We have some good news, and then some more good news. First, the nation might be spared Sheldon Whitehouse’s weekly speech on climate change, as the senator from Rhode Island — along with a presidential entourage so large we fear it could tip over and capsize the island — caught a fossil fuel-burning flight to Cuba and is currently meeting with imprisoned dissidents. What’s that? Sorry, we meant to say he’s currently taking selfies and admiring Cuba’s architecture.
There’s no denying the beauty of the cathedral, nor the impact Pope Francis had on Raul Castro during his own #CubaVisit. “I am from the Cuban Communist Party, that doesn’t allow believers, but now we are allowing it,” Castro said at the time, hinting he might even consider rejoining the Catholic Church, so impressed was he with the pope’s timely messages on climate change and other topics.
Oh yes, climate change. Again, Whitehouse is in Cuba, so it was left to a spokesperson to clarify a letter the senator wrote in response to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, which he says “regularly sides with right-wing, climate denial outfits.”
Jailing dissenters? WPRI’s Ted Nesi, who last weekend noted that Whitehouse had consulted with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch about pursing legal action against companies that “deny” the settled science of climate change, received a letter from Rich Davidson explaining just what Whitehouse was proposing.
Simply denying climate change isn’t what Senator Whitehouse believes could violate federal law. Like courts found with tobacco companies, it can be a violation of the federal civil RICO statute when companies engage in an enterprise designed to mislead the public about the dangers of their products. The senator’s questions to the attorney general were to learn whether the Department of Justice is doing its due diligence to investigate whether fossil fuel special interests are leading a coordinated fraudulent effort to deceive the American people.
It’s such a relief to hear, we need to repeat it: “Simply denying climate change isn’t what Senator Whitehouse believes could violate federal law.”
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