Ralph Nader speaks at JSU

By Dixon Hayes

JACKSONVILLE, AL (WBRC) - Ralph Nader says cars are much safer now than they were 40 years ago...but Toyota's problems were caused at least partly by arrogance.

Nader's comments to reporters came before he was scheduled to speak at Jacksonville State University Monday.  In the case of the reports of sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles, Nader said the Japanese automaker was once the "gold standard" for safety and quality, and that led to "arrogance."  He also blamed the problems on a change in top management, and issues with computers that do more work inside modern cars.

The longtime consumer advocate wrote the book "Unsafe at Any Speed" in 1965, criticizing the Chevrolet Corvair and other cars from the era.  His book is credited with the creation of federal auto safety standards.

In his news conference, the four-time third-party presidential candidate spoke on a wide range of issues:

*He openly asked Senator Richard Shelby why he is not supporting a bill that would create a federal oversight agency that would deal with consumer credit.
*He criticized the health care reform law for not going far enough, despite its more than two thousand pages, which he called a lawyer's bonanza.
*He planned to speak to the JSU crowd on what he perceives as the nation's tendency to "value corporate values over civic values" and calls that "a sign of a decaying society."
*On the Tea Party movement he said "At least the Tea Party people have a pulse."  But he added he didn't think the group could be effective because it contains so many people with so many differing and conflicting agendas and "levels of indignation."  He also says their anger should be better directed not at government but at Wall Street.
*He says Congress should minimize the filibuster and let the majority rule, even by 51 vote majorities in the Senate, as a way of clearing up congressional gridlock.
*Nader referred to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh as "cowards" because they shy away from debate, and says he's challenged both men to public debates to no avail.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.