Author Archives: Ralph Nader

Congress—collectively less than an inkblot

Bruce Fein, constitutional law specialist who has testified before Congress approximately 200 times, calls Congress “an inkblot.” Let’s see if he is exaggerating. Continue reading

Microchip, macro impact, micro vision

Let’s say you’re looking to invest some savings in the expanding micro-chip industry and a friend hands you the 2021 Annual Report of the Delaware (chartered) Corporation, Microchip Technology, a firm based in Chandler, Arizona. You’re a studious type and want to know what the company is producing before deciding if becoming a shareholder-owner is for you. Continue reading

A beacon rises from Capitol Hill

The idea didn’t come from a newly arrived Harvard or Yale congressional staffer. They mostly feel sufficiently anointed to the ways of Capitol Hill—getting along with style while going along for ambition. Continue reading

The fall of the House of Cuomo—lessons unlearned

The resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo invites comparisons, historical context, and proposals for the future. Continue reading

“Nobody is above the law”—except the “big boys”

Law schools should have courses on the expanding immunities of government and corporate officials from criminal prosecution and punishment. Guest lecturers, speaking from their experience, could be Donald J. Trump, George W. Bush (criminal destruction of Iraq), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Sackler Family of opioid infamy, and the top officials at Boeing, led by its CEO Dennis Muilenburg, for the 346 homicides in their deadly 737 MAX aircraft. Continue reading

Fallacies of political labelism

Alexander Burns is a leading political affairs analyst for the New York Times. Unfortunately, even he has accepted the ill-defined political labelism swallowed wholesale by his journalistic colleagues. Continue reading

Collapsing federal corporate crime enforcement

As the size and severity of the corporate crime wave surges, Congress is asleep at the switch. The mostly captive Capitol Hill Gang has sat on an antiquated federal criminal code, starved the budget of regulatory health, safety, and consumer/labor protection agencies, and let corporate crooks routinely get away with their crimes. Continue reading

Inside Bezos—a five-year old boy—outside, a cunning extraterrestrial profiteer

Jeff Bezos touched down after his 10 minutes, 10 second vertical 66 mile zoom above Earth. He felt so on top of the Earth that he agreed to one-on-one interviews with a gaggle of salivating reporters. Looking over a list of their names, he spotted journalist Greg Galaxy and picked him first. Continue reading

The power structure for deadly lag and the prophetic work of unsung heroes

Kicking life-saving solutions endlessly down the road is the mark of the brutish power of the corporations over the innocents. Continue reading

‘Try calling them’: Challenge government’s autocratic incommunicados

'Today the silence is deafening. Just try calling your members of Congress, not as one of their donors or golf companions, but as a serious informed citizen.'

The First Amendment to our Constitution declares that Congress cannot abridge the right of the people “…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Unfortunately, this vital tool of our democracy is easily circumvented by Congress simply not responding whatsoever to “petitions” by the citizenry. This government undermining of our constitutional right is producing invincibly incommunicado government officials. Continue reading

Until the people collar the Congress, it’s the iron collar of the corporate state

It's your Congress, People! Reclaim it from the corporatists. It's in your hands. Lives, healthcare, livelihoods, your descendants and the planet will be so much better off if you spend a fraction of the time you spend on your hobbies holding your two senators and representatives accountable to the people first.

Back in the mid-nineteen-fifties, the prolific, progressive political economist, Harvard’s John Kenneth Galbraith, developed his “theory of countervailing powers.” He asserted as big business got bigger, its overreach would be constrained by strong labor unions, regulators, and antitrust enforcement. Inside the realm of large companies, big retail chains could check the power of large manufacturers. Continue reading

Reporters do a better job when they do not ignore civic groups

Connecting the civic community with the mainstream media is no minor endeavor. Historically, this connection has been essential to a functioning democracy. The citizenry is the taproot of democracy and a key source for journalists’ declared function of informing the people. Continue reading

The agony of accessing Verizon: CEO Vestberg should play customer for a day

Who hasn’t had difficulty just getting through the multi-layered, often automated call center of your telephone company? Never mind getting a solution to your problem in due time. Continue reading

NPR at 50—straying from its civic mission?

This month is the 50th anniversary of National Public Radio (NPR). Knowing about my work back then with other advocates, to persuade Congress to pass legislation creating NPR and PBS, (which was opposed by most of the commercial radio/TV industry), a friend asked what I think of NPR now. Continue reading

Tim Cook, Apple, and runaway limitless corporate greed

People must push Congress to address this injustice.

David Gelles, the New York Times reporter, likes to report about corporate plutocrats raking it in while stifling or endangering their workers. We’ve all seen those large advertisements by big companies praising the sacrifices of their brave workers during this Covid-19 pandemic. When workers ask for living wages, most of these bosses say “No” but take plenty of dough for themselves. Continue reading

If Joe Biden is truly a ‘union guy’ he must strike dead the Taft-Hartley monster

The PRO Act alone is simply not going to get the job done for U.S. workers.

President Joe Biden likes to say, “I’m a union guy.” Unfortunately, as Vice President from 2009 to 2017, his boss, Barack Obama wouldn’t let him be a “union guy.” Even with large Democratic majorities in Congress and control of the White House, worker needs went unmet. Continue reading

Perfidy meets putty—congressional Democrats betray voters

Where is the outcry among Democratic politicians to reverse completely the corporate takeover of Medicare?

Do you remember the promises made by the Democratic Party’s presidential and Congressional candidates on universal health insurance? You can forget their pledges and somber convictions now that your votes put the Democrats in charge of the House and the Senate. The Democrats’ leaders are abandoning their promises and retreating into a cowardly corporatist future. Continue reading

Democrats disarm themselves before Trump’s Senate impeachment trial

If the Democrats do not go full throttle in this trial—this last clear chance to exercise the Constitution against Tyrant Trump—they will be remembered as profiles of infamy.

Donald Trump has, with luck, eluded the consequences of being a failed gambling czar with no respect for the law. But his luck has reached a new level with Congressional Democrats refraining from holding him accountable for breaking the law and violating the Constitution as regularly as the rising and setting of the sun for four years. (See: December 18, 2019, Congressional Record, H-12197). Continue reading

The struggle inside Senator Mitch McConnell’s brain

Allowing the Trumpian half of his brain to overpower his judgment and vote to acquit Dangerous Donald would spell disaster for the Republican Party (assuming the Democratic Party doesn’t go to sleep as it did after Obama’s win in 2008).

Since 2015, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has ruled the Senate with an iron hand, describing himself as “the Guardian of Gridlock.” He was Senator “NO,” except for confirming over 200 mostly corporatist federal judges. Continue reading

New auto safety report demands Biden strengthen federal programs now

It is time for the Biden people to end the soporific record of their predecessors, including that of those from the Obama/Biden administration

Sunday the New York Times rediscovered its previous auto safety news beat that blossomed in the 1960s after my book, Unsafe at Any Speed (1965) caused an uproar in Detroit. Reporter Christopher Jensen told New York Times readers about a new report by a coalition of six automotive safety groups demanding that the new Biden administration recharge the moribund, industry-dominated National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with strong leadership, adequate budget, and long-overdue, proven vehicle safety standards. Continue reading

Will trump’s grand finale be conviction by the US Senate?

Congressional Republicans have aided and abetted, for four years, Trump's assertion that With Article II, I can do whatever I want as president." Dangerous Donald did just that.

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro, a graduate of Harvard Law School, asked his colleagues: “If inciting a deadly insurrection is not enough to get a president impeached, then what is?” Ten Republicans voted for impeachment, but 197 House Republicans disagreed. Trump incited the crowd in person on the Mall. He lied to his supporters saying, “I’ll be with you” on the march to the Capitol. Trump then refused to call the crowd back when it turned into a mob that violently stormed into the Capitol. Trump scurried back to the White House to gleefully watch on TV his “special people” rampage through the Congress with destructive intent. Continue reading

Can justice finally overtake Trump, its most defiant fugitive?

Despite the many crimes Donald Trump regularly committed over four years, it took his blatant incitement of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, to put him on the road to prison. (See: Letter to vice President Mike Pence Re: Invocation of Amendment 25). What transpired on Wednesday in the shadows of the Washington Monument was a pure violent street crime that resulted in five fatalities, property smashed and damaged, and many assaults by hundreds of rioters who broke into or were allowed into the Capitol. Continue reading

The road to a more just society runs through Congress

Think about all the dreams for a better world that could come to be realized if our elected officials worked for the big majority of Americans instead of for Big Business interests.

We know their names! We’ve given immense power to Five Hundred and Thirty-Five People to do good or bad. One Hundred Senators and Four Hundred and Thirty-Five Representatives. Unfortunately, some 1,500 corporations control most Members of Congress. Think about all the dreams for a better world that could come to be realized if our elected officials worked for the big majority of Americans instead of for Big Business interests. Continue reading

Biden needs to report Trump’s wreckage in executive branch as markers

They must not let the Trumpster outlaws escape and become immune fugitives from justice

The Biden Transition team is about to connect with the Trumpsters running federal departments and agencies into the ground. The Biden staff should prepare for serial shocks. Biden’s people will be observing the first glimpses of staggering wreckage and corruption. They need to tell the American people what they find. Continue reading

Trump’s massive, lawless, and immoral legacy to our country will continue unless…

"It is difficult to overestimate the continuing harm to our beleaguered democracy and its people, should Trump and his cohorts not be brought to justice."

Trump has gotten away with almost everything throughout his bankruptcy-driven business career and his corrupt, cruel, and costly political years in the White House. Things changed on November 3, when he was retired by the voters. Continue reading

Biden has ousted a lying and corrupt Trump but that doesn’t mean Democrats had a great Election Day

Loaded with nearly twice as much money as the GOP, the Democrats showed that weak candidates with no robust agendas for people where they live, work, and raise their families, is a losing formula.

Apart from barely squeezing through the swing states to defeat corrupt, incompetent, lying, corporatist Donald Trump, the Democratic Party had a bad election. Continue reading

Wrecking America: How Trump’s lawbreaking and lies betray all

If you don’t want such a person as your neighbor, why would you want him as your president where he’d have exponentially more power to harm you and your family?

Political analysts of all stripes have concluded that President Trump has a base of supporters who are credulous, immovable, and unpersuadable. Allow us to briefly test that hypothesis, but to ignore the skins-shirts labels—Left-Right, Democrat-Republican—that often though not always determine how a person votes. Continue reading

Corporatist Judge Barrett—two more Senate abstentions needed to reject Trump’s SCOTUS pick

It's time for the rising movement of elected and grassroots progressive to take over.

In a 1995 book review published in the University of Chicago Law Review, Elena Kagan (now Justice Kagan) wrote about judicial nominees avoiding disclosing their views on legal issues. She said, “[T]he safest and surest route to the prize lay in alternating platitudinous statement and judicious silence. Who would have done anything different, in the absence of pressure from members of Congress?” Continue reading

Trump’s broken promises to his voters—he didn’t deliver!

The list of broken promises could fill volumes.

Trump voters are not inclined to change their minds. Some of them are forever Republicans and will only vote the GOP ticket; they are called hereditary voters. Others can’t stand the Democratic Party nominees, won’t vote for the Libertarian ticket, and will only vote for Trump. Some love Trump because of his anti-immigrant stance, deregulation of law enforcement on businesses, and nominations of anti-choice and right-wing corporatist federal judges. Continue reading

Democrats must demolish Trump’s delusional law-breaking dystopia

‘The Democrats are not matching Trump’s own or his party's propaganda.’

Donald Trump continually breaks multiple laws. Yet the serial lawbreaking, lying Trump is playing the “law and order” card against street protestors reacting to fatal cases of police brutality. Armed pro-Trump provocateurs are attending civic protests and generating casualties and property damage, as was the case recently in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Trump uses such mayhem to attack Joe Biden and his hyped “radical leftists.” This is grotesque, but then that is how corrupt, dangerous, devious Donald operates when cornered by falling polls, and growing opposition from leading retired military leaders and national intelligence officials. Trump’s attack on the U.S. Postal Service is also producing a nationwide backlash and even red-state conservatives are troubled by delays in deliveries of medicine and Social Security checks. Continue reading

Democratic Convention: New faces, similar policies but sharp contrast with Trumpism

The Democratic Party avoided the issue of what to do about the gross maldistribution of power between the tiny few and the rest of the people in America.

A national political nominating convention, as the Democrats have just completed, is, to be sure, a mutual admiration event. A steady stream of speakers led to the finale with the acceptance speech by the presidential candidate, Joe Biden. But the Convention has another declared purpose: to show the country what the Democratic Party stands for and the future it wishes to shape for the American people. Continue reading

Needed: Indicators for measuring injustice and societal decay

Adequate housing, healthcare, food, public services, education, mass transit, health & safety standards, and environmental protections are the prerequisites for a humane democracy.

Economic indicators—data points, trends, and micro-categories—are the widgets of the big information industry. By contrast, indicators for our society’s democratic health are not similarly compiled, aggregated, and reported. Its up and down trends are presented piecemeal and lack quantitative precision. Continue reading