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Let’s Be Fair

by JOSHUA FRANK

 

Democrats and liberal defenders of John Kerry, are throwing tantrums over Ralph Nader’s new found affinity for conservatives who are aiding his ballot efforts in swing states. According to a Detroit News report, Greg McNeilly the Executive Director of the Michigan Republican Party said, “We are absolutely interested in having Ralph Nader on the ballot.” Indeed these Republicans hope Nader will siphon votes away from Kerry, and tally the state’s 17 electoral points on George Bush’s score card come election day.

Right-wing organizations are also putting their efforts behind Nader out West. Citizens for a Sound Economy, an anti-tax, anti-government group ran by Republican powerhouse Dick Armey, wants Nader on the Oregon ballot. A rigid Christian anti-gay group, known as Oregon Family Council, also believes voters should have a chance to pull the lever for Ralph in the fall. As you can imagine, Democrats aren’t the least bit pleased with these recent developments. And they are the first to happily point out Nader’s new bedfellows.

Out of their own rage over Nader’s challenge to politics as usual, Democratic loyalists are fighting harder than they did during the Florida recount to keep Nader off state registers. In Oregon, while attempting to gather signatures at a local high school petition drive, Kerry troops infiltrated the event, boosting the numbers so organizers believed they had reached capacity. Countless Naderites were left out, unable to attend the rally or sign the petition, which needed to take place during a single assembly. Democrats, loathing the thought of voters having a chance to vote for Nader, did not sign the petition — ultimately sabotaging the event efforts.

Then of course there is Arizona, where Democrats successfully blocked Nader from attaining ballot access. Their lawsuit, which argued that a number of the signatures were gathered by former felons, was deemed illegal. The tactics used by the Democrats is reminiscent of the Republican shenanigans in Florida four years ago (where’s Greg Palast when you need him?), and what the Democrats surely won’t tell you is that they used a Republican law firm to nail Nader.

Well, if Nader is so bad, what about the Kerry/Edwards ticket? Where is the Democrat support coming from?

As usual, convicted corporate criminals have been pouring tons of cash into both major parties this election season. But since the Democrats seem to be the only party up in arms over Nader’s bid, it is only fair to focus on their blatant follies.

Chevron Inc, who was convicted in 1992 of egregious environmental offenses, has given the Democrats over $46,000 this election cycle. Pfizer, the monstrous pharmaceutical company and maker of Zoloft and erection fortifying Viagra, has given close to $160,000 to the Democrats this go-round. Their crime? Price fixing food additives, to which they pled guilty in 1999.

Time/Warner, who will most likely be charged with a $400 million accounting violation later this summer by the SEC, has given John Kerry approximately $250,000 since 1990. That’s not including the over $3.6 million they have given the Democrats since the Al Gore’s run for president.

And Democrats are up in arms over the a few thousand dollars conservatives, as individuals not corporations mind you, have given to Ralph Nader this year?

Bush’s homeboy, convicted right-winger Kenny “Boy” Lay, the Enron sage, used to sit on the board of directors for the Heinz Foundation, which is John Kerry’s wife’s ketcup rich environmental trust. His company has given well over one million dollars to the Democrats since 2000. And we all know Enron’s crimes.

Archer Daniels Midland, the huge multinational processor and exporter of cereal grains and oilseeds, pled guilty in 1996 to one of the largest anti-trust lawsuits in the history of the United States. They’ve anteed up over $1.7 million to the Democratic Party since 2000. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

How about the most recent on the list of corporate robber barons? Although they have yet to be convicted of any wrong-doing in Iraq (the Pentagon claims they have overcharged tax payers millions of dollars), Dick Cheney’s war profiteering Halliburton has donated $129,449 to the Dems this year. And Democrats still want us to believe Nader’s the only one who is sleeping with the enemy?

Clearly conservative money and support, which is minimal at best, is aiding Nader’s efforts to get his name on certain state ballots. But Democrats are also guilty of having their hand in a tainted cookie jar. The difference being, Nader is unlikely to be persuaded by such support. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for his opposition.

JOSHUA FRANK, a contributor to CounterPunch’s forthcoming book, A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, is putting the finishing touches on Left Out: How Liberals did Bush’s Work for Him, to be published by Common Courage Press. He welcomes comments at frank_joshua@hotmail.com.

 

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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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