Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Failing (Red)States

Failing (Red)States


Ralph welcomes William Kleinknecht, author of “States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America” about how red state governors and legislatures fight culture wars while starving education and health care, empowering polluters, engaging in voter suppression, and neglecting their citizens’ well-being in the interest of cutting taxes for their wealthy donors. Plus, Oliver Hall, founder of the Center for Competitive Democracy tells us all about how ordinary people can use an extremely underused legal forum, Small Claims Court.

William Kleinknecht is a longtime newspaper reporter who covered politics, government, criminal justice, and the environment for the Detroit Free Press, New York Daily News, and Newark Star-Ledger. He is the author of The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America and States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America.

I wrote the book because when national news organizations talk about the red states, the focus is always on hot-button issues like abortion, immigration, election subversion, and even Critical Race Theory. And that’s by the design of the Republicans who run those states— that’s what they want people to be talking about because that fires up their base. What has gotten very little attention is just how damaging Republican leadership in those states has been for a longer period of time and across a much broader range of issues.

William Kleinknecht, author of States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America

I found that when I went to where the poorest people were— and the people who were suffering from environmental degradation or poor healthcare— I think they got it. I think it’s a different segment of their population that is the MAGA Republicans. And I didn't spend as much time around them because I was looking for where the damage was.

William Kleinknecht, author of States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America

Oliver Hall is a public interest attorney in Washington, DC. He is founder of and legal counsel to the Center for Competitive Democracy, which aims to strengthen American democracy by increasing electoral competition.

The fact is, in our increasingly corporatized world where transactions are automated, contracts are one-sided (contracts that corporations create with so much fine print you couldn’t possibly read it all, and ostensibly require you to sign away your rights), I think people get intimidated. Or they assume that they don’t have the right to pursue a claim in small claims court. And the fact is they do have that right. It can be done. And there's no reason more people shouldn’t do it, especially given the level and pervasiveness of corporate abuses, just in terms of everyday normal transactions that we all engage in.

Oliver Hall on Small Claims Court

I’ve been listening to Elon Musk speak out against government subsidies of corporations over the months— and talking about himself as a great capitalist entrepreneur— when, in reality, he takes all kinds of corporate welfare… Anytime he opens up a plant or starts a company like Starlink, he demands all kinds of subsidies, handouts, giveaways, grants, and especially a tax referral or tax holidays or tax breaks.

Ralph Nader on his Twitter exchange with Elon Musk

In Case You Haven’t Heard:

1. Former Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who opposed COVID aid, admitted that he retired due to complications from long COVID. He suggested that many other members of Congress are also struggling with long COVID but have kept that fact hidden from the public.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/republican-senator-opposed-covid-aid-retired-due-long-covid-2023-2

2. The Jewish Federations of North America, which represents nearly 150 Jewish federations, penned a letter calling on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to drop the override clause, which would allow the Knesset to override laws deemed unconstitutional by the Israeli Supreme Court. The Federations warn that “such a dramatic change to the Israeli system of governance will have far-reaching consequences in North America.”

Source: https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/2023-02-21/ty-article/.premium/major-u-s-jewish-org-calls-for-negotiations-between-netanyahu-and-lapid/00000186-755e-dcba-a19e-f77fc52e0000

3. In Florida, legislators are considering a “Dealer Bill” which would block consumers from purchasing electric cars directly from manufacturers like Ford and Honda. If passed, consumers would be forced to deal with notoriously usurious car salesmen to purchase these vehicles. The sponsor of this legislation, state rep. Jason Shoaf received $10,000 from Braman Motors – owned by billionaire car magnate Norman Braman – one week after filing the bill.


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Car dealers are lobbying to make sure consumers must keep haggling with high-pressure salesmen
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4. On February 21st, over 30 members of CodePink occupied the offices of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. They held a teach-in and ended by delivering demands for negotiations and peace in Ukraine to the armed services committee. CodePink is also one of the core sponsors of the upcoming March 18th antiwar rally in Washington D.C., along with nearly 80 other organizations including Veterans for Peace, Black Alliance for Peace, and US Labor against Racism and War.

Source for the action:

Source for the rally: https://www.codepink.org/piu20iraq

5. According to NPR CEO John Lansing, the network will lay off at least 100 staff – roughly 10% of its current workforce – and eliminate most vacant positions. Lansing blamed ever-declining ad revenues for precipitating this extreme cost-cutting measure.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/22/1158710498/npr-layoffs-2023?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_term=nprnews&utm_campaign=npr

6. A startling report published in Rolling Stone shows there have been at least seven coups in Africa led by US-trained soldiers since 2021. The recent spate of coups has been a marked shift for the continent, which had seen an average of less than one successful coup per year between 2011 and 2021.

Source: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/west-africa-coup-american-trained-soldier-1234657139/

7. The EPA has approved several “green biofuels” which are in fact not biological and are instead made from waste plastic. One of these fuels is so carcinogenic even Chevron estimates that one in four people exposed to the fumes will develop cancer. The EPA claims they are too underfunded to properly evaluate these fuels.

Source: https://www.propublica.org/article/chevron-pascagoula-pollution-future-cancer-risk

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Episode 469 Transcript
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Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.