Beating City Hall/What’s Really Going On in Syria
April 21, 2018
The Myth of the Litigious Society
May 5, 2018
Show all

Trump’s Corporate Presidency/The Truth About Airlines

Ralph welcomes back president of Public Citizen, Robert Weissman, for an update on the Trump agenda and what they are doing to fight it.  Also, aviation expert William McGee tells us what’s really going on in the airplanes you fly with his book, “Attention All Passengers: The Airlines Dangerous Descent and What You Can Do To Reclaim Our Skies.”

Robert Weissman is a staunch public interest advocate and activist, as well as an expert on a wide variety of issues ranging from corporate accountability and government transparency, to trade and globalization, to economic and regulatory policy. As the President of Public Citizen, Weissman has spearheaded the effort to loosen the chokehold corporations and the wealthy have over our democracyHe has also has been a strong voice in the fight against Wall Street greed and recklessness and has expanded Public Citizen’s work to curb climate change and push for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health care system. Recently, Public Citizen released a report on how Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have raked in more than $15 million in profits since his run for office.

“You cannot understand what happened with the tax bill unless you understand it was created in part for Donald Trump, his businesses, and his family.” Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen

William McGee is an award-winning travel journalist for Consumer Reports and the former editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter. Mr. McGee also spent nearly seven years in airline flight operations management; and in 2010 the U.S. secretary of transportation chose him as the lone consumer advocate on the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee. He writes a monthly travel column for and his expose on the airline industry is entitled Attention All Passengers: The Airlines Dangerous Descent and What You Can Do To Reclaim Our Skies.”  

“The FAA has this nickname by people in the industry, by some of its own employees… by others concerned about safety. It’s called the Tombstone Agency, meaning the FAA acts after there’s an accident, usually a fatal accident. And that’s exactly what we saw with the Southwest Airlines event that just recently occurred. In other words, we knew that there were problems with those engines two years ago. The FAA got complacent, allowed Southwest to work out its own fix and… well we saw how that went” William McGee, author of “Attention All Passengers: The Airlines Dangerous Descent and What You Can Do To Reclaim Our Skies”


  1. Bruce K. says:

    One problem is that “We The People” do not even have a name for who we are fighting. Is it “The Corporations”. Which Corporations? Is it a group of radical Capitalist Libertarians and their thugs? If so who? Is it the Mafia? Died the Mafia have anything to do with putting Trump in office. Is it the “TEA Party”? One the wilder side I have heard very coherent theories about how Fascists took over the US after WWII. Or there were Industrialists that tried to take over the country in the “Business Plot” when FDR was President, supposedly foiled by Major General Smedley Butler at the time. A whacked theory is that it is some International Jewish Cabal of Bankers. I think the latter is unlikely, even dismissible, and that’s why it bothers me to hear theories about Israel and the Palestinians.

    We have to depend on the Corporate News to tell us what we need to know, and that circle has been narrowing for decades. You had Phil Donahue on sometime back who said clearly that even on perceived Liberal channels there was a Right-wing bias. Thomas Frank who I think was also on has been talking about how ever since he began to criticize the Republicans/Conservatives he has been blacklisted from mainstream media.

    With the advent of Palantir and other Big Data companies and all seeing database connections into everyone’s lives, available to anyone, every citizen in the country can supposedly be analyzed and “threat assessed” as to their voting actions, or likelihood to commit violence based on algorithms that have no vetting, no checking and no answerability to anyone.

    Consider the Right Wing think tanks could offer a checkup on anyone getting hired anywhere in the “Corporatocracy” that merely gives out the likelihood of a new employee being a Democrat. After a few generations of only hiring like minded people, even if they did not know it, any opposition party could be reduced to a poverty induced virtual ghetto, with no way to know what is happening, no way to oppose it. No health care or education, as or more easy than rejecting people because of their race.

    There is no clear good narrative of what is going on in the US that can be understood by the “Left”, “Democrats” as there is no really solidarity with people on the Left. We know that because there were plenty of people on the Left in the last election that voted for Trump. Confused? Democrats or people on the Left did everything but vote for Hillary Clinton. They voted for Trump, or Jill Stein, or just abstained, because there is no solid vision and plenty of disinformation from the well-funded Right.

    So much money, in the hands of a few, immune from taxation, and even working to take over the remaining economy, is in the service of the ??WHAT??, we call them the Republicans, the Right-Wing, Conservatives, Libertarians, but the problem is that “We The People” do not even have a name for who we are fighting. We do not know how much money is out there, where it is, who controls it, and what it is spent for. We hear people talking about taxpayer funded elections, but how does the country fight against a group that has so much money that they can literally construct a fake reality around the society, and call reality fake? The Internet is certainly not an open forum with the free and thoughtful exchange of facts and ideas.

    Maybe this sounds paranoid, but it is all based on fact and technology that exists today with extrapolations of science that is decades old. The Third Reich used 80 column paper punch cards in mechanical computers to classify the people they wanted to vilify. Every peaceful avenue for change has been blocked. Every avenue to get information has been blocked. The institutional level of the Democrats, our country’s only real opposition political party, is in the hands of people who are more right-wing than the Republicans were as recent as the Reagan administration. Much of what I speculate about here is referenced from your own podcasts.

    Looking at the Global Warming Crisis, or going back to the interview you guys did with Stephen Drucker about the GMO industry – science has been corrupted. What kind of opposition do you imagine the people you are broadcasting to, assuming people are listening, can mount? And pretty soon it will be onward and outward into the rest of the developed world – you know those countries with free education and health care with real democracy.

  2. Bruce K. says:

    This country is falling apart. I think the people in the government realize the only thing that keeps the country together is faith. It is faith and habit that keeps people going to work and paying their taxes, and I think these people are afraid that things will literally fall apart into chaos if impeachment happens … IFF, if and only if the impeached President is Republican.

    People do not realize just how unfair and bad things are, and the Democrats in government I think feel like they exist at the pleasure of the corporations and the richest of the oligarchs. Check my numbers but I think I heard there are tens or hundreds of Right-Wing Think Tanks for every Left-Wing Think Tank.

    Many millions of dollars are constantly spent to fake citizens out and make us think that the Right-Wing has more support than it really does. When things do not work the gloves will come off like they did in the 60’s with assassinations and operations against the Left by the government.

    Look at what happened to Al Franken when he started to get out in the talk shows with his brand of comedy and telling about how the government really is. First it was Fox News, and then all these rather trivial but not exactly defensible accusations came out and he got knocked out with no kind of hearing. And then nothing happened. Then the backlash against #MeToo. The result is that Franken was politically assassinated.

    This show is much different from many because Ralph has a lot of credibility with both sides of the aisle, even though the Republican side is small.

    It seems the people just do not rate at all in this country any more. The priority of the powerful is to get more powerful.

  3. Donald Klepack says:

    Robert Weissman is right about many of Trumps policies but he sounds like a Democrat not a protector of public citizens. slightly less than 1/2 of the vote went to Trump, as member of public citizens he should be just as tough on democratic leaders

  4. Dale West says:

    RE: Airline Safety

    What is the point of having new airline seat safety standards (16g) to improve passenger survival and reduce injury, then let the consumer believe that a restrained passenger can hold onto an unrestrained 2 year old child sitting in their lap during rapid deceleration or altitude drop. New safer seats does not change the law of physics in that seat. It took 8 long years to phase out all of the old 9g seats, yet this 1959 child safety loophole still prevails. Talk about kicking the can down the road till another tragedy, it must be an FAA yellow brick road and we are the scarecrows.

  5. Tom Comeau says:

    It appears that everyone who bothers to comment, arrives at the conclusion that nothing can be done to correct the ills of our government, now largely out of control. Everyone admits that both major parties are now corrupted by big money and totally unresponsive to the people’s needs or wishes.
    This has to be the single best example of the “elephant in the room” which no one will admit is present and that is revolution. Everyone dances all around this issue. No one wants to contemplate the loss of “American blood”,,, (for a change). When everything else fails and the only means to effect change is corrupted beyond repair, it is well past time for the people to TAKE control. No corrupt, power-hungry, government anywhere on earth, ever gave up the reins of power willingly,,,so those reins must be taken with the only way left to the people, namely, by force. Anything less is just more of this endless “kicking the can down the road”, of shifting between one crooked party for the other.
    Now, will revolution solve all of our problems–hell no! We’re too far down the rabbit hole for that but, it will give us another opportunity for a fresh start, which is what is needed. Jefferson, one of the more prescient of the founders, knew well enough that periodic revolutions would be necessary to keep the ambitious, power-hungry hordes in check. We need to lose the stars in our eyes and get real. If the moneyed class won’t relinquish its slimy grip on the nation’s throat, we’ll need to collectively deliver our message the only way left to us,,,,,or get use to being on our knees. Revolution is the Solution!