Presidential Politics: Ralph Nader Says Free the Dopers, Jail the Corporate Crooks

At a press conference last Friday, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for emptying prisons of nonviolent drug offenders and filling them with corporate criminals. Nader's call came as he unveiled a 12-point program aimed at reining in the power of corporations.

"Nonviolent drug offenses are being over prosecuted and corporate crime is being under prosecuted. The Justice Department must begin to reverse course, crank up the crackdown on corporate crime, and end the cruel and inhumane war on nonviolent drug possession," the perennial candidate said.

"The criminal justice system is broken -- so badly that one hardly knows where to begin describing the breakdown," Nader said. "Let's start with the war on drugs, since commentators across the political spectrum recognize its lunacy. We pour almost endless resources -- roughly $50 billion every year -- into catching, trying, and incarcerating people who primarily harm themselves. This insane war on drugs damages communities and drains crucial resources from the police, courts, and prisons. These resources could be better used to combat serious street and corporate crime that directly violates the public's liberty, health, safety, trust, and financial well-being. As with alcoholics and nicotine addicts, the approach to drug addicts should be rehabilitation, not incarceration," he argued.

"The current drug policy has consumed tens of billions of dollars and wrecked countless lives," Nader continued. "The costs of this policy include the increasing breakdown of families and neighborhoods, endangerment of children, widespread violation of civil liberties, escalating rates of incarceration, political corruption, and the imposition of United States policy abroad. In practice, the drug war disproportionately targets people
of color and people who are poverty-stricken. Coercive measures have not reduced drug use, but they have clogged our criminal justice system with nonviolent offenders. It is time to explore alternative approaches and to end this costly war."

Nader also calls for an immediate end to the criminal prosecution of patients for medical marijuana. "The current cruel, unjust policy perpetuated and enforced by the Bush Administration prevents Americans who suffer from debilitating illnesses from experiencing the relief of medicinal cannabis," Nader said. "While substantial scientific and anecdotal evidence exists to validate marijuana's usefulness in treating disease, a deluge of rhetoric from Washington claims that marijuana has no medicinal value."

And he supports industrial hemp. "In need of alternative crops and aware of the growing market for industrial hemp -- particularly for bio-composite products such as automobile parts, farmers in the United States are forced to watch from the sidelines while Canadian, French and Chinese farmers grow the crop and American manufacturers import it from them," Nader said.

The money saved from ending the drug war could be used to prosecute a war on corporate crime, Nader said. "Corporate crime enforcement is widely ignored by politicians, yet acutely felt by all Americans," he said, noting that the losses from burglary and robbery ($3.8 billion a year) are dwarfed by a mere handful of corporate frauds, such as those that brought down Tyco, Adelphia, Worldcom, and Enron.

Nader ran for president under the Green Party banner in 2000, garnering 2.7% of the popular vote and earning the undying enmity of Democratic Party loyalists who blamed him for handing the election to Republican George Bush. In 2004, Nader ran as an independent, garnering 0.2% of the vote. This year, he is competing with Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr and Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney in the third-party sweepstakes.

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Ralph's The MAN

And all you whiney Democrats who think a vote for Ralph is a vote for McCain, TAKE A HIKE. A vote for Ralph is a vote for Ralph. Period. Get those hundreds of thousands of registerd voters (who did NOT VOTE in '04) off their ass on election day.
IT's TIME FOR MORE PARTYS -- the dems and repubs are the SAME..................................with a little tweek here, and a little tweek there, here a tweek, there a tweek, and you're all fooled again!

Vote for the people who will End the War on Some Drugs.
Cynthia and Bob and the Socialist Party, which even you people forget about....................................WE are screwed if we keep our system..................of right and wrong, left and right, black and white, and dems and repubs...........IT'S NOT A GAME

1/2 Right & 1/2 Wrong = WHoley Ralph

As a civil libertarian I like Ralph about 1/2 the time... gotta love a guy who's not afraid, and in fact compelled, to speak truth to power. And yes there are tons of modern robber barons & corporate scumbags out there that need to be dealt with.

But when Ralph states: 'As with alcoholics and nicotine addicts, the approach to drug addicts should be rehabilitation, not incarceration," he unwittingly allies himself with the 'intellectually dishonest' anusses that advocate & prosecute this war for profit.

While I definitely agree that rehab is better than incarceration I do not think people who drink alcoholic drugs or inhale the drug tobacco should be excluded from being called 'drug users' or 'drug addicts'. After all, Alcohol & Tobacco are the EPITOME of Drugs. Alcohol being the original 'gateway drug' and tobacco being the original 'devils weed'... both are the 'drugs of choice' of our european ancestors and benefit from the cloak of social acceptability!

Ralph is playing the same word games the gov't does. Consider the lie 'Drugs & Alcohol'... Hello... alcohol is a drug! The expression should be 'Drugs... especially Alcohol'!

As long as our gov't, and politicians, continue to ignore the facts, and come to grips with it's own addiction to lies, it will remain in a state of denial and we will be punish us accordingly.

Question really is who will intervene on the governments behalf and whether it could be done without deadly force?

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA

Ralph is a dangerous fool

He wants to scapegoats, just not the normal ones. Instead of being told that all of our problems are caused by drugs, drug dealers, and drug users, he wants to convince us that corporate criminals are the real bad guys. The truth is that there is some corporate crime out there, but it isn't that bad. The market tends to guard against too much criminality. Ralph knows that, but he still thinks he needs a scapegoat.

Vote Libertarian - we don't promise to fill any jails.

Dude, you are SO naive. The

Dude, you are SO naive. The market doesn't guard against anything. The market is not a real thing, it's just the actions of people. And people in positions of power will do what they like with the market. The market allowed for slavery, the market allows for sweatshop labor, the market has sometimes allowed for toxic products and misleading advertisement... without laws on the market, the market will allow for anything that's physically possible at any given time. Stop worshiping this imaginary market god.

I love a dangerous fool

[email protected],Vancouver,B.C.Canada Nader's done more for your country than all the corporate criminals in that toilet.This previous writer obviously hasn't read a newspaper or watched anything but faux news since 1969.People are always cheap shotting Nader because he tells the truth which most Americans are totally unfamiliar with.It's too bad that honesty counts for nothing in your one party system.Have you noticed your economy is worse now than in 1929?Who do you think stole all the money you owe the Chinese?.Bad mouth Ralph if you will.It's very popular these days.It seems accomplishments count for nothing and BS is all you eat.As for the drug war,Nader is only telling what the numbers prove.It's a huge money pit with no up side and a hole on the downside that's filling up with whatever money you have left.You jail people for money.That alone is the sickest thing on the planet.I don't usually lose my temper but the ignorance of the previous post really pissed me off.You have no concept of how you're being taken by corporations that just count numbers and think people are too messy to consider.A Libertarian should know this .Have you heard that Barr switched sides on the drug war?Of course not,it wasn't covered on Faux news.

Thank you!

Thank you!

i like nader, but ron paul is better


As an unwitting american, (I'm stuck with it), how many times do we have to go down this road? We have had numerous financial crises since the establishment of this nation and they have all been caused by the quest for easy money. Don't misunderstand my attitude, but we're running out of time, excuses, and patience. Most financial crises have been cured with the economic remedy of war, (which corporations have profited from, every time), but war is a failed policy for the public, not corporations. The populace in this country are manipulated by most things new and shiny, and are diverted from the more serious issues of fouling our nest, desecration of our home, lets face it folks, there is nowhere to run when we screw this environment up, (no matter what the space agencies say), so lets start paying attention to idealists, (like Ralph Nader), and take control of our planet and culture and provide an environment suitable for the survival of future generations. We're pissing it away, folks.
Tim Matthews, Planetary Citizen.

Ralph Nader

What America needs is leaders with brains enough to know what must be done and balls enough to do it. There is only one suitable candidate.....Ralph Nader. If he doesn't have a chance neither does America.
Rusty Herring

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