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Perverted Pardons and Private Prisons

In a show jam-packed with great information and provocative discussion, Ralph welcomes constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, to update us on impeachment, professor and author, Sinan Antoon, to decry the pardons given to American mercenaries convicted of murder in Iraq, and attorney John Dacey, who is campaigning to abolish the private prison industry.

Bruce Fein is a Constitutional scholar, who previously appeared on this program in 2019 to outline thirteen articles of impeachment for President Trump, and October 2020 to outline fourteen reasons President Trump was a “clear and present danger” and should be removed from office. Mr. Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan and he is the author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire: Before the Fall.

“You need to engage the American public… there is no reason to rush to judgement. After all, we’re
working with a congress that typically works from Tuesday to Thursday. How about, because of the important of the issues… how about thinking about the future and saying, ‘we can take a little extra time… that’s okay we can work on Saturday and Sunday.’ There’s nothing in the Constitution that prevents Congress from working on Saturdays and Sundays.”
Bruce Fein

Professor Sinan Antoon is an associate professor at NYU’s Gallatin School, a translator, a novelist, and a poet. He has written extensively about the ways in which war crimes perpetrated by the US in Iraq have shaped contemporary Iraqi culture and politics, and co-produced the documentary film About Baghdad. His most recent novel is The Book of Collateral Damage.

 “But of course, the [Iraq] War was about something else. Not democracy. Not liberating people. Because the United States has never been in the business of liberating people and delivering democracy.”
Professor Sinan Antoon

John Dacey is Executive Director and co-founder of “Abolish Private Prisons,” a public-interest law firm working to end for-profit prisons in the United States. Mr. Dacey previously worked for 12 years at legal aid and public interest firms where he handled class actions and other cases for the poor and people with disabilities in matters concerning poverty and disability programs, particularly Medicaid, and jail conditions. For the last five years, he has been building a litigation challenge to the constitutionality of private for-profit prisons.

“[E]ven what President Biden did last week with his executive order re-establishing the [phasing out of private prisons at the federal level], it’s an executive order. It can be reversed at the next election. So, we think we need something more on the model of Brown v Board of Education. A constitutional decision at all levels of government that establishes the law of the land.”
John Dacey, Executive Director of Abolish Private Prisons

“To be clear, we’re not saying public prisons are the best thing since sliced bread. They have their own host of problems. But we don’t think the United States Constitution permits the existence of this [private for-profit prison] industry.”
John Dacey, Executive Director of Abolish Private Prisons

“Even though [the January 6th attack on the Capitol] had a historically unprecedented goal of trying to stop the final counting of the electoral votes at the US Congress, the mechanism [that] was used was street violence. Trump has gotten away with corporate crime, he has gotten away with government crimes, but this one– maybe the Justice Department will finally bring him to justice.”
Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 361 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    The other two guests this week were great, but hearing yet another Bruce Fein segment on Trump impeachment really makes me feel the need to ask: When can we expect Ralph to call for the impeachment of Joe Biden? I can identify four or five of the very same articles of impeachment Ralph and Fein articulated against Trump that can be credibly levied against Biden right now.

    Also, having a public vote on the floor of the House would have been a “setback”? As opposed to no vote at all? Are you for real, Ralph?

    • Mark Hughes says:

      I too was baffled as to how Force the Vote on M4A would be a setback. While I had little hope it would actually be approved had there been an actual vote, it would have been incredibly useful to citizens because it would have exposed every single representative as to which side they’re on. That to me was what I was looking for. But alas, they didn’t do it because they want to keep their real motives as veiled as possible. There was zero downside to FTV, tactically, strategically or otherwise. Plus, many progressive reps campaigned on challenging the status quo, AOC herself at one point *said* she supported forcing votes. Now, they’ve all proven they’re sellouts unless you only look at their progressive-sounding tweets. Back to business as usual in Washington, which brings me to your first paragraph…

      Joe Biden is perhaps the most ‘seasoned’ swamp creature in Washington today. As I said in a last week’s comment, he’s the Democrat of Democrats. He preceded the Clintons by about 2 full decades. He’s lied, plagiarized, not regretful in the least of the disastrous crime bill, and also like Trump, an alleged sexual assaulter. But as usual, because he and the rest of the Democrats are polished and feign more heartfelt rhetoric and are more professionally-toned, the left lets them all off the hook. Things will get worse under Biden, it always does under Democrats because the mainstream media and left-leaning pundits always enables their poor political behavior by giving them pass after pass after pass for simply not being full-throated Nazis. What a low-bar to strive for. No wonder Biden, who had multiple failed runs for president in the past, magically won this time around.

      BTW, why does no one on the left (except perhaps for Jimmy Dore) label the Democrats as a fascist party as well? They’re pro-corporate, have engineered racist policies (crime bill, welfare reform, etc), support prison expansion and expansion of wars. Oh that’s right, they do it with manners and polish. My bad.

    • Demetrio says:

      Good points

  2. David Faubion says:

    Thank you Professor Sinan Antoon for keeping the Bush Cheney Clinton families’ overt war an Iraqi civilians–in our collective memory. The nearly one million Iraqi deaths mostly children during the 1990s was the direct result of US sanctions that excluded a water purification chemical causing 900,000 torturous deaths by cholera sepsis. Who can forget or forgive or condone that in the name of international or regional or oil industry security? Secretary Albright- the aforementioned families, the Pentagon and the MIC in general.

  3. Donald Klepack says:

    Professor Sinan Antoon – is a great guest and layed out the debacle of the 2003 Iraq war that destroyed Iraq and the effects of this war is going on now. What was missing is the future of how to handle the injustices of this war caused by the United States, and it’s allies. We have a new administration and yet there was very little discussion of the future of Iraq. Our current President who made one of the great speeches of his career pointing out the dangers of entering the war and yet voted for it in congress. I hope you can invite Professor Sinan Antoon back to discuss how Biden administration plans to remedy this problem compared to what Obama and Trump has done.

  4. Gabe says:

    (All conspiracy theories, both valid and invalid aside…) Let us never forget 9/11 and the heroism on the part of ordinary citizens, emergency response workers, and soldiers it inspired. Let us never forget the diabolical response of the United States government, military, and mercenary forces in its wake. The United states had a golden opportunity to shore up its leadership, moral and otherwise, on the world stage; instead it chose to burn every shred.

  5. John Puma says:

    I couldn’t be more disappointed with Ralph’s response to the question on “force the vote.”

    Medicare-for-All polls as high as 80% with the American public.
    To say a vote on it can’t be taken because congress seems to be 80% against it is hardly the attitude that got us passage of worker and union rights and civil rights legislation, for example. That those rights have been severely eroded is due in significant part to this self-defeating attitude of: “we can’t propose/defend any-thing unless we are ABSOLUTELY sure the GOP and (the even more reprehensi-ble) corporate Dems agree with us.”

    First, the only legitimate poll of congressional sentiment IS a vote.

    Second, if the Dems don’t want to lose the House in the 2022 midterms, a 1-3 vote against Medicare4All, would give them significant leverage to unseat both GOP and Dem corporate lackey nay-sayers.

    Third, it’s not at all clear why “forcing a vote” must preclude hearings.

    Fourth, if we must wait for “real progressives” to attain a unassailable house vot-ing block, at current rates of influx, IF AOC has not morphed into the second com-ing of Pelosi, the issue may well have been permanently mooted by the climate crisis … the OTHER ignored emergency.

    Fourth, why, as implied, does Jayapal’s single payer proposal fare better in pro-jected House vote? One must be concerned that support for it by the House cor-porate caucus precisely signals that it might well be merely ACA II

    Fifth, if it IS a valid bill, why, exactly is it now languishing? It was introduced in the previous congress and has 118 co-sponsors, i.e. “the progressive caucus” … mi-nus the 100 needed votes (i.e. corporate Dems) to pass.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Great point, John, on the stat of 80% public support for M4A. When you have an elected body that is against what the vast majority of the public supports, then as Krystal Ball & Saagar Enjeti have repeatedly said on Rising, that’s true radicalism. And when you have this same aforementioned body who’s that out of step with the people’s demands, then votability/passability goes right out the window. Reminds me of a politically viral tweet going around that said something like “We don’t have the votes” (MLK from the Birmingham Jail).

      On Jayapal’s plan, while I’m admittedly not fluent in these bills, why introduce a whole new bill when the National Health Care Act (HR 676, originally created by the late John Conyers) has been sitting there waiting forever?? I too wonder if Jayapal’s HR 1384 is ACA2.

      And I indeed think AOC has morphed into Pelosi 2.0. She’s one of them now. Unless you’re only into her progressive warrior tweeting. Frankly I’m not sure what she’s meaningfully accomplished policy-wise in 2 years.

  6. Demetrio says:

    Don’t care about trump, but impeaching him while letting Clinton, Obama, and Bush go scot-free for war crimes is inexcusable.

  7. Don Harris says:

    Disappointed with Ralph’s answer on Force the Vote. Encouraged by the comments about it.

    I am also disappointed with Jimmy Dore for the same reason Ralph has disappointed me for years.

    Jimmy Dore made a good case for Force the Vote.

    In one video he showed an interview with Jordan Chariton and Nina Turner.

    Jordan Chariton:
    Do you think it is a radical concept that they say no we’re not going to give you our votes for X,Y and Z unless you give us A,B and C?

    Nina Turner:
    That;s how business, political business is done. No, it’s not radical- it’s right on time.

    Jimmy Dore correctly pointed out that is the principle behind Force the Vote. He also correctly pointed out how AOC was not doing what she ran on by not joining the Force the Vote effort.

    I have pointed out to Jimmy Dore that the principle behind Force the Vote is the same principle behind One Demand- we do not give our votes to candidates that take big money. If they want our votes for X(getting elected to Congress) they must give us A (run small donor only campaigns).

    I have also pointed out to Jimmy Dore that because these ideas are based on the same principle all the reasons he gave for Force the Vote also apply to One Demand that not informing citizens about One Demand as Jimmy has chosen not to do (yet) means that Jimmy is now not doing what he just ran on.

    Ralph has said on more than one occasion that politicians want our votes more than big money to run their campaigns. One Demand is a way for citizens to work together to test that theory by demanding the candidates run small donor campaigns to earn our votes and force the candidates to choose between getting our votes and taking big money.

    Can anyone tell me why either or both Ralph and Jimmy will not tell me why they will not discuss this idea that is in their own words a good idea when applied to other things they talk about but not One Demand as neither Ralph or Jimmy will tell me?

    We have the same goals, just a different approach. Both Ralph and Jimmy often criticize other media for not informing citizens about ideas and issues they think should be covered. Yet they both will not cover this idea or explain why.

    They both often say we should be exploring different approaches and point out how they often do that, but both have failed to live up to their own standards on One Demand.

    They both could do better and we need them to be better soon. Time is running out.

    Our planet and it’s inhabitants need to be rescued from the big money interests. This can’t happen until our democracy is rescued from the big money interests. And our democracy needs Ralph to weigh in on this idea before it is too late for our planet, democracy and Ralph.

  8. Joe Tichenor says:


    A very short commentary on evil in community management:

    There are at least ten zillion other means to operate comanplex in a democratic republic. But ours has been the victim of a coup by two powers: the Democrats, or corporate socialists; and the Republicans, or vulture capitalists. They pretend to be at war with each other, and at times are openly hostile to one another; but essentially, they act as good cop/bad cop, to dictate to average people.

    The first group has 3 evil goals: (1) they hyper-regulate the middle class, to make them subject to profiteering and being controlled; (2) they under-regulate the rich, to give them constant protection from reform and increased efficiency; and (3) they hyper-regulate average people to “protect us from ourselves”.

    The second group also has 3 evil goals: (1) they deregulate the rich, allow them to get away with murder; (2) they use fascist tactics and racism to confuse the electorate, manipulate us; and (3) they grant special favor to fascist vulture capitalists.

    Both groups are bad for America! Both support the malignant 7% return-on investment that is eating the Earth and her people, alive. Both are violent and vile. Time to think outside the box and re-invent our community management! (comanplex) THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF WHITES VS PEOPLE OF COLOR, or any other group disparities*; this is a matter of social justice and the long-term survival of humanity on Earth. We can do this; UNITY is key. Lets get to work, with our brothers and sisters, no matter their skin color or heritage.

    *If every citizen (including “undocumented”) was eligible for special programs and help meeting their specific needs: would we not largely eliminate racism and the pitting of average people against each other? In a system oriented to meeting human needs; not profiteering and keeping the rich, rich, at the expense of the poor and middle. It aint ‘communism’, Christianity1 or any philosophy; it is COMMON SENSE.
    1. Although, if you want to follow and obey The Living Christ: is there any better way? True Faith demands real brotherly love and action; not empty doctrine, human-invented religion and rules. □