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Ralph Nader

Indicators For Measuring Injustice And Societal Decay

Economic indicators – data points, trends, and micro-categories – are the widgets of the big information industry. By contrast, indicators for our society’s democratic health are not similarly compiled, aggregated, and reported. Its up and down trends are presented piecemeal and lack quantitative precision. We can get the process started and lay the basis for qualitative and quantitative refinement. Years ago, when we started “re-defining progress” and questioning the very superficial GDP and its empirical limitations, professional economists took notice. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, economists cling to the yardsticks that benefit and suit the plutocrats and CEOs of large corporations. Here are my offerings in the expectation that readers will add their own measures:

The Uplifting Magic Of Mother’s Day In These Perilous Days

As Mother’s Day approaches, the celebration of our Mothers is overshadowed by the mounting Covid-19 casualties. Donald Trump is incapable and unwilling to provide the leadership needed to deal with the deadly pandemic attacking our communities. While we cannot afford to slow efforts to challenge the President and our Members of Congress, it is important to take a bit of time and reflect on what our parents, and in particular our mothers, have done and continue to do for their families. I describe this sentiment in the Ralph Nader and Family Cookbook about nutritious food and its relation to our upbringings. My mother and father and their four children – two girls and two boys – all ate the same food. There was peace and time for family discussions at the dinner table.

No Need To Vote In Fear: Vote For What You Want

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Truthdig. Once again, fear is being ramped up to manipulate progressive voters into voting for what they do not want, Hillary Clinton, instead of someone who represents their values. The fear of Trump is the card being played this year and to justify it people are being told that Gore lost to Bush in 2000 because of third party candidates. One of the most effective pieces of political propaganda in this century has been the Nader Myth, which says that Al Gore lost in 2000 because Ralph Nader ran for president. This myth is repeated by many Democratic Party operatives and people in the media, who are essentially serving as Democratic Party spokespersons. Since the Democratic Party’s method of convincing people to vote for Hillary Clinton is fear of Trump, people should be prepared with the facts around the 2000 election so they can dispel the Nader Myth. The facts show that the reason Gore lost was because of Al Gore. He lost voters he should have won, hundreds of thousands of Democrats and liberals, to George W. Bush in the key state of Florida.

Monsanto And Its Promoters vs. Freedom Of Information

By Ralph Nader for The Nader Page - As the FOIA approaches its 50th year, it faces a disturbing backlash from scientists tied to the agrichemical company Monsanto and its allies. Here are some examples. On March 9th, three former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – all with ties to Monsanto or the biotech industry – wrote in the pages of the Guardian to criticize the use of the state FOIA laws to investigate taxpayer-funded scientists who vocally defend Monsanto, the agrichemical industry, their pesticides, and genetically engineered food. They called the FOIAs an “organized attack on science.” The super-secretive Monsanto has stated, regarding the FOIAs, that “agenda-driven groups often take individual documents or quotes out of context in an attempt to distort the facts, advance their agenda, and stop legitimate research.” Food safety, public health, the commercialization of public universities, corporate control of science, and the research produced by taxpayer-funded scientists to promote commercial products are all appropriate subjects for FOIA requests.

Sending Citizens Summons To Members of Congress

By Ralph Nader in Common Dreams - My proposal of a Citizens Summons can begin the process of showing your elected legislators who is truly in charge, as befits the Preamble to the Constitution – “We the People.” I am including below a draft Citizens Summons to your Senators or Representative. It covers the main derelictions of the Congress, under which you can add more examples of necessary reforms. Your task is to start collecting signatures of citizens, members of citizen groups, labor unions, and any other associations that want a more deliberative democracy. The ultimate objective is to reduce inequalities of power. Shifting power from the few to the many prevents the gross distortions of our Constitution and laws, our public budgets, and our commonwealth, that currently favor the burgeoning corporate state. May you give your lawmakers a memorable August recess; they deserve to be shown the workings of what our founding fathers called “the sovereignty of the people.”

Nader Is Promoting A ‘Radical’ Civics Course

When it comes to civic responsibility, Ralph Nader would like students to follow his lead. The nation's schools, the consumer advocate says, should adopt a radical new approach to teaching civics courses, aimed at making students understand what they can do to make a difference. For a lesson he can draw from his own life, as the man who inspired the consumer movement with his attack on General Motors over the safety of the Corvair automobile in the 1960's. And for a textbook he can point to a new book on civics education released this week by his Center for Responsive Law, titled "Civics for Democracy: A Journey for Teachers and Students." Encouraging Change The book, written by Katherine Isaac, encourages students to be agents of change and lays out a variety of ways they can do so, from using the court system to insuring that laws are enforced to working to bring about new laws.

For Nader, Defiance Is A Way Of Life

Nader’s newest book, “Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015,” a collection of letters to Barack Obama and George W. Bush (whom Nader once called “a corporation running for the presidency masquerading as a human being”), was inspired, he said, by the letters between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and between Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Harold Laski. In Nader’s letters the path to ruin built by corporate and imperial power is laid bare and the vision of a future freed from environmental catastrophe, corporate totalitarianism and financial exploitation and collapse is spelled out with quixotic clarity. Bush and Obama may not have read these letters, but American citizens should. True to Nader’s understanding of the vital importance of public utilities and public service, he dedicates the book to “the U.S. Postal Service, the people who make it work, and those citizens who have defended its critical role in thousands of communities throughout our country’s history starting with Benjamin Franklin.”

Obama’s State Of The Union—Swings And Misses

The President’s State of the Union Addresses are rarely focused. They are written by numerous speechwriters and put through many drafts, each reflecting the urgings by interested parties to have their issues mentioned. Often, this makes the speech sound like a grab bag of lists. But once up on the teleprompter before a joint session of Congress and a thousand reporters and commentators, the speech becomes a signaling presentation by what the President says, how the President says it and what the President does not say. While trying to resist the temptation to project what I or my colleagues would have included, it is remarkable to note how contradictory or inconsistent a number of President Obama’s points were.

Truths And Falsehoods About Ralph Nader’s New Book

Have progressives made a mistake of lumping all conservatives together and fueling their political energies into hating them? Or are there what Ralph Nader calls "anti-corporatist conservatives," who loathe undeclared, endless wars as much as progressives? And should progressives seek alliances with these anti-corporatist conservatives to oppose unnecessary wars, corporate welfare, NSA violations of our privacy, and many other issues where there is what Nader calls "convergence?" Earlier this year, AlterNet published a C.J. Werleman review of Ralph Nader's new book Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State (Nation Books, 2014), that paints Nader as having lost either his mind or soul and become a dull-witted lackey for the Koch brothers. Yet, Nader's book is endorsed by Robert Reich, Cornell West, and other critical-thinkers on the left (along with conservatives opposing corporate cronyism). Whom should we trust? Before Werleman begins his condemnation of Unstoppable, he assures us, "I like Ralph Nader. I like his politics and I like the causes he has championed," and he lists some of Nader's accomplishments, including auto and highway safety laws, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Recent History: How The Democrats Became A Wall Street Party

In 2006 the Atlantic magazine asked a panel of “eminent historians” to name the 100 most influential people in American history. Included alongside George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain and Elvis Presley was Ralph Nader, one of only three living Americans to make the list. It was airy company for Nader, but if you think about it, an easy call. Though a private citizen, Nader shepherded more bills through Congress than all but a handful of American presidents. If that sounds like an outsize claim, try refuting it. His signature wins included landmark laws on auto, food, consumer product and workplace safety; clean air and water; freedom of information, and consumer, citizen, worker and shareholder rights. In a century only Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson passed more major legislation. Nader’s also the only American ever to start a major social or political movement all by himself. The labor, civil rights and women’s movements all had multiple mothers and fathers, as did each generation’s peace and antiwar movements. Not so the consumer movement, which started out as just one guy banging away at a typewriter. Soon he was a national icon, seen leaning into Senate microphones on TV or staring down the establishment from the covers of news magazines.

Nader: The Myths Of Big Corporate Capitalism

Large corporate capitalism is a breed apart from smaller scale capitalism. The former can often avoid marketplace verdicts through corporate welfare, strip owner-shareholders of power over the top company bosses and offload the cost of their pollution, tax escapes and other “externalities” onto the backs of innocent people. Always evolving to evade the theoretically touted disciplines of market competition, efficiency and productivity, corporate capitalism has been an innovative machine for oppression. Take productive use of capital and its corollary that government wastes money. Apple Inc. is spending $130 billion of its retained profits on a capital return program, $90 billion of which it will use to repurchase its own stock through 2015. Apple executives do this to avoid paying dividends to shareholders and instead strive to prop up the stock price and the value of the bosses’ lucrative stock options. The problem is that the surveys about the impact of stock buybacks show they often do nothing or very little to increase shareholder value over the long run.
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