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Police Misconduct/OSHA Turns 50!

Ralph welcomes firebrand attorney, Jason Kafoury, who helped pass a referendum in Portland, Oregon to create a commission of civilian volunteers who would have the power to investigate deadly force and other allegations of misconduct by police. Plus, former head of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Dr. David Michaels, joins us to mark the 50th anniversary of the agency that has saved countless lives and prevented innumerable injuries to workers on the job.

Jason Kafoury is an attorney at the Portland, OR law firm of Kafoury & McDougal, where he has participated in nearly 50 jury trials. Mr. Kafoury’s legal experience includes working for the Environmental Law Foundation in Oakland, where he helped draft a strategic plan to protect and expand California’s public trust doctrine. He’s on the campaign steering committee for a measure that would amend the City of Portland City Charter to include the creation of a new commission made up of civilian volunteers, who would have the power to investigate police misconduct.

“A lot of the major unions endorsed our measure. So, I think the Black Lives Matter movement has helped carve…out an exception for police excessive force cases and gotten it to a point where unions are on board with it too, which is a huge step for the movement.”

Jason Kafoury, Portland attorney on the campaign for citizens’ oversight of police misconduct

“It’s hard to stand against 82% of your constituents that want this to happen. So, I’m feeling more and more confident that we’re going to have the best independent citizens review board in the country by 2022.”

Jason Kafoury, Portland attorney on the campaign for citizens’ oversight of police misconduct

Dr. David Michaels is an epidemiologist and professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Health. He was the longest-serving head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Dr. Michaels has won many awards for his science advocacy and has authored The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Dr. Michaels has focused on improving the protection of workers exposed to SARS CoV-2, has written and consulted extensively on the topic, and is a member of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.

“This tragedy is compounded by the fact that the current administration- the Trump Administration- has done really very little to try to improve protections, essentially letting things go on, saying the most important thing is to keep the economy running. When in fact, by doing that and by letting workers continue to get exposed and to get sick, we’re just helping pump the pandemic. We’re driving the pandemic, it’s going to last longer and hurt more people and hurt the economy even more.”

Dr. David Michaels former head of OSHA

“Just like going down into the coal mine exposed executives [to] what that work is like, I think for the first time [during the COVID-19 pandemic], we are cognizant of the important and hazardous work done by these invisible, underpaid workers who we call essential.”

Dr. David Michaels former head of OSHA

“Far more workers have given their lives for their companies- whether they’re steel companies, textile companies, chemical companies, coal mine companies- than have died in all the wars of the United States by far…”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 356 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    The single most important thing people can do between elections is to push for a good alternative voting method like Approval, Score, or STAR voting that can actually make more than two options competitive on a ballot in the absence of proportional representation. Democrat Party entryism is a poor tactic that has failed over and over again for an entire century at this point. Even during the worst simultaneous economic and public health crises of their lifetimes these so-called progressives in the Party won’t fight for a single-payer healthcare system and have no problem voting for fascistic $4 trillion handouts to corporations while the unemployed masses have no wage compensation (unlike every other developed country). It’s time to sober up already, Democrats only make concessions to members of the working class when they’re afraid.

    • Jon David Sawyer says:

      I can’t like your post; so I just want to say thanks, Afdal Shahanshah, for speaking out for fixing our voting system. I especially like that you mention Approval voting; but second your endorsement for ALL of these reasonable alternatives over our current system. Score & STAR would be welcomed improvements.

    • NooN says:

      A Wonderfull filmed interview of T0RT
      Atty Professor DEBORAH RAMIREZ by
      TorT’s Museum Atty RiCHARD NEWMAN
      Reminds me of Atty JAS0N KAF0URY’s
      interview by Ralph Nader & Team Today.

  2. Don Harris says:

    Why did you put up a picture of John Oliver and try to pass it off as a picture of Jason Kafoury?

    While you are right that we need an effort now on campaign financing, you are wrong that it needs to be done between elections. The fundraising for 2022 has already started- there is no between elections.

    You are right in a sense that politicians want your votes more than they want big money. The problem is that citizens vote for the politicians that take big money so the politicians have no incentive to change their behavior.

    You are also wrong about public financing being a solution.

    As the big money politicians that promise to pass legislation for public financing while campaigning are financed by big money they will not pass any meaningful legislation on public financing.

    The problem with big money politicians is that they only pass legislation designed to benefit the big money interests. In order to pass public financing legislation that is not a sham we first would have to replace the big money legislators with small donor legislators.

    The problem has to be solved BEFORE legislation to solve the problem can be passed.

    You are right that Congress can be the engine of change- but first citizens have to change Congress.

    So lets put your statement that politicians want our votes more than big money to a test.

    Let’s form a national citizen watchdog group that demands candidates take action now by running as small donor candidates to earn our votes in 2022 instead of voting for big money candidates that promise future action and force candidates to choose between taking big money and getting our votes.

    We could set up a website where citizens can declare now they will only be voting for small donor candidates in the 2022 primaries and general election. This will let other citizens and the politicians know how we will be voting.

    The participants will also declare if there are no small donor candidates on their primary and/or general election ballot in 2022 they will cast a write in vote to register a vote against the big money candidates and to create and demonstrate demand for small donor candidates.

    Just 10% of the 150 million 2020 voters investing just 100 dollars in contributions would total 1.5 billion dollars and would be just the tip of the small donor iceberg. This money would be attached to more than 10% of the vote as citizens that cannot afford to make contributions can participate with their votes.

    We could also set up the website for citizens to declare they will be contributing to small donor candidates in 2022. With even just 1.5 billion in pledges before January 2022 it could inspire some candidates to run small donor campaigns (no more than 200 dollars from any one donor per election- 200 primary, 200 general) to get the votes and money of these citizens.

    Note: the money pledged by participants would go directly from the participants to the candidates and not funneled through the organization so the participants and not the organization controls who gets the participant’s money.

    So please set up such an organization and website and encourage citizens to participate.

    Or you could just have me on your show to discuss One Demand that already has a website set up for this purpose and just needs someone like you to encourage citizens to participate or at the VERY LEAST inform citizens about this opportunity that is everything you always say we need by having me on your program to discuss this idea as you said you would on Washington Journal on 10-24-2018.

    Even though you are wrong about the between elections part you are right in the general sense of NOW being the time to take action for 2022 so that we can get up to at least 10% registered to participate by January of 2022 so it can have an effect on the 2022 primaries.

    We could even have some congressional districts or senate races in 2022 where there are small donor candidates running and possibly winning in both the Deathocratic and Republikiller primary in the same district or senate race as 80% of citizens want the big money out of politics- including a majority of Republikiller voters.

    Deathocrats (progressive or not) campaign on promises of future action they never deliver. This is by design, not ineptitude. We need to stop voting on false promises and demand candidates take action now to earn our votes.

    Are you ready, Ralph, to stand with citizens and take action now as we all expect Ralph Nader to do or keep allowing the politicians to get away with false promises of future action?

  3. Joe Cramer says:

    Is there any consideration at this point of revisiting previously decided cases of police misconduct?

  4. Jeff Story says:

    I am wondering if anyone has looked into paying the multimillion settlements to Police killings from Police Pensions, rather than the public coffers. The Blue Wall on Silence is intolerable. Taking the money from the Police Pension might bring pressure on bad cops to be removed.

  5. Sue Vaughan says:

    I am hoping that you have a show on Uber, Lyft, and other gig enterprises in which the CEOs are raking in big money at the expense of their workers, whom they refuse to designate as workers. I hope you address Proposition 22 — and how these companies sorely misled the California voters.