Nader, ~tAv~oY: A great deal has been made in the press about your alleged asceticism. Are you as oblivious to ~eature mmforts as such ~eports indicate? NAO~R: It seems to amaze my ~itlc~ even to disappoint them~tbat I don't liv* in a palatial penflmuse, wear $500 custom suits or dine sumptuously in chic restaurants. I iust prefer to utilize my resource, which aren't exactly endless. in su~ a manner as to maximize the eff¢cfiven~ of my work. For ~ample, if X have a dmice of eating an el#t- dollar dinner or making a seven-dollar phone ~all to get ~me information, eat a on,dollar dinner and use tke mainin~ money to make the ,xorbltand~ pHc~ phone c~. But I certainly don't believe I live an as~6c life; a~ least, it ~rtainly wouldn't be ju~ed as~tic ~ ~r~nt of the world's ~pulation. ~o~: If ~ou ~ive a su~al amount in dam~ ~m your invasion- of-p~va~ *uit ~*t GM, wiH it c~n~ your mode of llf~ NADER: No, be~u,e ~y~ I ~ive b~ in~ ~ cam of ~nsmer s~ety. P~YBOY: How ~ your ~nt c~ Fernet-Branca The Bitter Brightener MAKESYOU MAKEA BITTER FACE, BRIGHTNESS WITH COMES COFFEE, A LITTLE LATER! MENTHE OR STRAIGHT T~6030247
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cam goes to support the consumer issues major reason for the malaise in our socie- I'm espousing, ty. If you hate your work, you're bound PtAYBOYr Have there ever been too- to Icad a life of quiet desperation. ments when you became discouraged by 'FLAYBOY: ~h-e ~e~Yor~ T/m~r has de- lack of progress and thought of retiring to a placid private law practice_¢ NAnE~: Not even remotely. Of course, there are many times when you fail to achieve anywhere near what you want to; but you've just got to adopt the atti- tude that the tougher the going, the more you have to persevere. Once you rome to look at things in that light, tem- porary defeats become nourishment for additional effort. The only real defeat is giving up, just as the only real aging is the erosion of onc's ideals. PLAYSOY: You have a rough working schedule. When do you relax? NADER: Well, relaxing is a subjective term; to some people, it means lying on the beach, or getting clrunk, or frugging in a discothkque, or sleeping 12 hours a day. But I don't create an artificial dis- tinction between work and leisure. I find my work so imperative, so stimulating, so demanding of those qualities within me that l value, that it's really, in the deepest sense, fun. A love of labor pro- ceeds from a labor of love. I don't have any concept of vacation, of dividing my life between tiresome periods of work and pleasant periods of relaxation. To me, writing, researching, unearthing in- formation and articulating and advocat- ing important issues constitutes a kind of laborious leisure. Perhaps it's this atti. rude toward my work that causes so many people to consider me a priggish puritan. I really feel sorry for such people, because they must loathe their own work~and perhaps also themselves for not having the guts or the motivation to find something more meaningful to do wida their lives. I just couldn't live that way. 1 would rather work 20 hours a day on something that absorbs me than three hours a day in a job that gives me no satisfaction. I think one of the things at fault here is the acculturation progress that brings young people into adulthood down rigid pathways over which they have no say and which propels them into career patterns almost automatically, without allowing them to ever really challenge the parental restrictions and societal as- sumptions that force them into jobs they have no feeling for. I think it's tragic to see so many bxight young people sign- ing away their lives by pursuing prede- termined career patterns without ever examining ~hat lCmds of lives they real- ly want to lead. Nobody can be creative and response'hie and interested in what h~'s doi=g m~iez these and I ~ tke way yotmg~.e~ scrihed you as existing "in a state of constant, barely controlled outrage." Is this accurate? NADER: It's an accurate partial descrip- tion, I do feel deeply about social issues ,and I am outraged when other human beings Iose their lives or are permanent- ly maimed by the negligence of the auto, tobacco and drug industries; and I find it repugnant that our food and our natural environment are poisoned by sewage, pesticides, chemical and radio- active pollutants, with the ternfinal ef- fects being explained away by medical diagnoses such as cancer, heart dis- ease and respiratory ailments; and l'm shocked at the institutionalized cruelty to which the American Negro and the An~erican Indian are subjected; and I'm repelled by the conditions in which miners are forced to work. I don't pre- tend to be detached about these and other problems, but I do try to be ra- tional and objective in attempting to ameliorate them. Too many reformers become grim and humorless and allow the abuses they deal with daily to sour their outlook on the world and alienate them. I don't. PLAYEOY: Many professional reformers are motivated at least partially by per- sonal political ambition. Are you? ~ADSR: No, I'm not. I've been ap- proached to run for Congress from my native Connecticut, but I've declined. There is, of course, a great deM a legis- lator can do for the cause of consumer safety, but I believe 1 can be most effec- tive in the private sector, articulating the issues and helping create the kind of consumer constituency that will attract more good men to Government and keep Congress at the forefront of public needs. i'tAWov: Do you resent being compared, as you have been, with the muckrakers of the early 20th Century? ~A~: No. In fact, I consider it a com- pliment. Many of the leading muckrak. ers, such as Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens. were very effective stimuli /or social reform, and in a sense, I'm working in their tradition. Bnt I try to go further than they did. The muckraking tradition entailed in- vestigating a specific area diligently, digging up the facts that had been sup- pres~d or ignored and then presend~g them to the public, which would mand remeclial action. I feel my spon.~'lfilities go beyond tki~ because to the adm/niaradve and ~t stages and to the spedfic application of public policy at tim graseroots level. It's notenough jus~ to xmmask~ nxsty~ttra- tion and then sit back and wait for ch,-mge. H. L. Mencken once described a relormer as ,x man who sails through a sewer in a glass-bottomed hoar. r~Vhat he meant was that too many commenta- tots sit smugly in their Morris chairs, en- joying the leisure of the theorled class. PLAYBOY: How do you feel about the "consumer crusader" label that's been applied to you? NADER: I don't mind it, as long as it doesn't interfere with my work; and it does have a certain rhythmic ring to it. But l dislike the temlency to encapsu- late a m~m by labels---philosophical, po- litical, religious or otherwise. If pressed. however, I suppose l would call myself a humanist. I believe the emphasis of society must be on man, on man's needs and potentialities, on the rneans by which he can fulfill his individual role while remaining responsive to the re- quirements of a complex, interacting so- ciety. While we all pay lip service to this, of course, the tendency is to subor- dinate the individual to abstractions-- the state, the ideology, the religion, the corporation--that render him expend. able or redundant. My motivating factor is respect for the individual--from the motorist whose life is sacrificed through corporate neglect to the sharecropper grmmd down by our oppressive heritage of racism and a plantation economy. PLAYBOY: Are you a Democrat or a Re- publican? NA~R: Neither. I shun political ideolo- gies of all sorts, because they always reflect a rigidity, an inability to judge ead~ issue on its own merits, irrespective of prior conditioning. The inherent au- thoritarianism deriving from this inflexi- bility inhibits our freedom of choice aml blinkers our creative imagination. Be- sides, no extant ideology even comes close to fulfilling the needs aml aspira- tions of man today. So 1 approach a par- titular issue from the perspective of my own ethical principles, but with open- hess and flexibility. My critics call me a radical, but I think the real radical in the United States today is the corporation manager who, for .'all his facile prattle about free enterprise, has reaJly helped create an increasingly cnntrolled economy domi- nated by a few dozen giant corpora- lions. Aml yet the average citizen would tend to classify big-business executives as helonging, with a few isolated excep- tions, o~ the conservative right. What they fail to realhe is that the concentra- tion o/ ~ and i~s arbitrary use T!26030248
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protected privileges and immunities, affects the destiny of the land in pro- ~ound: ~,vay~. When it comes to American lives, to give one example, the war in Vietnam has not e~en clo.~ely approximated the carnage that occur~ on our highwa.~s: 28,000 American Ser~-icemeu have been killed in Vietnam since 1961: this is roughly the total that die on our high- ways io an average 27-week period. I'm nor saying this to minimize in any way the terrible hum;m sullering the war has caused, hut to emphasize another kind of violence that is generally ignored by the public. As l'xe said. my mission has ~dways been to apply my efforts in those areas where vir¢uall$ nothin~ is being done at the puhlic policy It*eL ttAvsov: How do you select these a,~as? ~A0~r: I've developed three criteria to dete~ine my selection oF an issue; I ask myself first how importam ~t is; secoud, what kind of contribu:~ru I can make: and third, how many people are already working in the area. It's ll~is last point flint has kept me from throwing myself into the amlwar struggle, because we have considerable talent~irom students anti profe~ors to political leaders like Senators Fulbrigbl and McGarthy~ntriv- ing to terminate this war. But when I look around at such i~sues as auto saf~ ty, ~he safety of our foods, the salary of our man-made en~iro]mlent from air and water pollmiou aod soil colltam~l]a- lion. thco I find very few people work- ing skillfully outside Government with the requisite indepemlence to p*~tect the coosumers' in/cresls. So I ha*e to make a cfioit~ of where ! can mobilize my limited individnal resources Io the maximum on behalf of d,e pnblic inter- est. And that means Iha/I can only ban- dle four. or. ~,t the very most. five major issues at one time wi/hon~ dKsipating whatever eIl'ectlvenens I may lmve. ~YSOY: You've be'ca cxlrcmely crilical o[ nearly every aspect of American ~ci- ely, from bnsine~s and Government to the medical, demal ;rod lc~*l profes- sions. Are you completely pessimistic abont tl~e p,~specls f~r fl*is conntry~r do you find g~umls for optimism? ~: I'm definitely nol a pessimist, or I wonhln'/ be working in the a~as I am. I wonhln't ~dl myscI[ an optimist, ei- ther. but l ;,m hopeful about this ~un- ~ and I am eu~ur;~! that we will ~turn som~:,y to a [~itive ~md pm~- ductive padL both socially aud politi- ~}y. Tbe~ :n~ still vr~t ~'oi~ of ideal~ and ~mmi*ment in ~is ~iety, ~hfly among our youth: and d~ spite the te~ble ~ a~icdng u~ ~ of t~ N~ the u~,~abte that tran~orm men into ~utommta---I still believe there is a g~nuirm potential for constructive and redeeming d~ange. Even after ".tti-t~4nequitie.~'.~e in Wa.~hington, I know there are many public otfcials genuinely dedicated to d,e public service, ~nd a growing num- ber of Americans are demanding basic reforms in our society. It would be a mistake to underestimate the Jntelli-' gence---or overestimate the patlence---of the American electorate; the people will stand just so much before tl~ey take re- medial action, at the polls and through ~ohtntary organi?~ttions. So there are many domestic areas that offer options for progress and fundamental change. I'm less optimistic abont our foreign policy, which shows little imlication of being open and candid with the Ameri- can people and every indication of con- tinuing to pur~ue an aggressive and unrealistic path in Latin America, Soutb- e-'tst Asia and other areas of the world. Bat I have faith th-'tt the American people will ultimately find the will to overcome the grave ills in our society. Unlike most nations, we already haxe the means. PtAYtO¥: XNould you elaborate on your muclvpublicized statement that your objective is "nothing less than the quali- tative reform of the Industrial Kevolu- tion"? ~&o~: Well, it boils down to a sin#e basic problem: We have failed to adapt our technological advances to our hu- man needs. In the industrialized era world, we are entering an age of considerable redundanc~ in terms of the total a~regate of goods and se~'ice~ produced; our task now is not just to increase the pile bat to ensure a more equitable distribution of the goods we produce and to mganize the allocation ol onr resonrce~ in ~uch a way that they contribnte to redncing and preventing the man-made environmental hazards that threaten life on earth. Most oi the progress in sdence and tedmology since World War Two has been in areas re- mote f~m the avera~ citizen: space. defense systems, computers and auto- mated machine~. It's time to apply ~ience and technolo~ to the immediate neet~ o[ the puMic: Jn tr~sportation, housing, hospitals, schools. ~re have the technoio#cal ~apacfty to avoid m~t ;~ and water poBution and carnage on die hi~xways, to cu~ the blight infecting our dtie~ to produce whol~me food for MI the p~pie, to p~vide ad~uate h~th ca~ for one, m ~ve ~al ~ctt~ty and ~idpadon to ~e a~ and tatet~ to e~ ~mplo~ent and open up an nn~lel~ ~ ~ pros~ity am| itm~in~tioo---bt~ we l~atM~ s~wn~l by ~e Indus~al ~olufion h~ve ¢on~t~ t~much of the nation~ w~lth and pow~ in a manner ~at insulat~ ~h~ f~m ~al inx~l~emcnt in and r~ponsibili~ for many of the grc;tt imues of ouF tim~. X~He dtic~ burn. d,e large corlmmtions recap record profits. Tbc pain of the slums ~ust become the pain of ~q~orateAmeD iGa if this widening sore is to be removed. ~n~ wonld not fiddle Iong in app~pgafing fumls for necessary pr~ ~ms if it were given a "go" signal by determined corlmrittc leadership. But beyond this. I'm concerned that mwont~lled and tmdi~cted tedmologi- Gd development has served to retard rather than iid~allCe gennine, human progress. Just look at the rations satisfac- tions ptximlustrial man derived from his relatively primitive cnvironmcm: peace and quiet. Ircsh air, clean water, unpof luted footl~;dl of which are now becom- ing r;u'e in our s~iety, so ranch ~ that their provisim~ connnands extremely high prices. We ;~rc now witnessing the com- mercialization of Ihe b:tsic things that prcindustrial m;m took ror ~anted. but which modern mall ]las so desecrated that they are now becoming luxnries. Seemingly inlinite hmnan w:mts and needs arc on ;t tollision course with the earth's finite uatnral rcmurcc~particn- larly ait~ water ;rod soil. The burgeoning man-made a.ssaults oo the human bio- sphere re.stilt h~m the contempt indns- trial man has shown toward natnre. Unfortunately, this cumulative contempt is be~iuning to boomerang onto the people of this planet. Nature abused too much S0011 IuFns OU its That's why 1 plau ~o ¢ontinne to pub- licize the facts almut tbc problems and i~sues thitt allcct every American inti- mately but ovct which he has too little decision-making power, in the holx that popuh~r pressures aod vigorous cnnsum. er relnxSentation will transform indnst~ am[ Government into cxpre~siom, rather than adversaries, of the public interesL Broad public participatim~ in the deci- sion-making in~cess, both political and economic, is indispensable to a truly via- ble democtutc}. But the fight doesn't end once the imbllc is awa~ of the htcts anti invohx-d in the ixsucs; we must also fore new tedmiquc~ and institutions to en~nre that the public intent is achiev~ :ts wall az ~¢ogniz~l. P~YBOY: Adding up a box ~ o[ the cauls you'xe du~pion~ and the batd~ ~u'x, won. lost or drawn, do you feM that ~ur e~oms lmve been ~uc~ful? NAD~= It's too ~ to m~ The ~tn~le f~ ~n~mer jmt T126030249
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