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The Politics of Dominance

Ralph welcomes professor M. Steven Fish, political scientist and author of “Comeback: Routing Trumpism, Reclaiming the Nation, and Restoring Democracy’s Edge” who argues that winning elections is about more than policy positions, it’s about projecting …

Ralph welcomes professor M. Steven Fish, political scientist and author of “Comeback: Routing Trumpism, Reclaiming the Nation, and Restoring Democracy’s Edge” who argues that winning elections is about more than policy positions, it’s about projecting strength and dominance. And Donald Trump plays that game better than his Democratic rivals. Plus, former Navy Petty Officer, Phil Tourney, who was aboard the USS Liberty when it was attacked and nearly sunk by Israeli fighter planes and torpedo boats during the Six Day War in 1967, tells us why 57 years later, he still fights for accountability.

M. Steven Fish is a comparative political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley who specializes in democracy and authoritarianism, religion and politics, and constitutional systems and national legislatures. He writes and comments extensively on international affairs and the rising challenges to democracy in the United States and around the world, and he has published commentary in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Foreign Policy, among other publications. His latest book is Comeback: Routing Trumpism, Reclaiming the Nation, and Restoring Democracy’s Edge.

Dominance can be used for good or for ill. The Republicans have used it to advance injustice and corruption. And the Democrats need to—as they did in the 20th century, very often—use it in favor of justice.

M. Steven Fish

What’s holding them back? PAC money? Corruption of campaigns? Lack of character? Fear of skeletons in their own closet? What’s holding them back if it’s so obvious?Ralph Nader, on why Democrats aren’t more dominant

The Republican Party historically has been the party of “no”, once the Civil War was over. When they were formed in 1854, they were the party of “no” against slavery. But after that, they're the party of “no” against labor unions, “no” against progressive taxation, “no” against Medicare, “no” against Social Security, “no” against environmental health regulation, “no” against consumer protection, “no” against raising the minimum wage, “no”, “no”, “no”. And the Democrats— in those examples at least—were “yes”, “yes”, “yes”, and they never bragged about it.

Ralph Nader

Phil Tourney served aboard the USS Liberty as a US Navy Petty Officer on June 8th 1967, when the Liberty was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats. He is President of The USS Liberty Veterans Association, which was established to provide support for survivors of the attack. The efforts of the LVA are also focused on ensuring the US government finally conducts the public investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty.

I can't explain the carnage that went on, but that ship— all of us came together. All the spies, all the ship’s company we all came together…we saved that ship, to tell the truth—and we were ordered by Admiral Isaac Kidd never to say anything about it. He boarded our ship and told us to shut up or we’d end up in prison, fined, or worse— we all knew worse meant death. That's what they told us. To shut up. They took away our First Amendment rights and Congress has not done a darn thing in 57 years. The line is, “It was a case of mistaken identity, that's where they left it.

Phil Tourney, President of the USS Liberty Veterans Association

In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis

News 5/28/24

1.  In Rafah, at least 35 people were killed Sunday night when Israel bombed a “tent camp housing displaced Palestinians in a designated safe zone,” per Al Jazeera. AP reports that at first, Israel’s military claimed it had “carried out a precise airstrike on a Hamas compound,” and only after photographic and video evidence of the horror inflicted on civilians emerged did Prime Minister Netanyahu reverse this position and claim the strike was a “tragic mishap.” Israel’s assault on Rafah continues despite the U.N. International Court of Justice ordering Israel to “immediately halt its military offensive” in the South Gaza city, per the BBC

2. The Guardian is out with a disturbing report alleging “The former head of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency…threatened a chief prosecutor of the international criminal court in a series of secret meetings in which he tried to pressure her into abandoning a war crimes investigation.” This expose details how Yossi Cohen, the former Israeli spy chief, threatened ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, reportedly telling her “You should help us and let us take care of you. You don’t want to be getting into things that could compromise your security or that of your family.” The paper also hinted at further forthcoming revelations, noting that they are working with +972 Magazine and the Hebrew-language outlet Local Call to expose “how multiple Israel intelligence agencies ran a covert ‘war’ against the ICC for almost a decade.” This piece notes that “According to legal experts…efforts by the Mossad to threaten or put pressure on Bensouda could amount to offences against the administration of justice under article 70 of the Rome statute.”

3. Investigative journalist Ken Klippenstein reports through his newsletter that “The Biden administration has publicly admitted that it is working with tech companies to…suppress pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel sentiment,” under the guise of “limit[ing] Hamas's use of online platforms.” As Klippenstein explains, “Platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook have long banned terrorist organizations like Hamas. Now, however, the federal government is pressuring companies to ban ‘Hamas-linked’ accounts and those of pro-Palestinian Americans.” Human Rights Watch raised the alarm about censorship of pro-Palestine content in a report from December 2023, which detailed “Meta’s…‘systemic…censorship’ of speech regarding the…war.”

4. Over Memorial Day weekend, activists assembled in Detroit for the People’s Conference for Palestine. In a surprise address, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib spoke to the crowd, decrying the genocide in Gaza and asking "Where's your red line, President Biden?" the Detroit News reports. Tlaib went on to call Biden an "enabler," who "shields the murderous war criminal Netanyahu." Over 100,000 Michigan residents voted “uncommitted,” in the state’s Democratic primary.

5. Celebrated actor Guy Pearce was recently photographed by the French subsidiary of Vanity Fair during the Cannes film festival. When he posed for the photo, Pearce wore a Palestinian flag pin; yet when the photo was published, the pin had been photoshopped out entirely. The Middle East Eye, which covered this story, reached out to Vanity Fair asking for a comment on why they edited the image, but did not receive a response. Vanity Fair restored the original photo and apologized, claiming it was a mistake, but many are not buying it. As one social media commenter put it, “This is a reminder that the media... will do anything and everything to hide any form of solidarity.”

6. The American Prospect’s David Dayen reports “[The American Prospect] has learned that during [Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s recent trip to California to participate in the 2024 RSA Cybersecurity Conference]…[she] had an off-the-record, no-readout briefing with several tech executives.” As Dayen notes, this meeting comes “at a time when the DOJ is suing both Google and Apple,” and as Monaco has spoken of making corporate criminal enforcement a higher priority at Justice. As there is no official record of this meeting it is impossible to know what was discussed, but the cloak-and-dagger nature of this rendezvous raises serious questions about DOJ’s commitment to pursuing the lawsuits against the tech giants. We demand the Deputy Attorney General disclose the content of this meeting at once.

7. The Reform Party, originally founded by Ross Perot, has announced that it “has nominated Robert F. Kennedy Jr.…for President of the United States.” The most significant effect of this nomination, as the party notes, is that it “will hand [Kennedy] our automatic ballot access in the State of Florida as well as our advantages as a qualified party.” According to Kennedy’s campaign website, he is now eligible to be on the ballot in states totaling 229 electoral votes, though Axios has a lower tally. Kennedy now faces a race against the clock to qualify for the upcoming presidential debates, though even if he does qualify his participation is not guaranteed as both the Biden and Trump campaigns have agreed to sidestep the Commission on Presidential Debates.

8. In more Third Party news, the Libertarian Party has chosen Chase Oliver as their 2024 presidential nominee, per POLITICO. Oliver gained national attention for his 2022 campaign for Senate in Georgia, with some claiming his candidacy forced the race to a runoff, ultimately resulting in the reelection of Democrat Raphael Warnock. During that race, Oliver describes himself as “armed and gay.” Both former President Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. vied for the Libertarian Party nomination. Trump himself addressed the convention in person but was roundly booed. He was ultimately deemed ineligible, while Kennedy received only 19 votes. However, Larry Sharpe, a longtime Libertarian Party member and unsuccessful vice presidential candidate expressed alarm about Kennedy’s potential impact on the party. Sharpe said “We’re gonna lose ballot access in probably 22 states. We’re not gonna make more than half a percent…RFK sucks the money out of the room and he gets the ‘I’m mad at the system votes’ that we used to get because we’re the only other guy on the ballot.”

9. The Teamsters union is turning their presidential endorsement over to their members. Since May 19th, Teamsters locals have been holding polls to determine which candidate the national union will endorse. This is a marked departure from the traditional endorsement structure, which is typically decided in a top-down fashion by the national union leadership. However, this process could result in a Teamsters endorsement of Donald Trump – a real possibility based on the union’s recent flirtation with Trump and the GOP more generally. We urge the union not to endorse Trump, who has an abominable track record on labor issues, clearly documented by the AFL-CIO and the Communications Workers of America.

10. Finally, Bloomberg Labor reporter Josh Eidelson reports the United Autoworkers union is petitioning the National Labor Relations Board, to “discard the results of last week's Mercedes election in Alabama, [and] asking the agency to hold a new vote due to alleged misconduct by the company.” CBS 42 reports this alleged misconduct includes “poll[ing] workers about union support, suggest[ing] voting in the union would be futile, target[ing] union supporters with drug tests and [per UAW] “engag[ing] in conduct which deliberately sought to exacerbate racial feelings by irrelevant and inflammatory appeals to racial prejudice.’” In addition to these complaints, Mercedes is reportedly under investigation by the German government for anti-union activity during this campaign. In a statement, the UAW wrote “All these workers ever wanted was a fair shot at having a voice on the job and a say in their working conditions…Let’s get a vote at Mercedes…where the company isn’t allowed to fire people, isn’t allowed to intimidate people, and isn’t allowed to break the law and their own corporate code, and let the workers decide.”

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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