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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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United States

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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

Language:

English


Episodes

Labor for a Ceasefire/ Trump's Cult of Personality

2/17/2024
Ralph is joined by labor activist Gene Bruskin to discuss how labor leaders are joining with Progressive lawmakers to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, and the true meaning of solidarity. Then Ralph welcomes Rick Perlstein— historian, chronicler of American conservativism, and author of Nixonland—to explain Donald Trump's iron grip on the Republican Party. Gene Bruskin is a veteran of the labor movement as a local union president, organizer, and campaign coordinator for numerous local and national unions. He has done extensive international labor solidarity work, including with Iraqi workers and unions, and is a founder of US Labor Against the War. He is also a member of the National Labor Network for a Ceasefire. Never in the 140 year history of the labor movement—starting with the A.F.L. formation in 1885—has there been such a broad-scale resistance to U.S. government policy in the middle of a conflict like this. It's just never happened before. Gene Bruskin The labor movement has to understand that there's a lot of contradictions in the Democratic Party and we cannot allow the party to define our interests. And on foreign policy, the idea has been long time proposed in the labor movement that our national interests require us to do “this” kind of foreign policy or “this” war… But really what we did in our organization U.S. Labor Against the War during the Iraq War—where we actually built real solidarity with Iraqi workers and brought them all over the country here—was we said the national interest of the corporations is not the same as the national interest of the average worker. Gene Bruskin Someday we will see that when unions endorse Democratic presidents, they make demands in return. They should not have simply endorsed Biden—as the U.A.W. did, and others—without demanding a public commitment. Ralph Nader Rick Perlstein is a historian and chronicler of American conservativism. He is the author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, and Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980. These feelings of dispossession, of vulnerability, of weakness really get at the darkest and most easily-manipulated parts of the human mind that are based on the most primal fears. Stuff like fears of snakes, fear of cockroaches, fear of dark things that go bump in the night. And those are there in our brains, they're in the lowest parts of our brains. And what the Republican Party has been doing for decades… is they're exploiting that animal part of the brain in order to aggrandize their own power. And it's really, really scary. And one of the things that makes it, again, so scary is it is precisely not amenable to rational persuasion. Rick Perlstein The Democratic Party is not the kind of party that says, “Wow, we can use this and sustain these things that we were able to put in during an emergency to shore up our power forever.” Instead, as soon as they had the chance, they took them away. Rick Perlstein In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis News 2/14/24 1. On Monday, the Senate voted through a mammoth $95 billion foreign aid package furnishing American assistance to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. Beyond arming Israel however, this bill also bans funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, one of the key agencies providing relief to Palestinians in Gaza – even as starvation in Gaza deepens to lethal levels – and removes previous requirements that the president inform Congress of additional weapons transfers to Israel. Voting against the bill, Senator Merkley of Oregon said “The campaign conducted by the Netanyahu government is at odds with our American values & American law…I cannot vote to send more bombs & shells to Israel when they are using them in an indiscriminate manner against Palestinian civilians.” In another speech, Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said “Kids in Gaza are now dying...

Duration:01:21:06

Slanted Opinions on Gaza/One Family’s Tragedy

2/10/2024
Ralph welcomes Janine Jackson, of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) and producer and host of FAIR’s syndicated weekly radio show “CounterSpin” to give us her take on the corporate media landscape and in particular how the major outlets are opining on the crisis in Gaza. Then, Palestinian American, Dr. Tariq Haddad, cardiologist and member of the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights joins us to recount the tragic story of how he has lost nearly one hundred family members in the current Israeli bombardment. Janine Jackson is the program director of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) and she is the producer and host of FAIR’s syndicated weekly radio show CounterSpin. Ms. Jackson contributes frequently to FAIR’s newsletter Extra!, her articles have appeared in various publications, including In These Times and the UAW’s Solidarity, and in books including Civil Rights Since 1787 and Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism. What I like to say is: we hear a lot from the people we hear a lot from. The conversation becomes kind of insular, and it's very much a pro-U.S. and whatever the U.S. is doing position, with some criticism around the edges. But the point is, you're not hearing from the people who are recipients/victims of U.S. policy. You're hearing overwhelmingly from the people who make that policy. Janine Jackson If you just read the New York Times and the Washington Post, the U.S. is the world. We're the only good country in the world. Anything we do is democracy. Anybody we bomb, we're bombing in service to democracy. And you're just supposed to keep swallowing that. And I feel that elite news media don't understand that people are not buying it. We're not buying it anymore. Janine Jackson What [Dr. Tariq Haddad] relates is not going to be easy to take for our listeners, but bear with us, listeners. We have to face up to it because it's your tax dollars, it's your US weapons… and cover—diplomatic and political—that is what Netanyahu wants and gets. The rest is just deceptive rhetoric. Ralph Nader Dr. Tariq Haddad is a cardiologist and member of the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights— a broadly based, growing coalition of 19 organizations, with over 10,000 Virginians from diverse backgrounds, who advocate for Palestinian human rights. Dr. Haddad grew up in Gaza. For the last four months, my routine has been basically every morning finding out who's died, who's survived, who's suffering, who needs help, and it's been a constant daily thing starting from October. Dr. Tariq Haddad I couldn't bring myself as a human being—forget as a physician—couldn't bring myself to meet with somebody (Secretary of State, Antony Blinken) for a photo op as a grandstanding opportunity, knowing full well what this administration has done to cause suffering and death in my family. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. And I just—especially given three minutes. How am I, in three minutes, going to describe everything that's happened to my family and all my fellow Palestinians in Gaza? Dr. Tariq Haddad In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis News 2/7/24 1. Eminent scholar Professor William Youmans, working with the Arab Center Washington DC, has published a study examining media bias on Gaza in the context of Sunday talk shows – including NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’ Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week and Fox News Sunday. This study found significant “patterns of bias in guest booking, in the range of views expressed by guests, and in the framing of issues,” signifying “an abandonment of the ideal that news media’s purpose is to scrutinize government policies and the actions of those in power and to inform the public so it can forge independent opinions.” 2. A groundbreaking report from the Lever has revealed many of AIPAC’s top donors, including such shady characters as Leonid Ravinsky, the billionaire behind the amateur pornography site OnlyFans, and Leslie Wexner, former CEO of...

Duration:01:21:18

Mad as Hell

2/3/2024
Ralph welcomes Eva Borgwardt from the grassroots Jewish-American organization IfNotNow to bust the myth that Palestinian rights and Jewish safety are mutually exclusive. Then, Ralph is joined by CPA and corporate accountability advocate Dr. Ralph Estes to discuss his book “Fight the Corpocracy, Take Back Democracy: A Mad As Hell Guide for the 99%." Eva Borgwardt is the national spokesperson for IfNotNow, a grassroots Jewish-American organization that is dedicated to ending U.S. support for Israel's apartheid system and demanding equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis. It's terrifying for Jews, for Muslims, for any marginalized community in the US—so many people would be vulnerable and under existential threat under a Trump presidency. And so I'm very clear-eyed about that. And I'm furious with President Biden, who seems to be willing to risk that scenario by insisting on sending unconditional aid and unconditional diplomatic support for this assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza led by Netanyahu's rightwing government. Eva Borgwardt There's a key concept that's happening—especially among young people—which is that you can't manufacture consent with a population that has social media and direct access to what Palestinians are experiencing…And the immediacy of that horrific situation is very, very clear for a much wider swath of the American public than has had access to that type of information before. Eva Borgwardt Investors do not create corporations, they finance them. All corporations are created by the state. And that's often missed by the public in the description of private enterprise. It's viewed like it's sui generis—someone figures out a thing to produce or a service and goes around raising capital and starts a corporation. And what Ralph Estes is saying is the essence of the corporation—the reason why it's allowed to have limited liability for its shareholders, the reason why it has so many privileges and immunities—is because it was originally supposed to fulfill public purposes. Ralph Nader Dr. Ralph Estes is Emeritus professor of business and accounting at American University in Washington, D.C., organizer of the Stakeholder Alliance, co-founder and vice president of The Center for Advancement of Public Policy, and Emeritus Trustee at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is the author of several books, including Tyranny of the Bottom Line: Why Corporations Make Good People Do Bad Things and Fight the Corpocracy, Take Back Democracy: A Mad As Hell Guide for the 99%. When I was in accounting, I learned one thing…Your goodwill, your persuasion, your humanness—these things, they've all got the lip service for it, they've got the words, but it doesn't cause action. I discovered what causes action is embarrassment. Corporate executives do not want to be embarrassed. Dr. Ralph Estes Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe

Duration:01:17:22

Grassroots Groups for Gaza

1/27/2024
Ralph welcomes leaders from two grassroots groups advocating against the war on Gaza. First, from Tel Aviv, we are joined by Ido Setter of “Standing Together” a movement aimed at mobilizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, and social and climate justice. Then, here in America, Stefanie Fox, executive director of Jewish Voice For Peace, reports on their work taking action in Congress, on the streets, and in the press to stop the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Ido Setter works on Standing Together's digital mobilization team. Standing Together is a grassroots movement mobilizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, and social and climate justice. For the last two decades, the Israeli government and Israel as a state didn't offer any kind of hope for the Palestinian. There wasn't another serious peace process, no serious talks, and basically the Israeli government said to Palestinians, “Listen, this is how things are going to be. Deal with it.” And when you don't offer any hope, people will go to extreme places. So what happened on October 7th was, of course, a strategic collapse. But it was also an accumulation of the past two decades, where Israel didn't think that moving forward with a peace treaty or some kind of a peace agreement with the Palestinian people was an imperative. Ido Setter Nothing stays on one side of the border. Everything that happens on the Palestinian side of the border eventually comes back to the Israeli side of the border… We need to stop right now what's happening at the current moment in Gaza, have compassion, and move in the opposite direction that Benjamin Netanyahu and his hawkish government is trying to lead us. Ido Setter Stefanie Fox is Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, which is one of the largest Jewish anti-Zionist organizations in the world. There is a large and growing community of faith leaders, of rabbis, of synagogues, of many, many Jews who are working to build a Judaism liberated from Zionism. And so there's probably 10 synagogues across the country that are anti- or non-Zionist. There are dozens of independent spiritual communities we call Chavurot that are connected (or not) to Jewish Voice for Peace. There's a burgeoning and growing movement to fight for the soul of Judaism, to fight for the future of our communities. And we have millennia of Jewish tradition—that predate the founding of the state of Israel and the movement of political Zionism—to lean on and to extend into a future where we are not bound up and made complicit in support for a genocidal ethno-state. Stefanie Fox The term ‘semite’ comes out of 19th century scientific racism. It's not really something in any moment in history that anybody has actually used to describe themselves. It's only a racist term. And so, the term ‘antisemitism’ does refer to the bigotry and discrimination that emerged out of that racist classification system. And at its root it comes from the same white supremacy in which anti Palestinian racism and erasure and Zionism itself were born… And of course, antisemitism is real. There's real hatred and bigotry and discrimination against Jews. The point is that antisemitism and white supremacy and Zionism emerge from the same root of exclusionary ethno-nationalist racialized state building. Stefanie Fox In order for [President Biden and the US Congress] not to ask for a ceasefire, they are engaged in hostilities now—the U.S. that is—against the Houthis in Yemen. They are bombing in Iraq and Syria. It's quite a price the U.S. is paying…because if there were a ceasefire, there'd be no Houthi assailing of shipping in the Red Sea. There would be no missiles with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis News 1/24/24 1. Just Foreign Policy reports that there is dissent brewing among Obama foreign policy alumni regarding President Biden’s air war on the Yemeni Houthis....

Duration:01:16:19

Conscientious Objector/Israeli Agents

1/20/2024
Attribution: Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages Ralph welcomes Josh Paul, the State Department official who resigned in protest over the Biden Administration’s policy of unconditional arms transfers to Israel in the response to the attacks of October 7th. Then, investigative reporter, James Bamford joins us to discuss his deep dive into how the Israeli government has recruited Americans as foreign agents to troll, dox, and blacklist college students and professors who dare to criticize Israeli policies. Josh Paul served 11 years in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the US Department of State, before his resignation on October 17, 2023. Mr. Paul previously worked on security sector reform in both Iraq and the West Bank, with additional roles in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, US Army Staff, and as a congressional staffer. I have spoken with a number of members of Congress in the last few months and—even for those who haven't publicly called for a ceasefire—many are willing to acknowledge behind closed doors that yes, actually, they do believe that Israelis are committing war crimes, but they will not say it publicly. And that just seems to me such a moral abdication of the purposes for which you were elected. If you know something to be a fact, if you know the U.S. to be complicit in facilitating war crimes, but are unwilling to say it because you are afraid of how your donors might react or how your next election might go, why are you even in Congress? Josh Paul It is interesting that the United States places control of arms transfers and security assistance within the State Department. That is a different model than most of our allies follow… And there is an advantage to putting them in the State Department, so that they can be considered as tools of foreign policy along with other diplomatic tools such as economic assistance, such as of course diplomatic engagement. So there is an advantage there, but of course there is also inherently by doing so a militarization of foreign policy. Particularly when we look at the massive amount of funding that is provided for military assistance. And of course, the way that that providing that assistance then links us to the actions of our partners, whether we want to be complicit in those actions or not. Josh Paul It's been said that in the last three months, the pro-Palestinian people in the United States have controlled the streets, but the pro-Netanyahu people in the United States have controlled the suites in Congress and the Executive branch. Ralph Nader James Bamford is a best-selling author, Emmy-nominated filmmaker for PBS, award-winning investigative producer for ABC News, and winner of the National Magazine Award for Reporting for his writing in Rolling Stone on the war in Iraq. He is the author of several books, including Spyfail: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America's Counterintelligence. I think some of these (American) groups should be arrested for being agents of a foreign government. I mean, if you're an American and you're contributing money and support to a clandestine foreign operation or clandestine foreign agency of a foreign government, then that's pretty much the definition of being an agent of a foreign government. James Bamford [People] get put on this blacklist—the Canary Mission list—and their job opportunities are extremely limited. Because if anybody goes for a job and their employer looks on the internet, one of the first things they'll see is that their name is on this blacklist where they're called a variety of names basically for doing something that's basically honorable. James Bamford In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis * On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders forced a vote on Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act, which, if passed, could have resulted in the United States cutting off military aid to Israel, the Intercept reports. While this...

Duration:01:32:44

Big Gambling

1/13/2024
Ralph welcomes Professor John Kindt to discuss his recent article in the Capitol Hill Citizen, "Time to Criminalize Internet Gambling." Then, our resident international law expert Bruce Fein takes us to the International Court of Justice and explains the lawsuit that South Africa has filed against Israel, which alleges genocide. Finally, Ralph has some choice words about Boeing's latest disaster. John Kindt is Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at the University of Illinois Gies College of Business, where his teaching focuses on—among other topics—the socio-economics of gambling and legal policies. Mr. Kindt has frequently testified as an expert witness before state legislative and congressional committees. Illinois was one of the first states to get the so-called riverboat casinos. And of course, this was just deployed to bring casinos everywhere to Illinois and to other states. They promise what we call “the E's” — they'll help education, they'll help the environment, they'll help the elderly, they'll help employment. None of that is accurate. They just throw nickels and dimes at this. John Kindt I feel very comfortable naming names of these companies. If you just talk about “Big Gambling”, you're nowhere near specific accountability. When you talk about specific names of companies, the next step is the names of the CEOs, the names of the Directors of Marketing and Advertising. You find out whether there are any whistleblowers. Ralph Nader 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. To my mind, this perhaps is the strongest case in the history of the Genocide Convention…Literally hundreds of officials from the highest levels of the Netanyahu administration have openly stated, “We are going to lay a siege. No water, no food, no medicine, no shelter, no hospitals.” You can't survive under those conditions… And they've also stated clearly that in their view, Palestinians are animals and will be treated accordingly. Many statements saying, “They need to be driven out of Gaza. They don't deserve to be there.” These are the most flagrant, direct confessions of a genocidal intent that's imaginable. Bruce Fein The FAA has inspection offices up in Seattle and they go to the Boeing factories all the time, but they've been rather lax over the years— to put it mildly. They have delegated regulatory authority to Boeing to regulate itself, and then they do the paperwork at the FAA… There’s going to be more and more disclosures, and it will come right back to the lack of regulatory enforcement and prosecution of the culpable executives who have turned a once-proud engineering aerospace company into a speculative tool to increase the stock price on Wall Street. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis News 1/10/24 1. In response to Israel’s campaign of destruction in Gaza, South Africa has filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice alleging that Israel’s actions “‘are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part’ of the Palestinians in Gaza,” per PBS News Hour. Israel – which PBS acknowledges “has a history of ignoring international tribunals,” – intends to send a legal team to the Hague to fight this case. 2. South Africa is joined in this case by a number of states, including the Organization of Islamic Countries, the Plurinational state of Bolivia, Jordan, Turkey, and Malaysia, according to Al Jazeera. Some high-profile individuals have also signed on, most notably Israeli Leftist MK Ofer Cassif, who said “My constitutional duty is to Israeli society and all its residents, not to a government whose members and its coalition are calling for ethnic cleansing and even actual genocide.”...

Duration:01:27:08

American Hero: Dr. Sidney Wolfe

1/6/2024
Few people in American history have saved more lives than Dr. Sidney Wolfe. Dr. Wolfe and his small staff at the Health Research Group of Public Citizen have taken on Big Pharma and the FDA to pull over two dozen dangerous drugs and countless hazardous medical devices off the market, not to mention putting numerous incompetent doctors out of business. Over the course of his storied career, Sid worked relentlessly for workplace safety and with his best-selling book and subsequent newsletter Worst Pills/Best Pills, provided the American people with the most reliable, up-to-date, evidence-based, easy-to-read guide to pharmaceuticals ever compiled. Today we pay tribute to the man who invented the concept of the “public interest doctor.” Dr. Steffie Woolhandler is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, which is a non-profit research and education organization that advocates for single-payer national health insurance. Dr. Woolhandler is a practicing primary care physician, distinguished professor of public health and health policy in the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health, an adjunct professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Woolhandler has authored more than 150 journal articles, reviews, chapters, and books on health policy. Dr. David Himmelstein is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. Dr. Himmelstein is a practicing primary care physician, distinguished professor of public health at the City University of New York, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, and a His more than 150 peer reviewed studies include widely-cited articles appearing in the New England Journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA, Health Affairs and the American Journal of Public Health on the excess death rate among the uninsured, medical bankruptcy, health care administrative costs, insurance firms’ misbehaviors, and dangerous medications. For over 50 years, Dr. Sidney Wolfe—who directed Public Citizen's Health Research Group—has been what I would call the doctor's doctor. Stressing the prevention of trauma and sickness, stressing accountability for gouging and unsafe practices by the drug companies, and pushing for effective regulation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency. Ralph Nader I think that Dr. Sid Wolfe had that emotional intelligence that went with his cognitive intelligence, which makes all the difference in terms of whether someone just knows something and bewails it, or someone just knows something and connects it to action that saves people's lives and prevents injuries. Ralph Nader Dr. Sid Wolfe was insistent that those who sell drugs and profit from drugs have to prove that the drug is actually safe, that the harms do not outweigh the benefits. And for many, many drugs on the market in the United States, Sid and others found out that the harms were much greater than the benefits. In identifying literally dozens of drugs that were unsafe, that should not be used, Sid has saved hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of lives of Americans who were threatened by unsafe drugs. Dr. Steffie Woolhandler Dr. Sid Wolfe was meticulous about the truth. Sid insisted that you couldn't overstate what you didn't know, that the most important responsibility of doctors was to be honest with the patients, with the public, with the government about what we know and what we don't know—and often what we don't know is critically important. He never stretched the truth. That was important, not just because others were watching and trying to find flaws in what he did, but it was inherent in Sid's character that he cared about telling the truth and about doing what was right. Dr. David Himmelstein Robert Weissman is a staunch public interest advocate and activist, as well as an expert on a wide variety of issues ranging from corporate accountability and government transparency to trade and...

Duration:01:16:53

Christian Zionism

12/30/2023
Ralph welcomes Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner, National Program Director of Friends of Sabeel—North America, to discuss the ongoing violence in Palestine, the influence that Christian Zionists have on America's Israel policy, and the religious organizations that have refused to collaborate with Israel's modern-day Crusader State. Plus, Ralph answers some listener questions and questions from the RNRH team. Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner recently retired as the National Program Director of Friends of Sabeel—North America, a nonprofit Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through education, advocacy, and nonviolent action. Prior to that position, Rev. Dr. Wagner was a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University (Chicago) where he also directed the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He has written several books, including Anxious for Armageddon: a Critique of Christian Zionism; Dying in the Land of Promise: Palestine and Palestinian Christianity from Pentecost-2000; Glory to God in the Lowest: Journeys to an Unholy Land. I believe Netanyahu's endgame is to force the Palestinians out, kill as many as possible. and then expel them into Gaza. Avi Dichter, who is a cabinet member, said, “We are rolling out the Gaza Nakba”. [The Nakba was the] 1948-49 ethnic cleansing operation. So it's clear what they're doing, and the Biden administration has rehabilitated a criminal in Netanyahu and enabled all this to happen. Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner One of the few things that gives me hope after working on this issue for 45 years is the power of the young American Jewish and global Jewish activists. They're not buying the Netanyahu line. They range from being embarrassed to just angry about what Netanyahu, the A.D.L., and A.I.P.A.C have done to Judaism in blending it with Zionism. So these are the prophetic movements that are taking us back to authentic Judaism and the Torah, which is based on justice—tikkun olam [which means] healing of the world. Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner Clarence Thomas is really the Donald Trump of the Supreme Court. Ralph Nader I think they are reaching a point—the six-justice majority— of getting a huge backlash… I dont call for impeachment of Justices very easily. But when in case after case these Justices come down on the side of artificial entities called corporations—which are never mentioned in the Constitution— against real human beings—whether they’re workers, or victims of different oppressions, or looted consumers… that is a severe ground for collective impeachment proceedings before the U.S. Senate. Ralph Nader Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe

Duration:01:04:12

Busboys & Bogle Heads

12/23/2023
Ralph has a new book out, The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right and in this episode, we profile three of them, Andy Shallal, owner of the restaurant “Busboys and Poets,” John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, and Robert Townsend, iconoclastic CEO of Avis Rent-a-Car and author of the classic business book “Up The Organization!” Mr. Shallal joins us in person while financial advisor and Boglehead, Rick Ferri, talks to us about the late John Bogle and Robert Townsend Jr. explains the origins of his father’s philosophy. Plus, Ralph gives us an update and a call to action on Gaza. Click on the link to order your copy of The Rebellious CEO. Andy Shallal is an activist, artist and social entrepreneur. Mr. Shallal is the founder and proprietor of Busboys and Poets restaurants in the Washington DC area, which feature prominent speakers, poets and authors and provide a venue for social and political activism. He is co-founder of The Peace Cafe, a member of the board of trustees for The Institute for Policy Studies, and a member of the advisory council for the American Museum of Peace. The whole idea of this book The Rebellious CEO is to show that these CEOs reverse the business model. They didn't just have a vision and say, “We're gonna squeeze workers and consumers and environmental indifference to maximize the profits.” No, they started out saying, “We're gonna treat the workers well. We're gonna treat the consumers well. We're gonna confront the environment. We're gonna speak out against injustice.” And they all made money. Every one of them in the book said they always paid attention to profits because without profits they couldn't do all the things they wanted to do. Ralph Nader, author of “The Rebellious CEO” It becomes very personal. And when it's personal, it's hard to separate yourself from the business. So everything that happens in the business, it's not a one -off, it's about me. If the business is treating my employees badly, it means Andy Shallal is treating his people badly. That's a very personal way [of looking at it] and it's a way for I think a lot of these folks that you write about in the book to kind of stay on mission and say, “This is my name. This is my legacy. This is my entire being that is on the line.” Andy Shallal Understanding those dynamics and how race plays out in this country and how people interpret and see race is really a very important part of our training— to make sure that people do not fall into the trap of saying, “I don't see race,” because race sees you. And unless you are proactive in how you deal with people as they walk through the door, you're gonna probably make mistakes. Andy Shallal Rick Ferri has worked for 35 years as a financial adviser and he is the host of the Bogleheads on Investing podcast. Mr. Ferri was a pioneer in low-fee investment advice and portfolio management using ETFs and index funds, he has authored 7 investment books and hundreds of articles published in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and several professional journals, and he is the former president of the John C Bogle Center for Financial Literacy. [John Bogle] was very determined. He believed in giving investors a fair shake on Wall Street. He believed that we should get our fair share of market returns. He believed that there was a conflict of interest in the investment industry between the people who owned the investment companies and the investors in those companies—the people who bought the mutual funds. And he said, "You cannot serve two masters." Rick Ferri That's our mission—to build a world of well-informed, capable, and empowered investors. And that's what the Bogle Center and the Bogleheads are all about. Rick Ferri Robert Townsend, Jr. is the son of Robert Townsend, who was president of Avis Rent A Car from 1962 to 1965 and was the author of the best-selling and iconoclastic business manual Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling...

Duration:01:22:02

Busboys & Bogle Heads

12/23/2023
Ralph has a new book out, The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right and in this episode, we profile three of them, Andy Shallal, owner of the restaurant “Busboys and Poets,” John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, and Robert Townsend, iconoclastic CEO of Avis Rent-a-Car and author of the classic business book “Up The Organization!” Mr. Shallal joins us in person while financial advisor and Boglehead, Rick Ferri, talks to us about the late John Bogle and Robert Townsend Jr. explains the origins of his father’s philosophy. Plus, Ralph gives us an update and a call to action on Gaza. Click on the link to order your copy of The Rebellious CEO. Andy Shallal is an activist, artist and social entrepreneur. Mr. Shallal is the founder and proprietor of Busboys and Poets restaurants in the Washington DC area, which feature prominent speakers, poets and authors and provide a venue for social and political activism. He is co-founder of The Peace Cafe, a member of the board of trustees for The Institute for Policy Studies, and a member of the advisory council for the American Museum of Peace. The whole idea of this book The Rebellious CEO is to show that these CEOs reverse the business model. They didn't just have a vision and say, “We're gonna squeeze workers and consumers and environmental indifference to maximize the profits.” No, they started out saying, “We're gonna treat the workers well. We're gonna treat the consumers well. We're gonna confront the environment. We're gonna speak out against injustice.” And they all made money. Every one of them in the book said they always paid attention to profits because without profits they couldn't do all the things they wanted to do. Ralph Nader, author of “The Rebellious CEO” It becomes very personal. And when it's personal, it's hard to separate yourself from the business. So everything that happens in the business, it's not a one -off, it's about me. If the business is treating my employees badly, it means Andy Shallal is treating his people badly. That's a very personal way [of looking at it] and it's a way for I think a lot of these folks that you write about in the book to kind of stay on mission and say, “This is my name. This is my legacy. This is my entire being that is on the line.” Andy Shallal Understanding those dynamics and how race plays out in this country and how people interpret and see race is really a very important part of our training— to make sure that people do not fall into the trap of saying, “I don't see race,” because race sees you. And unless you are proactive in how you deal with people as they walk through the door, you're gonna probably make mistakes. Andy Shallal Rick Ferri has worked for 35 years as a financial adviser and he is the host of the Bogleheads on Investing podcast. Mr. Ferri was a pioneer in low-fee investment advice and portfolio management using ETFs and index funds, he has authored 7 investment books and hundreds of articles published in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and several professional journals, and he is the former president of the John C Bogle Center for Financial Literacy. [John Bogle] was very determined. He believed in giving investors a fair shake on Wall Street. He believed that we should get our fair share of market returns. He believed that there was a conflict of interest in the investment industry between the people who owned the investment companies and the investors in those companies—the people who bought the mutual funds. And he said, "You cannot serve two masters." Rick Ferri That's our mission—to build a world of well-informed, capable, and empowered investors. And that's what the Bogle Center and the Bogleheads are all about. Rick Ferri Robert Townsend, Jr. is the son of Robert Townsend, who was president of Avis Rent A Car from 1962 to 1965 and was the author of the best-selling and iconoclastic business manual Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling...

Duration:01:22:02

Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?

12/16/2023
Ralph welcomes Allan Brownfeld from the American Council for Judaism to discuss, along with our resident constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, the history of Jewish anti-Zionism and how Judaic principles can conflict with the Zionist project. We also review how university presidents recently responded to questioning from a congressional committee about free speech on campus. Allan Brownfeld is the Editor of Issues, the publication of the American Council for Judaism (an 80 year-old organization that has opposed Zionism since its inception) and a syndicated columnist who has worked as associate editor of The Lincoln Review and a contributing editor to such publications as Human Events, The St. Croix Review, and The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Mr Brownfeld has served as a staff aide to a U.S. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the U.S. Senate Internal Subcommittee. Everybody is afraid of this label “antisemite” if they criticize Israel. Israel has succeeded—in fact, it's a tactic used by the Israeli government. The former Education Minister [Shulamit Aloni] said it very clearly—when someone in Europe attacks us in any way, we bring up the Holocaust. In America, if anyone attacks us, we call them antisemitic. That's silencing criticism. Allan Brownfeld What has happened in recent years can be compared to idolatry. Just as in the Bible when we have people worshiping the golden calf, we have Jews now worshiping not the universal God, but the state of Israel has become the focus of attention—has become almost the object of worship. And I think that this will change as Israel's behavior continues as it is now, and as Jewish Americans slowly come to realize that the values they hold dear—religious freedom, separation of church and state—are exactly the opposite values that the state of Israel promotes. Allan Brownfeld It's good in any criticism to criticize the Netanyahu regime rather than Israel. There's a lot of opposition to Netanyahu in Israel [and he doesn’t represent all Israelis] any more than Trump represents Americans. And we're seeing here—as Allan has pointed out—the most extreme right-wing, militaristic, jingoistic government in the history of Israel, headed by Netanyahu. And he's let the military run riot in Gaza. It’s out of control. Ralph Nader 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. What speaks volumes about [the Harvard Board of Overseers] statement is that it pretends that the only thing that has happened is October 7. Suddenly the world stopped. Nothing happened afterwards. It ignores completely what's ongoing in Gaza, which I think speaks volumes about the bias and the prejudice there. Bruce Fein In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. On Tuesday December 12th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first congressional hearing on Corporate Crime since 1980. This hearing consisted of two panels, one made up of government witnesses and another featuring civilians, including Professor Brandon Garrett – architect of the Corporate Prosecution Registry. The main focus of the hearing was the decades-long decline in corporate criminal prosecutions at the Department of Justice, and what the Department needs to pursue a more expansive vision of corporate criminal justice. The full hearing is available at the Senate Judiciary Committee website. 2. On December 7th, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, in light of the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza. Article 99 is a rarely used provision of the UN charter which allows the secretary-general to bring to the attention of the Security Council “any matter which…may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security,” per AP. The...

Duration:01:15:14

Democracy Dies in Broad Daylight

12/9/2023
Ralph sits down with three guests straight out of the latest edition of the Capitol Hill Citizen. First, world-renowned food politics expert and public health advocate Marion Nestle joins Ralph to discuss America's voracious junk food lobby. Then, Ralph speaks to legal expert Bruce Fein about Congressional staffers and the part they can play in making Congress stronger. Finally, Ralph welcomes Vishal Shankar from the Revolving Door Project to explain why President Biden is letting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continue wrecking the Post Office. Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University. She is the author of a wide range of books about the politics of food, nutrition, health, and the environment, including Eat, Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics, Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat, and Slow Cooked: An Unexpected Life in Food Politics. If you want to make a profit and grow your profit every 90 days, you have to sell as much food as possible. And what that food does to public health is not your responsibility, because that's the way our system works. Marion Nestle We have a law on the books that says that the Federal Trade Commission can do nothing to restrict the marketing of foods to children on television. They're not allowed to do that. So what we're talking about here is a situation in which Congress is so corrupt that it cannot take on anything that will fight the food industry. Marion Nestle 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. You really can't make a career anymore of being in the legislative branch as an employee or as an aide. And so everybody leaves after a couple years to go to K Street and become a lobbyist. And so with this rapid turnover, you have a lobotomized Congress. And what this letter was attempting to do was to say, listen, Congress still—when the architecture of the Constitution is honored—is the primary predominant branch among the three branches. It's simply that you're not exercising it. Bruce Fein Vishal Shankar is a Senior Researcher at the Revolving Door Project, which scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement. He has also worked at Inequality Media, as well as several government offices, nonprofits, and policy research projects. His work has appeared in The American Prospect and Common Dreams, and he has been quoted in The New Republic, The Lever, and the Capitol Hill Citizen. The crisis [with Louis DeJoy] is not as immediate to Biden, his voters, his supporters, and they very wrongly believe—in my opinion—that they can work with this man who has proven to be untrustworthy, a Republican mega-donor and partisan hack, and most importantly a committed privatizer of the United States Postal Service. Vishal Shankar DeJoy has been one of the single biggest impediments to piloting or expanding to creative new ideas that can grow out the Postal Service for decades to come…DeJoy has very stubbornly refused to consider these great potential ideas and is doubling down on service cuts and rate hikes as the only way he thinks he can run the agency. Vishal Shankar In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. Democracy Now! Reports the United Autoworkers union has called for a ceasefire in Gaza. They are the largest and most mainstream labor union to publicly come out for a ceasefire, joining the American Postal Workers Union, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, the California Nurses Association and the Chicago Teachers Union. UAW Region 9A Director Brandon...

Duration:01:37:17

The True Cost of Billionaire Philanthropy

12/2/2023
Ralph welcomes back Chuck Collins, heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune and cofounder of Patriotic Millionaires to discuss his latest report “The True Cost of Billionaire Philanthropy” which asks the question, “Would society be better off if billionaires just kept their money and paid their fair share of taxes?” Plus, we speak briefly about the situation in Gaza with Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and Francesco DeSantis keeps us up to date with the latest news with his segment “In Case You Haven’t Heard.” Chuck Collins directs the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he also co-edits Inequality.org. Mr. Collins co-founded the Patriotic Millionaires and United for a Fair Economy, and he is the author of Born on Third Base and The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions. Here's our analysis: for every dollar that Elon Musk or Bill Gates - some of these billionaires - give, the rest of us chip in 74 cents in lost tax revenue. And that's at the federal level... So, these are our tax dollars at work. And yet they're completely unaccountable in terms of where the money goes. Chuck Collins The financial industry, the wealth advisors—I call them the wealth defense industry—the tax attorneys and accountants. They have started to capture corners of what we think of as philanthropy with the same kind of worldview—capital preservation, tax minimization, passing on as much wealth to the next generation. So, you see ultra-wealthy people creating family foundations. And the most important thing to realize is this is taxpayer-subsidized private power. Chuck Collins We need to change the laws governing philanthropy. The framework that we are living with now is from 1969, which was a zenith of relative equality in the United States. We wouldn't have necessarily known that 50 years later we would be living in an oligarchy where billionaires would use their charity as an extension of their influence and power as aggressively as they are now. Chuck Collins [Shareholder resolutions are] a good way to shine some light on the murky, narcissistic, self-enriching practices of these executives who often do so at the expense of their own companies in a conflict of interest. It would be good if this discussion sparked something like that… It's not a structural reform of our political economy, to be sure. But it does alleviate some of the poverty, some of the health care necessities, the housing necessities in the areas where these corporations operate. Ralph Nader Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. She is a leading authority on the Middle East, with particular expertise on U.S. foreign policy in the region, on Israel/Palestine, and on the way Middle East and Israel/Palestine-related issues play out in Congress and in U.S. domestic politics, Ms. Friedman is a former officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, with diplomatic postings in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She also served previously as the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now. In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. The AP reports Hamas has released a third group of hostages – including 14 Israelis and the first American hostage – as part of a four-day truce with Israel. In return, Israel has released 39 Palestinian prisoners. The Biden administration has expressed that their goal is to extend the ceasefire as long as possible. This about-face in administration policy is a testament to the power of the sustained protest and public pressure campaigns in favor of a ceasefire. However, this truce is scheduled to expire at the end of this week. 2. Going further, Vermont Senator Peter Welch has called for an “indefinite ceasefire,” following the horrific shooting of three Palestinian-American students in Burlington, Vermont. Senator Welch writes “The ceasefire must be extended...to stop the bombing and prevent...

Duration:00:59:50

Justifying the Unjustifiable in Palestine

11/25/2023
Ralph is joined by author and human rights activist Miko Peled. They discuss the excuses that Israel uses to defend the atrocities they commit against Palestinians, and the truth behind all the propaganda. Miko Peled is an author, writer, speaker, and human rights activist living in the United States. He is considered by many to be one of the clearest voices calling for justice in Palestine, support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and the creation of a single democracy with equal rights in all of historic Palestine. Mr. Peled was born and raised in Jerusalem. His grandfather was a signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence and his father was a general in the 1967 war. Anybody who is not courageous enough to stand up and speak the truth and stand up for what is right, because they might be called this name or that name—it's cowardice, it's hypocrisy. Being called antisemitic is a small price to pay when you talk about standing for the rights of millions of people who have been living under such terror for so many decades. Miko Peled This is pure revenge. What we're seeing is vengeance of a military force and a state that have been humiliated. And just like any bully, any gangster who's been humiliated, they take it out on the weakest people they can find, people who cannot defend themselves… It's revenge for the sake of revenge. It's savagery for the sake of savagery. It's brutality in its purest form. There's no other reason than the brutality itself. Miko Peled Palestinians deserve nothing less than the lifting of the siege, release of all prisoners, and the dismantling of the apartheid state. Nothing less than that should be demanded. And all we're seeing people talk about is ceasefires, as though a ceasefire is some great accomplishment. Ceasefire does not provide the possibility of a future where this is not repeated. What needs to be demanded now is a political solution that will ensure the safety and security of Palestinians—and that is never part of the conversation. A ceasefire does not secure the lives or the security of Palestinians, because we know Israel will violate it a week later. Miko Peled It's not going to collapse because Israelis agree. It's not going to collapse because Israelis wake up one morning in a good mood. Israel is going to have to be forced on its knees. Just like in South Africa, whites in South Africa were on their knees. We're talking about severe sanctions. We're talking about closing down all diplomatic missions. We're talking about not allowing Israelis to participate in sporting events, cultural events, any events, academic arenas. They need to be shunned. Israeli society and the apartheid state that they created need to be brought on their knees. Miko Peled In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. The Intercept’s Prem Thakker reports 43 members of Congress now support a ceasefire. Some notable additions in recent days include Reps. Becca Balint, Sara Jacobs and Jamie Raskin, the first Jewish members to call for a ceasefire, and Jeff Merkley, the second Senator to call for a ceasefire. Pressure continues to mount on Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but they still do not support a ceasefire. And the LA Times editorial board has become the first in the nation to call for a ceasefire. 2. According to Time, Reporters Without Borders has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed against Palestinian journalists in Gaza. The complaint cites the "deliberate, total or partial, destruction of the premises of more than 50 media outlets in Gaza." This crisis will likely prove decisive for the legitimacy of the ICC, as several countries including South Africa, have alleged that the court is biased in favor of western-aligned governments. 3. Haaretz reports former Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who crafted the “Leahy Law” which prohibits U.S. military assistance to foreign security...

Duration:01:05:46

America Is Not Divided

11/18/2023
Contrary to the popular narrative, Americans overwhelmingly agree on a startling range of issues. So why is there such a disconnect between what Americans want and what Americans get? Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, and co-author of the book “The Corporate Sabotage of America” identifies the culprits and outlines what we, the people, can do about it. Then, Ralph welcomes Ambassador Chas Freeman, who brings his vast diplomatic experience and historical insight to bear on the ongoing collective punishment raining down on the people of Gaza. Robert Weissman is a staunch public interest advocate and activist, as well as an expert on a wide variety of issues ranging from corporate accountability and government transparency, to trade and globalization, to economic and regulatory policy. ​​For 20 years, he edited the Multinational Monitor magazine, and as the President of Public Citizen, Weissman has spearheaded the effort to loosen the chokehold corporations and the wealthy have over our democracy. He is the author, with Joan Claybrook, of The Corporate Sabotage of America’s Future And What We Can Do About It. More than three in four people want to have CEOs held accountable for the crimes they commit. Eight in ten think the minimum wage is too low. Four in five support paid family leave, and on and on and on. By way of context, those are not regular numbers when you get polls. In fact, if you ask people, “Does the earth revolve around the sun?” only 80% of Americans agree that the earth revolves around the sun. So, when you get numbers in the 90% or 85%, these are extraordinary levels of national agreement. Robert Weissman If you step back from the immediate moment, I think the big-picture story is that the bounds of what's considered important—or the policy solutions that are considered acceptable or reasonable—are really constructed by corporations and their lobbyists, and that's the problem we face every day. Robert Weissman Ambassador Chas Freeman is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia, acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. Ambassador Freeman is the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy, including The Diplomat’s Dictionary, America’s Misadventures in the Middle East, and America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East. I think one of the great pieces of collateral damage from this (Israeli/Gaza conflict) is the United Nations Charter, international law, and the credibility of these institutions at the UN. But more particularly, I think the next time Americans lecture foreigners about human rights, they're not going to laugh at us—they're going to sneer. Because this is such a tremendous demonstration of hypocrisy on our part. Ambassador Chas Freeman It (the bombing of Gaza) is a gross violation of any standard of human rights. And the fact that we support it is discrediting us. We started out claiming that the eyes of the world were upon us, and we should shine like a city on the hill. I think much of the world looks at us now and they see dead babies in rubble, not a shining city on the hill. Ambassador Chas Freeman In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. On Tuesday, political titans like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries rallied in support of Israel in Washington. While supposedly condemning antisemitism, the speakers were joined by Pastor John Hagee, a rabid Christian Zionist who wrote in his book Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World that Hitler was a "half-breed Jew" he was sent by God, as a "hunter," to persecute Europe's Jews and drive them towards "the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have – Israel." John McCain rejected Hagee’s endorsement in the 2008...

Duration:01:35:36

Corporate Bullsh*t/ Legal Bullsh*t

11/11/2023
Ralph welcomes back public interest advocate Donald Cohen to discuss the long history of corporate propaganda covering for corporate greed, and his new book Corporate Bullsh*t: Exposing the Lies and Half-Truths That Protect Profit, Power, and Wealth in America. Then Ralph is joined by founder of the Free Law Project, Michael Lissner, to talk about why the American legal system is so hard to use and the ongoing fight to make it more accessible. Donald Cohen is the founder and executive director of the research and policy center In the Public Interest. He is the co-author of The Privatization of Everything and his latest book, co-authored with Nick Hanauer and Joan Wals, is Corporate B******t: Exposing the Lies and Half-Truths That Protect Profit, Power, and Wealth in America. Every time they say something, our natural instinct is to debunk it, which means we're playing on their playing field. We want to pre-bunk it. We say, “That's bull. You're just playing a game. And listen to how you've done it in the past.” Because many of the quotes in this book are kind of hilarious, actually. We want to make fun of them and we're hoping that this becomes a little bit of a vaccine going forward. Donald Cohen This is more than just lies, falsehoods, off-the-wall predictive phoniness. It's more than that. It's deadly. In other words, it's not just rhetoric. It's not just craziness. It leads to the suppression of the society's response to foresee and forestall hazards, ripoffs, and the like, and to engage in preventive activity— regulations, opening it up for lawsuits under tort law—and deterrence. So we're dealing here with not only malicious patterns of rhetoric, we're dealing here with deadly delays. Ralph Nader Michael Lissner is Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer of the Free Law Project. The Free Law Project is a nonprofit that uses technology, data, and advocacy to make the legal ecosystem more equitable and competitive. They build open-source tools to make legal information more accessible, and they host major open databases of opinions, federal filings, judges, financial disclosures, and oral arguments. Open information is really how government works… You can imagine if the Supreme Court didn't publish its opinions. Right now you can go to their website, you can find their latest decisions. But you could imagine a system where people went to the Supreme Court, they decided who was right and who was wrong, and they told those people— and that was it, and they didn't explain themselves. It wouldn't work very well, because we wouldn't know how the laws are being interpreted. And I hate to say so, but when you get a little bit away from the Supreme Court…you realize that's kind of the system we have. Michael Lissner In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. On Saturday November 4th, the largest ever pro-Palestine demonstration was held in Washington. The Real News Network reports over 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Freedom Plaza and marched on the White House, demanding a ceasefire. CNN reports that another 100,000 protesters gathered in London, along with demonstrations throughout the world, including in Paris and Berlin, where authorities have sought to quash or outright ban pro-Palestine protests. These tremendous shows of solidarity underline how much the politics of this issue have changed in the western world. 2. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian member of Congress, has been censured by the House of Representatives. Defending herself on the floor of the House, Rep. Tlaib said “I will not be silenced, and I will not let you distort my words…Trying to bully or censure me won’t work because this movement for a cease-fire is much bigger than one person. It is growing every single day. There are millions of people across our country who oppose Netanyahu’s extremism and are done watching our government support collective punishment and the use of white phosphorus bombs that melt flesh to the bone....

Duration:01:17:08

Ceasefire Now!

11/5/2023
In this exclusive podcast edition of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, we welcome the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Lara Friedman, to further inform our listeners about the ongoing state of affairs in Israel/Gaza and the emergency unconditional $14 billion spending bill moving through Congress to aid Israel. Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. She is a leading authority on the Middle East, with particular expertise on U.S. foreign policy in the region, on Israel/Palestine, and on the way Middle East and Israel/Palestine-related issues play out in Congress and in U.S. domestic politics, Ms. Friedman is a former officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, with diplomatic postings in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She also served previously as the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now. I've been in meetings over the years, and I've had a member of Congress say to me, "Well, you know, land without a people for a people without a land." Or they've quoted back to me something like, "Well, listen, Israel can't make peace so long as the Palestinians hate Jews more than they love their children." That kind of stuff. I mean, it's just this basic language, which at a fundamental level dehumanizes Palestinians in such a way that you don't have to question whether what Israel is doing is right or wrong. Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace There are no innocent civilians because they're all somehow in their DNA, virulently, viciously anti-Semitic, and full of hate and full of terrorism. And, once you've established that as a baseline, deep racism, deep dehumanization, it's extremely effective. Because then anything goes. Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace We know that there was a period of time when the Israeli military literally calculated the number of calories it needed to allow entry into Gaza to prevent the population from starving. And that was all they were letting in. Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace We're in the most bizarre place where we have almost 10,000 Palestinians dead on the ground in Gaza. And the narrative that is being pushed out by the Israeli government and its supporters here, including in the US administration, is that to talk about ceasefire is repugnant. It's just utterly surreal. Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace If people still believe that you can defeat an ideology by killing a lot of people and essentially taking a whole generation and killing their parents and injuring them, and they think that's going to defeat an ideology, then they've learned nothing. They've learned nothing from the horrible experiences of the past few decades of the U.S. experience in the war on terror, and they know nothing about human nature. Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe

Duration:00:59:46

A Genocide Tax

11/4/2023
Ralph welcomes Craig Mokhiber, who just resigned his post as the director in the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations over the UN response to the bombing of Gaza. Then, we are joined by CODEPINK peace activist, Medea Benjamin, who was recently arrested at a hearing on Capitol Hill, featuring Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for protesting the weapons bill for Israel moving through Congress. Craig Mokhiber is lawyer and specialist in international human rights law, policy and methodology, and he has served the UN since 1992. Until his recent retirement, Mr. Mokhiber served as Director in the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). He has also served as the UN's Senior Human Rights Advisor in both Palestine and in Afghanistan, led the team of human rights specialists attached to the High Level Mission on Darfur, headed the Rule of Law and Democracy Unit, and served as Chief of the Economic and Social Issues Section, and Chief of the Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch at OHCHR Headquarters. What was really at the center of my letter was a sense that in the United Nations, international law had been subverted or pushed aside in favor of an approach to political expediency. That, first of all, ignored the norms and standards of human rights and humanitarian law. And secondly, it’s failed miserably to improve the situation in Palestine and Israel. Craig Mokhiber Hamas is not just Hamas's armed wing. Hamas is also effectively a local government that provides services. Hamas is not supported by everyone in Gaza by any means. Palestinians who belong to many different parties have many different perspectives from liberal to conservative. And so, I think this continuous focus on Hamas and an effort to depict Hamas as ISIS, with all sorts of fantastical stories, is an intentional distraction away from the reality—which is the 2.3 million interned civilians in Gaza who have no say over what happens in their lives and who are on the receiving end of the Israeli bombs. Craig Mokhiber [This $14.5 billion in military aid to Israel] is being called the genocide tax on the American people— who I think if they were polled would say, “Let Israel pay for its own blunders on October 7th.” Ralph Nader Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK and the co-founder of the human rights group Global Exchange. Her most recent book, coauthored with Nicolas J.S. Davies, is War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict. Many of us, for weeks, have been going into their offices, doing sit-ins in their offices, joining in with the constituents in their districts, and trying to get them to come out for a ceasefire— to no avail. Medea Benjamin It's incredible the level of insanity of giving more money to Israel that could create a regional war there, continuing to fund (to the tune of $61 billion) the war in Ukraine that could lead to a regional war there, and then tacking on some more money to provoke China. Medea Benjamin Congress is behaving like an autocracy. It is blockading itself from the American people. It is putting its own power up for sale. It is ignoring the facts abroad. It's alienating huge portions of the world, and they don't care. Ralph Nader In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. President Biden is facing a collapse in his 2024 polling related to his blind support for the Israeli military. A Gallup poll shows Biden’s disapproval rating among young people has hit nearly 60%, rivaling the collapse in support for LBJ as the Vietnam war dragged on. According to the same poll, Biden has dropped 11 points with Democrats overall since September. Among Muslim Americans, Time reports only 17% say they now plan to vote for Biden in 2024 – a steep decline from the 59% who voted for him in 2020. 2. Many Democrats are sticking with Biden despite his deeply unpopular position on Gaza, but not Rep. Rashida...

Duration:01:19:58

A Strategy of Annihilation

10/28/2023
In our ongoing coverage of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, we invite retired U.S. Army Colonel and senior advisor to the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Lawrence Wilkerson, to offer his experienced and unsparing perspective. Then our resident constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, weighs in on how in this conflict the United States violates a number of international laws. Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired U.S. Army colonel. Over his 31 years of service, Colonel Wilkerson served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff from 2002 to 2005, and Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993. Colonel Wilkerson also served as Deputy Director and Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia, and for fifteen years he was the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network, senior advisor to the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and co-founder of the All-Volunteer Force Forum. * Here is former director in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Josh Paul’s op-ed in the Washington Post: “Opinion: This is not the State Department I know. That’s why I left my job.” Bibi [Netanyahu] is very strategically allied with Hamas. Hamas does not believe in a two-state solution. They are adamantly opposed to a two-state solution. They want a Palestinian state and Israel gone. But Bibi sympathizes with that because he wants an Israeli state and the Palestinians gone. So he's very much willing to work with Hamas— not explicitly, but certainly tacitly and implicitly. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson Netanyahu's goal here is to stay out of jail. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson Biden doesn't seem to distinguish between the subjugators and the subjugated… Factually, it's pretty clear that the difference in military superpower on the side of the Israelis and the U.S., compared to the feeble weaponry of the Palestinians (if they're even able to acquire them) it's probably the greatest gap in modern history between the occupier and the occupied. Why doesn't Biden recognize that? He's supposed to be a foreign policy expert… Why doesn't he recognize those basic facts? Ralph Nader 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. * Here is Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein’s October 24, 2023 letter to President Joe Biden on the subject of the Biden Administration’s public response to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. You put all [the facts] together and it really is almost laughable to have the President of the United States stand up there and proclaim the fundamental principle of U.S. international foreign policy is making a rule-based international order. As he's violating the order himself. Bruce Fein In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantisNews 10/25/23 1. High ranking State Department official Josh Paul has resigned from the agency, citing the Biden administration’s hard line on support for Israel’s attacks on Gaza, per the Huffington Post. Paul, who oversaw top-level arms sales at the State Department, said “When I came to this bureau ... I knew it was not without its moral complexity and moral compromises, and I made myself a promise that I would stay for as long as I felt … the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do…I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued – indeed, expanded and expedited – provision of lethal arms to Israel – I have reached the end of that bargain.” In a later interview with PBS NewsHour, Paul stated that human rights abuses by the IDF are tracked, but routinely...

Duration:01:25:51

Invisible Palestinians

10/21/2023
In our continued coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ralph welcomes James Zogby, co-founder and president of the Arab American Institute and author of "Palestinians: The Invisible Victims.” Then, no-nukes activist Harvey Wasserman joins to warn us about the dangerous condition of nuclear reactors across the country, including the threat of “embrittlement” at the California reactor in Diablo Canyon. James Zogby is co-founder and president of the Arab American Institute, and he is featured frequently on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. Since 1992, he has written a weekly column— “Washington Watch” —that is published in 12 countries. He is the author of several books, including Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion, The Tumultuous Decade: Arab, Turkish, and Iranian Public Opinion - 2010-2019, Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters, and Palestinians: The Invisible Victims. There are two narratives, and we have to understand both. There's Israeli trauma and Jewish trauma, and there's Palestinian and Arab trauma. Both are real because there are two groups of humanity who each have histories. When we adopt one and ignore the other, then we end up creating the kind of torment the Palestinians have been living with. James Zogby This does not make Israel more secure. Taking massive amounts of Palestinian lives, evacuating them, forcing them to flee from their homes, murdering them from the air—doesn't make them more secure. At the end of the day, when the dust settles and the tears dry, you're going to have a whole lot more dead people, a whole lot more anger, a whole lot more frustration, and nothing else will change in Gaza or in the West Bank. James Zogby Hamas was a tiny religious organization which was fostered into a more powerful organization by the United States and Israel. They thought that if they built up a religious organization, it would undermine the PLO (the Palestine Liberation Organization). And once again, just as in Afghanistan, we create our own adversaries, blundering back and forth. Ralph Nader Harvey Wasserman is a journalist, author, democracy activist, and advocate for renewable energy. Mr. Wasserman is the author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, and The People’s Spiral Of U.S. History. He has written and researched atomic energy since 1973, and co-authored Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience With Atomic Energy. There's only one explanation why they're continuing to operate these two reactors and all the other reactors in the United States. And that's because the commercial reactor industry is now the infrastructure of the nuclear weapons industry. If you like nuclear power, you love nuclear weapons. They are joined at the hip, these two industries. Harvey Wasserman These two reactors are upwind of the entire United States. An accident at Diablo Canyon could—within four hours—send an apocalyptic radioactive cloud into Los Angeles, into the Central Valley where we get our fruits and vegetables for the winter, and into the Bay Area. The stakes could not be higher. And again, these are military facilities, masquerading as fighters of global warming, which is absolutely ridiculous. Harvey Wasserman In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis 1. The Huffington Post reports that the State Department has imposed a censorship regime, directing high-level diplomats involved in Middle East affairs to refrain from using the following phrases: “de-escalation/ceasefire, end to violence/bloodshed, and restoring calm.” This mirrors White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s response to a reporter’s question during a recent briefing, when she deemed calls for a ceasefire by progressives in Congress “wrong…repugnant, and…disgraceful.” Rejecting this censorious framework, Rep. Jamaal Bowman tweeted that the “Official statement from [his] office [is] De-escalate. End the violence....

Duration:01:41:06