Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
The Plastics We Breathe/ Industrial Hemp

The Plastics We Breathe/ Industrial Hemp


Ralph welcomes Washington Post reporter Shannon Osaka to discuss her new article, “The Plastics We Breathe” and the shocking truth that all of the plastic we’re using isn’t just polluting the environment—it’s polluting our bodies as well. Then, Ralph checks in on the state of the industrial hemp movements with “Hempster” filmmaker and activist Michael Henning. 

Shannon Osaka | Grist

Shannon Osaka is a climate reporter covering policy, culture, and science for the Washington Post. Before joining the Post, she was a climate reporter at the nonprofit environmental outlet Grist.

Microplastics are not only around us, they're also inside us…This is a really difficult problem, and it's partly because there is no one microplastic. Microplastics are made of a whole bunch of different materials—they're made with different chemical additives. So scientists have found that microplastics can have certain effects in the laboratory—they can cause cell death, they can cause tissue damage, they can cause allergic reactions, they are starting to put the pieces together on the impact on human health.

Shannon Osaka

[“The Plastics We Breathe” by Shannon Osaka and Simon Ducroquet] comes across as a massive global assault—hour by hour, a violent, violent pandemic—when you look at the fact that it's everywhere, it's in the water, it's in the air, it's in human bodies, it's in the animals that are eaten, it's in the pipes, it's being swallowed regularly, it's invisible, it doesn't produce immediate pain, it's in the placenta, the liver, the breast milk.

Ralph Nader

Michael Henning is a filmmaker, public speaker, and longtime proponent of the Industrial Hemp Movement. He is the director of Hempsters: Plant the Seeds, a documentary about the struggle to legalize industrial hemp.

The DEA is the most profitable hemp farmer in the world. They get a million dollars per acre. Here's the irony of all this—they're cutting down feral ditch weed…Well, why the hell are they eradicating cannabis when it's legal to grow in all 50 states? They're taking us to the cleaners with the amount of money that taxpayers pay to support the Cannabis Eradication Program.  How can you have a Cannabis Eradication Program when it's legal to grow in all 50 states?

Michael Henning

In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis

News 7/3/24

1. Following President Biden’s disastrous performance in the first presidential debate, pressure is beginning to build for Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee against Trump. The Texas Tribune reports Congressman Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat representing Austin, Texas is the first to explicitly call for Biden to stand down, writing in a statement, “President Biden...has the opportunity to encourage a new generation of leaders from whom a nominee can be chosen to unite our country though an open, democratic process….I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw. I respectfully call on him to do so.” Other top Democrats have not gone quite so far, but haven’t closed the door completely. Congressman Jim Clyburn, a powerful South Carolina Democrat and co-chair of Biden’s campaign, told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell “I will support…[Vice President Kamala Harris if President Joe Biden]…were to step aside,” per NBC’s Gary Grumbach. NBC reports House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said Biden’s mental fitness is a “legitimate question.”

2. Israel’s rabidly right-wing Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir has issued a statement on Twitter responding to claims from Palestinian prisoners that they faced “rape, physical and psychological torture, deprivation of food, medicine and sleep, humiliation and degradation,” in Israeli prisons, per the Middle East Eye. In this statement, Ben Gvir wrote “Everything published about the abominable conditions…was true…I have already proposed a much simpler solution…enacting the death penalty.”

3. +972 Magazine is out with a report on the Sde Teiman detention center in the Negev desert, where Israel has held more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners since October 7th. The magazine report recounts the countless instances of horrific abuse at the detention center, many perpetrated against Arab-Israeli citizens. The magazine also cites the New York Times report that “doctors at the facility were instructed not to write their names on official documents or address each other by name in the presence of patients, for fear of being later identified and charged with war crimes at the International Criminal Court.”

4. CNN reports that the Israeli military has “issued new evacuation orders…for areas in southern Gaza, including eastern Khan Younis and Rafah….[forcing] residents, many already displaced, to find new shelter,” in advance of yet another ground invasion. The Gaza European Hospital, one of the last hospitals in Gaza, is located within this evacuation zone. While the IDF has said the evacuation order “does not apply to the patients in the European Hospital or the medical staff working there,” the hospital has already “transferred patients, including those in intensive care and babies in incubators…to other facilities ‘in fear of bloodshed,’ according to the hospital’s deputy director and doctors.” The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported earlier this week that the few remaining hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed by the influx of patients from the European Hospital, as well as other hospitals that have been bombed or evacuated during the Israeli bombing campaign.

5. Axios reports that even pro-Israel Democrats are expressing apprehension about what they describe as AIPAC’s “overkill” in the recent campaign to defeat progressive Congressman Jamaal Bowman. AIPAC, via their United Democracy Project PAC, spent at least $14.5 million on anti-Bowman ads as of June 20th, making this the most expensive primary ever, per POLITICO. One House Democrat, speaking anonymously, expressed concern that “that much money could backfire,” with another noting that “They do that a lot.” Progressive House Democrat Greg Casar said “[Progressives] have to adapt…voters have to know that, if they're seeing a huge barrage of ads, they've got to…find out if those [millions] of dollars are telling [them] the truth."

6. The Department of Justice will formally charge Boeing with fraud over its fatal 2019 crashes, per Reuters. However, the Justice Department will offer the company a plea deal, including “a financial penalty and imposition of an independent monitor to audit the company's safety and compliance practices for three years.” If Boeing does not take the deal and plead guilty, the Justice Department has vowed to take the company to court; if they do plead guilty, it could affect the company’s ability to enter into government contracts. Companies with felony convictions are barred from being awarded such contracts, but can receive waivers. The Department “declined to comment on the families' reaction.”

7. AP reports “Tesla is recalling its…Cybertruck pickup…to fix problems with trim pieces that can come loose and front windshield wipers that can fail.” This is the fourth recall of the Cybertruck since it went on sale late last November. Each recall affects over 11,000 vehicles, each of which cost between $80-100,000.

8. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in Grant’s Pass v. Johnson that a local ordinance banning homeless people from sleeping outdoors – even when there is inadequate shelter space available – does not violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Within days, lawmakers in Oregon and Los Angeles, among others, began to publicly signal they would utilize this ruling to crack down on unhoused people. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports nearly 600,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness, an increase of six percent since 2017.

9. France is facing a political crisis. In the first round of legislative elections, the far-Right National Rally and its allies claimed first place with just over 33% of the vote, followed by the Leftist New Popular Front with 28%. The centrist allies of President Macron came in a distant third. Going into the second round of voting, uncertainty swirled over whether the Center and the Left could form a so-called “republican front” against the far-Right, specifically whether the centrist candidates would stand down in close run-offs between the Left and far-Right, and vice versa. Macron now seems to have endorsed this position. According to Reuters, “A survey…showed a small majority of those who voted mainstream conservative in the first round would back the left-wing candidate best placed to beat an RN rival in the second round.”

10. Finally, Kenya is being rocked by its own political crisis – one of neoliberalism. In order to meet targets set by the International Monetary Fund, Kenyan President William Ruto pushed a bill that would have imposed new taxes on “bread, vegetable oil…sugar, mobile-money transfers and some imports,” per Reuters. This announcement led to nothing short of a popular uprising in the streets, leading to violent clashes as the police sought to quash these protests. Those clashes left at least two dozen protesters dead. President Ruto has now pulled the bill, but protests continue to rock the country. One protester told Reuters “People are dying in the streets and the only thing he can talk about is money. We are not money. We are people. We are human beings…He needs to care about his people, because if he can't care about his people then we don't need him in that chair."

This has been Francesco DeSantis, with In Case You Haven’t Heard.

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.