Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • "A Culture of Timidity": Ralph Nader on How Regulators Ignored a GM Safety Defect Tied to 13 Deaths

    Gm

    After hundreds of complaints and 13 deaths, the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into how the nation’s largest automaker, General Motors, may have covered up deadly safety defects in its compact cars. Six GM models made from 2003 to 2007 suddenly turned off while being driven — leaving drivers with no engine power, no power steering, no breaks and no air bags. For 11 years, GM reportedly treated the defect as a matter of customer satisfaction, not safety. Federal regulators also failed to take action, declining to investigate despite a flood of complaints. GM finally announced a massive recall of some 1.6 million vehicles last month. We speak with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who is no stranger to GM. After writing "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," he won a major settlement against the auto giant for spying on him and trying to discredit him. Nader faults what he calls "a culture of timidity" in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "bred by the lack of backing by the Bush White House and, to some similar extent, by the Obama White House." He adds: "That of course leads to a reluctance to follow up on the evidence, to stand tall for the American motorist. That is not why we established the auto safety agency in 1966, so maybe this will help turn it around. Often it takes a tragedy like this to turn it around."

  • Nader on Senate’s Climate Stance, "Insanity" of U.S. Nukes, & Why Obama’s Min. Wage Hike Falls Short

    Nader

    Ralph Nader, the longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate, joins us to discuss a number of key issues: the Senate’s marathon filibuster to promote climate action and attendant failure to challenge President Obama on the Keystone XL; new disclosures revealing U.S. regulators hid concerns and uncertainty around the safety of U.S. nuclear plants in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis three years ago this week; and why he believes President Obama’s call for a $10.10 federal minimum wage falls well short of what workers deserve. Nader is author of the forthcoming book, "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State."

  • "Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name": NSA-Backing Senate Intel Chair Blasts CIA for Spying on Torture Probe

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    The spat between the CIA and its congressional overseers has intensified after Senator Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to directly accuse the CIA of spying in an effort to undermine a probe of the agency’s torture and rendition program. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report has yet to be released but reportedly documents extensive abuses and a cover-up by CIA officials. Feinstein says the CIA broke the law in secretly removing more than 900 documents from computers used by panel investigators. She also accused the CIA of intimidation in requesting an FBI inquiry of the panel’s conduct. CIA Director John Brennan has rejected Feinstein’s allegations. Meanwhile, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has weighed in by accusing Feinstein of hypocrisy for criticizing alleged CIA spying on U.S. senators while condoning government surveillance of private citizens. We host a roundtable discussion with three guests: former FBI agent Mike German, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and Pulitzer-winning journalist Julia Angwin, author of the new book, "Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance."

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    "A Slaughter of Innocents": Henry Siegman, a Venerable Jewish Voice for Peace, on Gaza
    Today, a special with Henry Siegman, the former executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Henry Siegman was born in 1930 in Frankfurt, Germany. Three years later, the Nazis came to power. After fleeing Nazi troops in Belgium, his family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement, pushing for the creation of a Jewish state. In...

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