Listen now (68 mins) | Auto safety expert, Byron Bloch, joins us to tell the story of how citizens in conjunction with the Sierra Club defeated a highway widening boondoggle in Maryland. Then we welcome microgrids manager at the Green Justice Coalition, Sari Kayyali, to tell us how microgrids in his community have saved money and the environment. Finally, we catch up with the director of Progressive Democrats of America, Alan Minsky, in Washington DC to talk about high speed rail and the post-Bernie progressive movement.
What is most enlightening is the stance taken by the mayor of Paris, France where she stated that the banning of motorvehicles from key sections of the city was necessary to provide equal access for everyone and this was a basic tenet of French democracy.
This is in stark contrast to the post WW II unopposed moves by the auto and oil and tire companies to eliminate electric street cars from cities in the USA and force people to own and operate cars to be able to get to school, go shopping, commute to work, or travel to places for recreation.
Toll roads are one way to segregate the use of public resources so only the upper class can afford to use them and to force a tax on movement on workers and their families. Few appreciate that more than 50% of American cities land, which is a public resource, is used for the privately owned motor vehicles and so everyone subsidizes their use at great expense.
This is even when ignoring that these motorists generate vast amounts of air pollution that damage the health of the cities' inhabitants, in particular that of the poor. This is one reason why the USA has the highest maternal and infant mortality rates among the G20 nations.
Regarding the Progressive Democrats of America, what is the practical difference between mobilizing voters after the primaries and endorsing Biden outright? Isn't the mobilization a tacit endorsement?
I worry about this because it seems like once candidates know they have your vote, their accountability ends. Relatedly, what would an organized vote-withholding campaign look like?
Steve, I have a simple question which I hope you can help answer. I’ve heard Alan Minsky’s name mentioned in the RNRH credits many times. I’ve also known that economist Hyman Minsky has a son named Alan. For whatever reason, it never occurred to me that RNRH executive producer Alan Minsky might be Hyman Minsky’s son! If Alan Minsky does not consider this to be too personal of a question to be answered in the comments here, is the RNRH Alan Minsky the son of Hyman Minsky?
As you may know, Steve, I’ve been advocating for Randy Wray to be interviewed on the RNRH and part of that is to discuss Wray’s book, published by the Princeton University Press, ‘Why Minsky Matters’. This is, of course, about Wray’s mentor Hyman Minsky. Wray is probably Minsky’s most famous student and Wray’s most famous student, Stephanie Kelton, is a former Bernie Sanders advisor and a bestselling economics author (Kelton is worth having on the show as well, but Wray is really the expert on Hyman Minsky). So, yes, I think the relevancy of having Wray on the RNRH is even higher given the potential family connection. I say this not for the sake of having a navel-gazing episode about Alan’s father, but rather because of how Hyman Minsky and Randy Wray’s research, which diverges in some ways that Wray can explain, should influence progressive policymaking.
Regarding Alan Minsky’s discussion of the importance of federal funding for public transportation, this is absolutely correct! Randy Wray is the perfect guest to explain why federal funding of projects like this is so important. That said, and Wray should be asked about this as well, I disagree with the assertion that the profitability of public transportation should be used to fund the public transportation. If public transportation is federally funded, there is no need for it to be profitable. Similarly, the USPS does not need to be profitable. The USPS can be fully funded by the federal government in order to ensure that government, citizens, and businesses can communicate with everyone in the country reliably, expediently, and inexpensively. Profitability is not important, the aforementioned goals are what are important. Public transportation should be thought of in the same way and pricing of public transportation should be set to encourage the logical use of it relative to other potentially more destructive forms of transportation such as private automobiles and airplanes.
Regarding David and Alan’s Wrap-Up discussion about health insurance, and this is really something Randy Wray can speak about, the arguments favoring universal health insurance and other healthcare reforms should be done within the context of economic policy which aims to achieve full employment. Declaring ‘war’ on the unproductive corporate/neoliberal financial, insurance, and real estate sectors (known as the ‘FIRE sectors’) is perfectly fine, but we must remember that many, many citizens are employed in these fields and people won’t vote for these progressive reforms unless secure, well-paying jobs are assured for people working in those fields. That’s the tougher sell to voters more so than convincing people that government can operate a better healthcare system than what exists at the current time. I’ve spoken about this before and it also applies to the fossil fuels and military industries because they are both major employers as well. Solid healthcare, etc. reform must start with solid labor policy. I can go on about this, but I’d rather the RNRH have Randy Wray go on about this subject because he is really the expert on this. Don’t take my word for it, ask Alan Minsky for an endorsement if the RNRH Alan Minsky is ‘that’ Alan Minsky!
The infrastructure paralysis that now dominates our country is a direct outcome of neoliberalism. Which is in itself an extreme, and perhaps fatal, form of social parasitism. The wealthy have moved beyond being simply sociopathic. They have become a death cult, fetishizing, valuing wealth over life itself. We need to, somehow, pull the plug on these freaks!
Concerning Ralph's recent blog about Trump:
Please make this your last blog on the 2024 presidential election.
We must at this point concede the 2024 presidential election to the big money candidates that will be offered by both halves of the one big money party and start working now to change the dynamic so that citizens can elect in 2028 a president and a congress that will not only "inspire the best from it's citizenry" but will work for the best for it's citizens.
This can be accomplished by Ralph leading a campaign to concentrate in 2024 on the congressional and senate elections by organizing citizens to demand small donor candidates for congress and the senate and enforce that demand with our votes as described in my other comment on this episode, many other comments on other episodes after the switch to Substack and the five years worth of comments that disappeared with the switch to Substack.
It is time to play the "wild card" and inspire "a mass fed-up backlash" instead of the usual "mass voter passivity" of accepting the false choice between the big money candidates offered by the two halves of the one big money party.
We could build on this in 2026 and by 2028 elect a president and congress that will be working for ordinary citizens instead of the big money interests.
Citizens "holding their noses and voting for a Democrat" will not produce a landslide for Trump's opponents in 2024 because the Deathocrats also work for the big money interests and are therefore not opponents to Trump.
Let's start now to demand real opponents to the big money lackeys offered by both halves of the one big money party.
It would be great to have RFK Jr. as a guest.
We need to nationalize the FED - Read Ellen Brown on banking and infrastructure banks. Ralph has had her as guest several times. Many countries in the world have central banks that fund infrastructure. China, of course, is one. I understand that the Harvard School of Economics refers to loans to projects like bullet trains in China as non performing loans. Never intended to be paid back. The creation of a vastly functional infrastructure seems like they are performing very well. I offer a slogan for promoting bullet trains in the US. Spending money on infrastructure rather than endless war budgets. More Bullet Trains, Fewer Bullets.
Also I would like to know where PDA and others stand with regard to the candidacy of RFK jr.? He's obviously a controversial figure with regard to vaccines. However, his other domestic and foreign policy ideas I very much agree with. Cutting the MIC budget. Push for a peace treaty between Russia and Ukraine (essentially Minsk 2 or some in that direction),Medicare for All or Single Payer. Free education, rebuild the infrastructure-essentially a Green New Deal , abortion rights as law, voting rights and on and on. He even suggests restructuring or getting rid of the CIA. Many Thanks
There are no Progressive Democrats (or Democratic Activists). Minsky has a no job doing nothing. Please Ralph, stay away from all Democrats and Republicans. They are all liars and charlatans. Interviewing them is a waste of time.
Demonizing the insurance industry or any other big money interests engaged in the War on Democracy will not solve the problem.
We can solve the problem by not supporting with our votes the big money politicians that tell us when they take the big money that they will not be working for ordinary citizens.
This will take a determined effort starting now including people like Ralph to organize citizens to demand candidates do not take big money in 2024 and enforce that demand with our votes in 2024 congressional and senate elections.
If we begin now we could get up to 10% of citizens the 150 million 2020 voters registered to participate with their votes by January of 2024 in time for the primaries.
If we begin now we could get 6-7% of the 150 million 2020 voters to pledge 100 dollars in contributions (a total of 1 billion dollars) to small donor candidates by January of 2024 in time for the primaries.
As it is unlikely that small donor candidates would be on the ballot in 2024 in all congressional districts or senate elections this 1 billion dollars would be split between 50-200 congressional candidates and 5-10 senate candidates in 2024.
We could build on this in 2026 getting participation up to 20% or more and by 2026 we could be electing enough legislators that have not told us ahead of time by taking big money that they will not be passing legislation such as medicare for all or anything else that will benefit ordinary citizens that legislation that will be beneficial can be passed.
The big money interests are waging their War on Democracy and winning because citizens keep validating their agents with our votes.
We need Ralph to organize the troops to fight back.