Statement by Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein on Trump, Hannity and Limbaugh Election Law Violations

Conservative media celebrities Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have flagrantly violated the federal election law prohibition of donating anything of value exceeding $2,800 to a presidential candidate. The ongoing strategic collaboration between Trump, Hannity and Limbaugh is obvious and has been widely documented in newspapers and books. Both Hannity and Limbaugh have collaborated with President Donald Trump to turn their invaluable radio and television programming time into soap-boxes for his 2020 re-election efforts.  Also, Hannity and Limbaugh have made no effort to hide it: they openly boast about it. The in-kind programming contributions Hannity and Limbaugh have made to Trump’s campaign vastly exceed $2,800 in value based on the costs of 60 seconds of advertising on their respective shows.  Trump has violated the Federal Election Campaign Act in neglecting to report the in-kind contributions from Hannity and Limbaugh to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Will the FEC ever enforce its own regulations?   The failure to report these election law violations is also journalistic malpractice.

-Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein

See:

Bruce Fein Letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Hawkins Files Communications Act Violation with FCC to Order Rush Limbaugh to Provide 2 hours of Equal Time

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For a Two-Week Grace Period So All Voters Can Be Counted

By Ralph Nader
October 26, 2020

In an electoral season replete with unpredicted events, five developing situations are intertwined in ways certain to make for a combustible November 3rd.

First, the Republicans’ detailed criminogenic voter suppression strategy that creates delay, confusion, and discord in the handling of voters and their votes is proceeding with increasing intensity.

Second, the number of election volunteers is likely to be seriously diminished because of Covid-19. Many elderly volunteers who staff voting precincts justifiably fear the potential for exposure to the Covid-19 virus. This problem could lead to closing precinct locations and a reduction in voter turnout.

Third, making matters worse is Senate Majority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell’s opposition to a House-passed four-billion-dollar state-aid package. This grant is to help states with resources needed for accurate and secure processing of the votes.

Fourth, state election officials expect tens of millions of mail ballots by voters avoiding exposure to Covid-19. Some states, such as New York and Kentucky, have already forecast that election results may take a week to be completed after Election Day. States that allow mail ballots to be counted, so long as they are postmarked by Tuesday, Election Day, guarantee that, given the volume, totaling the vote will spill over beyond November 3rd.

Fifth, Donald J. Trump is blaring constantly that the 2020 election will be rigged. Trump has tweeted: “The Democrats are trying to Rig the 2020 Election, plain and simple!”  “Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nation’s history – unless that stupidity is ended.” Lies galore, but he likes to repeat them.

Trump will announce victory on election night no matter how many votes he and Biden have. Trump will likely incite street agitations and launch judicial challenges based on wild conspiratorial fantasies even without any evidence of voter fraud by the Democrats.

The way out of this toxic scenario is to build on a large majority of Americans averse to such planned Trumpian chaos and political instability by proposing a two-week grace period after November 3rd. People want every voter to be respected, which means every vote should be counted even if this process requires additional time.

A demand for a grace period needs to start now to build up powerful support from a multi-partisan combination of national, state, and local candidates for public office. Candidates should pledge not to announce their victory or concede defeat until November 17, 2020. Support for this prudent proposal position can be strengthened by retired political leaders, “good government” groups, such as the League of Women Voters, and all varieties of columnists, editorial writers, academic experts, and other opinion leaders.

It is now an undeniable fact that substantial millions of mail-in ballots will not be counted in time. People understand overloaded situations from their own occupations and professions. President Trump is making things worse by generating lawless provocations, with tweets and disruptive actions, and by manipulating the U.S. Postal Service, including sending misleading information about mail balloting to voters. The Washington Post reported: “President Trump …  “does not want to fund the U.S. Postal Service, because Democrats are seeking to expand mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, making explicit the reason he has declined to approve $25 billion in emergency funding for that cash-strapped agency.” After all, he did bugle a boastful outlawry no previous president ever dared to utter. “I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

The mass media should continue the policy of not projecting winners before the polls close. Premature vote projections can depress voter turnout in states where polls haven’t closed.

A fourteen-day grace period movement will isolate Donald Trump. His bellowings will bounce inside the disbelieved echo chamber of his fabrications. Also, a two-week hiatus will provide time for passions to be cooled and for a restored public confidence that our public servants and volunteers can achieve optimal accuracy for electoral legitimacy.

Candidate Biden should not tarry in declaring that he will not ask for a concession from candidate Trump until at least November 17th. Mr. Trump will not make a reciprocal pledge so long as his documented campaign strategy is to sow doubt from all directions – domestic and abroad – on the integrity of the electoral process. Trump’s unwillingness to play fair and square, against a deep consensus behind a grace period, will further increase the futility of his destructive contrivances.

With such large stakes for our fragile democracy, we cannot afford to bypass such a course of action that will assure a peaceful transition in accord with the rule of law. Providing a decent interval for a full count of all the votes is a critical step for our democracy.

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Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lawbreaking and Lies Betray All

By Mark Green and Ralph Nader
October 22, 2020

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.

Instead, we’d like to ask sincere Trump voters whether they’d have a neighbor over for a family dinner who did any or all of the following?

* He has admitted on tape to routinely abusing women as several dozen have publicly accused him of sexual assaults. And he paid substantial hush money to buy the silence of at least two mistresses.

* He has cheated his workers, vendors, customers, and wives, and even cheated on his college entrance exam. Indeed, his only sister and niece have denounced his “dishonesty” and “phony” character. He says he used bankruptcy for his companies as a strategy — one that allows him to run away with responsibility.

* He has paid large civil fines after unlawful conduct, is prohibited from sitting on a charitable board in New York State, and is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation for financial fraud.

* He has been caught in 20,000+ falsehoods or lies in the past four years alone — telling an average of 22 a day — including several that led to thousands of deaths.

* He favors allowing toxic polluters to contaminate your neighborhood’s air and your family’s food because he believes “in the free market.”

* He brags that he is very religious, but doesn’t go to church or show any awareness of the Bible while violating most of the Ten Commandments.

* He frequently makes cruel, dehumanizing remarks about people of color, legal immigrants, and the disabled in your community and never retracts them.

* He rejects public health warnings designed to protect your neighborhood during an ongoing lethal epidemic, substituting his amateur hunches and reckless behavior for those of epidemiologists.

* He often ignores the by-laws of the neighborhood association, saying “so sue me” when challenged. The rules don’t apply to him.

* And he has never apologized for anything above, actually telling a group of 6th-graders, “apologies are for losers.”

Were all this true of a Democrat, say Barack Obama, you wouldn’t hesitate refusing any relationship with him. But 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?

One answer really can’t be that you heard about someone in another town — or years ago — who is/was supposedly even worse. On the other hand, a respectable response would be to reconsider your vote for President since, as you tell your children and grandchildren, “Honesty is the best policy.” Or as President Kennedy once put it, “sometimes party loyalty demands too much.”

Mark Green and Ralph Nader are consumer advocates and authors of many public policy books, including their just published, Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lawbreaking and Lies Betray AllUnlike other books on Trump, this is a book to be used, not just read, for the coming months.

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Corporatist Judge Barrett – Two More Senate Abstentions Needed to Stop Trump

By Ralph Nader
October 16, 2020

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?”

This week, nominee to the High Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett followed the “say-nothing” playbook, through injudicious and repetitious filibustering, essentially claiming that it was improper for a judge “to opine” on matters outside the judicial process.

Really? Judge Barrett “opined” in lectures, interviews, and articles as a judge as have many sitting Supreme Court Justices. Her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia regularly made controversial declarations at law school addresses and all kinds of other public appearances.

Judge Barrett’s hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee were consistently defiant. She refused to answer questions about the legality of intimidating voters, or whether all losing presidents should commit to a peaceful transition of power. Judge Barrett even refused to say whether she accepts the science on the climate crisis because she lacks the expertise on this issue and because it is a controversial topic.

Senator Pat Leahy said, “President Trump claims he has an absolute right to pardon himself. Would you agree, first, that nobody is above the law — not the president, not you, not me — is that correct?” Judge Barrett said she agreed no one is above the law but could not answer the question about a president’s pardon powers because “it had never been litigated.”

She would not even say that a President cannot unilaterally change the date of the election. Perhaps Judge Barrett should review Article II of the Constitution which empowers Congress to choose the timing of the general election and a law enacted by Congress that requires the election to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

The hearings were truly a travesty. Too few hearing days, exclusion of prominent civic and scholarly critics of her record and statements, and remarkably, the defeatist position by the Democrats. Their repetitive political campaign-related focus on Roe v. Wade and access to abortions, Obamacare, and the Second Amendment was directed to the voters back home. The Republicans did their things for the elections too, led by Chair Lindsey Graham. (This is an important reason why nomination hearings should not be conducted close to elections).

It gets worse. Chair Lindsey Graham pronounced victory for the judge in his opening statement and by their behavior the Democrats largely agreed, using the occasion to share their political views without exposing how a Judge’s corporatist ideology can let corporations prevail over workers, consumers, the environment, and the electoral process. Republican Justices on the Supreme Court, most notoriously, in the Citizens United case opened the floodgates to corporate cash further corrupting our elections.

As constitutional law expert, Bruce Fein noted, Judge Barrett maintained no distance between her and her nominator, President Trump, who stunningly has said, “I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.” As a presidential tyrant, Trump knew how to choose a judicial nominee who is not likely to reject tyranny.

Except for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Democrats, as they have in previous Supreme Court nomination hearings, declined to question Judge Barrett about rampant corporate crime, and corporate personhood harming all Americans. Corporate power and control are scraping the rule of law with worsening brazenness, privileges, and immunities.

A 6 to 3 corporatist Court will install an era of corporate supremacy over real people that has no foundation in our Constitution. There is no mention, whatsoever, of the words “corporation” or “company” in the Constitution, the juridical foundation of our Republic. Treating corporations as artificial entities – as “persons” is based on a headnote in the 1886 Supreme Court case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road. The headnote that was not even part of the Court’s opinion. This judicial unfortunate and legally suspect twist has been relied on and expanded by generations of corporatist Supreme Court Justices.

Senator Whitehouse went to the root of the choice of Judge Barrett. It’s about power by the few over the many. The long-driven goal of the Koch Brothers and the Bradley Foundation.

The Democratic Party should have avoided all these losing nomination battles over Trump’s, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and now Amy Barrett. How? By handily winning half a dozen Senate seats in 2016 and 2018 that they botched big time. They even lost seats of sitting Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) the latter to then-Governor Rick Scott.  Rick Scott, prior to being governor, was the CEO of Columbia/HCA which under Scott engaged in one of the largest Medicare frauds in history. The federal government fined Columbia/HCA $1.7 billion for this outrageous behavior.

In their own ways, these Senators tried to be Republican-lite by avoiding front-burner issues such as higher minimum wages, law and order for corporate outlaws, full Medicare for All, and the creation of good community-based jobs to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. These and other much-needed programs could be paid for by restoring corporate taxes to the level they were in the more prosperous nineteen sixties.

Because of the two-party duopoly, our country has been cornered with the “choice of the lesser of two evils” as both parties were dialing for the same corporate/commercial campaign dollars. In 2016, Bernie Sanders showed that big amounts of money can come from many small donors. The Democrats are outspending the Republicans in many races, but more than money is needed to win elections. What’s their excuse for letting the worst Republican Party in history win, again and again, control the Congress with one or both Houses, and entrench their clenched-teeth judges for decades?

Look in the mirror Democrats. Start self-examining why collectively you’ve let the American people down? It’s time for the rising movement of elected and grassroots progressives to take over.

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“Loser” – Pence Bullies Fabrications Through Debate Time Rules

By Ralph Nader
October 9, 2020

Vice President Pence “debated” Senator Kamala Harris in a way that reminded voters of how he and his boss, Donald Trump, have lawlessly misgoverned since 2017. Pence arrogantly and continually broke through the time rules that he and the Republicans agreed to obey.

Again and again, Pence blew through the two minute, one minute, and 30-second limits so he could extend his fabrications and phony promises. Again and again, moderator Susan Page of USA Today would say “Thank you” five or six times to get Pence to stop each infraction. Pence also interrupted Harris in mid-sentence, against the rules.

This boorishness should have been anticipated by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The CPD has put on presidential debates since its creation by the Republican and Democratic Parties in 1984 to replace the League of Women Voters when they couldn’t control the League’s independence (See No Debate by George Farah and his website, opendebates.org ).

That said, what about Susan Page, known as an aggressive veteran journalist (especially against Third-Party candidates)? Why did Page allow Pence to run over her repeatedly and violate the time rules? Why after several overtimes by Pence did she not admonish him to stay within the agreed-to time limits?

It was only after an exasperated Harris went briefly overtime twice near the end of the session that Ms. Page told both speakers to follow the rules. Pathetic. She lost control of the debate to abuser Pence and owes the public an explanation.

On the substance of the presentations, Senator Harris used three arrows in her quiver when she had a dozen, well known to her, that went unused.

Most astonishing was Harris not nailing Trump/Pence and Mitch McConnell for blocking the House-passed stimulus and relief bill (last May under Speaker Nancy Pelosi) that is desperately needed by tens of millions of Covid-19 impacted Americans and by hard-pressed millions of small businesses. This callous trio is willing to keep furloughed or laid-off workers from receiving $600 a week until January and stall the delivery of aid to hard-pressed local agencies, schools, healthcare facilities, the Postal Service, and other stimuli to a sagging economy.

As a lawyer and former California Attorney General, Harris avoided calling out Trump/Pence for breaking and bending the law and committing many ongoing impeachable violations of our Constitution. While Pence kept touting “de-regulation,” Harris didn’t decode that deception by illustrating the many health, safety, and economic protections destroyed by the Trump/Pence regime that favors Wall Street over Main Street. Where was the talk about the “kitchen table” necessities on the minds of Americans daily?

Harris stressed health care, but not full Medicare for All, and let Pence get away with lies about how clean our air and water are and the overall health of the environment. Under Trump – law enforcement has been brazenly abandoned.  Protecting our food, drugs, air, water, soil, and controlling greenhouse gases have been left to the whims of greedy corporate outlaws putting profits over safety.

Pence would totally ignore Page’s questions and go off on rehearsed and deceptive shout-outs. He used this escape tactic to refuse to answer Page’s crucial question about agreeing to a peaceful transition of power should the Republicans lose the presidency. Page chose not to follow up or even say “You didn’t answer the question, but we have to move on.” Once Harris used this brushoff technique when asked where she and Biden stood on expanding the number of Supreme Court Justices.

After the “debate” ended, it occurred to me that Harris completely ignored the progressive agendas of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and millions of their supporters. There was no mention of the corporate crime wave and accelerating control over the people by immune global corporations. There was no mention of strengthening union organizing laws (such as the simple “card check” promised and forgotten by Obama/Biden in 2008). There was not even a mention of a federal $15 minimum wage, lifting the stagnant wages of millions of women and men, passed last year in the House and blocked by the Senate Republicans satisfied with the frozen $7.25 per hour

If Bernie Sanders ever thought his massive mobilization of voters for the primaries in 2016 and 2020 was going to move the dominant corporate Democrats, he must be having second thoughts after both Biden and Harris, in two debates before huge audiences, turned their backs on the fast-growing progressive wing of their Party. There was not even a nod to Bernie and his many supporters.

Biden/Harris may not be able to be so dismissive of progressive Democrats and Independents should they take control of Congress next year. But don’t bet on it.

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Questions for Judge Amy V. Coney Barrett

By Ralph Nader

On September 26, 2020, President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy V. Coney Barrett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court held by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In 1994, I testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Stephen G. Breyer by President Clinton to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. In that testimony, I called attention to the importance of balance in the way our laws handle the challenges of corporate power in America.

Senators should ask Judge Barrett about her views on the impact of corporate power on our justice system and our democracy. See Important Questions on Corporate Power.

Senators should also ask Judge Barrett about the impact of her theory of originalism on racial segregation, the one-person, one-vote principle, and treating corporations (artificial entities with endless lives and limited liability) as persons. See Important Questions on originalism and the Constitution.

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Ginsburg Institute for Justice Needed for Our Depleted Democracy

By Ralph Nader
October 2, 2020

Jean Monnet – a founder of the European Union once said: “Nothing is possible without men, but nothing is lasting without institutions.”

I’m reminded of his observation each time our country loses a “just” Supreme Court Justice. So, what will follow after the few days of prominent encomiums at memorial events and editorial praise of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Historians will record her decisions, writings, and advocacy. Many people will celebrate her groundbreaking contributions to equal rights for women and other civil rights. Justice Ginsburg’s fervent admirers, however, should look not only at past accomplishments but to creative ways to build on a great and enduring legacy.

Several years ago, I tried to interest some of Justice John Paul Stevens’ former law clerks (many of whom became successful lawyers) to enlist their colleagues in establishing a “John Paul Stevens Institute for Justice.” In 2014, retired Justice Stevens, at age 94, had just published another book – Six Amendments: How And Why We Should Change The Constitution. This book was then the latest product in his vigorous retirement period of writings and addresses.

I wrote to Justice Stevens urging him to give a nod to his 100 or more clerks, many of whom were wealthy attorneys. He was too modest. A few former clerks showed interest, but not to the point of initiating action.

A similar attempt to persuade supporters of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor fell flat. At the time, she was pressing hard for full legal aid for poor people seeking justice and real civic education in the nation’s elementary and secondary schools.

After she retired from the Court, she criticized the 2010 Supreme Court decision – Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – that opened the floodgates for corporate campaign cash. Her former clerks did not envision an “Institute for Justice” in honor of their adored mentor.  Justice O’Connor was also honest enough to publicly acknowledge regret about her vote in the 5-4 decision to install George W. Bush as president.

Was I just engaging in fanciful dreaming about adding these new institutional oak trees for justice to replenish our depleting democratic forest? Not at all. A vibrant Brennan Center for Justice has been on the ramparts for justice since 1995. Located at New York University Law School, it was founded by the family and former law clerks of Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, who was nominated to the Court by President Eisenhower.

With an annual budget of $26 million, the tough Brennan Center for Justice has produced a remarkable output on ways to advance improvements in criminal justice, electoral procedures, and broader public participation in the circles of power.

The Center has been described as “part think-tank, part public interest law firm [that litigates] and part communications hub,” working to advance “equal justice for all.”

It started when one former law clerk stepped up, followed by more who joined the effort to create this institutional tribute to Justice Brennan. Together, they raised the seed money and this new institution was launched to implement the law as if people mattered first and foremost.

The same kind of institution can be created quickly, should Justice Ginsburg’s over 100 law clerks, from her many years as a federal circuit court judge and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, heed Jean Monnet’s words.

Given the immense goodwill and unprecedented popular fame of Justice Ginsburg, especially among women, as a pioneering lawyer and jurist, raising the basic funding should be easy. Moreover, foundations would line up to back this initiative and its projects.

For this to happen, the energy from the huge outpouring of accolades since her passing on September 18, 2020, need to be promptly transformed into an operating vision and not left as a nostalgic memory.

Some of the former law clerks who could form the core group are Amanda L. Tyler, professor of law at the University of California-Berkeley; Kelsi Corkran, who heads the Supreme Court practice at a large law firm; Ruthanne Deutsch, an appellate litigator; Elizabeth Prelogar, a Supreme Court and appellate litigator; Trevor W. Morrison, Dean of New York University School of Law; Neil S. Siegel, professor of law and political science at Duke University School of Law; Paul Schiff Berman, professor of law at George Washington University Law School; and many others who revered and were so inspired by the feisty, resilient, kind Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I’m sure that Brennan Center’s president, Michael Waldman, would be pleased to share his experience in furthering such a noble and lasting mission.

Is there any better way to compliment Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and carry forward her foundational work for the American people?  It is really entirely in the hands of Justice Ginsburg’s admirers to accomplish this worthy goal.

Perhaps the creation of the Ginsburg Institute for Justice will jumpstart the now influential former clerks of Justice Stevens and Justice O’Connor to follow the example of Justice Brennan’s clerks. It is never too late for more institutional infusions toward a just society.

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To Democratic Voters – Up Your Demands; To Trump Voters – See How He Didn’t Deliver for You

By Ralph Nader
September 25, 2020

Here is some practical advice for casting informed votes to improve the livelihoods of all Americans where they live, work, and raise their children and also to lessen their anxiety, dread, and fear.

Democratic voters should demand that the Democratic Party candidates pledge to vote to (1) raise the long frozen, federal minimum wage of $7.25 to a living wage; (2) support more efficient full Medicare for All (with free choice of doctors and hospitals and no cruel, irritating networks); (3) repeal Trump’s two trillion dollar tax cut, with additional loopholes for the rich, and huge corporate subsidies and giveaways; and to use the money to upgrade and rebuild the job-rich public works sector as well as the infrastructure in every community in the country – both in the red and blue states; (4) crack down, with law and order, on the corporate crimewave that bleeds consumers out of trillions of dollars a year; (5) repeal anti-labor laws to facilitate empowering tens of millions of workers who want to join unions to defend their economic and safety interests; and (6) accelerate the transition to a solar-based economy with better air, water, greater neighborhood self-reliance, and to reduce the devastating climate disruption from the burning of fossil fuels.

Democratic candidates will benefit by embracing such a covenant. Moreover, candidates who repeat the planks of this covenant incessantly and authentically in political communications and grassroots mobilizations will be seen as caring for the people in their daily lives and struggles in all the states of our union.

This covenant can be contrasted with the offerings of the Republican Party, which failed to adopt a new platform for 2020. Instead, the Republican National Committee (RNC) said, “The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today…” The RNC largely supports turning the government over to Big Business and further entrenching Wall Street rule over Main Street.

The contrast also illustrates the Republican Party’s callous indifference to the immediate desperate needs of millions of Americans. Senate tyrant Mitch McConnell is blocking the House-passed six-month renewal of the much needed $600 a week Covid-19-driven assistance for families nationwide. This and other crucial aid to states and localities is necessary to make schools safer and to provide protective equipment and other assistance to patients in hospitals and clinics, and to nursing home residents.

Monopolist Mitch is shafting his own state of Kentucky while hypocritically seeking the people’s votes for his re-election to extend his long and evil tenure in the Senate, and his more recent total toadying for Trump.

Trump and his “gangster regime” (conservative columnist George Will’s words) have failed to deliver on Trump’s phony 2016 campaign promises on health care, clean air and water, and creating millions of good-paying jobs. And, with Mitch McConnell’s help, Trump has jeopardized public health, soiled the environment, and abandoned workers to global corporations.

Now a few words for voters inclined to support dictator Donald Trump. You surely admit Trump did not deliver for you. How long can you wait? Now, Trump is gathering large crowds of supporters who, shoulder-to-shoulder and mostly without masks, listen to him scoff at the Covid-19 pandemic as he and they flaunt mask requirements in violation of state and local laws. When asked about the safety of these events, Trump ignores public safety and says that he is on the stage and safely far away from the crowd. At least dangerous Donald is not passing out little cups of bleach.

Donald Trump is the hyper-super spreader of the deadly Covid-19 virus and he is endangering the tens of thousands of people attending his rallies. Ask your physician about this ‘clear and present danger’ to public health and life.

Now, about the reasons you voted for devious Donald in 2016 other than the “anybody but Hillary” rationale. Many Trump voters want anti-choice judges. (You may not recall, for years, Trump was pro-choice.) But the hundreds of federal judges nominated by Trump are also clenched-teeth corporatists, who rule for corporations when the conflicts involve the lives of workers, consumers, and the environment. They are dyed-in-the-wool boosters of expanding big business power and control over you. These extremist judges also support big foreign and domestic corporations getting lavish tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies.

Some people like Trump’s talk about “de-regulation,” getting big government off your back. In reality, Trump is taking the federal cops off the backs of corporate crooks and de-funding the corporate crime police. This year Trump brazenly said he is stopping or limiting enforcement of the laws designed to protect consumers from companies that sell you and your children hazardous products, pollute your air and water, defraud you in the marketplace, and fail to recall your defective cars/trucks.

Trump even announced in March that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would suspend or postpone inspection of imports from abroad, including the bulk of the medicines that Trump still allows to be imported from China. One would think some serious hoodwinking or just plain lying is going on here.

Well, you might say – at least Trump cut taxes. Come-on, the vast benefits of his tax cuts went to the rich and big corporations. All those bonanzas could have been used to fix your roads, bridges, mass transits, schools, clinics, and drinking water systems. Egomaniac Trump doesn’t care about you; for him, it’s about using the government to enrich himself and his family members and to bail out his failing hotels and golf courses.

Maybe you still like Trump because he says he is against immigrants “invading” our country. Trump, however, had no problem illegally hiring undocumented workers for his golf course and his residences (and earlier for his construction projects in New York), until he was exposed. Trump has no concern for the exploited foreign workers in the meatpacking, poultry processing, and agribusiness companies owned by his campaign-contributing buddies.

Before you cast your ballot, let’s toast your informed self-respect as clear-minded voters who can see an immoral, law-breaking, greedy Trump regime full of plutocrats who couldn’t care less about America and the people they’ve exploited.

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Why Do Americans Give Away So Much Control to Corporations?

By Ralph Nader
September 18, 2020

The American people own most of the wealth – private and public – and most of the information in the country. The top one percent do not.

The American people have most of the power in the country. The top one percent do not.

These assertions may surprise you, because the top one percent and the giant corporations work overtime to control what you own. This means they do not have to seize what you own so long as their control provides them with both riches and power over you.

Let’s spell this out with specifics. Our Constitution starts with the words, “We the People…”; it doesn’t start with ‘we the corporations’ or ‘we the Congress’ or ‘we the super-rich.’ The sovereign authority under the Constitution is us; we the people are the bosses. But we give our power away to the Big Boys who run the big companies that control most of our elected politicians. The politicians in turn proceed to corrupt our elections with campaign money, gerrymandering, deceitful ads, voter obstructions, and a totally dominant two-party duopoly. This corporate state destroys competitive democracy which would give our votes meaning, choices, and effectiveness.

Shouldn’t we be discussing why, when we own the vast federal public land, one-third of America – and the vast public airwaves, do we give control of these resources to corporations every day of the year to profit from at our expense?  We give the television and radio stations, that block our voices, free control and use of the airwaves, 24/7. We receive very little in royalties from the energy, mining, timber, and grazing companies extracting huge wealth from our federal lands.

We send our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and the federal government gives trillions of these dollars to companies in the form of subsidies and bailouts.

Trillions of dollars are devoted to government research and development (R&D), which has built or expanded private companies. These include such industries as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, military weapons, computers, internet, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and containerization.

Our taxpayer-funded R&D is essentially given away free to these for-profit businesses. We the People receive no royalties nor profit-sharing returns on these public investments. Worse, we pay gouging prices for drugs and other products developed with our tax dollars.

We have trillions of dollars in savings and retirement money placed in giant mutual and pension funds. The managers of these institutions make big profits by investing your money in the stock and bond markets. If you controlled these trillions of dollars in stocks and bonds that you own, that is if there was real shareholder and bondholder power, you would control the ownership of all the big companies and turn the tables on the Big Bosses. Polls show a big majority of people think Big Business has too much power and control over us. Nonetheless, we regularly give these plutocrats control over what we own.

We own our personal information. Yet, we give it totally free to the likes of Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube, etc. so they can make trillions of dollars selling data on what we buy, what we like, what we think, and what we’re addicted to in the marketplace. The advertisers then pester us 24/7 and even betray our trust. Imagine Alexa eavesdropping in our homes and businesses. High-tech companies should not be privy to our personal information.

Unfortunately, giving companies our personal information, from which they profit immensely and gouge and penalize us profusely, started long ago. The moment we took out credit cards, for example, we began to lose control of our money and our privacy. With the internet, companies are generating new payment-system controls, with their dictatorial fine-print agreements and never-ending additional surcharges, driven by their greedy overreaches.

People spend lots of time just trying to get through to these companies for refunds, adjustments, corrections, and simple answers to their questions.

Why have we handed over the enormous assets we own to this expanding corporate state? Why have we surrendered to statism or corporate socialism? The corporate “Borg” is sucking the ready availability of the good life, decent, secure livelihoods assured by our collective self-reliance, and the freedom to shape our future out of our political economy.

Why are we allowing the United States – this rich land of ours – to have so many impoverished, powerless people, dominated by the few? With ever greater concentration or powers under corrupt Trumpism and its corporate supremacists,  control of our lives is getting worse.

It starts with us being indoctrinated into being powerless (civic skills and practice are not taught in schools). This leads to the people not taking control of Congress (only 535 of them). We are allowing elections and debates to ignore raising these basic democratic issues of who owns what and who should control our commonwealth.

David Bollier and his colleagues are working to have adults and students learn about the commons – owned by all of us – and the few examples of people sharing in our commonwealth. Through the Alaska Permanent Fund, every Alaskan gets about $2000 a year from the royalties’ oil companies pay for taking the people’s oil from that state.

If you’re interested in reading further about the “commons” we own but do not control go to bollier.org and breakingthroughpower.org. It’s in our hands!

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Trump’s Broken Promises to His Voters – He Didn’t Deliver!

By Ralph Nader
September 11, 2020

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.

Yet, polls show that the one area of widespread disappointment among Trump voters (not the rich ones) is that he didn’t deliver the improvements for their livelihoods that he promised in the 2016 campaign. Many Trump voters are willing to overlook Trump’s dangerous lies, coverups, self-enrichment, the surrender of Washington to Wall Street corruption, lethal incompetence, i.e., his bungling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and personal immorality (he has violated seven of the Ten Commandments). But Trump voters expected Trump to do a little bit more to further the legitimate self-interests of the families on Main Street.

Now come two Pulitzer-Prize-winning, famously accurate reporters, Hedrick Smith, executive editor of reclaimtheamericandream.org, and Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times with lists of Trump’s broken promises. (Smith also mentions some promises Trump tried to keep, such as those which largely favor the wealthy and big businesses).

These include getting out of the Paris Climate Accord and the huge tax cut for himself and other wealthy Americans. But Trump has failed badly on many of his over 200 campaign promises in 2016 that were directed to working people.

Trump promised to create 25 million jobs over 10 years – 2.5 million jobs a year. Even before Covid-19, Trump didn’t come close, because, in large part, he didn’t push for a major infrastructure jobs bill in Congress to repair and upgrade public works in every American community.

Remember Trump’s repeated promise to bring back 7.7 million lost manufacturing jobs? At its high last February, Trump’s economy and trade policies didn’t begin to deliver. In fact, Trump encouraged Apple CEO Tim Cook to keep the company’s Chinese factories by waving tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Apple phones and computers imported from China.

Trump promised to raise wages then proceeded to keep the frozen federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. Under Trump’s watch, taking inflation and loss of benefits into account, Smith concludes that “workers are net losers.” But not the CEOs like the head of Walmart who makes about $12,000 per hour and benefits from Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy!

Smith refers to Princeton economist, “Alan Blinder, who pointed to academic studies that show ‘For the first time in the past hundred years, the working class today pays higher tax rates than billionaires.’” Thanks to Trump.

Kristoff has reported additional broken promises – from Mexico not paying a peso for the “wall” to Trump inciting violence, breaking laws, and bringing disorder to our streets, to altering “the terms of student loan repayments” adding $200 billion over a decade; (he promised the opposite to “our students who are drowning in debt”) to repealing and replacing “disastrous Obamacare,” Trump has failed miserably.

On July 27, 2018, Trump said, “You’re going to have a great health care at a much lower price. It will cost the United States nothing.” Sure, tell that to the frontline Covid-19 workers who are being gouged when tested and still do not have adequate protective equipment under Trumpism. Many have no health insurance or are underinsured.

Two weeks before the 2016 election, Trump said he was “proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again.” Instead, Trump has given the American people the most relentlessly corrupt regime in reported American history. From the White House to key government agencies, Trump and his cronies daily twist and break the law.

The list of broken promises could fill volumes. Compare Trump’s words and deeds and misdeeds. “We will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else.” (Over 20,000 false or misleading statements so far by the Washington Post’s reliable count). “We will end our chronic trade deficits.” (The trade deficit is bigger now than in Obama’s last year in office). That means the US is exporting jobs.

In contrast to Trump’s pledge to get rid of the $19 trillion National debt “fairly quickly,” he doesn’t care at all about piling huge debts on the children and grandchildren of America so that he doesn’t have to repeal his enormous tax cut for the wealthy and stop massive corporate welfare handouts and bailouts.

If you can endure more examples of deceitful Donald’s seduction of believing voters, go to Smith’s and Kristoff’s websites (http://reclaimtheamericandream.org/ and https://www.nytimes.com/column/nicholas-kristof).

While visiting Smith’s website note that one of his team’s most important objectives is to “introduce you to multiple issues, multiple strategies, multiple organizations that can help you start a reform movement in your own community or join forces with others.”

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