America’s Lawyer E55: Nancy Pelosi has spent years blocking healthcare reform in the United States in order to protect corporate profits, and the healthcare companies recently rewarded her for her efforts to keep prices high for consumers. Some of the most popular drinks in America – from soda to milk – have been found to contain alarming levels of toxic heavy metals. And a new poll has found that most of the country blames the failing corporate media for the increased polarization in the country today. All that, and more is coming up, so don’t go anywhere – America’s Lawyer starts right now.


*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. Nancy Pelosi has spent years blocking healthcare reform in the United States in order to protect corporate profits and the healthcare companies recently rewarded her for her efforts to keep prices high for consumers by giving her a very special award. Some of the most popular drinks in America from soda to milk, well, they’ve been found to have alarming levels of toxic heavy metals. And a new poll has found that most of the country blames the failing corporate media for the increased polarization of politics in this country. All that and more. It’s coming up. Don’t go anywhere. America’s Lawyer starts right now.

Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi was recently given an award by the healthcare industry for working tirelessly for years to prevent real healthcare reform. And they wanted to give her an award for providing no relief to consumers for all the terrible things that have been done to consumers by the industry. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about what’s happening on this issue. There’s no other way to put it. She was rewarded for being a corporate thug. I mean, she was given this award, what was it, you know, most likely to succeed, hell, I don’t know. For being a corporate thug, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. The, it’s the AHA, the American Hospital Association, which is not really an association. It’s a lobbying group. It’s where the high dollar hospitals put all their money to then go and whine and dine people like Nancy Pelosi and David Axelrod and Karl Rove to make sure that nothing happens. And I threw in those other names because those people also happen to be present at this wonderful little gathering that Nancy Pelosi received her prestigious award for continuing to screw over the American public. We had the numbers last time she was speaker to get Medicare For All and make it a reality, or at least bring it to the floor for a vote, and she wouldn’t even do that.

Mike Papantonio: Everybody you just described, especially the lizard like character Carville, they’ve just, they used to be progressives. And then all of a sudden, this situation, for example, it’s like every situation, the hospital industry comes in with $130 million, starts spreading it around. And all they say is to Pelosi, look, we want to, here’s what she did. Let’s be real specific. She blocked Medicare For All. She was the one that blocked it. She had a very strong voice init. She stopped lowering medicine, oh yeah, we’re gonna lower Medicare eligibility to where we had, you know, you could get Medicare earlier. But that’s bad for the hospital industry, you see, because then they can’t make a claim in insurance. So it’s all about money there. She stopped that. She stopped the Dems from voting on public options. Stopped that. She gave, government run insurance plan, she stopped that. And so for doing all these wonderful things that did nothing at all for consumers. Now this is our Democrat, again, you Democrats out there that get so angry when I talk about Democrats. If this is okay with you, so be it. But this woman had more to do with stopping reform in the healthcare industry than anybody I can name. And they’re mostly Democrats that did it.

Farron Cousins: I know. And if you’re a Democrat and you’re mad that we’re telling you the truth about Nancy Pelosi.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, go somewhere else. Go to another site.

Farron Cousins: Well, what I was gonna say, just wait till the next time you open up that bill you get from the doctor’s office or the hospital. Then tell me if you feel the same as you do right now that we’re mad that we’re talking about this because Pelosi is responsible. As the speaker, everything that did or did not happen in that House lands on her.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: And that’s what people have to understand. Just like today, it’s Kevin McCarthy. What happens or doesn’t happen, it’s on him.

Mike Papantonio: That’s right.

Farron Cousins:When she was in charge, it was on her and this is on her. And that’s why she got rewarded.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. And if you can’t handle it, go to another site. Okay. Because we’re just, this is what we do. We call balls and strikes. I’m way progressive. You’re way progressive. But I’m not gonna be a cheerleader for Democrats when they do this kind of stuff. And I’m sure not gonna be, you know, apologist for Republicans. We, this is our job. And so, to me, this is an ugly story and you need to be aware of it that this woman that many of you revere, oh, she was such an important, she cost consumers so much money. She cost them their health. And she did that to the point to where the industry gave her an award for being such a sellout. I mean, there’s no other way to put it.

Farron Cousins: She’s also the one, according to reports, who’s making them parade around Dianne Feinstein, even though she’s, you know, got a foot in the grave at this point. Pelosi’s behind that as well.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Plenty of good Democrats out there. Katie Porter, man. You know, Bobby, you know, Robert F. Kennedy getting ready to run for president. You watch this. Oh my god, Bobby Kennedy. How awful. He, you know, because of the vaccine issue. Well, you know, I got vaccines. You got vaccines. We disagree with him on that. But what about all the other incredible stuff the guy has done for the climate, for people, for consumers? He’s always been there. And so to say, you know what? We can’t even think outside of the Democratic box is very dangerous. And as he runs against Biden, let me just tell you something. People think it might not, people think it’s gonna be a runaway, I don’t think so. I don’t think so at all. I know you’re a Biden guy. I’m anything but a Biden guy.

Farron Cousins: At the moment, at the moment.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. But, you know, Bobby and I go a long way back. I mean, we practiced law together. We did TV together. We did radio together. We started Ring of Fire. We started this show years ago. It started with Air America. It was Janeane Garofalo, Rachel Maddow, Al Franken, Sam Seder, incredible lineup. And me and Bobby and Air America was the most progressive entity in America.

Farron Cousins: The only one.

Mike Papantonio: The only one. And then comes out of that Ring of Fire. And thank goodness we discovered you. Right?

Farron Cousins: Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio: Florida lawmakers are preparing to pass legislation that would allow a toxic radioactive substance to be used in paving the roads across the state. This material has already been banned by the federal government because of how bad it is for human beings. Okay. Let’s talk about how bad it is right off the bat. How about this? It’s radioactive. How about it’s got radon in it. It’s got uranium in it. This is what our legislators say, hey, let’s use this to pave roads. Almost can’t even, almost can’t even say that without laughing. Go ahead.

Farron Cousins: I mean, this really does seem like something you would see in like a bad kid’s cartoon. The bad guy wants to put the radioactive waste into the roads and you’re like, all right, that’s a little too farfetched. But that is exactly what Republicans in Florida are trying to do. Let’s use the phosphogypsum that even the defunct and horrible EPA says, you can’t do this. Let’s do it anyway. And put it in the roads that travel every inch of this state so that every time it rains, the rainwater picks up the radioactive material, floods it off into the waterways, into the aquifers, into the crops. Let’s kill the whole state, is what they’re saying.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. That’s what people are missing. You understand, it’s a road. Okay. It rains, it storms.

Farron Cousins: A lot.

Mike Papantonio: The radioactivity moves into the aquifer. The aquifer moves into our drinking water. This is a, you know what this is, this is a payoff to the phosphate industry. Because they’ve got 800 acres and dozens of places all over this Florida where they have this toxin stacked up like mountains. So this is the payoff because, you know, DeSantis is running for president. They’re gonna give him a lot of money. Says he says, hey, let’s think about putting it in roads. What a crazy. Even China, China turned this down. China said, hell no, we’re not gonna do that. They did some studies and they say, are you nuts? Even communist China said, bad idea. phosphogypsum, uranium. You want that in your drinking water. Huh?

A new report’s found that high school students in this country are falling dangerously behind in social studies and their understanding of basic civics. How does government work? What’s a senator? What’s a House of Representative? What’s the Secretary of State? They know nothing. The numbers are staggering. I mean, it’s, what is it 19%? Was it 19 to 22% have, oh, excuse me, I take it back. 13% are proficient in history. 13%. Now what is, pick it up. Maybe I’m, you know, your wife’s a teacher.

Farron Cousins: So everybody knows, 13% are proficient. That means only 13% of our students across the country are good at this. They understand it. So we’re talking about close to 87% that are either not great at it or downright don’t know it. And the test scores, this is the first time in years and years, we have seen these numbers decline in the way that they have.

Mike Papantonio: Farron, they test every four years.

Farron Cousins: They do. And so when they tested four years ago, this group was already pretty bad. And then they test ’em four years later. Okay. You’ve gathered more knowledge. And then they say, well, nope. I guess you didn’t gather more knowledge. And look, I trace a lot of this back to the policies that happened under George W. Bush that everybody forgets about, No Child Left Behind.

Mike Papantonio: Yes.

Farron Cousins: Well, what was No Child Left Behind? Teach to the test. Make it to where they have to pass the test and that’s all that matters.

Mike Papantonio: But even that’s a disaster because the numbers are even worse with math and reading.

Farron Cousins: They are.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, at what point do you say, well, this is okay? No, it’s not okay. It’s why we have a generation already just right below us that says censorship is a great idea. Let’s censor anything we don’t agree with because they don’t understand civics. They don’t understand the First Amendment. They say, if we disagree with something, it’s fine to censor it because they don’t get the connection. So what is this generation gonna do? I mean, they’re coming up. I mean, how bad is it gonna be there?

Farron Cousins: It’s, I mean, look, it’s bad. It is worse than what we thought. And this is something honestly, you and I have talked about at length for many, many years about how they’re losing their grasp on the basics of the economy, of the government, of history itself. And it is going to get worse because right now what’s happening? We’ve got state governments censoring the textbooks. They’re erasing parts of history, making it illegal to teach it.

Mike Papantonio: Yes. Well, not only that, they’re taking best sellers off of the shelves because they disagree with the words that were used. You can’t get Tom Sawyer in a class because the words that were used.

Farron Cousins: You can’t show a picture of Michelangelo’s David to a class because now it’s pornography.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Well, we have a whole generation that’s buying into it, man. I mean, I’m telling you. Censorship, yeah, it’s fine. Comedy, yeah, we can censor comedy. If we don’t like what that comic says, hell, take him off the stage. If we don’t like what the speaker says and he comes to our college campus, close it down. Make it so impossible for him to speak that he can’t speak. You see the danger with that? Right. But what if a kid doesn’t even understand civics, basic First Amendment issues, then it really gets complicated.

Farron Cousins: Well, and part of the problem too is that they’re watching as their parents are calling for the censorship of the textbooks, of the books and the libraries. So this is what they’re gonna know, which means it’s what they’re gonna repeat when they become parents themselves.

Mike Papantonio: I literally saw, To Kill a Mockingbird, needs to be censored. Okay. To Kill a Mockingbird, we’re gonna censor To Kill a Mockingbird because we’ve got these snowflake types that are trying to, they’re mind police. It’s 1984 all over again, brother. And that’s what’s happening. We are really experiencing it right now. Right now.

Farron Cousins: Maybe we do deserve the radioactive activity into the roads. Just let’s go full Idiocracy at this point.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. It is Idiocracy.

New studies have found that the most popular drinks in America contain alarming levels of toxic heavy metals that can cause all sorts of problems within the human body. And as usual, the regulatory agencies, well, they’re not doing anything. They’re not even saying anything about it. This is no big deal. Wow. We’re talking about arsenic, we’re talking about cadmium, we’re talking about lead. We’re talking about half a dozen dangerous heavy metals. Pick it up.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. What’s really stupid to me about this story is that the researchers who conducted this said, hey, but don’t worry folks, there’s nothing to worry about because the levels you’re getting from your orange juice, your fruit juice, your milk, your soda, it’s actually still less than what the EPA allows. And it says, okay, but that’s only if you’re consuming that one thing that’s contaminated. If you also live in one of the 3000 areas of the country that have unacceptable levels of lead in the drinking water, you’re screwed.

Mike Papantonio: Right. First of all, it’s accumulative, right?

Farron Cousins: Yes.

Mike Papantonio:: You have, it doesn’t just move through. Okay. Arsenic doesn’t move through your system. It is a heavy metal. That’s how they poison people. Cadmium is a heavy metal. It doesn’t move through your system. So it’s every, each and every exposure to one of these entities is accumulative threat. It’s accumulative health threat. Now, the reason, the government always does this, we found a case we handled out in California, we found the lead levels in some wine was off the chart. And the government said, well, that’s no problem. Well, it’s a problem if you drink wine every day because the standards that the EPA, the EPA is a joke. I mean, really, they’re a joke. And the levels they came out was to begin with are meaningless. But this is real easy to solve. You know, it’s the top layer of soil where they go in third world countries and they get the cheaper, they grow the cheapest vegetables they can, and they don’t change the soil. There’s no, they don’t scrape the soil and then refurb it and then re-energize it with new soil. And it’s part of the globalization issue. We get cheap vegetables, but hey, this is killing us.

Farron Cousins: It really is. And again, for them to say, I don’t think there needs to be fear. It’s the dosage that often makes the difference so everything in moderation. So as long as you’re just taking your toxic heavy metals in moderation, the researchers say, you’re gonna be fine.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Now, can I make a prediction? The person that said that will be going to work with the soda industry for four times what he’s making is a bureaucrat.

Farron Cousins: Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio: I promise you that’ll happen.

Years after a DuPont chemical factory exploded in Texas, the company’s finally been fined a poultry $12,000,000. Four people died in this explosion. Nobody went to jail. The company continued to pull in billions of dollars after nearly ruining an entire town. And it’s just, it’s okay. It’s all right. The problem, it’s not just this. DuPont was dumping all of these toxins into the waterways, into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the equivalent of me going over to your, hey, Farron, you’re my neighbor. You have a nice swimming pool. I really don’t want to pay to have the sewage department get rid of my sewage. Can I dump it in your pool? You see, of course not. And I’d be arrested if I did that. These folks get away with that times a gazillion, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And it’s actually.

Mike Papantonio: It’s called externalizing costs.

Farron Cousins: Right. And it’s actually the dumping mechanism where they would vent these terrible gases that are very dangerous. They kill you, is what they do. That got clogged and blocked up in this refinery. And so it releases a toxic cloud of gas. Four people died. And this happened in 2014, and we’re only now just getting this, you know, horrible resolution to it nine years later. Several years after they went ahead and they just shut down the plant altogether. But four people died and they said, okay, we’re gonna value the lives of these people, $3 million a piece, $12 million. That’s it.

Mike Papantonio: Same company, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and I tried a case up in West Virginia, in Spelter, West Virginia. DuPont, the same company, had created a monstrous mountain. The mountain was nothing but toxins. It went, the mountain was about 50 feet high, almost a quarter of a mile in length. The toxins from there were moving into this city and causing all kinds of cancers. Okay. We had all the documents on ’em, we showed the government what they had done. Any other person would be in prison. But DuPont walked. Now, Bobby Kennedy and I, we hit ’em for $395,000,000. That’s nothing’s. It’s a drop in the bucket for DuPont because they probably saved a billion dollars. But the point is, until government says it’s not okay, you gotta look at it like these are people, and if people did this to their neighbors, they’re going to prison. Why can’t we say the same thing about the corporation? That’s why, you know, as you probably know, I’m a huge supporter of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for president, because this is what he believes. I’ve known him for 25 years. We’ve tried cases together, we’ve done TV together, we’ve done radio together. He’s a dear friend. But he believes we need to hold corporate America responsible. What the hell’s wrong with that? I don’t know.

America feels more polarized than they ever have at any point in modern times and that’s something that most Americans agree with. Most of the country is also in agreement about what’s causing this polarization and they’re pinning the blame squarely almost to a T on corporate media. And I have to agree.

Farron Cousins: I was gonna say, they’re not wrong. They’re absolutely not wrong. Well, especially, you know, you do have your two big ones. You’ve got your MSNBC and your Fox News, and we all know where each of those networks falls on the ideological spectrum. So it is interesting that you have even the people watching those news outlets saying, oh, yeah, yeah, this is causing polarization. This is my problem. And at least they’re willing to admit it, because admitting it is the first step to recovery. So it’s okay, get out of that bubble. Go out there and look at news that is not tainted by these corporations. Because at the end of the day, all of these networks do have the same agenda. And it’s not the politics they’re pushing. It is making money.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. You get ’em in it, you get people into a frenzy. Okay. You got MSNBC and they attack Trump, and it’s a frenzy. And that’s, they’re hearing only what they want to hear. And so they choose to go to CNN or MSNBC. On the other side, they’ve got Fox. You’ve got the Republican types who wanna watch Fox. It pleases them to hear somebody say what they want ’em to say. Then come this program where by God, we call balls and strikes. We attack both sides. And people freak out. How dare you, how dare you tell me the truth. The truth is, if all you’re doing is going to cable news and you’re not doing your own research online, you are killing your brain. There’s a vacuum taking place. You’re losing IQ by the minute. If you’re sitting at home watching MSNBC every night and CNN every night, or Fox News every night, you are turning into a brain melt. And so, I mean, I don’t know how else to put it. You have to go out and search for it yourself. Right?

Farron Cousins: You really do. And that is something that I know both you and I do. And look, I’m doing left wing news every day, but there is also, you, I could be doing a Trump story and go off onto a tangent about something screwy Biden did. So.

Mike Papantonio: You mix it up.

Farron Cousins: I do you because we have to, because there’s not just, you know, one issue in this country. And I like to read a lot of, you know, just the straight news, AP and Reuters, where it’s just, we don’t have the agenda and it’s great. But at the same time, like if we do a climate change video.

Mike Papantonio: Oh God.

Farron Cousins: It’s a snooze fest and we’ve just killed our traffic for that day. Because people don’t care about important issues. When we talk about the PFAS chemicals in your contact lenses, everybody’s gonna say, oh God, this again.

Mike Papantonio: Do you know what? I have said this again and again, and I really believe this. We could do a story on aliens came to Earth today and cured cancer, and it was a true story. And we put that story up against, I hate Biden, I hate Trump and, or I hate somebody related to Trump. The Trump story is gonna get more viewers than the aliens coming to the Earth curing cancer. That’s how polarized we are in this country right now.

Farron Cousins: It really is. And that’s not even an exaggeration, because we can talk about important things. We’ve talked about breakthroughs in science, especially down in Cuba, that’s having an amazing time with their.

Mike Papantonio: You are sometimes, you’re the only person talking about it, Farron. You’re the only person talking about it. It’s not on CNN. Zucker, he destroyed CNN because he had a political ideology, and he wanted that to be a reflection of his narrow dumbed down political ideology without telling both sides or all sides. And so, I mean, what you do is different. Hopefully what we do here on America’s Lawyers is different. We will never, I will never be a cheerleader for Republicans or Democrats. And I know you won’t either. Thanks for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week. But all of these segments are gonna be available throughout next week. Make sure you follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell you stories every week that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers don’t let ’em or their political connections are so polarized that it doesn’t allow for it. We’ll see you next time.

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.