I almost started "with all due respect," but had a change of heart, because it appears your position is to uphold the false impression that a handful of coding agents are calling the shots to block a nationalized healthcare system. While I am under the impression, based on factual evidence, that a handful of pharma/insurance/corporate med LOBBYISTS are PAYING to block it and exert COMPLETE control over every decision coming out of Washington DC - against the will of the people, where reportedly up to 80% of tax-paying citizens favor a nationalized system....That the fundamental problem in achieving it is a corrupt government with their hands down corporate pants, paid-off government officials paid to favor profits over people, ever increasing taxation without representation (because those same lobbyists also write the legislation that barely tax morbidly rich, OVER-represented corporate-persons), gerrymandered districts ("necessary" BECAUSE it's the ONLY means to thwart the will of the true majority), and masters of mis-direction who steadfastly, ever so subtly or blatantly purchasing control over media, to convince themselves that it must be because enough people didn't show up to vote *against corporate control.*

Expand full comment

With regard to the conflict in Ukraine and the bloated military budget, the Biden administration and Congress are out of touch with ordinary Americans. Some members of the House Democratic Progressive Caucus stuck their toes in the water, and quickly pulled back. Outside of the government, there are anti-war voices (Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern, Marcy Winograd, Laurence Wilkerson, etc.). Is there one member of Congress with moral courage willing to stand up and say we need to change course--instead of sending more weapons, we need negotiations and diplomacy to bring an end to this conflict?

Expand full comment

"Waging peace" suggests William James. Could you find a James scholar to develop the idea?

Expand full comment

I have waited months to hear Wilkerson's analysis. Thank you. Negotiation is needed, not more belligerence. I watch the YouTube presentations by a retired military person, Douglas MacGregor, who maintains that Russia will win, the question is how many will have to die. He was a commander of a tank brigade in the 2003 Iraq war. Very quickly Wilkerson mentioned that total annual spending for the military was either $1.6 trillion or $2 trillion, not $0.858 trillion. The $1.6 trillion figure I first read in an article by James Cypher at the Monthly Review (he has another article at Union for Radical Political Economists). And The Nation magazine publishes a $1.25 trillion figure in articles by Smithberger and Hartung, neatly laid out item by item. The military budget, officially at $0.858 trillion or 15% of federal spending, is more accurately either 22% of federal spending (with military spending at 1.25 trillion), or 28%, or 34% -- not 15% (which is $858 billion divided by $4.792 trillion for 2023). Roughly speaking it's around 25% of all federal spending. It's a lot, and too much. The national income, taken from the Joint Committee on Taxation, was $18.7 trillion in 2022 (Overview, page 36), therefore we spend 7% to 10% of all income on the military. We could spend about $0.3 to $0.4 trillion an do just fine -- we could reduce military spending by 2/3rds to 3/4ths. It is a weird insanity. Wilkerson failed to mention as fear-inducing instigators of the Ukraine war the U.S. missiles placed in Poland and Rumania, possibly other nations, that are pointed at Moscow. Where is the peace movement? The military veterans need more support, need to be replaced by vocal widespread protest.

Expand full comment

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview. Please do consider inviting environmental lawyer and former water regulator in NJ Michael Diamond to add to the discussion. His latest article proposes that there be civil action against the executive and congressional branches of government for breaching their constitutional duty to protect the American people, and that there is legal precedent for such an action in Marbury v Madison (1803). https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/12/23/the-mandate-to-end-war-in-ukraine/ He also has fascinating ideas about how to combat large scale environmental crimes through the use of the domestic violence clause, and the use of district attorneys or county prosecutors and grand juries. https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/02/18/ending-corporate-tyranny-solutions-to-the-plague-that-afflicts-us-all/ I think a discussion between the two public advocates would be fascinating and enlightening.

Expand full comment

Politics on this topic and attacks on DeSantis? Why not be more inclusive and not attack US Senators, Representatives and Governors on the supposition that the Dems are somehow better than the GOP.

At least if Trump were still President there would have been no Ukraine war and diplomatic solutions would have been more likely. At least Maga was about focusing on US issues as hypocritical as it was.

And you are apparently out to lunch on how damaging and unhealthy the "vaccines" are which are still under the corrupt "emergency" where people cannot sue for the injuries and deaths. Please do proper research; it is crystal clear that the last few years have been a corporatist and kleptocrat's dream scenario with hideous censorship and power grabs. And that all started with Trump and Alex Azar and his other power players.

Expand full comment

what is the evidence for the 10,000 deaths a day--is a nuclear option part of the calculation?

Expand full comment

As a member of Veterans for Peace, I want to suggest to everyone, like me, you don't have to be a Veteran to join this terrific organization. For Colonel Wilkerson and everyone my question is do you agree or disagree that Tulsi Gabbard (who quit the Democratic Party) would be a great Peace Candidate for President in 2024? #Tulsi2024

Expand full comment

Col. Wilkerson makes many sage points in this episode of the RNRH, but I want to highlight one point he made towards the end of the radio part of the program. Wilkerson is exactly right when he says that the Republicans advocating for reductions to the military budget are the Republicans who at least want to project themselves as being small government, tax-averse politicians. At the same time, these politicians are often foreign policy hawks. Confront one of these politicians about US support for Israel, to name one thing, and their small government, monetarist convictions will fall apart very quickly.

From a policy perspective, what we see from the majority of our national Republican and Democratic Party politicians is the marriage of neoconservative and neoliberal political thought. When it comes to empire building and an expansion of opportunity for commercial interests, the monetarist economic beliefs of the neoliberals are ignored in favor of neoconservative goals. This is to say that there is little concern for spending limits in expanding militarization. While this goes against the austerity beliefs of the neoliberals, just about everything else is aligned with neoliberalism including the privatization of government (use of government contractors, etc.). Both parties are generally very happy with this marriage. Neoconservatives see fruitful gains in their empire building and neoliberals see an expansion of privatized business opportunities.

I’m thinking there will be some conflict within this marriage when it comes to China. On the one hand, while China’s economy is largely liberalized, the Chinese state funding and protectionism which remains rankles western neoliberals. Some probably want to see regime change in order to expand economic liberalism in China, which excites the hawks, but others (rightfully) see this as an impossible goal. Even if it is viewed as possible, military action against China will likely shatter globalism, at least for a number of years, and certain neoliberals do not want to see that. Neoconservatives might see China’s growing influence in forming relationships with developing nations and this might weaken organizations which ensure the US’s dominance such as the IMF. It may also make resource extraction difficult for the US/west which will give Chinese industry a distinct advantage. It would be interesting to get Col. Wilkerson’s thoughts on this potential source of ‘marital difficulties’.

Wilkerson is correct in saying that France and Germany are not excited about the increased militarization against China. These countries wish to expand business ties with China to fuel their export economies, but these countries are in a subservient position with the US and they will ultimately support US policy no matter how destructive it might be to them. Beyond that, both countries are rather hypocritical if they speak against militarization since both, especially France, have no problem with militarization when they are able to sell weapons, subs, military aircraft, and so forth. US arms deals, such as the AUKUS deal for subs with Australia, may have infuriated France, but it was only because France thought they were going to sell subs to Australia when the US and UK stepped in and snatched that business deal away from them.

Anyway, while the Republicans and Democrats have no trouble spending for empire building and for the benefit of private business interests, social spending continues to be mostly verboten. Austerity principles of neoliberalism only seem to apply to spending which benefits the citizens, not spending which benefits corporate interests. While progressives might be vaguely familiar with this contradiction, they seem to struggle to understand that the same economic principles which makes current military spending possible also make social spending possible. Single-payer healthcare? Nationalizing and reducing the fossil fuel and military industries? It is all possible if the public ignores the false monetarist claims of the neoliberals that the federal government has a very constrained ability to spend without causing hyperinflation, ‘bankruptcy’ of the country, and other implausible nonsense that obviously has not occurred from the abundance of military spending and corporate welfare.

Has anyone questioned these economic contradictions when Republicans and Democrats support seemingly unlimited funding for militarization and such when they are so unwilling to spend for the benefit of society because of claims of ‘financial responsibility’?

Expand full comment

Why is the mp3 dl not working? I get the error "No video with supported format and mime type found." I've never had that problem before.

Expand full comment

Please Folks

This is just a Technical Help note-- all past RNR Hour i can easily download as MP3 to my desktop &

listen without (sometimes) internet interrupts/bad connections on my end. However, with newest episode "Inst Insanity" I cannot complete the MP3 process -- is this perhaps Substack not allowing?

I can direct listen on my computer here BUT i want to create the MP3 as well.

I'm ole analogue type and so appreciates your patience with my issue. \Listen On---- Download either Substack or MP3 choice BUT if I choose MP3 directs me to a unsavable Substack type connection

looks like this:



Expand full comment

Re: Healthcare "employment cuts" garbage......when the privatized, for-profiteers insurance/corporate medical industries ARE STOPPED from siphoning trillions into their own pockets, there will be MORE cash available than EVER before pouring back into abundantly STAFFING healthcare. That guy's comment should never have been aired or addressed. Has NOTHING to do with redistribution of workers, and EVERYTHING to do with redistribution of monies to the where it belongs. Shame on steve, dave, ralph for falling asleep at the wheel on that one. Further, why not round up some statistics on how CORPORATE medicine model arrives at their payroll "efficiencies" (of commodifying our health) - - i.e. what percentage of their slashed workforce LOST THEIR JOBS at the onslaught, to squeeze every drop of profit into shareholder portfolios - - and drive over-worked remaining staff to exhaustion & on the brink of strikes (that biden will resolve by favoring corporations as he did in the rail industry recently).

Expand full comment

The Australian economist and progressive Bill Mitchell wrote a timely blog post today about what the US would need to do economically to achieve demilitarization without harming employment. Mitchell's commentary, while a bit long, is simple reading even for those without an economic background. I'll copy and paste the relevant summary of Mitchell's commentary that Mitchell wrote in his blog post.

For reference, 'JKG' in the text refers to John Kenneth Galbraith, the economist Mr. Nader who has been spoken about glowingly in the past (for reference, refer to Mr. Nader's commentary 'Galbraith – A Public-Spirited Economist'). Galbraith was a proponent, as am I, of nationalizing the US military industry. 'MIC' is the military-industrial complex.

Bill Mitchell: "As JKG noted above, progressives are somewhat stuck when they criticise the MIC and the amount of funding it receives from national governments.

Progressives like to think that the MIC expenditure can be simply replaced by spending on hospitals, schools, public transport and the like.

However, as JKG noted, if you reduce the MIC outlays down significantly, there is a huge spending hole that would be hard to fill without expanding the size of the public sector considerably.

I would support that sort of shift.

But, all of that sort of ‘progressive’ expenditure is the type that leads to manic criticism from those with political power, unlike the military outlays which are ‘exempt’ from such criticism.

So the question that progressives have to answer is how can they create the political conditions whereby the public sector expands significantly in its as corporate profits shrink.

And as Biden said in his speech at Lockheed last May, the MIC creates jobs, often in poorer states."


From this, it should be obvious why progressives need to move from an austerity mentality and understand why it is vitally important to understand how government spending can be used to achieve full employment in order to craft solid demilitarization policy.

Expand full comment

Steve, given current and recurrent circumstances, is Public Citizen advocating for the elimination of the debt ceiling?

The current debt ceiling legislation are relics of the early 20th century. In the post-Nixon Shock of 1971/Bretton Woods environment, there is no need for a debt ceiling. While some Democrats recognize this, neoliberals/corporatists such as Biden do not and certainly the Republicans are using this as a political tool. Both the Republicans and some Democrats may also use this to push for social spending austerity and privatization. The Gephardt Rule of 1979 somewhat ameliorated the issue, but that rule was repealed in 1995.

I realize pushing for the elimination of the debt ceiling might seem contradictory given the topic of this episode is about a bloated military budget. While I completely agree that the military budget is bloated, the problem with this bloat is not that it risks economic harm to the nation or that it is taking away from social spending. The problem with the military budget is that it enables militarization that is mostly oriented towards benefiting private industry rather than benefiting national and international security and diplomacy. Congress should be pushed to end excessive militarization on those grounds, not on the grounds that the current military budget is taking away from social spending.

Expand full comment

I hear what you are saying klassik, BUT. You don't demonstrate you understand how much money is being siphoned off via corporate wealth-hoarding, which I urge you to study (quarterly profits reports and shareholder pay-outs) acroass big pharma, corporate medicine, and insurance industry.

Once clarified that this MASSIVE amount of money doesn't mysteriously 'disappear,' then it is more easily understood that raising taxes is NOT a necessary component in any way. That is to say, if the medical model is nationalized - as 70-80% of the general welfare expresses they want - that same amount of money currently going into profiteers' off-shore accounts [REMOVED FROM OUR ECONOMY], is channeled DIRECTLY BACK into patient care. Once more, if an uncorrupted government takes over healthcare, nobody loses their job (if CEOs agree to transform job title to government employee and work for standard salaries, instead of $30,000/hr); citizens needn't pay more taxes, because there are no more billionaires or shareholders with their payroll slashing schemes to maximize profits. We would, in fact, merely be returning healthcare (with an emphasis on book-keeping) back into a NON-profit model - and do away with privatized and commodified healthcare. As Mr. Nader and his cohorts suggest, a noncorrupted government would make healthcare a HUMAN RIGHT.

Expand full comment

Thanks for replying. I maintain, mis-directs need to be reframed accurately. So that, responding to 'debate' based on an erroneous premise has the feel of a fool's errand. Guess for now, we'll agree to disagree. I value the work you fellows do.

Expand full comment