Ralph Nader and Colleagues Call on Speaker Pelosi to Revive the Office of Technology Assessment

August 3, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Office of the Speaker
H-252 U.S. Capitol
United States Congress
Washington, DC 20515

RE: Your Authority to Fund the Defunded Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) Constructive Leverage!

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

A critical arm and intellectual infrastructure of Congress – the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) – has been defunded since Speaker Newt Gingrich ordered such, after he toppled the complacent Democrats in November 1994. This left Congress without sound independent advice by some 140 scientists and technologists on a long list of decisions by the Congress to oversee, stop, reduce, or start funding for scientific and technological programs.

Not until 2009-2010, when the Democrats regained control of both Houses, did a broad coalition of scientists, civic advocates, and members of the Congress, led by Democratic Representative Rush Holt (a former Princeton University scientist), urge you as Speaker to revive the OTA. A distinguished number of Nobel laureates, former staff and officials of the OTA, and your Democratic colleagues, sought hearings backed by an impressively documented case for refunding. To no avail. You then opposed public hearings and apparently told aides that you did not want to give the Republicans an opportunity to accuse Democrats of creating another bureaucracy on Capitol Hill. (The OTA’s budget was a parsimonious $21 million in its last year. A bureaucratic OTA is a figment of fevered Republican imagination). It is very alarming that the damage Gingrich did in lobotomizing Congress continues after him. The number of expert congressional overseers has been slashed beyond the bare bones, while the massive Executive Branch to be overseen has grown topsy-turvy and for the worst.

So, another decade was lost. Another vacuum of credible advice by Congress’s own OTA (as has occurred to a lesser extent with the diminished GAO and CRS) enveloped sectors and issues such as artificial intelligence, systemic invasions of privacy, boondoggle, huge ballistic missile defense and nuclear upgrade expenditures, climate disruption, Boeing 737 Max, genetic engineering, citizen surveillance technology, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, Covid-19, fracking, computer procurement waste, atomic energy, renewable energy, health care, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, food additives, catastrophic environmental disasters, such as the BP oil spill, occupational safety, the controlling power of corporate algorithms, consumer product hazards, and more.

What filled this vacuum was corporate-driven pseudo-science (see former OSHA director David Michaels’ new book, The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception), which twisted and tortured legislation and appropriations. Business lobbyists thwarted oversight while the number and experience of congressional staff overseers shrank. This is a serious situation now under your watch.

There followed an open sesame for unscrupulous corporations that arrested prudent ways to avert trillions of dollars in waste, perils to the American people and other peoples abroad, inverted perverse priorities, and resulted in bad, dangerous decisions that have ramifications to this day.

You now can move toward action-driven enlightenment despite the Republican control of the Senate. For your House majority can create a unicameral OTA and fund it without the affirmation of the Senate majority wallowing in its Dark Ages. The House OTA can be reconstituted functionally as an arm of the House independent of the Senate. Acting on behalf of the House alone, you cannot be blocked by the Senate as you were in 2019 when the House included $6 million for the bicameral OTA in its House-passed version of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 277). As a matter of law, 31 U.S.C. 1105, 1107, and custom, neither the Senate nor the President can interfere with the budget proposed by the House for itself, including the funding of House Committees or House Offices.

You and your colleagues also can make an overwhelming substantive case for funding a House OTA based on scores of audits, investigations, and reports that invite first-class advice, assessment, and testimony from your own public servants. The small technology unit in GAO, while useful for GAO’s culture, is not sufficient. There is a massive backlog of congressionally neglected work to be done. Consider how pathetic the questioning has been by Committee members, already deprived of adequate staff (the Gingrich model), of the Silicon Valley executives once the Congress finally got these imperial bosses to agree to come and testify. Similarly, both Democrats and Republicans have been seriously fact-deprived in their hoopla support for failed attempts at deregulating and boosting the hyped premature autonomous vehicles push by the industry, especially in 2017 and 2018. Worse has been the automatic annual funding by Congress of the mega-billions of dollars for the ballistic missile defense boondoggle, criticized by leading technical experts, without oversight since its inception during the Reagan years.

Corporate lobbyists and installed corporate-indentured officials in the Executive Branch will no doubt oppose such a revived OTA. Its reports will be staples of public congressional hearings. Congressional ignorance makes Congress much easier to ignore. Your iron control of the House of Representatives can make Republican opposition flaccid and evidentially self-serving to their greed and corporatism. Please use your power to address the problems that stem from the absence of OTA and fund it this time.

The undersigned are sending this letter to other members of Congress, numerous scientific and engineering associations, individuals, distinguished academic and non-academic scientists and technologists and, of course, the media.

Please do not prejudge from the last decade. As recent events and civic energy demonstrate, this is a new era with new possibilities once deemed politically difficult in those past years of inertia and self-censorship. Seize the hour!

Two of the undersigned, in their exercise of civic duties, have written you several letters on important matters without ever receiving an acknowledgment, much less a serious response. Is this your established office practice, apart from constituent services for your San Francisco residents? The right of citizens to petition for redress of grievances is enshrined in the First Amendment in furtherance of self-government. Public officials should act accordingly.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader, Esq.

Bruce Fein, Esq.

Claire Nader, Ph.D.

Joan B. Claybrook, Esq.

Louis Fisher, Esq.

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Fed Guarantees Unproductive Debt and Perilous Speculation

By Ralph Nader

The Federal Reserve Board – our unaccountable Central Bank – needs more citizen and Congressional supervision. Fees from financial institutions fund its operations, not Congressional appropriations. It is as secret as it wants to be and that’s plenty. (See Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country by William Greider). Plus, the Fed can print money at will. In the past several years it has “produced” trillions of dollars that juiced the stock market’s speculation.

Back nearly 90 years ago, the influential British economist, John Maynard Keynes, warned about stock markets veering into speculation and away from investments to build the real economy. Today, he might view stock markets as the epitome of wasteful “casino capitalism.” They have very little to do with raising money for useful investments and everything to do with making bets, as in multi-tiered derivatives, puts, and options to make money from money. Most often using, in Justice Louis Brandeis’s phrase, “other people’s money,” the Wall Street gamblers reap lucrative fees from unproductive speculation.

Fed Chairman, Jerome H. Powell, has chosen to instill “confidence” in the stock markets and credit markets by injecting trillions of dollars into the financial system to reassure the Wall Street speculators that the Covid-19 pandemic won’t crash the money markets into chaos and bankruptcies.

But Powell, the Fed and the bankers who dominate the Fed and its regional branches have set the stage for this constant bailout of reckless bubbles and debt binges. By keeping interest rates too low, now near zero, they have encouraged non-financial companies to go deeper and deeper into riskier debt ($6.8 trillion and surging). Borrowing has been so cheap that some of this debt was incurred by companies just to buy back their stock! Stock buybacks do not produce anything but higher metrics for executive compensation (See article, Why Stock Buybacks Are Dangerous for the Economy by William Lazonick).

Powell has turned a deaf ear to tens of millions of Americans, with modest incomes, who together have trillions of dollars in money market and bank savings accounts and are getting almost nothing by way of interest income. The result is less consumer spending. Yet Powell arrogantly says he’s not even thinking about raising interest rates even to one percent. Lenders like this approach because the sky-high interest rates they charge are not regulated.

Meanwhile, this huge pile of money looking for some return on investment is being lured into the stock market further driving up price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios into nosebleed territory.

Powell shrugs and assures the big boys on Wall Street that the Fed will have their back without limits. In return, the corporations continue their unproductive speculation and what the New York Times called a Fed-driven “debt binge.”

To make matters worse, these trillions of dollars are chasing fewer listed companies on the stock exchanges. Mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, and raising money from cheap debt instead of equity, over the past 25 years have cut the number of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange by half.

Note how little all these financial machinations directly help the average families in America. More money is controlled by the few than ever before, but little is going into productive investments in the creation of jobs and services sorely needed in this, shaky “real economy”.

Some economists have written that “the stock markets are not the economy.” True enough if they are describing how stocks can soar on Wall Street while the Main Street economy plummets. Unfortunately, few economists focus on the stock market speculators sucking money belonging to the people (pension and mutual funds) into the speculation vortex while corporate bosses borrow cheap money, at record low-interest rates, for self-serving unproductive uses.

The Fed is pursuing a short-term game of guaranteeing corporations against self-imposed riskiness (the Fed is even starting to buy corporate bonds). This authoritarian Central Bank, with its own bulging red ink balance sheet, is turning its massive injections of “liquidity” into a narcotic for Big Business.

Such addictions hurt many innocent people back home trying to keep jobs, find jobs, and pay their bills. The House Democrats must hold rigorous public hearings on the Fed which ironically is demanding that Congress provide more immediate relief for ordinary people.

In May the House Democrats passed a $3 trillion package addressing these needs and sent the bill to a balking Republican-controlled Senate.

Now it is time for various House Committees to publicly question Chairman Powell about the costs of the Fed’s callous indifference to the real economy and struggling Americans.

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Calls Mounting For Trump to Step Aside From Covid-19 Bungling

By Ralph Nader

Public Citizen’s open letter, co-signed by over twenty nonprofit civic organizations working for the public health, demanded that Trump and Pence immediately give up their disastrous daily mismanagement of the Covid-19 response. Trump’s bungling and ignorance have allowed the Covid-19 virus to spread faster at an alarming rate around the country.

Public Citizen’s letter to Trump and Pence asserted that their “callous disregard for human life during the still-raging coronavirus pandemic is appalling and must cease,” and called for both of them to “immediately step aside from any further role in leading or communicating about the federal response to the pandemic, and to delegate full operating authority over the response to senior professional public health and medical experts within the agencies of the U.S. Public Health Service.” (See letter at citizen.org).

Dr. Peter Lurie, President of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is circulating a sign-on letter to current and former public health officials and professionals to be sent to President Trump defending Dr. Anthony Fauci and calling for science-based policies and the involvement of government scientists as the nation develops its response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

More Republicans in the Congress are agreeing with this shift to scientific and managerial expertise. Trump’s chaotic, mindless, wrongheaded, ego-obsessed careening week after week is aiding and abetting the spread of the virus. The Trump regime is not leading; it is obstructing the state efforts to combat the virus, over-riding or undermining the scientists and pushing lethal nostrums to desperate citizens.  Trump and his toadies are also failing to provide needed supplies, facilities,  uniform safeguards and clear guidance to the state officials.

Republican Senators, Susan Collins (Rep. Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (Rep. West Virginia) have publicly declared that Trump should “step back” and let the “health professionals” be in daily operating charge. Many more GOP legislators privately and not so privately agree.  They are seeing their poll numbers drop because of the Trump virus debacle.

The Democrats should take the initiative and draft  a veto-proof bi-partisan bill to establish a special Commission to oversee  the federal government’s management of the pandemic by scientists , public health officials and  management experts. Moreover, members of Congress, whether singly or together, should demand that the giant medical and public health associations in this country speak out and demonstrate the utter urgency of the situation, presently controlled by a ferocious, ignorant fool. (They can use more diplomatic language).

Senators and Representatives must get to work and hold public hearings featuring people who know what they’re talking about. Former heads of the CDC led by Thomas Frieden are ready to testify. Prominent Deans of medical schools and heads of national and state public health associations have much to say and recommend. Nurses have already voiced their concerns by picketing  the White House.

The Trump Administration’s lethal incompetence is unprecedented in American history. The fatalities and sickened are increasing in the pandemic’s surge. The economy is falling apart. Tens of millions are unemployed, facing hunger and eviction. The Pentagon stockpiles nuclear weapons while public health budgets are depleted, and schools beg for funds to safely open in the fall.

At the same time, the Captain Queeg in the White House is actually boasting that he has stopped enforcement of disease-preventing federal protections, and is continuing to push for terminating critical nursing home regulations and pressing to end Obamacare that will leave 23 million more Americans without health insurance. Sheer madness!

Wake up America!  We need to do far more than we have done to force Trump to resign or at least step aside.   Wake up Trump supporters!  This virus is non-partisan and its destruction is insatiable. Our country cannot any longer afford to have a crazy man in the White House.

For the sake of many lives that can be saved, every person should call the White House comment number (202-456-1111) or the White House switchboard (202-456-1414) and tell Trump to step aside for the good of the country.  Your messages tell Presidents which way the political winds are blowing. Make this “rumble of the people” speak loud and clear NOW!

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The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation

By Ralph Nader

Today’s New York Times headline boldly exclaimed, “PRESIDENT IS ‘NOT ABOVE THE LAW,’ JUSTICES DECIDE.” But then the Supreme Court majority found a way not to apply the law to Trump’s defiance of Congress.

Didn’t this question get decided in 1776 and more formally in 1787 by our Founders?

In obtaining information for overseeing the Executive Branch, the plenary power of Congress neither needs affirmation by the courts nor can tolerate years of judicial delays. It is time for the illogical Justices, who find few limits to vast Presidential powers either domestically or in pursuit of undeclared wars of Empire, to stop shredding Congress’s constitutional authority.

The very conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissent, addressed the futility of Congress employing the courts to obtain information by subpoena for legislation, for example, strengthening the President’s financial disclosure obligations. The maximum congressional strategy for securing presidential documents is through use of its impeachment authority, he wrote.

An article of impeachment was voted against President Nixon in 1974 for defying a congressional subpoena that was not validated by a court. Trump has defied scores of subpoenas, dozens of formal Congressional demands for information and testimony by Executive Branch officials. Yet, apart from the Ukraine impeachment in December 2019 by the Democratic House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has kept eleven other serious ongoing impeachable offenses by Trump and his lawless regime on the shelf. You can read these impeachable offenses compiled by constitutional law experts, Bruce Fein, Louis Fisher, and me, and presented by Congressman John Larson (D-CT) in the December 18, 2019, Congressional Record H-12197.

Absent a robust defense of our democracy by the Supreme Court or Congress, the citizenry must mobilize a mass demand for Trump’s resignation – for all of America’s sake. Whether the case is made for the rule of law or against disastrous, dangerous, and delusionary policies from Trump’s Wall Street over Main Street White House, the support should be treated as non-partisan and as the essence of patriotism.

On June 5, 2020, the Portland (Maine) Press Herald called for Trump to resign, urging Trump to ask himself – “Can the country take five more months like the last five?” The editorial asserted that “your shortcomings are unleashing historic levels of suffering on the American people.”

When this staid newspaper took this position, it did not evaluate the prospect of success. That is not its responsibility. Nor should any such prejudgment of Trump’s rejection of resignation inhibit hundreds of Congressional lawmakers, civic group leaders, columnists, and editorial writers, who have made the overwhelming case against corrupt Donald Trump in great documented detail. But, unfortunately, most of these people have failed to reach the obvious conclusion from their convictions.

The case for Trump’s resignation should never be withheld by weighing the odds of that happening. The demand itself is the necessity of our times. Here are some reasons:

1. Trump’s ignorance and ego-driven bungling and obstructions of professional scientific management of the Covid-19 pandemic occur daily and often in open sight. After weeks of delay fatal to tens of thousands of Americans, his continuing abandonment of presidential leadership in assuring supplies, facilities and critical coordination for the states warrant removal of this flailing, failing, careening so-called chief executive. America cannot wait to stop the irreparable destruction that will occur from now until January 20, 2021.

2. The mass resignation demand highlights in an organized way the case for Trump’s removal (supported by 60% of women in a November 26, 2019, CNN poll) that Congress possesses and has failed to pursue in both the House and Senate.

No one so guilty of violating the basic laws of our land, so corruptly selling our government to giant corporations while asking CEOs for campaign contributions should disgrace our White House any longer. Trump’s increasingly shrill bigotry, pressing for selective voter intimidation and suppression, and incitements to violence illustrates what Alexander Hamilton meant by citing the “abuse of the public trust” as an impeachable offense.

3. The widespread discourse and debate pursuant to a mass resignation demand will highlight the specifics of Trump’s damage to our country. He arbitrarily declares another “economic emergency” so as to make corporate crimes worse by literally stopping enforcement of consumer, worker, environmental and economic protections. Big corporations over people again.

The resignation demand highlights his abuses against women over the years, his regime’s leaving young people defenseless against rapacious commercial universities and student loan exploiters, his support for freezing a $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage and other anti-worker slams that are all under-reported.

4. Because Trump doubles down on his many outrageous refusals to “faithfully execute the laws,” spending monies not appropriated by Congress, pursuing nine wars undeclared by Congress, giving his cronies lucrative government contracts, all the while daily distracting with his new-cycle-dominating foul-mouth tweets and personal attacks, the media has become jaded to the larger questions of why this madman is still in the Oval Office.

The reliance on the election in November afflicts many civic groups from pressing for Trump’s eviction now. “Me Too” activists still go after powerful misogynists but have given up on the 800-pound elephant in the room – Trump. Other citizen advocacy organizations cite their condemnatory reports, their press releases and their lawsuits against Trump. The failed gambling czar laughs at all this, even when the media reports on these meritorious efforts.

Trump will get away with everything until January 20, 2021, unless he is removed from office, whether by impeachment and conviction, or a massive public resignation demand that sinks his poll numbers, leading him to quit because he can’t stand losing the election.

5. Trump himself will nourish community-level resignation demands by his increasing interference with the rights of voters, leading the GOP to daily clashes with election officials, civil rights groups, and the people’s notions of fair play.

Already underway in GOP controlled states are pernicious efforts to obstruct voter registration such as the closing of precincts in minority areas, purging of certain voters, and crazed harassment of low-income voters, including requiring notarized mail-in votes or launching inappropriate challenges of signatures. There are neither prosecutors nor judges who can stop these and other dictatorial ravages in time for November 3, 2020.

With Trump still in office, prepare for an embroiling election crisis, as he unleashes street violence and harassing lawsuits before favorable judges citing the results as “rigged,” a “hoax,” and “stolen,” no matter his margin of defeat. With the pandemic of Covid-19 still taking casualties, why not try to get him out of the office and in the process inform and arouse the public? Genuine conservatives and current and retired military people are seething against Trump acting in their name and taking them for granted. They are ready to join the effort to protect our democracy and the rule of law.

The history of the Democratic Party, losing repeatedly to the worst Republican Party ever at the national and state levels, is not propitious for the coming months. Are Democratic operatives up to either a pre- or post-election day Trump and his unscrupulous GOP fanatics? The stakes are too high to rely on the Democrats.

It is our obligation as citizens to organize and demand Trump’s resignation and focus millions of voters on turning out the Trumpsters and their four-year Dark Age that is wrecking America.

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Statement by Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein on Trump v. Mazars

The partial U.S. House of Representatives victory in the enforcement of four subpoenas for Trump and family financial records from third parties in Trump v. Mazars today in SCOTUS underscores the folly of congressional resort to federal courts in lieu of impeachment for defiance of subpoenas. The subpoenas were issued in April 2019. The SCOTUS decision sends the case back to lower courts for further review, which will not be complete until after November’s balloting, making them politically irrelevant. Moreover, House subpoenas expire at the end of the issuing Congress–in this case, January 4, 2021 before SCOTUS will have time to address the issues again after its remands. Congress will be back to square one in January.

This is no way to run a railroad. We are working with Congressmen Larson, Raskin, and others for a House Resolution making defiance of a congressional subpoena an impeachable offense. Once exercised, it should concentrate the mind of the Executive Branch wonderfully on subpoena compliance with alacrity.

Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent in Trump v. Mazars makes clear that the congressional impeachment mode endows Congress with virtually limitless oversight or investigatory authority over the President. All the more reason to make defiance of a congressional subpoena an impeachable offense.

-Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein

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Trump and Pence – Step Aside for Professional Pandemic Scientists and Managers

By Ralph Nader

Major changes in society can be accomplished by a fast-emerging, broad-based civic jolt so obvious and persuasive that it overwhelms the entrenched powers. The most urgent job is for people to organize to get Trump and Pence to step aside from their bungling, making-matters-worse mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic. The White House should let a professional pandemic control specialist with public health experience and an appreciation of science replace the current and ongoing Trump horror show.

Many Republican operatives watching the daily Trump virus spectacle are terrified by how the President fabricates, fantasizes, confuses, and endangers the country. As Trump lowers his and their poll numbers, Republicans would welcome such a replacement.

“We the People,” are seeing the failing Donald Trump over-riding his own scientists and paralyzing any federal leadership and coordination of state efforts, as he measures all moves by his delusional ego. The citizenry must quickly mount irresistible pressure for Trump and Pence to step aside. Let Trump focus on the November election, which is all he cares about anyway, apart from watching Fox News for hours each day, lying to the public and endlessly tweeting slanders and insults.

Trump is so cruel and out of touch that he is letting his henchman cut nursing home safety regulations, end health and safety protections for workers, consumers, and communities, and pursue the end of Obamacare by stripping 23 million Americans of their health insurance. Doing this in the middle of a worsening killer pandemic is sheer madness. We have a president at the helm of a careening ship of state acting worse than Captain Queeg.

Would any community tolerate, in Maureen Dowd’s words, such “chaos, cruelty, deception and incompetence,” in their local public safety officials?

To be sure, there have been thousands of articles, columns, editorials, and TV/radio reports of the grotesque delays, perverse actions, quackery, and faking over the grim realities by Trump and Pence. All this takes place against the backdrop of his blundering son-in-law who is overseeing and furthering corrupt corporate bailouts. But, inexplicably, reporters and columnists avoid the conclusions that should stem from their own convictions and writings. One exception is the Washington Post editorial in May 2020, calling for Trump and Pence to step aside and let people who know what they’re doing take the reins.

The country simply cannot wait until Inauguration Day, January 21, 2021. Every day the Trump virus spreads further, while its presidential enabler is making sure sick Americans are left unprotected, and workers are left unemployed. More and more innocents are paying the ultimate price for this public health and economic disaster.

The failed gambling czar, selected to be our fake president by the unelected Electoral College, crazily gives himself a “ten” rating, admits no mistakes, and refuses to learn from other nations’ comparative successes against the virus.

Putting health professionals in charge of the “war” against the Covid-19 pandemic has worked in Taiwan, New Zealand, Thailand, Uruguay, and Canada’s British Columbia and other countries with sane leadership. These countries are showing far, far superior life-saving results and fewer economic convulsions.

Mr. Trump, if you’re not going to resign for America’s sake, at the least, step aside for your own political campaign’s sake. A coordinated civic jolt and a laser-beam demand from the people can make you and the alarmed GOP realize you are not capable of doing the job that needs to be done.  Of course, if Congress wasn’t a rubber stamp, our first branch of government could stop this lethal incompetence by mandating professional pandemic management.

For those doubters of this happening, remember the ringing statement by the demanding abolitionist Frederick Douglass – “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”.  Trump is a paper mache figure who hides behind bluffs and snarls. A civic jolt can displace him much like the statutes of slavers.

Start your “step aside” demand by calling the White House opinion phone number 202-456-1111. Urge your friends to do the same. There is no time to delay.

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Letter to President Trump – June 26, 2020

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

Do you think you have enough on your table these days? Wait until the Israeli government, fortified economically and militarily by U.S. taxpayers, illegally annexes a large region of the Palestinian West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, next month. That is the declaration of the Israeli Prime Minister.

This flagrant violation of international law, once again confirmed by various countries and the United Nations, is expected to unleash crushing repression and violence which will be broadcast and shown by photojournalists around the world. This annexation will lead to demonstrations condemning you and the Prime Minister. Inside Israel, there is strong opposition from retired high military and security officials, as well as members of the Knesset from which the Prime Minister is not seeking approval. Sound familiar?

The collateral damage from this unilateral seizure of thirty percent from what is left of Palestinian land (the West Bank is about 20 percent of the original Palestine) will include a rupture of warming relations between Israel and nearby Arab countries, especially Jordan, alienating your friend Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, and lead to unintended consequences that will be arriving at your door as the Covid-19 pandemic widens. Even with your limited attention to detail, your inability to recognize the consequences of international disputes, and your short attention span, you should be able to envision how much time and energy this war crime will take from you.

For the Palestinians, there will be more dread and devastation. Half of their food comes from the Jordan Valley. It would spell the end of the “two-state solution,” and lead to the possible dissolution of the Palestine Authority security arrangements with the Israeli occupation. That would mean more Israeli patrols, more destruction of homes, more innocent Palestinian casualties, and more responsibility on you stemming from your reckless, mindless endorsement of annexation several months ago.

You can prevent these calamities. First, you need to stop your bigotry against the Palestinian Arabs and desperate Syrian Arab refugees that make you a leading anti-Semite against the Arab peoples. There is, in your regime (Michael Pompeo), the spreading of the “other anti-Semitism,” a term James Zogby used to title an address he gave years ago at an Israeli University. Ever since the South Carolina primary in 2016, when you, out of the blue, assailed two poor newly arrived Syrian refugee families who had fled the horrors of their war-torn country, you have expanded your politically motivated hatred of powerless, impoverished Arabs. For example, at a recent rally in Minnesota, you bragged−even gloated−about cutting off $500 million a year in aid provided to desperate Palestinian families. You broke a humanitarian program supported by Democratic and Republican presidents since 1950 in recognition of the role that the U.S. has played in that region. You have fully backed brutal Israeli actions against defenseless Palestinians and their children. As a multi-faceted anti-Semite against Arabs, what the Israeli regime does in the coming months will be ascribed to you. You could stop this atrocity, but you are actually inciting, what are in essence, territorial war crimes. Your political allies in Israel welcome such racist evocations from the White House. Politicians in the Israeli government’s coalition have expressed over the years the most vile epithets against Palestinians, so racist that if you bothered to read them, it would shock even your limited sensibilities.

And what is the Palestinian grievance at its core? Israeli’s founder, David Ben-Gurion, put it concisely in a widely reported comment – It was their land and we took it. Now you are depriving these Palestinian descendants from having their tiny independent state, endorsed by previous U.S. presidents. Their poverty has worsened because of occupations, blockades, and regular attacks by the military. Add the deprivation of water, taken by Israel, and according to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, Israel “has recently escalated its spraying of pesticides on Palestinian fields in Gaza and increased harassment of fisherman.”

This is one fast-arriving crisis that you brought onto yourself. It is not too late to stop. Your advisors, including your son-in-law, know full well that the Prime Minister will not make the annexation move without your concurrence. Tell the Prime Minister NO and he will comply. You are known as a control freak. Exercise this trait and you’ll prevent multiple eruptions in the Middle East that may be uncontrollable and create another foreign policy crisis in your administration.

Domestically, a majority of American Jews oppose this annexation and other Israeli policies that seriously harm Palestinians and also undermine democratic freedoms in Israel. J Street and Jewish Voices for Peace are gaining many more adherents. Even AIPAC has reportedly expressed disapproval of the Prime Ministers racist policies and the move toward annexation by privately signaling that they won’t push back against lawmakers who criticize the plan. Where does that leave your political calculations?

On the eve of the 1956 elections, President Dwight D. Eisenhower handily won acclaim and reelection, while stopping Israel’s collaborative invasion of Suez with Britain and France.

Act now, say NO to annexation.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader
Bruce Fein

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Congress Must Hold President Trump Accountable!

By Ralph Nader

Here is an abridged version of a letter sent on June 22, 2020, by me and two constitutional law experts Bruce Fein and Lou Fisher, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerald Nadler, and the Committee’s Vice Chairman, Jamie Raskin. It touches on where Congress has not exercised its constitutional authority to hold Trump accountable under the law.

Dear Madam Speaker, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Vice Chairman:

Former national security adviser and ultra-hawk John Bolton’s disparagement of the articles of impeachment voted against President Donald Trump as “impeachment malpractice” in The Room Where It Happened may be viewed as a rebuke to Congress for failing to discharge its duty and powers to enforce constitutional observance (e.g., impeachment, stiff fines for flouting congressional subpoenas) that has fortified limitless executive power which Mr. Trump recklessly brandishes daily. Impugning Mr. Bolton’s motives does not impeach his impeachment facts or testimony revealing Mr. Trump’s serial impeachable offenses.

We had urged a broader 12-count article of impeachment indicting the full spectrum of Mr. Trump’s alarming extraconstitutional behavior which Congressman John Larson printed in the Congressional Record – H 12197 on December 18, 2018.  Among other things, the proposed article assailed presidential violations of the Declare War Clause, the Treaty Clause, the Appointments Clause, the Take Care Clause, and the Appropriations Clause, in addition to crippling the plenary congressional power of oversight and investigation.

Book excerpts printed in The New York Times reveal credible evidence of several additional impeachable offenses requiring House subpoenas to Mr. Bolton and Mr. Trump to testify in public under oath to unearth the truth.  According to Mr. Bolton, President Trump solicited illegal foreign assistance for his 2020 presidential campaign by asking the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, to purchase billions of dollars of wheat and soybeans from American farmers to win their political favor (52 U.S.C. 30121).  Mr. Trump asked for that foreign assistance from President Xi in exchange for Mr. Trump’s desisting from sanctions against Chinese officials under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act because of China’s persecution of Uighurs, which constitutes bribery under 18 U.S.C. 201.

Mr. Trump obstructed justice in interceding to lighten penalties against ZTE for flouting sanctions against North Korea, among other things. These impeachable offenses are probably only the tip of the iceberg.

In our capacity as citizens of the Republic, is it too much to expect the House to enforce constitutional observance though the powers of impeachment, subpoenas, contempt, or otherwise?  At a minimum, the House should subpoena Mr. Bolton and Mr. Trump to testify about the foregoing new impeachable offenses and others if they surface in the interim. Mr. Bolton volunteered to testify before the Senate at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial but was not called.  He did not agree to testify before the House during its impeachment investigation because of pending litigation. The House inexplicably neglected to subpoena him. The law and precedent are clear. In conducting an impeachment investigation, the House has a right to every person’s evidence whether of the President, of the incumbent or former White House officials, or others.

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted an article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon for flouting a subpoena.  The article would have been approved by the full House absent Mr. Nixon’s resignation precipitated by his anticipated certain conviction in the Senate. (The United States Supreme Court also held that presidential tapes were fair game for the judiciary in the United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974)). President Gerald Ford testified before the House Judiciary Committee about his pardon of Mr. Nixon to dispel suspicion of a quid pro quo for President Nixon’s resignation.

What your stewardship of the Constitution requires is manifest. With dismay, we have witnessed too many Executive Branch and congressional defectors from the Constitution. You should lead them back. Regular constitutional order must be restored, including curing the multiple violations enumerated in our proposed 12-count impeachment article (H 12197).

“We the People of the United States” deserve leadership, not spectatorship. Our constitutional handiwork is in peril.

House hearings are urgent.

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From the Covid-19 Battle Can Come Unstoppable Citizen Power to Propel “Full Medicare for All” Through Congress

By Ralph Nader

Frontline healthcare, transit, and grocery clerk workers are too busy risking their lives helping and saving people exposed to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic to see themselves emerging as the force that can overcome decades of commercial obstruction to full Medicare for All.

These heroic, courageous, and selfless people are getting the job done, often without protective equipment and adequate facilities. Many of them get extremely sick or die from Covid-19.

Fat cat CEO’s are placing full-page ads elaborately praising their workers whom they regularly underpaid and disrespected before Covid-19. These bosses are now recognizing both the physical and moral courage it takes for these exceptional saviors to serve their communities.

What is emerging from this catastrophe is an exceptional class of millions of potential advocates receiving mass media coverage. Deeply personal profiles and first-person accounts of the pain and anguish they endure fills the news. They have experienced firsthand the perverse priorities of the profiteering corporate health vendors that are leaving tens of millions of innocent families uninsured, underinsured, and without paid sick leave.

Now shift the scene to the only obstacle to single-payer universal health insurance in America – the corporate indentured Congress. Out of 535 Senators and Representatives, 135 in the House already support H.R. 1384 full Medicare for All with free choice of doctors and hospitals. This much more efficient and comprehensive lifesaving system is far superior to our current profits-first morass. In the Senate, add another 30 supporters. With about 200 more converts for Medicare for All, a veto-proof passage is possible.

Now can come the steely determined Covid-19 workers with their national advocates representing all their skills and geographic regions, heading straight for Congress. In relays, day after day, observing CDC guidelines, they will find Congress mostly AWOL. These days Congress is only periodically present for pressing financial legislation. The frontline workers can push for Congressional hearings, floor debates, and then voting. No more lies, delays, distortions, or domination of members of Congress by the corporate crime complex. The legislators are directly told they work for the people, not the corporations pouring money into their campaign coffers.

These Covid-19 workers cannot be stared down or flimflammed. They have the decisive karma that veterans’ groups often have with Congress. They have seen more fatalities among their protectees in three months then the U.S. soldiers lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars (apart from the massive greater casualties on the native peoples). They have experienced the staggering pressures of their hands-on service from ambulances to intubations and the solitary deaths of their patients. While members of Congress huddle at home, they are shamed by the low-paid valiant toil of exposed grocery, public transit, and sanitation workers who don’t have the luxury of laboring remotely.

This new unstoppable non-partisan assemblage of Americans will have plenty of backup. Funding by well-to-do people will be forthcoming. Experts like Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, Dr. David Himmelstein, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Dr. Michael Carome, former Nurses Union leader RoseAnn DeMoro, who keenly understand the tactics of the medical corporatists, are on hand. So are the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and many other consumer and labor groups.

The polls will expand from a present, majority of Americans, doctors, and nurses to even greater numbers backing universal health care coverage. Rising to greater prominence to lead the way in Congress will be the long-supportive Representatives and Senators energized and propelled by this new, relentless citizen dynamic demanding action now!

What should have been done over a hundred years ago, when Republican President Theodore Roosevelt proposed universal health care, should not be stalled any longer.

Not when 1500 to 2000 people lose their lives every week because they can’t afford to be diagnosed or treated in time, according to a new Yale study.

Not when an average of a billion dollars a day is taken by billing fraud according to a conservative estimate by the leading expert on such crimes – Professor Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University.

Not when a minimum of five thousand people a week die from preventable problems in hospitals (not including clinics) as reported in a peer-reviewed Johns’ Hopkins School of Medicine analysis. Putting people before profits would lower that horrendous casualty toll substantially.

Not when numerous countries, including Canada, cover all their people at half the price per capita with better outcomes, free choice of physicians and hospitals, and peace of mind.

Not when documentation for fundamental change is so overwhelmingly at everyone’s fingertips (See: SinglePayerAction.org). Dr. John Geyman’s latest in a series of educational books by this sagacious practitioner and scholar – the galvanizing “Profiteering, Corruption and Fraud in U.S. Health Care” will be available very soon (See: johngeymanmd.org).

The Covid-19 pandemic and its bungling by Trump and Trumpsters leading to the loss of loved ones, the loss of patients, and the horrific experiences of frontline workers would pave the way to this long-overdue change. The humane laser-beamed arrival of workers, who have witnessed the tragedies caused by the pandemic will push Congress to provide Americans universal care and relief, from economic anxiety, dread, and fear. Americans deserve the same health care coverage enjoyed by people in every other western country.

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Nader Calls On President Trump to Cancel Tulsa Rally

Ralph Nader and Richard L. Newman of the American Museum of Tort Law call on President Donald J. Trump and the Trump Re-election Campaign to cancel or postpone the rally scheduled for the BOK Center in Tulsa on June 20th. The text of the letter is attached.

For inquiries, contact Richard L. Newman,

203-770-3072;

[email protected]

June 18, 2020

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Black Lives Matter Blvd.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

More than 120,000 American citizens have died in in the last three months as a result of the Covid-19 virus. The pandemic is still prevalent, and the number of new cases is rising in states that have opened prematurely, or without enforcing social distancing, and requiring the use of masks.

In the face of this, and despite the best medical advice and widespread non-partisan condemnation, you, Donald J. Trump are planning a campaign rally in a closed arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20th, and according to various news sources, will not require attendees to wear masks when inside the venue. To make matters worse, your campaign is also requiring attendees to sign waivers giving up their right to sue the campaign or the venue if they contract the virus while there.

On Tuesday, an Oklahoma court denied an application to enforce the public health guidelines which might serve to minimize the risks of infection and spread of the disease.

Covid-19 is a pandemic. It is real, and can be deadly. President Trump, you and your campaign are being reckless, gambling with people’s lives and health for this campaign event. To be clear, your campaign is knowingly putting attendees at risk of illness or death. The campaign is creating a potentially deadly public nuisance, which may have multiplier effects far beyond those who attend, if the attendees infect others after they return home.

The fact that your campaign is requiring attendees to waive their legal rights demonstrates that you are well aware of this reckless, dangerous, tortious conduct, and the potentially serious consequences.

We call upon you President Trump, and the Trump campaign to cancel the mass indoor rally. And we urge those who attend not to sign waivers, forfeiting their rights to seek compensation in the event that they contract the virus.

Ralph Nader
Founder

Richard L. Newman, Esq.
Executive Director

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