On November 17, 2017, two companies that manufacture nutritional products went to court over claims of false advertising. Nutrition Distribution LLC, filed the suit on July 17. This particular company has filed a number of false-advertising suits against their competitors in recent years. Many of these cases have been settled out of court, but those that have gone to court have mostly been unsuccessful. They have sent hundreds of cease and desist letters and filed more than 70 lawsuits.
Nutrition Distribution (who do business under the name “Athletic Xtreme”) requested a preliminary injunction from Judge John A. Mendez, which would have prohibited Enhanced Athlete from producing, licensing, marketing, or selling any products containing a substance called DNP. Nutrition Distribution’s legal team have accused Enhanced Athlete of advertising a harmful substance as a weight loss drug. Since this weight-loss product is in direct competition with their own weight-loss products, they claimed that Enhanced Athlete had hurt their sales, and therefore owed them money. They have even gone so far as to accuse EA of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act (RICO) by claiming that they were engaged in a long-term fraud scheme.
Enhanced Athlete denies these claims, saying that Dinitrophenol is safe when used as directed. The defendants accuse Nutrition Distribution of running a “shakedown operation”. By this, they mean that the company is in the habit of making legal threats against smaller companies in order to extort money from them. According to EA, smaller companies would rather pay a relatively small settlement than deal with the hassles and costs of a protracted legal battle, and so ND is encouraged to continue with a business model based on legal extortion.
In a statement from the judge (https://www.leagle.com/decision/infdco20171115901) we see that this injunction was denied because the plaintiffs failed to establish a causal link between Enhanced Athlete’s product marketing, and Nutrition Distribution’s lower sales. Also, we see that the law requires the plaintiff to demonstrate “irreparable harm” in order to justify this kind of injunction. Since Nutrition Distribution had failed to demonstrate irreparable harm, the judge could not legally grant the injunction. But there is something else that is almost hidden within the wording of this document, which changes the picture somewhat. The plaintiffs state that “since defendants began selling DNP during the fall of 2016, Our sales of DNP have decreased 38%.
This writer finds it very strange that Nutrition Distribution would sue another company for marketing a product that they also sell. If DNP is as bad as they say, why are they selling it? Perhaps this is why Judge Mendez decided not to grant this injunction.
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Charter schools are becoming very popular in the United States. A charter school is a school that operates independently of the state/district school board. They generally are located in low-income communities and can be viewed as free private schools for poor students and families. They can be non-profit or for-profit, and are generally considered to have higher standards and better education opportunities than traditional schools. Charter schools generally don’t have selective admissions or any religious affiliations.
Charter school systems are a fairly new concept, having only been around for a few decades. The idea began with a University of Massachusetts professor by the name of Ray Budde in 1970. Philadelphia was the first state to open “schools within schools” and named them charter schools, but the first real charter school law was passed in 1991 by the state of Minnesota. California followed a year later. Now, about two and half decades later, there are almost 7,000 charter schools in the United States.
One of the most successful charter school networks is Rocketship Education. Rocketship education is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with charter schools in California, Washington D.C., Tennessee, and Minnesota. The first Rocketship school was founded in 2006 by John Danner and Preston Smith. Their focus is to eliminate the achievement gap that low-income students face by providing them with a technologically advanced school, superior staff, and excellence in education. As a school system that is measured on results rather than adherence to a district policy, Rocketship Education has been exceeding desired results exponentially.
Rocketship Education is continuing to expand, opening more schools in low-income and at-risk neighborhoods each year. The latest school to gain approval is in Antioch, California. City council members voted to dedicate $14.4 million to the building and operating of the new Rocketship school, which is scheduled to open in August of 2018. The campus will be able to accommodate up to 600 students and is projected to improve the overall state of the neighborhood.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin believe that Joe Arpaio deserved more charges than just criminal contempt of court. Lacey and Larkin believe that Arpaio is guilty of numerous crimes such as negligent homicide, assault, sex-crimes, hate crimes, and harassment.
Taking into consideration the long list of crimes that Lacey and Larkin believe Arpaio to be guilty of, you can imagine their response when Arpaio received a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.
Arpaio was ordered by a judge to cease his enforcement of federal immigration laws, an order which Arpaio promptly ignored. Arpaio was then charged with criminal contempt of court. Ever since Trump took office, the media began wondering whether Trump was brazen enough to pardon the controversial local politician, and he was.
“[Arpaio and Trump are] the perfect marriage of two corrupt individuals,” Michael Lacey said. “Look at the grim parade of corpses and mutilated bodies that came out of that jail of his.”
Michael Lacey attributed the pardon and lack of serious charges against Arpaio as a complete failure of the justice system. “It ends up with contempt of court…as opposed to being held accountable for the people who were [killed, tortured and abused.
In case you are wondering where Larkin and Lacey’s hatred for Joe Arpaio comes from, it is certainly not without reason. Larkin and Lacey, as the owners of The Phoenix New Times, initiated an journalistic investigation against Arpaio. Eventually Arpaio had the duo subpoenaed and arrested under unlawful circumstances.
The two paper-men were almost immediately released and that is when they filed a lawsuit against the county Arpaio represents. Larkin and Lacey went on to win the lawsuit and have since started a couple of new organizations to fight against the oppressive agenda of people like Joe Arpaio.
With the settlement money received from the Arpaio incident, Larkin and Lacey founded a new paper, Front Page Confidential, in order to inform people of instance where their first amendment rights were being stepped on. The page publishes pieces concerning politics, civil rights and human rights. By making use of their new publication, the former Phoenix New Times owners intend to do their part in the battle against oppressive politicians.
A newspaper wasn’t the only thing the two did with their settlement money. Larkin and Lacey have also created their own charitable organization. With the intent of assisting local immigrant in the State of Arizona, they created the Frontera Fund. By applying their time and resources to the Frontera Fund, the journalists assist and educate immigrants on their rights.
In a time when the average United States citizen is having their first amendment rights criticized on a daily basis by its political leaders, it is impossible to express the importance of individuals like Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
Most of us don’t have the resources needed to fight against such forces, but Lacey and Larkin do. The two have shown that they will do whatever possible to prevent the situation that happened to them from happening to anyone else.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey:
In February 2018, End Citizens United endorsed two U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand. The same day they were endorsed by this single-issue political action committee they had also pledged to reject donations from corporate PACs, LLCs and LLP PACS, trade organization PACS, and any other law firm and/or other entity that is “for profit” in nature.
Many candidates for political office like Gillibrand and Booker are rejecting money that comes from corporations. Others that have recently made this pledge include Senator Elizabeth Warren as well as Representative Beto O’Rourke. Other candidates looking to obtain a seat that have done so are Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Jason Crow of Colorado, and Randy Bryce of Wisconsin. People across the nation have expressed that they are sick of how politics are conducted in Washington D.C. and how many are beholden to corporate special interests. They want public servants who will instead represent their constituents best interests.
Tiffany Mueller is the president of End Citizens United. Her organization is dedicated to getting the big money out of politics which got out of control in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that resulted in all constraints being removed on what corporate interests can spend on political campaigns. She said that politicians like Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand rejecting corporate money shows their leadership and dedication on this issue.
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When talking about rejecting Big Money after receiving End Citizens United’s endorsement, Senator Gillibrand said that it is her goal to reduce the corrosive influence that money plays in politics. She said that Big Money has led to rampant corruption in Congress, in both hard and soft ways. She said the only way to return prosperity to the middle class of America is by rejecting this money and stemming the flow of special interest money to politicians.
A study conducted by End Citizens United shows that 90% of the people polled believe that the government is working just to benefit a select number of special interests instead of average Americans. The poll also showed that 62% of people say that any candidate that refuses to accept corporate money shows them that person is serious about campaign finance reform.
End Citizens United is backing candidate across the nation who are serious about reforms in regards to the money in politics. They, too, reject money from corporate interests, instead relying on a network of grassroots supporters. They have around 400,000 members that Senator Gillibrand will be able to tap into so that she has the resources to win her contest this coming midterm election. End Citizens United itself is looking to raise $35 million to spend in the midterms which comes from regular people who give on average $14 each.
Visit politifact.com for more details about the organization.