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The CDC’s Culture of Fear

In our continuing series honoring whistleblowers, Ralph welcomes winner of the Joe A. Calloway Award for Civic Courage, Dr. George Luber, former head of the Centers for Disease Control’s Climate Health program, who despite pressure from the newly-minted Trump Administration, blew the whistle after refusing to cancel a convention on how the climate crisis was affecting public health.

George Luber is an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His research interests include the health impacts of environmental change and biodiversity loss, harmful algal blooms, and the health effects of climate change.  Dr. Luber headed the CDC’s climate health program until it was eliminated in 2018 by the Trump White House. The nation’s premier health protection agency continues to retaliate against him for speaking out on the climate crisis and its public health effects. He has since filed for whistleblower status with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and has just received the Joe A. Calloway Award for Civic Courage.

“The most frightening thing, actually, is that somebody would make a decision like this in anticipating the potential blowback from the [Trump] Administration. That to me is frightening, because it’s the most insidious form of power. And when you can get people to do things for you without even asking them, that I think is the most frightening thing. To get people to act on your behalf in ways that they normally wouldn’t merely out of fear of what you might do.”

Dr. George Luber, winner of the Joe A. Calloway Award for Civic Courage

“I was escorted by armed guards when I needed to get some books out of my office [at the CDC]. I had an armed escort and they asked me to come at 11:00am – the height of the day when everybody is around intending to humiliate me – and marched me through our large ten story office building with a large armed guard behind me that even followed me to the bathroom.”

Dr. George Luber, winner of the Joe A. Calloway Award for Civic Courage

RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR EP 296 TRANSCRIPT (Right click to download)


  1. Bruce K. says:

    This is dictatorial, disaster capitalism, planning to use science against the people and the Constitution. I agree with Ralph that this, it ought to be included in the impeachment charges. And surely there must be many other outrages like this all throughout the government. This is all the pieces of a technological totalitarianism moving into place right before our eyes … and ears.

    I don’t understand what law gives the President the right to tell government employees what they can say and how they can say it, especially in their areas of expertise.

    The country needs Ralph to fight on these issues, so please stick to important issues like this and knock off the one-sided, spurious and pointless attacks on Israel that undermine your support on real issues.

    • Bill rundans says:

      I would like something more personal n immediate concerning my health. Dental care. If a general dentist does orthodontic work and charges 2x the going rate of a orthodontist then blotches a 2 day 3hr 6 recrownings n it goes bad 6 recrownings and i am out $20,000 shouldnt it be the right thing to do to pay the guy that will fix her PAINFULL mistakes? Adiplomate american board of orofacial pain. Or should i be stuck of paying for fixing her mistakes when the thing she said to quell my fears n anxieties was “Bill it will be fine. Nothing to worry about. I will take care of you. Trust me.” ?

    • Todd M says:

      Why can’t we speak about Israel? If the state of Israel does wrong, it gets discussed my friend.

      • Bruce K. says:

        Todd M said,
        >> Why can’t we speak about Israel? If the state of Israel does wrong, it gets discussed my friend.

        Who is your “we” who cannot speak about Israel? Anyone can certainly speak about Israel, and does. They inject the subject into the middle of discussions about completely irrelevant other discussions. Don’t hear much about Palestinians like that do you? But, I see two problems with your question. First, what I was was,

        > [please ] … knock off the one-sided, spurious and pointless attacks on Israel

        Every discussion on the RNRH I have heard has been one-side, and many of them have been outside whatever the subject of whatever show it was on – i.e. spurious.

        I’d rephrase your comment as “If the Palestinians do wrong, it gets never sees the light of day my friend”. I’m open minded and objective on this issue, I am not Christian, Muslim or Jew, nor any religion, I am a secular American from America who has followed this issue when for me it came to my attention as a teenager after the Munich Olympics. Show me who and how Palestine is being reported on. Show me free speech in Palestine.

        When it comes to the subject of the Middle East and Israel, we absolutely never ever hear any reporting that is exclusively done from the internet perspective of Palestine, and certainly never critical of what is going on there. The reporting is subliminal and along the lines of brainwashing, and Ralph contributed to that, intentionally or not.

        I already know what Israel is purportedly doing wrong … are Palestinians not doing anything wrong?

  2. Brandon says:

    Hello Mr. Nader – I’m hoping for a response this time as I am a loyal supporter of just about everything you stand for. Here’s another episode that speaks to the importance of citizen action. Like REAL action. Not just from at home behind the computer – it’s time to act in a most radical way. Maybe the AT-HOME- activist can take on a whole new meaning – I think you’ll understand what I mean by the end of this comment. The fact that people are so scared and have ostracized your guest for fear of retaliation from the corporations or individuals Mr. Luber protests – is and should be the flame-under-the-asses-of-the-citizenry propelling US into action – but we may not have to go very far from our computers to get this job done. Please give me this opportunity to express my idea – a recipe that needs much adjustment and added ingredients from others for sure – but nonetheless – I think this could be the ‘next gen’ in protesting – the newest most radical way of peaceful protesting. I’m sick and tired of just watching this country become more corrupt – one that seems to be led by the mafia – I’m sick of working my ass off and still getting ripped off every day. The system failed me – but that’s a whole different show – what I’m proposing – I think – will MAKE them listen.

    You, Chris Hedges, Mr. Chomsky, and countless others speak of sustained acts of civil obedience – that it’s “time to rebel” – that if we can get just a certain percentage of the population to act – things change. Mr. Nader – you know as well as I it’s time for something radical. If we use the law and try to vote like minded individuals into office – people interested in making life fair for EVERY American citizen as well as those coming here to make a life for themselves – if we try and use the LAW – THEIR LAWS – to heal this gaping wound that is the United Startes – well – it’ll be way too late if that approach ever succeeds.

    How long do you think that could take? Man – I think a hundred years or more.

    We can’t vote this away – you know this in your heart. We need a new method.

    What do I mean? We use the internet – social media – town hall meetings – living room discussions – work gatherings – neighborhood meetings – softball games – you name it – we us all these methods to organize a date in two years time to peacefully protest in our own homes. We tell people at our gatherings to stock up on food and medicine that will sustain their families for two months – and on the agreed upon date – we all lock our doors and stay in our homes in protest until they listen to our demands for equality. We don’t buy into their system. We don’t go to the store – we don’t buy gas – we don’t pay our utilities – we don’t pay our mortgages – we don’t spend ANY money for two month. Crumple their precious FOR PROFIT everything and they’ll have to listen. But it must be millions of people agreeing to do it at the exact same time. That’s the only way it’ll work. What will they do – throw us all in jail?

    In numbers we are strong. Both sides – Republican and Democratic citizens – must drop their fists and ban together to make change. It’s either that or a straight up civil war; where two groups of citizens with be fighting each other – not the true enemy – and no one wants that. It doesn’t have to be bloody and violent.

    You can’t have a protest here – and a protest there – with a couple thousand people at each – both on different ends of the country – and expect anything to change. Nope – we need millions of people to act at the EXACT same time.

    I’m no expert. I dropped out of the school in the ninth grade – like I said – the system failed me man – and I’m sick and tired of this crap – it’s only a matter of time before this place we call home collapses in on itself – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this.

    I have two healthy, wonderfully talented and gifted children – who will have a shit heap handed to them when it’s time for them to take the reigns – if there is anything left to inherit at all. I’ll be damned if I’m not going to at least TRY to do something about it – I really love them Ralph – I want grand babies.

    Your guest said something that resonates with me – and I think it does with you also, Mr. Nader; George said – “It’s a measure of somebodies character in how they respond in moments like this.” We can’t vote this away.

    We are at a historic crossroad – future peoples will speak of how we handled this time – that is if anyone is here to speak about it at all – and that reality could very well be decided right here and right now with how we address this mess.

    Please don’t ignore this message Mr. Nader – like I said – I respect you very much and I am very interested in your opinion.

    Most sincerely,


    • Don Harris says:

      Good luck to you in getting a response from Ralph.

      While you are right that separate protests will not solve any problems, your solution seems a bit extreme and is unlikely to get the cooperation needed to be successful.

      There is one place where citizens can protest at the same time in many places effectively- in the voting booth.

      Voting is the only solution. But it is how you vote that matters.

      If you keep voting for big money candidates you will keep getting big money legislators.

      Citizens can participate in One Demand and only vote for small donor candidates or cast a write in vote if there are no small donor candidates on their ballot to create and demonstrate demand for small donor candidates.

      They can do this without disrupting their entire lives. It takes just a few minutes to register at the website and if citizens are already voters nothing much more than they are already doing.

      I suggest you try participating in One Demand and encouraging Ralph to inform citizens about this opportunity before trying to organize your extreme action.

      This has not yet been successful for me, but it stands a better chance of being addressed by Ralph because Ralph believes voting is the answer and I doubt you will be able to convince him otherwise.

  3. Don klepack says:

    Great show, I hope George Luber wins and get’s his job back and a higher budget. People on the other side of higher C02 – food and plant production argues that higher C02 the better. This website explains why this is wrong – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ask-the-experts-does-rising-co2-benefit-plants1/

    To your question on Trump Supporters; – Definitely not a Trump supporter but I’m a Trump Defender, because of the crazy attacks that he can’t read, lazy, stupid and a racist. This show is important to me because this is why Trump most NOT win in 2020 and why we need a Candidate that can demonstrate the real issues not the silly ones.

  4. Don Harris says:

    While I may not qualify as a whistleblower because I am not on the inside, I have been trying for years to get you to blow the whistle on the small contribution campaigns (such as Sanders, Warren) that are pretending to be small donor campaigns.

    Whether or not a donor is a small donor or a large donor is not determined by the size of the contributions. It is determined by the aggregate total of all their contributions.

    A donor making small contributions of 50 dollars a week to Bernie for the last 8 months has already contributed over 1500 dollars and could reach the maximum amount allowed before the primaries are over.

    Not a small donor.

    I have done everything you advise (and then some) to get someone like you to address to address an issue.

    When I called in to Washington Journal (October 24.2018) you said my idea for an organization (www.onedemand.org) that citizens could use to work together to demand that candidates run true small donor campaigns deserved to be heard and you would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss it.

    When I followed up as instructed your representatives said they thought you may have decided to address it through listener questions and they would get back to me.

    They didn’t and neither did you.

    We share the same goals, but have different approaches.

    Why will you not inform citizens of another approach that has not been tried yet to achieving the same goal when the approaches you have been trying for decades have not been working? (See President Trump for just one example)

    Please tell me your problem with this idea, if you have any.

    If not, then offer citizens the opportunity to take action now instead of waiting years for the big money legislators to pass legislation to get the big money out of politics which will NEVER happen.

    The problem with big money in our political process is that the big money legislators will only pass legislation to benefit the big money interests. The big money interests have no interest in getting the big money out of politics so legislation cannot be passed until the big money legislators are replaced by small donor legislators.

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

    Please live up to your word on Washington Journal and inform citizens about this opportunity to take action now to demand small donor candidates.

    Democracy 101.

  5. Mark Hughes says:

    Loved this podcast, Dr. Luber is definitely one I want to hear again. Of course corruption in any government agency shouldn’t be surprising.

    That out of the way, regarding the discussion around plants not being able to metabolize all the CO2 being pumped out, what about algae? I was watching Graham Elwood’s “Political Vigilante” on YouTube a few days ago and caught an interesting segment about algae’s ability to consume CO2 several hundred times faster than trees. Here’s the link if anyone’s interested:


    And this is the show notes’ link to the source material:


    Couple of selected paragraphs from the source material:

    “It turns out that algae is actually much more effective than trees at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, and can be used to create carbon negative fuels, plastics, textiles, food, fertilizer and much more. [(Hypergiant Industries’) research led us to utilize] algae and A.I. to create the Eos Bioreactor, a prototype bioreactor that can substantially outperform trees by up to 400 times.”

    “Hypergiant isn’t the first time researchers have focused on algae as a potential game-changer for carbon sequestration. However, its new bioreactor promises not only aims to make these abilities smarter, courtesy of machine learning tech, but also to pack its solution into a disarmingly small form factor. The company’s bioreactor fits within a compact form factor measuring 3-foot by 3-foot by 7-foot. That’s small enough that it could fit within office buildings as part of a shift toward more sustainable smart city environments. The results could significantly increase the adoption of this technology.”

    If this works and is this small of a device, wouldn’t it be great for each person to have one in their backyard, or in the case of apartment dwellers, one on their patio or on the roofs?

    Graham brings up a good point in his segment – this can’t be something that enables power companies to continue pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. That has to stop as well.

  6. tz says:

    But you will NEVER go against big pharma and interview this whistleblower:
    The film VAXXED II is out where parents document and cry over their vaccine damaged children.
    They can’t go to a real court, only the vaccine compensation kangaroo court.
    If I break a Compact Florescent “green” bulb, I’m advised to leave because of the mercury vapor but it is okay to inject it directly into a newborn’s bloodstream.

    There’s the NVIC and Vaccine Impact.

    I’m not anti-vax, but don’t think it is prudent to turn newborns with unformed immune systems into pincushions protecting them against STDs (they get antibodies in their mother’s milk). The base science is sound. The use of toxic crap and doing multiple jabs, and instead of an aerosol (nasal) or the smallpox bifurcated needle is not. But Witch Doctor says witches’ brew must use needle as it is deep juju.

    Mr. Nader – either you are stupid, evil, or have been bought by Big Pharma.

  7. Kim White says:

    Dear Ralph,

    Thanks for your Radio Hour and thanks for having Dr. Luber on.

    Dr. Luber’s somber account of his experience at the Center for Disease Control exposes the epidemic of fear and corruption that runs rampant at the CDC.

    Unfortunately, it’s not the only governmental agency where this epidemic occurs. It’s also found at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel where Mr. Luber has filed for whistleblower status. Please see/listen to Steve Zeltzer’s interview with whistleblower Darrell Whitman: OSHA, Corruption & Capture of U.S. Inspector Generals with Whistleblower Darrell Whitman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUVIu-Op8Wg

    Thank you Dr. Luber for your work and for your courage. I am hoping for the best for you given your situation inside the Racket.

  8. L Carol says:

    I appreciate Dr Luber’s work and legal team. Stay safe. There are evidence-based books to be published, and perhaps very dramatic documentaries. But paths to health and environmental protection are dangerous in the US! It takes an outside perspective sometimes to realize….

    Doing my PhD in Health Sciences in Europe and looking closely at whole systems paradigms, including biophysical evidence and CDC/NIH info… the biggest challenge may be that CDC now sits under Homeland Security – created to support the military industrial complex. These US forces make use of certain pervasive and prevalent organisms that are weather responsive,. US programs have deemed these organisms “disease research platforms” .

    Homeland Security was organized at exactly the same time the US backed out of international anti-proliferation initiatives when focus moved to bio-chemical weapons.

    Certain Treatable Non-viral infections have been weaponized in the US and simultaneously “Neglected” by CDC and WHO followers. As a result, Scientists who address affordable cures have been sued and silenced.

    Dr Lubers experience demonstrates that scientists who start to look at protecting health from the effects of climate change, are just too close to seeing the truth. Deadly disease is triggered by temperature variation. Programs combining Health and Climate are likely seen by military profiteers as a problem, smart people getting too close to the truth. Doctors can’t undermine the research business, pharma and government business in certain bioweapons.

    More obviously and fun for some,, CDC funding for programs to protect this planet and the lives of the 99%, threatens the excitement and sense of need for NASA investments in offloading life from earth to alien environments. If Dr Luber and colleagues found answers by helping people to take care in an informed way, they’d threaten Hollywood and the business of partisan reality television.

    Thank you all for your good work abd courageous good humour.

  9. robert says:

    Obviously a dedicated public servant with a promising career is being suppressed by Trump’s thugs in attempt to cover up and silence the Truth. Its not just Trump. As PEER and other NGOs can detail, this corruption has been common at high levels in other federal agencies like EPA as well for several decades.

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