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Ralph welcomes Donald Cohen, the founder and executive director of “In the Public Interest” and co-author of the book “The Privatization of Everything” to discuss the many different ways corporatism has corrupted so many of our public goods. Also, constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, joins us to give us his take on the constitutional ramifications of U.S. involvement in the conflict between Russian and Ukraine. Plus, we wish a happy hundredth birthday to legendary journalist, Morton Mintz and say a heartfelt goodbye to the innovative law professor, who created programs to provide legal representation to low-income Americans and devised the concept of Time Banking, Edgar Cahn.

Donald Cohen founder and executive director of In the Public Interest. He is co-author, with Allen Mikaelian, of The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back.

 

 

 

 

[Public servants] get taken all the time… You’re running a city, it’s a hard job, and someone comes to you and says, “Cheaper, better, faster, no new taxes.” All, of course, which are not true. “And I’ll take this problem off your hands.” That’s appealing… They also exist within this sort of illogical propaganda victory of corporate America: that the market is a better instrument, and that businesses are more efficient and all that. So it’s infected with that belief system as well.

Donald Cohen: co-author of “The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back”

 

[To folks in government] we say, “Your most important job is to negotiate on our behalf, and if you don’t have the capacity to do that, you need to get it.”

Donald Cohen: co-author of “The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back”

 

It’s incumbent upon all of us to figure out how to get cities, school boards, states, federal government agencies to understand their job. Understand who they really represent. And figure out how to develop the expertise and the capacity to do it.

Donald Cohen: co-author of “The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back”

 

Civil society, it doesn’t really do anything very important. It just raises children, keeps families together, makes neighborhoods vibrant, holds officials accountable, turns out voters for the election, fights for social justice, was responsible for apartheid going down, for the demonstrations to finally getting past separate but equal, and maybe tries to keep the planet sustainable. But nothing of importance to the GDP… The work that really produces the kind of society we want, there’s no value in.

Edgar Cahn: author of “Time Dollars” and “No More Throw-Away People”

 

There’s no public relations agency for the US Government. No matter how many good things it’s done… All we see is the public relations for business and advertising.

Ralph Nader

 

Dismantling Democracy

 

Edgar Cahn was the author of Time Dollars and No More Throw-Away People. He founded TimeBanks and was co-founder, with his wife Jean Camper Cahn, of Antioch Law School and  National Legal Services , which was the progenitor for the Legal Services Corporation, an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans.

 

Morton Mintz was a Washington Post reporter for nearly 30 years, Morton Mintz investigated corporate misconduct in the tobacco, automotive and pharmaceutical industries. Mintz broke stories about the consequences of using thalidomide and the Dalkon Shield.

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 412 Transcript (Right click to download)

4 Comments

  1. Wendy NooN says:

    I will devote 100% of the Time I would be in DC, IF there were a place I could afford in DC. The Congress People are “all out of their offices” but their Aides are keeping their Chairs Warm & Office Phones Answered. I want to Visit each office of the 545 & Listen to Them. I wish to Stop 1st at the CSRL. I would love an interview & be brought up to par. After the Offices have closed, I long to visit the Library of Congress.

    I am only in Gainesville Florida for short breaks. I am mostly in Parrottsville, Tennessee, where Internet is only on “Hot Spot” via “SolaR”. So, with 5 children in the house & 3 adults, Grandma needs to wait until Midnight to read news of global events.

    After visiting the Beautiful spacious land with homes in Tennessee & Connecticut, my Brain asks me, “So where is the Solar” since the land is not being used for Farming or Raising Animals. Thus, I Our Electric Company has just realized it has been “duped” by not having money coming in via SOLAR PANELS. Therefore, I attended a Utility Advisory Board Meeting & When I introduced the idea of Solar Roofs will bring CONSISTANT ECONOMIC RETURNS, the Light appears in the Eyes of all the Advisory Members & Meetings were immediately scheduled
    with the Commissions & of course, behind the scenes, the Chamber of Commerce. We, the People are asking for all buildings we pay tax’s on to be solar: Electrical Company’s Buildings, City, County & State Buildings and
    lets do this ASAP.

  2. Don Harris says:

    In your recent blog “Facilitating Civic and Political Energies for the Common Good” you write about the first stage of getting legislation through Congress addressing long overdue necessities for half the population.

    If this is the first step we will never achieve much less get beyond the first step.

    The reason legislation addressing long overdue necessities for half the population is long overdue is because the big money legislators in either half of the one big money party work for the big money interests and only pass legislation that primarily benefits the big money interests which have no interest in seeing the legislation passed.

    The powers that be have adjusted to the things that have worked in the past so your ten year plan of using 10 billion dollars from the mythical billionaires that would provide it will get us nowhere in ten years even if you could actually find a real billionaire or two that would provide the funding.

    So the first step to getting the legislation passed is to replace the big money legislators with small donor legislators that work for the ordinary citizens that finance their campaigns only with money from small donors (no more than 200 dollars total from any one donor in an election- 2OO primary, 200 general).

    This for obvious reasons cannot be financed by the mythical billionaires.

    But it can be financed by the 20 million people that you recently said could give five dollars a year to organizations advocating for the things in the legislation. As this 20 million would need to give 5 dollars a year to many organizations to cover all the different issues (at least ten) this would total 100 dollars every two years.

    That’s two billion dollars every two years and 10 billion over ten years and is just the tip of the iceberg on what could be achieved by ordinary citizens working together to make this demand of candidates and enforcing that demand with their votes and 200 dollars or less every two years.

    But this two billion dollars would do very little as it would have to be used to lobby/influence the big money legislators to go against the big money interests.

    It would be better spent financing small donor candidates to replace the big money legislators as small donor candidates becoming legislators would be much easier and less expensive to lobby/influence as they would not be working for the big money interests.

    If we start now we can have an effect on 2022, build on that in 2024 and by 2026 have many small donor legislators in office.

    The choice is ten years of effort and resources that will generate little if any progress or making major progress in less than five years.

  3. Diane Birmingham says:

    I really appreciated your podcast. Working at the VA there were so many companies that got contracted and took away functional departments from the VA.
    As a RN at the VA we used to run all the referrals to local MDs for specialty care, then all of the sudden (during Trump) this was subcontracted and we had to continually advocate for our patients who got disastrous care and it doubled our workload just trying to fix the disasters.
    Another example is in Software, my Sister worked for a software company that installed Oncology software for the VA. Just like all these contracts, they inbed highly priced updates and ways to keep the money flowing. She felt it was exceedingly unethical. VA is a milking machine for privatization.
    Diane

  4. Jason says:

    Privatization of government services takes away a measure of our freedom. As citizens, we should be able to have postal banking as an option, or to have a public option for health insurance. The fact that we don’t means this is no longer the “land of the free.” It has become the land of corporate domination over the citizenry.