Farron Cousins

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on [email protected]

Conservative Organizations Pushing Republican Politicos And Media Outlets To Accept Climate Change As Reality

The Republican convention in Cleveland has come to a close, and the official platform of the Party for 2016 maintains the Party’s continued refusal to act on climate change. The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, openly admits that he believes climate change is a “hoax.”

As easy as it is to forget, it is important to remember that political affiliation and Party platforms don’t always coalesce, and the platforms don’t always reflect the will of the Party members. And that’s certainly the case with climate change and Republicans.

It turns out that the majority of self-identified Republicans actually do accept climate science, and they understand that climate change is a very real threat. The views of Republican elected officials in Washington, D.C. and those funding the Republican Party do not reflect the attitudes of the voters on this issue anymore, and that’s a phenomenal step forward.

But the partisan denial problem goes further than just one political part. It stretches all the way through conservative media outlets, particularly those owned by Rupert Murdoch (Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and countless others.) This right wing echo chamber has played a major role in shaping Republican policy towards the environment, and has helped to keep Republican voters in the dark about the realities of climate change.

Heartland Institute Tries To Reshape Its 'Unabomber Billboard' Image With Hyper Patriotism

It was renowned English writer Samuel Johnson who once said “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Unfortunately, the original context of his quote has been lost to history, but he did clarify during his life that he was not referring to patriotism in general, just false patriotism. Even though we don’t have the original context, it is easy to apply this quote to the latest activities of The Heartland Institute.

Recently, Heartland unleashed a new project called #OurAmerica, a hyper-nationalist movement claiming to extoll the virtues of American life and the American capitalist system. Joined by several other right wing organizations, it appears that the goal of the project is to revamp the tarnished image of Heartland.

Heartland explains the new project as follows:

Climate Activists And Labor Unions Unite To Stop Donald Trump

If elected President of the United States, Donald Trump would be the only leader in the industrialized world who openly denies the existence of climate change. Not only could a Trump presidency be a disaster for the environment, but it could also put the brakes on the forward progress made on climate change negotiations with the rest of the world.

This is just one of the reasons why climate activists and labor unions have decided to team up to do everything possible to prevent a Donald Trump presidency in the United States.

Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have announced a $10 million campaign blitz aimed at taking down Trump and to replace members of Congress with more progressive thinkers. Steyer is quoted as saying that “stopping the Party of Trump is our number 1 priority this year.”

BP Announces Final Estimate Of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, But Are They Being Honest?

Julie Dermansky

On July 14th, oil giant BP announced that they had finally finished their calculations and the final estimate for costs of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill would likely hit $62 billion. This cost includes all of the settlements and lawsuits from individuals, lawsuits from cities and states, federal lawsuits, and civil penalties and cleanup costs.

According to reports, the “after tax” total is closer to $44 billion, still a massive sum to pay out for any company.

Nearly every article available discussing these payments deals with the business impacts and market value of the company. The Washington Post says that the company has lost 1/3 of their market size as a result of the spill, which was about $180 billion before the disaster.

Lip service is paid to the victims of the spill and the long-lasting effects that the disaster had on the Gulf of Mexico, and one vital fact has been missing completely from the analysis: Taxpayers are the ones who are really getting screwed with this deal.

Koch-Funded Groups Slapped With Fines By Federal Election Commission

Charles and David Koch, the nefarious Koch Brothers, have vowed to spend as much as $889 million on the 2016 elections in the United States. This money will be funneled through a massive network of faux grassroots organizations, lobbyists, and direct candidate donations. This $889 million is the single largest sum ever committed by individuals, meaning that Charles and David will have more financial sway over the 2016 elections than any other individual, or group, in the history of American politics.

Of course, the Koch brothers have spent hundreds of millions, if not billions, on political activities in recent years, and their seemingly unlimited spending finally drew the ire of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). This week it was announced that three Koch-linked groups are being fined a combined total of $233,000 for violating campaign finance laws by concealing the sources of their funds. The three groups are the American Future Fund, 60 Plus Association and Americans for Job Security.

The New Attack On Climate Scientists: Drain Their Funds With Frivolous Lawsuits

The average cost to hire an attorney in the United States is around $300 per hour. The average lawsuit, not including class action or mass tort cases, takes between one and two years to reach a conclusion. These financial and time-related costs quickly become a huge burden for anyone on the receiving end of a subpoena, and that’s why climate change denial groups are using the court system as a means to put the brakes on the work of climate scientists.

Leading the way in this new attack is the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a climate science denial organization that receives funding from fossil fuel companies like Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, according to The Guardian.

Recently, the group filed a lawsuit in Arizona to get their hands on thousands of emails between climate scientists, with this particular lawsuit focused on the emails sent by Dr. Malcolm Hughes from the University of Arizona and Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, the lead author of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The lawsuit is seeking 6 years of Dr. Hughes’ emails and 13 years of Dr. Overpeck’s emails.

Republican Climate Activist Funding Environmentally Conscious Conservatives

For too long, climate change has been a partisan issue in American politics. In spite of the overwhelming scientific data about the role that human beings have played in the warming of the planet, the Republican Party of the United States has consistently refused to acknowledge the scientific consensus, and even their presumptive nominee for the presidency this year has outright denied the existence of climate change and repeatedly referred to it as a “hoax.”

But here’s where things get interesting: The Republican denial of climate change is far more prevalent in elected Republicans than average conservative voters. In fact, the latest round of polling shows that close to half of Republican voters accept the scientific consensus on climate change, which is an increase of nearly 20% over the last 2 years on this issue. So there is obviously a sharp divide between the views of the voters and the views of Republican politicians.

Has The Fracking Industry Already Won The 2016 Election?

June has been a fantastic month for the fracking industry.

On June 21st, a federal judge ruled that the Interior Department does not have the authority to regulate fracking on federal lands because the agency lacks the overall authority to regulate fracking. The judge said that his decision was based on the fact that Congress had not given the agency that power, and therefore they overstepped their authority in attempting to regulate natural gas fracking activities.

A few days after that court ruling that gave the industry free rein over our federal lands, the Democratic Party handed them an even larger gift. At a DNC platform committee meeting on Friday, June 24th, the committee voted to NOT include a ban on fracking as part of the Democratic Party’s platform for the 2016 election.

The moratorium on fracking was proposed by 350.org founder Bill McKibben who was selected to join the Party’s platform committee by Senator Bernie Sanders. McKibben also introduced resolutions to support a carbon tax and prohibit new fossil fuel leases offshore and on federal lands, but these items were also nixed by a majority of the committee members.

The decision by the committee to roll over for the fracking industry is not only dangerous for the environment, but it also goes against the will of voters who identify as Democrats.

California Oil Pipeline Ruptures Hours After Obama Signs Pipeline Safety Bill

On Wednesday, June 22nd, President Obama signed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 into law. The bill, known as the PIPES Act, reauthorizes the federal government to move swiftly in the event of a pipeline leak or rupture. Specifically, the Secretary of Transportation is allowed to issue emergency orders if the unthinkable happens.

The reauthorization was in response to the natural gas pipeline rupture in California where an estimated 97,000 tons of gas were released from the Aliso Canyon pipeline near Porter Ranch. The bill also includes new mandates on construction to insure the safety of future pipelines and to reduce the chances of another massive leak.

Ironically and very disturbingly, less than 24 hours after the bill was signed into law, an oil pipeline in Ventura County, California ruptured, and current estimates put the amount of oil leaked at over 29,400 gallons (down from the original estimate of over 210,000 gallons), though officials are still assessing the situation.

Document Dump: Lawsuit Reveals Extent Of DuPont’s C8 Cover Up

DuPont, Ohio River, C8, Teflon, Lawsuit, Poisoning, Legal, Mike Papantonio, C6, The Intercept, Case, Cancer

Corporate heavyweight DuPont is back in court right now, defending their decision to poison entire communities along the Ohio River by releasing a toxic chemical known as C8 into the river. C8 is a chemical that is used in the manufacturing of the company’s blockbuster product Teflon.

The case alleges that DuPont officials were intimately aware of the dangerous side effects of C-8 exposure but still decided to allow exposure among workers and by releasing the chemical into the environment.

Once the chemicals were dumped into the Ohio River, they seeped into the water supplies of nearby communities, resulting in thousands of people being exposed to dangerous levels of C8. Complicating the exposure problem is the fact that C8 is biopersistent, meaning that it does not break down in the body or in the environment, and instead continues to build as exposure increases.

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