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Nader’s Legislative Record in the 1960s

by CounterPunch Wire

 

Although John Kerry has warmed a seat in the U.S. Senate for the past 19 years and George W. Bush has sat in the Oval office for over 3 years, neither of the corporate-sponsored presidential candidates has produced much legislation that serves the public interest. Yet around the same time that John Kerry became a member of Skull & Bones and was involved in the killing of Vietnamese people, 2004 presidential candidate Ralph Nader pushed through Congress more legislation in the public interest than has either Bush or Kerry. As NADER: THE PEOPLE’S LAWYER by Robert Buckhorn recalled in 1972:

“…If Nader contributes little in the way of consumption of goods himself, he has almost single-handedly done more for the consumer…than any clutch of presidents, politicians, or corporation chiefs. Since 1966, he has been responsible…for the passage of…the Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (1966), Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act (1968), Wholesale Meat Act (1967), Radiation Control Act (1968), Wholesale Poultry Products Act (1967), Coal Mine Health and Safety Act (1969), and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (1970).

“…It was Nader who prodded the Food and Drug Administration to force the railroads to stop what Nader termed `their repulsive corporate practice’ of dumping two hundred million pounds of human excrement along railroad tracks every year. It was Nader who gave public exposure to the threats of poisoning from mercury in fish, cadmium in water, and asbestos in ventilation systems.

“It was Nader who charged that non-tobacco elements like glass fibers and rock wool were finding their way into cigars and cigarillos…And it was Nader who warned that the Volkswagen bus was `so unsafe’ it should be permanently barred from the road.”

Nader has also been urging the federal government to punish U.S. corporate criminals and reduce U.S. corporate power for many years. In NADER: THE PEOPLE’S LAWYER, for instance, 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.”

 

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