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Tom Morello: Still Raging

Tom Morello, activist, and lead guitarist of “Rage Against the Machine,” joins us to discuss the uses of music in protest, his latest album “The Atlas Underground Fire,” and his new gig writing op-eds for The New York Times. Also, child advocate, Robert Fellmeth, stops by to shed light on a situation right out of a Charles Dickens novel: the state stealing social security checks from foster children. Plus, Ralph answers your questions.

Tom Morello is an activist, podcaster, and musician, performing with Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and The Nightwatchman. His latest album is The Atlas Underground Fire. He is currently a featured opinion columnist for the New York Times, writing a 12-week series on music and activism.

[The point of songs about war is to], one, shine light into the darkest corners of the horrors of the military industrial complex. And also, in some ways the best– whether it’s rap, or whether it’s punk rock, or whether it’s the different bands I’ve been involved in– is to provide an alternate news source… Moving the goalpost for a set of ideas that is outside of those commonly accepted and digested by mainstream media.

Tom Morello

One day if there is justice, and some sort of war crimes tribunal that holds accountable the Democrat and the Republican war criminals responsible for such torturous practices as Guantanamo Bay, that perhaps the perpetrators of those crimes– our elected officials and their cronies– would have the black hoods over their heads, the orange jumpsuits. And in that case, I would fully support cranking Rage Against the Machine 24 hours a day.

Tom Morello

I think to some degree, that [the Occupy Wall Street] efforts were successful in at least orienting public consciousness towards an issue that has been front and center for you and I throughout our lives and careers. But it was not appearing anywhere near the front page of the New York Times. And that is economic injustice, economic equality, and the relentless class warfare of corporations against the working class.

Tom Morello

Robert Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego and the Executive Director of the Center for Public Interest Law. He is also Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Institute, which authored The Fleecing of Foster Children: How We Confiscate Their Assets and Undermine Their Financial Security.

These are our children. I don’t mean in an ethereal sense that “All children are ours,” or whatever. These are different. These are children whose legal parents are state judges. Our state judges, that we pay, and that our public officials appoint, or sometimes they’re even elected. These are children who are our children in a very direct sense. So, when you [deprive foster children] of money they’re supposed to get– and children who need the money more than any other group–you can imagine… It’s a seminal, basic, ethical issue.

Robert Fellmeth, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Institute

Back in the 1960s, no one [in Congress] answered my calls. No one answered my letters on auto safety. I would go up and down the Congress, I couldn’t find any help. But I was faced with a choice. I could either develop a smarter, more persistent strategy, and keep hoping that we can hit pay dirt in terms of a Congressional staffer and a Congressional committee. Or I could fly to Malibu and watch the whales. So, I decided that I was going to stick to it, and we got the legislation through.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 401 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. No one covers the issues involving the fundamental health of our country like Ralph Nader. Thank you for almost 60-years of dedication to this moral calling.

    Question: When will you focus on the tireless efforts of almost three generations of citizen investigators, citizen journalists, & citizen researchers who have produced a wealth of fact-based insight into the events related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963?

    You constantly extol the virtues of selfless citizen activism & the results it is capable of producing, but remain silent about the substantial amount of contradictory evidence painstakingly unearthed through the dedication of this disparate group of individuals.

    Is it possible that because the mainstream of U.S. media has steadfastly avoided reporting on their many findings — much of it retrieved from voluminous federal, state, & local government archives — that you, yourself, are ignorant of these achievements? If that is the case, you have only to enlighten yourself through modifying your choices in reading material.

    The 58th anniversary of that dark day is coming up in less than two weeks, another U.S. President has yet again extended the cloud of secrecy over the federal government’s archives, and your presence on these matters is sorely missed.

    You are better than this, Ralph.

    Thank you for the space to express myself.

    (suggested reading, in order from the general to the specific: James diEugenio, James Douglas, John M. Newman, Jefferson Morley, Gerald McKnight, Douglas P. Horne, & Joseph McBride.)

  2. stevie says:

    Torture, terror, psyops the new status-quo platform; enraged by the machine to the tune of #9.

  3. Don Harris says:

    “You don’t give up. You don’t leave Congress to constant capture by the big business lobbyists and the oligarchy and plutocracy. You fight back.”
    -Ralph Nader

    “When it comes to Congress votes count more than money if we allow them to count votes more than money.”
    -Ralph Nader

    It is not whether we allow them to count votes more than money. We must force them to count votes more than money.

    You were wrong to say Reuben Yancy was giving up. He said he was changing his focus to helping groups working on individual problems.

    The problem with that strategy is those groups have to try to get Congress to take action.

    What we need to do is focus on changing Congress by changing the way campaigns are financed.

    We use our votes to demand that candidates run small donor only campaigns in order to earn our votes.

    When you discussed One Demand, a way for citizens to work together to make this demand of candidates and enforce that demand with our votes, your guest said that he didn’t see how this would get the big money out of ;politics.

    You did not challenge that statement which is the polar opposite of your statement that votes count more than money.

    Instead you both talked about Trump and Bernie running small donor campaigns which is not accurate as they both got a significant portion of their money from big donors.

    It has to be all small donors or it is not a small donor campaign and won’t make a difference.

    It has to be one or the other. Either demanding candidates run small donor campaigns and enforcing that demand with our votes is an effective strategy to get the money out of politics as your statement of votes count more than money implies or it will not get the big money out of politics as your guest claimed and you did not challenge.

    You have to pick one side or the other.

    As it took over five years of following the strategies you have said should be done to get you to begin a discussion of One Demand, continuing to follow that route could take another five years to address the contradictions of your statement on votes counting more than money and your guest saying that using votes to enforce a demand for small donor candidates will not be effective.

    We do not have another five years.

    It is time to put me on your program to discuss this approach as you said you would on Washington Journal (10-24-2018).

    Pick a side and join as well as lead the fight- NOW.

  4. David Faubion says:

    Once again, we hear shocking but not surprising news that is old news. We hear it first and probably last here on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. This week we hear the authored Law Professor Robert C. Fellmeth, J.D. concisely report to us the headshaking, teeth-gnashing, enraging news that 49 of our United States have been and are currently denying the Social Security coverage owed to countless orphans in the foster-care system. These are children and youth at risk for other abuse in society because states like California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, the other true blues, and all the expected reds–choose to re-route our Federal Social Security funds into their general funds. The 49 states are practicing criminal fraud and worse–committing non-support child abuse. And Professor Fellmeth has had this shame of the nation documented since 2011, so we learn via the copyright date on the PDF of his gracious 44-page paper, The Fleecing of Foster Children. Thank you Prof Robert for your hard work in exposing the mess. This is more ‘prima facie’ evidence that our government is as corrupt as many corporations are criminal.
    How deep this particular corrupt policy goes up the chain of command in the state governments in one of the questions I’d ask the courageous (see the word ‘rage’ in that one) Professor of our Law.
    So shocked and enraged against the machine that I couldn’t write about it until mid-week,
    David Faubion