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Michael Mukasey, Bush Third String Attorney General

by Alex Miller-Mignone

Ralph NaderHe’s ba-ack... Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and former Green Party presidential candidate, whom many Americans consider directly responsible for Gore’s loss in 2000 which inflicted George W. Bush on the nation, will be making a fifth run for the White House in 2008. On February 24 Nader announced his candidacy during a Meet the Press interview, eliciting a diverse mixture of groans and yawns from the public.

In 1992, his write-in candidacy was barely noticed amidst the three-way split between Bush Sr, Clinton and spoiler Ross Perot. In 1996 and 2000, he ran for the Greens, and in 2004 he was technically an Independent candidate, though endorsed by the Reform Party, which lent invaluable assistance in getting him on the ballot in many states. In 2008 he will be running again as an Independent, with no party affiliation or support.

Born 27 February 1934 in Winsted, Connecticut, Nader is the son of Lebanese immigrants Nathra and Rose Nader; he graduated from Princeton in 1955 and Harvard Law School in 1958. After brief stints as a Connecticut lawyer and a professor at the University of Hartford, in 1964 Nader found his way into government, working for then Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, where he advised a US Senate subcommittee on car safety.

The consumer advocacy bug had bitten, and Nader never looked back. His “Unsafe at Any Speed” (Grossman Publishers, 1965), a blistering expose of the auto industry in general and GM’s policies in particular, led directly to the 1966 legislation which created the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the mandating of safety belts and stronger windshields, among other reforms.

Automobile safety was just the beginning. Nader went on to champion consumer rights in such areas as air and water pollution, chemical additives to food, more thorough drug testing, global ecosystem degradation, and corporate greed and plunder tactics. He and his self-styled “Nader’s Raiders,” a group of young activists who assisted in his advocacy campaigns, were among the first to bring exposure and public focus to the issues of government corruption, undue lobbyist influence, and the plight of whistle-blowers who were punished for their disclosures in the public interest. In 1971 they formed Public Citizen, an umbrella group advancing these causes, and whose work was influential in the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Nader was a leading opponent of nuclear power. His work as a consumer advocate has been unparalleled, and both Time and Life magazines have ranked him among the top 100 most influential Americans of the twentieth century.

How unfortunate, then, that perhaps his most lasting contribution to the nation’s history will be the presidency of George W. Bush, which, ironically, has worked to roll back many of the reforms and consumer protection practices which Nader's early advocacy helped to establish. The 97,000 votes which Nader garnered in Florida in 2000, the vast majority of which would have gone to Gore had Nader not been in the race, would easily have swamped Bush’s Supreme Court-endorsed 537-vote lead, which granted Dubya the presidency. Votes cast for Nader in New Hampshire also exceeded the margin of victory for Bush in that state. Winning either would have given Gore the White House, and relieved the rest of us of the burden of one of the worst administrations in US history. Although during the 2000 campaign Nader cited a growing convergence in viewpoints between the Democratic and Republican parties, due to corporate influence, and averred that Gore and Bush were “Tweedledee and Tweedledum—they look and act the same, so it doesn’t matter which you get,” one wonders how the man lives with himself after viewing the devastation Bush has wrought across the globe. Obviously, the 2000 election mattered very much, even if neither candidate would have done much for Nader’s pet issues.

In 2004 Nader declined the candidacy of the Green Party, but after his 20-page list of policy positions was ignored by the Kerry campaign, he ran as an Independent. Democrats feared a reprise of the 2000 debacle, and Nader was urged not to run, but the “Nader Effect” was not to be repeated. In 2004 he garnered less than half a million votes nationally, a mere .38% of the total, as compared to 2.74% in 2000.

In January 2008 Nader participated in a debate of Green Party candidates, but refused to become officially affiliated. He expressed himself dissatisfied with the major party contenders, terming Hillary Clinton “a panderer and a flatterer.” On February 24, 2008, Nader announced his fifth run for the US presidency, again as an Independent. Financial disclosures from the 2000 campaign indicate that he has investments totaling several million dollars, but he does not own a car or a house, and claims to live on $25,000 per year. The bulk of his investment income is donated to the more than four dozen non-profit organizations he has founded in over four decades of public advocacy.

Born 27 February 1934, Nader’s Pisces Sun is empathetic and concerned for others’ welfare, reflected in his consumer advocacy work, as well as being hyper-aware of the effect of the part upon the whole, seen in his support for environmental issues. At 8 Pisces, that Sun exactly opposes one Black Hole at 8 Virgo and squares another at 9 Sagittarius, making Nader a forceful agent for change and disruption of the status quo. Nader seeks to radically alter existing circumstances, remaking them to suit his idealized vision of how a society should interact with its members and its environment. The opposition to natal Neptune at 11 Virgo reinforces the sympathetic tenor of the Pisces Sun, but may also tend toward unrealistic expectations and the self-delusion which has become a more marked feature of his later life, with ill-fated forays into politics which have arguably contributed to making matters much worse, a responsibility for which Nader seems unable to own or recognize.

The Sun also squares the Maser at 6 Gemini, the source of the controversy which has dogged many of Nader’s projects. Maser energy can be highly disruptive, without providing any positive, workable alternatives, and its troublesome hand can be clearly seen in the debacle of the 2000 election. The saving grace is Nader’s Sun in exact trine to the Quasar at 8 Cancer, which casts a spotlight on whatever it contacts, helping to illumine Nader’s issues on the national stage. In addition to increased visibility, Quasars also promote success and accomplishment, and with the USA Jupiter at 5 Cancer in conjunction, Nader’s early forays into political intervention, before these involved him personally, were highly productive and beneficial to the populace at large.

Mercury and Mars conjoin at 19 and 18 Pisces respectively, both squaring the Black Hole at 18 Sagittarius. This identifies Nader as a combative, yet principled, communicator, a fighter for those victimized or ignored by society, one who actively promotes his ideals and worldview. The combination also describes Nader’s rather dour, acerbic presentation, a gruff, grainy intransigence which has become more pessimistic and pointedly sarcastic as age and experience have tempered his youthful optimism and hope into a sort of embittered resignation. Early in his career Nader took on many sacred cows and governmental institutions, and frequently won, but in the long term, human inertia and greed have eroded many of the gains he worked so hard for. Nader still fights the fight, but seems to have lost the expectation that he can make a real difference, increasingly sounding like a lone voice crying in the wilderness.

Uranus at 24 Aries exactly conjoins a Black Hole, and forms a tense T-Square with Pluto at 22 Cancer retrograde and Jupiter at 22 Libra retrograde. Nader certainly enjoys shaking up (Uranus) the political (Jupiter) status quo, and has a strong internal drive to seek and facilitate equal treatment (Uranus) and self empowerment (Pluto) for all. An early prophet railing against the dangers of combining Big Money (Pluto) and politics (Jupiter), Nader has long sought to liberate (Uranus) the deliberative process (Jupiter) from the control (Pluto) of corporations and vested interests. Uranus on a Black Hole has also focused much of his efforts on the technical level of production, as in his groundbreaking auto safety work, with Nader attempting to reveal the hidden (Black Hole) workings of large corporations and transform (Black Hole) the status quo via public awareness (Uranus).

The motivation for his presidential campaigns is difficult to fathom, but may be related to a combination of factors, particularly the Sun opposed both a Black Hole and Neptune. Sun/Black Hole has an attraction for power and the desire to wield it, but only a seriously deluded individual could expect that the outcome of these campaigns would be victory and occupancy of the White House. Some Black Hole Sun natives are extremely tenacious; unable to admit that the dream they harbor has died, they continue to waste vast amounts of energy in attaining the unattainable. Nader’s repeated attempts may also be the result of Neptunian lack of realism, confusion and self-deceit, or it may simply be Nader’s aim to bring more focus and attention to the issues he raises of the impact of lobbyists and money on our political process. If so, then he is merely deluded that he can make a difference in that regard by mounting a doomed campaign, not deluded as to his chances of ever sitting in the Oval Office.

Alex Miller-Mignone, photoAlex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.

His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at