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August 8, 2004 - Tough Times for the Third Man

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The Third Man – but this time it’s not Harry Lime (Orson Welles) at all. The third man in this case is Ralph Nader. One thinks more of Rodney Dangerfield than of Orson Welles’ Harry Lime. Some days things just don’t go well, and you get no respect.

Go to the footnote for everything you ever wanted to know about Harry Lime and that 1949 film, if you wish, but consider this curious question from Michael Scott -


Q. What do Ralph Nader and John Ashcroft now have in common?

A. They've both lost in balloting where the voters knew they were supporting an opponent who wouldn't be able to serve even if elected.


What is Scott taking about?

This from out here in California on the morning wire -

Nader Loses Presidential Nomination For Calif. Peace, Freedom Party
Party Goes With Imprisoned American Indian Activist
POSTED: 8:00 am PDT August 2, 2004 UPDATED: 8:52 am PDT August 2, 2004


LOS ANGELES - Ralph Nader lost a chance to get on the California ballot when the Peace and Freedom Party chose an imprisoned American Indian activist for its standard bearer, it was announced Sunday.

However, the 70-year-old consumer activist could still get on the Nov. 2 state ballot if a weekend petition drive is successful in getting about 25,000 more signatures his supporters said he needed to qualify as an independent candidate.

Meeting in Los Angeles yesterday, delegates to the Peace and Freedom Party Convention heard an appeal from Nader, but instead chose Native American Leonard Peltier, which the group described as a political prisoner.

Many believe Peltier was framed for the murder of two FBI agents on a reservation in Wounded knee, S.D., in 1975. He is serving a life sentence.

Nader appeared at the convention a few hours before the vote but was unable to sway a majority of the delegates. …


Yep, they choose a man who couldn’t run as their candidate.  Better than Ralph.

As least Leonard Peltier isn’t dead.  And Ashcroft did lose to a dead man.

Republican senator loses to dead rival in Missouri
CNN - November 8, 2000 - Web posted at: 2:49 a.m. EST (0749 GMT)


(CNN) -- The late Gov. Mel Carnahan collected enough votes to beat out incumbent Republican Sen. John Ashcroft for the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri.

The incumbent Ashcroft was left running against a dead man after his opponent, the popular sitting governor, died in a plane crash on October 16. By that time, it was too late to remove Carnahan's name from the ballot.

No one had ever posthumously won election to the Senate, though voters on at least three occasions chose deceased candidates for the House.


Oh well.  Ashcroft got a better job.  Can’t manage to beat a dead man in an open election?  Well, you can still be appointed the Attorney General – top lawman of the whole nation.  What are Christian friends for?

Ralph Nader, unfortunately, has other problems, on the other side of the continent. The homeless are revolting – against him.

Nader office shuts down as workers seek pay
Petition circulators demanded payment for signatures collected. A campaign employee said the scene smacked of dirty politics.
Michael Currie Schaffer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Saturday, July 31, 2004

Here’s the sad story…


Ralph Nader's presidential campaign this week abruptly abandoned the Center City office that housed its efforts to get on the Pennsylvania ballot, leaving behind a mess of accusations and a damaged building.

The office, on the 1500 block of Chestnut Street, was emptied Thursday after a raucous scene the night before. Police were called as dozens of homeless people lined up to collect money they said they were owed for circulating petitions on the candidate's behalf.

Many of the circulators were never paid, according to outreach workers and interviews with several men who had collected signatures.

"A lot of us were scammed," said Ed Seip, 52, who said he collected more than 200 signatures for Nader.


Ralph Nader would, actually and for real, scam people?

Well it seem in this report that John Slevin, a “ballot-access contractor” hired by Nader to run the Pennsylvania petition campaign, is saying everyone is going to get paid - really. Honest. He seems to think “the accusations and chaos at the office were the result of political trickery. That's the only explanation for it.” He just didn’t expect these hoards of homeless people looking for “petition work.” He’d been hiring “petition circulators” for two weeks - promising seventy-five cents to a dollar for each valid signature. And the deal was half the money at the end of each day and a check on each Wednesday.

But Wednesday was a mess -


… people who showed up Wednesday described a chaotic situation. Lines moved slowly as Slevin and one assistant, protected by armed guards, vetted the petitions for obviously forged signatures. Many in line were shouting and claiming they had been underpaid. As tensions grew, police were called.

By day's end, many left without being paid. Those who returned the next day found the office empty.


Ah, gone in the night.  Let them eat cake… or let them take Prozac.

Slevin did say he would mail checks to the addresses people had given when hired – but gee, a lot of these folks didn’t exactly have addresses as they were down on their luck, living in the streets and scrambling for a few bucks. Well, too bad.

Well, the whole thing was a mess – and the folks who worked for Ralph were, shall we say, unruly and angry -


"They trashed the place," said Lee Brahim, a co-owner of the building where Slevin had rented an office for the month. Brahim said people had urinated in garbage cans and broken a stairway railing.

The 2-week-old effort to collect signatures using hired petition circulators also faced scrutiny last week after reporters witnessed several circulators repeatedly signing each other's forms and telling signers that they could use whatever name they wanted.

Slevin said circulators had been instructed to obey the law.

But one disgruntled circulator said they had not known the rules. "Everyone in the mission was just passing them around from person to person," said Michael Reed Jr., 21, who said he had not been paid.


Gee, it is hard to find good help these days.  You tell them to follow the rules and these low-life types still mess up.

Ralph’s team in Philadelphia should have done what his team in Michigan did – you don’t use the scruffy underclass of losers, you turn to the elite, the folks who are responsible and run this country.  You turn to the Republicans.

Nader accepting GOP signatures in Michigan
Dem leaders have asked him to refuse the signatures
Tuesday, July 20, 2004 Posted: 11:28 AM EDT (1528 GMT)


LANSING, Michigan (AP) -- In an about face, Ralph Nader decided Monday to accept thousands of petition signatures collected by Michigan Republicans if that is the only way he can qualify for the state's presidential ballot.

Last Thursday, Michigan Republican Party officials submitted 43,000 signatures -- far more than the 30,000 needed -- to ensure Nader could appear on the ballot as an independent.

Republicans began collecting signatures after it appeared that Nader might not get on the ballot as the Reform Party's candidate for president.

Nader's campaign had turned in about 5,400 signatures.


What are friends for?

But be it known, Ralph Nader is disappointed with liberal and progressive and other sorts of people who want change – disappointed he has to turn to the Republican Party to get the required signatures to get on the ballot in a number of states - so people can vote for him - and NOT for Republicans or Democrats.  I suppose that makes sense, in an odd sort of way.

But here in California some folks would rather have a convicted murderer in prison serving a life sentence represent them on the ballot – not the earnest “I have no ego” Ralph.  Rodney Dangerfield’s signature line comes to mind – “I tell you, I get no respect, no respect….”  And in Philadelphia these bums you hired to collect signatures get all uppity and trash your place because the greedy bastards want paid.  “I tell you, I get no respect, no respect….”

All in all, a bad week for the third man.


Footnote – the movie -

The Third Man (1949) was directed by Carol Reed and written by Graham Greene. The Third Man is a classic film noir, enhanced even more so by the quirky zither music of Anton Karas and fine cinematography of Vienna's bombed out buildings and underground sewers.

Set in post-war Austria, a country politically divided into different sectors controlled by the U.S., England, France and Russia. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), an American author, arrives in Vienna where he has been promised work by his old school friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Upon his arrival, Martins discovers that Lime has been killed in a suspicious car accident, and that his funeral is taking place immediately. At the graveside, Martins meets outwardly affable Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) and actress Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), who is weeping copiously. When Calloway tells Martins that the late Harry Lime was nothing more or less than a thief and a murderer, the loyal Martins is at first outraged.

Gradually, he not only discovers that Calloway was right, but also that the man lying in the coffin in the film's early scenes was not Harry Lime at all - and that Lime is still very much alive (he was the mysterious "third man" at the scene of the fatal accident). Calloway hopes to use either Anna or Hollings to flush out Lime. Unswerving in her loyalty, Anna refuses. Martins does likewise, until Calloway shows the novelist the tragic results of Lime's black-market in diluted penicillin.

Arranging a rendezvous with Lime at the huge Ferris wheel in the centre of Vienna, Hollings listens in barely concealed disgust as Lime casually dismisses his heinous crimes. Feeling particularly brazen, Lime offers not to kill Hollings if the latter will go into business with him. Thus the stage is set for the famous climactic confrontation in the sewers of Vienna - and the even more famous final shot of The Third Man, in which Martins pays emotionally for doing the right thing.

The film is currently available in both an American and British release version; the American version with an introduction by Joseph Cotten, the British version is narrated by Carol Reed. Nominated for several Academy Awards, The Third Man won a "Best Cinematography" prize for Robert Krasker.

Director: Carol Reed.
Asst Director: Guy Hamilton.
Producer: Carol Reed, Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick.
Associate Producer: Hugh Perceval.
Script: Graham Greene, Alexander Korda, Carol Reed and Orson Welles. (from the story The Third Man by Graham Greene)
Cinematography: Robert Krasker.
Art Direction: John Hawkesworth, Joseph Bato and Vincent Korda.
Asst Art Direction: Fernand Bellan.
Editing: Oswald Hafenrichter.
Costume Design: Ivy Baker and James Sawyer.
Makeup: George Frost.
Sound: John Cox.
Music Direction: Anton Karas.

Joseph Cotton - Holly Martins
Orson Welles - Harry Lime
Alida Valli - Anna Schmidt
Trevor Howard - Major Calloway
Bernard Lee - Sergeant Paine
Wilfrid Hyde White - Crabbin
Paul Hoerbiger - Porter
Ernst Deutsch - Baron Kurtz
Herbeil Halbik - Hansel
Paul Hardtmuth - Hall porter
Alexis Chesnakov - Brodsky
Martin Boddey - Man
Nelly Arno - Kurtz's Mother
Geoffrey Keen - British Policeman
Siegfried Breuer - Popescu
Erich Ponto - Dr. Winkel
Paul Smith - MP
Hedwig Bleibtreu - Old Woman


Another Pop Culture Note - this from the New York Daily News, Tuesday, August 03, 2004


The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir is pleading with Deadheads everywhere not to vote for Ralph Nader. Performing on Saturday in Boston, Weir told the band's followers to be sure to vote, but the exorted, "Don't vote for Nader. I know him. He's an a--hole," our spies tell us. The band then broke into "Johnny B. Goode," a theme song of the Kerry-Edwards campaign ...




Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
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