Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 with An Oil, Gas, Coal & Nuclear Heyday

By Ralph Nader
April 22, 2022

Instead of championing solar, wind and conservation energy, the GOP (Greedy Old Party) is championing the skyrocketing profits and prices for the omnicidal fossil fuel and atomic power companies.

Surging gasoline prices at the pump are not met with excess profits taxes on profit-glutted Big Oil. Rather the GOP and the Democrats are suspending taxes on gasoline sales that are used to repair roads and bridges. An excess profits tax could be used to provide rebates to consumers who are being gouged at the pump.

The case for an excess profits tax is made in a new report, Big Oil’s Wartime Bonus: How Big Oil Turns Profits Into Wealth, April 5, 2022, by Bailout Watch, Public Citizen and Friends of the Earth. Profits (and stocks) of companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron zoomed so much that Big Oil, not wanting to moderate their wholesale prices, have spent $45 billion of your money to buy back their stocks this past year and increase the compensation of their bosses.

Unleashing their lobbying forces in Washington, Big Oil and Gas are demanding, the report relates, “faster approval for natural gas pipelines … and increased drilling on public lands and waters.” Biden is opening up more oil and gas leases on public lands even though he reported some 9000 leases already granted are still not being utilized by the oil and gas companies.

The Biden administration is spending $6 billion to shore up aging nuclear plants that safety advocates say should be mothballed.

Washington is silent on using taxes on fossil-fuel price profiteering for more wind, solar and the little mentioned energy conservation retrofits of buildings throughout the U.S. The energy savings and renewable approach would be faster, cleaner, produce more jobs and benefit more directly to Main and Elm Streets USA.

The becalmed Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission should swing into bold action under their anti-monopoly and consumer protection authorities.

It shouldn’t have taken Consumer Watchdog in California to sound the alarm on the price manipulation by the five big oil refiners that control 96 percent of the gasoline made in California, led by Chevron. Jamie Court, the dynamic president of Consumer Watchdog, declared: “with California taxes and environmental fees adding about 60 cents per gallon, Californians have long wondered where the extra $1.50 per gallon more they are paying than other US drivers (from 5 to 7 dollars per gallon) goes, and with this legislation (SB1322) we will finally know. California has been an ATM for oil refiners for too long. SB1322 requires California oil refiners to document monthly how much they pay for the average barrel of crude oil they process into gasoline and how much they charge for the barrel of finished gasoline. At 42 gallons per barrel, we will then know how much they are making per gallon of gasoline sold in California, and be able to take back the excessive profits.” That is, assuming the completely Democratic Party dominated California state legislature enacts this legislation.

If Democrats do not stand tall in going after gasoline price inflation and other price gouging, the GOP will succeed in putting the blame on the Dems in the November elections. Washington is decades late in cutting our addiction to fossil fuels that are causing the climate crises.

On the first Earth Day in April 1970, over 1500 demonstrations against air, water and pesticide pollution were held on college campuses around the country. With the onset of the omnicidal fossil-fuel-driven climate catastrophes, leading to even more virulent wildfires, hurricanes, droughts and floods, the college campuses are now too silent, the streets are too empty, and the Congress too somnolent.

Congress is on another vacation this week so citizens should be buttonholing their representatives back home and pressing them to take action to counter the fossil fuel industry’s greed and to move toward a clean energy future.

Except for the far too small number of authentic advocates pressing decision-makers in government and industry to “follow the science”, the country’s officials appear too resigned, too attentive to short-term campaign money and political myopia to be stewards of the people, the natural environment and the planet.

If these power brokers need any more evidence of the ominous threat to humanity and its tiny planet, they should read the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said humanity has a “brief and rapidly closing window” to head off a hotter, deadly future.” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world is “sleepwalking to climate catastrophe” as the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and lack of political willpower undermine the necessity to cut greenhouse gas pollution by about half before 2030 and get rid of the carbon footprint by 2050.

It is not as if an abused Nature is not warning homo sapiens daily with unprecedented intensifications of its deadly outbursts and disruptions all around the world.

Once again, given the way our government is structured, it is the Congress – with just 535 members – which can become the rapid engine of energy transformation to the readily known renewable solutions. Solar panels are now seen on rooftops, and windmills on hillsides. Energy efficient technologies are affordable and abundant. Unfortunately, the GOP blocked the infrastructure proposals for clean energy proposed by Biden and the Democrats. Will the voters remember in November?

You know the Congressional switchboard number: 202-224-3121. Summon your representatives to your own town hall meetings and directly confront their desire for re-election in the fall. Tell them, for the sake of the world, their country and their state, it is time to shake off whatever invisible chains are around them and do what they and most of America knows has to be done. A clean energy future is better for the climate, the economy, the health and consumer pocketbooks of ALL THE PEOPLE, regardless of their self-described political labels.

When it comes to the ravaging climate disruptions, all people bleed the same color. Summon your Senators and Representatives directly to your community. (See my book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think, Pages 144-145).

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Consumer Protection Progress and Regress – From the Sixties to Now

By Ralph Nader
April 15, 2022

I’m often asked whether consumers are better or worse off since the modern consumer movement took hold in the nineteen sixties.

Let’s look at the record. Motor vehicles are much safer, less polluting, and more fuel efficient now, but not nearly what they should be. Today, consumers have warranty rights, recall rights, equal credit opportunity rights they did not have back then. Labeling has also improved. There is no more lead in gasoline and paint, though lead water pipes still contaminate some drinking water systems.

From being King tobacco over 50 years ago, cigarette companies are more regulated and daily tobacco smoking is down from 45% of adults to less than 15% of adults. But now there is vaping. Deadly asbestos is out of most products.

Solar energy and wind power are growing, even though energy company propaganda smeared them as Buck Rogers science fiction over 50 years ago.

Nuclear power plants are closing and no new ones are under construction, except for the massive Georgia boondoggle projects costing taxpayers and ratepayers billions of dollars in cost overruns. Heating, lighting, and air-conditioning technology is more efficient, but nowhere near what it could be.

Clothing is cheaper due to production being taken to horrific polluting sweatshops abroad, leaving empty factories here (See, Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas, September 3, 2019).

Now look at the dark side. Housing is less affordable and homelessness is greater. Hunger is still a shameful plague in a land of plenty, with some 15 million children going to bed hungry. Nutritional, organic, and ethnic foods are more widely available. We have pandemics instead of epidemics. Highway congestion and the paucity of mass transit are probably comparatively worse, despite some new investments in public transit since the sixties.

The profit-driven opioid pandemic taking over 100,000 American lives a year didn’t exist in the 1960s. Drug prices are sky high, even with large government subsidies and free research and development from the National Institutes of Health.

Corporate crime escaping accountability is more diverse, brazen, and massive. Big time corporate crime pays. Over $350 BILLION is lost in computer billing fraud every year just in the health care industry. There are very few prosecutions. Since computer use has grown, it has been much easier for corporations to cheat, fine, penalize, and overcharge consumers and commit automated billing fraud. With the repeal of state usury laws in the nineteen seventies, payday rackets and rent-to-own swindles have fewer restraints.

Fine print contracts keep reaching new levels of coercion unheard of in the nineteen sixties. This is due to the endless opportunities created by the incarcerating credit card economy, which has taken away consumers’ control over their own money. Over 80% of consumers do not use cash or checks as they did in the sixties.

It is hard to exaggerate the massive controls over consumers which come from losing their freedom of contract and being coerced by companies with threats to worsen consumer credit scores and credit ratings, especially if they dare to persistently complain about a lemon car or a callous landlord. Fine print contract companies – just about every major corporation selling to you –are now taking away your right to go to court and have a trial by jury if you are wrongfully injured and want to hold wrongdoers accountable for damages.

Working only three days a week when they are not in extended recesses, Congress holds fewer investigative public hearings on issues affecting consumers such as monopolies or oligopolies that plague one industry after another. There are far fewer full-time consumer reporters at newspapers and radio/TV stations. Wells Fargo Bank creates fictitious credit card accounts, auto insurance, and other sales for millions of their non-requesting customers for years and then when caught escapes any jail time for the top bosses. Where was the preventative oversight?

What would have been incredible in the nineteen sixties is the relentless drive by companies such as Amazon, rental car giants, and others to get rid of purchasing by cash or check. Many companies want everybody to be coerced into the credit/debit penitentiary so they can charge your account for their dictatorial fees and other abuses (see my column, Ten Reasons Why I Don’t Have a Credit Card, December 5, 2014).

Companies can charge you an outrageous fee or so-called penalty. They control your money through access to your credit card and deduct their bilk. What if instead they had to send you a bill to pay by check? They would probably decide to revise their business model, because you would be more outraged if you had to consciously pay them, instead of being passively debited.

Finally, the marketing to children is out of control. Companies are circumventing parental authority selling directly to kids, harmful junk food, junk drink, and violent programs and games. These avaricious corporations are electronic child molesters. Direct marketing to kids and pushing to hook them with credit cards at an early age are pulling them into the addiction industries and creating intense family turmoil – especially with children’s omnipresent iPhone as the delivery vehicle.

Now comes Facebook’s murky “metaverse” that sucks in these youngsters far beyond the cruel seductions of today’s internet, further distancing this generation from the realities of life and communion with their families and the natural world.

We need hundreds of new consumer protection organizations from the local to the national and international levels making tough demands on lawmakers and pushing for wider access to justice for aggrieved people.

Big corporations have meticulous strategic plans for humans, including robotic replacement of workers and human to human contact. It is time for a new consumer revolution and new consumer rules for a just, safe, and consumer-sovereign economy.

Alexa can’t help you with this portentous mission.

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Corporate Media Ignores Senate Hearing on Corporate Greed and Inflation

By Ralph Nader
April 8, 2022

It is exceedingly rare for a major congressional committee to hold hearings on “corporate greed” leading to corporate profiteering and surging prices on consumer goods. On April 5, 2022, Senate Budget Chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) chartered uncensored territory on corporate avarice with a lead witness, former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Although the hearing covered bread and butter issues, the mainstream corporate media ignored it. Massive coverage of the war in Ukraine does not offend advertisers, while the corporate war on consumers directly involves corporate advertisers.

Corporate greed takes hundreds of thousands of American lives every year (think the opioid disaster, the tobacco cancer business, the toxins in the air and water), not to mention injuries and illnesses stemming from corporations that put extra profit over concerns about public health and safety.

However, at the Senate hearing, Sanders chose to focus on the economic exploitation of consumers. Here is his introductory remark:

Across every major industry, prices continue to rise – this includes a 38 percent increase in the price of gasoline, a 44 percent increase in the price of heating oil, a 41 percent increase in the price of a used car, a 24 percent in the price of rental cars, and a 17 percent increase in the price of furniture. Further, Tyson Foods recently increased beef prices by 32 percent, the price of chicken by 20 percent and the price of pork by 13 percent. As prices increase, corporate profits hit a record high of nearly $3 trillion in 2021, up 25 percent in a single year.

He might have added that the companies profiting from these price increases paid a record low amount in federal income taxes. Moreover, the net worth of their richest shareholders soared in the midst of the pandemic.

Sanders denounced $900 billion in stock buybacks last year alone (a sign of excessive pricing power). In 2020, he added, the CEOs of major U.S. companies on average “made nearly 350 times more than the median worker.”

Senator Sanders could have noted that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is making $50,000 an hour or about $850 a minute this year! (No, those are not typos).

Big corporations always have misleading, but plausible excuses. They are currently blaming the war in Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the global supply chain pile-up in our ports for high prices. Well, who created the supply chain requiring U.S. consumers to buy all kinds of products from countries thousands of miles away that could have been produced here in the USA? It was Big Business CEOs who pushed corporate-managed “free trade” agreements through from Washington to Beijing. Their avaricious mantra was that their “free trade” pacts would lower prices for consumers. Really? Aside from clothing, look at the sky-high prices for your imported iPhones, your computers, cars, and drugs. The corporate boosters of the global trade pacts pocketed the excess profits from the backs of serf labor abroad.

Professor Robert Reich rebutted the corporate excuses for their higher prices by pointing out the detrimental impact on consumers of concentrated corporate power in such industries as gas and meat. With profits at a 70-year high and the companies flush with cash, why are they raising prices? His answer: “Because they can, and they can because they don’t face meaningful competition.”

Just the reverse is true. These industries dominated by a few corporations “have the power to raise prices because it makes it easy for them to informally coordinate price increases … without risking the possibility of losing customers, who have no other choice,” he testified.

“If markets were competitive,” he continued, “companies would keep their prices down to prevent competitors from grabbing away customers.” The reason they’re raising prices rather than absorbing increased costs is that they have pricing power in their locales,” as does Proctor & Gamble for diapers and toilet paper. In addition to their soaring profits, Reich showed how corporations even make money off of inflation beyond their rising costs. Tyson Foods CFO admitted this power (See the full, well-documented testimony by Professor Reich, which includes reforms – https://www.budget.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Robert%20Reich%20-%20Testimony%20-%20U.S.%20Senate%20Budget%20Committee.pdf).

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the malicious, duplicitous ranking Republican member of the Budget Committee, had as his witness, professor Michael Faulkender who worked for Trump’s Treasury Department. Faulkender blamed the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy (funded by banks and headed by a Trump nominee) and excessive demand fueled by Washington’s stimulus programs for price increases. This is the usual GOP routine of blaming the government for everything, even a government under the thumb of the corporate lobby. He neglected to mention that given soaring profits, companies in a competitive industry would absorb rising costs to keep their customers. Instead, these companies are passing on these costs, plus adding profit, fueling ever-higher inflation.

Under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the government’s abdication of antitrust enforcement – shaped by corporatist lobbying – allowed countless merger after merger in industry after industry to occur. But Faulkender did not dwell on this dimension of the corporate state or the relentless corporate urge to merge so they can buy their customers instead of earn them.

The Biden White House has proposed stronger antitrust and consumer protection measures. They want to tax billionaires and unproductive stock buybacks – the latter being a long-time desire of President Biden. But there is no energy by his Party in Congress compared to the energy by the GOP to stop these measures. Besides, both parties are dialing for the same corporate campaign cash – a daily begging that dilutes the reformists’ ardor.

The media blackout on Sanders’s hearing is partly the Senator’s fault. He knows how to hold a highly energetic public hearing. You have witnesses who have worked in the trenches against corporate profiteering, victims of these profiteers, and subpoenaing corporate executives like Tim Cook of Apple if they don’t testify voluntarily. There also needs to be proponents of strong corporate crime legislation.

If Democrats can’t organize a determined hearing, that generates massive media coverage, how do they expect to make these popular issues front and center in the coming November elections? How do they expect to rebut the twistificating Republicans from succeeding in blaming the Democrats for these corporate-bred inflationary pressures on voters? The Democrats haven’t even formulated the slogans for such an offensive.

The Democratic leadership has to decide what they want most – votes or more corporate campaign money to further enrich their consultants who themselves are often conflicted due to their own business clients.

Unfortunately for the American people, the knowledgeable civic community is not catching the ears of the Democratic Party candidates. Regular reports show incumbent Democrats feeling despair and defeatism over the prospect of the lying, corrupt, corporatist, and clever GOP taking control of Congress next year.

Wake up to the winning ways of addressing ALL THE PEOPLE with economic and moral policies that connect with where people live, work and raise their families. Learn from FDR!

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Going for Big Watch on Big Budgets

By Ralph Nader
March 31, 2022

What if $10 billion were raised over ten years for civic action to transform Congress and make it do what it should be doing for the people (See: Think Big to Overcome Losing Big to Corporatism 1/7/22)? In a more recent column, Facilitating Civic and Political Energies for the Common Good 2/2/22, I started a series of columns to outline how $1 billion per year could be spent lobbying Congress for a people’s agenda.

First $100 million per year would be used to get through Congress long-overdue legislation such as full Medicare for All, with emphasis on prevention of ailments and price gouging, a living wage, reducing corporate abuses, etc. The second $100 million would be devoted to creating facilities to make it easy for people to band together in their various roles (e.g., workers, consumers, patients, savers) so they could counter corporate bosses who band together their investors and many lobbying trade groups.

The third article dealt with the $100 million per year to make Congress change the disgracefully unfair, wasteful, and inefficient tax laws (See: Going for Tax Reform Big Time 3/11/2022).

Now I propose the fourth $100 million per year to be used to gain control of the enormous, amorphous federal budget. Shining sunlight on congressional budget shenanigans is the first step in making it reflect public priorities and needs instead of corporate greed.

Start with the first “twistification” (Jefferson’s word) of Article I, Section7, Clause 1, of the Constitution, which states, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; …” Congress has rendered this a formality.

The reality is that budgets originate from the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), after it receives the budgets prepared by federal departments and agencies.

Until the 1920s Congress directly received these various budgets, and the congressional committees used to go through a double check – a sequence of first authorizing expenditures, then appropriating the monies. For the most part, unlike earlier decades, the authorization process that started this double check is usually skipped. Today appropriations hearings are little more than perfunctory – with few exceptions.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees would go through the respective budgets line by line. No more. Now the White House sends Congress a multi-thousand-page annual budget, corrupted by corporate lobbyists. Then the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, after great delays and backroom deals, signal their agreements and ram the budget through the legislative process. During the delays, Democrats and Republicans pass continuing resolutions (CRs) to fund the government.

It has gotten so bad that since 1997, the Pentagon asks for a ton of money under the name of an “Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund” – essentially a slush fund for wars in general. Year after year, starting at the time of the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions (2001-2003), requests for $50 billion or more at a time would just go to Congress, unexamined, and be whooped through, producing a blank check for the Defense Department.

President Obama launched a war against Libya taking unappropriated money from these dark pots of Pentagon cash. President Trump defiantly also spent money illegally on the Wall and for other purposes.

At every juncture, one powerful group knows what’s going on. Commercial corporate lawyers and other influence peddlers operate inside the budget process and push for their demands of special budget favors and secretly insert loophole legislative language. The people back home are often clueless about this subterfuge and become cynical because they feel powerless about what is being done with their money.

More and more of these huge expenditures are not being paid for by tax revenues. They are being added to burgeoning deficits on our children and grandchildren. This form of “child abuse” lets billionaires pay only an average of 8 percent in federal taxes and giant profitable companies pay less or no federal income taxes at all. That is one reason the super-rich liked Trump.

With a $5.3 trillion federal budget, it is important to separate the so-called “discretionary” operating budget – to run the government – from the “non-discretionary” social insurance budget, for programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

It is the operating budgets which are sloshing around billions of dollars without public review, without strict standards and proper oversight by Congress – except for the oft-ignored reports of the congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO). Increasingly, the public budget is under the allocative powers of federal bureaucrats who are besieged by corporate lobbyists.

In 1990 Congress made an attempt to require annual auditable budgets from each government department. Only the biggest operating budget by far – that of the Pentagon – has violated this requirement every year, despite promises by U.S. Secretaries of Defense to comply. It has not sent an auditable budget because no one knows where all the DOD money goes. Budget watchdogs, however, do know that much of the DOD budget is spread all over the world with warehouses of uninventoried supplies, cargo planes of $100 bills to grease or bribe influentials, and to pay for staggering overcharges by the insatiable military munitions manufacturers and other contractors.

In the midst of all these Niagaras of budgeted money, there are very few citizen groups investigating, monitoring and pressing Congress to represent the public interest. The closest are the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which is mostly an excellent think tank critically analyzing budget allocations for domestic social service programs and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a nonprofit organization that investigates and exposes government waste.

One Hundred Million dollars a year could unleash legions of lawyers, accountants and other knowledgeable people, who worked inside government, to challenge the status quo and the excesses of the executive branch agencies. The low-hanging fruit is truly everywhere and available for plucking. The structural budget process failures would require broad overhaul legislation to wake up Congress and hold its members electorally accountable.

People back home aren’t receiving the outrageous facts. Remember how shaken the Pentagon was when it was caught paying $435 for a simple claw hammer that its corporate vendor brazenly described as a “uni-directional impact generator.” Public outrage fueled by exposes reaching the citizenry could be organized to turn around members of Congress.

Unfortunately, spurts of indignation can only be converted into a grassroots movement by (polls show) left/right alliances of Americans joining together against combinations of unfettered waste, greed and power, which suck away huge revenues that could be used to rebuild America. With organizers in each of the 435 Congressional Districts assembling small (say 500 people in each District) who are informed and determined real change will come about.

From all angles, the obscured federal budget is broken, pillaged and suffused with grotesque, often criminal payments. Taking on such indefensible violations of the public trust by skilled civic action would fill the near vacuum existing today. There is not one fulltime individual citizen pressing for an auditable Pentagon budget, as required by law. Against such widespread inaction, there is nowhere to go but up!

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No Corporate Law and Power Questions for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

By Ralph Nader
March 25, 2022

In over twenty hours of grueling confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Republican Senators (Cruz, Cotton, Hawley, Blackburn, and Graham) found much time to disgrace themselves, using the Judge as a prop for their despicable political ambitions. Meanwhile the Democratic (and Republican) Senators found no time to tap into Judge Jackson’s knowledge and analysis of the grave issues regarding the nexus of the power of giant corporations and the Constitution.

Senators, who should have known better, declined to raise the important questions about corporate personhood, or the provision of equal rights for corporations with human beings in a Constitution that never mentions “corporations” or “companies.” The Constitution is all about “We the People.”

Ignoring the immense power of global corporations over the rule of law, the immunities and privileges these companies use to escape the law and harm people with impunity, and the power of corporations under the 2011 Citizens United case to spend unlimited amounts of money to independently support or oppose candidates for public office were taboo subjects.

These are critical questions that leading citizen groups like Public Citizen and Common Cause would have wanted raised. The hearings, before a large television and radio audience, could have provided a rare educational moment for the public!

In numerous nomination hearings for Associate Justices of the High Court, we have submitted questions to presumably receptive Democratic Senators about corporations and the law. They were never asked. Our requests that Senators submit questions on corporate power to the nominee for written responses were also regularly denied.

Since my testimony with Dr. Sidney Wolfe during Justice Stephen Breyer’s confirmation hearings in 1994, outside civic witnesses have largely been prohibited from testifying at these tightly choreographed spectacles. Congress has added this exclusion to their overall closure movement against the civic community.

We are left with submitting testimony for the record, which rarely sees the light of the Judiciary Committee’s day. On the last day of the hearings with the nominees, the two Parties each select their own panel of rubber-stamp witnesses (often law professors). Both the media and senatorial attendance declines.

The Committee’s arrogance is such that distinguished people asking to testify do not even get the courtesy of a written acknowledgement. They’re just treated as nonpersons, instead of valuable contributors to the nomination process.

During the nomination in 2006 of the most right-wing corporatist, unitary-presidency ideologue, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., I wrote that the Senators did not “pose questions relating to access-to-justice, as provided by tort law, nor to the generic constitutional questions relating to NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and their dubious authority to side-step the sovereignty of our three branches of government with their mandatory decisions” affecting workers, consumers, and the environment.

When the most powerful institutions in our country escape scrutiny at these times of peak interest in the rule of law (constitutional and statutory), the charge that Congress refuses to confront corporatism and the supremacy of these out-of-control corporate behemoths comes full circle.

Call them above the law, beyond the law, or the creators of the law, giant and powerful corporations are a major domestic threat to our democracy. They are corrupting elections, dominating the media, blocking union formation, obstructing judicial justice for wrongfully injured people, and destroying our consumer freedom of contract – while strategically planning the future of human beings, down to their genetic inheritance.

Asking Judge Jackson her thoughts about the legal rights of robots, the engagement in military activities by corporate contractors, and the corporate patenting of life forms would have increased public awareness about important legal issues. Even if she artfully avoided judgmental replies, just asking what she knows about the settled law in these and other areas would have educated lawmakers and the public.

To get a sense of the immensity of this overlooked corporate phenomenon, please visit our website nader.org for the list of my previous questions and see the excellent article by the great journalist Morton Mintz in the November 1, 2005 issue of The Nation titled “Serious Questions for Samuel A. Alito Jr.”(See, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/serious-questions-samuel-alito-jr/).

Readers, remember Congress is misusing the powers that you have granted it under the Constitution, but you still hold the sovereign power and duty to safeguard and improve our democracy.

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Commercial Defrauding of Uncle Sam—Biggest Booming Business

By Ralph Nader

March 18, 2022

The biggest business in America is stealing and defrauding the federal government, Uncle Sam and you the taxpayers. In terms of sheer stolen dollars, the total amount is greater than the annual sales of Amazon and Walmart over the past two years.

Before getting to the real big stuff, start with how much was stolen or not delivered by the contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just in one program, John Spoko—Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), estimated that $30 billion of the $100 billion repairs project was purloined. Despite his many damning reports on what was also wasted—like the $40 million natural gas-powered fueling station (there were no natural gas-powered cars in Afghanistan)—no one was indicted, no one was fired, no one missed a promotion. This is according to author Andrew Cockburn, who interviewed Spoko extensively for his new book The Spoils of War: Power, Profit and the American War Machine. In fact, Cockburn writes: “They were giving bonuses to people for stealing our money.”

Of the $360 billion in annual billing fraud by the health care industry, over $100 billion is fraud on Medicare and Medicaid.

Turning to the $6 trillion appropriated (without reversing the tax cuts by Trump on the super-rich) by both Trump and Biden since March 2020, government investigators and the media are seeing staggering thefts and frauds. Money was stolen outright by fake companies and fraudulent applications, or taken by profitable companies, law firms and others that these programs were never intended to benefit.

One estimate has the trillion dollar Paycheck Protection Program delivering only 25 percent to the people for whom it was intended. Even people like the notorious anti-taxer Grover Norquist, who is loaded with corporate donations, applied for and got a bundle of tax dollars.

From the beginning I called members of Congress to caution them to draft very tight language in the giant rescue and infrastructure programs in order to foresee and forestall the predictable giant heist. There were some provisions—expanding enforcement budgets and inserting certain general review obligations on government agencies. But it was massively too little and too late— and utterly inadequate for the volume of coming robberies.

Corporate lobbyists were already swarming over Capitol Hill to get their bailouts, grants, sweetheart contracts and other benefits. The airlines got about $50 billion in bailouts, for example, after they had bought back $45 billion of their own stock from passenger revenues.

The mass media was also largely inattentive, spending far more time on the friction between politicians in Congress than the burning of taxpayer dollars. The Inspectors General attached to each federal agency were timid, under-budgeted and had weak authority.  Moreover, several Inspectors General positions were vacant.

Professor Malcolm Sparrow at Harvard has shown how there are specific, proven ways to prevent thefts and frauds on government programs. Effective criminal law enforcement authority, adequate enforcement budgets and plenty of investigators and auditors with higher level political support are crucial.

Neither Congress nor the White House have met this challenge of titanic corruption which should become a major campaign subject in the coming elections. Apart from a few perfunctory hearings, Congress has not held the high profile intense hearings that grab public attention—in part because both Parties have culpability, though the GOP is worse.

Biden spoke briefly this month about this thievery in his State of the Union address and promised a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud.  This is a little late. And where was the mention of adequate budget and authority? Professor Sparrow recommends that the enforcement budgets for commercial crimes have to be at least one percent of the estimated theft/fraud. The Biden oversight isn’t a tenth of that measure.

Finally, The Washington Post and The New York Times have started to investigate. The findings of their lengthy features are predictably staggering, especially regarding the Small Business Administration (SBA) which dispatched $343 billion in PPP loans over a 14 day period!

As recounted in the NY Times article by David Farenthold, a free for all robbery spree took hold.  The SBA made classic, foreseeable blunders. First, it subcontracted out, without due diligence, to so-called nonprofits, the job of distributing and monitoring the expenditures, giving them 15 percent of the overall disbursements to, for example, children feeding programs. The blunder not only is an inappropriate delegation of governmental powers, but it also creates a perverse incentive for the overseer to shovel out money to subcontractors.

Biden’s Department of Agriculture arrogantly turned down Farenthold’s request to interview officials there. This is another sign of unpreparedness, enabled by a Congress that astonishingly let the Department “waive rules that had been put in place after previous scandals to make sure states watched the watchdogs,” wrote Farenthold. (See “F.B.I. Sees ‘Massive Fraud’ in Groups’ Food Programs for Needy Children”.)

A longer expose appeared in The Washington Post by Tony Romm with the headline “’Immense Fraud’ Creates Immense Task for Washington As It Tries to Tighten Scrutiny of $6 Trillion in Emergency Coronavirus Spending”.

Romm’s examples are about sheer theft. A person pleaded guilty who somehow got $4 million and spend chunks of it buying a Porsche, a Mercedes and a BMW. A man was sentenced to prison for obtaining $800,000 for a business that did not exist. Fake or shell companies getting grants and unpayable loans illustrate that the guardrails were non-existent in thousands of cases.

So minimal are the prosecutorial initiatives that the commercial criminals are still  actively seeking  huge sums in grants, loans, direct payments and other forms of emergency assistance.

The SBA’s diligent Inspector General, Hannibal “Mike” Ware, has been producing report after report, incurring the hatred of Trump and his then-SBA Administrator, and still not convincing Congress that without more enforcement funds, the corporate crime wave will prosper unabated. Even so, Romm points to evidence that dozens of criminal fraud cases were preventable with some more diligence from the SBA. It isn’t reassuring that Romm reported that SBA officials turned down interview requests by the Post.

Recent efforts by a long-culpable Congress and a long-neglectful Presidency are not close to catching up with current robberies, not to mention any chance of retrieving stolen monies. Ever since I requested in 1971 that President Richard Nixon set up a commission on corporate crime, the federal government has remained obstinately indifferent to the sheer scale of ‘crime in the suites.” Consider the looted military contracting budget and the global level of corporate tax evasions up against the tepid responses from Washington. Too much discretion was delegated to the state and local governments without strict criteria. One New York Republican-controlled municipality is about to spend $12 million to renovate a baseball stadium.

Without a tradition of Congress requiring annual compliance reports from federal agencies, which would require securing regular data feedback flows, the government  will continue to be caught flat-footed.

Why should the three working days a week Congress, with no skin in the game, really care? If it isn’t the unorganized taxpayers paying for these massive thefts, the next generation of Americans will get the tab. Especially since the solons on Capitol Hill have refused to rescind the huge Trump tax escapes for the wealthy and giant corporations that have ballooned the federal deficit.

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Going for Tax Reform Big Time

By Ralph Nader
March 11, 2022

What if $10 billion were raised over ten years to transform Congress and make it do what it should be doing for the people (See, Think Big to Overcome Losing Big to Corporatism, 1/7/22)? In a more recent column, Facilitating Civic and Political Energies for the Common Good, 2/2/22, I outlined how $1 billion per year could be spent lobbying Congress for a people’s agenda.

First $100 million per year would be used to get through Congress long-overdue legislation such as full Medicare for All, a living wage, preventing corporate abuses, etc. The second $100 million would be devoted to create facilities making it easy for people to band together in their various organized roles (e.g., workers, consumers, patients, savers) so they could counter corporate bosses who unite their investors and many lobbying trade groups.

Now, I wish to suggest the third $100 million per year be used to make Congress change the disgracefully unfair, wasteful, and inefficient tax laws.

Start with Congress providing the Treasury Department with adequate funds to crack down on tax evasion – estimated to be between $600 billion and $1 trillion a year! Republicans in the Congress, since 2011, have strip-mined the IRS budget, especially in the area of enforcement against tax evasion by the Big Boys and the Big Global Corporations.

The GOP has cut the IRS budget by 20 percent below its 2010 level, inflation adjusted. Thousands of skilled IRS auditors, investigators, and accountants could not be retained. Audits of large companies plunged by 58 percent between 2010 and 2019. Congress was turned into a recidivist enabler of massive tax evasion – which if done by ordinary people would constitute a crime.

Last year, 55 large corporations made $40 billion in U.S. profits and paid NO federal income tax. Other companies paid less than 10 percent. To give you an idea of the size of yearly uncollected taxes, the lowest estimate is $600 billion, which is $168 billion less than the entire $768 billion military budget approved last year. The current IRS Commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, says the sum of uncollected taxes last year was a trillion dollars!

When super-rich individuals and corporations escape taxes, either middle-class taxpayers have to pay more or there are fewer government services or the federal deficit gets bigger. The last two results are the ones usually favored by Congress.

Turning to tax reform, there are lists and lists of proposals to get rid of grossly unfair tax loopholes, parking money in overseas tax havens, unjustifiable commercial tax deductions, arbitrary deferrals of income, rapid depreciation, shell corporations, and other complex travesties cooked up by corporate tax lawyers.

There is the notorious “carried interest” tax escape, condemned by Warren Buffett and just about every impartial tax expert. This is where private equity and hedge funds, in particular, get their no-risk net services for investors taxed at a much lower capital gains tax rate instead of higher ordinary income rates.

These legal tax escapes are called “tax avoidance” and are carved out by commercial interest lobbyists who wine, dine, and give campaign cash to many of the 535 members of Congress. Some of these “avoidances” have existed for years, while others are quietly pushed through at the end of many congressional sessions. If people only knew more specific examples of what profitable freeloaders are getting away with, their ire would spark indignation and civic action. Think tax deductions for extravagant entertainment or paying wrongfully injured people and so forth.

Spending $100 million a year could fund hundreds of skilled peoples’ lobbyists on Capitol Hill and back home in congressional districts. These advocates would make tax reform front-page news, push for revelatory public hearings and encourage disclosures by whistleblowers. They would also propose airtight specific legislation. These and other initiatives would make “tax reform” a top-ranked election issue.

For years, all kinds of fair tax proposals have been developed by law professors, and public interest groups, such as the Citizens for Tax Justice and its former director Robert McIntyre. But no legislative muscle has been applied to Congress to counter the relentless corporatist assault on fair and proper tax laws.

Some reformers are concluding that giant corporations are moving the tax code toward de facto tax exemption for themselves. David Cay Johnston, author of many articles and books on this subject, has concluded that corporations, using global tax escapes, can now decide what to pay, when to pay, and where to pay their dwindling taxes. He thinks unenforceable federal income taxes for corporations should be scrapped in favor of a much simpler, more collectible corporate tax system.

Western European nations rely heavily on “value-added taxes” a cascading form of sales tax starting with mining to manufacturing to wholesale and retail levels. Sales taxes are usually easier and quicker to collect.

Other tax reform advocates urge that we start first with taxing pollution, (“tax what we burn before taxing what we earn”) corporate crime, and financial transaction taxes on Wall Street trades and speculation.

Doubters of much success in Congress, take note. There are no more than a tiny handful of full-time advocates doing this work. Not a single full-time person, for example, is lobbying to end the “carried interest” tax escape. Similar voids exist for any one of hundreds of such unconscionable and indefensible schemes.

Why would you expect anything to happen with nobody on top of Congress? With $100 million a year, a corps of savvy experts, publicists and communicators could decisively take on Capitol Hill.

For now, Congress must pass the Biden administration’s restorative funding to the depleted IRS to make the Big Boys pay up.

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Biden Neglects to Make the Crucial Request to the Citizenry for His Program

By Ralph Nader
March 7, 2022

The President’s State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress is the media event of the year for the occupant of the Oval Office. Joe Biden spoke for an hour, covered lots of predictable policy ground, and also praised, promised, and reassured “the people.”

But, as President Biden has done many times in public speeches and addresses, he failed to engage the people as his allies to confront his policy opponents in Congress.

All his priorities – social safety net protections, rebuilding community infrastructure or public works, more aggressive action against climate crises, and paying for these programs by repealing the Trump tax escapes for the large corporations and the super-rich, are being blocked by 50 GOP Senators and two Democratic Senators.

Biden’s reluctance to invite the people to phone, write or email these obstructionists in Congress reflects his personality of not criticizing the GOP opposition when addressing the public.

Here is what Mr. Biden could have said to mobilize the citizenry and stay with his amiable style:

My four major programs register large majority support among the American people. It is easy to understand why. People want their public services to work. They want the roads, bridges, public transit, their water and sewage plants, their public clinics, and broadband upgraded and maintained in good repair. People need their well-equipped heroic emergency responders to rescue them in times of danger. That’s what your taxes are supposed to be for public needs.

Furthermore, the American people want their government to have the facilities to protect them from climate violence and not just when the tornadoes, hurricanes, massive wildfires, floods or droughts, and other natural disasters hit us. Increasingly, the people are worried about more of these calamities worsening for their children and grandchildren.

You know what? It doesn’t matter whether they are conservatives or liberals, small businesses or large company owners, members of the chambers of commerce or unions. That’s why all the polls register loudly: “Do It, Now!”

We also know that the American people are compassionate. They know that misfortune, calamity, bad luck, or disabling depression could befall any of us. Half of the working families in our country are poor. They struggle to meet their daily needs and debt payments. Fifteen million children go to bed hungry in America! Our traumatized veterans return home and find themselves homeless, unemployed, uncared for and committing suicide, all in higher proportions than is the case with the civilian population.

Workplace hazards claim many workers’ health and safety. Toxics in the environment expose some people more than others. All these people who are our neighbors, friends, and relatives call for the compassion of those Americans fortunate enough not to be in distress. All religions historically instruct their adherents to take their charitable responsibilities seriously. We learned this as kids attending our places of worship.

Our proposed programs have, for decades, lent a helping hand to needy workers – daycare and family leave – and to needy unemployed such as wider access to Medicare, Medicaid, home healthcare, nutritious food programs, and energy assistance. In 2021, this Congress appropriated funds that gave over 60 million non-partisan children approximately $300 per month per child. Mothers and fathers called this supplemental help during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic a timely lifeline. It expired in January. Many in Congress have refused to temporarily renew this emergency help.

My fourth program, which would repeal the Trump tax escapes answers the question members of Congress always ask. How do we pay for these services and initiatives I have outlined (which by the way, economists tell us help promote economic growth and head off heavy expenses, as with safety, health, and health insurance improvements)? The super-rich and the giant corporations should step up their patriotism and finally pay their fair share as people like Warren Buffett and the Patriotic Millionaires’ organization have argued for years.

Just in the period of Covid-19, the very wealthy have increased their assets by a trillion dollars and INCREASED their wealth while a pandemic has claimed more than a million innocent American lives and destabilized the economy. These privileged and wealthy people and super-profitable corporations are benefitting from the lowest federal income taxes their class has paid since before World War II.

Congress itself has documented the huge tax escapes available to the super-rich. One stunning fact stands out: In 2021, 55 corporations that earned $40 billion paid zero in federal income taxes. They can get away with this because their lobbyists stay in touch with their members of Congress who make their privileges possible.

That’s not fair by any standard of fair play for the American people. I don’t know any American workers who can make record wages and pay no federal income tax.

My proposals would restore the taxes on the super-rich and giant corporations, including foreign corporations doing business in the U.S. to where it was before the Trump cuts. Even then they were paying in federal income taxes far less than companies and super-rich were paying in the prosperous nineteen sixties.

My fellow Americans, aren’t you getting tired of State of the Union speeches by presidents condemning gouging prescription drug prices and the ban on Medicare negotiating volume discounts with the big drug companies, as the VA and the Department of Defense do now, with nothing happening on Capitol Hill? Aren’t you tired, as I am, of a succession of presidents condemning fraud on the government by business crooks or promising to make America more self-sufficient in critical areas, and nothing happens in Congress?

The list goes on – for a higher minimum wage, enforcing the law against corporate crime, monopolies and daily rip-offs of consumers, and letting workers have an easier time forming trade unions.

Still, Congress – not all lawmakers of Congress by any means – does nothing and in some instances actually passes legislation making some of these abuses worse.

Enough already. You the people gave your sovereign power under our Constitution over to the 535 members of Congress. You must demand that your delegated power be used by Congress to lift up and serve the American people ‘indivisible for liberty and justice for all.’ You know their names, their phone numbers, and their emails. Let them hear from you! Or you can call the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask the legendary Capitol operators to take you to the offices of your senators and representatives. If just 30 million out of over 300 million Americans do this simple task, I guarantee that you’ll change enough minds to make these great advances against frustration, anxiety, dread and fear a daily reality.

In addition, the White House will place these programs in clear language with numbers on a new White House website Yes.org. When you contact your members of Congress, make sure you insist on a response to your message. If your members of Congress do not respond to your demands, send them again and again to their national and local offices and, if you wish, to the local media.

We only need a handful of legislators to change their minds or to be independent of mind, to get these long-overdue changes enacted. As was done throughout American history, when members of Congress decided to do the right things, despite special interest negativity, it was because they heard your voices, your reason, your personal pleas, your compassion, and your respect for what our Founders called “posterity.” Only you now can make members of Congress rise to their “better angels.”

Thank you and God Bless America.

Why didn’t Biden’s speechwriters save this solemn, mass-media-covered occasion from being another exercise in rhetorical futility?

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Everyone Loses in the Conflict Over Ukraine

By Ralph Nader
February 25, 2022

When two scorpions are in a bottle, they both lose. This is the preventable danger that is growing daily, with no end game in sight between the two nuclear superpowers, led by dictator Vladimir Putin and de facto sole decider, Joe Biden.

Putin’s first argument is, Washington invented the model of aggressive, illegal invasions, and destruction of distant countries that never threatened U.S. security. Millions have died, been injured, and sickened in defenseless countries attacked by U.S. armed forces. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney killed over a million innocent Iraqis and devastated the country in so many ways that scholars called it a “sociocide.”

Putin’s second argument is that Russia is being threatened on its sensitive western border, which had been invaded twice by Germany and caused the loss of 50 million Russian lives. Soon after the Soviet Union collapsed, the West’s military alliance against Russia began moving east. Under Bill Clinton, NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) signed up Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in 1999 leading to major arms sales by the U.S. giant munitions corporations.

More recently, Putin sees U.S. soldiers in these countries, ever closer U.S. missile launchers, U.S.-led joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, and intimations that Ukraine and Georgia could soon join NATO. (Imagine if the Russians were to have such a military presence around the U.S. borders.)

Even often hawkish New York Times columnists – Thomas Friedman and Bret Stephens made this point this week about the brazen U.S. history of military hypocrisy while tearing into Putin. Stephens brought up the Monroe Doctrine over the entire Western Hemisphere, in raising repeatedly the question, “Who are We?”

The chess game between Russia and the West has become more deadly with Putin’s military moves followed by immediate Western sanctions against some Russian banks and oligarchs close to Putin. Travel bans and freezing the completion of the second major natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany are in place with promises of much more severe economic retaliation by Biden.

These sanctions can become a two-way street. Western Europe needs Russian oil and gas, Russian wheat, and essential Russian minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Sanctions against Russia will soon boomerang in terms of higher oil and gas prices for Europeans and Americans, more inflation, worsening supply chains, and the dreaded “economic uncertainty” afflicting stock markets and consumer spending.

The corporate global economy gave us interdependence on other nations, instead of domestic self-reliance under the framework of corporate-managed free trade agreements.

So how many billions of dollars in costs and a weakened economy will Joe Biden tolerate as the price of anti-Putin sanctions that will blowback on the American people? How much suffering will he tolerate being inflicted on the long-suffering Russian people? What will be the impact on the civilian population of more severe sanctions? And who is he to talk as if he doesn’t have to be authorized by Congress to go further into this state of belligerence, short of sending soldiers, which he said he would not do?

Is Congress to be left as a cheerleader, washing its hands of its constitutional oversight and foreign policy duties? Also, watch Republicans and Democrats in Congress unify to whoop through more money for the bloated military budget, as pointed out by military analyst, Michael Klare. What energy will be left for Biden’s pending “Build Back Better” infrastructure, social safety net, and climate crisis legislation?

In recent weeks, the State Department said it recognizes Russia’s legitimate security concerns but not its expansionism. Well, what is wrong with a ceasefire followed by support for a treaty “guaranteeing neutrality for Ukraine, similar to the enforced neutrality for Austria since the Cold War’s early years,” as Nation publisher and Russia specialist Katrina vanden Heuvel urged. (See: Katrina vanden Heuvel’s Washington Post article and her recent Nation piece).

Putin, unable to get over the breakup of the Soviet Union, probably has imperial ambitions to dominate in Russia’s backyard. Biden has inherited and accepted the U.S. Empire’s ambitions in many other nation’s backyards. Events have polarized this conflict over Ukraine, which is not a security interest for the U.S., into two dominant egos – Putin and Biden – neither of whom want to appear weak or to back down.

This is a dangerous recipe for an out-of-control escalation, much as it was in the lead-up to World War I. Neither the people nor the parliaments mattered then, as seems to be the case today.

Putin isn’t likely to make a cost-benefit assessment of each day’s militarism. But Biden better do so. Otherwise, he will be managed by Putin’s daily moves, instead of insisting on serious negotiations. The Minsk II Peace Accords of February 2015 brokered by Germany, France, and the United Nations that Russia and Ukraine agreed to before falling apart due to disagreements over who should take the first steps, still makes for a useful framework.

It is too late to revisit the accords to stop the invasion. But it should be proposed to introduce a climate for waging peace. Already, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has spoken about an increase in cyberattacks and ransomware demands in her state in recent weeks. Has Biden put that rising certainty in his self-described decades-long foreign policy expertise? Watch out for what you can’t stop, Joe.

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California Advocates Counterattack Corporate Crime and Control

By Ralph Nader
February 18, 2022

Want to unite conservatives and liberals in the Red and Blue states? Just mention those unreadable computer-generated bills we all get online or in the mail. Overflowing with abbreviations and codes, they are inscrutable, especially health care bills.

If you call the vendors for an explanation, be prepared to wait and wait and wait for any human being to answer or call back, even after you’ve pushed all the required buttons to leave a voice mail message. The vendors are counting on you to surrender, mumbling that you’ve got better things to do with your time.

If you’re lucky enough to get a human and you disagree about the bill, you know that if you persist against their assurances of accuracy, your credit score can go down. Algorithms can be made to work so impersonally.

A few months ago, the syndicated consumer columnist for the Washington Post, Michelle Singletary, tried to correct errors in her credit bureau’s file. She called trying to get through a “hellish nightmare,” a “journey to automation hell.” Service by algorithm doesn’t differentiate between ordinary and prominent customers. Everyone gets the same shaft.

One of the worst companies in not getting back to customer inquiries or complaints is the Bank of America. Sources tell us the Bank has algorithms that measure how long they can keep customers waiting so as to have fewer workers needed to answer the calls.

The very design of computerized bills is a premeditated endeavor by the cheaters. The nation’s expert, applied mathematician Malcolm Sparrow – a Harvard professor – wrote an entire book on this subject titled “License to Steal” in which he conservatively estimated that the billing fraud in the health care industry is 10% of all expenses or about $360 billion this year alone!

The anonymous cheaters, hiding behind the corporate web of complexity, keep getting bolder. They bill you for things you never bought or wanted. The Wells Fargo Bank did this to millions of their customers over the years. The bank opened unwanted credit card accounts and billed for auto insurance, for example, imposing sales quotas on their employees. The media caught the bank, finally. Wells Fargo had to pay out money in fines and restitution. The company easily absorbed the payments as part of the cost of doing business. No executive was criminally prosecuted; a few resigned. The Board of Directors was not replaced. And Wells Fargo is flying high today, pretty much unscathed.

Many consumers don’t even look at their bills anymore. They just give up and let the sellers, such as the utilities, get direct electronic payments from their bank accounts.

On July 30, 2014, Senator Jay Rockefeller’s consumer subcommittee held hearings on “cramming.” Here customers are billed for things on their telephone bill they never ordered by firms that somehow got the phone companies to add their charges. The testimony described what has to be seen as criminal billing. Members of Congress turned their backs on the proposed legislation to end this scam while keeping their pockets open to campaign contributions from the wrongdoers.

Credit scores, credit ratings, and grossly one-sided fine print contracts are resulting in the financial and contractual incarceration of the American consumer. In many instances, the corporate lawyers who create these contractual handcuffs make sure that you’ve “consented” to your “jailing,” to your rip-offs, to your giving up your rights to go to court to challenge marketplace abuses. They point to some deeply buried sentence in these contracts that you have never even seen.

Maybe someday such deceit by these lawyers, who are deemed “officers of the court,” will be considered legal malpractice.

Well, someone cares! In a groundbreaking report accompanied by a comprehensive proposed model act for state legislatures to enact, California consumer advocates Harvey Rosenfield and Laura Antonini document the thousand and one “non-stop thefts of our money, safety, time and privacy.”

If you read through the waves of documented corporate rip-offs, billing frauds, and deceptive promotions, you’ll be nodding so much, from your own experience, that you may have to stop and rest your neck.

The authors don’t just expose the fraudsters, however. They have drafted legislation to stop the corporate crooks and to protect and empower you in the perilous marketplace of corporate crime, fraud, and abuse.

Read the report (four years in the making) for yourself by visiting the Represent Consumers website. You will see how the eroded civil justice system can be toughened across the board to represent you.

Those of you who wish to listen to Harvey and Laura talk about their battle for American consumers, turn to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour where their interview will be available as a podcast on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

You’ll want to take your righteous fury straight to your state legislator with the model statute in hand.

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