(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Consumer crusader and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader joins us in the studio. In his new book “Unstoppable,” Nader writes that the left and the right have more in common than meets the eye: specifically, growing mistrust of corporate power. We’ll talk to Nader about his call for a new populist alliance from across the political spectrum to take on corporations.

Guests:
Ralph Nader, former Green Party presidential candidate and author of books including "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State"

  • Bob Fry

    No doubt some bitter people will still blame Mr. Nader for the 2000 election results…but Mr. Nader is a true American hero, and he is completely correct that the two main political parties are both too attached to the corrupt status quo.

    • thucy

      Please ask Mr. Nader to comment on the left-right, black-white Cory Booker-Rand Paul alliance. This is very exciting and welcome to this left-of-center voter. One of their recent projects was discussed today on Brian Lehrer’s WNYC show. It’s an unusual proposal to mitigate the vast damage done to non-violent drug offenders in the 30-year money-burning fiasco known as “The War on Drugs”.
      I think it’s meaningful that both Booker and Paul are younger public servants. Their generation and those younger than them have suffered the most from the drug war.

      • thucy

        sorry, meant as a separate comment, not as a reply

    • ES Trader

      the blame is on the Rehnquist Court; the primadona one that wore the robe with the gold stripes on the sleeve

    • Ken Beebe

      Lets stop and think a moment about what Nadir’s ego trip of a campaign in 2000 made a significant contribution toward. just to name two…. the second war with Iraq and the addition of chief justice Roberts and asociate kustice Alito to the Supreme Court.

      Iraq war II left us with around 4500 dead service people and tens of thousands wounded. The wounded veterans are a sigificant reason that the VA has had the recent scandal ie they were flooded with wounded seeking the care they so richly earned with their service.

      The Roberts court has given us Citizens United which has added to the corrupting influence of money in the political system and has helped the 1% toward their goal of turning this coubtry into an oligarchy.

      Hard to believe that the two named events would have happened if a small percentage of Nadir voters in Florida had voted for Gore.

      Yep I am bitter about what I call Nadir’s ego trip. now I will go listen to what he has to say in this interview,

      • ES Trader

        Just poor triage by voters, blaming Nader is misdirected. Says tons about voter awareness

        • Ken Beebe

          Kiyoshi,
          I miss you point…. at least I think I do. To expand on my point a bit.
          If Nadir, who no chance of winning, had not been on the ballot in Florida some number of the people that did vote for him would have voted for Gore. Not all by any means. Some Nadir voters would have gone fishing as they say about people who do not vote. It would not have taken many who would have gone for Gore in Nadir’s absence to keep it out of the supreme court,

          It is counter intuitive to me to suggest this is not a credible possibility in the light of so few voters Gore needed to surpass Bush.

          Back to your reply…
          Are you saying that my comment “says tons” about my awareness? Let me know,,,. I am curious.

          • ES Trader

            Sorry the comment was not meant for you personally.

            The American voter is, my opinion from conversations and opinions heard, very mis or uninformed.

            About 25 years ago when I lived in Sacramento, on the 4th, during a local newscast, a reporter asked several Americans watching the parade in Carmichael, if they knew the significance of the Fourth,

            They showed about 1/2 dozen in the story. They were adult Americans, none had an accent or seemed to be a foreigner,

            I acknowledge that the piece was edited and the actual sample size was not disclosed, nevertheless, I was floored to see that only a single person was able to answer correctly.

            Bill Maher, regularly, disses the American voter,

            Despite this the system generally seems to still work even if its firing on less than all cylinders and in need of at least a tune-up.

            That said. I do not know if Nader had pulled out whether Gore would have won.

            Mu point is that I cannot fault Nader. I voted for Gore in 2000 but voted for him in ’08.

            I did not believe that he would win either year but I thought it important enough to defeat Bush in 2000 whereas ’08 was a personal statement for Nader because I did not believe McCain would win.

          • Jason Dean

            Are you saying that the man who steals a thousand votes could not manage 1010? Why can’t voting machines be audited fairly? Why do rural votes count more than urban votes? Do we have a free press when the ownership has vested interests? What would it take for you to see that there are a lot more targets than Nader? And could you consider that the bitterness is very counter productive? Personally, I blame you and those of your sort.

      • Ilya Katsnelson

        With all do respect Mr Nader confuses parliamentary elections with presidential elections. Yes, people have right to vote, and yes, his party can get some percent of seats in the parliament (if we had such a system). But you cannot get some percent of a president – either you win it all or you loose. Bush didn’t have to win 51% of votes, he just had to get more than either Nader or Gore.
        But having said that, based on the ferocity with with Mr Nader’s answers this question every time it comes up, he regrets what he’s done. Just doesn’t want to admit it. It would have tarnished his “brand” as a corporate raider if he did.

      • Jason Dean

        If X (which did not happen) then anything is logically true, but meaningless.

        ie. If Nader did not run, then the Japanese did not attack Pearl Harbor.

  • ES Trader

    I voted for you in ’08 out of respect for your ethics and confidence that you were not running based on ego.

    Despite coming of age in the”Woodstock” & “Age of Aquarius” years, I long ago accepted that human nature has not changed since we lived in caves and it will remain constant until the end of the world, but I commend you for keeping the faith and support your tireless effort for progress.

    Lose or win, at least in principle, I remain on your side, and I agree that Brown still wants to be Prrsident

    • thucy

      Who knows, but we should try.
      Just because we are getting old and tired doesn’t mean the younger generations don’t have a chance – esp. given the recognition that our worst enemies aren’t the usual bogeymen, but man-made climate change.

      • ES Trader

        Its too late past the point of return, fortunately it will be past my time

        • thucy

          Kiyoshi, so many ordinary men and women have suffered so much more than yourself, and yet they still have hope for the future. I feel sorry for you who only expresses so much rage and pain.

          • ES Trader

            its not rage just reality…look at the stats on global warming and rise of sea level………too many people adding carbon to atmosphere in developing countries that wont stop, the extinction of large mammals like elephants by Chinese ivory demand that will explode the population of smaller animals often detrimental.

            It’s not a rosy picture regardless of the number of rosy glasses one wears

          • thucy

            I never said it was rosy. But there is a moral obligation to try.

            There is also, Kiyoshi, a moral obligation to make sacrifices for the next generation. And it is the daily act of giving that gives life meaning. Perhaps that is the factor missing in your life that endows you with such oft-expressed mean spirit for those with even less than yourself – whether blacks or Palestinians.

          • ES Trader

            You assume much ob very little data.

            You are suggesting that I am planning on surrendering respiration because I know I will eventually die…nothing is further from the truth.

  • thucy

    Please ask Mr. Nader to comment on the left-right, black-white Cory Booker-Rand Paul alliance. This is very exciting and welcome to this left-of-center voter. One of their recent projects was discussed today on Brian Lehrer’s WNYC show. It’s an unusual proposal to mitigate the vast damage done to non-violent drug offenders in the 30-year money-burning fiasco known as “The War on Drugs”.
    I think it’s meaningful that both Booker and Paul are younger public servants. Their generation and those younger than them have suffered the most from the drug war.

    • ES Trader

      Rand Paul is preparing for 2016, don’t be fooled

      • thucy

        I would be unlikely to vote for Paul, but I would welcome his candidacy, just as I was heartened by Ralph Nader’s candidacy.

  • Lance

    Please ask Mr. Nader on the issue of captured agencies, and what options are available to resolve this problem.

  • Sean Dennehy

    One of the big issues is that the Democrat establishment isn’t really left wing. In any European country, the Democrats would be a center-right party. America needs a real left-wing social democrat/labour party. We need more people like Ralph Nader.

    • Another Mike

      I had hopes for Dennis Kucinich, but apparently the Governor of Ohio thought one Dem Congressman was enough.

  • Robert Thomas

    Over and over again, I’ve been dissatisfied with the performance of President Obama’s administration, after having been outraged by that of his predecessor

    But what segment of the American population now has access to affordable health insurance due directly to Mr Nader’s effort?

    • thucy

      Robert, I honestly believe that without the decades-long advocacy of Nader and lesser-known folk like Don Bechler, so-called hcr would never have been on the Obama table.

      • Robert Thomas

        thucy, I agree that there have been persuasive advocates for public health care at least since Theodore Roosevelt. The ACA is far from being ideal. But it is in place, rather than in discussion.

        On reflection, the burdens of a financial crisis precipitated by the criminal behavior of credit rating agencies and the fallout of Pinhead W. Peabrain’s Big Mesopotamian Adventure, to identify only two major debacles, made President Obama’s decision to spend so much political capitol on the ACA a debatable one. But we now have it – I just heard an estimate that sixty percent of California’s previously uninsured people are now insured under Covered California – and if we can keep it and nurture it, we will have to one day measure its value against the many failures of the Obama administration. That jury is out, for now.

        • thucy

          I couldn’t possibly agree more, esp. with regard to the amount of political capital spent (IMO to distract from failure to prosecute banking malefactors) and with regard to tge ACA’s viability.
          Time will tell…

    • Another Mike

      I would give more credit to those who fought for it in Congress for 40 and 60 years, Congressmen like John Dingell and Pete Stark.

      • Robert Thomas

        The 40 and 60 years part is the rub.

        I do give credit to others, as I say to TR and Walter Reuther, too. But few are as responsible for the competitive decline of the American auto industry as the latter’s increasingly complacent UAW together with Detroit management and their pet, John Dingell. The result of Ford’s almost complete retreat into light truck manufacture, behind the skirt of the corresponding CAFE designation jealously guarded by Representative Dingell has not only been the protection of technological incompetence but needlessly increased peril for both the world’s climate and the health of the people for whom Dingell has undeniably struggled.

      • ES Trader

        Dingell that represents Michigan and Big Auto………….not on your life

        • Another Mike

          Liberals brought us Social Security, Medicare, and now the ACA, because they were anathema to conservatives.

          • ES Trader

            Was that bad ? U didn’t state, but Dingell is not a liberal

  • LF

    Mr. Nader brings up a good point about Boeing. They pay low taxes, yet, want their workers to subsidize them with low wages as they have tried to break the machinists union. It bothers me when I see their ads on Washington Week on PBS. They have too much power over Washington and the news media.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Please ask Mr. Nader for his take on tying the minimum wage, by law, to the cost of living, so that it would float up automatically when the cost of renting a roof and buying a loaf of bread in a given area goes up.

    It seems to me that this would stabilize the whole economy on a foundation of decency and fairness.

  • Ralph Nader is a national treasure and one of the most misunderstood geniuses of our time. Thank you Ralph for your dedication to what is good and right and true. And thank you Michael Krasny for not asking him any stupid questions
    about “losing the election to Bush” which is one of the biggest
    delusions of the left.

    • OK, Krasny, I now take back my complimentary remark. What a waste, and kudos to Ralph for shutting those idiots down.

    • ES Trader

      Agreed, put blame where its due not on Nader, poor triage by American voters

  • Another Mike

    Glad to hear a mention of what’s happening in Gaza. There is Newtown times ten going on in Gaza, with no particular outcry.

    • thucy

      I was similarly impressed.

    • ES Trader

      Israel would stop defending itself when Hamas stops its aggression.

      Watch Charlie Rose interview with Khaled Meshaal

  • John Kosecoff

    Mr. Nader certainly has reason to campaign against corporate abuses and interests that are contrary to democracy. However, he should check his sources in repeatedly referring to the “Military Industrial Complex.” The author of that term, Eisenhower speech writer Malcolm Moos, stated in subsequent interviews that it referred to competition in the 1950s between the military branches for funding as the US army, in particular, was concerned that disproportionate budget allocations were being achieved by the US Air Force at the expense of other branches.

    • ES Trader

      That may be how the speech writer wrote it but if you listen to the speech that is not what Eisenhower delivered it

      • John Kosecoff

        You and I, it seems, are of the same generation. More than third-five years ago I analyzed this speech and have now reviewed it again out of respect for your reply. The content is found in this 15 minute 47 second speech in the section 8:30-to-11:15. My conclusion is the same. In his speech, Ike recognized the goal for US security and liberty to prosper together. Leading up to this, the President addressed the unprecedented, but necessary development of a permanent arms industry since WWII and Korea. You would be right to observe that he warned against the potential for a disastrous rise in misplaced power. However, he equally weighted the rise of war-related technologies in which he recognized potential for rational judgment being substituted (i.e., by computer) and influence of a scientific and technological elite. In the net, the President saw both the permanent arms industry and the advance of technology as powerful, permanent and necessary developments. His prayerful hope was messianic: that peace would be granted by universal mutual respect. Ralph Nader’s and most popular interpretation, perhaps including your own, are influenced by the room for ambiguity and, I am sure, by such abuses as Ike warned that are endemic to a requisite permanent military procurement infrastructure. The potential for and the exercise of abuse does not equate to full-on conspiracy.

        • ES Trader

          No I am with you, I am not paranoid enough to believe that a conspiracy rivaling a Hollywood script exists.

          But like any species we do identify, claim and protect food and water sources.

          Even the Giants claim territoriality over San Jose relative to any move there by the A’s.

          This is not what Adam Smith would advocate.

          So until such time that weapons development and production becomes truly unnecessary I accept the existence and need for its existence.

          We, as a species, see ourselves, erroneously of our self importance as a life form and not just as temporary occupiers of this planet that does not belong to us regardless of any legal document.,

          • John Kosecoff

            Well said. Thanks for a quality exchange. I appreciate it.

          • ES Trader

            Likewise

  • Mary

    I am one of the people who still blames Mr Nader for the 2000 election. I respect his long history as a thorn in side of the status quo, and the many issues he brings up about corruption & the connection of the parties to corporate power. But the party needs to buildup grass roots power and win local elections, before taking on the presidency & just being a gadfly.

    • Another Mike

      I blame the Democrats for the 2000 election, for nominating as uninspiring a chair warmer as Al Gore, and backing him with the even more lackluster Liberman.

      But the Democrats have only themselves to blame by leaving so much room to their left. Contrast the Republicans, who ran hard right and incorporated the Tea Partiers rather than letting them form their own party.

      • thucy

        Damn right, Mike.

      • Jason Dean

        Al Gore did a lot as non president, but nominating Traitor Joe was one of his worst decisions. I am so tired of so called liberals who can not think better than to blame Ralph for Bush. There are probably millions of better targets which they can not seem to understand.

    • ES Trader

      The blame is with voters that did not support Gore. Just poor triage !

    • Bob Fry

      Do you then “blame” Ross Perot for running against Bush I and allowing Clinton to win? Ralph Nader was and remains a very refreshing change from the two corporate parties.

  • Olympia Maxenchs

    Most people my age are jaded with regards to the differences between the parties, and most people my age feel that the current state of politics is a monolithic stone wall and hearing ideas from Mr. Nader is very refreshing and encouraging.

  • Mary

    It doesn’t have to do with the right to run, or the right of those who voted for him to do so; it has to do with strategy – he could have made his points with running, but backed out & asked his followers to vote for Gore when the race looked close.

    • Another Mike

      As JFK and LBJ showed, Democrats are just as capable of ensnaring us in endless foreign wars. Would Liberman have urged caution before proceeding into the Middle East?

      • ES Trader

        W, besides being a puppet to the neo-cons, had a personal grudge against Saddam regarding the assassination plot Saddam had on H.W.

        What would have been Gore/Lieberman ? The non-existant WMD?

        • Another Mike

          Since last year, Liberman has been on the Neocons’ payroll (AEI), and he justified his vote to invade Iraq as late as 2011.

          • ES Trader

            Lieberman was never a typical Dem liberal which is why he lost the Dem primary his final campaign… but Lieberman would have been VP not Pres and maybe had influence; it would have been Gore’s call

            You continue to criticize grammar, spelling and punctuation and ignore the theme and content

    • ES Trader

      I voted for Gore in ’00 then Nader in ’08. Yea I agree if Nader had pulled out Gore may have won w/out the Fla chads issue but those that voted for Nader had the choice to choose Gore thus on that basis the onus lies with them.

      Besides as someone said to me long ago, ” IF is the smallest word in the dictionary but it has the most MEANINGS”…

      • eew1

        I too used to think that Nader was one of the greatest American citizens. Now, I continue to blame him for the election result in 2000 and look for more reliable sources to verify his claims. I think that the result turned not so much on the replacement of Gore votes with Nader votes, as it did on the multitudes that bought into the slanderous Nader/Green Party claims that there was no real difference between the Democrats and Republicans.
        Since 2000, hearing Nader speak has more and more led me to conclude that his words and deeds are driven as much by narcissism as by concern for consumers or the world economy or environment.

        • eew1

          And yes, I also believe that the result could have been much different if Gore had not sabotaged his campaign, and failed us all, with the choice of Joe Lieberman as running mate and by his failure to demand a full recount in Florida.

          • ES Trader

            Without access to his most private thoughts nor at least close confidants, i can only judge from his statements and actions,

            To blame him or Gore for “sabotaging” his campaign seems like sour grapes.

            Watch or listen to the TED presentation by Tony Robbins w/ Gore in the audience, maybe Gore truly didn’t have the “fire”.

            The one thing i disagree w/ Nader is on the Palestinian issue. I assume it is due to his Lebanese origin but its only a suspicion.

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