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September 28, 2019
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October 12, 2019
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Impeach Trump!

Ralph talks to John Bonifaz, of The Impeachment Project, where he argues that the Ukraine scandal is just the last straw in a long line of Donald Trump’s impeachable offenses. And energy expert, David Freeman joins us to talk about the necessary steps the Climate Strike movement needs to take to realize their demands.

John Bonifaz is a public interest lawyer and the Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People, which in coalition with Credo Action has initiated The Impeachment Project. Mr. Bonifaz previously served as the Executive Director and then General Counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute and has been at the forefront of key voting rights battles in the country for more than two decades. In 2004, Mr. Bonifaz wrote the book Warrior-King: The Case For Impeaching George W. Bush.

“We are in this urgent moment where Donald Trump almost on a daily basis attacks our Constitution, our democracy, and the rule of law. He’s a direct and serious threat to our republic and he needs to face impeachment proceedings now.” John Bonifaz, of the The Impeachment Project

David Freeman is an engineer, an attorney, and an author, who has been called an “ecopioneer” 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 and the author of a number of books on energy policy, including Winning Our Energy Independence and his latest All Electric America

“The problem is fossil fuels. It’s 70% of the greenhouse gasses being emitted. And the answer is old-fashioned. We need to outlaw the goddamned stuff.”  David Freeman, former director of the Tennessee Valley Authority


  1. Don Harris says:

    While I agree we must do something now on climate change/pollution from fossil fuels, Mr. Freeman’s point that people who are climate experts may not be experts in other things is born out in his statement that we can pass laws to do what needs to be done on climate change.

    Who is going to pass the laws?

    Certainly not any big money legislators.

    Big money infecting our political process is the major reason we cannot take any real action on climate change and a plethora of other important issues.

    If you, Ralph, Mr. Freeman and anyone else that says we have to do something now on climate change is serious about that then we need to take the first step in the process and do something now to get the big money out of politics.

    We can’t pass laws to do it for the same reason we can’t pass laws on climate change- the big money legislators will not pass any real reform.

    The only way to get laws passed to get the big money out of politics is to first replace the big money legislators will small donor legislators. The problem has to be solved before laws to solve the problem can be passed.

    It is now nearly one full year since you said on Washington Journal (10-24-2018) that you would have me on your Radio Hour to discuss One Demand, an idea that does not require legislation to get the big money out of politics. All it requires is citizen participation- but they can’t participate if they don’t know about it.

    If you believe that action needs to be taken now to address climate change, then why are you not taking the first step to achieve that goal by having me on your program to inform citizens about action they can take now to get the big money out of politics instead of waiting years for legislation that the big money legislators will NEVER pass?

    • Wolfman says:

      The money came into Ohio to keep Davis Besse Nuclear Plant open well past its service life. The for-sale Ohio legislature voted to have all Ohio utility ratepayers pay to keep this dangerous plant open. A people run referendum campaign collected signatures to overturn this law but was attacked by a dark money media blitz to stop the referendum campaign. This again is an attack on alternative energy putting Ohio voters at the mercy of outside dark money.

    • robert says:

      the Congress and the public needs to hear Bruce Fein on impeachment. But of course we need so much more than that to combat the decades of Congressional and public dereliction that has resulted in the dumbing down and degradation of America.

  2. Donald Klepack says:

    John Bonifaz and Ralph Nader is way off base. Donald Trump will NOT be impeached but this attempt to impeach will ensure that Trump will win in 2020. This is from a Jill Stein voter in 2016 and now a supporter of Tulsi Gabbard.

    !st their was the Russian Hoax and Muellar report which did not indict Trump and did not indict any of the Trump Children. Now this Ukraine nonsense where Adam Schiff lied to the Congress and American in his opening statement. Simple fact there is no Quid Pro Quo. Trump will continue to say it’s not political but fighting corruption and know one will is defending Joe Biden and his son because there is no defense of Joe Biden’s actions.

    Please Ralph, stick to health and safety and stopping economic destruction Thank you from a life long supporter of Ralph Nader.

  3. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Okay Ralph, let’s say we impeach Trump. Over the recent Ukraine garbage. What then? You still have an utterly corrupt congress owned by corporate money. You still have an utterly corrupt deep state full of cretins like Robert Mueller, William Barr, and James Comey. The CIA, NSA, and FBI are lawless institutions that violate basic constitutional rights on the regular with no accountability. But at least the House got to impeach Trump? Well let’s say the Republican-dominated Senate actually concurs and decides to remove him from office. Now you have President Mike Pence. Mike Pence, described persuasively as a “Christian fascist” by Chris Hedges. Mike Pence, who just like Trump would also commit war crimes and would also appoint agency heads whose sole purpose was to destroy those agencies.

    What did you gain from this impeachment process? Certainly, you spent several months not talking about POLICY relevant to daily American lives. Several months of distraction just before a Primary election where progressive candidates should be debating these policies. Bonifaz’s idea that the corporate-controlled Democrats or the corporate media will also just happen to spend their time talking about these critical issues is absurdly naive. Bonifaz’s idea that the Democrats would actually impeach Trump over his highest crimes is also naive. As Noam Chomsky can attest to, every president since Truman is a war criminal of some sort, guilty of VASTLY more heinous crimes than those which Nixon and Clinton were actually impeached over. Why would Trump’s actual impeachment be any different? It won’t be. Finally, Bonifaz’s idea that there is a democracy left to protect is also naive. We haven’t had a functioning democracy for over 30 years (established empirically by Gilens and Paige, 2014), and no presidential impeachment is going to change that. This is pure political theater, nothing more. The corporate Democrats will have gained a mild increase in undeserved credibility from their more loyal base while the progressive citizenry will have gained nothing.

    Listeners should check out a recent Democracy Now! debate between Chris Hedges and John Bonifaz if they would like a more complete perspective on impeachment. Aaron Mate and Jimmy Dore also have much deeper analyses of the politics of the situation on the regular. It’s high time for Ralph to invite on some progressive voices critiquing the Democrats’ political posturing over Trump that are outside of the Washington bubble where he gets most of his news. Ralph may not like it, but printed media, radio, and television are simply not where most real news is published and consumed today. It’s the internet.

    Lastly, I really wanna thank Steve for finally pinning a nuclear guest down on the topic of molten salt thorium reactor designs. Freeman’s response was pretty unsatisfying, but we have something to work with at least. I think the fact that molten salt reactors are massively inept at producing bomb-worthy materials was a major factor in why the Atomic Energy Commission squelched the project. “It hasn’t been adopted yet, therefore something must not work” just isn’t a very solid argument. I think I’ve used this same counter in a comments section here before, but what if we had given up on wind or solar in the ’80s by the very same logic? The fact is that molten salt thorium reactors are proven technologies, they’re not some sort of radical new idea as Ralph alluded to, they’re designs that were proven to work over 40 years ago, shut down and buried in favor of more expensive, more dangerous, and less efficient reactors due to geopolitical motivations. And I’m not “an idiot or sold out” for caring about the details.

    • Joe says:

      It’s flawed logic to not impeach because of some vague scenarios that you imagine happening as a result of impeachment. It’s like not prosecuting someone for murder because there’ll always be murderers. Trump has committed multiple high crimes. Impeach and convict him, and let the chips fall.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Solid comment, Afdal. Indeed if we impeach Trump nothing meaningful will change. I recall Chris Hedges in 2016 I believe debating Robert Reich over Hillary/Sanders/Trump, who’s better and such, and Hedges cut down Reich’s ludicrous statement that there are big differences between HRC and Trump by responding that regardless of who wins, we’ll still be embroiled in countless military excursions, wealth inequality will continue to rise, our healthcare system will get worse, and such. Indeed Hedges was and is right, there is no real difference. Same thing if Pence replaces Trump. America needs systemic change and you’ll never get that at the ballot box. Because that’s how deep and thorough American corruption runs. And if it doesn’t change, it’ll collapse. Then again, I don’t know of an empire that’s ever changed without first collapsing.

      Perhaps the only quibble I have with your post is when you stated we haven’t had a functioning democracy in 30+ years. My stance is we’ve never had a democracy, ever. Funny how the revered founding documents and the somehow deified Fathers who wrote them never had that word nor any variant mentioned in them. Not the Constitution, nor any of the Amendments, nor the DoI. Oh sure we hear it all the time in the media and from politicians and such, but we really are not one nor have ever been one. Secondly, how can any document that so obviously prohibits this or that section of people from voting ever be considered as some kind of foundation for a democracy? The whole “get back our democracy” slogan irritates me; you can’t get back what you never had. I think that only when people wake up and realize we’ve never been a democracy, and the horrible things that result from perpetuating the myth that we are, then and only then can change possibly happen.

      We are not what we say we are, we never were.

      • Afdal Shahanshah says:

        Well if you want to really get into “what is democracy?”, Mark, I’m a socialist and don’t really believe that liberal democracy can be or ever has been democracy. Allowing some private dictator to order you around and claim the surplus value you produce every day of your working life is not democracy and never has been. Capitalism is not just incompatible with democracy, it’s simply not democracy.

        From another perspective, the Greeks who invented the term “democracy” certainly didn’t describe what we have as democracy. They actually considered all electoral politics systems to be forms of oligarchy, not “representative” democracy as we now call it. If you read Aristotle and some other Greek thinkers, they noted a tendency in electoral politics for only the better off in society to have the money, resources, and time to run for office and get elected. And then there was a natural tendency to look out for their own class interests once elected. If you look around to state legislatures up to the federal level even today you will notice a similar phenomenon. That’s why in Athens they used a system of randomized sortition to select public officials while all the major decisions were handled democratically through public referenda.

        But even liberals who cannot find agreeable either of these perspectives cannot refute the findings of that Gilens and Paige political paper published in 2014: Going back to at least 1982 when their data begin, the interests of the median 50% of American earners has a “near-zero, statistically non-significant” impact upon public policy, while views of the wealthy 10% and stances of special interest groups do significantly impact public policy. We live in an empirically-definable oligarchy or plutocracy and have for a long time.

  4. Joseph A. Mungai says:

    How can we convince Pelosi that the impeachment inquiry must include Trump rolling back regulations that protect the air our children breathe and water they drink. This investigation can parallel the Youth Climate Strike activists filing a complaint with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that serves the interests of the children’s right to life, health and culture.

  5. I wonder if this can be taken further. According to Article 3 of the UN Genocide Convention, “direct and public incitement to commit genocide” is also genocide. Add to this the fact that “forcibly transferring children of a group to another group” is genocide.
    Are there therefore not only grounds for impeachment against Mr. Trump, but also very clear crimes against humanity for which he can be held directly accountable by his recorded words?
    Thank you very much. I love your show.

  6. Cynthia Poten says:

    Thank you for your very important discussion with John Bonifaz re Trump’s multiple impeachable offenses.

    I have a question. related to the 2020 election. Is it possible to launch a non-partisan presidential ad campaign that encourages Americans to vote for an end to corruption and money in politics and for climate justice that is also economic justice? . What I’m envisioning is a series of ads that begins with clips from all six candidates who participated in the Presidential Forum on Climate Justice sponsored by Democracy Now, National Wildlife Federation, National Black Caucus of State Legislators and National Coalition on Black Civic Participation .

    The ads would highlight one or two of the many clear, moral points made, and would combine these points with images of democracy in action and the problems it faces. A combination of archival and current footage would contextualize and unify the message. The campaign could expand to include statements from other 2020 candidates running for Senate and House seats that deliver the double message of an end to corruption and a governing body committed to climate/economic justice Most important, the ads would not conclude with a vote-for-me pitch. Each ad would conclude with a candidate asking Americans to vote for candidates committed to getting money and corruption out of politics and institution climate/econbomic justice. The pitch might be something like this:

    “However my campaign ends, I’m running to clarify the moral, economic and environmental issues threatening the American people and American Democracy in this election.”

    My sense is that ads not sponsored by a political party or a particular candidate might out-perform any ads the Republicans try. Perhaps the ad campaign would be sponsored by the groups who made the Forum a reality, and other non-profit advocacy groups that want to join in.

    I’ve sent this question to Tom Steyer but have had no response.

  7. robert says:

    the suggestion that solar and wind power is ready supply a significant percentage of US power requirements is not supported by the facts. Also 3rd and 4th generation advanced nuclear power is not dangerous. Check it out. Invite Dr. James Hanson and Ken Caldeira on the show.