WASHINGTON, September 24, 2012 ― Jesse Ventura has been many things - veteran, author, wrestler, governor, and Kennedy School fellow. What he’s never been is boring or afraid to speak his mind. This is Part 2 of my interview with Ventura. For Part 1, “Jesse Ventura: Telling it like it is,” click here.
Kevin Kelly: With the election of Barack Obama in 2008, many Americans expected a dramatic change in our political landscape. You chronicle in one chapter of your book how Obama has continued many of the same policies as his predecessor. Do you think that Obama is the third term of George W. Bush?
Jesse Ventura: I think it made “USA Today,” a quote that I had earlier this week, and I said that I can’t tell the difference between the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration except the two leaders’ only difference was the color of their skin. The wars are still going on, Gitmo is still there, the surveillance is still there, Bush suspended habeas corpus, Obama hasn’t returned it. What’s the difference? That leads to what I said earlier, there is no difference. When you vote, and if there is a third candidate or a third party candidate, they always like to tell you that you waste your vote if you vote for that candidate right? I’d like to reverse that and say: No, you waste your vote if you vote for a Democrat or a Republican because you’re going to get the same thing. That’s a wasted vote. Unless you like the same thing, but according to polls people are completely unhappy with our government. Why don’t they change it? The solution is a simple as the nose on your face, but it’s as difficult as climbing Mount Everest. You know what that is? Stop voting for them. It’s that simple, but the lemmings of the United States, they still do it.
Kelly: You told a story in the book when Howard Dean, running for President in 2004, told Chris Matthews on “Hardball”: “We’re going to break up the giant media enterprises.” Soon after that statement, the press began labeling Dean as unelectable. Why do you think the media deems certain candidates unelectable? For example, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, etc.?
Ventura: Well, because they are owned by the same corporations that own our government. The media was supposed to be, by our Founding Fathers, the unwritten fourth branch of government, and their job was to watchdog the other three. That doesn’t happen anymore. They’re now in bed with the other three because they are owned by the same corporate entities. Dan Rather, the other day I heard him, and it was very interesting. The first thing he said that was interesting was - do you remember when he made the report on George Bush’s military record? Well, that report was completely factual and true and he got fired for it. He got fired for it. What was even worse, Mr. Rather stated: Twenty years ago there were forty independent media outlets that we could rely upon to get information from; today we’re down to four because of corporate takeovers.
Kelly: It’s become monopolized.
Ventura: Absolutely, and on that note let’s look at this for a minute. Why in the private sector do they always tell you that competition is good right? Competition is good. Yet in the public sector, it’s the opposite. No competition. You haven’t heard a third voice in a presidential debate now for twenty years. Ross Perot in ’92 was the last third voice you were able to hear. No other candidate is allowed to debate, how can they possibly stand a chance to win, when the two parties control who’s allowed in the debates?
Kelly: Is there any individual currently in the media whom you feel does a good job reporting the facts?
Ventura: Of the organized media? No. It’s shameful that I have to say this. From my dealings, if we can steal the quote from FOX, “Fair and Balanced,” I would tell you that the closest to it is Al-Jazeera. Isn’t that shameful? I don’t say that with pride either. It’s from my dealings. I’m not allowed on FOX and I’m not allowed on MSNBC.
Kelly: Why is it in your opinion that you are not allowed on those networks? Is it because you speak truth to power? You make them uncomfortable? Are they physically intimidated by you?
Ventura: All of the above. You’d have to ask them. Every time I do a book tour, do anything, we attempt to get on every station we can, and FOX and MSNBC will not have me on, and trust me I get ratings.
Kelly: I bet you do.
Ventura: (Laughs) So they’re willing to sacrifice ratings just to keep me off.
Kelly: Do you think another factor could be that you’ve served your country honorably, and some of the “chicken hawks” at some of the other networks are intimated by that?
Ventura: Absolutely. A lot of them, especially FOX are nothing but warmongers. All they want to do is go to war, and there ain’t one of them that have ever been in the military: Hannity, O’Reilly. None of them and you use the proper word “chicken hawks” you must have gotten it from me. (Laughs) You know the definition of a “chicken hawk?” That’s somebody who when it was their time to serve you couldn’t find them, and when they’re all safe all they want to do then is send young people to war. Interesting story, one time I was doing an interview with a right-wing talk show host in Minnesota named Jason Lewis, and I told him the decision to go to war is an easy one. He took exception to that and he said: How could going to war being an easy decision? I said: Here’s how, a war is justified if you’re willing to send your children. If you’re not willing to send your children to the war, then it’s not justified.
Kelly: The type of war we should be willing to fight is the type of war you’d be willing to send your own child to fight and die in.
Ventura: Exactly. In my lifetime, born in 1951, there isn’t one war today that I could tell you I would send my child to. Not one and I’m 61 years old now. Speaking on that for a moment, if you count the Cold War, which cost us millions and trillions of dollars, if you count the war on drugs which is truly a war because I live in Mexico part of the year and 20,000 Mexicans were killed last year in the war on drugs. So it’s certainly a war. Do you realize we’ve been at war my entire life? Anybody besides me find that a bit strange?
Kelly: One chapter entitled “Is the Bill of Rights in the shredder?” you expose how we have lost our Constitution. In your opinion, does our country still have a Bill of Rights?
Ventura: Not with these two parties and the leaders of our country. Absolutely not. Look at the Wall Street protestors. Now, whether you agreed with the Wall Street protesters or whether you didn’t, they still should have been fully supported and here’s why. All they were doing was exercising what is supposed to be written in their First Amendment rights. What happened? They were run off with pepper spray and dogs. What hypocrisy. Right at the same time all of these demonstrations were happening in the Middle East and our country was heralding it. How wonderful that this was going on over there. Well, at the same time in their own backyard they were pepper spraying and running off protesters with dogs. The reason why everyone should have supported them is that right, maybe you didn’t agree with the Wall Street protestors, but some day you’re going to want to protest something. Some day it may be you and that right will not be there for you anymore.
Kelly: Why is that you think some Americans don’t consider the possibility that measures that have been passed to supposedly fight terrorism, may be used against them one day?
Ventura: Well, because they’re not listening to what the great Benjamin Franklin told us. Benjamin Franklin said: Those that would give up their liberty for security shall have and deserve neither. Liberty is security. Freedom is security. We seem to be saying: I don’t care just take my freedom, just make me safe. Well, the only way government can make you safe is to lock you up and take away your freedom. That’s the only way they can do it and that’s what they’re doing and our people seem to be willing to allow them to do that. Now we’re going to have some fun with it. Maybe it’s the water. Do you know where I’m going?
Kelly: Why don’t you tell me Governor?
Ventura: Okay. Maybe it’s the water, here’s why. Back in the 1950’s, we were told that they were going to put fluoride in the water to help our teeth. So it’s mandatory. A city in Minnesota tried to not do it, and the federal government came in and forced them to. That happened in Minnesota a few years ago. Okay, fluoride in the water to help our teeth. Well, shouldn’t that be the job of your mom and dad? To teach you how to brush your teeth and use mouth wash? What do we need the government to do it for? Clearly, what a scam. Fluoride in the water. Do you know who the first people were to put fluoride in the water?
Kelly: The Nazis.
Ventura: You’ve got it. Hey you’ve done your homework. I’m impressed for a 21 year old. The Nazis. Do you think the Nazis cared about good teeth? Here’s why, fluoride is the major ingredient of Prozac. When you drink fluoridated water, you’re drinking liquid Prozac. You drink enough of it, even though it’s a small amount, drink it for decades and decades and what does Prozac do to you? It dumbs you down, it makes you docile. Maybe that’s why I am like I am because I didn’t realize this until a few years ago when I stumbled upon it, but all of my houses that I have lived in my adult life without me knowing this, for some weird reason I had my own well. So I have never drank much fluoridated water. Maybe that’s why I am like I am then.
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