Nader-Erickson Alliance? And Will 'Sterling-Silver' Ever Be the Same?



Erickson and Alter question Nader on his new book, Unstoppable, about how Left and Right can converge on NSA, banks, incarceration, empire. Ralph argues that Corporatists vs. Conservatives divide the GOP. Also: the NBA highlights another The Donald to make fun of. Based on

On Ideological 'Convergence' Is there a nascent Left-Right alliance to help break the gridlock in DC? Ralph Nader argues yes based on his new book - Unstoppable: How a Left-Right Alliance Can Dismantle the Corporate State." He explains that wealthy corporate interests are using principled conservatives to carry their water on corporate welfare, big banks, a prison-industrial complex, the NSA, defense spending.

One technique, he says, is the use of "pitiless abstractions" like "big government" to obscure how people are being shafted where they live and work. Example: don't you want the freedom not to crash through your windshield thanks to air bags?

Erick agrees with much of this generally, specifically on big banks too big to fail or jail...or exist. He thinks that Tea Party candidates locally will make Nader-like arguments against big money GOP establishmentarians...but, unlike O'Reilly and Untz, he won't go along with minimum wage hikes.

Nader and Erickson find some philosophic common ground on Common Core, with EWE telling about his radio show callers angry that "their kids are being taught to be good worker bees by big corporations." RN denounces the "commercialization of children" by the same corporate culture producing ads with, in their words, "a high nag factor" pushing junk food and violent programming.

Alter thinks the book "provocative and interesting" but worries that it's unrealistic until Ralph finds "confidence-building wins to put on board." Nader answers that there have been successes - from Clinch River Breeder Reactor 30 years ago to Whistle-Blower Protection last year and almost a ban on NSA dragnet surveillance this year. There's a four-way consensus that, from Gingrich to Jarecki, there's a winning coalition against the excessive incarceration of young minority men for non-violent drug offenses that is costly and immoral.

Ralph is asked, are there any other books making this argument and is there enough trust for the Naders and Norquists to get together on such second order issues? Nader says he was surprised to find no prior literature on this and thinks that the trust will come issue by issue rather than from big think tanks which have to do donors' bidding on big ticket items like taxes, spending, regulation.

On Silver vs. Sterling. There's no argument about the racial comments of Donald Sterling to his girlfriend. But Erick and Jonathan worry, along with Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavericks, that " this is a very very slippery slope. What if there's an owner who's anti-semitic or homophobic.? In this country you're allowed to be a moron."

Jonathan reminds us of the similar issue with the Mozilla CEO fired because he was caught donating to an anti-gay marriage referendum. Erick agrees that Sterling should be gone but notes that the problem is always how a good precedent is implemented "...but as a law professor of mine once said, 'the way to handle a slippery slope is not to slip.'"

The two then vigorously debate the more general issue of racist appeals and policies. Jonathan argues that the private racism of a Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling are less concerning than Republicans who employ public dog-whistles like "makers-takers" and "food stamp president." Erick pushes back that this issue isn't going away anytime soon since both sides are talking not to but past each other because he doesn't hear dog whistles in Jonathan's examples, only conservatives sincerely concerned with how big government is causing dependency.

Ok, what does he think of the Wisconsin judge who this week said that "no rational person" could be worried about voter fraud since it was near non-existent and "the real fraud is voter suppression laws"? Don't those laws from GOP governors have a racial intent? He says no since he was an election lawyer and saw many cases of it.

On NYPD spying on Muslims. Consensus! The two applaud Commissioner Bratton's ending of routine surveillance of Muslim communities to deter terrorism. It violates civil liberties and has no record to detecting any terrorism. The policy, they concur, was an over-reaction to 9/11 that is fortunately fading. Nader's convergence again?

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.

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