Ralph Nader Radio Hour

When I was 14 years old, I heard Ralph Nader say that box cereal was less nutritious than the box it came in, and you'd get more nutrition out of tearing up the box and pouring sugar and milk over it, and eating that for breakfast. That's the kind of genius that Ralph Nader produces constantly, and why his ideas changed the world for Americans more than perhaps any political thinker of the late 20th century. He remains more relevant than virtually every other political thinker currently on the scene.

Re: Ralph Nader Radio Hour

Postby admin » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:05 am

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Episode 114: Molly Sinclair McCartney, David Dayen
May 22, 2016

Ralph welcomes journalists Molly Sinclair McCartney, who tells us exactly which vested interests keep us in a state of perpetual war, and David Dayen, who tells us the incredible story of how three ordinary citizens blew the lid off of the largest consumer crime in American history.


Molly Sinclair McCartney is a journalist with more than thirty years as a reporter at five different newspapers, including ten years at the Miami Herald and nearly fifteen years at the Washington Post. In 2012, Ms. Sinclair McCartney was appointed a Woodrow Wilson Public Scholar in Washington DC to do the research and interviews needed to finish the book started by her late husband, noted national security reporter, James McCartney. It’s entitled America’s War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts.


David Dayen is a contributing writer to Salon.com and The Intercept, and a weekly columnist for The New Republic and The Fiscal Times. He is the the author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, which was the winner of the Ida and Studs Terkel Prize.


Steve Skrovan: Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. My name is Steve Skrovan along with the man of the hour, Ralph Nader. How is the Breaking Through Power conference shaping Ralph?

Ralph Nader: It's shaping up. People are coming from around the country to make presentations. No one's ever put together a larger number of accomplish citizen advocacy groups on more issues and redirections for our country under one roof. So go to breakinthroughpower.org people, and see how you could attend if you're in the area or see how you can get a stream live to you.

Steve Skrovan: We'll keep promoting that as the show goes on. But we’ve got a show to do today. And on last week’s show, we had an excellent question from one of our listeners about whether the banks on Wall Street really paid back the taxpayers for bailing them out at the great crash of 2008. And Ralph kind of laid that fallacy to rest. And it so happens on the show today we have author David Dayen, who's going to give us another perspective on that situation. He's written a book entitled Chain of Title. How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud. That will be in the second half of the show. We will also check in with the crime reporter Russell Mokhiber. The Kojak of the corporate crime beat. And if we have time at the end of the show, we will try to answer another listener question or two. But first, we're going to talk about something else that’s too big to fail. Maybe even too big to succeed at this point. Our military industrial complex. And our guess is Molly Sinclair McCartney. She is a journalist with more than 30 years as a reporter at five different newspapers including ten years at the Miami Herald and nearly fifteen years at the Washington Post. In 2012, Ms. Sinclair McCartney was appointed a Woodrow Wilson Public Scholar in Washington DC to do the research and interviews needed to finish the book written by her late husband, noted national security reporter James McCartney. It's entitled America's War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts. Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Molly Sinclair McCartney.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Thank you very much. It's great to be with you.

Ralph Nader: Yes, indeed. Thank you, Molly Sinclair McCartney. The description of your new book with your husband, James McCartney, is very succinct. And I'd like to read it for our listeners before we get in to discussion of what America's War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts covers. Saint Martin's Press by the way. Quote, “Based on his experiences as an award winning Washingtonbased reporter covering national security, James McCartney presents a compelling history from the Cold War to the present day that shows that the problem is far worst and far more wideranging than anything Eisenhower would have imagined. Big militaries become too big to fail and has grown to envelop the nation's political culture and intellectual institutions. These centers of power and influence, including the now complicit White House and Congress, have a vested interest in preparing and waging unnecessary wars. The authors persuasively argue that not one foreign intervention in the last fifty years has made us or the world safer. End quote. Molly Sinclair McCartney, can you give our listeners a little bit about the background of how this book came about?

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Yes. It would start with Jim and his experience in two phases. He got to know the military as an infantry soldier or on the frontlines of World War II back in the 1940s. But then, he became a reporter for Knight Ridder newspapers and it's Washington Bureau covering national security, which gave him an even broader understanding of what was happening. It happened that in the 1961 he was sent to cover Eisenhower’s speech. The one Eisenhower made about the dangers of a military industrial complex. That led Jim to write a series of articles explaining what it is, how it works, why it's dangerous, and why it's everybody's business. And those articles led to a Nieman Fellowship for him at Harvard, where he dug even deeper into this issue. Now, he taught after he finished his daily journalism career with Knight Ridder in 1990. He started teaching at Georgetown University and included always a component on war and peace issues related to the expansion of the military industrial complex since Eisenhower made that speech. But what really set him off and led to the book was the 2003 invasion of Iraq. By that time, he had become a very popular speaker about how Washington works. And that invasion led to him focusing on what it was about, how it happened, how it worked, and how people could better understand it. And when he would make these talks, people would shake their heads at the end and say, "We didn’t understand the system. Would you please write a book explaining it?" That’s what he was working on when he died in 2011. And friends came up to me at his memorial service afterward to say, "You must finish that book. It's just too important to let it go." That led to my getting the Wilson appointment; and it led to the publication of the book in 2015 by St. Martin Press.

Ralph Nader: And the book is written very clearly as both you areyou and Jim McCartney were professional journalists of many years standing. I'm might add, I found it quite impactful to learn that he was not only an infantry man in World War II in Europe, he was quite seriously wounded from…

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Yes. He was. Shrapnel, right.

Ralph Nader: Yes. Usually, veterans when they come back home are pretty astounded at how draft dodging warmongers like Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who've never experienced war and who want others to do the fighting for them and don’t want their children to go to war. There's a thinly veiled contempt for these people. But unfortunately these warmongers get into power. They get on the oped page of The Washington Post, like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz and others. They get fancy fees for speeches. But again and again, James McCartney was right in his predictions. He’s absolutely on target when he predicted what was going to happen in Iraq. He also was stickler for observing Constitutional accountability and Congress assuming its responsibility to either declare a war, or not have a war, and not handoff the responsibility to the White House. I found this very clearly written, Molly, for people who don’t know that much about America's war machine, it's history, it's enormous drain on the Treasury. And how all these invasions and attacks have boomeranged. Can you give some examples? I mean take the post9/ 11 boomerang, which started with a small gang in Northeast Afghanistan. And the more we battered and blew up and attacked... Could you explain what happens in terms of the spread, the boomerang? What the CIA calls blowback.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Right. Well, this is such a complicated issue, as you well know. What we got in 9/11 with the hijackers, who came and used our airplanes to hit the towers in New York as well as the Pentagon in Washington. And we have to say that one of the points the book makes is, “If you think that they don’t know the source of power that drives the American government, you have to look at what happened with those attacks, because they hit the Pentagon, while ignoring the State Department.” In other words, they know what's driving war and peace decisions in Washington. They understand that the military rather than the diplomats or the ones who are making the calls on how we approach and manage world affairs. Now, the thing about 9/11 that’s so interesting is: if you go back to the 1990 Gulf War, you may remember that how upset a guy we'd never heard of by the name of Osama Bin Laden how upset he was that American infidel troops were coming to Holy Ground in his country, Saudi Arabia; and how he was determined to pay back the Americans for putting their boots on the ground in his holy country, in his point of view. And then what happened? Fifteen of those hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. They are the ones who took down the towers in New York and hit the Pentagon and then, of course the field in Pennsylvania where the plane basically was pushed down by the passengers, who knew it was otherwise going to hit something else as a target. So, there is a pattern to what happens in the Middle East. Now, the other thing about the Middle East is why we're there. We went there because of the oil. We stayed there because of the oil. And we continue to be there because of the oil, even though we are no longer as dependent on the oil as we once were. We seem to be obsessed with that instead of the actual cost of these wars. Again, if you look at things like the 2003 the Iraq invasion, you may recall that we were told by the people pushing for that war, "Oh, this will be a cakewalk. They'll welcome us as liberators. And by the way Iraqi oil will pay for the cost of this war. It really won't cost the American taxpayer anything.” As you know, the reality is: we were not greeted as liberators. It was not cakewalk. And the latest estimate on what the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even in what we've done in Pakistan since 2003 up to 2015: $6 trillion according to the Brown University Studies. This is part of their website called costofwars.org. They constantly update. Those numbers are going to continue to go up as we care for the victims of those wars coming home from those three countries. And as part of our continuing, ongoing wars in the Middle East.

Ralph Nader: Molly, just think of what $6 trillion could do to rebuild our public transit systems, modernized our schools, enhanced our highways, and produced far more public facilities for everybody in the United States.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: That’s exactly one of the points of that study, which was done by a team of about thirty economists, lawyers, and other specialists in that Brown University team that put all it's findings on to that website with recommendations on how to approach war in the future to avoid the kind of mistakes we've been making in the Middle East. It's a tragedy that that’s where we pour so much of our money when it could be going to fix our infrastructure.

Ralph Nader: In your book you talked about the hardliners. The think tank hawks who had pushed for war. You focus particularly on two people. This is quite an interesting story, listeners. Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, which you described as two of Washington's most successful think tank hawks. Can you describe how they insinuated themselves inside General David Petraeus’ circle in Afghanistan? And what happened?

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Well, this was really a fascinating insight into the way in which the military, in that case, had exposed itself and allowed itself to come under the influence of people, who had a very specific idea about foreign policy and the way we should handle our adventures in Afghanistan. And I have to say the reporting on that came out of some Washington Post articles, who looked very closely at what happened in that situation where there was basically the two hawks, Frederick and Kimberly Kagan husband and wife team by the way. They spent nearly a year in Afghanistan. They were there as unpaid volunteers for the U.S. General in charge of the war; but they were of course being supported by their think tank corporate donors. So they were working for free for the U.S. government, but they were able to do it because of the fact that they were being supported by the defense industry. They had toplevel security clearance. And they were allowed to review classified intelligence reports. They participated in strategy sessions. And they used their positions as advocates, basically calling for changes in the U.S. war plan according this is all basically in this Washington Post report, which was published in 2012 and they were basically pushing for a harder edged approach to the war. Now, there's nothing new about the think tank hawks trying to impact defense policy. But how they were able to go beyond just policy papers and actually get the ear of the man in charge of a real war seem to represent a sort of a new way to influence what we do at the military. Absolutely fascinating reporting by the Washington Post on that issue.

Ralph Nader: And Molly, our listeners would be interested in knowing the granular details here are what is so fascinating. Kimberly Kagan's think tank where she works, The Institute for the Study of War, has been benefited from contributions from corporation who have defense contracts like DynCorps and CACI.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: That’s right. Yes. Right.

Ralph Nader: Both of which reap major revenues from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And what kind of judgment does that say about General David Pertraeus, who let them into the inside circle to get their information in Afghanistan?

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Well, I think the question is the answer. You know, it was clearly from the point of view of people looking into situation questionable. And you have to wonder why he did this. There was some suggestion in some of the reporting that it came at a time when he was possibly thinking he was going to be able to maybe mount a political career after he left the military and that this is was going to somehow help grease some wheels in that direction, by getting close to people who clearly had an access to big money. Now, I'm saying that was a suggestion. I don’t think anybody proved it. I don’t know that he was even ever asked about it. But it was true that he was considered at least for a while as somebody, who might have emerged as a strong Republican candidate for the Presidency.

Ralph Nader: You know, the book takes a real hard look at the role of the media. Your late…

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Yes.

Ralph Nader: …your late husband, James McCartney, was known for asking really tough questions as press conferences of government officials and the Pentagon and elsewhere.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Yes.

Ralph Nader: And the rest of the media sort of looked askance. I think one of the most disgraceful chapters in American journalism has to be how they became the cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq and how they put on the Bush/Cheney deceptions day after day. Judith Miller and the New York Times was a part of that deception. She got Page One articles that now in retrospect where falsethey were factually false and embarrassed the New York Times to no end. Now, I think the Washington Post expressed regret over it's coverage too. The pro Iraq invasion, people say that every major newspaper in America supported the invasion of Iraq. What’s your take for our listeners on the role of the media and how to avoid that in the future?

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Well, the media was clear. They understood they had badly handled the story. You did get in the New York Times a sort of a letter to the readers from Bill Keller sort of saying, "Well, okay. We overplayed some of those stories, some of which were the Judith Miller stories." The Washington Post actually never published a formal apology. Len Downey, the managing editor in that period was asked in a question, I think, as he was exiting the Post into retirement whether he thought the paper had properly covered the story in terms of play and emphasize and so forth. And he did express some concern that there had been fewer stories about the skepticism or the existence of weapons of mass destruction. That perhaps they hadn’t run those stories and given them the play they were giving the government side of that argument. However, that was just an answer to a question. It wasn’t a formal note to readers saying, “By the way, we really didn’t play the story the way we should have.” And I would add that when the stories did there were some stories raising questions about the weapon of mass destructions written by Walter Pincus, a very longtime, very highly respected national security those stories when he was able to get them in the paper at all run like on page A19. They never got to play that the government stories got.

Ralph Nader: This is pretty astonishing; because the Post and Times have done some good investigative work over the years. They seemed to roll over on this one. Our experience – you might be interested in this we saw about fifteen national groups begged to meet with George W. Bush before the invasion. Some of them were over in Iraq. And they came back with some knowledge about the situation. And these are groups like the National Council of Churches. There were labor unions. There were former intelligence officials, retired, student groups, women's advocate for peace. There were environmental groups. Taken as a whole, they all wrote letters to George W. Bush. Millions of members back home, they never got an acknowledgement. They asked just could they see just their president before this disaster was about to unfold. And they didn’t even acknowledge the letters. All this was released to the public. And the Washington Post and New York Times ignored it again and again. It's more than dereliction. It seems like it was censorship. What do you think?

Molly Sinclair McCartney: What happens in the newsroom is when a certain thinking sets in, it dominates the way the newspaper plays these stories. And this was like one of the worse cases ever where the media failed. I would add that in my experience, what you have in the media is kind of like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. When she's good, she's really good as she was with Woodward and Bernstein reporting on Watergate. And when she's bad, she is horrid. And she was horrid in the coverage of the Iraq war. Bill Moyers did an entire hourlong program that’s probably still on YouTube in which they went into great detail about the failure of the media, the cheerleading for the war. The one exception to this would have been what Knight Ridder did with some it's reporting in which they had stories saying, "Wait a minute there is skepticism about those WMD's." Those stories some of them ran in the Knight Ridder papers but the Knight Ridder organization had no Washington outlet. It did not have the kind of clout The Washington Post and The New York Times has. And so they didn’t get the attention. And even more revealing is the fact that The Philadelphia Inquirer, which is a Knight Ridder owned newspaper, chose not to use its own bureau’s stories, because they weren’t matching what The New York Times were saying.

Ralph Nader: What's interesting…

Molly Sinclair McCartney: So there are these flaws in the media that in the case of the Iraq war is about as bad as it gets. Although, there are more examples – and I have them in the book: the ’64 Gulf of Tonkin, the ’62 Cuban Missile Crisis being a couple of other examples where there were massive failure on the part of the media to pursue the story.

Ralph Nader: We're speaking with Molly Sinclair McCartney, who is coauthoring with her late husband, James McCartney, a book called America's War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts just out into the bookstores. And let me put this in front of you, Molly Sinclair McCartney. Unlike any other war in American history, before the invasion, I counted up to thirty retired, high level, Admirals, Generals, national security officials, diplomats, and others who served in the government under both parties and as retirees spoke out against the war, even James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, the security advisers to the first George Herbert Walker Bush, his presidency. General Zinni Marine General retired Zinni, expert in the Middle East spoke out against it. Retired Vice Admiral Shanahan spoke out against it. The former head of the National Security Agency and fourstar General, Howard Odom, spoke out against it. And they got a little play, because they had opeds sometimes, or petitions, or they signed advertisements. But basically, this was a treasure trove for the press to go to for more interviews. They would have tripled their number in a month if George Soros, who also was vociferously against the war had given him a secretariat to organize them and multiply their numbers and get them in the media and get them up on Capitol Hill. What do you think of establishing a secretariat before we get to your epilogue of suggestions that would be an organizing network for retired high level officials, whose experience and patriotism could not be really challenged and who would have great credibility, developing them into a fast response team, so next time we're plunged being plunged into war on a platform of deception, lies and coverups like the Bush/Cheney performance before the Iraq invasion, would be able to stop it? What do you think of that?

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Well, two thoughts: in the abstract way that you present it, yes, that sounds very promising. But if you look at what a similar group of very high level, very important, very knowledgeable people, including George Schultz and a lot of others, tried to do in their effort to get rid of all nuclear weapons, you will see they’ve had very little impact. And that is a group that has written pieces in The Wall Street Journal, has beenthere's many, many very high level people from around the world in a position of power and authority have tried very hard to push that issue. They haven’t gotten very far. So, while your idea sounds like it ought to make a difference, I don’t know if it really would, given what's happened with the George Schultz effort and others. You're familiar with that group, I'm sure. That’s also in the book by the way.

Ralph Nader: Yeah, the former head of Molly

Sinclair McCartney: Yeah. So the problem is that the people in charge get ideas in their head, and it's very hard to stop them, which is what happened with the Iraq war. Here is a wonderful example of what I'm talking about. Jim covered the Middle East for many years as part of his national security reporting. He was in and out of the Middle East repeatedly in the '70s and again in the '80s. When we sat down to listen to Colin Powell make that speech in 2003 to the United Nations making the case for the U.S. invasion, we listened, Jim got up at the end of that talk and said, "They. Have. Nothing. They have a picture of a building. They do not know what's in that building. They don’t know what they're doing. They're going to go over there, kill a bunch of people, because they don’t understand what they're getting into. It's the Middle East, they don’t understand the Middle East. This is going to be a disaster." And he was absolutely right. But even our close friends at that point, having heard Colin Powell, came to a dinner party we had a few days later and all of them were, "Well like Colin says, you know, it's there, it's true, we got to go." And Jim kept saying, "You are all wrong. They don’t have anything." But once the people in charge get these ideas in their head, they got the leverage to make it happen. And the only way that can change is with an informed citizenry and informed voting at the polls, informed questioning of people trying to get to the positions to make those decisions.

Ralph Nader: And Molly, a fulltime infrastructure which George Soros can fund. The problem is that these good people speak out their experience, they want to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, to end nuclear weapons like George Schultz and the former head of the Strategic Air Command, retired Gen. Butler and others. But no…

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Right. There's a whole series of them, yeah.

Ralph Nader: Nobody keeps them going. They don’t have a staff. Nobody gets them in the media. Nobody gets them on Capitol Hill. The idea is to link the money of George Soros as a peace advocate to an infrastructure for all these retired people who have no axe to grind and are speaking truths to military reckless power. In your epilogue, Molly, you have a number of suggestions. And while there's no time to go into each one of them, could you just read the head notes of your suggestions? And let's dwell for a couple of minutes on the unauditability of the Pentagon budget.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Okay. Well, I think as I was just saying a minute ago, the number one item in my list of I think I have twelve, I'm trying to turn to it now to make sure I don’t leave anything out is the idea that we need for people to understand how all the money sloshing around at the Pentagon and in the way we spend money on defense basically feeds the militarism that leads to these wars, this sort of worship of war. Andrew Bacevich has written a number of books. He has a new one out now and talks about the American worship of war and the warrior, and how that has led us into these wars and contributed to the problems that we have. So number one: curb this militarism and this worship of war, which makes us less safe. Then we need to recognize the cost of war. And again, that costofwar.org website has everything you ever wanted to know about cost. And we have to recognize that we have to pay for it. We can't just send the troops and have it not cost us anything. We really need to reconsider or to certainly consider reinstatement of a draft or some form of national service so that people have skin in the game for these war and peace decisions. Right now, we just send off our voluntary army, and nobody's in the street protesting, because there aren't any draftees in that group. That is thought to have contributed to what we did in 2003. Another area we need to work on is to end the secrecy of the drone warfare. Obama's been very good about not sending in the numbers of combat troops into Syria and other parts of the Middle East that there have been that he's been under pressure to do. But he has been willing to do a great deal of drone warfare, none of it necessarily is transparent as it should be. And as we were just talking about, we really need to abolish nuclear weapons. I mean, it's just a time bomb sitting there waiting for a terrorist group to get its hands on something to do incredible damage. We really need to get rid of those weapons. We need to reform the intelligence operations to deal with the problem of flawed, twisted and other kinds of exaggerated intelligence that becomes the basis for military action.

Ralph Nader: And how to do that is the subject of our gathering at Constitution Hall next week, Molly. Under the banner breakingthroughpower.org, we are featuring people who you know, the retired Col. Larry Wilkerson, who was the chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Yes. Oh, yes.

Ralph Nader: We have the high level former CIA analyst Paul Pillar, who teaches at Georgetown. We have the Veterans for Peace. We have many of the long standing peace advocacy groups like the Friends Committee and Peace Action. So we're going to be discussing all this. Just to end on this note: the Pentagon budget is the biggest budget in the United States. It's depending on who you talk to, it's been 600 and 800 billion dollars a year. It is the only budget that is unauditable, according to the Government Accountability Office of the U.S. Congress. Every other federal agency provides an audited budget to the GAO, because that is what federal law requires since 1992. But the Pentagon keeps delaying and delaying. They don’t know where their spare parts are. They don’t know how nine billion with a B dollars of money was lost in Iraq in the first eight months of the war. Your money is going all over the world, listeners, and it is not audited. And in the book, America's War Machine by James McCartney and Molly Sinclair McCartney, they talk about this. So, all this could be the subjects of sane electoral politics. The presidential candidates barely talk about the military budget. And a lot of them are getting money from the military manufacturers. But that doesn’t keep the people from rumbling on all these issues, harking back the farewell speech of President Dwight Eisenhower. Did he ever warn us. And was he ever prescient. Molly, tell people how they can reach you if they want to as we close.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Well, there is a Facebook page for the book, which I just recently set up, “America's War Machine”. You're welcome to have my email address, mccartney106@gmail.com. The Facebook page I'm in the process of setting up will include presentations that are scheduled about the book. I did one just a few weeks ago with Politics And Prose. I'm scheduled to do several more in the Fall, one at George Mason University. And so, that’s a way to keep up with what's happening with the book. You can obviously buy the book on Amazon. That’s the best deal in town because you can order it and get a better price there than almost anywhere. And the bookstores, also some of them have the book, not all of them. But the easiest way to get it is to go online to amazon.com and order it there.

Ralph Nader: Yes. And listeners who listen to NPR and PBS, maybe they want to know the answer to this question. Have you been on National Public Radio or Public Broadcasting System, any of the talk shows, any of the programs yet, Molly?

Molly Sinclair McCartney: I have not. I would love to be. I'm available and would very much like to talk to as large an audience as possible. I have done a number of presentations in various places, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, New York, Washington, and I have more scheduled. But so far, nothing in terms of NPR or PBS, but I'm available. I think this book what the point of the book is is to provide sort of a Military Industrial Complex 101, a very basic guide to explaining what it is, how it works, why you should care, why it's dangerous. It's very basic. It's the kind consumer reporting I did as a reporter where you take an issue and you break it down and make it meaningful for the individual Main Street person. That was the same kind of reporting Jim was doing when he wrote about these issues. Take the jargon, break it down, explain it, and explain why and how, and particularly why it's everybody's business.

Ralph Nader: Well said. And listeners if you want to hear or see Molly Sinclair McCartney, call up to Charlie Rose's show or Terry Gross or Diane Rhem and say that Molly Sinclair McCartney should be on that show. Your taxes, your peace, your safety, your future scenario of what you want to pass on to your children are at stake here. Thank you very much Molly Sinclair McCartney, coauthor with James McCartney of America's War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts, incredibly readable and documented handbook for peace fighters. Thank you very much Molly.

Molly Sinclair McCartney: Thank you, thank you.

Steve Skrovan: We've been speaking with Molly Sinclair McCartney, coauthor of America's War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts. As always, we will link to that book on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour Website. Now, let's take a short break and send it over to the National Press Building in our nation's capital where Russell Mohkiber will tell us all about the latest in true corporate crime. Russell?

Russell Mohkiber: From the National Press Building in Washington D.C., this is your corporate crime reporter morning minute for Friday, May 20, 2016. I'm Russell Mohkiber. The National Education Association and more than fifty state and local teachers unions are challenging McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook to end McTeacher's Night, the corporation's most exploitive form of kidtargeted marketing. On McTeacher's Nights, McDonald's recruits teachers to work behind the counter and serve burgers, fries, and sodas to their students and their students' families. The corporation heavily brands the events, even going so far as to provide uniforms and branded shirts for teachers to wear behind counters. In return, McDonald's donates only a small portion of the event's proceeds to the schools. The events take advantage of struggling schools and use teachers to sell junk food directly to their students in order to create brand loyalty. For the corporate crime reporter, I'm Russell Mohkiber.

Steve Skrovan: Thank you Russell. Welcome back to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. I'm Steve Skrovan along with Ralph Nader. And speaking of corporate crime, our guest has written a true crime account of how a cancer nurse, a car dealership worker, and an insurance fraud specialist helped uncover the largest consumer crime in American history. David Dayen is a contributing writer to Salon.com, at The Intercept, and a weekly columnist for the New Republic and The Fiscal Times. He's the author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, which was the winner of the Ida and Studs Terkel prize. Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, David Dayen.

David Dayen: Thank you so much for having me on the show.

Ralph Nader: Yes indeed. Welcome David Dayen. This is a rather unique book. I mean, I've read a lot of books on corporate crime, and they talk about corporations and corporate lawyers and litigation. And David actually zeroed in on three really regular Americans, who were defrauded in a variety of ways and said, "We're not going to take it anymore." We're talking about exposing one of the biggest frauds in American history, The Wall Street fraud with the housing foreclosures resulting, people thrown out of their homes and millions of people out of their jobs. So, I want to ask you right off David: how did you focus on three people? Most reports wouldn’t have gone down or shall we say up to that level of scrutiny.

David Dayen: Yeah. So I mean, one thing that I thought differentiated this story from a lot of what we've seen come out of the financial crisis is a lot of these narratives happened at sort of the 10,000 foot level. You're talking about CEOs or regulators or members of the administration. I thought that the people most powerfully affected by the financial crisis were right there at the ground level. They were those who were victimized by foreclosures. And to see these three foreclosure victims, who ended up doing more investigation on this particular aspect of the mortgage industry than anyone in the federal government or any state government and how they really were instrumental in exposing this massive fraud of delivering false documents to courts by the millions. It was important to me to get that ground level perspective and to really play it out in the way that they learned about it, peeling back the layers of the scandals like the layers of an onion and not getting too far ahead of what they saw. So I really try to do itmore like a “whodunit,” where you go along with them as they uncover this plot and this scheme and see how they take it to as far they can.

Ralph Nader: Well this book by David Dayen, Chain of Title it's called. There's a reason for that title was reviewed prominently and favorably in The New York Times Book Review section on May 13th by the celebrated law professor, Frank Partnoy, who teaches at the University of San Diego Law School. And in that review, he had this statement which I think would give you an opportunity to explain what you are covering. He said, "The US government couldn’t buy the loans for one simple yet appalling reason. No one could figure out who legally held them." So start with these three people in Florida and give us the sequence, how they first confronted their ordeal and what happened after that. I mean, really give us a personal snapshot of these remarkable people and how their impact radiated all the way to Wall Street and Washington.

David Dayen: Absolutely. So Lisa Epstein is the first person we encountered. She was a cancer nurse. She gets that knock at the door that everyone dreads and she's handed these foreclosure papers. And the entity foreclosing on her in those papers is a bank she's never heard of before. It's called U.S. Bank. And she was paying mortgage payments to Chase Finance. So she starts trying to unravel why she is being sued by a bank that she's never heard of, that she's never given money to to pay for this in this foreclosure case. And what she learns is that these loans were securitized during the crisis. They were sold from an originator over to an investment bank, who then hired a trustee to create a trust and put the loans into the loans and then sell securities, mortgage bank securities, out of those all over the country. And the problem is is that when that was done, the very precise steps that have been established over three hundred years in our country in property laws were violated. They were not upheld. The mortgages never made it to the trust, meaning that these mortgagebacked securities weren’t backed by anything. They were nonmortgagebacked securities. And when the trustees like U.S. Bank went back to foreclose on people, they didn’t actually have the evidence to legally submit that they owned these loans. And so what they did was they faked the documents. They mocked them up. They hired third parties to make documents that made it look like they owned the loans. Those third parties which were under an enormous stress to pump out millions of these documents they cut corners. They forged the documents. They backdated them to make it look like they were done at the proper time. And Lisa uncovered all this. She went to the public records, literally down to the county courthouse in Palm Beach County. She was there so often, she started to get mail there. She went there ever single day. And she really rooted out this scandal one by one, looking through documents the way that any researcher would. The difference is is that now we have the Internet and the ability to sort of network these things and do distributed research projects. And she found other people that were also looking into this.

Ralph Nader: Okay. She met Michael Redman, a car salesman, who had a similar experience. What happened?

David Dayen: Yeah. She found that on his loan, the individuals who were signingassigning the loans to J.P. Morgan Chase were assigning the loan to themselves. They were acting as members of Fannie Mae and signing the loan over to J.P. Morgan Chase. So, he just thought this was a massive scandal, and he started looking through public records. He wrote up a guide of how to look through the public records in your state and find whether or not the documents were fraudulent. And then they ended up meeting in the “comment” sections of a website called Living Lies, which was one of the early adopters of talking about foreclosure fraud on the Internet. And so they met. And they basically made a pact. They went to a restaurant, and they said, "We're going to work on this until we expose it to the nation. And we're going to do anything we can to do that." And so they built their own websites that provided news, information, and documents. They posted these documents and showed the fraud very explicitly. They posted depositions that lawyers were taking foreclosure defense lawyers in these cases where they would get employees of these banks and mortgage servicing companies and third party document processing companies to admit that they signed these documents without having any idea what they were talking about, didn’t know the underlying case, assigned thousands of documents a day. In some cases, multiple people were signing on behalf of one person, who was allegedly authorized to sign on behalf of various banks so that signatures were in thirteen different styles of handwriting. This was an absolute systemic fraud that was going on and these people, Lisa, Michael, and then Lynn Szymoniak, who came in later really were instrumental in uncovering it and exposing it to the nation. By the end of 2010, all the major mortgage servicing companies in America stopped foreclosing on people, because of this publicity and exposure of what went on in that industry.

Ralph Nader: You called this behavior criminal. Did anybody go to jail anywhere in the country?

David Dayen: One individual went to jail. There was a grand jury investigation that was triggered actually by Lynn Szymoniak making a formal complaint to the U.S. Attorney's office in Jacksonville, Florida. And unfortunately, that criminal investigation, which had the ability to go up the chain and implicate every major bank on Wall Street was effectively stonewalled and starved of resources. And so only one person went to jail. She was the CEO. Her name is Lorraine Brown. She was the CEO of DocX, which was a third part company that actually created the physical documents that were used in these foreclosure cases, these fraudulent documents. And what is so interesting and also tragic about that case is that Lorraine Brown was accused of a conspiracy against the banks, that she was accused, mocking up and delivering false documents to the bankers as if that’s not what they were asking for. The banks were seen as the victims in this scenario and that’s the only person who went to jail for any of this.

Ralph Nader: What's this about George Orwell? We're talking with David Dayen, author of the gripping book Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud. David, you described that the bank's behavior not only is indefensible but criminal. Why do you think there were so few, almost no criminal prosecutions from Wall Street down to places around the country for what the banks did? After all, it was over a decade before that the government put away over eight hundred officials of the Savings and Loan banks for defrauding their customers and their homeowners. What happened in the intervening years to develop a nofault system for banks, where there were crimes without criminals? Because the prosecutors didn’t bring any prosecutions, and the politicians didn’t demand it, and the budgets were not expanded to go after this corporate crime wave that spread all over the country and affected millions of innocent Americans.

David Dayen: Yeah. Well, you're absolutely right, Ralph, that we had the model in the Savings and Loan Crisis of how you do this, and it was not followed this time. I think the question you're asking is a nagging question at the heart of our democracy, why there are these twotiered systems of justice, one for the rich and powerful and one for everybody else. I tried to go into the fact that one of the alibis that get used by people in government top officials is that “Well, what was done on Wall Street was unethical, but it wasn’t illegal. And we don’t have good cases.” Well, here's a case where we had millions of pieces of documentary evidence, false evidence that was presented as real in court cases all over the country. And it would’ve been no problem to take those millions of pieces of evidence and go up the chain. Who authorized that these documents be fabricated? Who was the precipitating executive, who made the call to fabricate these documents? But that was never done. And essentially, what you have to believe is that the Obama Administration and people at the Justice Department were more concerned about bank balance sheets than they were about homeowners, than that they were about the rule of law. And as a direct result, this continues to happen today. Every day in America, somebody is kicked out of their home based on false documents. And I get the calls and letters all the time from people, who are going through this in their own court cases right now. So, as a result of failing to stop this crime wave, it's not surprising that it just persists.

Ralph Nader: And when the politicians start making excuses for the Justice Department or for members of Congress saying, "Well, the criminal laws were not adequate to deal with this. We couldn’t prosecute them." That’s total nonsense. For example, just one slice of the bank's crime wave and the mortgage service companies and all the others in this racket, pursuing a foreclosure on homeowners without legal signatures was itself a crime. It's a crime under federal law and under state law. And it goes back decades. There are all kinds of provisions in the criminal laws that could’ve led to the prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment of these business criminals. So what do you want David, as we conclude what do you want the people listening to this program and who read your wonderful book, Chain of Title, to take away from it, especially people who think that you can't fight City Hall, you can't challenge the big banks so why try?

David Dayen: Right. I mean, I think that what this shows is here are three people, who had no expertise, no resources, no institutional knowledge, weren’t activist, weren’t in law enforcement, weren’t in government, and yet they took on these most powerful institutions in America and they made a difference. They may not have gotten every single thing that they wanted, but movements sort of crash onto the shore, and they get closer and close each time. And I don’t think you could’ve had the anticorporate movements that we have today in America without this thing that happened at the initial juncture to really inspire people. And I believe it is an inspiring account. We should recognize that there was an alternative history here that when we're fed this idea that there was nothing that could’ve been done to stop this Wall Street crime wave, there was an alternative. There were people, ordinary people, who figured this out, did more investigation than the government and delivered it on a silver platter to anyone that wanted to do something about it. And we have to reckon with the fact that this road was not taken, even though it would’ve been very easy to do so.

Ralph Nader: Well, we've been talking with David Dayen, author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans they happened to live in Florida Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud. You’ve performed a real service here. I want to tell our listeners, this is the kind of book that should be in libraries all over the country. Libraries have tight budgets. Buy the book. Give it to your local library. People who walk in discouraged and may walk out with this book prepared to have a higher morale level about what individuals can do to make a great difference. Thank you very much David Dayen.

David Dayen: Yeah, well thank you so much, Ralph.

Steve Skrovan: David Dayen is the author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud. We will link to it on the ralphnaderradiohour.com. Well Ralph, we have a few minutes left. Let's get to some listener questions. This first one comes from Josh E. James and he asks, "Hi Ralph, would you bring up the topic of instantrunoff voting in an upcoming Radio Hour? It would be great to hear from top advocates and the victories they have accomplished. I think this would have the effect of inspiring people to act more in this issue."

Ralph Nader: Well, this is a reform that actually is in place in places like San Francisco's elections. And basically it gets rid of the spoiler issue. So when you vote under an instantrunoff voting system, you give your first preference, second preference, third preference. And if your first preference let's say you vote for Green Party candidate and the Green Party candidate doesn’t get a majority, then your second choice kicks in. And if any of the candidates don’t get a majority, your third choice kicks in until your candidate gets a majority. So nobody wins without a majority. And that’s considered the way to eliminate this twoparty tyranny charge that third party voters are spoilers. I have one problem with it, and that is at the end of the day, the third party ends up with no votes. Unless they deal with that for the historical record, I think some people are going to be cool on that kind of reform.

Steve Skrovan: What is the consequence of that, of having no votes?

Ralph Nader: Well, then the people look back and they say the Green Party got no votes, because they evaporate on the second and third round, unless the Green Party candidate gets a majority of the vote on the first round, which is not very likely these days.

Steve Skrovan: Right, but they eliminatethey have an effect though on the election because ostensibly, a candidate would have to, in effect, at least in a secondary way court those votes, right?

Ralph Nader: That’s right. The positive value of instantrunoff voting is that people are more likely to vote their conscience even a small third party because they know that their second or third choice is going to kick in and the least of the worst of the two major party candidates will get their vote eventually, or instantly actually. That’s what's known as instantrunoff voting.

Steve Skrovan: Right, because it's not like you have to then have another election day and go back. It's already all there.

Ralph Nader: Right, it kicks in immediately. I've often said half humorously to advocates for instantrunoff voting, unless they can explain it in 22 seconds on television to an interviewer, they're not going to get anywhere.

Steve Skrovan: Right. Well we kind of do something similar to this when we're voting in sports for Most Valuable Player. In Major League Baseball, it's a ranked voting system. It may not be exactly instantrunoff voting, but there's a first place, a second place, third place vote, so it's not totally unfamiliar to us.

Ralph Nader: Certainly not for sports fans.

Steve Skrovan: Right, right. Let's just do one more question here. This comes from John Ralston and he says, "I was just wondering, what is the history of the corporate income tax? To me there's a breakdown in logic with corporations being "people before the law." And yet they do not pay personal income taxes. Why is that?"

Ralph Nader: Because at the state and federal level, they're supposed to pay corporate income taxes as a corporation. Of course, the executives pay personal income tax. The employees pay personal income tax. But the corporate income tax has been dwindling from a high of 30% of all federal revenues in 1950 to about 7% today. And in many instances, corporations like General Electric have gone year after year without paying any federal income tax on billions of U.S. based profits, billions of dollars. In fact if you added in the corporate welfare, Steve, the subsidies, handouts, giveaways, assigned tax liabilities to other companies, probably an argument can be made that if you took the top fifty giant corporations with ten of billions of dollars of profit, they probably paid no income tax as an aggregate, because of all the subsidies they’ve gotten in return plus all the tax loopholes they’ve taken advantage of. It's a mess. We need corporate tax reform. And we're not going to get it unless every candidate running for office, local state and national, is compelled to take a position on it.

Steve Skrovan: And I remember a few weeks ago, we had David Cay Johnston on the show talking about Donald Trump's tax returns; and he said that if Donald Trump pays any taxes, he should fire his accountant.

Ralph Nader: Because as David Cay Johnston put out in his book, Perfectly Legal, you take advantage of all these loopholes as super wealthy people do with the tax savings abroad and Grand Cayman Islands and the Island of Cork and Luxembourg and whatever, you can pretty much take it down to zero, using clever tax deferral techniques, shifting supposed income to tax havens aboard, which have no federal income tax at all in their jurisdictions. We have to have major corporate tax reform. It's got to enter the political arena, the electoral arena. Every time you’ve got a chance to ask a candidate, who wants to shake your hand and ask for your vote, listeners, ask them: what's their position on corporate tax reform. And tell them to send it to you in writing.

Steve Skrovan: Well, that’s our show. Thank you for your questions. Keep them coming up on the Facebook page and the Ralph Nader Radio website. And thanks to our guests, Molly Sinclair McCartney, author of America's War Machine and David Dayen, author of Chain of Title. A transcript of this episode will be posted on the ralphnaderradiohour.com. For Ralph's weekly blog, go to nader.org. For more from Russell Mohkiber, go to corporatecrimereporter.com. remember to visit the country's only law museum, the American Museum of Tort Law in Winsted, Connecticut. Go to tortmuseum.org. The producers of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour are Jimmy Lee Wirt and Matthew Marran. Our executive producer is Alan Minsky. Our theme music, “Stand Up, Rise Up” was written and performed by Kemp Harris. So join us next week on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. Who'll be at Breaking Through Power coming up this week, Ralph?

Ralph Nader: Take a look at on the website, breakingthroughpower.org. Never before have so many accomplished citizen advocacy groups come together in one place on more issues, reforms and redirections for our country and its impact on the war. Breakingthroughpower.org. If you're in the greater Washington area or on the Eastern seaboard, it's still not too late to get tickets and come down and join the assemblage. It'll be a time to remember.

Steve Skrovan: And if you're not there, it's being live streamed.

Ralph Nader: That’s right.
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Re: Ralph Nader Radio Hour

Postby admin » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:14 am

RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR EPISODE 113: Mickey Huff; David Freeman; Dr. Gordon Douglas
May 15, 2016

In a fast paced and lively hour, Ralph interviews media critic, Mickey Huff, of Project Censored, eco-pioneer, David Freeman, who is trying to shut down the last nuclear power plant in California at Diablo Canyon, and food and nutrition expert, Dr. Gordon Douglas. Plus listener questions!


Mickey Huff is the director of Project Censored, which is a book that comes out every year that reports the top-25 independent news stories, which corporate media have ignored, misrepresented, or censored. He is currently professor of social science and history at Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay area, where he is co-chair of the history department. Mr. Huff is also co-host of the Project Censored Show (http://projectcensored.org/category/radio/), which airs weekly on Pacifica’s KPFA and thirty-five others stations.


David Freeman is an engineer, an attorney, and an author, who has been called an “eco-pioneer,” for his environmentally conscious leadership of both the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. He is also a noted anti-nuclear activist, currently working hard to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in Central California. He is the author of a number of books on energy policy, including Winning Our Energy Independence.


Dr. Gordon Douglas is a physician who specialized in infectious diseases during a distinguished career that included teaching, research, and administration, as well as clinical medicine. Dr. Douglas was the founding president of Merck’s Vaccine Division and along with his wife Sheila Mahoney created the program “Princeton Studies Food” a coalition of faculty, researchers, students, alumni, staff, and community members tackling the challenge of feeding the world’s people while preserving the Earth and its resources.


Steve Skrovan: From the KPFK Studios in Southern California it’s the Ralph Nader Radio Hour

[Music Plays]

Steve Skrovan: Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. My name is Steve Skrovan along with the man of the hour, Ralph Nader, gearing up for the big “Breaking Through Power” conference, which is coming up in about a week or so now, Ralph. How’s the plans?

Ralph Nader: We’re doing a lot of media, and we had a fullpage ad in New York Times on May 7th. It laid out the whole four days for people who want to learn in a compressed encouraging, exciting way how citizen groups are making real change in this country, even though they don’t get that much press. Second, whether you want to get involved and engaged with these citizen groups we’re going to talk about this hour.

Steve Skrovan: Very good. We have another jam packed show for you today. In the second half of the show we’re going to talk about food, health, nutrition and sustainability with Dr. Gordon Douglas of the Princeton Studies Food Program. We’re going to talk more about energy with long time energy expert David Freeman, who also will be a speaker at the “Breaking Through Power” conference. Per usual, we will check in with our Corporate Crime Reporter, Russell Mokhiber, the Nero Wolfe of the Corporate Crime Beat. But our first guest will also be at the “Breaking Through Power” conference. Mickey Huff is the director of Project Censored, which is a book that comes out every year and reports the top 25 independent news stories, which corporate media had ignored, misrepresented, or censored. He is currently professor of Social Science and History at Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is also the cochair of the History Department. Mr. Huff is also a cohost of the Project Censored Show, which airs weekly as we do now on Pacific’s KPFA and 35 other stations. Welcome back to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour Mickey Huff.

Mickey Huff: Hi Steve. It’s good to be here.

Ralph Nader: Good to have you on the show, Mickey. Why don’t you tell people how Project Censored got underway, the role of students, then give a few examples in your latest volume on Project Censored about what kind of stories were suppressed, distorted, censored by the commercial media?

Mickey Huff: Yeah. Absolutely Ralph. Thank so much for having me back on your program. It’s also an honor to be invited to this wonderful 50th Anniversary of Unsafe At Any Speed “Breaking Through Power.” Project Censored was founded forty years ago. It’s our 40th anniversary this year. We were founded in 1976 by Carl Jensen, former newsman and professor at Sonoma State University, who was going back and looking at the problems of the corporate media coverage in terms of the Watergate scandal and discovered that a lot of the alternative independent press were talking about the problems, the myriad problems of the Nixon Administration. But he was wondering how they swept through and won so decisively in reelection, particularly regarding the Watergate Scandal. And that led him to start looking at what else the corporate news media missed that the alternative news media were actually covering. That’s how the project was born. And he turned it into a project where the students would actually go through hundreds of alternative news sources. They would choose stories, and then they would look and see if corporate news back then it was just the network news and the newspaper, major newspapers they didn’t have cable and Internet 24/7 news and so forth yet but that’s how it started. It started really as a critical media literacy education program to train the next generation of critical thinkers, people that could do construct corporate media and deep state media propaganda and also be citizen journalists. That’s what Project Censored continues to do forty years later.

Ralph Nader: Mickey, give some example say, seven, eight, nine examples of stories in your most recent annual book that is published every year by Seven Stories Press in New York City. Give the title of the book, how they can get that, and then give some examples, so people will get an idea of just how important these stories are that they don’t see covered in the commercial media.

Mickey Huff: Yeah, absolutely Ralph, definitely. Special thanks to Seven Stories Press for being our long time publisher. And Andy Lee Roth my associate director and I are turning around these books in a few months. We work all year, and then the last few months here basically from now through July we work steadily with Seven Stories Press, and they turn around this volume three, 400 page, book that’s full of media analysis and the top stories. For example, in our Censored 2016 book Media Freedom on the Line, our top story was one on global wealth. It was based on Oxfam report that got very little corporate news media coverage that half the global wealth was owned by the 1% and what the consequences of that happened to be in terms of global poverty and suffering and so forth and inequality. We also covered the oil industry dumping frack water into aquifers in the state of California. Something that got some local coverage when we’d think it would get far more coverage on the dangers of fracking everywhere, not just earthquakes but massive pollution. This is for a dying energy source. And it’s going in the exact opposite direction as we approach four hundred parts per million, sort of a points of no return here in some cases at least for generations. There are very significant stories about how we’re committing ecocide. Several islands in the Pacific were basically just buried by the Pacific Ocean from rising sea levels. The coral reef is being bleached from rising sea temperatures. These are all connected stories. Part of what we do as a project is we try to connect the dots in those stories, because we believe that that’s what journalists are supposed to do. We also celebrate the fact that independent journalists do these things. They just tend to not get a lot of attention. We covered the methane and Arctic warming stories. We covered the ongoing disaster at Fukushima. But we don’t just cover negative stories. One of the stories we covered was on the popular resistance to corporate water grabbing. From Bolivia to Costa Rica through other countries and particularly Latin America, Southern American countries, there are movements of popular movement, citizen movement where people are rising up, grassroots fashion and taking back the rights to the resources that belong to the people, not private corporations per profit. Those are the kind of stories that we think that the news media are supposed to cover; and we celebrate those intrepid journalists that have the integrity and courage to cover them.

Ralph Nader: Mickey, how about the Israeli/Palestinians story? The daily life of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza that have been called world’s largest gulag. You’ve had stories on that have been demonstrative of your point in these books that they’ve been censored by even places like the New York Times or the national news TV networks. You want to describe that briefly?

Mickey Huff: Absolutely. We’ve long covered Israeli apartheid in Palestine. And we’ve covered the boycott/divestment/sanctions movement. We’ve covered the massive discrepancy in terms of the numbers of people killed by Israel and Israeli Defense Force, including large numbers of children in Gaza. Not only have we covered these kinds of stories, whether they come from electronic intifada, Nora BarrowsFriedman and Ali Abunimah and other great reporters out west. But we’ve had entire chapters in our book that focused and highlight on that. And including on our latest book, we had an entire chapter that was both highlighting a problem and looking at solutions where we talked about the importance of women and women’s movements for social justice causes in both places like Palestine and Kashmir. Susan Rahman, Tara Dorabji wrote a fantastic expose of this. These are the kind of stories that we strongly believe are supposed to be in The New York Times and the Washington Post because of the powers that be, because of their ownership, the advertising and the reliance on significant official government top down sources that are strongly influence by AIPAC and others in the press and particularly the military industrial complex is the number one recipient of USAID, the military aid in the world. We think those definitely skew the interest and skew the coverage. We try to highlight the independent journalists that want to go and tell the truth about that. There’s a series of authors that have just recently visited Palestine and the West Bank, really well known bestselling authors, including Michael Chabon, that are seeing the carnage and the inhumanity and the war crimes that are being committed there. And our hope is they’ll spread this message far and wide to other people so that folks like Hillary Clinton can’t possibly stand up in front of a microphone and denounce a boycott/divestment/sanctions movement without acknowledging that apartheid exists in Israel, Palestine.

Ralph Nader: Yeah. That story is actually covered just recently in the Washington Post, very nicely: the trip to the West Bank and Gaza by these wellknown authors.

Mickey Huff: The authors, right? They’re bringing attention to it …

Ralph Nader: And they’re going to put out a book.

Mickey Huff: That’s what we hope.

Ralph Nader: Yeah and a lot of them are …

Mickey Huff: Yes. We hope so. That’s right. And we certainly hope they do.

Ralph Nader: Yeah. Let me ask you this: as I go through your annual book, it occurs to me that the reasons why these stories are either censored or deferred. Some of these stories are reported but pretty late, eight, nine, ten years late before they appear in your book Project Censored for example or in the independent media. Of course, advertising pressure leads to restriction of reporting. The reduction of the number of reporters has to have an effect. Investigative teams are restricted in number or actually eliminated in order to cut cost. What are your top three or four reasons why the press either doesn’t cover something when it should be covered timely, or waits until something disastrous erupts years later to cover it, or grotesquely distorts the coverage?

Mickey Huff: Well, a key thing that we deal with with our definition of censorship at Project Censored is that censorship is, according to us, it’s anything that interferes with the free flow of information in a society that purports to have free press principles. In fact, our founder Carl Jensen in with that had said he’s concerned about where censorship takes place, but he’s more concerned about the impact or effect it has in the population where the information isn’t reaching “we the people” so that we can act upon it intelligently to try to transform and change our systems of government, which are oligarchic and plutocratic. They are not democratic or republican in their form. And even the elite universities of Princeton and Northwestern published a study on that three years ago. Again, we think propaganda is one of the worst forms of censorship the halftruths, the slighting of content, the attacking and labeling or dismissal of ideas that don’t jibe with the status quo or establishment interests. Propaganda is absolutely rampant in places like the United States. And it’s able to do so because it masquerades under principles of the free press that the public in many cases don’t question enough. Between the advertising and ownership of the media by six corporations that run 90% of it, which is down from 50 thirtyfive odd years ago when Ben Bagdikian the recently late Ben Bagdikian was blowing the whistle on it. Now we have six. And these are incredible pressures. And so too are the deep state interests. The interest of the Defense Department, the Orwellian Defense Department, the Pentagon, the CIA, they also have a hand in how stories are written. They also have a hand in determining what stories are published, which ones are ignored, which ones are buried. That’s a classic tactic for a newspaper to cover a story but bury in a local or state section. And then they can say “Oh, but we covered that.” And again, those are the many tactics that are used and unfortunately there are many more. This is a very sophisticated process the process of censorship and propaganda that began way back with Eddie Bernays in World War I and others and it’s been honed to a fine craft. And I have to say that it’s one of the most undemocratic and vicious challenges to befall the American population.

Ralph Nader: Mickey, the students who do so much of this work and selection, do they get course credit for this work?

Mickey Huff: Absolutely. I teach critical reasoning in history. Peter Phillips teaches the former director teaches sociology and censorship, sociology of power. Andy Roth teaches courses on these. We work with at least twenty different professors around the country, several hundred students and we belong to a group of not only are we part of National Coalition against Censorship but we belong more specifically to a cohort of media literacy organizations. We work with both junior college, four year colleges, the ACME group on Action Coalition for Media Literacy. Now, we’re working with graduate program in Connecticut, your home state. Believe it or not Sacred Heart University has a graduate program in media literacy digital culture. We’re crafting a media literacy education that we’re not waiting for Common Core. We’re not waiting for the colleges to say this is a project. We’re doing it ourselves. And with forty years experience in service learning, that’s what we’re doing. And we think education is the antidote to this top down propaganda.

Ralph Nader: Yeah. We’ve been talking to Mickey Huff, head of Project Censored. By the way, the listeners must be saying to themselves, you know, “I didn’t read about this.” This whole effort by the students and professors itself is almost censored and not given the adequate treatment that it deserves, especially since it relates to the very media that disregards it as a newsworthy subject to report. How do people get this book? And what kind of people have been buying this book? Is it for journalism classes, citizen groups? Very quickly as we wrap up. We’re way out of time, Mickey.

Mickey Huff: It’s all the above. Unfortunately, not enough journalism people, I think, pick up our book, because they think we’re critics of them. And we are. We’re constructive critics. We’re not trying to tear down the good work that some people do inside the corporate media. We’re trying to spread that kind of ethos of truthtelling and reporting the facts and letting people actually decide what’s going on. You’re right. Projectcensored.org, projectcensored.org is a place where people can learn about that. Our show, like yours, is on Pacifica, thirtyfive stations, “Project Censored Show.” And also check out or global critical media literacy website at gcml.org. And I hope that being part of the Breaking Through Power Conference, Ralph, you’re putting on is another way for Project Censored to be on the radar for people to find out that we’re still around, we’re still doing these things, and we look more and more for collaboration on how to spread the word and educate the public about the importance of media literacy.

Ralph Nader: Indeed. We’ve been talking with Mickey Huff, who is going to be at Constitution Hall on Tuesday, May 23rd. All day the subjects are going to be Breaking Through the Commercial Media and the cable monopolies for more serious content, more uplifting stories about what people are doing to improve the function of our democracy, for peace and justice and wellbeing. Thank you very much, Mickey. We’ll see you there. And I hope a lot of people will see you there. For those of you who want to get tickets, they are very available. Go to Breaking through Power, THROUGH, breakingthroughpower.org. A dazzling display, we call it. Those four days are called the Super Bowl of citizen action. Thank you, Mickey Huff.

Mickey Huff: Thank you Ralph Nader.

Steve Skrovan: We’ve been speaking to the director of Project Censored, Mickey Huff who you can see in person critiquing the media at Breaking Through Power at May 24th at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. Go to breakingthroughpower.org for details. And go to project censored.org for more details for Mickey Huff. Now, we’re going to keep moving along here and bring you another participant in the upcoming Breaking Through Power Conference. This next distinguished gentleman was actually our very first guest on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour over a year and a half ago. And we’re privileged to have him back. David Freeman is an engineer, an attorney and an author who’s been called an EcoPioneer for he’s environmentally conscious leadership of both the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. He's also a noted antinuclear activist, currently working hard to shutdown the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in Central California. He’s the author of a number of books on energy policy, including Winning Our Energy Independence. Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, David Freeman.

David Freeman: I'm glad to be here again. Nice to be invited back.

Ralph Nader: Thank you very much, David. Let’s get right to it here. You're about to hear arguably the greatest energy expert in the United States. He not only has the academic background as a lawyer and engineer, he’s run at least four giant utilities, including two in California. He’s been the advisor to several Presidents. He has advised the first Governor Cuomo as well as the present governor Jerry Brown of California. And I don’t know anybody who’s had the hands on experience. He also shutdown a nuclear plant in Sacramento, one of the first nuclear plants to be shutdown, and as Steve Skrovan mentioned is in the process of making California nuclear power free. Let’s ask this question. I see these full page ads, David Freeman, by the Nuclear Energy Institute in the Washington Post, New York Times, basically saying, “Nuclear power is the way to go for clean air and for climate change safety.” What is your answer to that?

David Freeman: Well, the interesting thing is that even the utilities in this country are not paying attention to that ancient religion. The largest source of new energy now are solar and wind. The revolution is underway, and the real question is whether it will accelerate fast enough and save us from the catastrophe of climate change. We are in a race to see whether we can replace the fossil fuel plants and then the nuclear plants fast enough to avoid what the “family doctor,” namely the scientists, are telling us will be the end of life as we know it on this planet. The bad news is the dire predictions about climate. The good news is that the modern day Edisons have learned to harness the sun and the wind and to do it economically. And the fact that no one seems to be willing to accept is that the clean stuff over the life of the planet is cheaper cheaper than any of the fossil fuels or the nukes, which are the most expensive of all.

Ralph Nader: David, layout your energy plan over the next thirty, forty years, eminently practical. Lay it out for our listeners.

David Freeman: The first thing we got to do is to just pass a one sentence that says, “All new power plants have to be renewable.” Back in Jimmy Carter’s day, we outlawed gasfired power plants for a different reason then. This country has forgotten that the way a civilization that asserts itself on things that individuals can’t do is through laws. I’m speaking to a man that put seatbelts in the cars through a law. I don’t understand. The energy debate has got to move into real action. And the action is very simple. We outlaw any new power plant other than renewables. And that’s just part of it. Then we have to use that renewable electricity to replace heating and transportation. And the emissions are there. We just have to mandate that the cars that are sold, the green house gases have to go down 3% a year. In another words you pass a law that says the green house gases have to be reduced 3% a year. And you put a tax on the amount by which they fail to do it. If you just pass a carbon tax, you might collect some money, but you're not going to really to electrify the railroads, you're not going to have electric cars dominate us in the future. And so we have to pass a mandate. Namely, we tell the railroads you got ten years in which to go electric. And we provide a green bank to finance. How the hell do you think we got electricity in rural America? It was with a program with 2% loans and cooperatives that made it happen. This country knows how to do things. We just have to remind ourselves that we can get things done. But it requires laws. The marketplace will never get it done fast enough. In a hundred years we’re going to have all electric, all renewable. But if we wait a hundred years, we all be living on the North Pole or not living at all.

Ralph Nader: Yeah. We've been talking to David Freeman the eminent energy expert. And he's going to be at Constitutional Hall, the Super Bowl of citizen action over four days May 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th of this year. Coming up fast. The first day is Breaking Through Power: “How It's Done” with eighteen groups demonstrating it over the years. The second is Breaking Through The Media, so you can get more serious content on the public airways that you own, along with other Americans. The third day is Breaking Through War. Waging peace over waging war and some really great former military intelligence people are going to connect that day with traditional peace advocacy groups. Phil Donahue is going to show part of his film “Body of War. ” And the day that David Freeman is going to be speaking is called Breaking Through Congress. And you’ve heard him mention that we’ve got to get back to you using the law, using law enforcement against those who would expose the planet and our communities to pollution, to gouging prices, and to devastating climate norms. David, what is the future of nuclear power?

David Freeman: I wouldn’t use the word “dead.” I would say, “It’s dying.” And the interesting thing is that even the utilities are not going for new nuclear power plants. The real issue we have is can we put to rest about a hundred reactors that still are operating in this country and “retire them” before – to pardon my putting it – they “retire us” with Fukushimatype accidents. There are two existential threats to mankind. And we talk a lot about climate, which is one of them. But the other one is nuclear proliferation and nuclear accidents. And the interesting thing is that here in California, we’re talking about a double header. We’re going to not just shut down Diablo Canyon, but we’re going to replace it with renewable energy. One of the problems with the Beyond Coal and “beyond stuff” campaigns is we didn’t say what we’re going to do, what “the beyond” was going to be. And we’ve gone around replacing coal plants with natural gas. And natural gas, if you add the methane that’s emitted, is just as bad as coal. We got to go directly to renewable energy, not just for our electricity but then use that electricity in electric cars and electric trains and to heat pumps to heat with. We have the technology for an all electric completely allrenewable energy supply that will be cheaper. Let me tell you, what is the cheap power in America today? It’s the dams that Franklin Roosevelt built thirty, forty years ago. That was the first green power. We got to understand that if you have free fuel over the life of the power plant it’s going to be cheaper than coal, nuclear or anything else. So, we got a double header here, except that we’re up against most of the money in this country, the oil and gas industry and those guys. But unfortunately the environmental leadership of this country has not told the exciting, straight story that I’m going to be telling on Thursday, which is that we got a better mousetrap. We have a better product in terms of cost as well in terms of environment. If we don’t get this part straight, the first three days of your meeting, Ralph, isn’t going to really matter.

Ralph Nader: Ha…

David Freeman: If we don’t solve this climate problem and keep nuclear proliferation from blowing us to hell in a hand basket, then everything else really isn’t going to make much difference.

Ralph Nader: Yeah. We've talked about this. David Freeman hardly gets any mass media attention. The people who don’t know chatter away on national television about energy. And the people who do know so much, like David Freeman get marginalized. That’s one reason why day two May 24th is Breaking Through the Media. This is nonsense that the people who know about how to solve problems in our country, who have done it in small ways or pilot projects don’t get much attention. Steve Skrovan, do you have any comment or question you might want to ask David Freeman before we close?

Steve Skrovan: Sure. There are certain people, who are pushing for nuclear power, who I would call sort of technology mavens, like Bill Gates. What is their argument? What is your argument against them?

David Freeman: Well, my point is that these statements in favor of nuclear power are at least fifty or sixty years old. I've heard this song before. The plain truth of the matter is that the people that really believe in nuclear power, believe in a religion. It’s a religious belief that factually there is nothing that’s been a bigger failure in the whole energy field than nuclear power. It’s failed on the issue of cost. They have tried for fifty years to find a place to put the waste, and there is no safe place for it. The only answer is birth control. We got to stop making more nuclear waste, because we don’t know what to do with it. And then they said it was safe but thus far about every twenty years we wiped out a good chunk of Mother Earth, first over in the Ukraine then in Japan. We had a near miss at Three Mile Island. The plain truth of the matter is that nuclear power has failed on economics, it’s failed on safety. And we generate radioactive waste that are going to last for thousands of years. And nobody knew how much it’s going to cost to keep that stuff from contaminating us over the years. The interesting thing is that there are certain people that want to believe in “the coming,” and maybe someday from heaven above somebody will come down with this nuclear power plant that he’s talking about. All I know is that for sixty years, I’ve heard this song. And even hardnosed utility executives are quoted nowadays as saying that nuclear power is not a religion. It is a form of energy that has failed. And the interesting thing is the American people: they’ve got common sense. If you go ask a hundred people, “Would rather live next to nuclear power plant or next to a solar panel,” you’re going to get a hundred people that choose solar panels.

Ralph Nader: Indeed.

David Freeman: Indeed, not about only because it’s safer, because it’s cheaper.

Ralph Nader: And more job intensive. By the way, nuclear power is the ultimate crony capitalism for the conservatives listening to this program without 100% government taxpayer guarantee Wall Street would never finance a nuclear plant. Not only that, but the insurance is basically government subsidized as well. Nuclear power is not insurable in the private market.

David Freeman: But the interesting thing is: it takes nearly a police state. Do you know how many security guards that are around a nuclear plant? We don’t even talk about the fact that if you want to put a radioactive Trojan horse into your country, you put a nuclear power plant. I mean, we are living in the Age of Terror, where no one in their right mind would build a radioactive facility in your own midst if you were starting from scratch, which requires hundreds of people to guard in which Lord only knows what’s going to happen. I don’t even like to talk about that. But that’s of course all that needs to happen is for ISIS to find a little bit of plutonium somewhere in the world and God knows what’s going to happen. God bless Obama if he’s going to Hiroshima to try to persuade the world to get rid of nuclear power altogether. But the first thing you got to do is to stop this promotion of civilian nuclear power, because there is no such thing as a peaceful atom. The road to the bomb is the nuclear power plant. And we’ve got to stop it. Otherwise, God knows what’s going to happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty in this country.

Ralph Nader: David Freeman, how do people get in touch with you? And give them the title of your new book.

David Freeman: It’s All Electric America, and you can get it in Amazon or places like that. And my email is greencowboysdf@gmail.com.

Ralph Nader: Is that S as in Sam?

David Freeman: Right. As in “Stupid.”

Ralph Nader: D as in dog and f as is Friend?

David Freeman: Right.

Ralph Nader: Okay. We’ll see you on May 26th Thursday at Constitution Hall. Folks, you want to attend there are scholarships if you can’t afford it. Go to breakingthroughpower.org and see this dazzling Super Bowl of citizen action. And it’s about time we highlighted all the citizen groups that make life so much safer and healthful and stand up to tyranny, whether corporate or government. I might add that we’ve got a set of presidential elections these days that appear to be off limits to democracy. Here comes democracy in action at Constitution Hall between May 23rd and May 26th of this month. Thank you very much, David. We’ll see you there.

David Freeman: Looking forward to it. Bye, bye.

Steve Skrovan: We've been talking to David Freeman former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority and long time opponent of nuclear power. He also will be participating in the Breaking Through Power conference this May 23rd to May 26th. Go to breakingthroughpower.org. We will link to all of this on the Ralph Nader Radio website. But right now, let’s take a short break and find out what our corporate crime reporter Russell Mohkiber is doing over at the National Press Building. Russell?

Russell Mohkiber: From the National Press Building in Washington DC, this your corporate crime reporter morning minute for Friday May 13, 2016. I'm Russell Mohkiber. The Grand Canyon, sponsored by Budweiser. Yosemite, sponsored by Starbucks. According to a recent report in the Washington Post, corporate naming rights may be coming to a National Park near you. A Coca Cola Visitor Center will be off limits but an auditorium at Yosemite named after Coke will now will permitted. Naming rights to the roads are not up for grabs, but visitors could tour Bryce Canyon in a bus wrapped in the Michelin Man. And park goers could sit on a bench named for Humana Health Insurance and store their food in a bearproof locker emblazoned with the Nike swoosh. The National Park system, created a century in order preserve the countries natural treasures for the public, has long been avower against commercialization. But now the National Park service is making a more aggressive appeal for corporate donors. For the corporate crime reporter, I'm Russell Mohkiber.

Steve Skrovan: Thank you, Russell. Our next guess is a physician who’s specialized in infectious diseases during a distinguished career that included teaching, research and administration as well as clinical medicine. His name is Doctor Gordon Douglas. Doctor Douglas was the founding President of Merck’s Vaccine Division and along with his wife Sheila Mahoney created the program Princeton Studies Food, a coalition of faculty, researchers, students, alumni, staff and community members tackling the challenge of feeding the world’s people while preserving the earth and its resources. Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Doctor Gordon Douglas.

Gordon Douglas: Thank you.

Ralph Nader: Yeah. Gordy and I were classmates at Princeton in the class of 1955, which established the leading alumni group to place Princeton undergraduates and graduates in civic action groups all over the country. It’s now called Princeton Alumni Core. Gordy, as we call Gordon Douglas, I'm going to ask you a little bit about the Zika virus near the end of our discussion, because you are one of the world’s leading experts on infectious diseases. But, you wrote me a letter recently in response to a communication I sent to you about your food project at Princeton University, and you said quote “The food you and I ate sixtyfive years ago was truly terrible. The good news is that it has changed.” Can you tell our listeners what we suffered at Holder Hall in the early ‘50s in the cafeteria there, and how things have changed in terms nutrition and wholesome food?

Gordon Douglas: Right. Well, we had one place to eat, which was a big long dining room which was like the Harry Potter dining room in the movies. The food was served to you on the plate, and you had eight minutes to eat it. And it was repetitive. There is a lot of what we used to call “mystery meat.” And sometimes it was too hot. Sometimes it was too cold. It was not very tasty and there were no options. There was no variation in the food. There was no ability to order something else. Today there’s just a marvelous shift on the campus, and I assume on a lot of other college campuses, too, where there many different places where a student can eat and a student get a meal ticket. And they can eat wherever they want that night. They don’t have to eat in a particular dining room, and the diet is quite varied. They’re lots of choices. And actually, there are some students who run a service where they say, “Well, this is the best meal for at noon on Wednesday. This is what you should go and eat on Thursday night. You should go eat go taste this.” It’s really quite extraordinary I think.

Ralph Nader: There’s vegetarian options?

Gordon Douglas: There are definitely vegetarian options. But they don’t force that on the student. The student has free choice to pick whatever they like. But they certainly have both vegan and vegetarian options. There is seafood. And there are meat. And the other thing that they’ve done, which is kind of interesting, Ralph to what we’re going to be getting into. They have begun to make what we are calling “transition burgers,” so that a hamburger, a traditional hamburger will not be 100% beef. It will be may be be 40% beef and mixed in with a lot of plantbased food but retaining the taste and texture of a traditional beef burger, which is a very, very interesting development, I think.

Ralph Nader: Indeed, when we were students, we were given regularly something we called “the green death,” which is kind of creamy mush, maybe of spinach. I don’t know what it was. But just on a nutritional basis quite apart from the horrid taste we were not given the respect we deserved in terms of learning about the food we should be eating and upgrading the food that we were given. Well now, you held aconference, you held the conference on February 19th of this called Food Entrepreneurship, which will result of a lot of work by you. And you want to discuss that as a way to get into how you effect doing a pilot project at Princeton University but something that can spread all over the country.

Gordon Douglas: Yes, we started this program about two years ago. We’ve actually a two annual conferences. But the most recent one in February was called Entrepreneurship, Food Entrepreneurship, how we emphasize Princeton Entrepreneurs, because we coupled it with the career services event for students. We’re trying to get students to not just go into the financial industry or law, medicine, the traditional trajectory, but get some of them who will be interested in doing things to help solve this incredible world problem. And it was very, very successful in that regard. We had number of panels four, five panels, each of which has four or five participants, who only spoke for maybe five minutes a piece and then there was plenty of time for discussion from the floor and amongst the panelists. But we had people who were inventors of things or a processes. We did have one about actually people trying to change and improve food on the plate, as it where. But we had other people talking about how particular foods are grown, how to make things better. And a number of people had started companies that we’re working in this area. So it was a really very exciting event, a lot of student participation and student excitement over the event. We plan to continue.

Ralph Nader: Well, we have a day on Breaking Through Power called breaking through the media. We want the kind of media that has much more time and space for serious content like Dr. Douglas has just described. That kind of conference that you had at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University would have been televised all over the country. And all kinds of people would pick it up at other schools and say, “Hey look! Why can’t we do this at Cumberland School? Why can’t we do this at Ohio State or San Diego State or Berkeley?” One thing that interested me about your project, Gordon, is that there were different parts of Princeton University’s Departments, who were working on some aspect of food, and they really didn’t even know each other. You helped bring them together. This is a real problem around the country, the kind of micro silos of people who are right next to each other but really don’t even know it and don’t collaborate so there’s an aggregation. The whole is greater than the parts. You want to describe a problem that’s very wide spread in Washington and around the country?

Gordon Douglas: Yes. No, I agree with you 100%. I think that there’s no question that when we started this program two years ago my wife and I we were told that there’s nobody on the Princeton campus working on food, that it’s a very basic scienceoriented, basic research kinds of questions of the faculty oriented in that direction and not towards more practical questions surrounding food. Well of course, there’s some really basic science questions pertaining to food that are terribly important. But, we began to talk to people, and we found out there were lots of people working on food. They didn’t know each other. One of the interesting things is, there’s no Department of Food in a college or university. There are Departments of Chemistry and Biology and Molecular Biology and Engineering and English and so on and so forth, traditional departments. We found that there are people in many of these different departments, for instance, one of the professors comes from civil environmental engineering. And he’s is really interested in the growth of food in Sub Saharan Africa where water is scarce and what plants do you grow as crops and so on and so forth, and how do you irrigate them, and that kind of thing. There’s another famous behavioral psychologist, who is interested in why people become obese, what drives their behavior in overeating, and how can you change that from the behavioral psychology point of view. They’re people coming a it, again, from different points of view. So, we coalesced people together. I'm not sure we everybody together yet. But we've done pretty good job of it.

Ralph Nader: I got to tell you a story if indulge me, Gordon. When I was a law student at Harvard Law School, it didn’t take me long in my first year to realize that there was no course or seminar on food and the law. So, I’m walking out of a classroom with a professor and I say, “Professor, could you please tell me why isn’t there a course on food and the law?” He sort of looked at me and said, “Food?!” Then I said I was perplexed, you know you had awe of law professors. I said it, “Yeah, you know, what we eat every day.” He is stroked his chin and he looked up at the sky and he said, “Well, maybe it’s because it hasn’t reached a level of legal development sufficient to provide a adequate, intellectual challenge to our students.” And so I wanted a comparison, “So what do you think has?” He said, “Tax law.” The Food and Drug Administration was operating then. There was some food safety regulation. There were law school cases. But the real reason we didn’t have a seminar or course on food and the law is because there weren’t corporate law firm jobs on it. It was not a very good prospect for getting a career underway. But now at Harvard Law School as you well know there is a small center on food and the law and has put us some very good materials. So you can see there’s real progress. But here's what I want to put before you quickly is, in the Wall Street Journal very recently, there was an oped by a man who said that the problem in the United States is not hunger, it’s obesity. And I read that and I said, “Why is it either/or?” There’s clearly hunger based on poverty. Millions of children go to a bed at night hungry. There is this euphemism called “food insecurity,” affecting many, many families in our country. And of course, there is obesity among people of all economic status. But, can you clarify for a listeners, Gordon, there’s really no contradiction here, is there?

Gordon Douglas: No, I don’t think so. I mean it’s actually a worldwide problem too, as well as United States problem. And the proportions of people that are malnourished and the proportions of people little overweight shift a little bit from country to country, but they’re both worldwide problems. It’s estimated today that there about eight hundred million people worldwide, who are malnourished to some extent that’s insufficient calorie intake or insufficient nutrients of some kind or another or both but there are about two and a half times that number worldwide, who are obese. And of course obesity leads to TypeTwo Diabetes and other issues and certainly increases healthcare costs. So it's interesting that you can say I mean, there’s a very direct corelation between food and health. And this is sort of two ends of the spectrum. One end is malnutrition. The other end is overweight. But in addition to overweight, we know that the over consumption of animalbased protein and the saturated fats that necessarily go with it leads to heart disease, cancer, stroke and other maladies, and perhaps even some of those central nervous system diseases.

Ralph Nader: What is the proportion of the American population who is obese and then if you add overweight, what is it total in terms of percentage?

Gordon Douglas: Yeah. Well, worldwide about that’s estimated today that 30% one third the world population is overweight. Now of course that’s more highly distributed in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Brazil. It's occurring now in China. In the United States, estimates for obesity, bonafide obesity in adults is now 30%.

Ralph Nader: Staggering. What was that 40 years ago?

Gordon Douglas: It was down around 5%. It’s an enormous change. And it has to do with increased calorie consumption, which is probably something we can thank the food industry for.

Ralph Nader: The fast food industry like McDonald’s and Burger King and the huge portions now that are offered: heavy salt, heavy fat, heavy bad things. Salt, fat and sugar.

Gordon Douglas: Yeah, salt, fat and sugar, you're right. The food industry discovered that adding sugar or adding salt, adding animal fat, saturated fat to something made it taste better and overwhelmed… These foods are not satiating. You don’t get satiated with them, so you over eat. And then that’s the problem there. But it's not simply just sugary beverages and fast food; it's that people eat too many calories in this country. And they eat too much animal protein. And so changing these things is what’s going to have to happen.

Ralph Nader: We’ve been talking to Dr. Gordon Douglas. Gordon, tell people how they can reach you. Do you have a website or an email? And by the way, hats off to your wife Sheila, who was one of the prime inspirers and participants in this project of food studies at Princeton University.

Gordon Douglas: Yes well, thanks. And she has been an enormous and certainly a coequal partner in this, no question about it. We have a website for our program which is called, it’s princetonstudiesfood.princeton.edu. And if somebody wanted to contact me directly I have an email which is rgdouglasjr@gmail.com.

Ralph Nader: Okay. Can you repeat both of those Dr. Douglas?

Gordon Douglas: Sure. Okay. The website is princetonstudiesfood.princeton.edu. And the email address is rgdouglasjr@gmail.com.

Ralph Nader: For the listeners who want to start something at their local high school, community college or university, that’s a very valuable website to get you started. In the last couple minutes, Gordon, the Zika virus is now becoming a headline story. Congress doesn’t seem to know how to move on this. It’s apparently going to affect more than just pregnant women and microcephaly. Could you give our listeners a reply to the question: what should we do in the coming summer in mosquitoes to prevent our exposure to the Zika virus?

Gordon Douglas: Right, right. Of course, a lot of that depends on where you live. But certainly if you live in the Southern Gulf Coast States, Southern California, Florida, you’re going to be exposed to Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes that potentially carry the Zika Virus. Well, there are several things and several advantages, I think we have in this country as supposed to some of the less developed countries, and that is living in a house with screened windows, where you do not have mosquitoes inside. That’s a very important characteristic. The other thing is, you can protect yourself against mosquito bites. There are pretty good mosquito repellants out there, particularly those that contained DEET. But long sleeves, long sleeve trousers and just not having exposed areas, and those areas that have to be exposed, like your face and ears and neck, you can put the mosquito repellant on. The trickier question, of course, is whether someone should become pregnant during the summer season when the virus is prevalent. And that’s going to be a personal decision, I think. But I think information should be out there, and people should be aware of the risks and take appropriate action. But again, prevention I think is the best thing you can do.

Ralph Nader: And watch the puddles of water around your house, right, or apartment building?

Gordon Douglas: Right. Yeah. Everybody should make sure that they don’t have puddles of fresh water. Mosquitoes breed in fresh water. It doesn’t take much. It can be the top of the garbage lid that happened to fill up with water from a rainstorm. Or it could – you know the old classic is tires. I don’t think too many people have old tires hanging around their backyard, but some people might. Almost anything where fresh water can puddle is an issue.

Ralph Nader: What do you think Congress should do?

Gordon Douglas: Well, Congress should appropriate the problem they have of course they haven’t followed the President’s request and appropriated the money. But the CDC and the NIH and the public health service people have put together plans for a pretty good study of the problem, monitoring of the problem, surveillance of the problem, so people will know where it is. And also, preventive measures: some Mosquito Spring campaigns and that kind of thing.

Ralph Nader: We’ve been speaking with Dr. Gordon Douglas who together with his wife, Sheila, started this program called Princeton Studies Food. It’s a great model for you around the country in terms of applying this kind of initiative and energy to get more students to go into food and nutrition careers, as well as to get better food at college campuses, and as well as just spreading the whole idea of nutritious and safe food, preferably without chemical inputs, and preferably without the three scourges of excessive fat, salt, and sugar. Thank you very much, Gordy, to be continued. Good luck on your project. And we’ll try to spread it around.

Gordon Douglas: Okay. Well, thank you, Ralph.

Ralph Nader: You’re welcome.

Steve Skrovan: As Ralph said, we’ve been speaking with Dr. Gordon Douglas, who along with this both Sheila Mahoney, is the driving force behind the program Princeton Studies Food. We will link to that program on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour website. And guess what Ralph? We’ve got some time left after three guests, believe or not, to take some listener questions. So, why don’t we jump right in? This first question comes from a listener named Craig Bickle. He is a long time listener to the podcast and here’s what he says. He says, “I keep hearing that banks who were bailed out with federal funds in 2008 to keep them from taking down the global economy have since ‘paid us back.’” He says there is something about this talking point that seems fishy to him. He says, “Could you please either disabuse me of my skepticism, or explain how those who make this claim are misleading us?”

Ralph Nader: They are misleading. This is so the called TARP rescue package. The US government treated the banks and other failing financial institutions in 2008, 2009. And they did it in two major ways. One is, just cash bailouts. And the second is that they absorbed or guaranteed the toxic depth. Now, those were paid back over time. What wasn’t paid back were all kinds of extraneous bail out programs that we’re not part of the TARP program. But far larger, what wasn’t paid back was the damage to workers, to pension funds, to the economy caused by these giant banks, broker houses, and some giant insurance companies like AIG. That was never paid back. And that was by far the greatest damage, trillions of dollars in contrast to the tarp bail out of hundreds of billions of dollars. So Craig, you’re right in terms of saying that the whole idea that, “Oh, the government was paid back, made a little profit” is indeed quite fishy.

Steve Skrovan: So, they paid back the money that was given to them to bail them out but nothing about the consequences of their action?

Ralph Nader: Yeah. Not only that, but where did these banks get the money to pay it back? Well, they gouged consumers. They overcharged people.

Steve Skrovan: Right.

Ralph Nader: There’s no such thing as a corporate bailout where the tax payer is made whole even directly never mind the indirect damage collapsing the whole economy into a giant recession with eight million workers unemployed, trillions of dollars of pension and mutual funds dissipated, not to mention the burden on the tax payers.

Steve Skrovan: How would they’ve been able to pay that back? If people actually paid fines, went to jail, how would they paid that back to your satisfaction?

Ralph Nader: The government could have been given large shares, so when the banks recovered as they are slowly recovering Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other financial institutions the government would be the beneficiary of the appreciation of value of the stock plus the dividends over time. But the US government didn’t want to do that. And they were very wary of being accused of socialist takeover. Well, as we rallied on Wall Street in 2008, I had a huge banner called “Socialism Bailing Out Capitalism.” And that’s the system we have in this country that the taxpayer, i.e. socialistic bailouts of corporate crime, recklessness, mismanagement is the way our political economy works. That if you’re a big enough corporation, Too Big To Fail, you go to Washington instead of going bankrupt, as a small business has every right to do.

Steve Skrovan: Ralph, would you call yourself a socialist?

Ralph Nader: No. I don’t like government ownership to the means of production because we wouldn’t have a democracy able to make it accountable. We wouldn’t have the market place of free speech to be sufficiently innovative and to make these government economic institutions vulnerable to competition and displacement.

Steve Skrovan: All right.

Ralph Nader: That doesn’t mean we have giant corporations that are essentially government funded and protected like the defense industry. These companies like Lockheed Martin, they have the best of all worlds. They can pay their executives top dollar. They got stock on the stock exchange. They pay dividends to shareholders. On the other hand over 90% of their business comes from the taxpayer, building weapons systems, like submarines and F35s under very little cost restraint. And if they get in trouble; they are continually bailed out, by inflating the contracts or actually bailing out these corporations directly. That’s what’s called the Military Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address in 1961.

Steve Skrovan: Well thank you for that question Craig. That’s our show. Remember, to go to breakingthroughpower.org. To get tickets and information on this civic summit meeting taking place on May 23rd through the 26th with an allstar line of civic activists that really Ralph I think only you could pull together there. So join us next week on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour for more incisive and provocative talk you won’t find anywhere in commercial media. Meet you back here next week Ralph.

Ralph Nader: Thank you very much, Steve. Thank you, Jimmy. And thank you listeners. Just go to breakingthroughpower.org and see how exciting, encouraging, enabling, empowering it is, not to mention inspiring, to see this Super Bowl of civic action recounted to you over the decades, what it meant to you and your family in terms of safer products, healthier environment, and more accountable large institutions. And they did it on a very small budget. And we’re going to show how one CEO of a corporation made in one year more that eighteen of these national citizen groups in terms of their cumulative budget. So, I want to get people saying, “Wow, imagine if there were more budgets for citizen action, more people working in citizen action, think what would happen in terms of a better country and better world.
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Re: Ralph Nader Radio Hour

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Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Israel/Palestine: One State/Two State?
January 7, 2017
https://ralphnaderradiohour.com/israelp ... two-state/

Ralph talks to Israeli activist, Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine about whether a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is even possible. Also, Mark Green rejoins us to discuss whether president-elect Donald Trump has already violated The Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating on behalf of the U.S. with a foreign government.


Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He writes a blog that is “dedicated to tearing down the separation wall and transforming the Israeli apartheid system into a secular democracy, where Palestinians and Israelis will live as equal citizens.” Mr. Peled was born and raised in Jerusalem. His grandfather was Dr. Avraham Katsnelson, a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled, was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the 1967 war. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative Miko Peled has written a book about his journey called The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.


David Feldman: From the KPFK Studios in Southern California…

Steve Skrovan: …it’s the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.


Steve Skrovan: Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. My name is Steve Skrovan along with my co-host David Feldman.
Happy New Year, David. Have you fulfilled all your resolutions yet?

David Feldman: Y…y…y…yes.

Steve Skrovan: That sounds a little hesitant. It was a very elongated “yes.”

David Feldman: Yes. I've resolved to start drinking more and not exercise.

Steve Skrovan: Excellent. And we also have the man of the hour, Ralph Nader. Hello, Ralph. Happy New Year.

Ralph Nader: Yeah. Happy New Year. Formidable New Year, strong New Year to all of you. We have a lot of challenges coming up, as we know.

Steve Skrovan: We do. And we’re going to talk about some of them today. On today’s show we’re going to welcome back Mark Green, who last week spoke to us about the public letter and petition that he and Ralph submitted called “Divest or Impeach,” demanding that Donald Trump either divest himself of his business interests or face impeachment for violating the US Constitution. We’re going to get an update on that and talk about a different kind of law that the President-elect may have already violated. We will also check in with Corporate Crime Reporter Russell Mokhiber, the Fox Mulder of the corporate crime beat. But first, we are going to turn our attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last week, Ralph promoted the idea floated by former President Jimmy Carter, that before President Obama leaves office, he should grant Palestine full diplomatic recognition. Our first guest has a unique perspective on the relationship between Israel and Palestine. David?

David Feldman: Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist, living in the United States. He writes a blog dedicated to tearing down the wall between Israelis and Palestinians so that they can live as equal citizens. Mr. Peled was born and raised in Jerusalem. His grandfather was Dr. Avraham Katznelson, a Zionist leader and signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father Matti Peled was a young officer in the War of Independence in 1948 and a general in the 1967 war. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, it’s people, and they're narrative, Miko Peled has written a book about his life called The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Miko Peled.

Miko Peled: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be with you.

Ralph Nader: Yes, indeed. Welcome Miko. I know you’ve spoken all over the country and other countries, and in the Middle East on your views on how to come to a settlement of this perennial crisis between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but I think our listeners would like to know how you developed your points of view - which you will explore shortly - and growing up in Jerusalem. And tell us the story of your mother, when she was offered a nice Arab home in Jerusalem.
Miko Peled: Sure. Well, again, thanks for having me on the show. That’s probably the one story that I get the most comments about, and the one story that creates the greatest emotion, particularly when I'm speaking and there are older Palestinians in the audience. This is 1948 when what Israelis call the War of Independence took place. And what actually took place was a horrible catastrophe and campaign of ethnic cleansing in which the Palestinians were the victims. And in Jerusalem, which is - I'm talking about the western part of Jerusalem - the part of the city that Israel conquered in 1948, and then made it it’s capital. The Palestinian neighborhoods were taken by the Israeli forces, and the Palestinians were forced to leave their homes. And these beautiful homes that are still part of the landscape really in Jerusalem were made available to Israeli families, to Jewish families. And my mother was a young mother at that time. She was born and raised in Jerusalem actually, and she was living in a tiny apartment with her parents. She was offered one of these beautiful homes; and she refused, and she wouldn’t take it. And her comment was - and by the way still is, she just turned 90 and we still talk about this - her comment was until it is today, “How can I possibly take the home of another mother? How could I possibly move into the home of another family that was forced to leave? And can you imagine just how terrible it is for them and how much they must miss their home?” That’s the story. And there's always somebody in the audience that had a home in Jerusalem and remembers their home and are grateful that my mother made a decision, which is really the decision you’d hope all people would make, but in this particular case was unique.

Ralph Nader: That is a very telling story, and it had a great impact on your life, but so did your father, Matti Peled. Tell us about your father and his transformation.

Miko Peled: My father - we heard in the introduction - he was a member of the Israeli high command during the 1967 war. He was one of the generals of that war, who prepared for the war and pushed for the war and then led this war. That entire generation of Israeli generals was like the gods of the Olympus really. Immediately when the war was over at the very first meeting of the Israeli High Command - their weekly meeting - he stood up and he said, “We now have an opportunity to make peace with the Palestinians. Even though we all want the full land of Israel from the river to the sea, and even though this is our land, we need to be willing to make a compromise, because there is another nation. There are other people living here with us. If we maintain that occupation over the entire country, we will become occupiers. There will be terrorism. We will have to spend all of our resources fighting it. And eventually there will be no Jewish state, but we will have a state, which is a bi-national state. And it won’t be the Jewish democracy that we want.” This is what he said. Of course, he said this in 1967 and of course everything he said actually came true. He suggested that the Palestinians will be recognized and be allowed to establish their own state in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip. And that’s really when the idea of the two-state solution as we know it today was born. And other Israelis - not many - but several Israelis who thought the way he did, joined him, and he continued to pursue and push for this idea really until his dying day. He passed away in 1995. But the problem was that nobody else was interested. People looked at him and said, “What are you talking about? We've just finally completed the job. We finally completed the conquest of the land of Israel. We’re going to build for Jews, and we’re going to get rid of the Arabs.” And that’s exactly the process that’s been taking place over all of Palestine. There really is no more West Bank, because Israeli did not want to allow this development that he was suggesting to actually take place.

Ralph Nader: What were the reactions of the Israelis to his stand, which was obviously against the established policies of the state? Did they ostracize him? Did they exclude him? Did they slander him or did they just accept him as a dissenting voice?

Miko Peled: It was a gradual process. At first it was a dissenting voice, and then later on in the early, mid ‘70s, he began to talk about the need to actually negotiate with the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization. And in those days they were the biggest enemy. They were the terrorist organization. And that’s when he became ostracized and shunned. And that was the end of it. From that point on and then later on, he met with Yassir Arafat and so on. That kind of seals his fate in terms of being not just a dissenter but really somebody who completely lost his way and that sort of thing.

Ralph Nader: Before we get to your remarkable positions and your closeness with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists to a point where you are arrested more than once - we’re talking with Miko Peled, the author of the book, The General’s Son, which is just out in second edition, published by Just World Books. A lot of praise, Seymour Hersh and Naomi Wolfe praised it. Presidents of colleges have praised it. You’ve been all over the country. And your position now is no longer in support of a two-state solution. Tell us what you think should be the approach now.

Miko Peled: I think today we have the advantage of having seventy years of the history - or sixty-nine years - since the State of Israel was established. I think it’s pretty clear that Israel is not interested and is not willing under any circumstances to compromise on the issue of the land. Israel basically by taking the West Bank in 1967 didn’t begin an occupation of Palestinian territories. It completed the conquest of the land of Israel and populated the West Bank with Israeli Jews and destroyed Palestinian towns. And it continues to do so. And that is exactly what Israel did as soon as it was established in 1948 - in other words build cities and towns for Jews only on Palestinian land and all the while making sure that the Palestinians either had to leave or die. That hasn’t changed. It’s only become more intense over the years. In fact Palestine is one state. It is the Jewish state. It is governed by the state of Israel. It’s a state where people like myself, Israel Jews, have all the privileges and all the rights. We are a protected citizenry of the country. It is our country. It is our state. And the Palestinians, who by the way today make up the majority of the people in that land, are oppressed and have no rights. The one-state two- state conversation is really a moot conversation, because there is a single state over the entire country. And there is no possibility of dividing it, because the populations are so close together. And that’s just the way it is. The only possibility - if we don’t like what we see happening today, if we seek justice, if we believe the Palestinians should have rights - is to fight for the end of the regime, which exists there today, which is the state of Israel, just like people of conscience fought for the end of apartheid in South Africa, fought for the end of Jim Crow here in the United States and other racist regimes. That to me is really the only way forward, if we are interested in seeing a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians - not between the state of Israel, because the state of Israel stands in the way of a peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Ralph Nader: I don’t think people realize unless they're really on top of the subject, how much interaction there is daily between Israelis and Palestinians. There are about 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs in Israel. They clearly are discriminated against. They can't get mortgages, for example from banks, and there's the usual bias against the minority. And then there is about two and a half million or so in the West Bank and 1.5 million in Gaza. And it’s the Palestinians, who actually build the colonies. They build the homes in the building. They are the principle source of cheap labor. There's all kinds of interaction, places like Haifa, social interaction, artistic, cultural interaction. And what really stands out in your book The General’s Son - we’re talking with Miko Peled - is that when you join with other Israeli peace advocates in an incredibly courageous effort near the wall with Palestinian activists and the Israeli soldiers arrest you, and you're involved in non-violent open civil disobedience in the old Civil Rights-Gandhi tradition, how were you treated as an Israeli citizen, compared to the Palestinians, who are side by side with you in non-violent protest when they're arrested?

Miko Peled: Night and day, because they live under a completely different set of laws than I do. Israelis, regardless of where they live, are governed by the laws of the land, civil law, because they're citizens. Palestinians are governed by laws that are different, depending on where they live. If they're living in the West Bank, if they have Israeli citizenship, if they have Jerusalem ID, if they live in Gaza, they're lives are completely different than the lives of Israel Jews like myself. It’s interesting that you asked that, because I was actually on trial recently for an arrest from four or five years ago. And people found it interesting, so they wanted to interview and ask me about this. My response is that it’s embarrassing for me to talk about my arrest and my trial, because as a privileged white Jewish male in a society, which is a racist society, it’s a joke. The arrest took place four years ago. The trial took place last year, sentencing took place just a few months ago. And at the end of the day, we sacrificed nothing as Israeli Jews, because we don’t get punished. When we get arrested, at the end of the day, we go home. We get questions, a few forms to fill, and then we go home, and we’re fine. Our lawyers wait for us. There's always a lawyer that waits for us at the police station by the time we get there. And so forth. If a Palestinian is arrested in the exact same place for violating the exact same law, then they are under military law. Or if they’re Israeli citizen then under the law or the governance of the Israeli secret police, they get beaten. They get blindfolded, handcuffed and shackled. They get thrown in prison. And they're stuck in a cell for however long as the local commander deems it necessary. And they are interrogated, which means tortured. Now, they cannot see a lawyer until they confess. They're not allowed to see a lawyer until they confess. And that could take twenty days, forty days, sixty days. And so Sana Khawaja, who is an activist with the BDS movement in Palestine and Stop the Wall Movement as well, was arrested about two months ago. It took twenty-five days before he could see a lawyer. And he was interrogated over forty times, which means he was tortured over forty times in that period. And then he was allowed to see a lawyer. And then again his detention was extended and extended and no charges have even been filed. In my case, there's a charge, and I get to go home. The difference in the treatment of Israeli Jews and Palestinians is beyond night and day. It’s not even something that people can begin to understand, unless they understand the workings of a racist system and a racist society.

Ralph Nader: I don’t think there's enough attention, Miko Peled, about the variety of Israeli public opinion here. I was astonished. About ten years ago there was a poll by a major Israeli university on Hamas. And this is when they whole things was steaming up. And 61% of the Israelis urged the Israeli government to negotiate with Hamas. 29% opposed. That was not reported in the US press. And that’s an astonishing rendition of Israeli public opinion, which of course varies according to the various conflicts and tragedies that erupt from time to time. But from what you know of Israeli public opinion, how does it break down one: vis a vis a two-state solution, two: a unitary state with equal rights, a Palestinian-Israeli secular state, or just taking over like the People’s Party - so-called - and the Netanyahu coalition leans in that way, taking over the whole West Bank and putting them under Israeli control. How does it break out that way?

Miko Peled: I think the best answer to that is to look at the makeup of the Israeli Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Israelis vote in very high numbers. And the makeup of the Knesset is such and the makeup of Netanyahu’s coalition and even Netanyahu, whose landslide victory in the last elections points to the fact that Israelis have absolutely no interest in the Palestinian issue. They want to see the Palestinians dead or gone. They view the Palestinian issue as not their problem. They want the Palestinians to get the hell out. They're quite happy with building cities and towns and villages and shopping malls and highways for Jews on Palestinian land. When Netanyahu bombs Gaza - as the Israeli government does on a regular basis from time to time - his poll numbers are in the sky. It’s like he’s in prime minister heaven. There isn’t a lot of variety among Israelis right now. And if you look again at the makeup of the Knesset, of the different political parties, the vast majority of them agree with the current policies, which are continue to build on Palestinian land everywhere. This idea that there is somehow a West Bank and that the settlements in the West Bank are different than settlements in other parts of the country. Many people view it as though there is a legitimate part of Israel, and then there's the occupation. I don’t see it that way. The entire Israel is an illegal occupation. And all Israeli towns and cities are illegal, because they're built on stolen Palestinian land. The reality is that the West Bank really is no longer in existence. When you drive up and down the highways you see signs to the cities and towns of the West Bank, just like you see the signs the cities and towns elsewhere. And this is a reality, and the Israelis are quite fine and quite happy with that. When you look at the end of the major political parties the large ones, they all agree on these. Some are a little bit more vocal and say, “Yeah, we’re not going to talk about a two-state solution anymore.” Some still put on that façade and say, “Yes, we’ll negotiate. But we can't negotiate, because the Palestinians are terrorists, and they can't be trusted.” But that really is as far it goes. That’s the range of political debate on this issue in Israel. In terms of talking about real democracy with equal rights, there is no conversation on that at all. It’s in the fringes. It does not exist. They're not interested in it, and nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to hear about it on the Israeli side. And you can't blame them, because it means the end of their privilege. And no privileged society wants to see their privilege end.

Ralph Nader: Israel is clearly a military, technological, and economic super power in the area.

Miko Peled: That’s true.

Ralph Nader: Its GDP is equal, I think, to that of Saudi Arabia with all the oil they have. So, they're not feeling the sense of sacrifice here that pressures them to engage in any kind of settlement, whether its two-state, one-state, three-state or whatever. But the Arab parliamentarians in the Knesset - they have several seats in the parliament, the Israeli-Arabs - and they're often outspoken. And don’t they have some alliances with the Meretz Party for example. Isn’t there a core in the Knesset that tends to reflect some of the views that you have been writing about?

Miko Peled: I’ll respond to the first part first. You’re right that they have no sense of… Israel is a very rich country and the economy is strong, which begs the question: why is it getting billions of dollars in foreign aid from the United States? But that’s perhaps another question. To run for office in Israel, you have to accept the Zionist premise, which is that the State of Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state in Palestine. You cannot run on a non-Zionist platform, because you'll be disqualified. So. even the Palestinians, who are Israeli Knesset members cannot run on that platform. So they have to hide the fact that this is probably what they wish for and that what they really believe. Now, it’s called the Joint List. The Joint List is a coalition of several political parties, and the majority of the members are Palestinians. They have thirteen members, and they are the third largest party in the Knesset. But they’re completely ignored. They don’t get to participate in any important committees. They will never be part of a coalition. And they're vote is excluded, because everybody knows that they have a certain number. Out of one hundred and twenty members, they have thirteen. They’ve always had about ten, twelve, thirteen votes, so nobody takes them into consideration. It’s an interesting play on democracy, where on the one hand they can say, “Yes, we allow them to vote. And they have members in the Knesset. And they're allowed to speak their minds.” On the other hand they are completely excluded from any important decisions. I think that the problem with the Israeli left - Meretz and others, what used to be the Israeli left - is that it’s a Zionist left. And so it cannot survive. You cannot be progressive and support a racist idea. Zionism is a racist, colonialist idea. It’s time has come. It’s time to move on and beyond it. It’s an idea that says that my grandparents had the right to come from Ukraine, take the land from Palestinians, and build a state for themselves there. This is an idea that has no legitimacy, I believe, has no right to continue. And the reality is that, true, there are about six million Jews living there right now and we need to find the solution that accommodates them as well. But any kind of attempt to legitimize the occupation of Palestine as a legitimate Jewish state I think is bound to fail and is wrong. And I think it’s time for people to start supporting the idea of boycotting Israel and boycotting and divesting from companies that support Israel. And I’m sure fair to the BDS Movement, the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, and start acting like people did when they wanted to end apartheid in South Africa.

Ralph Nader: Well, a majority of Jewish Americans in poll after poll according to the New York Times favor a two-state solution. So the minority activists, represented by AIPAC and others, are much better organized, much more connected to members of Congress, which as a body accepts the Netanyahu narrative, which is that the Palestinian leadership is not only not willing to come to the table. Palestinians are terrorists. Palestinians have not recognized the state of Israel. Of course that’s a false statement. That has been recognized as a part of the Oslo Agreements and before. And yet when you clearly define terrorism as an attack on innocent civilians, the ratio is about four hundred to one. That is, there are four hundred more Palestinians killed and injured as innocent civilians compared to the number of Israelis. Four hundred to one. And it continues to widen in terms of the disparity. And yet the word “terror” is attached to the Palestinians who are the occupied, who are losing their land and losing the water and are barricaded and invaded from time to time.
How is that narrative going to turn around? It certainly seems to be turning around on a lot of college campuses. But there’s a bill in Congress now and it basically equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Of course, the Arabs are the big brother numerically of the Semitic race, and so there’s anti-Semitism historically against Arabs as well as, of course, against Jews. But there’s
very little attention to the former. So how do you expect the US to turn around here? Because, maybe it only accepts this proposition. But unless the US changes its policy, nothing is going to change in the Israeli-Palestine dynamic, which is to swallow more and more of the West Bank and to blockade illegally under international law, Gaza.

Miko Peled: Well, I think you probably remember probably better than I do the fight against apartheid in South Africa. The United States government jumped on the train very, very late in the game. They were one of the last, if not the last to accept the boycott of South Africa. So, I don’t have a lot of expectation for this from the US government. I do know, like you said, that there’s a big change on the grassroots level. The BDS movement, the movement calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, which is a call from Palestinian civil society to the world, has gained enormous ground, even here in the United States to the point where the Israeli TV came here to the US to find out what happened. How is it that it’s grown so much and has so much popularity, especially on campuses and then in the some of the progressive churches? And this is the way forward - and at one point, there’s going to be as a result of the growth of the BDS movement and the isolation of the State of Israel. Israeli academics have nowhere to go. They’re not invited anywhere. And nobody wants to talk to them. Israeli performers are not invited. More and more cultural figures, artists and so forth, Alice Walker, Roger Waters to name a couple, are calling to boycott Israel. So there’s an isolation culturally. There’s an isolation academically. There’s more and more boycotting of Israeli products, sanctions and divestment. There’s a lot of divesting, particularly in Europe. Big companies, G4S, the big security company, just pulled out as a result of pressure from the BDS. Veolia, which is a large transportation - they’re doing the light rail and so forth - are pulling out. Banks in Europe - they’re pulling out from divesting in Israeli companies. There’s a big campaign against HP now, because they supply Israeli Security Forces with technology. And this is how it’s done. And at some point, there’s going to be an Israeli Prime Minister just like de Klerk from South Africa stood up one day, and he called for free and fair elections and the release of all political prisoners without condition. And that was really the end of apartheid. It’s going to happen in Palestine as well, where an Israeli Prime Minister - and I think it’s going to happen rather soon. And at some point, either a little bit before or a little bit after that, the US government will realize that they have to join the party, and they can no longer support this racist idea of the State of Israel. Like I said, it’s going to go bottom - I think it always goes bottom up. Grassroots is where it starts. We know that every single presidential candidate this last election cycle spoke about BDS as though it was another kind of Osama Bin Laden, even though it’s dedicatedly non-violent and principled. We know that more and more states are passing laws. The governor of New York just signed a few months ago an executive order making the call for boycott illegal. And, by the way, since he signed that order, I, myself been invited to speak in New York about four times just since then and specifically to speak about BDS and to violate that executive order. So even though more and more American politicians are trying to prove how much they love Israel, there’s a serious change taking place. And I think that’s how this is going to end. This is how justice will be brought to Palestine. And of course, in the end - even though it seems punitive - in the end Israelis are going to be free of this racist occupation as well.

Ralph Nader: Well, we’ve been speaking with Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son. And deep in your book, which is part autobiography and part taking positions on this issue, you have a chapter called “The Fear Virus.” Why don’t you explain that?

Miko Peled: Yes. One of the things I described in the book is my very first trip on my own to the West Bank. I was in a car, an Israeli car with Israeli license plates, so I was clearly identified as an Israeli. I was by myself. And I was driving to this small village of Bil'in where the non-violent resistance had began about twelve, thirteen years ago. And this is exactly when it began. It was 2005. And as I was driving - the landscape is beautiful - you get off the main highway and you’re driving - the roads are bad and you’re in Palestine. Suddenly, you’re in a completely different place. And my sense was that that was going to be my last day on earth, because there is going to be a Palestinian there somewhere wanting to kill me and waiting to kill me. Now, when you cross from the official Israeli side into the Palestinian side, you have to cross these huge red signs that say to you in Hebrew, “You’re about to commit a felony by entering Palestinian territories and you are risking your own life.” So it’s quite frightening. And then all these demons, this virus, this fear virus, which I and many other Israelis and Jews had been infected over the years, begins to act. And these little demons start running around your head. And I was absolutely sure that this is going to be my last day on earth. And of course it wasn’t. And it was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. And it’s been going on for more than a decade now. And this is the problem that I think the only… for which the solution can only be forcing a reality that is different. We rely on forcing Israelis to realize Palestinians are not the enemy. Palestinians are not dangerous. Palestinians are not terrorists. And the only way to do it is by force, which again, I go back to the BDS movement and to the end of the Israeli regime over Palestine and the creation of a democracy, where Israelis will have to go to school with Palestinians. Their kids will go to school with Palestinian kids. They may end up having an Israeli [Palestinian] Prime Minister. And they’re going to realize the sky is not going to fall. It’s like white South Africans had Nelson Mandela, who they had in prison for almost three decade beforehand. This is the reality. And this is the virus I think for which the only cure is a solid knock on the head, which forces us to live into a different reality.

Ralph Nader: Well, in that dynamic, according to former President Jimmy Carter, 137 countries have recognized Palestine, including Sweden. And there are efforts in this country, led by Jimmy Carter and others, to have President Obama do that before he leaves, given the fact that he’s supported Israel with a ten year $38 billion military aid program. He has advanced more intelligence and more military research to the Israeli military than any other president. He was humiliated by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who bypassed him in an unheard of direct address to Congress to undermine the negotiations with Iran and many other countries, including the US on the nuclear deal. And so there’s an effort - before Trump takes over - for this to happen. But there’s a huge educational effort that’s needed that can come back onto Congress, because not a single member of Congress has changed his or her position from being a hard line supporter of whoever is in the Israeli government to the views that you have expressed. In your book, you have a chapter called “Who Will Speak For Gaza?” That’s pretty provocative. Can you explain that?

Miko Peled: Yes. Well, there’s several issues here. The first one is: the reality in America - that you probably know more than anyone - is that American politicians are beholden to lobbies. And probably one of the two strongest lobbies, the most effective lobbies in America is the Israeli, the Jewish lobby, AIPAC. And I don’t think that American politicians - or at least most of them - care one way or the other about Israel or Palestine, but they are beholden to the lobby if they want to get re-elected. So if they have an agenda that they want to pursue for their constituents, they have to support Israel. It’s almost like a tax, because if they don’t - that almost guarantees that they’re going to lose the next election. And that’s the reality that I think is going to change when - like I said - people become more aware of the BDS movement, the strength and the moral strength of the Palestinian struggle becomes more apparent here in America.

In terms of “Who Will Speak For Gaza?” In 2014, Israel bombed Gaza for fifty-one days killing over 2,500 people in prime time. Everybody saw it. Everybody knew it was happening. Like you mentioned earlier, Gaza has been under a brutal and cruel siege, which is - sometimes you don’t know what’s worse – is it the bombing or what’s worse is the reality, the day-to-day reality, where people have no access to water or the most basic medicine, knowing full well that five minutes away from where they are in Israeli towns and cities, people thrive, there's plenty of electricity, clean water, all the medicine, all the food that you could possibly want. We’re talking about five minutes away right across the border. And of course, this is the reality that Israel has created. There’s no reason for there to be poverty or lack of water or lack of electricity in Gaza. A little girl, a child in Gaza with a curable cancer will die, because Israel won’t allow them access to medicine, to proper medical facilities, which exists sometimes five to ten minutes away. And an Israeli-Jewish child will live, because of that access. And for some reason, this is not an issue in America. The lives of the Jews are valued more than the lives of the Palestinians in America. And this is not going to stop.

Ralph Nader: Well, that’s because the narrative is: the Israelis are just reacting to these crude rockets that fortunately hardly kill anybody - they’re so crude - sent by Gazans. And that’s always the narrative that Israelis are retaliating. But in fact, the blockade, the provocation, the incursions and other aspects that you’ve written about and spoken about show that it’s really the reverse, that the Gazan response is a pathetic effort to tell the world that there’s still a pulse there of resistance. And of course, the casualty toll is enormously on the Palestinian-Gaza side. But that isn’t the narrative in the US and the US press. It’s always, well Israelis are responding to all these crude rockets that are put together in garages in Gaza, as if the Israelis don’t know everything that’s going on in Gaza down to the DNA of some of the families there. They’re constantly under surveillance. So that’s the kind of hurdle that has to be overcome, if the US public is going to manifest any kind of impact on the Congress, which is the key body as the decision making body.

Miko Peled: Yeah. You know, Ralph, it’s interesting. Another part of this narrative that people aren’t aware of is that Israel began bombing Gaza as soon as Israel created the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip is not a natural strip of land. It is a line that Israelis drew in the early 1950’s around the city of Gaza. And it was a place to send hundreds of thousands of refugees, who were just turned out of their homes. And as soon as Israel established the Gaza Strip, it began bombing the Gaza Strip. So at first, they were killing dozens and hundreds. Today, they’re killing thousands. And then there’s this magic trick. I swear it’s a magic trick, where Israel manages to convince people that there is a military threat to Israel from Gaza, Gaza Strip, where there’s never been a tank, there’s never been a military force, there’s never been – not to speak of - a war plane, somehow poses a threat, a military threat to this massive war machine, which is the State of Israel. And as Israel is bombing the people in Gaza, and committing what can only be described as genocide, all the talking heads just nod and say, “Yes, it’s self defense. It’s self defense.” There is nothing from which to defend. I think the problem that Gaza poses to Israel is that it poses a threat to the legitimacy of the State of Israel, because when we see - nothing speaks to the illegitimacy of the creation of the Jewish State in Palestine and the existence of the state for almost seven decades - as the reality in Gaza, where people have absolutely no reason in the world to live in such poverty, have no reason in the world that they are denied access to water and medicine and food and are bombed and killed on a regular basis. There is no justification in the world for this. And I’ve said this many times: I think this reality - the entire State of Israel - but certainly the reality in Gaza will be remembered as the stain on the history of the Jewish people, a stain that will not easily be removed. And also, this is and it’s already proven to be a source of deep divide among Jews around the world, because accepting this and supporting this with money and with votes and giving it moral support is absolutely abhorrent. It’s absolutely unacceptable and unjustifiable.

Ralph Nader: Could be that’s why the Israeli government doesn’t allow Israeli reporters to go into Gaza and report what’s going on.

Miko Peled: Absolutely. I mean, the Gaza Strip is under lock and key. It is absolutely closed. I tried to go to Gaza several times, and eventually I had to go. I talked about that in the second edition in the epilogue. A friend from Gaza sent me a message, asking if I would consider coming in through the subway. And of course what they meant was through a tunnel. I ended up being smuggled into Gaza - if you will - through a tunnel. It’s incomprehensible. It’s a forty-five minute drive from Jerusalem to Gaza. It took me fourteen hours to get there. And I had to go through a tunnel. And again, it’s this fear virus. It’s the sense of we have to be afraid of the people in Gaza. And by the way, this is the fear that has been pushed and injected into Israelis since the early 1950’s, when the Gaza Strip was established, that these are an angry, murderous, dark, uneducated people that just want to kill us. And it goes on today. And that’s how you have an entire young population of Israelis, not only supporting the siege, not only supporting the bombing but executing the bombing. Who is it that is executing? Who are the pilots that are flying those war planes? Who are the men who are driving those tanks? Who are the infantry soldiers that go into house after house and murder innocent civilians? These are young Israelis. And so the ability to do that can only come from years of indoctrination, very racist indoctrination that tell us that those people over there don’t have a right to live. Those people over there are the enemy.

Ralph Nader: Fortunately, there is a group of Israeli soldiers who have gone through all this and who are taking the stand against the brutality of the Israeli attack on Gaza.

Miko Peled: True.

Ralph Nader: And they have been severely criticized. But they’re very courageous, aren’t they?

Miko Peled: Absolutely. We have several thousand young Israelis who refused to serve. And it’s actually very easy to get out of the military service, even though it’s mandatory. All you have to do is say that you have some kind of a mental issue or a back problem or migraines. Anything goes, because they don’t need people. And they don’t want anybody who’s not motivated. The only thing that will land you in prison is if you say you’re a conscientious objector. And these young men and women, thousands of them, know that they can get out of the draft by saying something else, but they purposely say, “We are conscientious objectors, what you guys are doing is wrong, and we object to it.” And they always end up in jail. There is an easy way out for these guys, and they choose the hard way. And, of course, that is courageous, because having said that after about thirty or so forty-five days in a minimum-security prison, they get to go home and live their life. Again, on the Israeli side, it’s actually very easy to protest. We sacrifice very little in order to do the right thing. And again, yet sadly - and for me as an Israeli I say this, very, very few - relatively speaking - very few people actually stand up and speak out. And that absolutely is a terrible tragedy.

Ralph Nader: Miko, I have to ask you this. You’ve been speaking about this issue over the years before many audiences in the United States. Have you ever been interviewed by National Public Radio or Public Broadcasting? Any of the various talk shows, various programs? Terry Gross, Diane Rehm, Charlie Rose, all these well-known interviewers who have certainly given the Israeli government side and the AIPAC side a lot of time. Have you ever been interviewed nationally?

Miko Peled: No, never. Not even once. Not even once, no. I’m not surprised, because I always assume that they were quite progressive. But no, not even once.

Ralph Nader: Well, I think that speaks for itself. I think in conclusion, we have Donald Trump ready to unleash all the forces that have been somewhat restrained, backing whatever the Israeli government wants to do vis a vis the Palestinians. There was an article in the New York Times a few days ago, saying that this could be the worst thing for Prime Minister Netanyahu, because it can get him into worse trouble, worse turmoil if there aren’t any restraints from the US government under the Trump administration and his designated Ambassador David Friedman, who believes in a complete takeover of the Palestinian lands and the most extreme views for Israeli dominance. What do you think’s going to happen? And what do you think people in this country should do after January 20th?

Miko Peled: Well, I think the only difference - I mean I can’t imagine. I’ve seen no restraints in place on Israel by any American administration. Like you said earlier, President Obama has given Israel more of everything, money and weapons and support, than any other American president, so I think the only difference is that perhaps Trump does it without having the Harvard degree. And it’s almost like there’s no mask. He is doing it. And he says he’s doing it. He doesn’t pretend that he doesn’t like it. But of course, there’s no telling what Trump will do. And Netanyahu is already in deep trouble, I think. First of all, he is being questioned again by the police about corruption charges again. And it seems to be a thing with Israeli prime ministers. Out of twelve Israeli prime ministers, five have been questioned about corruption. And he’s also in a lot of trouble, because for the first time the US allowed a vote in the UN Security Council to take place and then abstained, which are two levels of diplomatic failure on part of Netanyahu and his diplomatic team. He’s already in trouble in that regard. And like I said earlier, I don’t know that it quite matters who Trump sends as an ambassador, because the ambassador represents truthfully what American policy has been de facto, and what Israel is doing anyway. So it’s not really that much of a break from what’s been going on.

But I do think that once again, it’s important for people of conscience to learn about the movement calling to boycott, divest and impose sanctions on Israel. It is important for people of conscience to get involved with the Palestine Solidarity Movement and the Palestinian resistance. It is time for people to wake up. And many people feel this already and realize that this whole idea of a state for Jews in Palestine cannot but infringe on the rights of Palestinians. It’s got to change. And the change has got to be swift, because Palestinians are suffering. Young Palestinians are being killed at the checkpoints every single day. Palestinians are suffering in Gaza every single day. The death count, the poverty, the enormous difficulties the Palestinians have to live through that are imposed on them by Israel has got to change. And what people should do is exactly that. They need to go. They need to re-read my book. They need to read other books about this issue. They need to go to the BDS movement website and learn how they can boycott and support the boycott of Israel. And it’s time to isolate this regime and bring it down just like apartheid was brought down in South Africa and to allow Israelis and Palestinians to live like people should. Then I - actually just to give it a positive note, an optimistic note - I believe that this reality of the transformation of this regime into a real democracy is going to happen much faster than most people think. I think the reality is changing very quickly. And it’s unsustainable to keep things the way they are.

Ralph Nader: Well, we’ve run out of time. We’ve been talking with Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son, issued second edition very recently. Published by Just World Books. How can people reach you? Do you have a website? How can they react to this program or ask you more questions?

Miko Peled: My e-mail is mikopeled@gmail.com. My blog is mikopeled.com. I’m on Facebook. I’m on Twitter. I’m very easy to find. I’m always happy to discuss things with people if they want to invite me, if they want to speak to me, if they want to just chat or ask questions, I’m always available on social media. And I’m all over the country speaking, like you said. So it’s very easy to find me. I’ll be in Albany in a couple of weeks. On the 17th I’m speaking in Albany on January 17th. So people are always welcome to come and chat, ask questions, and discuss this further.

Ralph Nader: You’ve never run away from a debate with the opposing viewpoints.

Miko Peled: No. Not that only have I never run away, they never show up. That is the problem. It’s not me running away. It’s that they never show up to the debates. That’s usually been the problem. I’ve been happy to debate many people, many different people.

Ralph Nader: Well, thank you very much, Miko, for your work throughout many years, bringing truth to power and hoping that’s that that extremely continual struggle in the Palestinian-Israeli theater, which has spilled over in many ways to the larger Middle East theater will receive a greater level of rationality. It’s been known to happen. It happened in South Africa. Sometimes things that are viewed as unchangeable change very rapidly. And we hope that will be the case for peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Thank you again.

Miko Peled: Indeed. Thank you so much.

Steve Skrovan: We have been speaking with Israeli author and activist, Miko Peled about his book The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. We will link to that at the Ralph Nader Radio Hour website as well as linking it to his blog, mikopeled.com.

We’re going to take a short break now and check in with corporate crime reporter, Russell Mokhiber.

Russell Mokhiber: From the National Press Building in Washington, DC, this is your corporate crime reporter morning minute for Friday, January 6th, 2017. I’m Russell Mokhiber. Odebrecht, a global construction conglomerate based in Brazil, and Braskem, a Brazilian petro-chemical company pled guilty and will pay a combined total penalty of at least $3.5 billion to resolve charges with authorities in United States, Brazil and Switzerland, arising out of their schemes to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials around the world. Odebrecht and Braskem used a hidden button, but fully functional Odebrecht business unit, in effect, a Department of Bribery that systematically paid hundreds of millions of dollars to corrupt government officials in countries and three continents. Odebrecht and Braskem will plead guilty with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. For the corporate crime reporter, I’m Russell Mokhiber.
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