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Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. He was born in Winsted, Connecticut on February 27, 1934. In 1955 Ralph Nader received an AB magna cum laude from Princeton University, and in 1958 he received a LLB with distinction from Harvard University. His career began as a lawyer in Hartford, Connecticut in 1959 and from 1961-63 he lectured on history and government at the University of Hartford. In 1965-66 he received the Nieman Fellows award and was named one of ten Outstanding Young Men of Year by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1967. Between 1967-68 he returned to Princeton as a lecturer, and he continues to speak at colleges and universities across the United States. In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor(a monthly magazine).

Entries by Ralph Nader

The Joys of Solitude

(21) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 11:21 AM

Thanksgiving is a time for family, food and joy, but unfortunately it can also be a source of health-impacting stress and anxiety for many. Between the influx of visitors, football games on the television and the necessary shopping, cooking and cleaning up, there can be far too little time devoted to reflective conversation with friends and family. And once the feast is finished and the guests have left, there is precious little time for quiet contemplation when all forms of mass media are rabidly encouraging Americans to participate in the obscene corporate-driven "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" sales craze. Go go go! Buy buy buy!

Perhaps we should be taking a different approach to the holidays.

In my book, The Seventeen Traditions about the wisdom my parents passed along to my siblings and me, I wrote a chapter about "the tradition of solitude."

Here's a relevant excerpt for the season:

Some years ago, we invited a family with two small children over for Thanksgiving dinner. The four-year-old boy spent the whole day running wild, jumping off the table, knocking over glasses of water, screeching at the top of his lungs, and generally making every effort possible to ruin the conversation and the meal. Today, most parents might ask: Was he suffering from attention deficit disorder? No, the parents were suffering--from an unwillingness to control their son's behavior and lay down some markers. It's a symptom of today's sprawled economy that many children spend less time with adults, including their parents, than any previous generation in history. When they do have a few precious moments with adults, they often act out as if they're desperately trying to make up for prolonged inattention.

Does any of this sound familiar? I expect many millions of Americans will be dealing with similar household chaos on Thanksgiving Day.

My mother believed that children should be able to exercise their minds, to think independently and be self-reliant. Critical to this development is acknowledging the importance of solitude. Devoting time to oneself and one's thoughts isn't just important for developing youngsters, however. Many grown adults could benefit from a little "quiet space" to get to know themselves and the world better.

The tradition of solitude isn't about sitting in a room and contemplating one's navel. It's about allowing one's mind to rejuvenate, imagine and explore―and hopefully relieve itself from the stress and anxiety that inevitably come with the burdens of everyday life. It's an engine of renewal. This is particularly true around the holidays when expectations and obligations can mount.

Another excerpt:

True solitude can involve an infinite variety of experience: being alone with one's imagination, one's thoughts, dreams, one's puzzles and books, one's knitting or hobbies, from carving wood blocks, to building little radios or model airplanes or collecting colorful stamps from all over the world. Being alone can mean following the flight of a butterfly or a hummingbird or an industrious pollinating bee. It can mean gazing at the nighttime sky, full of those familiar constellations, and trying to identify them.

I recently filmed a video in my hometown of Winsted, Connecticut where I discussed my relationship with nature and the comforting solitude it provides. Watch it above. The holiday season seems like an appropriate time to share this video in the hopes that it inspires others to reflect on the quiet, memorable moments and places that matter most. Consider turning off the television, putting away the smartphone, avoiding the marketplace invitations to shop and spend on "Black Friday" and seeking comfort in solitude.

Perhaps the joys of solitude can become a tradition that eclipses the crazy call to spend the day after Thanksgiving shopping instead of thinking.

I welcome others to share the quiet places where they experience the joys of solitude. Maybe by telling others about how we retreat to find our better humanity, we can encourage those among us still searching for this intrinsic...

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The One Question Reporters Never Ask Candidates

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 2:56 PM

Candidates for public office, especially at the state and national levels, are never asked this central question of politics: "Since the people are sovereign under our Constitution, how do you specifically propose to restore power to the people in their various roles as voters, taxpayers, workers and consumers?"

Imagine that...

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For America's Unbanked: Re-establishing the Postal Savings Bank

(31) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 6:52 PM

Fact: Tens of millions of Americans do not have a bank account. As a result, many of these Americans spend a reported $89 billion annually in interest and fees by using predatory services such as payday loan and check cashing services. It's a perpetuating cycle of poverty in which the...

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CEO Richard Master Masterminds Full Medicare for All

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2015 | 7:26 PM

Just when the prospects for single-payer or full Medicare for everyone, with free choice of doctors and hospitals, appear to be going nowhere, from Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley comes a stirring that could go national and make single-payer a reality.

Throwing down the gauntlet on the grounds of efficiency and humanness,...

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An Open Letter To Chairwoman Yellen From the Savers of America

(104) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 8:00 PM

Dear Chairwoman Janet Yellen:

We are a group of humble savers in traditional bank savings and money market accounts who are frustrated because, like millions of other Americans over the past six years, we are getting near zero interest. We want to know why the Federal Reserve, funded and heavily...

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Why Is the So-Called Congressional Freedom Caucus Frozen Against a Living Minimum Wage?

(213) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 9:18 PM

Over the past year, there have been significant advances in wages for working-class Americans. Many cities and states have increased their minimum wages providing millions of Americans with a long overdue raise. In Congress, however, progress is nonexistent. Between party infighting, futile "Obamacare" repeal efforts and corporate lobbying, there has...

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The Democrats' Presidential Debates: Underway and Underwhelming

(269) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 8:17 PM

Who thought this up - Giving a private corporation (CNN) control of a presidential debate? In the most recent Democratic presidential debate, CNN controlled which candidates were invited, who asked what questions, and the location, Las Vegas - the glittering, gambling center of America. This is a mirror image of...

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Afghanistan and Iraq: Lessons for the Imperial

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 5:45 PM

The photographs in the New York Times told contrasting stories last week. One showed two Taliban soldiers in civilian clothes and sandals, with their rifles, standing in front of a captured U.N. vehicle. The Taliban forces had taken the northern provincial capital of Kunduz. The other photograph showed Afghan army...

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Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information

(33) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 8:28 PM

Next year, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary as one of the finest laws our Congress has ever passed. It is a vital investigative tool for exposing government and corporate wrongdoing.

The FOIA was championed by Congressman John E. Moss (D-CA), who strove to...

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Mass Media: Raise Your Expectations for Your Country

(14) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 2:24 PM

The mass media, with usual exceptions, have allowed themselves to be pulled down to the level of the political circus. If the Republican Party's early primary campaigns for the presidential nomination had an elephant and a clown car, Ringling Brothers would be in trouble. It is hard for the Republican...

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Why Labor Day Matters

(8) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 6:58 PM

Here's an experiment to try this holiday weekend. Quiz your friends, family and acquaintances on the meaning of Labor Day. You might be surprised by the answers you hear. To many, the true meaning of Labor Day has been lost―it's merely a three-day vacation weekend, unless you work in retail,...

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Allons-nous perdre le contrôle de nos robots?

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2015 | 9:53 AM

Lorsque le formidable article «Pourquoi le futur n'a pas besoin de nous» de Bill Joy, directeur scientifique de Sun Microsystems, fit la une de Wired Magazine en avril 2000, il déchaîna les passions dans les cercles du secteur high-tech. Sa thèse était que «les technologies les plus puissantes du 21e siècle...

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An Open Letter to Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders

(329) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 6:51 PM

Dear Senator Sanders,

You've come a long way without my advice, but now that you are running for president, you may be interested in these suggestions:

  1. You've taken progressive positions on "decent paying job programs," such as investing in repairing our country's public works, raising the minimum wage, strengthening labor...
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Why the Future Doesn't Need Us -- Revisited

(66) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 2:05 PM

When the stunning article "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" by Bill Joy, chief scientist for Sun Microsystems, made the cover of Wired Magazine in April 2000, it created quite a rumble in high-tech circles. Its argument was that "our most powerful 21st century technologies--robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech--are threatening...

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Enough! Stop More Giant Truck-Trailers on Your Highways

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 1:31 PM

Are you one of the millions of people in the United States who drive a car every day? How do you react to the trucking industry, whose lobbyists, with ample campaign cash, swarm over Congress, pressing for a rider to a transportation appropriations bill to be passed to overturn laws...

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Where Are the Presidential Candidates on the Minimum Wage?

(83) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 3:38 PM

As the 2016 campaign season gets underway, working families across the country will be very interested in where presidential candidates stand on raising the minimum wage.

Currently, the Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour or roughly $15,000 annually, far below the $23,500 government's poverty threshold for...

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10 Reasons the TPP Is Not a 'Progressive' Trade Agreement

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 2:34 PM

"We have an opportunity to set the most progressive trade agreement in our nation's history," it states on, the website of the president's "Organizing for Action" campaign.

One must seriously question what President Obama and his corporate allies believe to be the definition of "progressive" when it comes...

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The Other One Percent

(21) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 6:55 PM

As a high school student, I came across an observation by Abraham Lincoln who said that, "With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed." Today "public sentiment" would be called "public opinion."

Over the years, I have been astonished at how less than one percent of the...

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Auto Safety: Past Is Prologue

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 6:28 PM

It doesn't take a comprehensive examination of American culture to notice the all-too-commonplace glorification of war. Violent war movies and television shows routinely make big bucks for Hollywood. Video games called Call of Duty and Battlefield sell millions of copies each year. Even history books are filled with stories of...

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The Sea Party Rebellion

(3) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 1:50 PM

Gas is cheap. America is pumping more domestic oil than at any time in the last 30 years. But two newly released science reports have reached disturbing conclusions. One in the journal Science states human activities threaten mass-extinction of marine life in the ocean, the other in the journal Nature...

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