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Bishop William Barber

Ralph welcomes Bishop William Barber from the Poor People’s Campaign to discuss their March 2nd mass moral march on State Assemblies and their efforts to mobilize millions of poor and low-wage voters. Then, Ralph is joined by Washington Post health rep…

Ralph welcomes Bishop William Barber from the Poor People's Campaign to discuss their March 2nd mass moral march on State Assemblies and their efforts to mobilize millions of poor and low-wage voters. Then, Ralph is joined by Washington Post health reporter Dan Diamond to discuss his team's recent report on a $2 billion Medicare fraud scheme. 

Bishop William Barber is President and Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, which was established to train communities in moral movement building. He is Co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and Founding Director and Professor at the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School.

The biggest mistake people who are not poor can make is [thinking] that helping poor and low-wage people in this country doesn't improve their life. Total nonsense. And we're going to see how a greater turnout of poor and low-wage people in the elections can transform politics in this country at the national, state, and local level.

Ralph Nader

You cannot, in a democracy, let your power sit on the shelf. If folk are not recognizing that, you must force them. And we now have this power— we don't even know what battleground states are. Because if poor and low-wealth people voted at the same percentage rate as middle class and others, it would change all of the political calculations. And it is the fear of the greedy aristocracy. It is time for us to realize their fear.

Bishop William Barber

Bad policy is mean, it is violent, and it is deadly. Because now we live in a reality… [where] poverty is the fourth-leading cause of death in this country. If you are not for ending policies that perpetuate poverty and low wages, then you are an accessory to the crime of human beings' lives being taken

Bishop William Barber

Dan Diamond is a national health reporter for The Washington Post, focused on accountability, federal agencies and public health. He joined the Post in 2021 after covering the Trump administration for Politico, where he won a George Polk award for investigating political interference in the pandemic response.

One would think that somewhere at Medicare, there was the alert that this was a scheme to be looking out for. On the state level, several states began last year to issue warnings—the state of Hawaii, the state of Oklahoma, among others—saying, “Watch out, Medicare beneficiaries, for these catheter-fraud schemes.” So that was nine months ago at this point. Medicare itself—nationally—were not aware of any similar warnings or action, at least publicly. Again, they may have been doing things behind the scenes. They may have been wanting to bait the trap for these potential fraudsters,and maybe that's why they didn't say anything. But still it raises real questions—why they have waited so long to do anything, and why it takes news coverage in February 2024 to put a spotlight on something that's been going on for eighteen months.

Dan Diamond

In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis

News 2/28/24

1. The Michigan primary was held on Tuesday. On the Republican side, Donald Trump cruised to victory over Nikki Haley, but on the Democratic side, all eyes were focused not on the candidates themselves but on the “Uncommitted,” ballot line. In recent days, activists and prominent progressive elected officials urged voters to register their opposition to President Biden’s support for Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza by voting Uncommitted. The campaign set a goal of 10,000 Uncommitted votes; according to the New York Times they won over 100,000. The success of this protest vote movement in a key swing state should be setting off major alarm bells within the Biden campaign and hopefully will force the president to reckon with dissent to his Gaza policy from within his party.

2. On Sunday, U.S. Airman Aaron Bushnell self immolated in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, registering the ultimate protest against the ongoing slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. Just before igniting himself, Mr. Bushnell shouted “Free Palestine,” yet that did not stop mainstream outlets like the New York Times and NPR from obfuscating the motives of his sacrifice, with their coverage featuring lines like “NPR was not able to independently verify the man’s motives.” As Ryan Grim of the Intercept put it, “what more could he have done to make a point NPR would hear.” Rest in Power, Aaron Bushnell.

3. A new Institute for Social Policy and Understanding or ISPU poll, conducted between December 2023 and January 2024, found that majorities of all religious groups favor a ceasefire in Gaza. Support for a ceasefire is strongest among Muslim and Catholic Americans, with both groups reporting over 70% support. Support is weakest among Jewish Americans, yet 50% still favor a ceasefire, with only 34% opposed. In other words, President Biden giving a blank check to Israel is alienating Americans of all religious persuasions, including American Jews.

4. Signaling another troubling omen for Biden, a new poll of Black voters in Michigan, conducted by Howard University, shows the president’s support among African-Americans has dropped from 94% in 2020 to just 49% today. This is coupled with a tripling of support for Donald Trump, who now attracts 26% of Black voters.

5. On February 22nd, Representatives Jerry Nadler, Jamie Raskin, Dan Goldman, and 10 more Jewish members of Congress took the first step toward calling for a ceasefire, sending a letter urging the Biden Administration to “Facilitate [a] ceasefire in Gaza.” Many of these liberal members, including Nadler, Goldman, Raskin, and Becca Balint of Vermont have been the subjects of pressure campaigns by pro-Palestine activists to push them toward support for a ceasefire. Contrary to the headline however, this letter only calls for a temporary pause of hostilities.

6. Democracy Now! reports “Ireland’s senate unanimously voted last week to impose sanctions against Israel, prevent the passage of U.S. weapons to Israel via Irish airspace and advocate for an international arms embargo against Israel.” Ireland has been among the most vocal countries condemning the Israeli campaign of terror in Gaza, particularly in Europe. Irish Senator Frances Black is quoted in this piece saying “I remember one woman…she said that she was…from a human rights organization…And she said, 'Why have the international community abandoned us?' And those words stay with me.”

7. Lauren Kaori Gurley, who covers Labor for the Washington Post, reports that last week baristas at 21 Starbucks stores around the country filed for union elections. This is “the largest single-day filing since the campaign’s launch in 2021.”  The location of these stores ranges from Brooklyn and Chicago to Grand Forks, North Dakota and Sulfur, Louisiana – demonstrating the popularity of unions throughout the nation. Starbucks has now agreed to recognize the union and work with their employees to forge a master contract.

8. In more labor news, the United Auto Workers union has announced they are allocating a stunning $40 million for new organizing through 2026. By contrast, the AFL-CIO pledged only $11 million annually for new organizing in 2022. UAW Region 9A leader Brandon Mancilla adds that “The UAW will provide material support to Mexican autoworker organizing and their independent union reform movement. We need to end the international race to the bottom. The Mexican working class is our ally, not our enemy.” And Luis Feliz Leon of Labor Notes reports that “Workers at Mercedes-Benz’s largest plant in the U.S. announced that a majority of their co-workers have signed union cards in support of joining the @UAW. Workers at Mercedes Benz's Alabama plant launched their organizing committee 60 days ago.”

9. In a major loss for local journalism, WAMU – Washington DC’s NPR member station, run out of American University – has shuttered it’s flagship publication, DCist. Per Washingtonian magazine, “DCist was originally owned by the company Gothamist. Joe Ricketts, the billionaire who bought it in 2017, shut down the site that same year after employees voted to unionize…The next year, two anonymous donations allowed WAMU to buy DCist.” The University said in a statement that this move represents “a new strategy to deepen engagement with Washingtonians…centered around audio and live experiences.”

10. Finally, St. Louis Public Radio reports that local Girl Scouts Troop 149 “decided to raise money for the humanitarian nonprofit Palestine Children’s Relief Fund…inspired by other Girl Scouts troops that raised money for war victims in Ukraine.” Yet, instead of backing this effort, the  Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri responded with a legal threat, writing “Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri and Girl Scouts of the United States have no other choice than to engage our legal counsel to help remedy this situation and to protect the intellectual property and other rights of the organization.” Discouraged, the troop leaders opted to disband the troop. The national organization later apologized for their threat of legal action, but the troop leadership intend to remain disaffiliated from the group, and instead function as an independent troop. So far, they have raised over $10,000 for the PCRF.

This has been Francesco DeSantis, with In Case You Haven’t Heard.

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This content originally appeared on Ralph Nader Radio Hour and was authored by Ralph Nader.

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