30 Comments

Thank you for having me on the program, Ralph!

Here are some useful links/resources for listeners who want to learn more about DeJoy's ongoing sabotage of USPS and what must be done to stop him:

https://www.savethepostoffice.com/

https://takeonwallst.com/tag/usps/

https://www.therevolvingdoorproject.org/search?issue=usps

https://cinemalibrestudio.com/the-great-postal-heist/

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Vishal,

I enjoyed the interview on the RNRH. David’s question about insolvency is especially interesting because it is impossible for the federal government, and thus any federal agency, to become insolvent without artificial barriers placed on government/government agencies such as a lack of appropriations from Congress. For more information on this, refer to economist Stephanie Kelton’s bestselling book from 2020 about the Deficit Myth or economist Randy Wray’s testimony to the House Budge Committee in 2019 which I will link here: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/bu/bu00/20191120/110240/hhrg-116-bu00-wstate-wrayl-20191120.pdf

So, with that in mind, there is no reason for the USPS to need to raise revenue. The USPS should be viewed as any other form of critical infrastructure such as the interstate system or commercial aviation regulation. The public does not expect the interstate system or aviation regulation to be profitable by itself, but these services allow for greater security and general economic prosperity. The same is true for the USPS for all the reasons mentioned on the show.

If the USPS wants to sell hunting/fishing licenses through Post Offices due to public demand for such services, then the USPS should provide these services. However, it is not at all necessary for the Post Office to need to provide these services in order to raise operational revenue. All Congress has to do is provide appropriations to the Post Office to maintain it as critical infrastructure.

I would also question the need for the USPS to participate in potential corporate welfare shenanigans such as providing last-mile services for privatized couriers. This seems like a scheme to increase profits for the private sector when the USPS is perfectly capable of providing end-to-end domestic courier services to the public at rates far below what the private couriers offer if the USPS is sufficiently funded to have the staffing and facilities to process the expanded demand.

Thanks for the good work and the follow-up, I just wanted to ensure that none of us who advocate for progressive reform are inadvertently pushing an austerity narrative.

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Well said, public services' goals shouldn't be to turn a profit. And your point regarding last-mile services is also critical. The Great Postal Heist film does a great job of explaining this corporate welfare scheme.

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Still they need to be efficient and not wasteful. I'd agree that we have plenty of federal pork barrel spending, especially the military and medical largess that covers some of the most irresponsible lifestyles. Incentives need to be utilized at every level from taxes to spending to encourage responsible and equitable social behavior. What is lacking are government entitiies that have the same level of predatory activity to go after predatory financial interests that game the system and fail to hold perpetrators to account.

I recently applied for a job at UPS; a couple major changes I've noticed with the local outlet that has been there for over 40 years; they've gotten rid of human resources and have made a number of other cost cutting moves. Drivers I spoke with said that the money is good but that they "have no life". One of them saw it as typical of publically traded companies where shareholders demand cost cutting so they can enjoy greater profits. Amazon is a perfect example of this corporate strategy; they burn through workers as if they were disposable in their quest to get more market share.

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Thank you, Vishal Shankar!

Louis DeJoy, I read, was appointed in May, 2020 by the Board of Governors of USPS. I worry about the USPS and find myself getting angry with DeJoy, such as when the sorting machines were being removed in the early days of the pandemic, and absentee voting was important during the election.

The USPS big blue mailbox for outgoing mail was removed from my street corner some time ago, and I'm very sorry that these boxes are being taken out, since people need them. The services are especially important to the retired or disabled or those in rural areas who cannot get out to the USPS. I'd like us to have more, not less, of them.

I entirely agree that the USPS needs to be an essential, non-commercial service of the US government. I do worry about funding. I think we need the legislation to mandate the funding in perpetuity. I don't know about the idea of a fiat currency that the U.S. can issue forever without running out of money, but I'd like to protect the USPS. I like the idea of including other services people need, too, and I think they should be free services. The corporate for-profit model is limiting our vision of what an amazing society we could have that could help all our people.

Are you aware of a relatively new service at USPS, which is called Ground Advantage for certain packages (not letters)? I used Click and Ship, which is a way of arranging online for these services. There were two different services of that name. I could choose either, and I chose the newer service.

I believe this is a service for businesses, now made available to individuals. It is a low-cost alternative that included shipping, label, insurance, tracking, and package pickup at my door. I also chose optional printing and mailing of my package label to me by USPS, which is a welcome and useful service, since I have no printer. The cost totalled less than $6.

I had a lot of time-consuming trouble doing this, maybe because it was a new service. When I did not get my label by mail from USPS or the pickup of my package by USPS, as scheduled, I contacted USPS. Employees told me, apparently sincerely, that no such service existed. However, I knew it existed because I had paid for it. Finally I got in touch with someone who was able to refer me to the right place.

I was surprised at how indignant I became (since I'm not usually like that) when I had trouble getting my mail piece out by USPS using this method. I was referred to an investigator. He asked whether I wanted to complain. Something like this went through my mind: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." I said that this is the US Postal Service and that we the People rely on it! I said I wanted it escalated to the highest levels!

The investigator was able to refer my issues to the local postmaster, and this particular instance was resolved. USPS appeared at my door with the label, and picked up my package, and shipped it to the company in time for me to receive my refund, and I had the tracking to prove it.

I mention this because, due to my concern about DeJoy, I fear this new service might be another way for DeJoy to reduce services or raise prices by offering lower commercial rates to individuals, possibly as a bait and switch, but I can't be sure. I'm just worried about the USPS. I have a fear that the machine of our society is broken for the majority of our people.

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I believe Ground Advantage is just a newer product that combined the old First Class Package, Retail Ground, and Parcel Select Ground into one service. It's the cheaper/slower USPS package shipping alternative to Priority Mail.

I too often use Click-N-Ship for labels but usually use the print at home option. Glad to hear your issue was eventually resolved. I can only imagine how frustrating mailing packages will get for elderly/disabled customers or others in rural areas, who may also not have a printer and could see their local post offices shuttered by DeJoy's 10-year plan.

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Ground Advantage also provides $100 insurance which shows they have more confidence with security; also they are using top of the line scanners in the larger cities. 6 billion plus in debt this year unfortunately.

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Lots of imortant information on the Radio Hour. As a vegan for many years, Marion Nestle’s presentation on the eating habits in the US is a topic with which I am well acquainted. A trip to any supermarket, or a walk on many streets, are examples of how conditioned and accepting millions of those in the US have come to consuming food that is injurious to health. Particularly upsetting are the effects of lousy foods on kids who are defenseless against the power of the food industry.

Bruce Fein’s discussion of how Congress has shed its role as equal among the three branches of government and turned to lobbyists and contributions as a way of maintaining power and influence. The issue of war is the greatest example of how Congress has given away its role in declaring war and funding war. The executive, in regard to war powers, has been given a blank check to declare war and receive the funding for war it wants. Brown University’s Costs of War project documents the trillions of dollars the executive, acting unilaterally, lavishes on endless and useless wars to the detriment of social programs.

Vishal Shankar does an excellent job covering the attempts to gut the postal service through privatization.

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Thank you for the kind words, Howie! Glad you enjoyed the interview.

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Hey Ralph - Could you please interview Craig Mokhiber?

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We did, a few weeks ago. https://www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/p/a-genocide-tax

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Oh shoot I missed it - I will archive. Wishing you & yours a prosperous and joyful New Year.

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Excellent program as usual. I do a lot of shipping with usps and it is still my go to option for shipping, better than UPS and FedEx.

On diet, I've never understood people's addiction to junk food; I like all healthy and nutritious food, always have. I eat generally an organically grown diet, with lots of culinary herbs and teas.

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Lack of: privilege, affordability, relationship to food (growing and making things from scratch), relationship to the land, all part of the problem.

Lots of reasons for addictions to junk food: food deserts, poverty, psychological trauma, the government's allotment of terrible/insufficient food to reservations, etc.

Read or watch some of Gabor Mate's books or talks. Tells how people are "stuffing down their pain."

If a person can only afford a dollar meal (or worse: take whatever is given to them) and they're pregnant that craving is taken on by the fetus - just like anything else that's passed on to the fetus. People crave junk food because that's what their parents consumed or could only afford or were too exhausted to resist. At least that's my 2 cents.

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It is quite possible to eat quality food with the "lack of privilege" which is more a lack of sound nutritional knowledge and willingness to eat whole foods which are often not at all expensive. I regularly cook up lentils and split peas which are around $1/pound. Teas can be quite inexpensive, they don't have to be organically produced to be healthy. Herbs and spices are quite inexpensive. I buy many foodstuffs that are on sale, provided by the local food shelf.

A just society would encourage healthy eating at every turn paying to encourage it as much as possible. Karl Menninger wrote on the benefits also of collective living for the greater good of communities. None of this is complicated.

By comparison junk food is a hideous thing on so many levels, from the sources, to how it gets produced, the waste that is created in its production and the deliterious effects on those who consume it. I've known too many people who've died before their time as they got careless about diet, habits and lifestyle.

But good luck winning any converts, no one over the years I've known have changed their habits much unless their pain was excruciating.

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It's always such a pleasure to hear from Bruce Fein!

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I just received the new Public Citizen book

The corporate sabotage of America's future

And they paid $10 to mail it to me

I would think media mail would be sub $5

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Vishal commented later on this past Saturday's podcast about 2 Post Office nominees that would be on the US Postal Board to fire DeJoy. What are the names of the 2 Democrats that Vishal recommended that President Biden appoint as soon as possible? And should I sent this to my 2 Senators in Maryland along with House Representative Jaime Raskin (my district rep) asking them to nominate these 2 for the Postal Board? Thanks.

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Thanks for the question Bob.

The two candidates we are urging President Biden to nominate to the Postal Board are former Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence and postal policy expert Sarah Anderson. You can read more about their qualifications and records here: https://takeonwallst.com/2022/10/save-usps-endorses-lawrence-anderson-usps-board/

Though only the Senators will vote on confirmation for Postal Board nominees, it would be great to contact Rep. Raskin too! He's a champion of protecting public institutions, and it would be great to hear his voice adding to the chorus calling for Biden to fill these two seats with anti-DeJoy nominees ASAP.

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Thank you Vishal. I just contacted Senator Van Hollen, Senator Ben Cardin and Representative Raskin (I live in Maryland) to nominate the 2 candidates mentioned in your comment to me. Also thought you were great on Mr. Nader's podcast, great insight and information on DeJoy's running/ruining our US Postal Service.

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Thank you Bob!

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Regarding the deterioraton of usps services, I've done a lot with express, sometimes with substantial value in parcels, usually the very efficient overnight express flat rate where you get the tyvek and other packaging at the post office. They used to have a 10:30 and a noon guarantee for most destinations but during the pandemic they ended the time frame deadlines, as long as it gets there by end of day there is a guarantee. Also there was a time many years ago when mail was delivered 2x a day up until around 1950! They also got rid of their district diagram where priority and most first class mail would be delivered the next day.

I've done a fair amount of business in Winsted down the road from the tort museum at "Laurel City coin" who with his parents has been running it since the early 60s. Every coin and currency dealer know a lot about safe shipping and how to maintain secure valuables.

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Ralph,

Now you are proposing legislation that government contracts include a provision that the corporations do not make campaign contributions to get big money out of politics?

I am not holding my breath waiting for any legislation to get the big money out of politics to be passed by the big money legislators.

I (we) do not have six hundred years to wait for that to happen in a best case scenario.

The big money legislators only pass legislation that primarily benefits the big money interests that have no interest in getting the big money out of politics.

The only way legislation to get the big money out of politics can be passed is to first replace the big money legislators with small donor legislators.

The problem has to be solved before legislation to solve the problem can be passed.

We could make real progress if you would stop talking about organizing the 1% to try to get the big money legislators to pass legislation that the big money legislators are paid with campaign contributions to not pass and organized the 1% to demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with our votes.

Democracy dies when citizens do not use the power of our votes.

If a picture is worth a thousand words a vote is worth a million letters.

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I agree that we need to get money out of politics as one of the very first steps of change. I am frustrated beyond despair that our elected officials are being bribed to legislate for corporate interests rather than for people they represent who elected them.

You certainly make a good point that big donor legislators are very likely not going to budge from their position of advantage and that we need to replace them with small donor legisIators who truly support a progresive agenda, if we want those measures implemented.

I think the important point Ralph Nader is making is that even though the big donor legislators have been corrupted by big money to support issues that are antithetical to the needs of We the People, they still need our vote to survive, and that means we can influence them about the issues vital to us. The value of this approach is that big donor candidates are currently in office, and they have the power to make change NOW.

It sounds like you believe instead that we need to focus our energies on supporting progressive candidates who accept only small donations, elect these candidates, pass legislation to get money out of politics, and then make other progressive changes that are so badly needed in our country.

I hear you that it is frustrating that you cannot get Ralph Nader on board with your approach, which could make a tremendous difference. That can be disappointing. I think Progressive forces in our country find it hard to get together to get progressive things done, so I understand your concern.

I also see that we all want to go in our own direction and be ourselves and not go in the direction of another person. Perhaps this is one characteristic of progressives, that we may be spirited and independent, so cooperation may be a challenge.

I think we can all make a valuable contribution by going our own direction and doing what we feel most inspired to do to change the world because that is where we find the meaning and passion for our work. We will meet people along the way who are also going in their own direction, which just happens to be our direcction, too, and we might all like to travel together.

Best wishes in doing this work you believe is most valuable and in finding your fellow travelers.

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While the big money legislators have the power to do things now they are paid with campaign contributions to not do those things ever. It is my point as well as Ralph's that we can use our votes to influence candidates/legislators.

Ralph has said many times that politicians want our votes more than big money.

It is not just progressive small donor candidates that we need to support with our votes. 80% of citizens want the big money out of politics including 60% of Republican voters.

My point is that if we vote for big money candidates then we are not using our votes to influence the politicians.

If we can get 10% of citizens to demand small donor candidates for Congress in 2024 and enforce that demand with our votes by voting for small donor candidates or casting a write in vote when there are no small donor candidates on the primary and general election ballots then it will make the politicians pay attention to us. Until we do that the politicians will continue to ignore or just pay lip service to our concerns.

10% of voters participating in 2024 could inspire more citizens to participate in 2026 and would inspire candidates to run in 2026 as small donor candidates which could have the same effect increasing participation in 2028.

I don't think the problem is all of us wanting to go in our direction.

The problem is that rather than take action now by running small donor campaigns politicians use the promise of future legislation to get the big money out of politics to get citizens to feel like they are doing something by voting for them even though the politicians tell us before the election by taking big money they will not pass the legislation.

It is like Wimpy from Popeye on steriods. We will gladly pass legislation to get the big money out politics twenty years from now if you give your votes today and for the next twenty years.

Progressives often seem to think that everything can be solved with legislation.

The difficulty is getting progressives to accept that big money in politics cannot be solved by legislation that will not be passed by big money legislators.

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Ralph, I can't find your feature for "Ask Ralph Nader a Question". Do you still have this feature available, and where do I find it?

I've been studying a contract today from a dental office I contacted. My dentist recently retired. I've been feeling under the weather for some time. I think it is a dental problem, since my tooth has been intermittently hurting. I'm starting over after many years to look for a new dentist. I don't remember signing my life away when I last did this, but this time I feel very concerned.

It might interest you to know that the contract stipulates that I am giving up my constitutional right to have dental malpractice issues under this contract decided in a court of law. All claims must be arbitrated, and this agreement shall include all claims or controversies whether in tort, contract, or otherwise. It looks like this is what you have been mentioning about how contract law has been subverted, and that to get the help I need, I have to agree to sign away my constitutional right to redress against wrongful injury. I am feeling very uncomfortable about this.

No less alarming is the provision that I must sign to agree that I voluntary and knowingly request and consent to services, treatments, and procedures recommended by this dentist and to all diagnostic methods deemed appropriate by the dentist, and that I authorize the dentist to perform and/or utilize them. I am feeling very uneasy about this because I think it means that I am preauthorizing the dentist to perform any future services without knowing anything about them.

Normally, my dentist would tell me what he believes needs to be done and how much it will cost, and then we would agree (or not) to proceed. If I sign this, I fear that it means that even if I do not agree to proceed, or perhaps if I want a second opinion, the dentist could do procedures without mentioning them beforehand to me, and then he could charge me for them, even if I would not want to have them done, had I been informed about them.

I report this to you because this is what We the People are experiencing. It is very hard to know how to protect oneself, especially when not feeling well. I wonder if all dentists are requiring contracts like this now, and I will find that everywhere, or if this is unusual. I'm feeling torn between my healthcare needs and my safety.

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Nancy, there is a button at the top of the page "Listener Questions."

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As many know, boilerplate fine print shenanigans like the dental contract you noted are everywhere, in credit card statements, and some landlord lease contracts. RN has probably addressed such problems. If we had a Congress that gave a hoot about consumer protection, it would not tolerate these and would have prohibited such anti consumer provisions.

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Dec 10, 2023·edited Dec 10, 2023

Congress's kids should have to be the first ones into battle. Let's see how fast they would beat the drums for another war/police action. Of course, with drones, there are fewer on-the-ground soldiers.

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and this is also the reason why even though the consensus of studies amd data show the 100% plant based diet is far healthier than an animal product based diet. The facts have been available but are fanatically, repeatedly denied with mental gymnastics and absurd anecdotes..but follow the money, Cargill the largest global animal product producer is the third largest corporation in the world..not new.... the Vatican changed the facts in the Bible regarding the original Christian vegan diet, the Essenes, Nazarenes and i think the Ebonites were vegan for moral and health reasons but ofcourse in order to protect the massive profits the Vatican made from selling cows for meat the lies are simply repeated and any opposition is mischaracterized as extreme and crazy. Soon they'll call vegans anti-semitic and pro putin..its worked for everything else.

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