Ralph Nader 3-pack
Politicians and pundits love to go on and on about "the rule of law." The concept that no one is above the law is laudatory and central to a functioning democracy. But we can easily see the grotesque disparities in the application of law and the prosecution of those who commit crimes in the streets vs. those who commit crimes in the suites. From invading and bombing countries to suborning perjury, to witness tampering, to tax evasion, to bribery, the big boys and girls are not brought to justice, They are not held accountable for their crimes. Instead, they are rewarded by fat book contracts and lecture fees. No wonder some people are cynical. The hypocrisy is hard to miss. How can we move from being the land of the lawless to a society where the rule of law prevails?
Sovereignty: preeminence of the people, self-rule. The framers of the Constitution, having lived under the tyranny of King George the Third were fully aware of the corrupting nature of absolute power. And the need for the citizenry to exercise independence and control. But under the contemporary doctrine of neoliberalism there has been a steady erosion of sovereignty, a transfer from popular control to powerful and largely unaccountable transnational institutions. So-called free trade agreements, negotiated behind closed doors, have fast track provisions and special panels and tribunals that do an end run around sovereignty. Most of our putative representatives, wooed by corporations, do their bidding. The people are marginalized and rendered to the sidelines. Well, not entirely. You can turn out and vote then you can go home and watch a Law & Order rerun or something truly profound like Keeping up with the Kardashians.
More than six decades after President Franklin D. Roosevelt articulated "the right to adequate medical care and opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health," the United States, virtually alone among wealthy nations, does not have universal health care coverage. The health care system is sick, failing, expensive, and inefficient. Its attendant paperwork and mumbo jumbo are legendary. In addition to ever increasing millions of those without insurance, many more millions have inadequate coverage with huge deductibles. Medical emergencies and hospitalizations are probably the number one cause of driving citizens into debt and bankruptcy. The health insurance lobby, representing 1500 corporations, is one of the most politically powerful and exerts enormous influence in Washington. And the people? They are symbolically left standing out in the hall. Isn't it time for the U.S. to have a comprehensive national health program for its citizens?
Ralph Nader has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. He has run for president four times. Life magazine ranks him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Founder of Public Citizen, he is a long-time advocate for consumer safety and workers’ rights. He rose to fame in the 1960s when he took on General Motors and its unsafe Corvair car. His book Unsafe at Any Speed not only created a sensation but was instrumental in the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. His efforts helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. He has exposed the misdeeds of the corporate sector as well as of the political system. In recent years he has been in the forefront of the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare and single payer health care.