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Trump Crimes/Industrial Strength Denial

First, Ralph welcomes back David Cay Johnston to give us the latest update on Donald Trump’s ongoing criminal activity. Then, environmental lawyer and author, Barbara Freese, joins us to talk about corporate stonewalling through the ages in her book “Industrial Strength Denial: Eight Stories of Corporations Defending the Indefensible, from the Slave Trade to Climate Change.”

David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of six books, including The Making of Donald Trump. He has lectured on economics, journalism and tax policy on every continent except Antarctica. Mr. Johnston’s reporting persuaded two presidents to change their tax policies and stopped tax dodges that Congress valued at more than 250 billion dollars. He is also the founder and editor of DCReport, a nonprofit news service that reports what the President and Congress DO, not what they SAY.  And his latest book is entitled It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What The Trump Administration Is Doing To America.

“The Trump Organization is not a business, it’s a criminal enterprise posing as a business.”

David Cay Johnston, author of It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America

“Every president up until Donald Trump – and we’ve had murderous people like Andrew Jackson – everyone did what they thought was good for the country. Donald Trump did what was good for Donald Trump. And had no regard for the country except how it benefited him.”

David Cay Johnston, author of It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America

Barbara Freese is an environmental attorney and a former Minnesota assistant attorney general. Her interest in corporate denial

was sparked by cross-examining coal industry witnesses disputing the science of climate change. Ms. Freese is the author of Coal: A Human History, a New York Times Notable Book. Her most recent book is Industrial-Strength Denial: Eight Stories of Corporations Defending the Indefensible, from the Slave Trade to Climate Change.

“The oil industry knew certainly by the late 70s, early 80s that [global warming] was going to be a huge issue, that basically we were going to have to stop burning fossil fuels. And so instead of taking the last 40 years and transforming themselves into something other than fossil fuel industries. They basically created as much friction as possible.”

Barbara Freese, author of Industrial-Strength Denial

“You could have the strongest wrestler in the world and the wrestler couldn’t brace himself in a 15 mph collision to not go into the windshield.”

Ralph Nader

“In the Air Force, the airmen were losing more lives on the highways getting back and forth from their bases then they were losing in the Korean war.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 339 Transcript (Right click to download)

7 Comments

  1. Mark Hughes says:

    My God. DCJ states that “business people create wealth”. Wrong. Working people create wealth, business people extract it. That’s been the core of capitalist production for a half millennium. While Trump doesn’t pay his workers & cheat his suppliers & what not, that doesn’t make him a special type of criminal. He extracts wealth like every other capitalist across the globe. I’m no economist, but that much I do know. It’s amazing how economically illiterate so many Americans are, which explains in part why things are the way they are in this country, and have been for a long while now.

    Capitalism always breeds white-collar criminality. It always has and always will. Trump is no different than any other, past or present. I like DCJ, he and the late Wayne Barrett have done an outstanding job chronicling the Trump family throughout its history. But Trump isn’t unique. Nor is he an incompetent crook as DCJ said; getting away with crimes is what makes you competent. He may be a very different kind of politician (although that’s understandably debatable), but he’s a breathtakingly typical capitalist. Of course DCJ is correct in saying the system is broken (although I could argue it’s working exactly as designed), and the Constitution does need to be replaced. So sticking it to Trump isn’t going to change anything. Because whether Trump is re-elected or Biden takes over, we’ll still be embroiled in endless war, Wall Street and Corporate America will continue pillaging people here and abroad unabated and not face any penalty whatsoever, the pandemic will continue to be typified by periodic surges, corruption will continue to run rampant not only in Washington but also in every state capital and city hall, and so forth.

    §

    My understanding as to why the British public was unaware of slavery was because British slavery was offshored to Barbados. I vaguely recall an article in the Guardian a few years ago detailing that, which explains their naivety perhaps. The writer specified that’s why slavery in America had a totally different public consciousness; because it was here stateside and everyone saw it. Not so much in the UK. So Freese is right.

    Glad to hear her also talk about radium. I had no idea. So in the late 1910s, you had radium killing people, and the Spanish flu. Not to mention the economy hurtling toward the Great Depression. What an abomination of a country back then.

    Yes! Ralph dropped the word “co-ops” into the discussion. Absolutely. I don’t know of another economic arrangement that is more antithetical to capitalism than that. Not even labor unions can undermine the elite as co-ops can, and government owning the means of production is still capitalism (Marx outright called this ‘state capitalism’, not socialism). Because if you’re in a co-op, you don’t really need a union. And of course this is the part where I can’t strongly recommend enough for RNRH to interview Prof. Richard Wolff. But for Freese to say that corporations can be reformed is like saying we can reform a snake to not be venomous and aggressive. But you’d have far better luck with the latter.

    • Afdal Shahanshah says:

      You’d think the so-called “subjective value” theorists would have taken an opportunity to re-assess their belief system after their astounding failure to predict the 2008 crisis and ongoing depression. But nope, most of them have carried on their merry way in economics departments and professional journals, peddling their unempirical, non-predictive models that essentially functionally as propaganda to justify the capitalist system, funded in large part by the very capitalists they refuse to critique.

      • Mark Hughes says:

        It all goes back to Upton Sinclair’s “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

        However I do think some understand why the ’08 Crash happened, even prior to it happening, but they were too incentivized to say something, anything, that would have thwarted it. That’s one form of corruption that is produced by a system in which those with the power to stop catastrophe do not do so. The power of capital.

        I do believe that in due time, many of these economic Mandarins will come out with their day-late-dollar-short mea culpa, which will do nothing for everyone. But that’ll be when their incentives stop coming. I recall Bill Clinton publicly apologizing for what his trade policy did to Haiti, but that’s due to untouchability so he can admit guilt without paying a price. How liberal.

    • FP says:

      Great. I completely agree. Just one note to say that under our current capitalist economy even co-operatives can become places of exploitation.

  2. Nettie McGee says:

    David Cay Johnston is an honest Republican.

  3. Bruce K. says:

    Around 11:25 DCJ states that Donald Trump has been tried and found guilty twice of income tax fraud. He’s right, at least in that this was something I have never heard before, including from him until just now. I am well familiar with David Cay Johnston as I listen to DCJ when he is interviewed on our local radio station KGO AM 810 in the SF Bay Area and have read two of his books. Could it be that David Cay Johnston is more concerned with selling books than with getting important information out to the public in a timely manner?

    It is only now that this information is about to go effectively stale that we are hearing it … for the first time? Perhaps I could be mistaken and he has been outing this information for a long time, but I’d never heard it before. I’ve heard other claims by DCJ that also have never been put out in the national media or also that nothing has been done about. All his revelations seem to come to nothing. Why?

    Why did the NYT or other newspapers not print that? Could they not verify the information? What is the source of that information. Why, if this information has been out there forever, it is it not in the public eye?

    What is the story about the “100 Eisenhower investigators put on to Fred Trump” … and what does it have to do with a “horrible moral decision” by Eisenhower? Why not just call his President Eisenhower since that is how must Americans would know him? Why bring in Omaha Beach?

    Again, what about the stealing of $80 million of inauguration money by Trump? Why is this just coming out now?

    Good to hear Bill Black’s name mentioned who books and lectures on control fraud are so enlightening.

    HOWEVER, I am getting a little sick of David Cay Johnston showing up in the media and making all these waves and then nothing even happens from it. He has had over 4 years to prove and disseminate this information and these little bitty teaser interviews is all he ever gets done!

    And once Americans hear something actionable and start to act we can also depend on our media to quickly drop any focus on that and pursue police killings, or Black Lives Matter, or Defund The Police, or #MeToo, or the latest Trump gas-passing; always designed to defocus and distract any productive deep discussion that might lead to a majority agreed on political action?

  4. David Clark says:

    I love your podcasts. You’re my hero Mr. Nader.

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