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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Moving Street Protests from Futility to Utility

By Ralph Nader

The nationwide street protests following the gruesome murder of George Floyd, who was pinned to the ground and choked by a Minneapolis police officer and three accomplices, were spontaneous and diverse. No leaders, charismatic or otherwise put out the call for people to turn out in the face of militarized police legions. It was a wondrous display of civic self-respect.

Showing up is half a Democracy.

The New York Times asked some of the protesters who stood in solidarity, why they turned out? Their responses boiled down to inner compulsions that required action. A municipal employee in Minneapolis, Don Hubbard said “…I feel like if I don’t come out here, and we don’t all show up, then what are we doing?” and he added, “We’re letting this man die in vain.”

In Los Angeles, Beatriz Lopez replied “I felt I had to go. I had been asking ‘what can I do?”

Beth Muffett of Austin, Texas declared “If you’re not standing up for George Floyd, who’s going to stand up for you? It’s just a level of wrongness, that I couldn’t say no to going out to try to do something.”

Young Chad Bennett (age 22) from St. Louis – “seeing the video of what happened to Mr. Floyd left him “numb,” he said. “It’s a silent rage, I guess.”

The personal and conscience-driven feelings which arise from these people and many others are not uncommon.

These protesters are well aware of previous mass demonstrations that did not lead to reforms and did not even result in prosecutions of the felonious police officers.

“Not this time” is the sentiment of these seekers of justice against the broader criminal injustice system. The Attorney General of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, promptly brought second-degree murder charges against the knee-choking police officer. The signs carried by protesters called for defunding bloated municipal police budgets and using the proceeds for housing, education, and healthcare. “Abolish the police” speeches meant establishing community-shaped security for neighborhoods.

Even the presence of pre-meditated vandals destroying stores and other properties could not overshadow the historic continuing grievances of Black Americans.

They face racism daily. It is built into conditions of discriminatory poverty – no jobs or low-paid jobs, or unprotected work that is too often dangerous in nature. As tenants, many African Americans are defenseless against evictions and landlord safety code violations. As ripped off borrowers (payday loan rackets) defrauded consumers (the poor pay more for less), are grossly under-served by a wide array of public services, such as health care, crumbling schools, and inadequate mass transit where they experience on-going discrimination. They are arrested and imprisoned more often for similar offenses committed by white people. Then there is the obstruction or suppression of their voting rights in Republican states. They face public harassment and targeted racism while walking, jogging, or driving. Add it all up and their suppressed pain, despair, dread, fury, and fear for their children can’t be ignored anymore.

No matter how many books, articles, documentaries expose this aggregate life under “The New Jim Crow,” little changes. Even concerned politicians routinely break their promises to communities of color.

How then can this current moral force avoid dissipation once the media loses interest and the protesters become exhausted? How can such widely praised demonstrations produce real change?

Seize the movement. Immediately secure funding from enlightened or guilt-ridden wealthy residents of these cities to form full-time citizen watchdog groups leveraging the reforms demanded by the protesters. Some permanent presence must be established to thwart the status quo ante. That’s what seizing the moment means.

The collective street experiences must become the engine for massive early voter registration and voter turnout by Black and Hispanic Americans. Such a turnout is essential to replacing many of the corporatist racists like Senate ruler, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, with elected officials who will stand with and for the people.

The conscious raising of such vocal mass challenges to the dominant powers brings new leaders to the forefront to run for office, to forge new advocacy groups, to join existing groups, and to litigate and educate and motivate.

Innocent Americans died and were injured in these peaceful protests. Many others risked batons, harmful tear gas, pepper spray, and other weaponry. Awareness, authenticity, and resolve can be the products of such confrontations. These are seeds for a strengthened, enlarged democracy of justice, freedom, and equality.

Again, seize this moment! Big Time!

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Annual Recommended Summer Reading List 2020

Readers think. Thinkers read.

During this “sheltered summer” empower yourself with these highly recommended books by Ralph Nader, and listen to these authors interviewed on The Ralph Nader Radio Hour.

  1. “A Short History of Presidential Election Crises (And How to Prevent the Next One)” by Alan Hirsch. City Lights, 2020. Trump’s madness and lying ways makes Alan Hirsch’s fascinating history one that can alert us seriously between now and November. Link to interview.
  2. “Genius of Earth Day How a 1970 Teach In Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation” by Adam Rome. North Point Press, 2014. Today’s citizens have much to learn from this April 22, 1970 mass mobilization that turned Congress around to enact our major environmental laws fast! Link to interview.
  3. “Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor” By Steven Greenhouse. Knopf, 2019. With raging documentation, cool Steven Greenhouse issues a wake-up call to what is really terrible treatment of tens of millions of American workers. Union leaders need this book as well. Link to interview.
  4. “Beyond the Valley: How Innovators Around the World are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow” by Ramesh Srinivasan. MIT Press, 2019. Remarkably, grass root innovators in poor countries are using internet technology for important uses under their control.  Link to interview.
  5. “All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator” by Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy. Hachette Books, 2019. The title tells the story. MeToo not withstanding, lawsuits not withstanding, the savage sexual predator has gotten away with all of it. Shame on Congress. Link to interview.
  6. “The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception” by David Michaels. Oxford University Press, 2020 Former head of OSHA, Dr. Michaels names names as he exposes the corporate scientific distortion lobby that costs many lives. Link to interview.
  7. “Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits” by James D. Zirin. All Points Books, 2019. Yes, Trump is above the law, a recidivist fugitive from justice –civil, criminal and constitutional. Shame on the law enforcers. Link to interview.
  8. “Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity” by Steven Shafarman. RealClear Publishing. Release date: June, 2020 For years one of the lone voices, Shafarman’s proposals are fast gaining currency, especially in the COVID-19 era. Link to interview.
  9. “The Case for a Maximum Wage” by Sam Pizzigati. Polity, 2018. I wish some pompous, corporate bloviator would try to debate Sam Pizzigati. Read the book and you’ll see why no one has. Link to interview.
  10. “Stealing Democracy: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation” by Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. NewSouth Books, 2020 The stunning story of how, with a corrupt judge, corporatists like Karl Rove railroaded to prison a rising progressive star in the South. Vindication came late for Siegelman. Link to interview.
  11. “All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change” by Michael T. Klare Metropolitan Books, 2019. When omnicide looms, even the Pentagon swings into action regarding climate devastation, regardless of denier Donald. Link to interview.
  12. Profiteering Corruption and Fraud in U.S. Health Care by practitioner and professor Dr. John Geyman. Nobody, I mean nobody, can calmly and precisely generate more reader rage about our pay or die, wasteful and maddening cruel corporate health care complex than this modest doctor for the people. Focused rage can produce action. Five stars. Link to interview.
  13. “Money, Power, and the People: The American Struggle to Make Banking Democratic” by Christopher W. Shaw. University of Chicago Press, 2019. Trillions of public dollars controlled by high fee Wall Street brokers instead can be deposited in public banks as exist in Republican North Dakota. Shaw shows the history when Americans were far more attuned to banking reforms than now. Link to interview.
  14. “HIGH CRIMES: The Impeachment of Donald Trump” by Former Congressman Alan Grayson. Waterside Productions, 2019. Too bad Grayson wasn’t in Congress to give the House Democrats more backbone for more impeachment counts beyond the Ukraine violation. (See Dec. 18 2019 Cong. Record.) Link to interview.
  15. “The Machine Never Blinks: A Graphic History of Spying and Surveillance” by Everett Patterson and Ivan GreenbergFantagraphics, 2020. This graphic history takes the reader through two thousand years of spying and surveillance. Today’s technology, portrayed by the author, takes it to new levels of domination. Citizens, beware. (Interview coming soon.)
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Governor Cuomo: Avoid Budget Cuts by Not Rebating Stock Sales Tax to Wall Street!

By Ralph Nader

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is basking in the popularity of his meticulous Covid-19 news briefings and simultaneously predicting a pandemic-driven $61 billion state deficit over four years. Astonishingly, the Governor electronically rebates an existing tiny stock transfer sales tax back to Wall Street. This stock transfer sales tax, bringing in an estimated 13 to 16 billion dollars a year, would reduce forthcoming budget cuts in health, education, transportation, and other safety nets.

No Governor in the country has the luxury of simply keeping very significant tax revenues that are already collected to avoid cutting necessities of life. Yet Governor Cuomo has supported these rebates for the past ten years, as have previous New York state Governors all the way back to 1981 when this early 20th-century tax stopped being retained in the state’s treasury. As much as a staggering $250 billion dollars has been immediately returned to the stockbrokers over that time period.

Bear in mind, a fraction of one percent of this tiny sales tax is paid by the investors buying stocks, bonds, and engaging in massive volumes of derivative speculation. Since the great bulk of trading is conducted by upper-income people and large companies, this sales tax, unlike the regressive 8 percent sales tax ordinary New Yorkers pay when they buy from stores, is progressive in its impact.

So why hasn’t the media taken this eminently timely and newsworthy story to the people? I’ve been explaining this surrender to Wall Street for years. Most recently, given its timeliness, calling up reporters and columnists of major press outlets, but to no avail; with the exception of the Buffalo News. This indifference is inexplicable. After all, Governor Cuomo regularly talks about drastic budget cuts.

Well, a new factor may change this equation. Blair Horner, a longtime, prominent director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), an influential university college student-funded civic advocacy group is now on the case.

On May 28, 2020, Mr. Horner held a virtual news conference in Albany, presented a letter signed by over fifty labor, consumer, women’s, educational, minority, health, taxpayer, elderly, and justice organizations – all calling on the Governor to keep the many billions of dollars from the stock transfer tax. The number of New York groups supporting this proposal will only grow. Attentively advanced by the seasoned Horner and his team, a detailed news release was distributed and several speakers, including me, briefly spoke. At question time, only a Newsday reporter asked about Wall Street’s reaction.

A half-hour later, no reporter asked Governor Cuomo during his long daily briefings about keeping the collected revenues. The next day there was no media coverage of this event and the benefits the revenue could have for communities whose members will be bearing the brunt of avoidable service cuts and job losses.

Every day New York state rebates about $40 million to an upper-economic class, already further enriched by Trump’s 2017 tax bonanza. Nor have these privileged plutocrats shared, via a wealth tax, a fraction of the sacrifice of New York’s 2.2 million front-line Covid-19 workers. Shameful!

Bills mandating the retention of this stock sales tax are already in the state legislature. A prime sponsor, Assemblyman Phil Steck believes that there will be overwhelming left/right support in the polls.

However, the legislature’s leaders await the signal from a thus far reluctant Governor Cuomo. But not, I suspect for long.

With Wall Street’s Robert Rubin and Michael Bloomberg coming out for a financial transaction tax (thanks probably to the Bernie Sanders movement), can the son of Mario Cuomo be much far behind?

See the Coalition release, letter to Governor Cuomo, and the New York State Assembly and Senate bills to stop the rebate of the stock transfer tax at https://nader.org/ny-stock-tax/

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S. David Freeman: Seven Decades of Participating in Power for All of Us

By Ralph Nader
May 28, 2020

If the planet Earth were animate, it would have shuddered at the news that S. David Freeman passed away this month. Freeman was that important to Earth’s future.  In his 94th year, he inspired all he met with his burning passion, relentless energy, and keen intellect.

Freeman, an engineer and a lawyer, knew where decisions were being made or ignored regarding our energy future. He mocked the foolish embrace of fossil fuels and warned all who would listen about the deadly impact of coal, oil, and natural gas consumption on our   environment. This humble son of an immigrant umbrella repair man made the most of his formidable talents over seven decades and helped steer mankind toward renewables and energy efficiency. Freeman worked to prevent the perilous use of fossil and nuclear fuels.

Freeman was one of the first environmentalists to warn us of the dangers posed by fossil fuels and he was one of the first to offer practical remedies.  He started his career in the 1950s as an engineer with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) before holding a series of positions with the Federal Power Commission (FPC) and the Johnson White House. In 1974 Freeman    authored the Ford Foundation’s groundbreaking report “A Time to Choose: America’s Energy Future.”  He was an adviser to President Jimmy Carter, who appointed him chairman of the giant TVA in 1978.

At the TVA, Freeman managed with a no-nonsense, down-to-earth, results-focused approach to reform. Using what he learned at TVA, Freeman became known for turning around hidebound giant utilities that were unable to process evidence contrary to their wasteful ways and environmental destructiveness. The tenacious Tennessean had no patience for self-serving talk that avoided obvious solutions. Freeman was a serious advocate who used humor, wit, and charm to make his case in the court of public opinion and the corridors of power. “Mother Nature doesn’t care what we say, Mother Nature only cares about what we do,” he would remind bloviators!

Freeman shut down or suspended construction of half a dozen nuclear reactors at the TVA, scoring them as dangerous, uneconomical, and unnecessary. He liked “free” sources of energy, such as solar and wind, instead of lethal coal, gas, oil, and uranium that had to be ripped perilously from the bowels of the Earth. As for vast opportunities afforded by energy efficient sources, he paraphrased Benjamin Franklin, saying a megawatt of energy that isn’t wasted is a megawatt you don’t have to produce.

In between his clearheaded impact on conferences around the world, advising presidents, governors, members of Congress and parliaments, and many cogent writings, Freeman ran three other giant utilities (other than TVA, Freeman ran utilities in California, Texas, and New York). At Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), he implemented a public vote against the troubled Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, replacing its energy with conservation and renewables.

In the decades I knew David, he always made the changes he implemented look easy because he so deftly and honestly used evidence, facts, and economics— sometimes to rectify his previous positions. He used his knowledge to serve the public that was too often shoved aside by bureaucratic and corporate vested interests.

Freeman had that unparalleled combination of managerial experience, scholarly knowledge, and programmatic urgency in confronting the climate crisis. We would invite him for brown bag lunches with younger leaders working on energy transition. He would “out urgent” them, mocking dilatory cap and trade ideas while demanding  mandatory reduction in fossil fuels and ending nuclear power, and replacing them with job producing energy conservation, retrofitting homes and buildings as solar and wind ramp up. Freeman said, “We need to pass a law that says that every utility in this country must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5% of 2020 emissions every year, starting now, and until we get down to zero.”

You may be wondering why you haven’t seen Freeman on television or read about his urgent proposals, as a doer, covering the crisis of climate and regular air water soil safeguards from ruinous extractive fuels.

Certainly, the mass media has devoted many hours and pages to these subjects, interviewing far lesser and often conflicted people on NPR, PBS, commercial networks, and major newspapers. I made many calls to energy and environmental reporters about David’s availability, but to no avail.

Was it ageism? Which is rampant. Was it his free-thinking challenges to named influential corporations? Was it that he was seen as no longer an adviser to powerful officials? At age 93 he was flying to California negotiating the closure of the last nuke plant there with Pacific Gas Electric. He co-authored a book All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future with Leah Y. Parks in 2018 and his human interest memoir The Green Cowboy: An Energetic Life in 2016. Recently he was meeting with the pro-“Green New Deal” members of Congress.

But the media wasn’t calling. Until, that is, David’s “energetic” life came to an end and the obituary pages gave him his due in the Washington Postthe New York Times, and other outlets. Unlike like celebrity entertainers and athletes, however, he didn’t make page one. But his prescient legacy is an enduring example of how we can save our green planet and brighten our future. Biographers may wish to wrap their minds around this functional, enlightened life of such immense productivity.

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