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Ralph Nader: Is There Any Hope Left for Democracy?

The legendary consumer advocate and former presidential candidate speaks to “Scheer Intelligence” host Robert Scheer about the shreds of democracy left in America.
Ralph Nader testifying before congress 1966. [Keystone Press / Alamy Stock Photo]

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Ralph Nader has worn many hats in his life: firebrand consumer advocate, three-time independent presidential candidate, author of more than a dozen books, Harvard Law School educated attorney, radio show host—the list goes on and on. His best-selling book “Unsafe at Any Speed” revolutionized auto safety standards that led to mandatory seat belts. Over the years, he’s also been a powerful critic of America’s broken two-party system and a champion of local politics. Now, as many Americans increasingly despair at the Biden administration’s policies—and lack thereof—and both Republicans’ and Democrats’ unwillingness to stand up to Big Money or the Military Industrial Complex, Nader joins “Scheer Intelligence” host Robert Scheer to talk about what’s left of their country’s democracy.


Congressional Democrats’ recent votes to increase military spending by billions more than even President Biden had intended highlights that there are few—if any—differences between the two political parties when it comes to funding the American war machine, argues Scheer. Meanwhile, corporations like Apple—where CEO Tim Cook, Nader points out, makes $50,000 an hour while his shop employees  are only beginning to make $22 an hour—continue to wield disproportionate global power, completely unconstrained by the U.S. government as dissidence and regulation become distant memories. In the face of such grotesque imperialism and inequality, what are everyday citizens to do? Can they put their last hopes in the Democratic Party despite these disappointments?


To Nader, the answer is simple.


“We need a grassroots movement,” the lawyer tells Scheer. “When democracy is dying, the only way to get around it is to get out there and start meeting with people—not through screens or emails or text message, but just the way the populist did it in the 1880s: so-called door-to-door, small meetings, larger meetings, creating our own parties—are all necessary at the local [and] national level.”


Listen to the full conversation between Nader and Scheer as they grapple with the concept of Democrats as “the lesser evil” and explore whether Americans can find optimism in local politics. 

Credits

Host:

Robert Scheer

Producer:

Joshua Scheer

Robert Scheer:

Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, I always say the intelligence comes to my guess. Everyone will know that my guest Ralph Nader is the source of wisdom here. I must say Ralph single-handedly did more. I’ll go real further at least in the modern period to advance a sense of individual power, control over our lives. I’m not just going to talk about consumer power, but how government works, what the ordinary person can do to gain control, not just of government, but of the private sector. And it is really one of the great stories of American history.

Unfortunately, that power, it seems to me has been reduced. And yes, we still have a lot of consumer awareness about issues ranging from climate change to the safety of cars and seat belts, which Ralph pioneered, but we also live in a world where the big corporations have more power than ever. Their influences global and income inequality has never been so high, both in this country and between the advanced economies as they’re called and the rest of the world. So Ralph, first of all, give us a report card on what happened to your efforts? Where are we?

Ralph Nader:

Well, they’ve been overwhelmed when we started out in Washington to regulate these companies, starting with the auto industry, which didn’t attain much level of safety, fuel efficiency, or pollution control. There were no lobbyists from GM in Washington. They didn’t even have a law firm. So we caught them napping, as the saying goes, and we got- –

Robert Scheer:

This in the fifties, right?

Ralph Nader:

This is in 1965, 66, Unsafe at Any Speed, came out 1965. It only took nine months Robert, for Lyndon Johnson to invite me to the White House, to sign the bill, regulating the most powerful industries in the country. You can’t even get a hearing in nine months if you’re lucky today. So we caught them napping. Big companies weren’t ready for the environmental consumer and labor efforts that ended up with OSHA EPA, product safety commission, auto safety legislation. And of course the air and water pollution laws.

And there’s never been anything since, that has been successfully legislated through Congress. There have been little amendments here and there, cause the corporations woke up, they beefed up their lobbying. They hired influential corporate lawyers. They expanded their political public relations. They increased by hundreds, the political action committees to buy members of Congress or rent them.

And so we held the line for about 10 years, 1965 to about 1975. Then Carter was elected. We had a breather, at least he appointed some good regulators and then Reagan won and then it was all downhill. And you could see it. The Democrats decided they were going to raise money from corporate sources, just the way the Republicans in 1979 under the tutelage of Congressman Tony Coelho from California. And you could see year after year under Reagan and then later George Herbert Walker Bush, fewer hearings, fewer good judges confirmed fewer regulatory actions, but now it corporatism and corporate power, corporate coercion have turned our country into a very deep corporate state, period. There’s not one single federal agency, not even a department of labor about which can be said that the corporate influence is not primary, not one. And even department of labor. There’s more corporate influence over department of labor by far than the AFL-CIO and its member unions.

But it’s in the private sector as they say that corporations having dominated the three branches of government and got them to be willing to subsidize handouts, bailing out Wall Street in 2008, 2009, for example. It’s just normal practice now. The mayor of New York just said, well, he wants $3.4 million to help the marijuana industry get underway in New York city with the passage of the legislation, the Buffalo bills want a new stadium, no problem. Another almost billion dollars appropriated by the governor and the state legislature. And there’s no quote unquote for this. We’re not getting lower prices in the sports arena. We are not getting any return in terms of dividends or paybacks when we bail out these big corporations like General Motors when they went bankrupt, but it gets even worse.

The media now doesn’t even have challengers, the corporate media. You have the public airways being owned by the people. The federal communication commission is the real estate agent and it charges nothing for the biggest TV and radio stations license. Your auto license personally is more expensive than the biggest TV station in New York. And they have allowed the tenants, namely the corporations. We are the landlords to use 24/7, the airwaves radio and TV, and decide who says what and who doesn’t, who gets on and who doesn’t. As if that’s not enough, now the corporations are technologically hijacking our children.

They now have in tens of millions children’s hands the iPhone and they are getting credit cards and they are being incarcerated in the credit card economy and in the corporate internet Gulag, hours and hours during the day. So the parents have lost control over their own children. They used to be able to look at what the children are watching on TV in the living room and say, oh no, you can’t watch that you’re too young or that junk food, you shouldn’t hear the ad about that. That’s not going to be good for you. They can’t do that now because these kids have the iPhone.

So the corporations are raising the children. I mean, if you just ask how much time is in the corporation’s hands every day by the children. Well, they’re looking 68 hours. They’re looking at screens. And what are they getting? They’re getting terrible advertisements that are not good for them. Like junk food, junk drink, violent programming that they engage them in, et cetera. And they’re getting everything we know they’re getting on the internet or what they can get on their own that is not barred because there are no barriers.

Robert Scheer:

Let me jump in on that Ralph, because I happened as a grandparent to be in that situation. And I just ordered an autograph copy. I hope of your sister’s book. You have two brilliant sisters. And the one I’m referring to Claire Nader is someone I’m personally grateful, because I once debated you on a nation cruise to Alaska and I was wrong. You were right. I’ve said this over and over again because I thought you shouldn’t have challenged Al Gore in the 2000 election and blah, blah, blah. And yes, it was one of my most egregious mistakes.

But nonetheless, at that time, Claire Nader told you to be nicer to me. I recall that. And so I was able to return the favor by buying her new book. I want to give it a plug because it’s addressed to people, not just grandparents, obviously parents who are raising kids who are now between nine and 12, and really warning us about these insidious forces that educate, that shape their whole sensibility. So let me throw that in Claire Nader’s new book, but let me get back to you in this- –

Ralph Nader:

Well yeah, as you say, it’s called You Are Your Own Best Teacher and it’s directed to these nine to 12 year olds before they become completely embroiled in the commercial adolescent culture.

Robert Scheer:

Right. And they probably have more good questions about it than their parents or grandparents who simply- –

Ralph Nader:

Oh, spectacular.

Robert Scheer:

They’re simply- –

Ralph Nader:

They’re at their idealistic and imaginative peak.

Robert Scheer :

You’re right.

Ralph Nader:

That’s why she focused on it.

Robert Scheer:

Let me get back to the main theme here because you mentioned Reagan, we always mention Reagan and we always mentioned Bush and so forth. You got a little bit of controversy when you dared challenge the two party system. And that’s what I was apologizing about. I was with the lesser evil, the Clintons and all that and what would follow. And I must say, one reason I wanted to have this conversation. When I look at what’s happening with this world now in corporate power and so forth, I am shocked at the performance of the Democrats in Congress.

And I want to bring up one issue and that has to do with our global relations because certainly one of the major ways we disenfranchise people around the world is with war and cold wars, hot wars, spending on the military and so forth. And at least when the Republicans were in power, you had one or two or few people in Congress who voted against war. We just now had an incredible appropriation of military money relating to the Ukraine and Congress without a single hearing opted by seven, eight billion more than president Biden wanted. And there was not one single Democrat announcer Senate who voted against this. I don’t think we’ve been in a moment like that.

Ralph Nader:

Totally stunning. We haven’t. There have always been dissenters like Senator Wayne Morris, Senator Barrow, Senator Fulbright, Senator Proxmire. No, there’s no dissent, $40 billion, no hearings, no built in auditing. The Ukraine, before the invasion was known for its corruption and its cronyism and smuggling weapons that were heading to Ukraine out to sources around the world. And so we’re sending them all these weapons without any monitor. There isn’t even an inspector general the way there was in Afghanistan, but it’s all part Robert of the Democrat, Republican surrender on the military budget.

They don’t even argue over it because they all want to increase the military budget, even though the overwhelming number of Democrats in the latest poll around the country. So they do not want to increase. And it’s now skyrocketing and it is unauditable, it’s the only budget in the federal government And the biggest that is violating a federal law of 1992, requiring all departments to submit auditable budgets to the U.S Congress. And the Pentagon has not done it ever.

So they’re in constant violation because they don’t know where the money’s going. They had a temporary audit. You’ll love this of the Marine Corps a few years ago, just to get started, it costs $400 million and they didn’t finish it. The money is sloshing all over the world, black budgets, you’ve written on all this. And so now we don’t have any countervailing force at all, no restraining chairman of a committee or anything to slow down this monster that is funding this global empire that like all empires, eventually devour themselves.

And they’re well along while our infrastructure’s crumbling bridges, roads, sewage, drinking water systems. What are we doing? We’re blowing up these systems in these third world countries illegally, unconstitutionally, whether there’s a Republican or a Democrat in the White House, it doesn’t matter. They think they can be the prosecutor, judge, jury, and execution of anybody in the world that they suspect and that they can put drones and blow up people anywhere in the world. And they can invade like Iraq under Bush and Cheney, a criminal invasion of aggression for which they have not been held accountable at all.

So all this is by saying the one institution that can turn all this around has only 535 people called the Congress. It’s well equipped under the constitution to be the primary branch of government that declare war, the appropriations, the tax, the investigation, the confirmation of executive branch officials, nominations of the judiciary. And that’s where we come in. We’ve got to organize in every congressional district. We start maybe with 10, 20, 50, a hundred. There is a lot of issues in this country that come in at 70 to 90% support, which means a lot of conservative voters, as well as liberals. If we allow the divide and rules strategy and the word polarization to be used every other hour on the TV or radio or in the newspapers, we’re falling for the 2000 plus year trap where the ruling classes rule by dividing people.

But when it comes to uniform healthcare, when it comes to corporate crime enforcement, when it comes to breaking up the big banks, when it comes to living wage, when it comes to rebuilding America and taxing the wealthy in the corporate, you’re coming 70 to 90% support. So that’s where the hope comes from. And that’s what we have to push the elections towards in the campaigns, the agenda where people live, work and raise their families is a left, right unity agenda. When you get 70 to 80%, you’ve got a lot of liberal and conservatives workers in Walmart who are not going to ideologically cut their own budget and say, “Yeah, we like to work for 10 bucks an hour.” No, they want a living wage regardless of the label they put on themselves.

Robert Scheer:

All right. Well, Ralph let me challenge you. I noticed we always end up having this kind of argument. Look, I’m not going to tell a guy that I described as the most useful citizen maybe we’ve ever had in the modern period regarding corporate power, regarding the… I don’t know. I guess, we have had people who are very powerful organizers, but certainly you’re really up there in the Pantheon of people who have told us how our democracy was fretted away, bought, sold and everything. But we are at a moment where a handful of billionaires have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the people. And we go through this charade, we pretend, oh, there are Democrats, MSNBC. They’re enlightened. Rachel Mado, they’re wonderful. Who owns MSNBC? Who decides what they hear? They’re same people who own Fox and everything else.

I get letters all the time from Democrats. Now they need five bucks, 10 bucks. Nancy Pelosi writes me all. I think every day I must be on all of those lists. That’s not where she’s going to get the money to win elections. The Democrats are totally locked into wall street, into the big corporations. They betrayed us on banking. And then how are you going to do anything for those Walmart workers if you’re spending $40 billion without even thinking about it? Where are you going to get the money? How are you going do the infrastructure repair? They’re lying to us.

And I would argue Ralph Nader, God, I never thought I’d give you this lecture. I think you’re underestimating the chicanery of the Democrats. I think the Democrats are the war party. I think the Democrats are more dangerous because they can more effectively disguise their corruption and they can talk a good game about helping Walmart workers, but they don’t give a damn about them. Because there’s one good example, if they cared about the wages of Walmart workers, they would be interested in raising the wages of Chinese workers.

They’d be interested in as a human right, the right of Chinese workers to organize and have free speech. They don’t ever talk about that. They don’t ever talk about what Apple pays in China. Then why are we shocked that Apple could crush a union organizing effort here in the United States, as it did a couple of weeks ago with the communication workers union? So there’s totally hypocrisy. And they say they want to back NATO because they want rule of law in order. They don’t want that. They want the rule of privilege. And it’s a great hoax. Ralph, made or being lectured by Bobby.

Ralph Nader:

I’ve written tons of material that agrees with you on this. But what I’m saying is, the last gasp of any dying democracy is rendered by a resurgence of the people and they got to have their own candidates. They got to have their own precincts, get out to vote and get it done. Now you mentioned Apple instead of using words like inequality, Robert, we got to bring it down. This is going to stun you, Tim Cook of Apple is being paid $840 a minute, a minute, $50,000 an hour. And his workers in the stores just got raised to 20 or $22 an hour, even though they bring in more sales per worker than any other retail store. Now that’s the way you got to talk to people.

Hundred thousand people are dying at least because they can’t afford health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time. That’s 2000 a week. And there’s all kinds of injuries and illnesses that add to that total. So we need a grassroots movement. When democracy is dying, the only way to get around it is to get out there and start meeting with people, not through screens or emails or text message, but just the way the populist did it in the 1880s so-called door to door, small meetings, larger meetings, own parties, necessary at the local level, national level. There’s nothing else unless you have some other way to turn it around.

Robert Scheer:

Well, I think the first way to turn it around is to be, and I think you’re certainly honest. I’m not challenging your honesty, but I think we have to begin by talking to people how desperate the situation is and it’s desperate because we are so effectively manipulated, those workers in the Apple store, they’re smart, they’re well educated. They know how to do all kinds of things, fix all kinds of things. So they are wonderful products of the meritocracy and the fact that they think they have interesting and good jobs where they could not possibly live in most cities, they could not afford it. They have false consciousness.

That’s what we teach in the schools. That’s what MSMB teaches and MSMBC. They have actually taught us that Tim Cook is a good guy. First of all, he’s a gay man who made it to the top of the corporate letter. And that is a victory. Yes. And he is a guy who talks about privacy and the need for consumer protection and so forth. And you’ll get some of that from other of these, you got it from Bill Gates in his foundation, but no people have ever been as thoroughly as effectively co-opted propaganda as the American people, never. And right now you have large numbers of them think that- –

Ralph Nader:

He’s quite remarkable. He’s got a million surfs in China building his computers and iPhones through a subcontractor. And they’ve got nets on the third, fourth, fifth, sixth floor of the factory because people are so desperate they could try to commit suicide. And if Apple is buying back billions of dollars of their stock, which is like burning money, except it increases the metrics for the executive compensation. And for two to $3 billion, out of the 400 billion that they’ve already bought back in the last 10 years in stock, that’s B with a billion, for two to $3 billion a year, they could have doubled the pay of those million workers and he doesn’t get any accountability. You’re right. He’s not held accountable for this kind of slave labor.

And that’s why you got to break it down and you got to talk. You got to talk to people constantly. That’s what the lecturers in the Populist Movement in 1880s did, they went farmhouse to farmhouse and they built up this power against the big railroads and the banks. And that’s what we got to do. And if we don’t do it, we’re going to end up in a corporate serfdom, the road to corporate serfdom is well paved and we’re well along with it. And we’re losing even our children to these corporate profit gears>

Robert Scheer:

You’ve lost your own Nader generation. I teach with these people, Ralph, I hang out with them, the people who were in law school and they were Nader Raiders, and they were great. The Clinton people, when I covered the Clinton administration, the whole place was full of people who had been great Nader admirers, and that’s how they got their chops and their reputation, everything. And what they learned is how to lie to us more effectively and how to betray us more effectively. And let’s take China, for example, right now, why aren’t we in our trade agreements and everything else? Raising the question of workers’ rights and minimum wages, an international minimum wage, they don’t do any of that.

They bring up issues like Tibet and the Wegars, they’re important issues, but they’re very marginal to the 1.4 billion people in China or the well over a billion people in India. Those people, their working conditions are only going to improve when we have international standards that you can’t import stuff made by people who can’t join a union or have free rights or so forth. There’s no talk about that. And that’s, what’s happening with the Ukraine and Russia. Now they’re saying we’re going to make the world safe. What, for NATO, for big corporations?

And anybody who thinks that they could be part of another center of power and come up with some other way, we’re going to crush them and what I’m trying to get through, we’re both two old guys here now, Ralph, but I don’t want to lie to people. First of all, we’re not where the populists are. The corporations get into people’s homes, a hell of a lot more effectively than we could ever get in there. We’re knocking on the door. They’re already inside shaping everything.

And I want to ask you a pointed question, your biggest influence was getting a new generation of lawyers, professionals, college graduates to give a damn. And those people have ended up, and this is why I bring up the Clinton phenomena and the democratic party. They have betrayed us more effectively than the right wing guys who you could see right through. And it’s shameful that not one, not Bernie Sanders, not AOC, not one of them raised a question, why are you sending $40 billion for more military equipment when you can’t even afford to pay school teachers more? Or put more money into medical care? Or what have you, nobody raised that.

Ralph Nader:

Or put the money into the pandemic, the COVID pandemic, they didn’t pass $14 billion bill to keep the materials flowing and the services flowing, but they had 40 billion for Ukraine. And that’s not the end of it either. I think there’s a story behind the story. How could they get people like Bernie Sanders and AOC and others to vote unanimously? That something must have happened behind the closed doors here. That’s very see me.

Robert Scheer:

Yeah. It’s called a love of power. And you are the exception, Ralph Nader, you didn’t drink the Kool-Aid. You said, “Okay, I’ll learn how to do law. I’ll be a brilliant lawyer, brilliant writer, thinker. I’m not going to sell out.” Had you sold out, you’d be the secretary of commerce. And that’s the whole thing of American culture, which I think we have to talk about it. And it’s depressing in its effectiveness. People talk about, all world, they ought to talk about Huxley a little more. They ought to talk about the manipulative skills of this culture. These guys like Z and Putin, they don’t hold a candle to any of this stuff.

The modern totalitarianism that’s what Huxley warned about was probably not going to come initially with the booted glove fist or come with the glove fist. And that’s what we’re seeing. People are being sold to bill of goods. They’re being told the real battle for freedom is spending $40 billion until we killed the last Ukrainian. And the idea maybe that’s money that should be considered to be spent elsewhere. You’d be challenged as being a trader. Now, that’s why we didn’t do it. They’re scared. Bernie Sanders he’s chicken. He’s chickening.

Ralph Nader:

Millions of people say they know exactly who’s controlling them. They don’t know how often, they’re very resentful, whether they’re in these food chains, or wherever they’re working, hospitals and so forth. But they’re being told you got nowhere to go. We’re not going to let you create a union. We’re not going to use the courts. We’re not going to let you elect honest legislators. So shut up and get used to it. And that’s what we call apathy. It’s coerced apathy, induced or coerced apathy. But I see a lot of resentment. And unfortunately it’s often taken out on people, fighting people, which is exactly what ruling groups have accomplished over the centuries. But in all my writings and people can get my column free by going to nader.org. Just sign up, get it free every week.

Robert Scheer:

Or ScheerPost.com. I publish it every week.

Ralph Nader:

Yeah. I always propose ways out. There’s always got to be ways out. There’s an excellent situation that went out in Maui, which you ought to put in your program in Hawaii. A man left the mainland to live in Maui and he saw it was completely controlled by the plantation owners and the tourist industry. And the county council was completely controlled, 15 out of 15. Where toes of these corporations, Maui’s a beautiful island, gets a million visitors a year. He mobilized the people.

The first election in 2018, he got nine out of 15 seats. Next election, they fought him tooth and nail the big companies, all the ways on TV, money, et cetera. He and his associates rounded up the votes and they got 13 out of 15 city council, county council. And one of the first things they took on was the control of water distribution. Can you believe it? By these big companies, they control the water distribution around the island, who gets the water and who gets less water. And so they did it and he’s written a couple books on it to show how they did it.

Robert Scheer:

Give us, what’s the name of- –

Ralph Nader:

No publicity in the mainland at all.

Robert Scheer:

I want to read one of his books, who is it?

Ralph Nader:

I’ll have to get you his whole contact, all email, all the context. He’s very happy to be interviewed. He’s a, I think Californian and he’ll tell you exactly how they’re doing it. So he started with nothing. He had no name recognition, nothing, but he was actually a consultant on turning around corporations when he was working in New York, in California. And so he came with a sense of strategy and he knew who he was fighting against.

Robert Scheer:

All right, well, let you know, what I love is your optimism and you don’t lie to people. You tell them what’s happening. I just want to and we’re going to end this now. I’m really happy to have this wake up. And because obviously, if we can’t do anything about it, we’re going to be demoralized and we’re going to go under. But what I think people should take away from you, Ralph, is you’re optimistic. You think people can make the difference and you think we can win. You have one, we have seat belts because of Ralph name, but we got a hell of a lot else. We got concern about improvement in healthcare and everything else because of Ralph Nader.

Robert Scheer:

So somehow the trick has to be that you can look at a very dismal situation, which is, I think the United States at this point, and I think dismal precisely cause we’ve been so co-opted, so manipulated, so effectively lied to, but yet you’re absolutely right. Things start to crumble and people ask important questions. So let’s just shift it maybe to a proactive movement. We know global warming has gotten our attention and we’re not doing very much about it. Certainly not by wasting a lot of money on the military and blowing up a lot of stuff.

And we know we haven’t really done healthcare improvement. We know the whole Biden program from immigration, every which point has come to a stall. So the big argument we’re going to have to face with, and this is my last question to you. How are we going to resist that lesser evil argument? How am I going to tell people who now say, I have to send money to Nancy Pelosi who has betrayed us in every respect that I can see. And yet why? Because we’ll get Trump again. And we went through this period of Trump washing that made the Democrats all smell like roses when they should have smelled like fertilizer. So how are you going to handle that one in the next election coming up? And then the presidential election? How do you deal with lesser evil?

Ralph Nader:

Well, since there’s no viable third party movement, which I would prefer to displace the two parties, and we only have a few months, you have to choose between genuine fascism on the way that gets the worst out of the people and lies to them and refuses to stop their predatory activities on behalf of wall street, or you get the Democrats who are not going to turn the country into a dictatorship where you have to shut up. So it’s a very crude comparison, but right now, with a few months left, if you don’t vote for a third party, you got to vote for the Democrats and give them an agenda when you vote. So you say, we’re demanding.

Robert Scheer:

Ralph, you say they don’t shut the people up. You got Julian Assange, sitting there in jail for year after year, and it’s a Democrat who’s keeping him there. We’ve had whistleblowers like John Kukawski who serve time in jail because people, Democrats like Barack Obama were perfectly happy to have them jailed for revealing torture. The torturers didn’t go to jail. The people who blew the whistle on torture, they served time.

You had the banks were bail, who freed the banks from the decent restraints that we had in the new deal? The financial services modernization act, the commodities futures modernization. Those were bill Clinton. Yeah, there were Republicans who supported him, but Ronald Reagan couldn’t get that through. So in terms of why we have this huge income disparity, it’s because of the Democrats. And we’re afraid to say that because over then, what are we Trump supporters? And that is a horrible position to be in now. Horrible.

Ralph Nader:

Robert, I wrote an article recently. It’s going to be in our new pilot newspaper, which is called the Capitol Hill Citizen, which has 12 major areas where the Democrats and Republicans converge, including the war empire and many others, corporate welfare and many others. But there’s one big difference that is that the Trumpians, the Trumpsters want to repress the vote and they want to turn Congress into an ear drop. And that’s the main difference right there. And that’s what we have to dig our heels in order to try to turn the process around in future years where we’re not held hostage by this two party corporate duopoly.

Robert Scheer:

Yeah. But if you keep telling people that there is a profound difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, and that makes the compelling argument against third parties. This is the trap we’re in. You are talking about somebody in Maui, in a county. Yeah. They can do something because it’s not the whole ball game and everything, but how do you do that on the mainland? How do you really convince people when these elections are nothing but arguments about who’s the lesser evil? And by the way, it works on the other side too, they convince a lot of otherwise more reasonable Republicans that their guys are the lesser evil. And it seems to me, I don’t want to be giving you lectures, Ralph, but it seems to me, this is the trap that is destroying us.

Ralph Nader:

It is a trap most pronounced at the national level, Robert, but at the local level, all over the country, a lot can be done by new political energies, new local parties, new candidates, because it’s right at scale, there are places where you don’t need big money. You can canvas everywhere. So there’s a big lever that can come from local politics as well. That will reverberate, hopefully in a short time at the state and federal level. So it’s got to be like a chess game. You got to think of all kinds of approaches. And don’t neglect the young, don’t neglect these young people who have moral authority because they have no power, the tweens and the teenagers, got to enlist them before it’s too late.

Robert Scheer:

Well, you have been far more effective, far, far more effective than I have in trying to change America in a good way. You’ve probably been one of the most effective humans we’ve had in the last hundred years. You stand out as somebody who really got a lot done that dramatically improved the level of freedom and accountability in the United States. So I’m hoping you’re right. I’m hoping I’m absolutely wrong in my pessimism, but I’d like to check in with you another six months or a year. We’ll get another report card. But that’s it for this edition of Scheer Intelligence. I want to thank you.

Ralph Nader:

Let me just say one last thing. One last thing. It’s my experience, Robert, that where you have public opinion behind you in congressional districts, it doesn’t take more than 1% of the people. That’s two and a half million people, organized to attain control of their senators and representatives on one major redirection issue after another, as long as you know what you’re talking about, you’re factual, you’re focusing on two senators and a representative, and you represent public opinion on so many areas where people are on the same page, like full health square, and living wage and cracking down on corporate crime, et cetera, you can win. So it’s the 1% against the 1% at the top. I’ll bet on the 1% at the bottom reflecting public opinion, that is what has been shown throughout American history whenever we broke through against entrenched injustice and political corporate corruption, never has taken more than 1%.

Robert Scheer:

Yeah. But what about the other 1% having 80% of the wealth on their side? I’m not going to push this. I hope you are right, Ralph. I really do. And there’s almost, I can’t hardly think of anyone I admire more as a public force, public intellectual in our modern American history. I think there are others, but you’re certainly right up there in the Pantheon. So let’s leave it at that and hope Ralph Nader’s got it right. And anyway, join that 1% at the bottom to get something done.

And meanwhile, I want to take some care of some housekeeping here. I want to thank Christopher Ho and Laura Kondourajian at KCRW for getting these shows posted. I want to thank Joshua Scheer, our executive producer, for putting it all together. Natasha Hakimi, our introduction writer. And I want to thank the JKW Foundation, which in the memory of a very terrific journalist Jean Stein helps fund these shows. See you next week with another edition of Scheer Intelligence. 

91 comments

  1. Great job to Robert for pushing Ralph at the end. He needs to be pushed. I used to listen to RNRH but he lives in la-la land, who still to this day gives the Democrats a pass. I just can’t listen to him. Between his delusions of 1) you don’t need more than 1% of the people to bring about change (yeah if that 1% owns more than half the wealth), 2) “you don’t need big money” for running local candidates (despite the fact even local elections cost tens of thousands of dollars in places with a below average costs of living), 3) there’s such a thing as enlightened billionaires (WTF?), and a host of others.

    Last Friday’s newsletter is him begging “enlightened” billionaire Nick Hanauer to call him back, after 8 full years of Hanauer clearly and deliberately ignoring him. Wake up Ralph. You do know that Hanauer told you what you wanted to hear just to placate you, right Ralph? That’s what they do.

    As usual, Robert pushes his guests with cold hard facts, like money and lots of it matters in our warped society, that the luring people into the arms of the Democratic Party is a trap, and that Jullian Assange is a prime example among many of the Dems shutting people up. These are three things Ralph clearly hasn’t fully understood. Instead, Ralph likes to take an incredibly rare exception to the rule and say “see, it can happen!” You have a better chance of winning the lottery without buying a ticket.

    And to act like the “trap” is only at the national level is ludicrous and borderline ignorant.

    “you have to choose between genuine fascism on the way that gets the worst out of the people and lies to them and refuses to stop their predatory activities on behalf of wall street, or you get the Democrats who are not going to turn the country into a dictatorship where you have to shut up.”

    “there’s one big difference that is that the Trumpians, the Trumpsters want to repress the vote and they want to turn Congress into an ear drop.”

    And there it all is everyone, the herding everyone to the Democratic Party has begun. Rinse & repeat.

    1. To Marble,
      I can’t help wondering if Ralph, a guy who ran for Pres 4 times, has been so cowed by the “spoiler” crap dumped on him that he basically has capitulated – to the old LOTE philosophy that keeps dragging us lower and lower …

      1. That’s a great point SH. It’s like he has abused spouse syndrome or something. Every election cycle he continues to herd people to the very party that massively screwed him over 20 years ago, and continues to blame him for W to this day. And you’re right, indeed it gets us nowhere but lower and lower and lower.

      2. By helping W win, Ralph began the debacle that afflicts us to this day. He will never make up for it. When I read his blather, I remember what happened and get sick all over again. Sorry, no forgiveness. We simply have to get real. Without a change to the parliamentary system, our two party winner-take-all system makes it impossible for a third party to get anywhere. A third party disrupts and cripples, whatever its good intentions. Ralph brought W aboard, and another third party helped tip the count for Trump.

      3. @Bill Taylor
        Ralph Nader didn’t “help” Bush II win. That’s Democratic Party BS.

        1. People have the right to vote for whomever they want. People like you seem to think that people have an obligation to vote Democrat. I proudly voted for Nader in 2000 and would proudly do so again. F*ck the Democrats, they’re every bit as bad as the Republicans (though Dick Cheney, who hardly anyone mentions but who actually ran things during Bush II’s time in the White House, is one of the most evil pigs on the planet).

        2. More Democrats voted for Bush II than voted for Nader. If you want to analyze the election results in the manner that you do, those people should be the focus of your blame game, not people who voted for the far superior candidate, Ralph Nader.

      4. To Bill,
        Good grief! I can’t believe, although said to say, I have seen it often enough, that I still this old saw is still alive …
        It has all been debunked, as anyone who has bothered to follow it, even for a little while, knows – the SC gave it to Bush – when they stopped the recount in Fla, a recount that would, by a number of accounts, have proven Gore won in Fla … Not to mention that more Democrats voted for Bush than folks who voted for Nader – and if Nader hadn’t been there a lot of his votes would have gone – nowhere …

        The only folks, at this point, that still want to peddle this stuff about “Nader gave it to Bush” are do or die Dems, the vote Blue no matter who folks (guess who will back Manchin, if he runs again) – who will trash any good candidate that actually represents “the 99%”, who dares to challenge the DP at the polls – it is precisely this sort of balderdash that has kept us stuck for so long in the netherworld – until folks abandon the DP for a better party, and they are out there – you will be stuck with a party so corrupted that, for some folks, all too many, the Rs will actually seem the LOTE ….

      5. How incredibly arrogant it is to assume a 3rd party voter would have otherwise voted for a Democrat….If it weren’t for the Greens, I would not have voted at all.

      6. @maxine
        Couldn’t agree more! At this point, the Democrats piss me off more than the Republicans, which is quite a feat.

      1. @RWF
        Nader USED to criticize Democrats, but it seems that he now wants them to be elected.

    2. Clearly, you are plugged in and intelligent. But, you can’t knock a good man. You’re simply tipping your hand which is rightfully full of frustrated cards and have spilled over onto Ralph. You are allowed your opinion and you don’t need me to remind you of that. Short of a nation-wide uprising, what more can be done other than to latch on to small examples like the county in Hawaii as beacons of hope and teaches people by way of example how the Dems and Republicans are alike and both parties are crooked and relatively the same. So, even a Civil uprising on a National scale would be fruitless because by-and-large people are in the dark and would be waging a fight against each other without understanding who, what or why they are fighting – all they would know is that they are fighting the other side which identical to the side they are on – and therein lies the value of good journalism and reporting – giving clarity and understanding to issues shrouded and obscured in blame. Don’t get me wrong, you’re probably right; statically, there’s more reason to be pessimistic than optimistic, but Ralph doesn’t need to be knocked. He’s a great voice of the truth, helps people understand issues and even if I was trapped in a mine with the canary singing, I’d rather be sitting next to Ralph in my last few breaths. I get your points. Holding on to optimism is like holding onto to a greased pig. But, I back anyone kicking the ball in the right direction, no matter how poor the odds are.

  2. Democracy is measured not by the policies it enacts but by its capacity to practice, maintain and maximize cooperation.

    The only reason left-ish, Neo Progressive demagogues like Nader and Scheer embrace doom-and-gloom nonsense like the text above is the abysmal record of the left to function in a system that embraces tolerant inclusion rather than ‘purist’ dictatorial measures they and their ilk espouse. The record of failures of the left to function in democracies, or to offer anything but totalitarian oppression (e.g., Soviet Russia, China (past and present), Venezuela, Cuba, and practically anywhere and everywhere it survived past its (almost always) violent revolutions), should not be ignored, forgotten, or as the case may be, be blamed on others.

    Left-ish demagogues and propaganda buffs love to talk about accountability. Isn’t it about time they’d apply that noble principle to their own failures?

    1. Your “ideas” are moldy Cold War bilge, recycled and re-regurgitated.

      China and Cuba are success stories that expose the nonsense of your “totalitarian” chlchè. Venezuela is not a socialist country, it aspires in that direction. It’s a petrostate, made so by imperial capitalism.

      RE: the USSR. When Napoleon was defeated, the crowned heads of Europe chortled at the demise of republicanism.

      Today, the nations of much of the world are republics, and most royals are tourist attractions and/or clickbait,

      So it will be with capitalism.

      Try history and a reasonable timeline rather than right-wing treakle.

      1. China is a human rights nightmare with zero political rights to the citizenry. Cuba is essentially a monarchy, devoid of ANY political debate, let alone a democratic one, and as far from a ‘success story’ in both economic and political respects. As for China, the only deciding factor in its growing economic power is its embrace of capitalism, and that came at the expanse of cheep Chinese labour, the creation of a billionaire class, and the absolute, totalitarian control of the (un elected) government over both natural and human resources.

        The issue of the article, and my comment, is democracy. Your bile is mudslinging demagoguery.

        The abysmal record of left-ish politics and democracy is historically obvious, and all democracies are liberal rather than socialist.

        EDUCATE YOURSELF!

      2. @Democracy Gone Astray
        YOU educate yourself! The Chinese have a very different worldview than people in the West, and you clearly don’t understand them. The Chinese don’t prioritize individual rights, they prioritize the society as a whole. The Chinese government is strongly supported by the vast majority of Chinese. Your U.S. individualism blinds you to other ways of looking at the world.

      3. @Jeff. Don’t hesitate to reem idiots like this who believe Cuba to be a monarchy. Of all the countries in North America, Cuba is probably the most democratic with the best human rights record. In spite of punishing sanctions from the Big Dog, Cuba managed Covid than practically anywhere on Earth, save China. It produced 5 vaccines of its own and provided medical services all over. Demeaning Cuba in any way is on the same level as a war crime.

      4. I have to agree about Cuba. For all of my adult life, the US has tried every trick except invasion by air and sea to bring tiny Cuba down, but it endures. If it had been a capitalist nation, it would be long, long gone. But it stands as a witness to the strength of socialism. Capitalism first showed its ugly face in the 1600’s, and it took centuries for it to take over. Socialism is new on the historical scene, and will prove the only democratic approach after predatory capitalism and a climate collapse bring the world to its knees. After the world war that ends history as we know it, something will emerge, but it won’t be some descendent of City Bank.

  3. Yes!

    As Ralph and Robert directly explore:

    Get Out in the streets in person and in “numbers too big to ignore” — which is what I do personally every week in Portland Maine and Portsmouth NH — with my simple but demanding double-sided signs:

    LOVE OVER
    POWER, MONEY
    HATE & EMPIRE

    and

    GROW LOVE
    END EMPIRE

    1. I wrote this to Ralph Nader in 1995 — I’m only providing the beginning and end of this 5 page document

      Externalities – The Hidden Corporate Tax On America
      Alan MacDonald

      In this era of debate over gas taxes, and tax structure in general, there is a single minded focus on public taxes which are imposed by government.

      This viewpoint is blind to the fact that the greatest tax is not levied by government, it is imposed as an invisible and private tax by corporations.

      The tax debate for the American people must first address the issue of visible government taxes, vs. hidden corporate taxes.

      Debate about visible government taxes is open to public discourse, and subject to political review by elected representatives.

      Not so with private taxation by corporations, which is imposed in a hidden, and surreptitious manner, not subject to representative review.

      There is no debate about private corporate taxes. No informing of the people of the taxes invisibly imposed on them. Nor is there any media, political, or public discussion related to these oppressive, private taxes.

      Therefore, such private corporate taxes on the American citizens are extreme taxation without representation. They are a tyranny of taxations without awareness, let alone representation.

      King George’s taxation, though tyrannical, was at least visible, and thus could be fought. Today’s private tax burden is not even visible, and thus this tax tyranny is more difficult for the American people to throw off.

      The secret tax by corporations upon the American people is only now being exposed as an indirect tax that is automatically imposed upon our society.

      Corporations have successfully avoided any discussion about the tax that they impose, by disguising it as a normal function of the economy.

      snip….. to ending on Insurance industry:

      Insurance is the first line of defense against externality costs from damage to the people’s health and the environment. As such, the insurance industry represents the “canary in the mine” of the global environment. Lately, the canaries are dying; choking on a Ponzi scheme of externalities.

      Insurance companies are going bankrupt as they pay off climate damages, and health care damage. They fight for survival with the other global corporations that caused the externality cost, demanding that these costs go back upon the polluters. As the insurance system crumbles, the costs will fall entirely on the government. Here is where externalities are finally translated from hidden taxes into visible taxes, as the government through public taxes has to cover the increasing costs.

      Original Copyright 1995 by Alan MacDonald
      Now in 2022, open sourced at alanmac385@icloud.com.
      [Document was used at some Ralph Nader 1996 campaign events]

  4. I have great respect for these two men. I think of them as two wise elders of the new indigenous – the 99%. We are a world wide indigenous this time. Nations are gone, only empire remains…and us, the people-in-the-way. Worldwide,the only vestiges of nationalism remaining are the taxes that support the 1%’s evil, the phoney patriotism and the drafts. Our laws, sovereignty and dignity gone, we are to be manipulated, kept in the dark, lied to, exploited and used until we are of no use to them. I do feel that this system too shall pass, but how, and at what cost. BTW, the local and state governments are gone too. Fascism runs deep. It’s worldwide and it’s in everybody’s backyard. Greed kills.

    1. Rita: Ralph is 88 and Bob 86. This is a remarkable lucid chat between knowing persons of advanced age. Even if they were not that wise it would be phenomenal. Because of the elevated circles in which they move their alignment is a little tow-in.

    2. We can look to the socialists for democracy, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela, and China. We can look to the Russians for standing up to fascism. Who knows how many other nations will step up when they see the dollar dominated empire is shaky?

  5. Nope, no hope for Democracy. Democracy is dead. It was a really crappy system anyways and always doomed to fail. Socrates nailed the problem over two thousand years ago…the average voter is an idiot who is too easily swayed by the lies of evil people.

    Nothing has changed.

  6. I am sure that conditions at Foxconn’s Apple plant are deplorable, but remember that Foxconn is a Taiwanese company operating in a special zone where Chinese law is either absent or unenforced. Labor conditions there are not representative of China, but do represent capitalism.
    In addition, I would point out that Chinese labor is cheaper than US labor, not because workers are poorly paid, but because the State ensures low rents and inexpensive food. A Chinese worker might pay as much as 10% of their salary for housing, while in America, the figure rises as high as 43%. Healthcare and education show similar contrasts to the American system. The Americans hate this disparity and want the Chinese to conform to their system to enjoy equal competitiveness.
    In short, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” outdoes the “neoliberal capitalism with American ideology”.

  7. Such important issues being addressed! But PLEASE do some editing. The typos and other errors in this dialogue distract from the important conclusions and suggestions.

  8. Can somebody let me know, exactly WHEN did America have true democracy?….During my own life and knowledge of US history from the Native American genocide, Jim Crow and today’s rule by the hideous oligarchy, so-called Democracy was only reserved for the very few….You can’t bring back something that never was.

    1. Exactly. It seems to me many times that I am the only one where that fact has really sunk in and taken root. We never were a democracy, the founders did not want one, & we never became one. That was painfully clear. The very existence of slavery was obvious proof what kind of society the founders really wanted. And let’s be clear here, slavery and for that matter native genocide didn’t have to happen.

  9. Correction – Nader was on the Pres ballot 4 times – I know because i voted for him all those times – ’96, ’00, ’04, ’08

    I love Ralph dearly, but have to ask, why, if he says, in essence, that we have no “viable” alternatives to the D/Rs, did he run in all those races as a “non-viable” candidate – did he think he was”viable” at the time? Does he not remember that it was after his 2.7% vote in ’00, an increase from his showing in ’96, that the knives came out, from the Ds, trashing him – calling him a “spoiler”, blaming him for Bush’s victory – which was all a bunch of BS that has been debunked over and over, but is still heard from the same folks that express the same type of unthinking loyalty to the Ds as many Rs express for their party – the same response that Sanders was well familiar with, that caused him to explain he would not run as an “independent”, even though he claimed he was one, because he didn’t want to “wind up like Nader” …

    And those lies – along with TINA (there is no alternative) and “3rd parties can’t win” (any candidate on a ballot can win if enough folks vote for ’em) have been repeated so often that they have become “common knowledge” “what everybody knows” and appear not even up for discussion.

    And here Ralph says, he thinks a 3rd party is the answer – but a “viable” one. So tell me, Ralph, what makes a party “viable” – surely it isn’t that it speaks for the people – both D/Rs are, indeed, quite “viable”, as evidenced by our elections for decades, but neither speaks for the people. as you yourself admit. So isn’t a party viable on that folks support and vote for in increasingly large numbers? And isn’t that precisely what the Ds want to nip in the bud when they do their TINA – as even you seem to have bought into here, and “3rd parties can’t win” which convinces folks who have limited time, energy and money (and that’s pretty much all of us) that they shouldn’t expend it on things that “can’t be done” – which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – spending no money, giving no support nor votes at the polls – guarantees there will be no viability – this is part of the evil genius of the Ds. So the Rs, as you saywant to limit voting access, but the Ds want to limit candidate access – so yeah, all you folks can vote – but only for Rs and Ds …

    And the Ds, both Ds and Rs, know all this TINA and “can’t win” stuff is a lie – but they don’t want us to know it – and in case we figure this out, which Ralph doesn’t seem to be quite there yet, with his”viable” bit, they are 1) making it more and more difficult for 3rd parties to get on the ballot – Ralph is familiar with this, 2) even if they do get on, keeping them out of debates, Ralph is also familiar with this, as is Stein who was handcuffed to a chair for hours in some warehouse for attempting to attend one in ’12. 3) making it monumentally difficult to access Fed’l matching funds – see the “poison pills” for 3rd parties in the much vaunted voting rights bill …

    You’ve seen Mouseland, haven’t you?
    https://www.douglascoldwelllayton.ca/mouseland

    So where are our “brave little mice”? I suggest one is Matthew Hoh running for Sen in NC, on a Green ticket. He has gotten more than enough signatures to get on the ballot, unless of course, enough are challenged to get below the threshold for inclusion – and guess who will be challenging them? Why the D’s of course, and if their challenge fails, the next will be an onslaught of “spoiler” attacks … wash, rinse, repeat … hey, its worked for the Ds so far, every time – and the mice keep getting eaten …

    So Ralph – if you want a “viable” 3rd party, get out and support a 3rd party, vote and encourage others to vote for it – because if you don’t you become part of the problem, stepping into the LOTE trap that has us by the short hairs, instead of part of the solution – you were the latter once – what happened?

  10. With the comliments of William Wordsworth, WB Yeats, John Milton, Dante Alighieri:

    Earth is sick,
    and Heaven is weary with the hollow words,
    which states and kingdoms utter when they talk
    of truth and justice.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

    So yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
    for what can war but endless war still breed
    till truth and right from violence be freed?
    And publick faith clear’d from the shameful brand
    Of publick fraud.

    For as I turned, there greeted mine likewise
    What all behold who contemplate aright,
    That’s Heaven’s revolution through the skies.

    More at http://www.energon.org.uk

  11. The only hope for democracy is a much smaller human population that’s well informed on the issues.

  12. Ohhhh, this makes me sad and angry. Ralph is so out of touch today.
    Richard Wolff is too, but at least he emphasizes that the system- capitalism- is the problem. Hah, Yanis Varoufakis also gets it wrong, but he recognizes that capitalism is over and we now have technofeudalism. The globalist Bilderberg/WEF crowd aren’t going down with capitalism, that’s why they’re manufacturing a controlled takedown of western nations and the global economy. It’s too late to reform anything, which is why one of the topics at their secret meeting last week was “continuity of governance.” That should scare the crap out of all of us.
    Gore Vidal proposed back in 1992 that the only way to deal with the national security state was a convention of the states:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B7idDD_FK44
    It’s probably too late for that too, but it might be worth a hail mary try at this point. I don’t know why Ralph won’t recognize that fascism is here, it’s not “coming.” What else are we willing to do? Nothing, like good Germans?

  13. The tires were wearing unevenly on my 22 year old vehicle, so I went to an independent alignment shop Thursday where they charge about half what the chain shops do. I’m an elderly post stroke patient who limps around and I wear a mask in public. But the owner-technician didn’t make fun of me. He’s a graduate of UNC_Chapel Hill who majored in folklore. He suggested I buy a drink from his fridge and sit on an old truck sea bench in front of a big fan.

    Two other elderly women were already there. They were wrapping up the rundown of local tragedies and passings. And they talked about shootings and gun laws. One showed the other a handgun in her bag, and her concealed carry permit. But then they got into the same subject matter as Ralph and Bob, and they wondered if there was any hope for America. They distrusted business interests and didn’t expect anything good from Democrats or Republicans. One said that most of the houses near her had been bought up by investors and turned into rentals, so that was why she carried her gun . Life has gotten more unstable. Their outlook was closer to Bob Scheer’s than Ralph’s, kind of pessimistic. The unarmed one, who lives in a farmhouse with steers and goats commented that they had lived beyond their times. “Even if there’s no Heaven,” said the armed one,” we should really be glad our lives are over, ’cause I wouldn’t want to see what is coming.”

    I should have felt sad, but I didn’t. They weren’t sad, just practical and cognizant. Lucky people. The fortunate can never comprehend losers’ suffering. One had a Suburu and the other a Prius, not that old.

    1. To Red,
      A person after my own heart (smile). I have a 29 year old Buick – and I get it fixed when it needs it – a lot of stuff doesn’t work anymore, or never had, but it’s stuff i don’t really need – no GPS, Bluetooth, and all that, an odometer that I keep track of to tell me when I need gas, as the gas gauge is out of commission, a turn signal that I have to manually turn off when the turn is over, etc – but I love that car – she and I have been growing old together …. I am lucky to have found a place that will still work on it – i am thinking it is the last car I will ever own …

      I share the sentiment of those older folks – I will not be sorry to leave this earth, as I have known it for the last 3/4 of a century – it is becoming one that I cannot survive in – both physically and mentally, for a number of reasons – and I realize I am an “anachronism”, having an analogue mind in a digital world – where machines are replacing humans ….

      But I will continue my 2-fingered typing on this machine that routinely plays tricks on me, because, as they say, they also serve who only sit and type …

      1. SH- Thanks for reading me. Mine was a parable that suggested Bob and Ralph were like two old ladies in an Alignment shop, getting some service work done they didn’t understand, and didn’t want to worry about. Those two are approaching the finish line, so all I can wish is that the wind is at their backs.

      2. To Mod,
        Thanx! Us “old ladies” still have a lot to offer, we’ve been around the block a few times – sometimes it’s useful to challenge us – but not ignore, disparage or discard us …

      3. To Red,
        Ah, sorry, how naive of me – I thought you were serious, I was … I’ll know better next time

  14. Does anyone have the name of the person who moved to Maui and helped turn around the local politics there (mentioned by Nader)?

    Many thanks!

  15. Robert:

    You did a great job challenging Ralph on his arguments, especially where you said:
    I think the Democrats are more dangerous because they can more effectively disguise their corruption and they can talk a good game about helping Walmart workers, but they don’t give a damn about them…. And they say they want to back NATO because they want rule of law and order. They don’t want that. They want the rule of privilege.

    I’d offer that Ukraine is the death knell for US power, in ways I did not expect. The West is committing economic suicide due to the Russian sanctions, as well as exposing the weakness of NATO in confronting Russia in Ukraine. From sources that I respect like Andrei Martyanov (https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/) and Larry C Johnson (sonar21.com), Russia is annihilating Ukrainian forces through artillery and dominating the skies. There are great interviews by Peter Lavelle on RT (https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/), discussing the consequences of the Ukraine war and sanctions by the West.

    A decline in US power globally, partly due China as a rival and countries in South America and Africa being more resistant to US pressure (see for example: https://multipolarista.com/2022/06/08/alba-summit-americas-sacha-llorenti/) , is going to open up opportunities for popular movements in the US.
    However, as Chris Hedges warns, as the US empire folds inward, a militarized police state will use harsher measures against its own citizens.

    I am wondering how the gun culture in the US will affect politics going forward. Is the Christian Right the most organized political force, waiting for the opportunity to seize power? How can any movement for change deal with threats of violence, including by the state? The CIA, FBI and similar agencies will need to be defanged, or at least countered, in order for social democratic movements to succeed.

  16. I wish you could utilize a better means of obtaining transcriptions of your conversations. I am assuming you are using some manner of voice recognition software, as opposed to a written method. This is terrible….go back and read what you are publishing! It’s not just “typos,” rather these poor translations result in confusing mistakes, detrimental and obfuscating to the very ideas you and your fine guests, like Mr. Nader, are representing.

    Cheers.

  17. Quite a melancholy spectacle, to see Nader pretend American politics is fluid and open when even the man on the street knows the exact opposite is true, that our society is thoroughly totalitarian; that Congress has become an arm of the Pentagon; that no relief is possible through the information system, and none certainly through forced optimism.

    Impoverished analysis like this is not the least dreary symptom of a senescent civilization. One wishes for so much better.

  18. “Because there’s one good example, if they cared about the wages of Walmart workers, they would be interested in raising the wages of Chinese workers.

    They’d be interested in as a human right, the right of Chinese workers to organize and have free speech. They don’t ever talk about that. They don’t ever talk about what Apple pays in China.”

    Utter brainless garbage.

    This is poison, a “both sides” argument that in fact conflates two things that are not the same.

    Chinese wages are paid in a system that has controls, that has steadily raised the people’s’ standard of living an is stamping out poverty. Chinese workers had to raise their nation by the bootstraps, investing grueling labor to achieve a common goal. They made sacrifices that paid off. Americans continue to”sacrifice” for their owners profits and a deranged military machine.

    As per Bloomberg, not exactly People’s Daily.

    The sheer scale of China’s overall achievements when it comes to poverty alleviation is remarkable. More than 850 million people have been lifted out of extreme penury in under four decades. Almost 90% of the population was below the international poverty threshold in 1981, according to the World Bank; by the 2019, that was under 1%. It’s true the world as a whole has seen a dramatic improvement in poverty rates, but more than three-quarters of that is due to China. And the amelioration to individuals’ lives under the latest campaign — which involved tracking down remote villages and the very poorest families, one by one — are real and visible.

    Americans, in contrast, are sinking deeper into poverty.

    Chinese workers do not need organize, their government is on their side.

    Why China Turned Against Jack Ma
    The Alibaba chief paid for pushing back against Beijing. But the shift in attitude also speaks to a growing wealth gap and diminished opportunities for the young.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/24/technology/china-jack-ma-alibaba.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Business

    Let’s try to imagine “our” government treating Jeff Bezos like that.

    There is zero relationship between Chinese wages and Walmart’s wages. Trying to interfere in the Chinese economy isn’t going to help anyone here. What egregious nonsense!

    The purchasing power of wages in the US and China are vastly different, and the fact that the capitalists used that to make trillions is irrelevant. China used the profits it made to improve its peoples’ lives, the American capitalists kept the money and discarded workers like toilet paper and poured money into imperial wars (which they lost). This could have been mutually beneficial for both sets of workers, but the American oligarchs and their chain-jerked politicians prevented that.

    Fact for grown-ups: there is NO way to standardize wages globally. But governments can help people, re-train people, mandate living wages.

    Making this kind of false comparison is an example of how “radicals” end up parroting capitalist bullshit and helping the capitalists with their rancid propaganda. . That goes for “socialist” Bernie Sanders as well.

    1. That’s what I mean by Tow-in when I refer to Alignment. Bob Scheer is entrenched in his thought habits (Ralph is even farther behind.). Bob couldn’t learn anything from Patrick Lawrence suggesting we examine each nation on its internal rationality. (Patrick couldn’t do it himself.) A better way to analyze comparative quality of life across nations and systems might be to ask what basic needs are subsidized, and then to look at what needed commodities workers are able to purchase with their pay (whatever form it takes). You schooled us, Baba Yaga, when you said unionization is irrelevant in China. (You make us wonder if it’s relevant here sometimes.) If we’re in a falling elevator does jumping do any good? Even at the most opportune time it would make little difference.

      1. To Red,
        “unionization is irrelevant in China”
        Apparently so is democracy – if the gov’t is sufficient to ken and meet the needs of its people, great, too bad we don’t have such a gov’t here – apparently they pay much more attention to “opinion polls” in China, but then of course you could wind up under strict lockdowns for days, weeks at a time because of Gov’t policy which you have no control in shaping, (outside of “opinion polls”). Of course one could argue that we don’t have control here either, as so many here and in other comment sections and posts have argued, but, technically speaking, we do still have a mechanism, rickety and moth eaten as it is, for choosing our Gov’t reps – it’s called elections.

        So do they have “elections” in China? Who is allowed to participate, both as voters and candidates? Are there “parties” in China, other than the Communist Party? In China, it seems, there is one party, and the ones who lead it are “chosen” by the party apparatchiks. In the US, there is also, essentially, one party – with 2 sets of apparatchiks, the Ds and Rs, who agree on many things, including the need to eliminate 3rd (or more), parties who challenge them – the means for elimination are a bit more subtle than those in China, but the desire for elimination is the same …

        The folks in China apparently don’t have any means for choosing their leaders – the folks in the US have, ostensibly at least, a means, but one which is routinely disparaged by so many, esp. it seems, by “lefties” and “progs” and, strangely enough, when they do use them, it is to elect the same schmucks that are actually, increasingly, denying a choice other than that single party with 2 heads.

        I marvel at the folks who, while critiquing their favorites, like Sanders or AOC – apparently fail to realize that these folks, by “staying in the fold” of the DP, facilitate its continued depredations on our system – “Reforming from within” is on its face, a laudable goal, except that attempts at implementing this concept, when applied to the DP, have failed miserably for decades. Refusing to abandon it and go “outside the Party” is routinely excused by pointing to 1) a surfeit of money in the system 2) lack of “proportional representation”, or RCV, or x,y,z … – and folks lick their wounds content on getting bread crumbs, and lots of fine talk, from their “reformers” – and besides, as Sanders said, when asked if he would go ind in deed as well as just in name that he “didn’t want to wind up like Nader”
        – the same guy who his actual party trashed for “spoiling” their election … and he knew that same party would do the same to him if he, when push came to shove, bucked them, inside or outside the ballot box – and he hasn’t …

        So frankly – in key areas, in so many ways, the US and China aren’t so far apart – and we are moving in their direction – not in terms of “socialism” but in terms of autocracy – so, if we get an “autocracy” that “lifts us out of poverty” – who the heck cares, right? Who cares how we get there – Huxley gave us a vision of what happens in Brave New World if/when we do …

      2. Thank you for the kind words.

        The US ‘ owners destroyed the leftist/Communist unions, replaced them with toadies and some like the Teamsters aligned with the Mafia and other criminal elements. They were easy prey for the neoliberal destroyers, being capitalist-minded and bought-off.

  19. Wolves in wolf clothing vs wolves in sheep clothing. American oligarchy has corrupted democracy completely. Unless the money is removed from election cycles nothing will change! Citizens united law should be attacked relentlessly along with corporate lobbyists and right wing think tanks and dark money tax write offs! Knocking Bernie and AOC is unhelpful it is a divide and conquer tactic. I see Baraki Sellers (some might call him a black quisling like many others that seem to sellout their black brothers and sisters) working with democrat Zionists to unseat Rashida Tlaib one of the few politicians that has grass roots backing and does a lot of good, pointing out the real problems that the average American lives with. The squad could be the seeds for an Independent party, or hope against hope change the party within. Democrat wolf/sheep eat their young and old unless they conform. Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl doesn’t sound like a good pre-rec to lead a true democratic party and was successful at slaying Bernie who to this day could have steered America away from the tried and false party of Joe Biden’s corporate dixie-crat party from Delaware! Yesterdays man Joe and hope and change Obama are no more than corporate shills and war pimps!

    1. I supported Bernie twice but never again….He failed us, first giving into the Hillary crowd, then the Democratic committee who chose Joe Biden.

      1. (maxine, on Bernie) It was a test of reality for me to donate $27 twice.
        It was money I really needed for basics. But in the US system donating carries much more weight than voting. Voting is an after the fact exercise.
        I bought a lottery ticket, and lost as expected. But for a few weeks there I was a player.

      2. @Red Hornet & Maxine
        I’m registered and vote Green, but I would have voted for Sanders in 2016 if he had won the Democratic primary. However, when Clinton and the DNC stole the nomination from him and he refused to run as a Green or other 3d party, he lost me for good. Never thought he was that great to begin with, but I could have held my nose and voted for him in the general election.

      3. To Red,
        Oh dear, now who’s the gullible one … you would have had better luck with a “real” lottery ticket …

      4. What should he have done? Acted like “Jesus, Guns & Babies” Kandiss Taylor in Georgia, who will not concede? She says she won with 3.4% of the vote (plus all the imaginary ones stolen from her). Yes, Sanders was robbed, he sued, but he lost. The nominations were stolen from him fair and square.

        But “he failed us” is just LAME. How? How on Earth does fantasizing there was a magical easy alternative help anyone, help advance justice one bit? It’s easy to see how it hurts justice when the socialist who is the most popular politician in the country is accused of “failing us”, “betraying us”.

        What impatience, what naivete! No, politics is grueling and bloody. After you do your best, fight as cleverly as you can, you take your lumps and keep on fighting. Fighting besides your friends, against your enemies. SImple. Never overthink! That’s how you win. Never give up, never falsely, lamely accuse a friend.

      5. To Calgacus,
        What should he have done – given the finger to the DP and thrown his support behind the GP – they were the only ones who actually had an even more robust version of the platform he said he supported on the ballot .. but, oh, that’s right, he said he didn’t want to wind up like Nader …

      6. Bernie did not fight….He gave in to the most corrupt elements of the Democratic party….He could have started (at least tried) a new party a long time ago….But instead he bowed down to these cretins.

      7. The Green party although I knew in America 3rd parties were not allowed to win….It is all so hopeless.

      8. To Maxine,
        No, it isn’t hopeless – fact is if folks voted in electoral polls they way they vote in opinion polls, we would have a Green, or its equivalent, Gov’t by now
        As they say – the best way to keep folks from using their power is to convince them they don’t have any – but we do, we just have to use it …

      9. @SH
        You conflate recognizing reality with hopelessness. This is a rigged system, and you’ll never be successful unrigging it unless you recognize that.

        Have you ever tried to convince people to vote Green or for some other 3d party? Because I have, and even when I convince them that the Green candidate is ideologically and politically superior, they still vote Democrat because they’ve been scared into making their priority keeping Republicans out of office (instead of putting good people into office). This is the result of a rigged system, as I have said here repeatedly. If we had proportional representation, there would be no reason to fear voting for a 3d party.

      10. To Jeff,
        Seems to me you are the one conflating “reality” with hopelessness – for you the reality is a rigged system which is what makes it hopeless

        The reality, and neither you, nor anyone else, has ever refuted this, is that any candidate on a ballot can win if enough folks vote for ’em ….

        And if, as i have said, folks voted in electoral polls the way they do in opinion polls, we would have a “Green” or its equivalent, Gov’t by now … so the question is why don’t they …

        You have, indeed, partially answered the question – the politics of fear that drives them to vote for a LOTE – over and over – not because they like their LOTE, though some may, in fact, but because they hate, or fear the other “guy” more -but there are 2 additional elements as well, neither of which are often mentioned by many – one is TINA (there is no alternative), when in fact, there is , but the most insidious, and IMO, most effective, lie is “3rd parties can’t win” and the reason it is so effective is simple human nature – for folks with limited time, money, and energy (the 99%), once they are convinced that something can’t be done, as you appear intent on doing – they will not put any time, energy, and money into it without which it can’t get done – no guarantee it will happen if they do, but guarantee it won’t if they don’t – self fulfilling prophecy – “can’t be done” produces won’t be done – NOT because it can’t be, but because not enough people put the effort into doing it …. that’s what you need to tell folks ….

        As a medical analogy – when a patient is in dire straits in the ER or ICU – do the docs get out their calculators and see the chances of survival are infinitesimal, and if they are – do they turn away or bust their buns trying to save the patient – if that was someone you cared about, what would you want them to do – if they said, there’s no point, chances are too small – would you shrug and say “OK” or would you say “I don’t care about the odds, get in there, do all you can, it’s too important not to” Well how important is the welfare of the 99%, Jeff …

        Until we start actually “spoiling” the chances of both parties who have spoiled so much of our lives, the spoiling will continue – “if we had, proportional representation ,,, ” And if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. Or, with another medical analogy – a doc comes across someone with a gushing wound, and says “if i had vascular clamp, I could stop the bleeding ” and waits for it, as the patient bleeds out instead of just sticking his fist into the wound …

        Sorry Jeff, I think your protestations, such as they are, in giving them “legitimacy”, in the guise of “reality” – are part of the problem, perhaps a big part – as i have heard this stuff for years and frankly it is just getting in the way of doing what we need to do –

      11. @SH
        “The reality, and neither you, nor anyone else, has ever refuted this, is that any candidate on a ballot can win if enough folks vote for ’em …”

        This nonsensical statement conflates what is possible (almost anything) with what is likely or even somewhat likely. Of course whichever candidate gets the most votes wins, what does that have to do with anything? The sky is blue, the Earth is round, so what?

        I just gave you a perfect example of one of the main reasons why people won’t vote for 3d party candidates in this rigged system and showed why this reason would disappear with proportional representation, but like a broken record you continually repeat this meaningless line. You then go on to confirm exactly what I said. But then, as if some alarm in your mind had been triggered, you quickly revert to your same nonsensical line that I quoted.

        Your medical analogy is totally inapplicable, so I’m not going to address it. We’re talking about a rigged election system, not giving someone medical care that’s their only chance of survival.

        “‘if we had, proportional representation ,,, ‘ And if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.”

        Another nonsensical statement. I showed what the problem is (lack of proportional representation), and this is how you respond? It’s not like proportional representation is some pie-in-the-sky fantasy; every democracy in the world except for the U.S. and U.K. has it.

        If you want to focus on getting 3d party candidates elected in a system that’s totally rigged against them, that’s your choice, though I certainly don’t agree with it. I’ll focus on fixing the rigged system. That doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to vote Green and urge others to do so, but I will also urge others to focus on fixing the system and not waste time participating in it other than merely casting a vote.

      12. To Jeff,
        And how “likely” is it that you will get “proportional representation” from a Gov’t controlled by D/Rs for whom the current set-up is functioning just fine, and when you “encourage” people to vote 3rd party and are meant with the perpetual lie of “3rd parties can’t win” what do you say – oh yeah, if we had “proportional representation, they could – well guess what, if more folks voted for ’em they could too . So you are content to leave this “rigged system” in the hands of the folks who rigged it, until we get this “fix” that requires these same parties that fixed it to pass your fix … Now who’s making “nonsensical” statements ….

        As for “prop.rep.” not being some pie in the sky fanatasy, because other countries have it – well other countries have a lot of what we don’t have, like M4A, e.g. and how “likely” will we get it – with the totally corrupted D/Rs in power …

        One of the main reasons people don’t vote 3rd party? And what is that “because the system is rigged”? OK, it is – the question is how to “unrig” it – you say you have provided a solution and i have pointed out how “unlikely” that is – but you haven’t refuted, only called “nonsensical” something you likened to the truism “the earth is round” so, if it is true, then why aren’t you promoting the concept that 3rd parties can win if enough folks vote for ’em …

        Sure, work for “proportional representation” – but the “focus” should be on getting 3rd parties in office and the best way to do that is simply vote for ’em in large numbers … so while you are working on your “solution” – why not point out that, just like the earth is round, 3rd parties CAN win if enough folks vote for ’em – or would that interfere with your mantra that they can’t without adopting your “magical” solution – Is this a matter of having difficulty walking and chewing gum at the same time?

        Btw, my medical analogies were quite apropos, you just appear to not have understood them – or, being unable to show how they are not appropriate, you simply dismiss them with the derogatory “nonsensical”. I would give you another analogy – the story of the Gordian Knot, but you would no doubt dismiss that, too so there’s no point in my explaining that ….

        We are running out of time, Jeff – so while you are fiddling around with “prop. rep”, the system is not simply becoming more “rigged”, if you haven’t noticed, and soon will be dismantled altogether – failure to seize the moment now, at the polls, is rather like “fiddling while Rome burns”, but oh dear, another analogy you don’t get or will dismiss – so tell me, what is an analogy for your solution – and “other countries have it” doesn’t quite fit the bill …

      13. @SH
        It’s no less likely than getting a significant number of 3d party candidates elected in a system rigged against them. I don’t understand why you keep fighting me on this. You are stuck in a false duality. As I’ve said, this is a chicken-and-egg situation, and there’s no right answer. As I’ve said ad nauseam, if you want to focus on voting instead of changing the system, go right ahead. My focus will be on fixing the rigged system, and nothing you can say will change that. I’m not going to expend a large effort trying to win in a rigged system, simple as that.

        Saying that the system is rigged is actually a gross understatement. The fact is that it only works for, at most, the upper 20%, as proven by the Princeton study. For the rest of us, it’s irrelevant what we think or who we vote for, the politicians work for the ruling class and their donors (many of whom are the same) and not for us.

      14. To Jeff,
        Look, I am not writing to convince you, that is obviously a lost cause, I am writing to hopefully convince anyone else who is still reading this stuff …
        You have already admitted the truism that any candidate can get elected if enough folks vote for ’em, so my point is the solution is to get a lot of folks to do just that, by pointing out that they need to vote in electoral polls the way they do in opinion polls, yet you dismiss that ..
        Otoh, you have yet to show how you propose to get “proportional representation” in this “rigged system”, your sine qua non for fixing it – and, as you insist that ” it’s irrelevant what we think or who we vote for, the politicians work for the ruling class and their donors (many of whom are the same) and not for us”, how would “prop. repres.” change that?
        But hey, spin your wheels in the effort – in the meantime I’ll keep working on what I think is the sine qua non – getting folks to understand that we have the power of numbers, if we choose to use it …

      15. @SH
        You clearly don’t understand proportional representation, or how much more representative it is than our winner-take-all system. Proportional representation would get other parties into office, at least some and probably most of whom wouldn’t be working for the ruling class. THAT’s how it would fix that problem.

      16. To Jeff,
        I understand it rather well – but you STILL haven;t explained how you would get it or how it would change this “rigged system” not to mention why you, yourself, would want to bother in a country you have made it clear you think is intrinsically evil …
        How can you possibly get more parties to choose from in this system which you claim is so totally “rigged”

      17. @maxine
        Lesser of two evils. SH likes to use acronyms and sometimes doesn’t define them, though (s)he’s getting better about it.

      18. To Jeff,
        If you don’t mind – I will answer for myself in terms of acronyms I use – as for defining “terms”, I think that is one thing we could ALL get better at …

      19. To Maxine,
        Sorry, I have been at this sooo long that I tend to forget that some folks aren’t familiar with the “jargon” dealing with how folks decide to vote so:
        1) LOTE – lesser of 2 evils, based on the premise that we only have 2 choices, D/Rs and so must choose one, or not bother voting.
        2) TINA – there is no alternative – the basis for having to choose a LOTE
        3) ” 3rd parties can’t win” – which means that TINA to D/Rs and so LOTE

        And as 2 and 3 are lies, perpetuated by a duopoly that wants to keep any challengers form rocking their boat …

    2. (harper) Our Emperor lacks even a wad of fleece over his privates, whomever is playing Emperor this cycle. People know, but they also fear the consequences if they refuse to play along. Who do they think they’re fooling?

    3. @jim harper
      Bernie Sanders is weak, ineffectual, and bad on foreign policy. Ocasio-Cortez is a phony, sheep herding progressives into the Democratic Party in order to neuter them. Same goes for the entire Squad. There are no good people in Congress, just shills of one type or another.

      And we need to go a lot further than reversing Citizens United. Buckley v. Valeo must be reverse, all private campaign contributions must be prohibited, winner-take-all elections must be replaced by proportional representation, the major TV networks should be required to provide all candidates with equal TV time, the executive branches of government must be replaced by a parliamentary system, the House of Lords, aka the Senate, should be abolished, and federal judges should not be allowed to serve for more than 5 years without having to be re-confirmed.

      Minor reforms instead of these changes will yield little or no substantial change. Things were very bad BEFORE the Citizens United decision; that decision just made them worse.

      1. Sure Jeff? Bernie being weak and ineffectual and bad on foreign policy is news to me. He spoke out against blind support for Israel. He spoke out about Kissingerian realism. He spoke out about the USA’s insane boycott of Cuba. He spoke out against the Military Industrial Complex. He spoke out against corporate greed and anti-union oligarchs. He championed health care and knocked Obama’s ACA corporate cash cow! Speaking truth to power takes a lot of strength! His foreign policy if tried would give a chance for “hope and change” that Obama promised long ago. How different would the world be today had the powers given him a chance? No Trump, No Clinton based corporate/democratic party. Taxes paid by corporations and used for the good of the people in health care, schools and roads etc. USA propaganda gives all these things a bad rap and men like Bernie are usually broken and corrupted from the get go. Bernie at his age could have taken the easy road but his STRENGTH has held out against bribery and mean self interest. We need more Bernie’s in this world not less! Praising him as an example might just bring those personalities into politics and bring real change. The world can’t wait much longer!

      2. @jim harper
        1. What a politician says is meaningless. What they do is what’s important. But Sanders did say horrible things, like Nicholas Maduro is a horrible dictator, and he voted for massive weapons funding for Ukraine, to list just two examples. I agree that he’s not as bad as most U.S. politicians on foreign policy, but he’s no Dennis Kucinich either.

        2. After Clinton and the DNC stole the 2016 Democratic nomination from Sanders, he was urged to run as a Green or other 3d party candidate and refused to do so. His reason? He didn’t want to end up a pariah like Ralph Nader. I never liked Sanders that much, but I would have held my nose and voted for him if he’d gotten the 2016 nomination. Once he refused to run as a 3d party candidate, I was done with him for good.

      3. There is no way to make a better capitalism or oligarchy.
        The system needs to be overthrown and replaced.

      4. @BabaYaga
        How does anything I said contradict that? I’m talking about forming an actually representative government, not which economic system we use. How we get those changes is another issue that I didn’t mention.

  20. @ JEFF Sure Jeff? Bernie being weak and ineffectual and bad on foreign policy is news to me. He spoke out against blind support for Israel. He spoke out about Kissingerian realism. He spoke out about the USA’s insane boycott of Cuba. He spoke out against the Military Industrial Complex. He spoke out against corporate greed and anti-union oligarchs. He championed health care and knocked Obama’s ACA corporate cash cow! Speaking truth to power takes a lot of strength! His foreign policy if tried would give a chance for “hope and change” that Obama promised long ago. How different would the world be today had the powers given him a chance? No Trump, No Clinton based corporate/democratic party. Taxes paid by corporations and used for the good of the people in health care, schools and roads etc. USA propaganda gives all these things a bad rap and men like Bernie are usually broken and corrupted from the get go. Bernie at his age could have taken the easy road but his STRENGTH has held out against bribery and mean self interest. We need more Bernie’s in this world not less! Praising him as an example might just bring those personalities into politics and bring real change. The world can’t wait much longer!

    1. To Jim,
      Sorry, Bernie DID take the easy road – he stayed with the Ds even when they continually shafted him – and they “rewarded” him with some Committee assignments – whoopie ding! Keep Bernie from defecting – and he will keep his followers from doing so as well – that’s the game and we keep playing …

  21. To William Taylor:

    “By helping W win, Ralph began the debacle that afflicts us to this day. He will never make up for it. When I read his blather, I remember what happened and get sick all over again. Sorry, no forgiveness. We simply have to get real. Without a change to the parliamentary system, our two party winner-take-all system makes it impossible for a third party to get anywhere. A third party disrupts and cripples, whatever its good intentions. Ralph brought W aboard, and another third party helped tip the count for Trump.”

    Actually, Ralph Nader didn’t make W win in 2000, and he can’t make up for something he isn’t responsible for. What you are doing is Scapegoating.

    Albert Arnold Gore has only himself to blame for losing in 2000 because he was a terrible candidate. Dude couldn’t even win his homestate of TN. Plus, he picked Joseph Lieberman as his running mate. Lieberman went on to support the Iraq War, as did Gore, and Lieberman went to give a speech at the 2008 RNC, and endorse Jonathan McCain that same year.

    Third parties do not disrupt elections. Third parties didn’t make the Donald president, either.

    Furthermore, don’t you DNC apologists LOVE W now anyway?

  22. If you really want to know what “democracy” really is – watch VICE about Dick (head) Cheney. AND if you think this is just about Republicans, then you are just plain stupid…

    1. I’m a 72 year-old California. I’ve watched the big money changers interact with our “stewards” of our democracy, and the people for many years. I’m an average American.
      Your a good man, Mr. Nader, but your view is tainted by your implied biases. Things have changed for the better and for the worst. The corruption in our society is not retractable.
      I had never voted Republican in my life,since I was 18 years old, that is, until 2020 when I voted for Trump.
      He’s a maverick, and we need him, despite his personality flaws. I can like Trump because I don’t worry about being cancelled or worry about losing something. I see fit at the moment what is best for my country. You fight your lying enemies the best you can. Trump didn’t hurt our country anything like his recent predecessors.
      And I liked his Wall and I liked his real support he gave to small businesses to any American willing to sacrifice pleasure for hard work. I like that he loves and respects our country beyond his own wealth and success.
      He has learned from his mistakes, I think, and we should get off the negative track about him, and give him another chance. Biden is so bad in so many ways that I can’t speak of him now. What’s his excuse?

      1. To Kathleen,
        If you never voted Rep before Trump, for whom did you vote, if you did? The odds are, given that other parties have either been denied access to the ballot or trashed for no other reason than they are seen as “spoiling” an election for one of the 2 major parties, that your vote was for Dem – if that is the case, why did you stop voting Dem?

        The answer to this question is important …

        I used to vote Dem as well, but when I saw how much and often they failed to produce anything of real value, I voted for a 3rd party – why, both because that 3rd party represented what I wanted and needed while the D/Rs did not, and because I saw both D/Rs as being, persistently and consistently as corrupt – so why did you not do the same?

        You say that he was better then his “recent predecessors” – both D and R? because those are his only recent predecessors, for some time …
        How was Trump better then previous Rs, e.g.? I would like to know …

        Indeed, he is a maverick, but considering the recent SC decisions, the result of his appointments – just what are you not afraid of losing? At your age (I am a few years older) obviously reproductive freedom is not an issue for you, and apparently you see no need to defend it, but what of other rights? As for the Wall, you do realize that Biden is continuing with it, in a slightly different form –

        I am really curious about your answers – they are important …

        We do need more “mavericks” but not all mavericks are the ones we need – so why do you think Trump is the one we need, in spite of his “personality flaws”, there are others out there, sans those flaws – but I think they, for the most part, reside in neither “major” party …

        Please do respond ….

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