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Play Democracy!

David and Steve spend the hour reviewing the past year with Ralph and discussing what needs to be done for a better 2022. Topics include a potential military threat to democracy, Joe Manchin, plutocracy, Boeing, and Big Pharma. Plus, Ralph answers more of your questions not covered in our live Zoom from two weeks ago.

“The more you get involved the more positive you become. The more you get involved the more expert you become. You want to start learning how to play bridge, you’re not an expert on the first day. But the more expert you are, the more you like to play bridge. Well… play democracy.”

Ralph Nader

[This year, the Democrats] put the Republicans in a position where the Republicans are on the record opposing child financial help… They oppose the rebuilding of America… Republicans are– 100% of them– “No, no, no.” What is exceptionally strange about this is there are no defections. It’s like a cult.

Ralph Nader

Now [the merging of America’s older corporate plutocracy with the new authoritarian fascistic oligarchy] can be prevented. Because we still have our basic institutions. And they’ve got to be taken over… by the people who sent them there. By the people who they’re supposed to vote for. And so, while we have to be very vigilant about worst case scenarios… We know that the power constitutionally is still in the hands of the people. We, the people. And we also know that people have enormous assets. In terms of the commons, the public lands, the public airwaves… And, of course, we’ve got the vote. The corporations don’t have the vote.

Ralph Nader

You can join the Congress Club here, or the American Society of Apathetics here. If you’re looking for a resource to jumpstart your civic engagement, Ralph Nader and Katherine Isaac wrote Civics for Democracy: A Journey for Teachers and Students. You can find legislation currently being considered in Congress here.

Here is some of the civic action we featured on the show in 2021:

  • Warm Cookies of the Revolution is a Civic Health Club that engages folks in Denver to discuss and debate and organize and act around the community issues that affect their daily lives.
  • The Climate Museum, founded by Miranda Massie, is an institution focused on the intersection of art, climate science, justice, and activism.
  • Anpetu Wi Wind Farm, managed by Joseph McNeil of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is designed to ensure energy independence, protect the environment, and promote economic growth in the region.
  • Get Lit, Stay Lit, founded by Devin DeWulf, is a campaign to crowd-fund and install solar panels and batteries on local restaurants to provide the neighborhood power during outages.

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 408 Transcript (Right click to download)

9 Comments

  1. Don Harris says:

    You said we need our own cable channels and over the air channels. The question is how do we get them?

    They will not be provided by Congress as Congress is controlled by the big money interests that have no interest in us getting our own channels that the big money interests do not control.

    Once again I must suggest that you help set up a non-profit corporation selling shares for 100 dollars each. These shares could only be owned by American citizens an no person could own more than 10 shares. These shares could only be sold for 100 dollars as the purpose of investing in these shares is to raise money to buy up/start up media (TV, radio, newspapers) that will be controlled by ordinary citizens overseen by a board with people such as Ralph Nader on it.

    Local media that is bought up could maintain control but there could be a national resource that could be dispatched to aid local media when they lack the resources to properly cover important local news.

    Just 10% of the 150 million 2020 voters (6% of eligible voters) investing just 100 dollars in one share would total 1.5 billion dollars. Another 1% investing in ten shares would be another 1.5 billion dollars.

    That should be enough to have many cable channels, over the air channels, radio channels. newspapers and maybe even an online presence.

    Please explain why this can’t be done or help do it.

    As for the two party system being a problem, it is not a problem because it does not exist.

    There is one big money party, with two divisions to create the illusion there are two parties to choose between. It is similar to MLB as there is a National league and American league that make up MLB.

    Third parties will not be a solution to the problem unless they are small donor only parties as three or more parties controlled by big money will only provide more false choices.

    Citizens can demand that all candidates from all parties run small donor only campaigns in order to earn our votes.

    Just 10% of 2020 voters investing just 100 dollars in contributions to small donor only candidates would total 1.5 billion dollars. Another 1% of 2020 voters investing 1000 dollars in contributions to several small donor only candidates would total another 1.5 billion dollars.

    That could finance the campaigns of many 2022 candidates.

    Please explain why citizens utilizing the basic tools of democracy will not work or help do it.

  2. Paul Cohen says:

    With respect to progressive media, the Pacifica network is a good alternative. It serves only a few cities but their programs are on the internet. That may be a good base to build on. KPFT and KCRW are a couple of their good stations.

    On another topic, Michael Brackie (sp?) made some comments at the end about the failures of our elections. I agreed with him in every respect until he recommended Star Voting. I’m not convinced that system is really any different from Approval voting, but I am quite certain that these are both positive voting systems where voters can only express support for candidates but never actually express opposition to specific candidates.

    If we want a voting system that gives smaller parties a chance, we need to give voters a way to express opposition to candidates as well as support. Republican and Democratic candidates often enjoy as much opposition as they do support. Balanced Voting systems give equal voice to support and opposition. There are a number of these systems described at https://www.opednews.com/populum/seriespage.php?r=326&s=time_sorting . If I were to choose one it would be Balanced Approval Voting, described at https://www.opednews.com/articles/What-Might-be-the-Best-Vot-by-Paul-Cohen-Polarization_Voting-Laws-State_Voting-Reform-140529-132.html

    • Beto Sanchez says:

      The Pacifica network is going bankrupt…for the umpteenth time. It is managed by wannabe revolutionaries who despise money and have not been able to raise the money needed to bring about the socialist/communist revolution they preach to the converted old hippies who fund them. As the donor hippies have been dying off, they have not been replaced by donors from the woke-blm-antifa riot network.

      • David Kauber says:

        The Pacifica Network has been broadcasting for many years since shortly after WW II with lots of great material from all manner of artists, musicians and scholars. It is sponsored by its listeners and continues despite some people resenting the Truth it tells.

  3. Ben Leet says:

    Ralph says the corporations have never had it so good — he’s right. The Fed’s FRED graph shows corporate profits are 70% higher in Q3 2021 than in Q4 2019, up from $1.023 trillion to $1.729 trillion. That’s $700 billion higher, which divided among all households is $5,400 a piece. — https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/NFCPATAX — That’s the source of inflation. The Guardian had an article calling for price controls, by Isabella Weber, professor at U.Mass/Amherst. 12.21.21. Profits had ranged closely around $1.0 to $1.1 trillion for 7 years previous to 2019, then a drop in 2020, and then this enormous spike. In year 2000 profits were 5.5% of GDP, but since 2012 they’ve been twice that. In 2000, 5.5% of GDP, in Q1 2007 7.8%, in Q1 2012 10.6%, in 2019 9.6%, in Q3 2021 10.8%.

    • Paul Cohen says:

      The notion that inflation is caused by cost increases, whether through wages, interest or supply chain events is fundamental to classical economic theory. But that theory relates to a competitive market in which no supplier has a large enough market share to be capable of influencing prices in the market. That may have been a relevant theory 150 years ago and perhaps even for a few years in the post WWII era, but that theory has nothing to say about markets today. Today, inflation is largely caused by big corporations raising prices to boost their profit levels.

  4. Don Harris says:

    It would be better to have a system that gives voters a way to express opposition to candidates as well as support.

    But rank choice voting, star voting or balanced approval voting will not be able to provide such a system.

    Those systems all involve legislation to change the current system. As long as the Deathocrats and Republikillers are making the legislation the legislation will not provide a real opportunity for competition to the Deathocrats and Republikillers. The Deathocrats and Republikillers both work for the big money interests that have no interest in changing the system that works for them.

    The only way to pass legislation to change the system is to first replace the big money Deathocrat and Republikiller legislators with small donor candidates (big money third parties will make no difference).

    And that has to be done under the current system.

    That can be done using the write-in vote.

    Citizens can demand that candidates run small donor campaigns (no more than 200 dollars total from any one donor per election -200 primary, 200 general) in order to earn our votes.

    If there are no small donor candidates on a voter’s primary or general election ballot voters use the write-in vote to write-in their own name to register opposition to the big money candidates on the ballot and to create and demonstrate demand for small donor candidates in future elections.

    Just 10% of voters doing this in 2022 could build a base for 2024 that could inspire more citizens to participate in 2024 and many candidates running small donor only campaigns in 2024 to get the votes of those citizens.

    As these write-in votes are not intended to elect a candidate in the election they are cast it does not matter if a state does not count them in the total to elect a candidate. These votes still have to be tallied as votes cast but not counted so they will be counted for the purpose they were cast.

    There are a few states that do not allow write-in votes at all, but this can start in most states in 2022 and be expanded through court challenges in states that do not allow write-in votes as voting is an act of free speech and not allowing citizens a way to register opposition to the candidates on the ballot and only vote to approve candidates on the ballot limits the free speech of the voter without meeting any criteria showing that casting a write-in vote interferes with anyone else’s rights.

  5. Don Harris says:

    On 10-24-2018 when Ralph was a guest on Washington Journal I managed to get through to ask Ralph about One Demand, a way for citizens to work together to demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with our votes and put Ralph’s theory that politicians want our votes more than big money to a test.

    Ralph said in his response that he would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss One Demand.

    When Ralph finally addressed One Demand recently through listener questions it was with the ridiculous claim that Bernie and Trump ran small donor campaigns (they did NOT) so One Demand would not make any difference.

    If politicians want our votes more than big money then One Demand should work. If One Demand will not work then politicians do not want our votes more than big money.

    Since you chose the term “Play Democracy” as the title to this episode even though it is a serious undertaking, it is time for Ralph to make good on his 10-24-2018 statement and have me on the show to discuss One Demand or explain why politicians do not want our votes more than big money.

    To quote John Fogerty-

    “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play, today.”

  6. Stevie Duster says:

    Mr. Harris could be familiar with the accomplishments Gabor Steingart has made in Berlin, Germany which I believe exemplary of the liberated media presentation concept that’s on his mind these days. The founder of MediaPioneer.com — Gabor Steingart’s passion has successfully brought his own vision a long way. And perhaps that vision is close to Don Harris’ ideas.

    Chelsea Spieker is an American born Washington educated bilingual team player on Gabor Steingart’s The Pioneer based in Berlin. Chelsea participated last Sunday speaking in extraordinarily well done German on a Nationwide television news discussion round table; and she had been so unexpectedly coherent [way beyond US State Department stock messaging one usually finds on German tv] that I looked into what Gabor Steingart has been doing for European viewers in Berlin.

    Naturally I thought viewers in the United States unfortunately mostly get oligarch system controlled corporate media. But if Don Harris gets his way, even Noam Chomsky and many others might get appropriate mainstream media exposure in the US. Wouldn’t even be surprised if Don Harris and Chelsea Spieker might be talking together in the near future on the topic.

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