Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nader In 1972: `Punish Corporate Crime!'

One of the Independent Majority’s presidential candidates in 1996 [and in 2008], Ralph Nader, has been urging the federal government to punish U.S. corporate criminals and reduce U.S. corporate power for many years. In the 1972 book Nader: The People’s Lawyer by Robert Buckhorn, for example, Nader observed:

“I don’t know of any horde of hippies or yippies who have managed to smog New York City or contaminate the Gulf of Mexico. But I know companies that have done that. Consolidated Edison smogged New York. Chevron Oil dumped hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico with impunity until the law finally came down on it, then only with a $1 million fine—the equivalent of about one hour’s gross revenues of Chevron’s parent company, Standard Oil…

“…Corporate crime should be punished, but it isn’t, because we have not been conditioned to think in terms of curbing corporate power or punishing it for excesses. There is a corporate crime wave in this country of unprecedented proportions, but if you look at the FBI crime statistics, what do you see? Have you ever seen a company on the `Ten Most Wanted’ list? Do you ever see statistics as to how much corporations stole from consumers?

“My job is to try to bring these issues out in the open where they cannot be ignored. The only real defeat is giving up, just as the only real aging is the erosion of one’s ideals.”

The same book also noted:

“The New Party, formed in the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago to provide an alternative for those who were no longer willing to compromise their views or vote for the `lesser of evils’ candidates, was the first political entity to reach out for Nader…The party consisted…of…young political activists. Its platform included plans endorsing everything from the Gay Liberation movement to a call for `a 30-hour week at 40-hour pay,’ and abolition of the CIA…

“As the average voter-in-the-street about Nader as presidential candidate, and you get a puzzled look followed by an expression that seems to say, `Why not?’…”

In 1975, Nader And The Power Of Everyman by Hays Gorey recalled:

“At the height of the Watergate scandals, Nicholas Von Hoffman had written in the Washington Post that `there is one man in public life who is clean enough, who has stature enough to restore respect for politics and public office, and that’s Ralph Nader, our national ombudsman…’ His distance from both major parties was a distinct asset, Von Hoffman had written, `in a period when parties are generally regarded as packs of marauding thieves and housebreakers.’

“Besides, `who knows more about how the federal government works on every level? Who could attract more talent to government? Who would more quickly shed the monarchical trappings the Presidency has acquired over the years?’”

One reason the New York Times/Boston Globe/Boston Metro media conglomerate was not eager to report on Ralph Nader’s 1996 [and 2008] presidential campaign is that, as early as 1972, Nader suggested that a consumer-oriented study of the New York Times media conglomerate should be made. In Nader: The People’s Lawyer by Robert Buckhorn, Nader made the following recommendation:

“There should be a study of The New York Times. Why the Times covers what it does? What are the priorities? Why doesn’t it have more investigative reporters? Why is it so poor on coverage of the way big banks manipulate the economy? What about the likes and dislikes of its editors? How high up are the decisions on editorials made? The Times is a world of its own and a study would be worth doing…”

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 4/10/96)

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