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Ralph Nader Radio Hour

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Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all. www.ralphnaderradiohour.com


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Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all. www.ralphnaderradiohour.com




License to Loot

A “license to loot” is what our guest, economist William Lazonick, calls stock buybacks. Until the Reagan Revolution, stock buybacks were considered market manipulation and at the very least are an unproductive use of profits used only to pump up the stock price and enrich upper management, while neglecting workers’ wages, capital expansion, and innovation. Ralph and Professor Lazonick break it all down for you. William Lazonick is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. His recent work includes Predatory Value Extraction: How the Looting of the Business Corporation Became the US Norm and How Sustainable Prosperity Can Be Restored, and the forthcoming book Investing in Innovation: Confronting Predatory Value Extraction in the U.S. Corporation. The ideology that enables buybacks, that makes a lot of people including economists say, “Oh, they’re just fine. The money’s just going to the economy,” is what I call the myth of the market economy—the way in which we get capital formation in the economy is just by money zipping around. But it doesn’t work that way. The money has to stop somewhere. William Lazonick It’s not because the United States does not have the capability to do these things— the capability is in the wrong hands. And it’s being wasted and destroyed. So it’s not simply the amount of money that’s making people rich. But those people who are getting rich are actually getting rich by helping to destroy the industrial base of the United States, including the middle class. William Lazonick These giant companies— these US companies that grew in the USA on the back of their workers, went to Washington for subsidies or bailouts when they were greedy or in trouble, and had the US Marines defend them around the world— are not only disinvesting on a massive scale in the necessities for a productive economy. But they are engaging in the ironic trend that can be called the corporate destruction of capitalism, whose base, in essence, is investment. Ralph Nader While these corporate bosses insist on massive domination of our political economy—from Washington to Wall Street— they’re not delivering. For the economy, for the workers, for the people who are trying to make it through every day and protect their families and their descendants. In behaving this way, they have reached a historic level of conflict of interest with their own companies. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard 1. The automotive news website Jalopnik reports that a whistleblower has turned over 100 gigabtyes of “Tesla Secrets” to German media. These files contain “more than 2,400 self-acceleration complaints and more than 1,500 braking function problems, including 139 cases of unintentional emergency braking and 383 reported phantom stops resulting from false collision warnings. The number of crashes is more than 1000.” 2. While national Democrats dither and cave to outrageous Republican demands on the debt ceiling, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has delivered on an expansive progressive agenda. In the current session, with only a single-vote majority in the upper house, Common Dreams reports that they have passed bills to mandate 20 weeks of paid family and medical leave, legalized recreational cannabis, and made school meals free for public and charter students. They also passed a bill codifying Roe v. Wade, established legal protections for transgender youth, set a livable minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers, and approved Right to Repair legislation. While not all of these will be signed into law, it is clear that Minnesota is setting the bar for Democratic-controlled state legislatures throughout the country, and putting Congress to shame. 3. A new piece in the Lever covers “The $20 Billion Scam At The Heart Of Medicare Advantage.” The article details how insurers are manipulating the medicare privatization scheme and “milking massive profits from systematic overbilling and kneecapping modest...


Predatory Capitalists

Ralph welcomes Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Gretchen Morgenson, co-author of “These Are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs – And Wrecks – America,” where they name names in this “heads we win, tails you lose” system of predatory capitalism. Gretchen Morgenson is the senior financial reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit. A former stockbroker, she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her “trenchant and incisive” reporting on Wall Street. Previously at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal,” she and coauthor Joshua Rosner wrote the bestseller Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon about the mortgage crisis. Their latest book is These Are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs—and Wrecks—America. The way corporate criminals get their way is by trying to make things too complex and too abstract for your daily lives. But when Gretchen [Morgenson] talks about these plunderers, and let’s call them “predatory capitalists”, don’t think that you’re not being affected— whether your loved ones are patients in nursing homes, whether you’re workers being laid off, whether you’re consumers being gouged for drug or healthcare prices, whether your community’s going to be hollowed out because the company that was doing okay was taken over by these vultures and closed down after they extracted the wealth. Ralph Nader It’s interesting now that David Rubenstein is retired [from the Carlyle Group], he’s a philanthropist. This is what these wealthy people do once they’ve finished their careers and made so much money. They become philanthropists… We’ve all read about David Rubenstein and Steve Schwarzman and Leon Black and Henry Kravis. We read about them constantly. They are always lauded for their brilliance and their billionaire status. What we just don’t hear about are the people on the other side of their transactions. Gretchen Morgenson, co-author of “These Are The Plunderers.” The disappointing thing about the Justice Department is that when they bring these cases against the companies that are doing Medicare fraud (like in the Manor Care situation), they don’t move up the corporate ladder to the owner of the company. The Justice Department does the work on the particular company that is owned by private equity, but they don’t go up the ladder. And that has a way of allowing the firms—like Carlyle in the Manor Care case— to escape scrutiny and to escape accountability. So that would be an ideal thing to change. Gretchen Morgenson co-author of “These Are The Plunderers.” In Case You Haven’t Heard 1. Amid the debt limit fight, progressives are calling for President Biden to invoke the 14th amendment, which they believe would allow Biden to bypass the Republican House and raise the debt limit without concessions like adding further work requirements to public benefits. In a press conference by the Senate progressives, John Fetterman of Pennsylvania said "This is the whole reason why the 14th Amendment exists, & we need to be prepared to use it. And, if our unelected Supreme Court Justices try to block the use of the 14th amendment and blow up our economy, that’s on them.” However, POLITICO reports that the administration is privately telling progressives to stand down. Instead, the White House seems more interested in negotiating with Speaker McCarthy, even if that means caving to outrageous Republican demands.2. As the Writers Guild strike grinds on – at a cost of $30 million per day according to Deadline – the Screen Actors Guild is now on the verge of their own strike. Last week, SAG-AFTRA’s National Board voted unanimously to ask members for strike authorization, and the Daily Beast reported that SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher urged members to “make three a charm with an emphatic ‘yes’ for a strike authorization vote!” adding that to do so would be “an unprecedented show of solidarity.” An actor’s strike against the studios has not happened since...


Defeating a Boondoggle

Auto safety expert, Byron Bloch, joins us to tell the story of how citizens in conjunction with the Sierra Club defeated a highway widening boondoggle in Maryland. Then we welcome microgrids manager at the Green Justice Coalition, Sari Kayyali, to tell us how microgrids in his community have saved money and the environment. Finally, we catch up with the director of Progressive Democrats of America, Alan Minsky, in Washington DC to talk about high speed rail and the post-Bernie progressive movement. Byron Bloch is an independent consultant and court-qualified expert in Auto Safety Design and Vehicle Crashworthiness. Over the years, he has fought for safer fuel tanks, stronger seats, the need for airbags, better truck underride guards, and has testified on these safety issues at Congressional Hearings, and to NHTSA. He contributed to the Sierra Club’s successful campaign to strongly oppose and stop the proposed widening of the 1-270 and Capital Beltway and the scheme to also add privatized toll lanes. What we have to do is refocus and say, “We are a people-oriented nation. Not a vehicle-oriented nation.” And if you look at it in those terms—people-oriented nation— then you say, “Well, what are the economics, what are the health and safety issues that affect people?” But instead, it becomes the almighty vehicle-ization of the nation and that means more lanes, more traffic, more lanes, and then more traffic. Byron Bloch Activist and auto safety expert The corporate state arrives in different manifestations— the military industrial complex, the Pentagon, and this is what’s going on at the state level. It doesn’t get many national headlines, but it's the merger of corporations with state government. And there’s a lot of secrecy involved, a lot of phony promises, a lot of misleading rhetoric, and the legislators are compromised by the campaign contributions and the pressure from the governor’s office. Ralph Nader Sari Kayyali is a mechanical engineer and the Microgrids Manager at Microgrids Chelsea and Chinatown Power. The technology around clean electric generation—solar panels and battery storage—are experiencing a revolution. Just in the last decade alone, solar panels have dropped to a third of what they used to cost to manufacture. Battery storage has improved dramatically in terms of energy density, cost, and reliability. And so, a lot of places around the country are looking to these as solutions. Microgrids have been around for a while, they don’t necessarily need to use clean technology but specifically clean microgrids are really catching on all around the country, and around the world. Sari Kayyali Microgrids Manager at the Green Justice Coalition Alan Minsky is a lifelong activist, and Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America. Alan has worked as a progressive journalist for the past two decades, he was Program Director at KPFK Los Angeles from 2009-2018, and he has coordinated Pacifica Radio’s national coverage of elections. He is the creator and producer of the political podcasts for The Nation and Jacobin, as well as a contributor to Common Dreams and Truthdig. There’s a whole bunch of elements that the progressive movement hasn’t been that attentive to. Including things like industrial production and the transformation it requires between business and government to transform American society, so that it’s operating on clean energy, so that its industrial manufacturing doesn’t have breaks in supply chains… So I got involved with a lot of projects that aren’t that common for progressives to be involved in. Alan Minsky, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis1. CNBC reports that the FTC is mulling a proposal to bar Meta (formerly Facebook) from monetizing the data of minors. This follows the agency’s allegation that the company violated a 2020 privacy order. The FTC quoted an independent assessor who found “several gaps and...


Writers Strike!/Occupy the Library!

We welcome former Writers Guild of America (West) president and current co-chair of the negotiating committee, David Goodman, who also happens to be the head writer for many of your favorite TV shows like “The Family Guy” to tell us why TV and movie writers are on strike. Then, grad students Sandra Oseguera and Jesus Gutierrez stop by to update us on their continuing fight to save the anthropology library at UC Berkeley, a battle that has wider implications for how more and more universities across the country are becoming corporatized. Plus, Ralph highlights some trenchant listener feedback. David A. Goodman has written for over 20 television series. His best-known work is as head writer and executive producer on Family Guy. He was the president of the Writer’s Guild of America West from 2017 to 2021. In that capacity, Mr. Goodman led the Guild in a campaign to force the Hollywood talent agencies into adopting a new Code of Conduct to better serve the needs of their writers. Today, he serves as co-chair of the WGA negotiating committee in their strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. These companies that we work for are spending billions of dollars, making billions of dollars on the product that we create. And writers currently (many of them) can’t afford to pay their rent. Can’t afford to live in the cities where they’re required to work. Need to take second jobs. Now, that’s a very familiar situation in labor across this country. And what we’re saying is if these companies are profitable… we need to fight. David Goodman, co-chair of the WGA negotiating committee The reason that our strike does have power is because America and the world relies on this product that we create. Those stories that we create are a connection, are a way for people to connect. And because of corporatization some people are losing sight of that, and hopefully this strike will bring them back. David Goodman, co-chair of the WGA negotiating committee Let our listeners know that a lot of those programs that they watch on TV or listen to on the radio all over the country are written by the people who are on the picket lines and are pretty mercilessly exploited by the corporate titans that rake off the profits. Ralph Nader Sandra Oseguera and Jesús Gutiérrez are graduate students in the Anthropology department at the University of California, Berkeley. Earlier this year, campus administration announced their plan to close the Anthropology Library, one of only three dedicated Anthropology libraries in the US. In response, stakeholders including students and faculty have organized to demand that the Anthropology Library be protected and fully supported by the University. We truly disagree with the vision that the administration has for this university, and we believe that it can be different. That this can truly be a public university for students, underrepresented minorities, but also for the public. The public can come here—especially to our library— and be curious, collect knowledge, and have a refuge where they can find themselves in the shelves. Sandra Oseguera It has been really inspiring to see our occupation space make our Anthropology Library into the space of encounter and transformation that it is supposed to be. The administration— and the press, to some degree initially— portrayed us as passively occupying, just sleeping and reading in the space. But the reality on the ground has been that the library has become an organizing space. Those of us who are occupying also gather, and then from there we fan out and make plans to go talk to our fellow students, make plans to go confront these core decision makers and hold them accountable for what they are doing to our education, what they are doing to these essential public resources. Jesús Gutiérrez We are not chasing symbolic wins. We want a fully functional library. That is what matters to us. And the overwhelming desire of the department, faculty,...


Celebrating Law Day

In conjunction with the American Museum of Tort Law, we conduct another live Zoom recording where Ralph welcomes legendary trial lawyer Shanin Spector to discuss the constitutional right of wrongfully injured people to have their day in court and the corporate forces that are trying to limit this most basic of American principles. Then, Ralph and Mr. Spector take questions from our live audience. Shanin Specter is a founding partner of Kline & Specter, one of the leading catastrophic injury firms in the United States. Beyond winning substantial monetary compensation for his clients, many of Shanin’s cases have prompted beneficial societal changes. He has also taught law for many years and this academic year is teaching tort and trial courses at UC Law SF, Drexel Kline and Stanford Law Schools. Last week, I found myself in Washington DC at the Federalist Society debating the resolution that America should abolish the right of trial by jury, which is being advocated by an otherwise distinguished professor at George Washington University School of Law, Professor [Renée Lettow] Lerner… You don’t have to scratch the surface of her argument very much to see that it is based upon the statistics of the American Tort Reform Association and the like. It’s essentially a Trojan horse for the Fortune 500. Shanin Specter Why don’t you describe this assault on the tort system by lobbyists who don’t want to argue their case in court— that’s too open, too full of cross-examination, too fair in terms of the procedures. They want to lobby lawmakers in states all over the country so the lawmakers, in effect, enact laws that tie the hands of juries and judges— the only people who actually see, hear, and evaluate the cases in the courtroom. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard 1. The FTC has issued a statement regarding the proposed merger between CalPortland & Martin Marietta. Chair Lina Khan tweeted that this deal “would’ve resulted in a single firm owning half of all cement plants serving Southern California, enabling the firm to hike prices.” Following an FTC investigation, the firms have abandoned the deal. 2. AP reports that Colorado has become the first state to pass “Right to Repair” legislation, which “compels manufacturers to provide the necessary manuals, tools, parts and software,” to “ensure farmers can fix their own tractors and combines.” This idea has drawn support from left and right factions including at the national level. In a similar move regarding home repairs, Senator John Fetterman is pushing to expand Pennsylvania’s "Whole Home Repair" program – which “helps Pennsylvanians with needed repairs and eliminate[s] blight” – to the nation. 3. Former U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has been ejected from Colombia after attempting to “gatecrash” a summit on the future of the Bolivarian republic, the Guardian reports. Guaidó has fallen out of favor among Venezuelan dissidents and, while some western nations still recognize him on paper as Venezuela’s president – despite never winning such an election – many have quietly reengaged with the Maduro government to negotiate for oil. The Guardian added that Mr. Guaidó has now relocated to Miami. 4. Slate reports that automakers are finally beginning to backpedal on digital displays in cars. David Zipper writes “The touch screen pullback is the result of consumer backlash, not the enactment of overdue regulations or an awakening of corporate responsibility. Many drivers want buttons, not screens, and they’ve given carmakers an earful about it. Auto executives have long brushed aside safety concerns about their complex displays—and all signs suggest they would have happily kept doing so. But their customers are revolting, which has forced them to pay attention.” Zipper goes on to pin the blame for the proliferation of these expensive and unpopular displays on one culprit: Elon Musk’s Tesla. 5. From the Tampa Bay Times: State legislators in Florida are...


Sports Talk!

On a relatively lighter note, we welcome national baseball writer for the New York Times, Tyler Kepner, to talk about issues in the sports world in general but more specifically about his latest book “The Grandest Stage: A History Of The World Series.” Also joining the conversation will be friend of the program, Ken Reed, policy director of League of Fans, whose book “How to Save Sports: A Game Plan” has been updated. Plus, Ralph pays tribute to the late activist and entertainer, Harry Belafonte and has some choice words for Bernie Sanders’ early endorsement of Joe Biden’s 2024 presidential campaign. Tyler Kepner is national baseball writer for the New York Times, where he has covered every World Series Game of the last two decades. He's not just a sports reporter, he's a sports historian. He is the author of K: A History Of Baseball In Ten Pitches, and The Grandest Stage: A History Of The World Series. Certainly, it’s the apex of the season— the thing that every fan ultimately looks forward to. The World Series as an event has had some challenges—certainly the Super Bowl has overtaken it in terms of eyeballs. But that’s just one game. The World Series is a weeklong event. It’s always fascinating to me the history behind it, the way it’s managed within the games, the way certain players respond to that spotlight, the way momentum can turn so quickly. Tyler Kepner, author of "The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series" Dr. Ken Reed is Sports Policy Director for the League of Fans and the author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan, Ego vs. Soul in Sports: Essays on Sport at Its Best and Worst, and The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place. Ken's writing has been highly praised by legendary sports writers Robert Lipsyte and Frank Deford, and he is a long-time sports marketing consultant, sports studies instructor, sports issues analyst, columnist, and author. Some people ask me “Why do you hate sports?” or “Why are you so angry about sports?” Ironically, I'm probably one of the most passionate people there are about sports. But I think if you love sports, you have to be angry at some of these issues that we’ve talked about. I always go back to a RFK quote that I love— “The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.” And I think that applies to me with sports, and that’s why we do what we do at League of Fans. Ken Reed policy director "League of Fans" Harry Belafonte was a great entertainer and a great social activist for justice, civil rights, and African Americans. He grew up in the Caribbean, and he never faltered. He never was co-opted. He never put ambition before his candid statements, again and again, on the violations on the civil rights of people who were powerless. Ralph Nader I think it was a strategic mistake. [Bernie Sanders] endorsed [Joe Biden] without any conditions. He didn’t get any commitments from Joe Biden for his endorsement. And because of his leadership role among progressive politicians, he’s undermined progressive legislators from holding out and pulling Biden and the corporate Democrats more into progressive territory. I was shocked. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis1. Who is behind the recent campaign to deregulate child labor? A new Washington Post report finds that a Florida based right-wing think tank called the Foundation for Government Accountability, and its lobbying arm the Opportunity Solutions Project, have been the prime movers behind the laws passed in Arkansas and Iowa, as well as efforts to do the same in Minnesota, Ohio, and Georgia. This campaign goes beyond the pale even for some traditional conservative groups. Randy Zook, president of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview that his state’s law was “a solution looking for a problem.” 2. From the Intercept: The war in Yemen appears to be winding down, as Saudi Arabia and the Iranian-backed...


Protecting Yourself

Ralph welcomes Samuel Levine who heads the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission to give you tips on how to use this government agency to protect yourself from corporate fraud and abuse. Plus, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, Dr. Michael Carome stops by to give us the latest warnings about harmful medical devices and his take on the safety of the mRNA Covid vaccine. Samuel Levine serves as Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Before assuming this role, he served as an attorney advisor to Commissioner Rohit Chopra and as a staff attorney in the Midwest Regional Office. Prior to joining the FTC, Mr. Levine worked for the Illinois Attorney General, where he prosecuted predatory for-profit colleges and participated in rulemaking and other policy initiatives to promote affordability and accountability in higher education. We announced what we call a “click to cancel” rule. And this is a rule about subscription plans. What the proposed rule says is that companies – vendors – should make it no more difficult to cancel a subscription than it is to sign up… It’s very easy for consumers to sign up for these services. We want to make it just as easy for consumers to exit these services. Samuel Levine Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC Earlier this year, we announced a market study sending subpoenas to major social media platforms to ask them what they’re doing to stop the huge proliferation of fraudulent ads over social media. We’re also doing a study now on the franchise relationship and the potential power asymmetries between franchisee and franchisers. We’re looking at the cloud computing market. We have a whole host of initiatives right now that are not geared around law enforcement but are geared around shining a light on often opaque industries to help shape public policy and eventually shape FTC law enforcement as well. Samuel Levine, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC Dr. Michael Carome is an expert on issues of drug and medical device safety, FDA oversight, and healthcare policy. He is the director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. In 2002, Congress passed for the first time what’s called the Medical Device User Fee Act… So, the companies now pay the FDA for the review and oversight of their products. Those user fees fundamentally changed the relationship between the FDA, the regulatory agency, and the medical device companies that are regulated by the agency. And that relationship which should be in part an adversarial relationship now is viewed as a partnership by both the agency and the medical device industry. The agency even in some of their documents refers to these companies as “partners,” as “customers.”… Customer satisfaction is key for the FDA and their customers in their eyes - rather than patients and the public - are the companies. Dr. Michael Carome, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group The FDA in our view had a very rigorous process for requiring the testing of those (Covid 19) vaccines… And we ourselves looked independently at the clinical trial data… We quickly concluded that independent of the FDA and any corporations that these vaccines were highly effective and very safe… Since then, there have been hundreds of millions of doses received by hundreds of millions of people across the world and they really have prevented serious complications and probably prevented millions of deaths with some very limited and rare adverse effects. Dr. Michael Carome, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group Squishing the federal cop on the corporate crime beat is a prime priority for lobbyists in Congress. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard w/ Francesco DeSantis 1. In Arlington, Amazon has halted construction of their much-vaunted second headquarters – or “HQ2” according to the Washington Post. Some may remember the race to the bottom in terms of corporate tax cuts and...


Falls Aren’t Funny

In a live Zoom event in conjunction with the American Museum of Tort Law, Ralph welcomes safety expert, Russell Kendzior, who runs the National Floor Safety Institute to discuss where, why, and how slip-and-falls happen, how to prevent them, the legitimacy of slip-and-fall lawsuits, and the role of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a phenomenon that for older adults every year causes over 36,000 deaths and $50 billion in medical costs. Russell Kendzior is the President of Traction Experts, Inc. and founder of the National Floor Safety Institute. Mr. Kendzior is internationally recognized as the leading expert in slip and fall accident prevention and has been retained in more than 1,000 slip, trip, and fall lawsuits. He hosts the podcast The Safety Matters Show, and he is the author of several books, including Falls Aren’t Funny: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Slip-And-Fall Crisis. This concept of simply testing to an internationally-recognized consensus standard and labeling the product is really what we’re asking the government to do. We’re not demanding any level of performance, but simply tell the consumer. Russell Kendzior You can participate in the public review process— the process whereby commissioners are asking members of the public for comments… It’s important that the people of our country have a voice, and that they be represented, and that the safety of these products that are contributing to six million hospital emergency room visits a year need to be better managed. Russell Kendzior We should emphasize that all these situations [involving slips, trips, and falls] in the court of law are under tort law… It's good to talk about them as torts, because people often don’t recognize how important tort law is to protect them, to help compensate them, to disclose to the larger audience the hazards for their own protection, and to engage in prevention. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis1. In a major blow to Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas House of Representatives voted 86-52 in favor of an amendment to bar state funds from being used for private school vouchers, according to KXAN. This was achieved through a coalition of Democrats and rural Republicans in the Lone Star State, per NBC. 2. The Washington Post reports that greater numbers of assisted-living facilities are rejecting Medicaid and evicting seniors from their homes. One particularly harrowing story involves Shirley Holtz, a 91 year old with mobility issues and dementia who was evicted from her hospice care because the facility decided to refuse Medicaid payments. 3. In a statement responding to the ProPublica report on undisclosed gifts received by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin stressed that “Supreme Court Justices must be held to an enforceable code of conduct, just like every other federal judge. The ProPublica report is a call to action, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.” However, the Judiciary Committee has been hamstrung by Democratic absences, particularly that of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has missed nearly 60 votes since February, according to The San Francisco Chronice. 4. Barak Ravid reports that the U.S. has blocked the release of a planned United Nations Security Council statement decrying the Israeli police raid at the al-Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, during Ramadan. 5. More Perfect Union has issued a statement saying “Months after 440 Planned Parenthood nurses and staff in five Midwest states voted to unionize, management has fired 2 members of the union’s bargaining team and issued ‘final written warnings’ to all 11 other bargaining team members threatening immediate termination.” 6. From Truthout, Rep. Pramila Jayapal has filed an official constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. A constitutional amendment is currently the only means available for reversing this catastrophic decision. 7....


War! What is It Good For?

We continue our indictment of the U.S. war machine by welcoming William Hartung of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft to break down the bloated military budget and what we can do about it. Then Cindy Sheehan, joins us to talk about her journey as the mother of a fallen soldier to become the most prominent anti-war activist of the Bush/Cheney era. Plus, Ralph comes down hard on states that deny their citizens Medicaid. William Hartung is an expert on the arms industry and US military budget, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, and the co-editor of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War. The Pentagon wants to get rid of some of these weapon system programs, and the Congress says “Oh no, we’re going to continue them because… it’s a jobs program. It creates jobs, or it retains jobs that are already in shipyards or elsewhere.” Of course, you can never get these members of Congress to understand that a billion dollars in civilian infrastructure investment in this country creates far more jobs than a highly capital-intensive billion dollars in another unneeded weapons system. Ralph Nader I think there’s three pillars…What are the costs of this—the opportunity costs?...What do we need to defend ourselves?...And then I think people need to feel like they can influence the government. I think a lot of people have given up. They forget that citizens’ movements have had tremendous victories in the past, and they can do so again. William Hartung Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Casey A. Sheehan, who was killed in action in Iraq on April 4, 2004. She is an anti-war activist, the founder of Gold Star Families, and an organizer of the 2018 Women’s March on the Pentagon. She is the author of Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Newsletter on Substack. I think that as long as you stay in the safe zone of only criticizing Republicans if you're a Democrat, or only criticizing Democrats if you're a Republican, then they give you a platform, they let you use your voice on this national stage. But once I recognized that the Democratic Party were, at that point, enablers of the Bush/Cheney war of terror around the world, and I left the party, then I started to be even more marginalized. And I lost so much support. Cindy Sheehan What gave me a little bit of hope was the county DA of New York indicting and arresting Donald Trump— for things I think were far less damaging and far less criminal than what the other living presidents like George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama did. I think that if the DA can prosecute Donald Trump for something less than mass murder or genocide, then maybe my DA in my county I live in can prosecute George Bush for murdering my son. Cindy Sheehan In Case You Haven’t Heard 1. CNN reports that seven investigators from the Centers for Disease Control fell ill “while studying the possible health impacts” of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. These investigators experienced sore throats, headaches, coughing and nausea, the same symptoms many residents have reported. In testimony before the Senate in March, Alan Shaw, CEO of Norfolk Southern, said “I believe that the air is safe. I believe that the water is safe.” 2. A contingent of left-wing youth at the recent protests in Israel burned their IDF enlistment orders. While this exceedingly courageous act garnered much attention on social media, the sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of Israeli youth are in fact more right-wing than older Israelis and far more right-wing than young people in most every other country. A 2021 poll written up by Haaretz, revealed that “nearly half of ultra-Orthodox and national religious Israeli youth expressed hatred toward Arabs and noted support for stripping them of their citizenship, a sentiment shared by 23 percent of secular youth.” 3. A new poll, published...


How The Financial Markets Abandoned Us

We are joined for the full hour by geopolitical financial expert and financial historian, Nomi Prins, to discuss her new book, “Permanent Distortion: How Financial Markets Abandoned the Real Economy Forever,” which highlights the huge gap between the high-flying stock market, versus back down here on earth, where average people struggle to make ends meet. Nomi Prins is an economist, author, geopolitical financial expert and financial historian. She is the author of several books, including Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, All the Presidents’ Bankers, Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America, and It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street. Her latest book is Permanent Distortion: How Financial Markets Abandoned the Real Economy Forever. The idea of “Permanent Distortion” is that when the financial system needs it, it gets the money. And lot of it. And in an uncapped way. And in an unregulated way. And in a non-transparent way. When the real economy needs it, it’s years of debate. Nomi Prins There’s no such thing as, “This bailout didn’t cost taxpayers money.” Because…money that goes into the banking system does not go into the real economy. Which means there is a shortfall in the real economy. Which means that money cannot be reallocated into the real economy. Whether that is to build bridges, or hospitals, or to enhance our education system, or help workers. Because it’s going somewhere else. Nomi Prins There are people that will say, “Well, SVB (the failure of Silicon Valley Bank) has nothing to do with Glass-Steagall,” and that’s just simply wrong. Any over-leverage in the banking system that can take down the rest of the banking system— or that can create that sort of lack of confidence, instability, creation of money to save it that doesn’t go into the real economy— is a part of that problem. Nomi Prins There’s a huge propaganda machine. And it’s interesting that the destabilization of the real economy comes so frequently from the speculation of the paper economy. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard 1. In Israel, the planned judicial reform law has sparked nothing less than a popular uprising, with Haaretz reporting that as many as half a million protesters have taken to the streets. Prime Minister Netanyahu is wheeling and dealing like mad to cling to power. Barak Ravid reports that Netanyahu sacked the Minister of Defense after he called for suspending the judicial reform push. Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of perhaps the most extreme party in the right-wing coalition government, has threatened to quit the coalition if the judicial overhaul is delayed – but may have been appeased by a promise from Netanyahu to make the National Guard answerable directly to Ben-Gvir, per the Jerusalem Post. Axios reports that Jewish Democrats in Congress met with the Israeli Ambassador and warned him that if the bill is pushed through, it will be harder for them “to talk about Israel the same way they used to.” 2. A new paper published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review – by David Arkush of Public Citizen and Donald Braman of the George Washington University Law School – posits whether fossil fuel companies should be charged with homicide. The authors argue these corporations “have not simply been lying to the public, they have been killing members of the public at an accelerating rate, and prosecutors should bring that crime to the public’s attention.” 3. In the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation that would bar big bank executives from serving on Federal Reserve Boards. Chairman Sanders said “The Fed has got to become a more democratic institution that is responsive to the needs of working people and the middle class.” 4. The Huffington Post reports that Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill to “Condemn Anti-Muslim Hate.”...


Spank the Banks

Ralph welcomes economist, attorney, and investigative journalist, James Henry for his expert take on what is going on in the banking system and what we can do to keep it from blowing up. And Professor and former Nader’s Raider, Alison Dundes Renteln, takes on the commercialization of our universities in her book “The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education.” James Henry is a leading economist, attorney, consultant, and investigative journalist, who has written and spoken widely on the problems of tax justice and development finance. He is a lecturer and Global Justice Fellow at Yale University. The first thing we learn from the history of banking crises in the United States is that banks are really the Achilles heel of capitalism. This keeps happening. And we got used to a period when banking crises— we thought— had been taken care of, that we could just assume that someone in the Fed, or in the US Treasury, or regulators at the global level would understand all this stuff and they would reform the system. James Henry Alison Dundes Renteln is a Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at the University of Southern California where she teaches Law and Public Policy with an emphasis on international law and human rights. She is co-editor, with Wanda Teays, of The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education. We really should be thinking about how to make universities a place for learning, and the production of knowledge, and making the world a better place. And the book is really an attempt to argue for reimagining universities so we return to the mission of universities, which is not to promote future corporate leaders… but to produce people who will contribute in many different ways in society. Alison Dundes Renteln It’s really quite remarkable that in an institution that’s supposed to be devoted to democratic deliberation, intellectual life, justice, opportunity broadly defined, that the decisions are made by the administrators and the board of trustees— largely in secret. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard1. For the first time ever, a new Gallup poll shows that Democrats sympathize more with Palestinians than Israelis, by a margin of 48% to 39%. This represents an 11 point shift in attitudes since just last year. Republicans still sympathize far more with Israelis, by a margin of 78 to 11 per cent. 2. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, sent a letter to the Pentagon last week urging them to cease testing pulse radiation on animals in connection with the “Havana Syndrome” hoax. In 2020, PETA criticized the Army for reversing a previous ban on weapons testing on dogs, cats, marine animals and nonhuman primates and last year accused the Army of hiding such weapons tests after the service rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to the experiments, POLITICO reports. 3. The Texas Education Agency has announced a takeover of the Houston school district. The elected school board will be replaced by state-appointed managers, who will wield tremendous power. Houston Public Media reports that “they can control the budget, school closures, collaborations with charter networks, policies around curriculum and library books, as well as hiring or firing the superintendent.” 4. At a recent town hall, Rep. Pramila Jayapal was asked by an activist from Seattle for Assange whether she thought it was time to free Mr. Assange. She responded with a simple “yes” and invited the activist to continue the conversation. Rep. Jayapal chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. 5. A wild story in Creative Loafing Tampa covers “How a Florida city targets unwanted residents using police and code enforcement.” The story follows a Jewish woman who moved to Florida from New York. “Last March, the cops broke into her home when she wasn’t there to inspect alleged code violations, using an illegal search warrant. Body camera video...revealed them making jokes about Anne...


Iraq War: Twenty Years Later

In a lively and insightful roundtable discussion, Ralph hosts former Marine company commander, Matthew Hoh, who when not deployed also worked in the Pentagon and the State Department and independent and unembedded Iraq war correspondent, Dahr Jamail. They mark the twentieth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and discuss the consequences of that misbegotten and illegal war. Plus, we hear a clip from Ralph’s and Patti Smith’s antiwar concert tour conducted in 2005. Dahr Jamail is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, as well as The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. He is co-editor (with Stan Rushworth) of We Are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth. It’s hard to even articulate the level of suffering (in Iraq). And this is the country that exists today, that I got to leave, the military got to leave— at least for the most part. But the Iraqi people can’t leave. And this is what they have to live with today. Dahr Jamail Matthew Hoh is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy. Mr. Hoh took part in the American occupation of Iraq, first with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then as a Marine Corps company commander. When not deployed, he worked on Afghanistan and Iraq war policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department. In 2009, he resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan with the State Department over the American escalation of the war. This consistent line of violence directed against the Iraqi people to achieve American political aims had been established for decades. And I went into it thinking that somehow we were different… “If I go into this war, I can affect the people around me because I am going to be good and I am going to be moral and I am not going to do bad things.” And that’s a complete fallacy. That’s an incredible mistake. Matthew Hoh We have to go into this history because it’s going to happen again and again and again. The warmongers are active again on the Ukraine War now. More and more, we’re moving toward a conflict with Russia...Who knows what will happen, because there’s no break on our government. It’s as if it was a dictatorship when it comes to foreign policy. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard1. From Jewish Currents: Last May, amid rising antisemitic attacks by the far-right, Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt announced that the organization would devote more energy to combating anti-Zionism and described Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as “extremist” and the “photo inverse of the extreme right.” Within the group, staffers dissented to this rhetoric. Greenblatt called a special meeting over Zoom to address this dissent, ending by stating “[if] you...can’t square the fact that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, then maybe this isn’t the place for you.” 2. The Congressional Workers Union continues along its long road. The union reports 100% of staffers for Senator Ed Markey voted to unionize; once recognized, this will be the first ever unionized Senate office. Additionally, while the Republican majority in the House has sought to arrest unionization efforts, a new report from Demand Progress’ Kevin Mulshine (a former counsel at the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights) contends that they can continue their efforts under the Congressional Accountability Act. 5. In Georgia, judges denied bail to 22 of 23 citizens engaged in peaceful protest against the Cop City project. These protesters are charged with “domestic terrorism,” according to NPR. Many prominent civil liberties organizations signed a letter objecting to this decision, including Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, Palestine Legal, the American Friends Service...


Indigenous Voices on Turtle Island

In a jam-packed program full of abundant insight, Ralph first welcomes back Dahr Jamail to discuss his work “We Are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth” about what we can learn from indigenous people who have survived incredible disruptions to the climate to their families and to their way of life. Then Karen Friedman from the Pension Rights Center gives us an update on how they are fighting to save our hard-earned money. And finally, Cal Berkeley grad students, Sandra Oseguera and Jesus Gutierrez explain the university’s “inverted priorities” as it spends millions of dollars on football coaches’ salaries and real estate while shutting down campus libraries. Dahr Jamail is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, as well as The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. He is co-editor (with Stan Rushworth) of We Are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth. One of the themes of the book is the difference between the Western settler-colonialist mindset of: What are my rights? I have my rights. Versus a more Indigenous perspective that we came across time and again in the book of: We have two primary obligations that we are born into. One is the obligation to serve and be a good steward of the planet. The other obligation is to serve future generations of all species. So, if I focus on my obligations, it’s very very clear that I have plenty of work to do in service to those. If I focus only on my rights, I’m going to be chronically frustrated. Dahr Jamail, editor of We Are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth Karen Friedman is the Executive Director of the Pension Rights Center. She develops solutions and implements strategies to protect and promote the rights of consumers, and for more than 20 years has represented their interests in the media and before congressional committees. Social Security is the strongest system we have. While opponents of Social Security have tried to undermine confidence in its future, the truth is that Social Security is one of the most universal, efficient, secure, and fair sources of retirement income…It’s not going broke, folks. It's a great system. That’s all propaganda, meant to scare the bejesus out of you. Karen Friedman Sandra Oseguera and Jesús Gutierrez are graduate students in the Anthropology department at The University of California, Berkeley. Last month, campus administration announced their plan to close the Anthropology Library, one of only three dedicated Anthropology libraries in the US. In response, stakeholders including students and faculty have organized to demand that the Anthropology Library be protected and fully supported by the University. [Fighting to save the library] has been a wonderful experience of community and collaboration among many stakeholders. However, we the grad students see ourselves as the keepers and also the main users of [the Anthropology Library’s] collection because all of our research really relies on the resources that are there. Sandra Oseguera The library is a really valuable space. It’s not only a space for simply going in and accessing a book. It’s also a space of encounter. The kind of thing that the University is trying to destroy is essentially this possibility for having a happenstance run-in with a book that you may not necessarily have intended to type into the catalog system or with a person who you may not otherwise run into. Jesús Gutierrez The situation at Berkeley has become grotesquely inverted, in terms of the University. They have millions for football and other sports and paying coaches huge salaries. They have millions for administrative officials. But they want to shut down one of the great Anthropology libraries in the Western World. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard1. The Philadelphia...


Failing (Red)States

Ralph welcomes William Kleinknecht, author of “States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America” about how red state governors and legislatures fight culture wars while starving education and health care, empowering polluters, engaging in voter suppression, and neglecting their citizens’ well-being in the interest of cutting taxes for their wealthy donors. Plus, Oliver Hall, founder of the Center for Competitive Democracy tells us all about how ordinary people can use an extremely underused legal forum, Small Claims Court. William Kleinknecht is a longtime newspaper reporter who covered politics, government, criminal justice, and the environment for the Detroit Free Press, New York Daily News, and Newark Star-Ledger. He is the author of The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America and States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America. I wrote the book because when national news organizations talk about the red states, the focus is always on hot-button issues like abortion, immigration, election subversion, and even Critical Race Theory. And that’s by the design of the Republicans who run those states— that’s what they want people to be talking about because that fires up their base. What has gotten very little attention is just how damaging Republican leadership in those states has been for a longer period of time and across a much broader range of issues. William Kleinknecht, author of States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America I found that when I went to where the poorest people were— and the people who were suffering from environmental degradation or poor healthcare— I think they got it. I think it’s a different segment of their population that is the MAGA Republicans. And I didn't spend as much time around them because I was looking for where the damage was. William Kleinknecht, author of States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America Oliver Hall is a public interest attorney in Washington, DC. He is founder of and legal counsel to the Center for Competitive Democracy, which aims to strengthen American democracy by increasing electoral competition. The fact is, in our increasingly corporatized world where transactions are automated, contracts are one-sided (contracts that corporations create with so much fine print you couldn’t possibly read it all, and ostensibly require you to sign away your rights), I think people get intimidated. Or they assume that they don’t have the right to pursue a claim in small claims court. And the fact is they do have that right. It can be done. And there's no reason more people shouldn’t do it, especially given the level and pervasiveness of corporate abuses, just in terms of everyday normal transactions that we all engage in. Oliver Hall on Small Claims Court I’ve been listening to Elon Musk speak out against government subsidies of corporations over the months— and talking about himself as a great capitalist entrepreneur— when, in reality, he takes all kinds of corporate welfare… Anytime he opens up a plant or starts a company like Starlink, he demands all kinds of subsidies, handouts, giveaways, grants, and especially a tax referral or tax holidays or tax breaks. Ralph Nader on his Twitter exchange with Elon Musk In Case You Haven’t Heard: 1. Former Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who opposed COVID aid, admitted that he retired due to complications from long COVID. He suggested that many other members of Congress are also struggling with long COVID but have kept that fact hidden from the public. Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/republican-senator-opposed-covid-aid-retired-due-long-covid-2023-2 2. The Jewish Federations of North America, which represents nearly 150 Jewish federations, penned a letter calling on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to drop the...


Seymour Hersh on Nordstream

Legendary investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, tells us all about the story he broke that describes in great detail how the U.S. blew up the Nordstream pipelines in a covert “act of war” against Russia. Plus, Mickey Huff, of Project Censored joins us to speak to Ralph about the state of the so-called “free press.” Seymour Hersh is the pre-eminent investigative journalist of our time. He has won five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting. In 1970, Mr. Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War. In 2004, Mr. Hersh exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in a series of pieces in The New Yorker. Among his many books are The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, The Dark Side of Camelot, The Samson Option, The Killing of Osama Bin Laden, and his latest, a memoir of his storied, decades-long career, entitled simply Reporter. The pipeline industry all know that Russia didn’t [sabotage the Nord Stream pipeline]. Everybody knows they did not do it. There might have been some vagueness about who. But they were pretty sure all along who. Because who else threatened to do it, but the President and his Under Secretary Victoria Nuland? They’re the two that went public with it— much to the dismay of the people actually doing the covert operation. Seymour Hersh We always saw the Russians’ great abundance of gas and the Russian delivery of gas to Europe—from Jack Kennedy in 1962— we saw it as weaponizing gas. Seymour Hersh It’s a famous notion that the CIA and all those secret groups, they don’t work for the Constitution. They work for the Crown. They work for the President. Seymour Hersh Mickey Huff is the director of Project Censored and the founder and host of The Project Censored Show, a weekly syndicated public affairs program. He is professor of social science, history, and journalism at Diablo Valley College. He has authored and edited several books including ​​United States of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post-Truth America (and what we can do about it), Let’s Agree to Disagree, The Media and Me: A Guide to Critical Media Literacy for Young People, and Project Censored’s State of the Free Press 2023: The News That Didn’t Make the News—And Why. [The Norfolk Southern crash] is a bipartisan disaster. It’s a direct example of what happens with regulatory capture. And it shows, once again, the gross failure of the corporate media— they’ll cover balloons, and the Super Bowl, and a bunch of other distractions, instead of things that really matter to working class Americans. Mickey Huff, co-editor of State of the Free Press 2023: The News That Didn’t Make the News—And Why You’re not allowed to ask the tough questions, Ralph. And anybody who’s been in the press pool long enough knows that. They don’t have to be told that. The censorship doesn’t have to be directly from the government, or even from the corporate owners. Reporters know that if they ask questions that don’t get answered too often, and get overlooked, they’re going to get yanked. They’re going to get called back to the office. They might end up losing their jobs because they don’t have copy and they don’t have stories. Mickey Huff, co-editor of State of the Free Press 2023: The News That Didn’t Make the News—And Why Encourage members of the press not to forget [the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq on March 19th]. That was a massive war crime— over a million innocent Iraqis died, the country destroyed, falling apart to this day— and Bush and Cheney are luxuriating in the US without any accountability whatsoever. There’s a lot of talk now on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But very little talk about the US and its sociocide destruction of the Iraqi people. And I think that illustrates how important it is to ask questions on subjects...


George W. Bush & His Torturers

Ralph welcomes old friend, Judge Andrew Napolitano, to talk about why the U.S. government offered a plea deal to the supposed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others. He asks, “Why would the government agree to such a plea for the persons it claims are the monsters who murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11?... What does the government fear?” Plus, Ralph gives us his take on the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. And then on a lighter note, we talk about the Super Bowl. Judge Andrew Napolitano is a former Superior Court Judge, a syndicated columnist, and host of the Judging Freedom podcast. Judge Napolitano has taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at Delaware Law School and Seton Hall Law School, and he was Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst from 1997 to 2021. He is the author of several books on the U.S. Constitution, the most recent entitled Freedom’s Anchor: An Introduction to Natural Law Jurisprudence in American Constitutional History. “I would try (Bush & Cheney) for war crimes for which there is no statute of limitations… the war crimes are well-known. The war crimes are leading us into war under false pretenses; intentionally targeting civilians in the Middle East; authorizing torture and purporting to protect it against state law if done in the U.S. and international law. These are all well-known war crimes for which the penalty is life in prison. They can also be execution… There is still an E.U.-wide arrest warrant live out there issued by Spanish authorities for the arrest of George W. Bush, because of the war crimes I have just summarized.” Judge Andrew Napolitano “George W. Bush, arguably the worst president in the post-World War II era for bringing us into two totally useless and very costly wars – Afghanistan and Iraq – which cost us in excess of two trillion dollars, which had over 850 thousand people killed – only five thousand were Americans – which destroyed the moral order in that part of the world for a full generation also instituted a regime of torture. I believe, Ralph, as do many of us who follow this – we haven’t seen it in writing – that Bush somehow pardoned or granted immunity to the torturers, because the torture was so vast and so extensive, and no one has been prosecuted for it. Obama and Holder who said loudly that they were against torture had every opportunity to do it. And they knew the names of the torturers, but it just didn’t happen.” Judge Andrew Napolitano “I do believe that Rupert Murdoch called up Donald Trump and said to him, to Murdoch’s credit - to his face, although it was on the phone – ‘you are just not institutionally, constitutionally, or temperamentally, or intellectually qualified to be the president of the United States and we will not support you.’” Judge Andrew Napolitano This is super Sparta on steroids—the aggressiveness, the lack of diplomacy, the lack of waging peace by the US government. It’s like they’ve mothballed the charter of the State Department, which was diplomacy. They’ve turned it into a bellicose agency, sometimes much worse than the spokespeople for the Defense Department. Ralph Nader Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe


What’s Killing Our Health?

Ralph welcomes Dr. Nason Maani, co-editor of “The Commercial Determinants of Health,” to explore the larger forces, forces beyond the power of an individual to control, that shape our environment and therefore our health. Then Chris Hedges stops by to discuss his latest article, “Woke Imperialism” which highlights the tension between class politics and identity politics. Plus, Ralph gives us a short take on President Biden’s State of the Union address. Dr. Nason Maani is a lecturer in Inequalities and Global Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh. He is also the host of Money Power Health, a podcast on how our health is influenced by commercial forces, wealth, and power. He is co-editor of the new book The Commercial Determinants of Health. These are forces that science should bear witness to. The same way we bear witness to physical forces like gravity, we should be able to bear witness to commercial forces and describe the ways in which they influence the world. Dr. Nason Maani, co-editor of The Commercial Determinants of Health Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He is the host of The Chris Hedges Report, and he is a prolific author— his latest book is The Greatest Evil Is War. These people are selected to essentially provide an appealing face to a system that carries out tremendous cruelty and imparts tremendous suffering on the very people these women or people of color claim to represent. So, they’re not actually serving their communities. They’re serving the system. Chris Hedges on "Woke Imperialism" I have a little suggestion for listeners: next time you meet someone, instead of saying, “How are you?” why don’t you ask, “How’s your civic life?” Ralph Nader Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe


Workplace Surveillance

Ralph welcomes professor Karen Levy, who talks to us about how regulations aimed at making trucking safer have been turned into a tool of corporate surveillance as chronicled in her book “Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance.” And on the opposite side of the tech spectrum, high school senior, Logan Lane joins to tell us how she and her friends have liberated themselves from their iPhones and social media by forming a group they call “The Luddite Club.” Karen Levy is an associate professor in the Department of Information Science at Cornell University, associate member of the faculty at Cornell Law School, and field faculty in Sociology, Science and Technology Studies, Media Studies, and Data Science. Her new book is Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance. I think we’re actually all aligned in our interests. Truckers don’t want to die on the road any more than the rest of us do. So, if safety is really the motivation for the electronic logging device, it feels as though we might all be able to get behind legislation and regulation that helps address the root causes of this fatigue. Karen Levy, author of Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance Logan Lane is a high school senior in Brooklyn and the founder of the Luddite Club. It felt like when I became a Luddite, I started off on this reading journey. We’re all on our individual reading journeys. I saw mine starting with Anaïs Nin’s Collages, and it was amazing, and it was something I didn’t think I could have interacted with so much and been so passionate about if I had been on the phone. And from then onwards I started doing this reading challenge. Every year I would set a goal— so my first year I read 50 books, the second year 95 books… It felt like the friends I’d lost on social media; I’d picked up those friends in the authors I was reading. Logan Lane Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe


Confronting Climate Denial

Ralph welcomes James Damico and Mark Baildon, authors of “How to Confront Denial: Literacy, Social Studies, and Climate Change.” They discuss all forms of denial including climate science denial and climate action denial. Then, Ralph, Steve, David, and Hannah discuss three topics in the news, mass shootings, the war in Ukraine, and the outrage of pharmaceutical companies raising the prices of taxpayer funded Covid vaccines. James Damico is a professor of literacy, culture, and language education at Indiana University Bloomington and a former elementary and middle school teacher from New Jersey. He is co-author of How to Confront Climate Denial: Literacy, Social Studies, and Climate Change. There tends to be a lot of emphasis on “personal responsibility” for climate change. And I think we need a lot more nuance about how we talk about personal responsibility, but we want to start with an industry lens. Because that’s the kind of inquiry we think will be most productive in social studies and university classrooms. James Damico Mark Baildon is an associate professor in foundations of education at the United Arab Emirates University and a former middle and high school social studies teacher in schools around the world (United States, Israel, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan). He is co-author of How to Confront Climate Denial: Literacy, Social Studies, and Climate Change. Social Studies is a pretty crowded field. But if we use climate as a connecting point, it’s an opportunity to talk about environmental racism, to look at the most vulnerable populations in societies and how they’re being affected by climate change. Mark Baildon We should never forget that many of these industries would never be in existence— much less the size they are— without government research and development funds. And that means your taxpayer money. And the industries include the aerospace industry, the biotech industry, the computer industry, the nanotech industry, the containerization industry. You name it, one industry after another was given a huge birth give by the taxpayer from Washington, D.C. Ralph Nader Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe


Eyewitness to January 6th

January 6th has become one of those days like September 11th where you need to say no more than the date for people to know what you’re talking about. Ralph welcomes New York Times congressional reporter, Luke Broadwater, who was in the Senate chamber when the rioters breached the building and has not only been covering the January 6th hearings but wrote the introduction to the NY Times version of the final report. Luke Broadwater is a congressional reporter in the Washington bureau of the New York Times. He played a key role in the paper's coverage of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, for which the Times was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His work is featured in the Twelve Books edition of The January 6 Report: Findings from the Select Committee to Investigate the Attack on the U.S. Capitol with Reporting, Analysis and Visuals by The New York Times. Congress is a place that, for better or worse, prides itself as its own island of niceties. You’re not supposed to criticize another member by name on the floor, and you're supposed to pretend that you’re all colleagues and there’s a level of respect between people. And it was seen on the Hill as very aggressive that they even issued a subpoena. Luke Broadwater Bruce Fein is a Constitutional scholar and an expert on international law. Mr. Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan and he is the author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire: Before the Fall. In the Watergate situation, we had the star witnesses who appeared in person… That was vivid. The American people were riveted. There were no star witnesses who were shown in the January 6th hearings. These were all second- or third-tier people. Even someone like Pat Cipollone was interviewed in private, not in public. And that’s why I think the impact was so much less than in Watergate— you’re never going to get a public to oppose a president based upon paper documents, and not flesh-and-blood where the public can make their own evaluation of credibility. Bruce Fein The civic community that used to get a lot of media in the ‘60s and ‘70s and connected with members of Congress and changed the consumer, worker, and environmental framework of legislation in those golden years is no more. And civic community’s shut out like beyond my wildest nightmares. Ralph Nader The letter from a listener concerning Apple’s privacy policy that Ralph referred to in the program as a sterling example of constructive correction… of him: Hello RNRH Team, I am a loyal listener, active Congress Club member and grateful for the important work you do. Thank you for all that your team invests in creating your show and, Ralph, for your decades of service and tireless efforts to hold our elected officials accountable so that our government will actually serve the People. Your work is important, and I am grateful for all you do. I do my best to keep an open mind when listening and very rarely question any of the perspectives that you and your team share during your show. Nevertheless, I believe that fairness and accuracy is critical for trusted sources of information like your show. In the recent Big Tech Spying episode of your Podcast you make this statement: “That's what Apple and Google are deliberately doing; they’re making it difficult…" I believe that Google and Apple approach this issue quite differently, but this was not communicated in the episode - instead, the companies were lumped together as though their work in this space is the same or very similar, which I believe was not accurate and, therefore, concerning. Disclosure: I’ve worked at Apple for 15 years - mostly in our Retail locations though I’ve supported Recruiting for the past 5 years - and I’ve done my best to mitigate my biases as I listened and now drafted this message. I am not an executive earning ridiculous salary and stock options, so this is not an effort to...