537 episodes

Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.


Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ralph Nader

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    • 4.8 • 1.1K Ratings

Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.


    Captains of Conscience

    Captains of Conscience

    On today's program, Ralph welcomes two guests who have worked as civic advocates for more than fifty years—chemical engineer and environmentalist Barry Castleman, and solar energy advocate Ken Bossong. How do they maintain their civic stamina over more than five decades? That's what Ralph wants to know. Then, Ralph is joined by our resident international law expert Bruce Fein, to discuss breaking news from the International Criminal Court. 
    Barry Castleman is a chemical engineer, environmentalist and researcher specializing in health issues. He is the author of Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects and has worked with public interest groups around the world over the past 50 years on the control of asbestos and chemical hazards. Mr. Castleman has been involved in rule-making on asbestos by numerous federal agencies as a consultant to the agencies and to environmental groups. He has testified as an expert witness in civil litigation in the US on the history of asbestos as a public health problem, and the reasons for failure to properly control asbestos hazards.
    I remember speaking to students at Johns Hopkins about 30 years ago about careers in international public health, and talking to them about how they should try and listen into themselves and think about what it is they'd really like to do, what they're really interested in, and try to follow that. Rather than following the money or auctioning themselves off to the highest bidder when they graduate from Hopkins.
    Barry Castleman
    You lose your innocence reading these corporate documents. They're unbelievable in terms of showing that all of these decisions about health and safety and environment are business decisions to the people who make them. And the wanton, reckless, willful disregard of public health is clear. So making these documents publicly available is an extraordinary public service.
    Barry Castleman

    Ken Bossong is the Executive Director of the Sun Day Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organization he founded in 1992 to aggressively promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels. Mr. Bossong has advocated for solar energy and other renewable energy for more than 50 years, and he previously served as Director of the Critical Mass Energy Project at Public Citizen. 
    Nearly 100% of all the new generating capacity in the United States in the month of March—which is the most recent month for which there are statistics—came from solar alone. There was none from coal. There was only one megawatt from natural gas. There was, I think, three megawatts from oil. And there was zero from nuclear. So the only resource that's growing and scaling up rapidly is solar. Coming in second place is wind. The fossil fuel technologies and nuclear power combined are producing very little.
    Ken Bossong
    What keeps me going? Basically the bad guys. I am always ginned up by the challenge of confronting people who are doing things which I consider to be socially, environmentally irresponsible. And as you pointed out with the example of the oil companies, there's never been a shortage of people who are trying to do things that I think are damaging. 
    Ken Bossong

    Bruce Fein is a Constitutional scholar and an expert on international law.  Mr. Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan and he is the author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire: Before the Fall.
    Although it doesn’t really change a whole lot on the legal chessboard, the more countries that recognize a Palestinian statehood, the more pressure there will be on the United States to do something that acknowledges their right…The one other element that comes into play, however, is that there are various tribunals, jurisdictions that can be employed only by a state... So the more that we have international recognition of a Palestinian state, it then would have sta

    • 1 hr 20 min
    The Power of Youth

    The Power of Youth

    We explore how young people have made meaningful careers and lasting change working in the public interest with Sam Simon, editor of “Choosing the Public Interest: Essays From the First Public Interest Research Group” and Lisa Frank, Vice President and D.C. Director at The Public Interest Network and also Executive Director in the Washington Legislative Office at Environment America. Plus, the indomitable Chris Hedges stops by to report on his interviews with college students protesting the genocide in Gaza, which he chronicled in a Substack piece titled “The Nation’s Conscience.”
    Sam Simon is an author, playwright, and attorney who co-founded the Public Interest Research Group with Ralph and the other Nader’s Raiders in 1970. He compiled and edited the new book Choosing the Public Interest: Essays From the First Public Interest Research Group.
    This is something that every one of these themes have and that this movement has had—that the consumer, the user, the student, the pensioner have equal voice in our systems to help create the systems that are intended to benefit them, and not leave that power in the hands of corporate entities and profit-making enterprises. And that idea needs to continue to exist. And I'm glad that the Public Interest Network and PIRGS still thrive on many campuses.
    Sam Simon
    What I want to come out of this book is that average kids from average backgrounds ended up doing amazing things with their entire lives, because of the opportunity and the vision that they could do that.
    Sam Simon

    Lisa Frank is Vice President and D.C. Director at The Public Interest Network. She is also Executive Director in the Washington Legislative Office at Environment America, where she directs strategy and staff for federal campaigns. Ms. Frank has won millions of dollars in investments in walking, biking and transit, and has helped develop strategic campaigns to protect America’s oceans, forests and public lands from drilling, logging and road-building.
    The particular types of problems we're focused on at [PIRG] are ones that really have been created in a sense by our success as a country in growing. We’re the wealthiest country the world has ever seen. We figured out how to grow more than enough food than we can eat, we produce more than enough clothing than we can wear, certainly more than enough plastic…And all of this abundance is leading to new types of problems…The problems that have either come about because of the progress we've made as a society and now we've got the ability to tackle them, or problems where—clean energy is an example—where there are problems that we newly have the ability to solve.
    Lisa Frank
    You have Congress that passed these five laws that are being violated, with the result of huge death and destruction overseas— and not just in Gaza, but places like Iraq and Libya in the past. And they’re talking about students trespassing at their own university, and nonviolent protests? The problem starts in Congress. They’re the funders, the enablers, the surrenderers of their constitutional rights of oversight and war-making powers.
    Ralph Nader

    Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He is the host of The Chris Hedges Report, and he is a prolific author— his latest book is The Greatest Evil Is War.
    [Students] understand the nature of settler colonial regimes. The expansion or inclusion of students from wider backgrounds than were traditionally there at places like Princeton…has really added a depth and expanded the understanding within the university. So they see what's happening in Gaza, and they draw—rightly— connections to what we did to Native Americans, what the British did in India, what the British did in Kenya, what the French did in Algeria, and of course, they are correct.
    Chris Hedges
    [Students] have defied, quite coura

    • 1 hr 17 min
    The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Ralph welcomes labor journalist Hamilton Nolan to discuss his latest book, "The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor". They'll get into why some of the biggest names in organized labor have gotten so bad at organizing labor, and they'll highlight the labor organizers who are effectively wielding power. Then, Ralph is joined by child advocate and original Nader's Raider Robert Fellmeth to discuss the dangers of online anonymity. Plus, a creative call to action from Ralph!
    Hamilton Nolan is a labor journalist who writes regularly for In These Times magazine and The Guardian. He has written about labor, politics, and class war for The New York Times, the Washington Post, Gawker, Splinter, and other publications. He was the longest-serving writer in Gawker’s history, and was a leader in unionizing Gawker Media in 2015. His new book is The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor.
    A quality of the labor movement that I think makes the labor movement special and distinct from other movements and other political parties is that the labor movement acts to give people power. The labor movement does not necessarily tell people what to do. The labor movement instills people with power. 
    Hamilton Nolan
    More and more non-unionized workers know that a lot of what they get positively in the workplace is due to the few workers who are unionized. And the companies—wanting to avoid being unionized—up the wages, improve the working conditions, maybe fulfill more of the pension reserve requirements. So the second–order effects of unionism—which has been so long misunderstood, largely due to propaganda— has been sinking in the minds of more and more non-union workers, and the approval of unions and the number of American workers who want to join unions has resurged. 
    Ralph Nader
    You know, it turns out that a half century of rising inequality does in fact piss people off at a certain point. And causes tens of millions of American workers to say that they want something better—that they want what the labor movement has to offer.
    Hamilton Nolan
    For many, many years, organized labor has had a very unhealthy relationship with electoral politics. You're in a two-party system and the [Republican] Party wants to destroy unions and crush them off the face of the earth. And the Democratic Party's attitude has basically been—we're the only game in town and so give us money, and we won't try to kill you, but we won't really do too much to help you either. 
    Hamilton Nolan
    Another thing unions can do with their money is— instead of sending it to Joe Biden's campaign—use it to organize workers. The choice is not just between Democrats and Republicans. We can take those resources and use it to organize workers, which will increase our political power in its own right.
    Hamilton Nolan
    Robert Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego and the Executive Director of the Center for Public Interest Law. He is also Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Institute, which authored The Fleecing of Foster Children: How We Confiscate Their Assets and Undermine Their Financial Security.
    The First Amendment is not just the right of the speaker to belch whatever…the audience has some rights there. The audience has a right to hear, to listen, to understand, and to know something about the speaker, because the idea behind speech is not simply making noise. It's to advance understanding, to advance knowledge. And therefore there should be a requirement that speakers identify who they are. And that allows the audience who are listening to decide whether they want to listen. 
    Robert Fellmeth

    Get full access to Ralph Nader Radio Hour at www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/subscribe

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Life Or Death Foods

    Life Or Death Foods

    Ralph welcomes back medical journalist and New York Times bestselling author, Jean Carper, to elaborate on her latest book, “100 LIFE OR DEATH FOODS: A Scientific Guide to Which Foods Prolong Life or Kill You Prematurely.” Plus, the latest news about Boeing and the UAW.
    Jean Carper is a medical journalist, and wrote “EatSmart” (a popular weekly column on nutrition, every week for USA Weekend Magazine)  from 1994 until 2008; she is still a contributing editor, writing health and nutrition articles. Ms. Carper is also a former CNN medical correspondent and director of the documentary Monster in the Mind. She is the best-selling author of 25 books, mostly on nutrition and health. Her latest book is 100 LIFE OR DEATH FOODS: A Scientific Guide to Which Foods Prolong Life or Kill You Prematurely.

    The reason I wrote the book was that I knew there is no other book like this. Nobody has taken a scientific look at all the studies that are being done on specific foods with conclusions as to how they are going to affect longevity. It is a totally new field. It really only started several years ago where scientists are getting interested in this. I thought of all the things that would be the most interesting about a food, and whether or not you wanted to eat it would be, “Oh, how long does it prolong my life? Or on the other hand, is it likely to shorten my life?”
    Jean Carper
    Less-developed countries with their natural food from over the history of their cultures are very often far superior [in longevity studies] to the so-called corporatized Western diet.
    Ralph Nader

    In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis
    1. The International Criminal Court at the Hague is preparing to hand down indictments to Israeli officials for committing war crimes. The Guardian reports the indicted are expected to include authoritarian Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, among others. These indictments will likely focus on Netanyahu’s strategy of intentional starvation in Gaza. Yet, lest one think that the United States actually believes in the “rules based international order,” they have touted so frequently, the Biden administration will not allow these indictments to be effectuated, baselessly claiming that the ICC does not have jurisdiction in Israel. Democracy Now! reports State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told the press “Since this president has come into office, we have worked to reset our relationship with the ICC, and we are in contact with the court on a range of issues, including in connection to the court’s important work on Darfur, on Ukraine, on Sudan, as well. But on this investigation, our position is clear: We continue to believe that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over the Palestinian situation.” Former Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth – who has faced retribution for his past criticism of Israel – called this “the height of hypocrisy.”
    2. Even as the United States shields Israel from international legal consequences for its crimes, an internal state department memo indicates the American diplomatic corps is increasingly skeptical of the pariah state. Reuters reports “senior U.S. officials have advised Secretary of State Antony Blinken that they do not find ‘credible or reliable’ Israel's assurances that it is using U.S.-supplied weapons in accordance with international humanitarian law.” This memo includes “eight examples of Israeli military actions that the officials said raise "serious questions" about potential violations of international humanitarian law…[including]  repeatedly striking protected sites and civilian infrastructure; "unconscionably high levels of civilian harm to military advantage"; taking little action to investigate violations or to hold to account those responsible for significant civilian harm and "killing humanitarian workers and journalists at an unprecedented rate."” The State Department however w

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Catastrophic Mismanagement of U.S. Security Policy

    Catastrophic Mismanagement of U.S. Security Policy

    Ralph welcomes Professor Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at MIT. We discuss the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel/ Palestine and breakdown what the weaponry being used in both conflicts tells us about the intentions and capabilities of all parties involved. Plus, Ralph answers listener questions!
    Theodore Postol is Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy Emeritus in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. His expertise is in nuclear weapon systems, including submarine warfare, applications of nuclear weapons, ballistic missile defense, and ballistic missiles more generally. He previously worked as an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment and as a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations. In 2016, he received the Garwin Prize from the Federation of American Scientists for his work in assessing and critiquing the government’s claims about missile defenses.
    We have a very complicated situation. In some ways, there's no right or wrong. There are different groups of people with deep ethnic commitments, and a central government in Kiev that has acted in a way that's completely intolerant of a significant fraction of its own citizens who happen to be of Russian descent. And right from the beginning, there was hostility from the West.
    Theodore Postol
    There's a long history of the central Ukrainian command not supporting their troops at the battlefront. This is a real problem with the troops. The morale of the troops has been tremendously affected in an adverse way by the sense that their military leadership is not concerned about their life. It's one thing to ask a soldier to go risk their lives or lay down their life for their country and be providing everything you can to protect them and make it possible for them to fight. It's another thing when you're sending them to a certain death just because it looks good.
    Theodore Postol
    The people in leadership roles are clueless, to a point that it's astonishing. The last situation that I know of historically where the leadership was so clueless was Tsar Nicholas II in 1917.
    Theodore Postol

    In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis
    News 4/23/24
    1. According to AP, the United States has vetoed Palestine’s latest bid for full membership in the United Nations. The vote in the 15-member U.N. Security Council was 12 in favor, including close U.S. allies like France, Japan, and South Korea, with the U.K. and Switzerland opting to abstain. Only the United States voted against the resolution. If U.S. had not blocked the resolution, the question would have gone to the full U.N. General Assembly, where no country holds veto power. While the U.S. claims this vote “does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood,” these words obviously ring empty. Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the council “The fact that this resolution did not pass will not break our will and it will not defeat our determination…The state of Palestine is inevitable. It is real.” 140 countries recognize Palestine. Palestine currently sits as a non-member observer state at the U.N.
    2. Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a prominent Palestinian-American academic, was arrested at her home in Jerusalem last week, Democracy Now! reports. According to this report, Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian “was suspended by Hebrew University last month after saying in an interview Israel was committing genocide in Gaza.” Sarah Ihmoud, a co-founder of the Palestinian Feminist Collective who teaches at College of the Holy Cross is quoted saying “We see this as yet another example of Israel attacking Palestinians wherever they are, whoever they are. It underscores that no Palestinian is safe under Israel’s racist apartheid rule.” Now, Ryan Grim of the Intercept reports that Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian is communicating trough family that she is being tortured in Israeli custody. Maddeningly, it app

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Mumia Abu-Jamal: Criminal Injustice

    Mumia Abu-Jamal: Criminal Injustice

    Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent the last forty-two of his seventy years on Earth behind the bars of a Pennsylvania state prison, twenty-nine and a half of those on Death Row based on a dubious and extremely flawed and biased conviction for murder. Today, we explore his story and what it tells us about what Ralph calls our “criminal injustice system.” We speak to Noelle Hanranah, the founder and legal director of Prison Radio for which Mumia has done thousands of commentaries, and Professor Joy James, political philosopher, academic and author, who has studied America’s carceral state. Plus, we get the rare opportunity to speak to Mumia himself, who answers our questions from prison.
    Joy James is Ebenezer Fitch Professor of Humanities at Williams College. Professor James has published numerous articles on: political theory, police, prison and slavery abolition; radicalizing feminisms; diasporic anti-black racism; and US politics. She is the author and editor of several books including The New Abolitionists: (Neo)Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings, Imprisoned Intellectuals, Resisting State Violence, and Warfare in the American Homeland.
    [Mumia’s] a treasure. And I don't want to make him an isolate. I think there are a number of people who have been incarcerated for decades who study and struggle—that's a phrase people use in terms of books reaching the incarcerated, but also the writings of the incarcerated coming out of prisons. They enable us to be able to learn and study with them. If not physically in the same space, definitely with the same ethics and the same commitments.
    Joy James
    The way that I see what we're struggling against—which I believe echoes what Mumia has been writing about and talking about—is very complex, overlapping systems of containment and control in which poor- and working-class people are going to be the most negatively affected.
    Joy James
    Noelle Hanrahan is the founder and legal director of Prison Radio, a multimedia production studio that brings the voices of incarcerated people into the public debate. Since 1992, she has produced over 3,500 multimedia recordings from over 100 prison radio correspondents, including the critically acclaimed work of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
    [Mumia Abu-Jamal is] facing a system in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, which literally does not privilege the U.S. Constitution. It's more interested in finality…So they privilege procedure over merit.
    Noelle Hanrahan
    Mumia Abu Jamal is an award-winning broadcast journalist, essayist, and author of 12 books. Most recently, he’s completed the historic trilogy Murder Incorporated (Perfecting Tyranny, Dreaming of Empire, and America’s Favorite Pastime.) In the late 1970s, Abu-Jamal worked as a reporter for radio stations throughout the Delaware Valley. In 1981, Abu-Jamal was elected president of the Association of Black Journalists’ Philadelphia chapter. Since 1982, Abu-Jamal has lived in state prison (28 of those years were spent in solitary confinement on death row.) Currently, he’s serving life without parole at SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, PA. Abu-Jamal’s 1982 trial and its resultant first-degree murder conviction have been criticized as unconstitutionally corrupt by legal and activist groups for decades, including by Amnesty International and Nobel Laureates Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, and Desmond Tutu.

    I love it when I hear or read about so-called conservatives talking about “two tiers of justice.” Justice if anything is at least three tiers— it's one tier for white people, another tier for black folks, and a third tier for the very rich. Now guess who gets sweetest deals? I mean look, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, right? If you're rich in this country, you can get every break that you can afford. You can get the best justice, the best lawyers, and they will fight wars.
    Mumia Abu-Jamal
    When prisoners use the phone or go to the commissary—every item you buy, every call you make, it's

    • 1 hr 21 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

ibrtthiyffvhh ,

Ralph is a national treasure!

Well spoken, well researched and civic minded podcast that interviews relevant guests on topics affect us differently and that we should care about. The best podcast out there. Ralph is my hero!

vetmike92 ,

A show all US citizens should listen to.

Topics discussed hear impact us all. Yet, we won’t get this information from the NYT, or AP.

run_w_me ,

Always in the Public Interest

Listen to Ralph Nader if you want to know the TRUTH about current injustices.

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