Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Nader: Hero or Hypocrite...Can you handle the truth?
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Friday, February 29, 2008

Nader: Hero or Hypocrite...Can you handle the truth?



RV Candidate Runs It Into The Ground

(Ralph Nader…Vanity Candidate)…

It’s About Time To Take A Good Look At Ralph Nader

The Confused Capitalist…

Check His Finances Against His Words!

It Happens every four years!


WARNING: NADERITE CULT-LIKE FOLLOWERS; THE FOLLOWING COULD BE DAMAGING TO YOUR BELIEFS (iF YOU'RE OPENEN-MINDED ENOUGH TO READ AND STUDY IT ALL)! There are those who find "The Hero" to be a "Hypocrite"!


"This is a man who once said that he could see no difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush," Christopher Cruzcosa, president of NYU's College Democrats, said. "Anyone who would say that is obviously out of touch with reality and the modern political landscape."


Obama first commented on Nader's run on Saturday. "He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work," he said….


(and he is right) It’s an arrogance and ego, an attitude as bad as any mainstream politician, including Bush! He’s just not the man he once was, or we were lead to think he was.


WASHINGTON ? Ralph Nader takes little stock in corporate America ? convinced, as he is, that big business is the root of all societal ills.


Or at least that's what he says.


His personal investment portfolio, worth millions of dollars, tells a far different story.


But before I tell you about all the corporate stock he owns, let me tell you why I'm even bothering to expose such a cartoon-caricature of an unreconstructed market-bashing liberal for the hypocrite he is.


Ralph Nader looked vigorous, sharp and confident when he appeared on Meet the Press to announce that he was running for President. I hope I'm that full of beans when I'm 74, not that that will be anytime soon, but sheesh! man, I wanted to shout at the screen, where's your dignity? Do you really want to go down in history as the world's most irritating vanity candidate?


It's getting hard to write those pieces that heap praise on Nader for all his great service to humanity--safer cars, safer water, safer factories--and beg him to please, please stick with his day job. Every time he runs, those glory days are four years longer ago. Those students from Prairie View A&M in Texas, who walked seven miles to their Republican-gerrymandered polling place in order to early-vote for Barack Obama, weren't even born when Nader was in his prime.


Ralph Nader has a perfect right to run for President. And anyway it's hard to imagine that he will have the same effect in 2008 he had in 2000--which, he told Tim Russert, was very little, because the Republicans stole the election, which Gore rightfully won. Be that as it may, we've all had a seven-year crash course in just how much difference there can be between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.


In 2000, Nader got 2.7 percent of the vote. In 2004, he got 0.36 percent--that's fewer than four voters in 1,000. If Hillary gets the nomination, Ralph might pick up the hard-left sexist vote, always a valuable demographic, but if it's Obama versus McCain? Not enough difference between the candidate who opposed the war from the start and the one who wants to stay for 100 years?


Between the one who wants to insure everyone (well, almost everyone) and the one who doesn't see much of a problem with healthcare as is? The prochoice one and the one who voted 113 out of 117 times against reproductive rights? Oh, I forgot, Naderites never denied that the parties differed on abortion. They just didn't care, and they probably still don't. These people wouldn't vote Democratic if Nader wasn't running; they'd choose another protest candidate or stay home.


Here's what I don't like about Ralph running: his run is all about Ralph and his right to run.


In the eight years since 2000, he's built no movement and mobilized no support.


As I write, the Green Party nomination is up in the air--Nader and former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney are the top contestants.


But the Green Party today is embroiled in factional feuds and backbiting: it's hard to imagine it could provide Nader with even as much backup as it did in 2000. What is the point of popping up every four years to tweak the noses of the Dems?


Beyond scoring him a few extra invitations from the Sunday talk-shows, it's hard to see how Ralph's Lone Ranger candidacy is going to reach the citizenry. Compared with John Edwards (whom Nader liked enough to support in the primaries), Nader is invisible.


If he had wanted to reach a mass audience he could have run in the primaries like Dennis Kucinich--or, for that matter, Ron Paul--and gotten a ton of free airtime and a chance to show directly his superiority over the other candidates. That he passed up that opportunity but will howl if excluded from debates between the eventual nominees makes him seem vain and petulant.


The left loves to talk about the need for mass movements, yet in the electoral arena it offers mostly tiny, hapless third parties and futile symbolic runs by political celebrities who have no real interest in governing--campaigns that ignore the basic laws of electoral math because who needs to kiss a baby when we are just so right on the issues?


When I dared suggest that Cindy Sheehan didn't have much chance of beating Nancy Pelosi--because whatever Pelosi may be in the comment section of AlterNet, in the real world she's a powerful and popular politician--I got clobbered by the true believers.


It was as if I was the only child in the theater who refused to clap for Tinkerbell.


But here we are months later, and where is Sheehan? Well, last week she and Tiffany Burns, her campaign manager, were in Cairo, to support members of the Muslim Brotherhood facing trial by military tribunal.


Yes, yes, I know--even misogynous fundamentalists who want to turn Egypt into a theocracy deserve civil rights, although I'm not sure I'd go halfway around the world to make that point. But you have to admit, Cairo is an odd place to pursue votes in California's 8th District.


For decades it's been an irony of US politics that the grassroots movement has been on the right: conservative evangelicals and movement conservatives have been using the tactics developed by the left in the 1960s, branching out through neighborhoods and churches and schools while also steadily taking over the Republican Party precinct by precinct.


They may fuss and fume, but they know nobody's perfect: if John McCain is the candidate, James Dobson is not going to mount an independent run so that creationists get a real choice in November.


Now, finally, the Republican coalition may be reaching its natural limits, even as Obama has sparked something like a grassroots movement on the left.


He's not as far to the left as Nader by a long shot, but if the majority of Democrats had wanted Ralph's politics they could have voted for John Edwards, and they didn't. Maybe someday we can have a real conversation about why the candidate who embodied the white-working-class-man-friendly economic populism that this magazine has promoted for years fell flat, and the woman and the biracial, multicultural man have inspired huge crowds of supporters. It wasn't supposed to happen this way.


As Bill Fletcher wrote in The Black Commentator, "Edwards, much like Kucinich (in both the 2004 and 2008 Kucinich campaigns), fell prey to the historic 'white populist error'...that unity will magically appear by building a campaign that attacks poverty and corporate abuse, supports unions and focuses on the challenges facing the working class, but ignores race and gender." Is identity politics, long blamed for the Democratic Party's low fortunes, now riding to its rescue? For Nader, who famously scorned "gonadal politics," that would be ironic indeed.


Part of what's driving Nader is of course his belief that both major parties suffer from, and are controlled by, corporate greed. But he clearly has an ax to grind with the Democrats, who expended a lot of effort when he ran again in 2004 to keep him from as many ballots as they could. Nader, who took about 2.7 percent of the national vote in 2000, could only get 0.3 percent four years later, when he competed in only 34 states.


Democrats' dislike of Nader remains visceral, and they will no doubt do whatever they can to once again limit his ballot access. Asked on Sunday how he would feel if he were responsible for, say, the election of John McCain over Barack Obama, Nader said, "If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form."


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=63125288


Ralph Nader, Philanthropist: Is the anti-corporate crusader funding his own nonprofit network?

By Cliff Kincaid
web posted December 4, 2000


Since 1965, Ralph Nader has been the Left's most persistent and influential advocate. His activities have spawned numerous "consumer activist" nonprofits dedicated exclusively to fighting big business. But last June, when Nader was forced to disclose his personal finances, the public learned that he is among the wealthiest Americans and invests heavily in the free-market system. Nader claims that he gives most of his income to his network of nonprofits and similar groups — which means his anti-corporate activity is funded by investments in major corporations.


Everyone, it seems, knows who Ralph Nader is. He's the consumer activist, king of a network of "Naderite" nonprofit advocacy groups. He's the enemy of big business, self-proclaimed friend of the common man.


And he's the multi-millionaire philanthropist.


That's something few people knew before Nader's run for the American presidency as the candidate of the Green Party. In June, Nader disclosed that he was worth at least $3.8 million and was heavily invested in technology stocks. It seems the backbone of Nader's wealth is invested in successful companies and the American capitalist system — the targets of Nader's "consumer advocacy" groups.


Concerned that he might be perceived as a fat cat who had turned his back on the little guy, Nader quickly informed journalists that he isn't a hypocrite. He might be wealthy, but he insists that he doesn't hoard money for himself. Nader told the Baltimore Sun that he would have even more money in his bank account if he hadn't given away "several millions of dollars" since 1967. He told the Washington Post that he gave more than 80 percent of his after-tax income to nonprofit organizations. The millions he has stashed away in stocks and money market funds, Nader said, were for further charitable activities.


The message is that Nader is rich, but he is still the people's self-proclaimed champion against the powerful. A Washington Post headline labeled him "the little guy's millionaire."


But only Nader himself knows for sure if he has truly performed as a millionaire philanthropist and where his donations go. Citing his right to privacy, he refuses to release income tax returns to prove his charitable tax deductions, the usual practice of presidential candidates.


Show us the money


Nader has long been known for a simple lifestyle. A bachelor at the age of 66, he claimed until recently to live on only $15,000 a year, which he upped to $25,000 during a C-SPAN interview in June. But no one except Nader really knows for sure.


Physically, Nader looks lean and trim, even gaunt. He is reported to eat sandwiches nearly every day. It is said that he avoids fats and meats, abhors high-tech, uses a manual typewriter and only has a black-and-white television. The man whose name became a household word because of a book about cars, Unsafe At Any Speed, doesn't own one. The Associated Press reported that he has "little use for things." He also doesn't own a home, lives in a sparsely furnished apartment, but was also reported to have lived for a time in a $1.5 million Washington townhouse owned by his sister.


While his personal lifestyle is considered by some to be evidence of a sacrificial spirit, others find it strange. Writing in the New York Times, columnist Paul Krugman called him a "rebel without a life" who wants to impose his "virtues" on the rest of us. Jay Whitehead, the head of an Internet company who once admired Nader, now calls him "anti-technology" and an "analog man in a digital age."


Nader's critics have long suspected that he was not destitute, as he was sometimes described, and that his network of consumer groups has been well-funded by trial lawyers — close allies of Nader's anti-corporate groups — or other private sources. In 1990, a Forbes article titled "Saint Ralph and his Web of Interests" asserted that Nader ran a secretive "autocracy" of left-wing groups, that he was financially well-off, and that he was too cozy with trial lawyers. Nader called the article "malicious" and "amateurish," but Forbes was on the right track.


Nader's surprising status as a multimillionaire was disclosed this year when he filed a Public Financial Disclosure Report under the Ethics in Government Act with the Federal Election Commission. Nader ran as the Green Party presidential candidate in 1996 as well, but by limiting his spending to less than $5,000 from his own funds, he avoided filing a disclosure statement.


The report, which includes information about investments and sources of income, is designed to publicize potential conflicts of interest and let the public know of outside influences which may stand to gain if a particular candidate is elected. Nader submitted the report with a curious three-page "addendum" that the Washington Post's Mike Allen called "a catechism-style explanation." It was an exercise in spin control. Nader described the addendum as "going beyond the requirements of the Ethics in Government Act and further elaborating the enclosed contents for any interested parties."


In it, Nader claimed he had achieved status as a great philanthropist. "For nearly 30 years," he claimed, "my consistent practice has been to donate 50 percent of my adjusted gross income to 501(c)(3) charitable institutions. That is the maximum percentage of charitable donations allowed under the tax code. These contributions have amounted to several millions of dollars since 1967." He told the Washington Post that the real figure was actually 80 percent. But none of it could be verified, because he refused to release his income tax forms.


While going into detail about speaking and writing fees, amounting to as much as $15,000 for a speech and totaling $200,000 to $300,000 a year, Nader reported that he also received "some bequests" and invested them in money markets. He didn't identify these bequests or under what circumstances he received them. The Washington Post has reported that some people, including a retired coal miner, gave Nader their life savings because they thought he needed the money.


Market guru?


But in addition to Nader's net worth of nearly $4 million, one of the report's more interesting revelations is his extensive stock and money market portfolio. Because of it, Investor's Business Daily labeled the Wall Street nemesis a "market guru." Don Lambro of the Washington Times described Nader as a successful capitalist. During an appearance on the Fox Sunday program, journalist Brit Hume half-jokingly asked Nader for the name of his stockbroker, but Nader didn't want to give it out.


"[Nader] invests only in companies he considers socially conscious, based on what they produce and how they treat their workers," reported the Baltimore Sun. "He avoids those, like General Motors, that he is actively campaigning against." His portfolio includes Cadence Design Systems Inc. (a $1.1 billion company that designs software for semiconductors), Iomega Corp. (a $1.5 billion company that makes information storage devices) and Ziff-Davis Inc. (a $702 million media firm focused on technology, once a market leader but now selling off to CNET Networks).


"Number one, they're not monopolists and number two, they don't produce land mines, napalm, weapons," Nader told the Washington Post. But they are big business.


Nader also has a $1.2 million investment in Cisco Systems Inc., which makes products and software to power the Internet. Cisco dominates its market, perhaps even more than Microsoft's domination of the computer operating systems market. And yet Nader and the federal government have singled out Microsoft, depressing the company's stock price and throwing the U.S. stock market into a turbulent year.


"Cisco controls a bit more than half the overall data-networking market but has, for example, 89 percent of the market for high-end routers," reported Salon magazine. "…Cisco's Washington lobbying has been concentrated on objectives like making it harder for disgruntled shareholders to sue their companies – something Nader and his various groups have vociferously opposed. It has also focused on passing legislation to issue more H1-B visas to foreign workers, while Nader has taken a strong stand against the visas."


When some of these facts about Cisco were brought to Nader's attention, he and his associates acted surprised. "Nader's raiders," who take pride in their comprehensive investigations of big business, seem not to have done their homework on Cisco.


But Nader's reaction to Cisco's extensive operations in China was more nonchalant, despite the apparent contradiction between Nader's investment and his opposition to the China trade bill that paved the way for the country's membership in the World Trade Organization. When the bill passed in Congress, Nader associate Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, said lawmakers had "sold out to corporate interests to help them rake in even bigger profits."


Cisco is one of the leading beneficiaries of the China trade bill. The company's operations in China include technology laboratories, manufacturing alliances and joint research and development programs. Cisco CEO John Chambers has bragged that the company's 15 Chinese manufacturing partners will provide $650 million worth of parts to Cisco this year, and sales in China will reach about $500 million.


Nevertheless, Nader defended his investment to CNN's Judy Woodruff: "I don't mind trade with China in non-weapons and non-toxic materials," he said. Nader contrasted Cisco to "multinational U.S. corporations who are taking factories and setting factories over there."


Nader eventually issued a statement blasting Cisco, but not over its trade deals with China. He opposed Cisco's corporate expansion plan near San Jose, California that was described as environmentally insensitive. This was an example, Nader said, of his willingness to "walk his talk" as a corporate shareholder. In fact, it was a diversion from the main question of how and why Nader chooses his corporate targets.


There is nothing improper, unethical or illegal about the manner in which Nader appears to have acquired his money. Indeed, he is to be commended for his successful investments in the American economy. What is disingenuous, however, is Nader's appearance as someone who is disinterested in money and the benefits of free markets. His followers might wonder why he also didn't encourage them to invest in America's businesses.


Nonprofit network


"I don't spend that much on myself," Nader told C-SPAN. "Most of the money that I raise goes into the projects over the years – consumer projects, investigative projects and other worthwhile efforts." He likes to project the odd image of the sandwich eating small screen B&W TV screen owner who doesn't drive a car and uses a type writer because ribbons are cheap, and lives in a small apartment. The truth is he hangs out at more at his parent's place in Connecticut and makes curious Amtrak trips to New Jersey?


Nader's financial disclosure report gives little detail about where his donations go.


But it suggests that he gives primarily to organizations he founded or controls, or which promote his ideological interests. Nader's philanthropy is hardly selfless. Indeed, it supports his own left-wing activism.


In the report, Nader lists several favorite causes, such as aviation safety. He reports that he gave an undisclosed amount to several Public Interest Research Groups. And he subsequently told the Washington Post that he donated $200,000 for "civic action projects" at his alma maters, Princeton and Harvard.


The report mentions donations in the 1970s to what Nader calls the "Congress Project"; the Washington Post says the Project received $500,000. The group no longer exists under that name. Today, "Congress Watch" is a division of Public Citizen, a group Nader founded in 1971.


In the report, Nader identifies himself as a member of the board of directors of the Appleseed Foundation and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. The Appleseed Foundation is one of the latest Naderite groups, having been created in 1993. The network of "lawyers for justice" has formed 17 public interest law centers in 15 states with an "average annual budget" of $750,000. It claims to have "helped millions of people and affected billions of dollars," although it doesn't provide legal services to individuals.


The Center for the Study of Responsive Law, founded in 1968, was once described by Forbes magazine as "Nader's headquarters" and is at the center of the complex network of Nader-linked organizations. It promotes greater government interference in the American marketplace.


Although Nader discloses ties to only two groups, his reach is much longer. The New York Post estimated in 1996 that Nader controlled, to varying degrees, 29 organizations with combined annual revenues of $80 million. A 1982 book by Dan Burt, Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network, uncovered a network of 50 small corporations and organizations linked to Nader. Burt concluded, "Mr. Nader and his groups cannot have it both ways. On the one hand, they agitate for more and more corporate and governmental disclosure to the public. On the other, they do not feel a duty themselves to make such public disclosures."


Over time, the Naderite links are obscured or ignored, enabling Nader to exercise his influence through an assortment of fronts. On March 27, for example, ABC News reported Congress Watch director Frank Clemente's views on Vice President Al Gore's campaign finance reform plan while identifying the project's parent organization, Public Citizen, only as "a non-partisan public interest group."


Despite the unanswered questions, it may well be that Nader has been helping to fund all of these groups to the tune of "millions of dollars." But if we are going to believe Nader's claim that he has been a generous philanthropist over the last several decades, we have to take the word of a man who was secretly investing in the capitalist system and making millions of dollars while publicly attacking it.


None dare call it socialism


Nader has a credibility problem. His positions, and the positions of the Naderite groups, often harm consumers while claiming the mantle of consumer advocacy. Nader and some of his spin-offs seem less concerned with making America "safe" or protecting consumers than with making our lives austere:


  • Nader's long-standing campaign against almost anything nuclear, including nuclear energy, has clearly harmed consumers and increased U.S. dependence on the foreign OPEC oil cartel.

  • It is ironic that the man who made his reputation attacking a car, but who doesn't own one, should have helped force the auto industry into rushing into production with air bags that have killed dozens of small children. A famous 1977 photo shows a youthful Nader standing next to a young child in a car seat as an airbag inflates like a pillow harmlessly against her head. Those "pillows" turned out to be killers.

  • Another Nader-inspired group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which grew out of the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, has agitated for taxes on "junk food" — candy and snacks — because it believes the American people eat too much of it. The group also favors more regulation of dietary supplements and vitamins.

  • New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who suffers from arthritis and takes the anti-inflammatory drug Feldene for it, has complained that Nader's Public Citizen tried to block the introduction of this drug back in the 1980s and then tried to ban it in 1995.

  • Today, Nader wants to make it more difficult to get genetically-engineered food products on the market, despite the evidence that they could help feed and save the lives of millions of people worldwide.

  • Rebutting Nader's claim that he wants to serve the interests of organized labor, Doug Henwood, writing in the Left Business Observer in 1996, said that Nader "talks like a big friend of labor, but his history is a bit more complicated." He cited Nader attempts to suppress a union at Multinational Monitor, a publication he controlled, and at Public Citizen.

  • Although Nader has been the Green Party presidential candidate in two elections and has been a consistent opponent of nuclear energy, he has never founded an explicitly environmental group. He told an environmental magazine, E, in its July/August 2000 issue that he once considered forming a solar energy group, but couldn't find the right people to run it.


High standards?


If Nader is the generous philanthropist that he claims to be, he has tough standards to adhere to: his own. Over the years, Nader has been as outspoken on nonprofit activities and philanthropy as he has been on corporate and public policy issues.


Perhaps his most high-profile activity in the nonprofit sector was his 1998 lawsuit against the $45 million Connecticut-based Hoffman Foundation. Nader, who had served on the foundation's board for seven years, accused the fund's top officials of taking excessive payments for services and making grants in an unprofessional manner. Nader said two top officials awarded themselves nearly $900,000 over a six-year period for working no more than 30 days a year on foundation work. Their lawyer has denied the charges.


The suit seems a bit strange. The Hoffman Foundation had made grants totaling $725,000 to Nader's Center for the Study Of Responsive Law in the years before the lawsuit. Other grants were funneled to groups reflecting Nader's interests. The foundation seemed to follow the advice of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy to give some money to the radical left.


In July 1998, Nader made a big splash in the press by publicly urging Microsoft chairman Bill Gates to be more generous with his wealth. Nader complained about the "concentration of power and wealth" in society. Quoting from the book The Ownership Solution, Nader said, "Capitalism is very good at creating capital but terrible at creating capitalists." Little did Gates or the public know that Nader was one of those capitalists and part of what Nader called a "wealth disparity" in the U.S.


During an appearance on C-SPAN before he made his financial disclosure, Nader continued the facade by complaining, "The top one percent of the richest people in this country have financial wealth equal to the bottom 95 percent of Americans." Nader, it turns out, is probably in that one percent. But C-SPAN viewers had no way of knowing because Nader didn't tell them.


Accountable to his followers


Whatever the target, and whatever the audience, Nader's line never seems to change: in the alleged interests of consumers, he calls for increasing the authority of the legal establishment and big government at the expense of certain "corporate interests."


But given Nader's newly disclosed financial status, including his investments in big business, his activities are likely to come under greater scrutiny. When Nader goes after a corporate target, consumers will want to know whether Nader has any stock in its competitors.


Consumers will also want to know how Nader represents the little guy. When he criticizes the wealthy, his own activities will be held up in comparison.


Despite his anti-corporate rhetoric, it may be that frugal Nader truly understands the bottom line — his own.


The prospect of splitting Microsoft into several "Baby Bills" (a reference to Microsoft CEO Bill Gates) has attracted the most media attention. But is that what Nader wants? What is his goal for Microsoft, and how does it fit into his broader plans?


Nader and his allies have aligned themselves with Microsoft's business competitors. (See Organization Trends, December 1997, at the Capitol Research Center web site at http://www.capitalresearch.org .) But it seems unlikely that Nader would invest so much effort into tearing down one large company, only to let its equally aggressive competitors — like America Online (AOL), Hewlett-Packard and IBM — usurp Microsoft's place. Indeed, Nader unsuccessfully lobbied Justice to intervene in the merger of AOL and Netscape Communications. He showed no allegiance to those companies or to Sun Microsystems, which has been promised key concessions as part of the merger deal.


It seems that Nader's leftist ideological bent drives his efforts. Microsoft's destruction may only be one aspect of Nader's politics, not his ultimate goal. A review of the statements and activities of Nader and his allies over the past several months suggests that Nader's target may be much larger than the software king: he is targeting the software industry itself.


In June 1998, Nader sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein, suggesting strategies for the Justice Department's antitrust assault against Microsoft. The letter was co-signed by James Love, a leading critic of Microsoft and director of the Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Project on Technology (CPT), an affiliate of Nader's Center for the Study of Responsive Law.


Despite the many allegations about Microsoft's "misdeeds," Nader and Love asked Klein to narrow his focus. They wanted the Justice Department to challenge the "barriers to entry faced by alternative operating systems" and to address "the concerns of the free software users and developers."


"People in the free software community are concerned that Microsoft, or its business associates, may create barriers to access to important technical information needed for free software development," wrote Nader and Love. "...[W]e ask that DOJ meet with persons in the free software development community... before DOJ becomes too committed to a particular course for the current litigation or the eventual remedies addressed in settlements."


The letter is evidence of Nader's commitment to "free software," a radical concept that will remove most software from the store shelves if the concept succeeds. The thinking goes that software developers will voluntarily create and improve software products. The "source code" or basic recipe for each program will be released the general public, essentially draining all economic value from the product itself.


http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/1200nader.htm


That's something few people knew before Nader's run for the American presidency as the candidate of the Green Party. In June, Nader disclosed that he was worth at least $3.8 million and was heavily invested in technology stocks. It seems the backbone of Nader's wealth is invested in successful companies and the American capitalist system — the targets of Nader's "consumer advocacy" groups.


Concerned that he might be perceived as a fat cat who had turned his back on the little guy, Nader quickly informed journalists that he isn't a hypocrite. He might be wealthy, but he insists that he doesn't hoard money for himself. Nader told the Baltimore Sun that he would have even more money in his bank account if he hadn't given away "several millions of dollars" since 1967. He told the Washington Post that he gave more than 80 percent of his after-tax income to nonprofit organizations. The millions he has stashed away in stocks and money market funds, Nader said, were for further charitable activities.


The message is that Nader is rich, but he is still the people's self-proclaimed champion against the powerful. A Washington Post headline labeled him "the little guy's millionaire."


But only Nader himself knows for sure if he has truly performed as a millionaire philanthropist and where his donations go. Citing his right to privacy, he refuses to release income tax returns to prove his charitable tax deductions, the usual practice of presidential candidates.


Nader's critics have long suspected that he was not destitute, as he was sometimes described, and that his network of consumer groups has been well-funded by trial lawyers — close allies of Nader's anti-corporate groups — or other private sources. In 1990, a Forbes article titled "Saint Ralph and his Web of Interests" asserted that Nader ran a secretive "autocracy" of left-wing groups, that he was financially well-off, and that he was too cozy with trial lawyers. Nader called the article "malicious" and "amateurish," but Forbes was on the right track.


Nader's surprising status as a multimillionaire was disclosed this year when he filed a Public Financial Disclosure Report under the Ethics in Government Act with the Federal Election Commission. Nader ran as the Green Party presidential candidate in 1996 as well, but by limiting his spending to less than $5,000 from his own funds, he avoided filing a disclosure statement.


http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/061800-01.htm


Nader said he will not release his income-tax returns. He declared that "assuring privacy rights for all Americans has been one of my active engagements for many years."


For the same reason, he said he did not regret waiting until now to end the speculation about his personal fortune.


"In our country, we have freedom-of-information law, and privacy law," he said. "So you always have to balance them. And if you are not a public candidate or a public elected person, then you have rights of privacy. While I may not care about disclosing these things, I didn't want to break the principle.


Top Contributors

http://capitaleye.org/2000elect/contrib/P20000527.htm


Top Industries

http://capitaleye.org/2000elect/indus/P20000527.htm

Retired $240,752/ Education $81,405 / Computer Equipment & Services $53,311 / TV/Movies/Music $53,181/ Lawyers/Law Firms $49,090/ Printing & Publishing $35,621/ Business Services $28,127/ Securities & Investment $21,262 Real Estate $21,214


Contributions by Sectors

http://capitaleye.org/2000elect/sector/P20000527.htm

Lawyers & Lobbyists $49,090


http://opensecrets.org/presidential/contrib.asp?ID=N00000086

Kafoury & McDougal $31,020

Lynx Investment Advisory $25,350


Income Tax Picture

http://opensecrets.org/pfds/candlook.asp?key=rcskv&CID=N00000086+

http://opensecrets.org/pfds/pfd2003/N00000086_2003.pdf


http://opensecrets.org/presidential/contrib.asp?id=N00000086&cycle=2004


Ralph Nader Is A Hypocrite!


WASHINGTON ? Ralph Nader takes little stock in corporate America ? convinced, as he is, that big business is the root of all societal ills.


Or at least that's what he says.


His personal investment portfolio, worth millions of dollars, tells a far different story.


But before I tell you about all the corporate stock he owns, let me tell you why I'm even bothering to expose such a cartoon-caricature of an unreconstructed market-bashing liberal for the hypocrite he is.


Nader has always been more of an entertaining sideshow to me than anyone to be taken seriously. I actually derive some secret pleasure from the supposedly anti-establishment gadfly's shtick of puncturing the self-righteous rhetoric of the stuffed-shirts in both parties, because it injects a refreshing honesty ? perverse, misguided and, as it turns out, phony, as it may be ? into the otherwise stale presidential campaigns of poll-tested platitudes. I had hoped he'd run again for kicks.


But recently Nader has become the liberal media elite's go-to guy for bashing corporate management in the wake of Enron's pension-robbing collapse. And, frighteningly enough, he's starting to make sense to reasonable people ? particularly scared pre-retirement workers who normally would have turned him off before he could plunge into another of his eye-twitching fulminations against capitalism (and not just Enron's corrupt brand of crony capitalism).


On ABC's "This Week," Nader charged that Enron is not a bad apple, but "part of a corporate crime wave." On NBC's "Meet the Press," he again attempted to demonize all corporations by arguing that "Enron is symbolic of the corruption of corporate politics," whatever that means.


His host, Tim Russert, a former aide to liberal Democrat Mario Cuomo, just nodded, giving him an open field, whereby Nader demanded that government crack down on corporate "crooks" and "crime in the [executive] suites."


This was bad enough.


But then I found out that my uncle, whom I've always admired, even idolized, was one of the 2,882,955 Americans (2.7 percent of the total turnout) who voted for Nader in 2000.


That blew my mind.


After playing professional football for the Patriots (congratulations, by the way, to the franchise and all its players, past and present, and its long-suffering fans, such as myself, on the Pats' first national championship), my uncle made a small fortune on Wall Street as a senior executive with Merrill Lynch.


So what's his fascination with Nader? I'm not quite sure, but the fact that he studied socialism ? er, sociology ? at Dartmouth could explain part of it.


Still, there's no doubt Nader holds some weird attraction for many Americans, who clearly aren't all environmental wackos picketing World Trade Organization summits. And that attraction is growing amid the mushrooming Enron scandal. At this rate, Senate Democrats may invite Nader to testify.


My uncle and other Nader fans, however, might be surprised to learn that Ralph the Mouth doesn't put his money where his mouth is. At the same time he's bad-mouthing corporations, he owns stakes in them. Most of his money, in fact, is parked in stocks and commercial paper ? not Appleseed Foundation or other bleeding-heart groups that defend the downtrodden.


That's right. After hearing Nader cast one too many corporate aspersions, I marched down to the Federal Election Commission headquarters here and pulled a copy of the financial disclosure report he filed in 2000, knowing full well that Nader was no pauper.


In it, I found the tweedy do-gooder's pin-striped underbelly.


On page 15 of Schedule A, Nader was forced to disclose his shares of Cisco Systems, valued at the time at $1,158,750; Fibercore Inc., between $15,000 and $50,000; Iomega Inc., $15,000-$50,000; 3 Com Corp., $50,000-$100,000; and Ziff-Davis Inc., $50,000-$100,000, among other corporate holdings.


Those were just his direct investments.


Nader held an additional $2 million-plus in Fidelity and other mutual funds.


You'd think that someone who so loosely throws around epithets like "corporate criminals" and "corporate crooks" would never trust corporate brass with so much of his own money.


But having said that, where did millionaire Nader get so much money to invest in the first place? Answer: by publicly demonizing the supposedly evil, greedy and exploitative corporate system that he uses to further enrich himself.


Turn to page 1 of his income statement.


There, you'll find the start of a long list of payola Nader got from various lefty groups, colleges and media to bash corporations in speeches and columns from 1999 through the summer of 2000. Total: $378,726.


Is that all of his income, besides the $100,000-plus he made off his corporate investments in that reporting period? We don't know for sure. Nader refused to release his income-tax returns.


But he did say this in an addendum to his filing: "Monies I earn are for strengthening civil society."


Really? Looks like a lot of those "monies" have helped strengthen, in the form of stock investments, the very corporations that he claims are hurting society.


Truth is, Nader benefits from the same corporate establishment he condemns, while his acolytes suffer on the sidelines and agonize on the fringe, sacrificing personal wealth for "social justice" and forgoing the American dream for his fake dream.


Nader Announces Pick for Vice President

Ralph Nader was last to jump into the presidential race, but he’s the first to find a running mate.


He announced his “first choice” for vice president, Matt Gonzalez, a San Francisco lawyer, at a Washington news conference. Mr. Nader added that he and Mr. Gonzalez would not seek the Green Party nomination and instead would run as independents.


Mr. Gonzalez’s greatest claim to fame is his second-place showing in the 2003 San Francisco mayoral race. As a Green Party candidate, Mr. Gonzalez lost 53 percent to 47 percent to Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who had a considerably larger budget and the outspoken support of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi.


The two antiwar, anti-Nafta men met “at various public conferences in 2000 and then we campaigned against the Iraq War in 2005, and we’ve kept in close touch since,” Mr. Nader told The Caucus, adding that he made his decision to run with Mr. Gonzalez about a month ago.


Mr. Gonzalez, 42, a Democrat-turned-Green-Party-member-turned-independent, is a practicing civil rights lawyer with a background in criminal justice. He is a native Texan but earned his political stripes in San Francisco, where he’s served as the deputy public defender and president of the city’s Board of Supervisors.


“He has great character, a great personality, steadfastness in his principles and a lot of good experience,” Mr. Nader said. “He’s not that old, but criminal justice in the courts, urban policies, and election reform — those are three important areas.”


Mr. Nader also said in the interview that his 2004 running mate, Peter Miguel Camejo, “told me he’s run so often that he’s just tired” and was not interested in another go-around.


Back in December, Mr. Nader endorsed John Edwards for president, and he still holds the former candidate in high esteem. Mr. Nader said he hasn’t heard from Mr. Edwards or his old advisers since he threw his hat in the ring — but he said he would welcome Mr. Edwards back to the race.


“I would think he’d be a leading candidate for V.P. again, for Obama, if I would guess,” Mr. Nader said of Mr. Edwards. “The more the merrier. You can’t have too many progressive forces in this country. You can’t have too many efforts to advance justice.”


But during the press conference, Mr. Gonzalez had harsh words about Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, and Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee. Mr. McCain was criticized for calling for “perpetual war,” and Mr. Obama for not committing to have all United States troops out of Iraq by 2013.


Both men acknowledged that they had a tough road ahead of them but that they were standing firm in their fight to get on the ballot in all 50 states.


“I have no illusions about what is happening here today,” Mr. Gonzalez said at the news conference. “I understand what stands before us. But let me also say that I’ve never entered a political contest with the idea that it couldn’t be won. And it’s cynical to say that the American people are incapable of hearing the truth in casting a vote for someone that they believe in.”


And, yes, Mr. Gonzalez voted for Mr. Nader in 2000 and 2004, he told The Caucus.


It's really starting to feel like an election year. There are the debates on TV, the pleas for money in the mail ... and look, Ralph Nader has emerged from whatever crypt he spends the years between campaigns in!



Seriously, why? No doubt, Nader has every right to run for president. Heck, we all do. I think I have just as much to say as Nader, but instead of wasting crap loads time and money running for president, I keep my incoherent ramblings to The Volante.


Maybe Nader needs a blog. Can we get him one?



I'm really curious what he hopes to accomplish with this candidacy. Does he think that this time around, he's going to develop a viable third party? Hopefully the Greens learned their lesson after their association with Nader basically turned their up-and-coming party into huge joke/cautionary tale. A political force they are not. That ship has sailed, my friends, and it left you at the dock.



Some have suggested a candidate like Nader forces the mainstream candidates to talk about issues that they might otherwise avoid, and pulls them further left. This is a nice idea in theory, but I have yet to see a shred of evidence that this has ever actually happened. First of all, Nader assumes that any issue he focuses on is more important than any other issue out there. He's been especially dismissive of those pesky 'social' issues, which I suppose is pretty easy to do when none of them affect you. But let's just assume that he's right and something like corporate corruption is the most important issue to your average American. Instead of talking about corporate corruption, guess what Obama and Clinton have been talking about since Nader entered the race? Nader and what a whackjob he is. I'm glad it's given them someone to beat up on besides each other, but I don't think that's what had in mind, either.



Obviously, he has no chance of actually winning, and considering his poor performance in 2004, he probably won't even have a spoiler affect. In fact, his only purpose in this race seems to be to provide a candidate for racist or misogynist progressives who really need an old white dude to vote for, and disaffected youth looking for an anti-establishment candidate after Ron Paul drops out.


It's sort of sad that a man that once had such a sterling reputation has basically turned into a punch line. There was a month in 2000 (due primarily to some high pressure tactics from my grandma and the fact he was mentioned in a Tom Robbins book), that I actually thought about voting for Nader. But I came to the realization then that many former Nader supporters are coming to now: this isn't how change is made.



Nader is a cult of personality (and one gets the feeling that he's his own biggest worshiper). It's not about positive change; it's just anti-status quo. I don't find that particularly impressive; it's shallow and it's easy. In fact, as much as the holier-than-thou Nader lovers of 2000 tried to make the rest of us feel like we just didn't 'get it' and that they had a much more nuanced view of politics. What a bunch of bull. There's nothing nuanced about throwing a tantrum and refusing to engage in meaningful discourse with your fellow citizens. Nader could probably sue Bush for "if you're not with us, you're against us" copyright infringement.



In the end, this latest Nader run is more of an annoyance than anything. I don't think he's going to siphon any votes or get to take credit for a McCain administration. But much like this winter, I'm sick of him. I think he's gross, and I just wish he would go away.


Despite his influence in 2000, pundits and voters alike are dismissing Nader as a non-factor this time around.


Obama first commented on Nader's run on Saturday. "He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work," he said.


In 2000 Ralph Nader and the Greens told supporters that at least a portion of their efforts were designed to help the Democrats regain a majority in the House and Senate. Nader met with top Democratic Party strategists like Richard Gephardt to assure him that his election effort would help to register and activate a layer of voters who would not otherwise partake in the electoral process and who would likely vote for the Democrats.



Nearly half the electorate, or 100 million eligible voters, don't vote, Nader was fond of saying Given the fact that Nader assured Gephardt that there would be few if any Greens on the ballot for these House and Senate races, his pledge was far from bluster. He employed the same tactic this year, meeting with the head of the Democratic Party, Terry McAuliffe, to pledge support to "progressive" Democrats in an effort to recapture the House and Senate.



At the presidential level Nader explained in 2000 that his sophisticated followers would understand that a vote for him was on the agenda in only those "safe" states, that is, where the polls showed that a Nader vote wouldn't matter. If the contest were close, Nader continued, his supporters would know better than to waste a vote on him.



But when Nader's 70,000 votes in Florida far exceeded the few hundred margin by which Bush "won" the state—lying, cheating, and stealing aside—along with a similar outcome in New Hampshire, both Nader supporters and detractors attributed the Bush "victory" to Nader's presence.



An eerie silence has since enveloped the Greens as well as Nader, broken only with Nader's announcement in mid-February that he would challenge for the presidency as an independent.

Nader's presidential effort contains more bluster than substance.

The Bottom LineRalph Nader Is No Saint, and quite frankly his ego is out of control and the cult-like followers always accusing everyone else of not telling the truth…”Can’t handle the truth”…Nader is a confused contradictory relic who is fading away and with his fade goes a once highly regarded reputation. I'm through trying to defend the man. Ralph you want everyone else to tell the truth, whole truth...truth telling starts at home!

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