America’s Lawyer E01: Amazon is banning certain words like “union” and “pay raise” from a company app for employees, as they grow more and more terrified of an organized workforce. We’ll bring you the details. President Biden’s approval rating is in a freefall, and his behavior has gotten so bad that even Saudi Arabia is mocking him on TV. We’ll explain what’s happening. And CNN is suffering from their most embarrassing failure ever – and that’s quite an accomplishment. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Hi, I’m Mike Papantonio and this is America’s Lawyer. Amazon is banning certain words like union and pay raise from their company app for employees as they grow more and more terrified of an organized workforce. We’ll bring you the details. President Biden’s approval rating is in free fall and his behaviors gotten so bad that even the Saudi Arabia, they’re mocking him on TV. We’ll talk to you about that. We’ll explain what’s happening. And CNN is suffering from their most embarrassing failure ever and that’s quite an accomplishment for CNN. All that and more coming up. So don’t go anywhere, America’s Lawyer starts right now.

Toxic chemicals called PFAS are being spread across the globe in alarming amounts and a new report warns about the dangers of these chemicals and how they’re spreading through the air. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me now to talk about that and many other issues. Farron, of course we, we’ve been following this story for almost a decade now. Honestly, we were some of the first people reporting it because we were trying that case up in the Ohio river valley, where 70,000 people were, were exposed to this cancer causing chemical and it seemed like the government said, it’s okay. Looks like they’re doing it again. Now we’re spreading it by air. Let’s, let’s pick up on this story a little bit.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. This, this is actually a rather terrifying story for everyone involved because we’ve found these PFAS chemicals and essentially every human being in the planet right now has this chemical in them, most likely. And usually it goes through the water. That’s how most of it was coming in. But now we’re finding out that when you send your trash away, that has these PFAS chemicals in it, whether you know it or not, it gets incinerated and over in Europe, they’ve actually been doing studies. We’re ignoring it here for the moment. But in Europe they’ve done studies and found, oh my God, we’re burning the trash. We’re sending the PFAS, you know, dozens and dozens of miles away from these incinerators and we don’t know how badly this is going to hurt people, because we don’t know what exactly happens to these chemicals when you heat them to these temperatures. Do they become worse? Do they break down?

Mike Papantonio:             We do know a little bit. We, we learned in the trial, I tried five cases back to back in the Ohio river valley. People that were suffering from testicular cancer, kidney cancer, you know, complete systemic kinds of problems that were killing people by the dozens up in the Ohio river valley. There was a movie that was made about it was called Dark Waters, I tried those cases for that lawyer, Rob Bilott, brilliant, brilliant lawyer who stayed with this, did the investigation and just, just dogged these people. Another movie that tells this story is The Devil We Know. But the story is still not getting through to government. Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             To have the Biden administration say, yeah, this is okay. Let’s incinerate it even though we know that it, it first of all, it never goes anywhere. If it’s in the soil, it’s in the soil for a million years. If it’s of water, it’s in the, literally a million years. If it’s in the water, it’s in a mil, a million years. If it’s in your body, it stays in your body your entire life.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. That’s why these are called these forever chemicals. Folks need to understand that these don’t go away. They’re not gonna break down. And one of the things we are finding out of course about this, you know, incinerating it and sending it through the air is that sometimes they do actually break down. And then what the scientists have now found is, oh God, once they’re in the air, they actually start to reform.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And they create new kinds of PFAS chemicals and, and these are.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re mutations.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re mutations.

Farron Cousins:                  Like the different variants of COVID we have seen, and we’re creating these horrible new cancer causing chemicals.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, isn’t the real problem here, it’s like the story we did a couple of months ago, where the Biden administration says, now we’re going to allow Paraquat the most deadly, the most deadly herbicide on the planet. It’s so deadly that the companies that, the country China makes it in, in China, outside Beijing, they don’t allow it to be sold in China. The UK makes it, they don’t allow it to be sold in the UK. They ship it to the United States. Switzerland makes it, but they don’t allow it to be sold in their country. They ship it to the United States. So, so we know that we’ve got and administration that is completely asleep at the wheel on environmental issues. They’re spraying this from the air when no other country allows that, we allow it in the United States, it causes Parkinson’s disease. So this story that we’re talking about on PFAS is just another iteration of this administration simply ignoring what they promised they were gonna do when they we’re running for office and that is we’re gonna get control over the environment.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you know, I, I do want to add to that too, because a lot of people think that, okay, well obviously Republicans are horrible on environmental issues.

Mike Papantonio:             They are.

Farron Cousins:                  So all you gotta do is vote Democrats, and we’re gonna solve these problems. No folks.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  No, absolutely not. You gotta look at what the EPA is doing, which right now is pretty much nothing.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, you and I talk about this all the time. You know, we have this one, it’s kind of this, this myopic view of our politics, right? We think if it’s Democrat, they’re looking out for consumers, they’re not. On social issues, they’re great. Republicans are awful. On consumer issues and issues that protect our environment and protect our health, Democrats are just as bad as Republicans and this is a great example, Paraquat and now this. We’re just gonna let it out there and we’re not gonna worry about what it does to, to, to consumers.

Amazon is so scared of their workers forming a union that they’ve banned words like union from the company’s chat app for workers. You know, you, you actually picked this story up, I think before most people in, in the media, and you were reporting this a long time ago. You were saying something’s getting ready to happen in the union movement with Amazon and we started seeing the real edges of it, right? We saw what happened in Alabama, where they shut down the union process. But here, this is so ugly. This is, this, this app is going to say, you can’t use these words. What are the words they can’t use in the app?

Farron Cousins:                  There’s so many of them, but, you know, union, pay raise, you can’t use the word restroom.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  In there. You know, I think like things like comradery or, or this is concerning and I do have to give full credit, obviously Ken Klippenstein with the intercept.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Is the one who, who broke this big story. And for the record, you know, the chat app is apparently they haven’t released it fully yet.

Mike Papantonio:             No, they’re going to, they’re going to.

Farron Cousins:                  And they will and honestly, I think a bigger part of the story here too, is you’re gonna have an app that Amazon basically controls and says, hey, workers.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  Y’all get on there and talk to each other. If you think they’re not gonna big brother this crap and pay attention to every single word you say, you are kidding yourself. This is so they can spy on people with it, making them think like, oh no, this is just so you can give a shout out to your buddy over here, who did a great job.

Mike Papantonio:             And, and so, so this is their statement. We’re doing this, this is Amazon, because our teams are always thinking about new, new ways to help employees engage and improve their lives. Okay. This, so, so they’re gonna come up with app, but oh, by the way, you can’t use the word pay raise, compensation. You can’t use the word petition, prison. You can’t, I can’t, I couldn’t make this up.

Farron Cousins:                  Slaves, plantation.

Mike Papantonio:             Slave, you can’t, because they know that they get hammered, they get hammered by these employees that it’s constant and so they say, we’re gonna give you this chat app, because we’re really concerned about you, Mr. and Mrs. employee. We’re concerned about your quality of life and we want you to be able to talk to each other, but.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, you, you can’t use any of these words. You can’t use it for union organizing. And of course their big concern is, you know, just a couple weeks ago, this massive victory where a union for the first time was formed with an Amazon warehouse. Chris Smalls, who we have talked about many times, he is the one they said back in the day, let’s make him the face of it. Let’s try to paint him as this crazy person trying to form a union. Well, Chris Smalls beat you, Amazon. And now you have all of these other Amazon warehouses that are reaching out to Smalls saying, do for us what you’ve done there. So he may have been fired, but he won in the end.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s inevitable. It’s gonna, they’re gonna unionize. The, you know, Amazon needs to get behind it. They need to make, do it in a way that’s cooperative. That is sustainable. This is not the way to do that.

The Biden administration made a dangerous decision on not regulating chemicals from jet fuel that are now contaminating, contaminating water supplies. Now this was an affirmative decision that the Biden administration made after the Trump administration started it. They, now think about this. A, we know that jet fuel, if you’re living near a military base, is probably in your drinking water. B, we know that it causes neurological disease. We know it causes birth defects. We know it causes cancer. But you know what? We’re not going to allow you to report the amount of this jet fuel that’s in your water. We’re gonna stop you from doing it.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. This is a horrendous decision by this administration. Like you said, this happened under Trump. They said, we’re no longer gonna regulate this. We’re not gonna do anything. You’re just gonna have to drink your jet fuel and move on with life. So the Biden administration, as usual people say, oh, good environmental protections. Nope. Biden’s EPA says, yeah, we’re not gonna touch it either and of course, I think a big part of it as you mentioned, you know, from the military bases, if we have to crack down on that, then, oh my God, contractors may not get money. They may have to pay people when they get these, you know, cancers and this affects brain development.

Mike Papantonio:             In children.

Farron Cousins:                  In, in children, infants, fetuses. So we’re giving these children this jet fuel via the mother and they come out with exceptionally lower IQs. We’re hindering, we’re ruining their lives. We’re ruining their lives.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s a perchlorate. Okay. And we know a lot more about perchlorate than just, than, we know that it causes birth defects. We know causes neurological disease in, in adults, just like children. We know it causes cancer. This, there’s a lot of material on this. And so the administration has said, and all, all we want is like a state to have information so they can say to people in the community, you might want to know that we have toxin in your drinking order and it’s coming from the, from the military base right next to you. The contractors, buddy, they went crazy when, when this was on the table. The contractors fought desperately to keep this a secret. They didn’t even want to, they didn’t even wanna raise this. They didn’t wanna talk about the fact this, that this, this chemical is in drinking water. Now, the administrations bought into it totally and, and the Democrats were the ones who were so critical at Trump when he made it happen.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and, and that’s the big problem here too. Again, you have all these people who really were up in arms. All these environmental groups spoke out against Trump. They filed these big lawsuits. Okay. But now, now the guy that you told us was gonna to do this, where’s the outrage now? You have to carry it over because this isn’t a partisan issue. This is people are gonna die because they’re drinking poison and our government’s doing nothing about it.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Now it’s okay. Now it’s not, it’s not that freak, we agree, he’s a freak, Trump doing it. Now, this, this tired old man who can barely stay awake and he doesn’t probably even know what’s happening here. And so, so, but now it’s okay.

An analysis of IRS data has revealed that the wealthiest Americans are paying income tax rates far lower than working class Americans and the usual suspects, well, they’re the ones paying the least. No surprise here. Great article done by ProPublica. I don’t know how they got the material. I mean, they, this is hard work to get this material, pick it up.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, absolutely and of course, you know, we’ve got all of these individuals. These are the top 400 wealthiest people in the United States. Many of them paying tax rates in the low teens or very high single digits.

Mike Papantonio:             Run through some of the numbers.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. Bill Gates, he paid a tax rate of 18.4. Then Steve Ballmer, who now runs Microsoft, 14.1% Bloomberg, income of $2 billion, paid a tax rate of 4.1%. Bezos, 23%. So a little bit higher for Bezos, I guess.

Mike Papantonio:             Betsy DeVos, 10%.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. The billionaire DeVos family here, 10%. And then, you know, the Walton heir, Tom Walton, heir to Walmart, he actually paid 23%.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But those are, the 23% is relatively what a lower income American making 40,000 a year, they’re probably gonna pay about 23%.

Mike Papantonio:             Add to that, that these are the same people that have offshore banks.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             These, this is money we never see, you understand. They offshore the money, a corporation offshores the money. And then we have to plead with them, oh, will you please bring your money back in from the Isle of Man? And they say, well, if you’ll negotiate with us and so they negotiate, the money comes back in only when the feds agree, well, we’re only gonna make you pay 5% on that money.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Everybody else is paying regular tax rates. Everybody else is doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. This is a tragedy and it’s just, nobody seems to be willing to stop it.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, it is, you know, and, and we discussed, because it was revealed a couple years ago that there is this building down there, I think in the Cayman islands, it’s just this building and there’s nothing but a bunch of PO boxes in there and in there are the PO boxes of some of the largest corporations and the wealthiest individuals because that’s their address. That’s, that’s where they officially live so they can avoid paying these taxes. It’s crazy.

Mike Papantonio:             You did, you did a story one time in the, in the trial lawyer magazine and the number was staggering. It was 400 billion dollars. Was, is that number correct?

Farron Cousins:                  I, I think, well that was, you know, at least what it was a couple years ago. I’m willing to bet at this point, it’s a lot higher.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Considering the excessive wealth we’re seeing that these individuals are hoarding now.

Mike Papantonio:             And, and so that’s in the islands and we have to plea, please bring it back.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And please pay some taxes, but we’re gonna let you pay 5%. Everything’s gonna be okay.

President Biden’s approval rating is getting worse by the minute and his embarrassing behavior’s now being mocked, couldn’t make this up, it’s being mocked on TV in places like Saudi Arabia. Okay. So we have this relationship with Saudi Arabia, which is a joke to begin with. That it’s the most horrendous administer, they’re just a cabal of psychopaths there in Saudi Arabia, but we have that relationship anyway. But Biden now has gotten to the point, it’s almost become such a laughable situation. They actually are doing TV segments of, of Biden and it ain’t a very pretty picture.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. It’s, you know, I, I guess kind of their Saturday Night Live version of it. They played this clip of him falling asleep halfway through, Kamala having to wake him up and talking nonsensical, not really forming even complete sentences and.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, they took, they took off on, there was a, a couple of weeks ago, White House, he’s giving a speech and he starts off in the speech, he says, I wanna, I wanna talk about America and I wanna use one word to talk about America. And then he goes off in like in a trance talking about his trip in the Himalayas. I mean, point. Here, let’s take a look at it. It’s, it’s, I couldn’t make this up.

Joe Biden:                              America is a nation that can be defined in a single word. I was in the foot hima, ah, foot foot, uh, excuse me, the foothills of the Himalayas with Xi Jinping, traveling with him, I actually traveled 17,000 miles when I was vice president. I don’t know that for a fact.

Mike Papantonio:             So what’s your take?

Farron Cousins:                  I, I don’t even really know how to, how to respond to that clip because it really does make no sense and, and let’s be clear, if Trump had done something like, hell, when Trump did do things like that.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh, Trump did stuff like that all the time.

Farron Cousins:                 We, we would do segments on it and all of that. So fair is fair. You gotta call this out because again, that is not normal behavior. That is not okay. We’ve got a man who, who can’t follow his own train of thought. You know, something is clearly not clicking here. This isn’t necessarily a, haha, look at the crazy old man. This is a, guys we gotta understand there’s something wrong here.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. We got a national security issue. You know, there’s a movie. I, I love this movie. It was called Being There. And the, the idea of it was, it’s Peter Sellers movie and he, he’s this character Chauncey Gardner. Now the family dies that he’s the gardener in the family. The media comes in and he’s the guy out in the garden working. He’s got, you know, he’s got some mental problems. He got some serious mental problems, but all of a sudden everything he says, the media embraces and says, this is absolutely brilliant, Chauncey Gardner. I don’t care what it is. It could be as absurd as you wanna make up and Chauncey Gardner sounded brilliant. I wonder whether they’re gonna start doing that with this guy, because there’s, that’s the only way to make it look like everything’s okay because I gotta tell you something, that clip we just watched, I could go through dozens and dozens of them on this show and it’s, it freaks me out just a little bit.

Farron Cousins:                  Well I think right now people are starting to pay attention to it. You know, about a week or so ago we get the reports about Dianne Feinstein.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh my God,

Farron Cousins:                  That she doesn’t, that she.

Mike Papantonio:             Wooo.

Farron Cousins:                  Multiple times in a conversation with somebody she’s known for years, that person has to reintroduce themselves to her because in the middle of a conversation, she forgets who they are.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, she’ll start talking about her family. She’ll start talking about something completely.

Farron Cousins:                  The weather.

Mike Papantonio:             The weather.

Farron Cousins:                  Where are you from?

Mike Papantonio:             And that’s, that’s what we’re seeing. I mean, God bless him. He’s been at it a long time. He’s paid his dues. He’s just, he just, he’s too old for this job and he’s already seriously talking about running again in 2024. I, the other, the other shot the Saudis took was on, was on Kamala Harris.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, that was a pretty ugly shot that they did with her. I mean, she looks like a total buffoon too. So you gotta wonder.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and this administration should look at that and say, look, why are we giving them hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons that they turn around use to commit genocide in Yemen? And this is how they treat us. Look at, they’re not our friends.

Mike Papantonio:             No, we’re pleading with them to, to increase.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, lower gas prices.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, increase oil production. Nah.

Farron Cousins:                  They’re laughing at us.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re laughing at us. Like we are just captive and we are.

CNN recently launched a streaming app that’s already become a massive failure because they didn’t seem to realize that nobody wants to pay for their corporate media garbage, it’s propaganda. You know, I mean, even the, even the, the folks at this point that are the most biggest supporters of CNN are saying, yeah, we kind of have to agree, this has digressed into pure propaganda, just like Fox news, it’s propaganda. And so they launched this thing thinking everything’s gonna be okay, it’s a terrible, terrible disaster. It’s so bad, what they’re doing is they’re, they’re in cut, they’re in cut mode right now. They’re starting to cut all of their outside advertising because they’re in bad financial problems.

Farron Cousins:                  And they just fired the chief financial officer a couple days ago, because this was such a huge blunder. They pumped $300 million, I don’t even know how they have $300 million.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  So they pumped.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, they’re leveraged. They’re leveraged to the hilt right now.

Farron Cousins:                  So they, they pumped that into this new streaming service and they say, well, you know how nobody even wants to watch us on TV. What if we made ’em pay $6 a month to watch us? I, I mean, they were getting 700,000 viewers in a 24 hour period. Not, Tucker Carlson beats that in the first five minutes of his show.

Mike Papantonio:             Think about that.

Farron Cousins:                  And you say, we’ve, we’ve got a lower audience than most YouTube channels.

Mike Papantonio:             Most people would pay $6 a month not to have to watch Brian. What’s his name? Brian Stellar, the, whatever the little characters name is. Yeah. They, they’d pay $6 not to have to this propaganda crap. And so it’s no big surprise here at all.

Farron Cousins:                  No, and it really is hilarious. I do have to say that it’s hilarious that they went all in knowing that they had the lowest cable news audience out of anyone out there, knowing that people don’t like what they’re selling.

Mike Papantonio:             We, we, we established one time that more people are watching us on what we’re doing. We don’t have a huge network, but more people are watching you and they’re watchin then they are corporate, corporate media right now. It’s pretty, it’s a wake up call for them, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  It is.

Mike Papantonio:             Thanks, Farron.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             Appreciate it. That’s all for this week. But you can find all of our today’s stories on YouTube channel at ring of fire. The videos are gonna be posted throughout the week and you can follow us on Twitter @ America’s Lawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer. We, we tell you the stories that corporate media can’t tell you because their advertisers don’t allow ’em to talk about it and their political connections won’t allow for it. We’ll see you next week. We’re gonna tell you more stories then, that you’re probably not gonna hear anywhere else. Thanks a lot.

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.