The DNC has finally decided to stop taking money from fossil fuel companies, a great step forward, but there’s about a hundred other industries they need to also abandon. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this.


Mike Papantonio: Well, the DNC has finally decided to stop taking money from fossil fuel companies. It’s a great step forward but there’s about a hundred other industries that they need to abandon. Yeah, again, full disclosure. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I’ve been Independent for 30-plus years. I just try to call balls and strikes. If a candidate looks good on the Rs, I’ll go with that candidate. If they look good on the Ds, I’ll go with the candidate. Nothing tribal about it. Hopefully, it’s analytical and we make right decisions if we analyze facts.

So here, the DNC is putting this out as if this is revolutionary. We’re not going to take money from the fossil fuel industry. Well, the other part of that story is, they don’t get much money to begin with. The Republicans get all the money from the fossil fuel industry.

Now the real question I would have, and I’ve asked them this in the past. I mean, I’ve been on panels where this has come up, where the discussion has been, maybe you ought to think about maybe not taking a gazillion dollars from the pharmaceutical industry or maybe you ought to turn down that money from Monsanto or DuPont or Dow or Wall Street. They are like a money magnet.

So here, it’s like a card game. It’s like a card trick. They’re forcing a hand. I’m not going to take money from the fossil fuel industry. Well, right, they’re not giving you that much to begin with. I think the Republicans make about six times as much from the fossil fuel industry. As a matter of fact, if you’ll recall, Obama tried to change all that by letting the fossil fuel industry just frack America into oblivion. He signed more fracking, go frack, go frack. You remember that?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: We’re going to go frack everywhere. So they were trying to turn that around and even after he did that, the fossil fuel industry, they never really coughed up a lot of money.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: So am I looking at this through the wrong glasses right now?

Farron Cousins: Well, look, when you read the headline, DNC Votes Unanimously To No Longer Accept Money From Fossil Fuel Companies. That on its face, you see that and you feel good-

Mike Papantonio: Wow.

Farron Cousins: You’re like, you know what, that is the right thing to do.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But when you even dig down into the story here, reported by ThinkProgress, they mention, well, Democrats don’t get very much from these groups. Republicans get seven times more. So it’s basically you have a panhandler out there saying, I’m not going to take any handouts from other panhandlers.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Well, okay, but they’re not the ones who are running your campaigns. It is the Wall Street types. It is Big Pharma. You know, before Citizens United, in 2010, the two top donor groups for the Democratic Party were trial lawyers and labor unions. Following Citizens United, the group that jumped up to the top were investment bankers.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Now trial lawyers and labor unions keep falling further down that list, and it’s all corporations. We’ve got defense contractors jumping up in there. But the big banks, the pharmaceutical companies, they hold the key there. So you might think, okay, well, we’re not going to take money from these companies that are destroying the planet. Great for you. What are you going to do about-

Mike Papantonio: About pharmaceuticals-

Farron Cousins: Yeah, about these-

Mike Papantonio: … about Wall Street-

Farron Cousins: Yeah, the companies-

Mike Papantonio: … about DuPont, about Dow, about Monsanto-

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: I could go on forever and it’s almost as if they’re trying to say, well, you know, we’re just not like them. No, they are like them. There’s no difference between them and them. It’s the same thing. And so here you got this ploy, well, you know, we’re not going to take any money from the fossil fuel industry. I gotta tell you something. If you really believe in either one of these parties, Democrat or Republican, you have responsibility, don’t you think, to say, really?

We saw this shift take place with the Democrats, right?

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: Bill Clinton comes into office. Bill Clinton says, you know, we keep getting beat because corporations always side up with Republicans. Well, we’re going to, as a Democrat, we’re now going to create what we call the Wall Street Democrat. The Wall Street Democrat. It’s very obvious who they are. Cory Booker, for example. Mansion there in West Virginia. Hillary Clinton, Wall Street Democrat. We could go on forever. Unfortunately, Joe Biden is-

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: He’s the presidential guy. Look at that guy’s papers, man. You talk about Wall Street Democrat, he’s got it all over him. But we have to be honest about that. We have to say, okay, there’s a shift that’s taken place. It’s a shift. Maybe you’re not that Democrat that you used to be, but don’t make stuff up and make it sound like you are. Because that’s what happens. You have these people that, they stop asking questions about the very party that they’re tied to. Republicans are even, I don’t know, I think they’re worse. I think they’re worse because Republicans don’t have anybody who will criticize Republicans when they do awful Republican things.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Democrats do. Me and you. You know, Cenk Uygur. I could go on forever about people that say, you know, let’s call it out and call it out. So, I don’t know, this story to me when I saw it, I gotta say, be real. You know, we know that that’s nonsense.

Farron Cousins: Well, what is interesting too, ’cause it’s like they came out and said, you know what? We’re no longer going to kick puppies. Oh, my God were you-

Mike Papantonio: Oh, good.

Farron Cousins: … were you kicking puppies? Well no, but we’re just going to make it official.

Mike Papantonio: But we won’t do it in the future.

Farron Cousins: And also, just to add real quick, they’re still going to take money from people that work in the fossil fuel industry-

Mike Papantonio: Yes.

Farron Cousins: … which could include CEOs and shareholders-

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: … just not from the corporation itself-

Mike Papantonio: Itself.

Farron Cousins: … if it comes from a Super Pac.

Mike Papantonio: Debbie, this has got Debbie Wasserman Schultz kind of thinking all over it. That’s why we are where we are with this dope of a President Trump, because Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn’t want to run a fair campaign and this is the kind of thinking that gets them there.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: A judge has approved the merger of media giants AT&T and Time Warner. It’s a merger that’s going to create even less competition and fewer media options for consumers. I look at this, I look at this and the first thing I want to know, who is this judge, right? That’s where this analysis begins. Who’s the judge?

Judge Richard Leon, US District Court has never seen a corporation that he didn’t fall in love with. That he would have sex in public with. This guy is just all over being owned and operated by corporations. He’s a US District Court judge in the District of Columbia. He had the right to say, no more mergers. He’s the same guy that the … Comcast-

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Same guy that did that, right? Comcast.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, take it. Take it from there.

Farron Cousins: So Richard Leon, appointed by George W. Bush in 2002. Just even a quick search on his record and you find some of the most pro-corporate rulings ever. Now it should be noted he actually did pretty good with Gitmo detainees. Treated them like human beings. But on corporations, look, he sided against the FDA on banning the import of electronic cigarettes from other countries that are completely unsafe-

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Filled with chemicals-

Mike Papantonio: Will cause cancer. Will cause all kinds of poisoning.

Farron Cousins: Struck down the graphic warning on cigarette labels.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: Approved the Comcast/Universal thing that destroyed MSNBC, turned it unrecognizable, and he approves this AT&T/Time Warner merger with no conditions. Nothing has to be met. They don’t have to sell off any properties. You get it as-is. You’re good to go.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.