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Your Tax Dollars/Animal Agriculture

Ralph questions the Comptroller of the United States, Gene Dodaro, head of the Government Accountability Office, about a long overdue audit of the Pentagon. Plus, Dr. Gordon Douglas, co-founder of Princeton Studies Food has some pretty harsh words for our industrial animal agriculture system.

Gene Dodaro is the head of GAO, the Comptroller General of the United States.  He was appointed to a 15-year term by President Obama from a slate of candidates proposed in a bipartisan fashion by Congress.  As Comptroller General, Mr. Dodaro helps oversee the development and issuance of hundreds of reports and testimonies each year to various committees and individual Members of Congress. These and other GAO products have led to hearings and legislation, billions of dollars in taxpayer savings, and improvements to a wide range of government programs and services.

“Our mission and the reason we exist is to support the Congress in carrying out their very important Constitutional responsibilities.  These include appropriating funds, legislating the laws, providing oversight to make sure that our system of checks and balances and the Constitution works, having the legislative branch oversee the executive branch operations.  And we also exist to enhance the performance and accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.” Gene Dodaro, Comptroller of the United States (GAO)

Dr. Gordon Douglas is a physician, who specialized in infectious diseases during a long and distinguished academic career. Dr. Douglas was the founding president of Merck’s Vaccine Division and along with his wife, Sheila Mahoney, created the program, Princeton Studies Food, a coalition of faculty, researchers, students, alumni, staff and community members tackling the challenge of feeding the world’s people while preserving the Earth and its resources.

“One of the things we’ve looked at in our conference this year is 25% of all calories used for human consumption are wasted or lost.  They’re not used.  If you could reduce that by half, just half – you know a reasonable goal – you would make up about a quarter of all the extra calories that are needed by 2050 to feed this burgeoning population.” Dr. Gordon Douglas, co-founder of Princeton Studies Food


  1. elisabeth solomon says:

    GAO remains the singularly most important federal government entity. Have been using its reports for upwards of 35 years to help me approach various research projects. Whether I worked for the Illinois General Assembly searching for waste, fraud and abuse for a bi-partisan legislative commission in the late 80’s to the City of Chicago Budget Office in the mid 90’s, GAO reports were a major guide post for ideas and facts! Most recently my research with my 97-yr-old mother (deceased June 2017) using GAO’s reports on “nursing homes” resulted in a DRAFT report (that will be produced and available free of charge to the public) in the form of a book helping the general public understand the horrors of nursing homes in U.S. with little oversight and regulatory enforcement. THANK YOU RALPH for making this super important interview come to life!

  2. TYR says:

    Ralph, please consider interviewing economist Dr. Stephanie Kelton about MMT. You can find her site

  3. TYR says:

    There’s no such thing as “humane” exploitation. ALL use is abusive whether it be a small mom and pop farm or a big industrialised farm. Animal products (dairy, eggs, flesh, etc) are not only products of tremendous violence and completely unnecessary for our health, but they are also killing us and killing the planet. It’s time for us to evolve and go vegan. We don’t need animal products to survive. We can easily meet all our nutrition needs from plants (and other non-animal sources) so the only reason we have to be torturing and killing 1 trillion land and aquatic animals each year is because we think they “taste good”.

    Here’s an excerpt of Chris Hedges’ essay “Apocalyptic Capitalism”:

    “The animal agriculture industry has, in a staggering act of near total censorship, managed to stifle public discussion about the industry’s complicity in global warming. It is barely mentioned in climate summits. Yet livestock and their byproducts, as Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn point out in their book, “The Sustainability Secret,” and their documentary,“Cowspiracy,” account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Methane and nitrous oxide are rarely mentioned in climate talks, although those two greenhouse gases are, as the authors point out, respectively, 86 times and 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Cattle, worldwide, they write, produce 150 billion gallons of methane daily. And 65 percent of the nitrous oxide produced by human-related activities is caused by the animal agriculture industry. Water used in fracking, they write, ranges from 70 billion to 140 billion gallons annually. Animal agriculture water consumption, the book notes, ranges from 34 trillion to 76 trillion gallons annually. Raising animals for human consumption takes up to 45 percent of the planet’s land. Ninety-one percent of the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest and up to 80 percent of global rain forest loss are caused by clearing land for the grazing of livestock and growing feed crops for meat and dairy animals. As more and more rain forest disappears, the planet loses one of its primary means to safely sequester carbon dioxide. The animal agriculture industry is, as Andersen and Kuhn write, also a principal cause of species extinction and the creation of more than 95,000 square miles of nitrogen-flooded dead zones in the oceans.

    A person who eats a “plant based vegan diet, they point out, a diet free of meat, dairy and eggs, saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, and prevents the torture and killing of at least one sentient animal every day. ”

    Interested in becoming vegan? Check out my website associated with my user name.

  4. Michelle says:

    Hello Ralph, I was wondering does each state have something like a GEO? I was just reaching our Toll Road situation here in Orange County/ Riverside County CA. What a mess, there are now times the toll will be $15.40 one way. It is something to be explored on your show! This is what happens when you privatize “freeways” let this be a warning for other states that go along with the Trump era of infrastructure! First it was privatized, 91 Express Way then had to be bought back because of a non-compete with the state, (They couldn’t maintain the freeway around it.) bought it back for 209 million (wasted dollars) now it’s owned by the “public” under a commission (RCTC) and they grossly over charge at “peak hours” come to find out the commission is governed by elected representatives and county supervisors! I doubt the voters knew when they passed MeasureA they were going to be paying tolls as high as $15.40. What can we do? Can we pass legislation to cap tolls? MeasureA was 1/2 cent tax to pump money into Riverside infrastructure but is now just seemingly a way to create more toll Roads?

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