America’s Lawyer E43: Republicans in Florida are trying to out-crazy one another with their legislative proposals, and we’ll tell you about two pieces of legislation that will send shivers down your spine. The government is getting closer to banning popular social media app Tik Tok over concerns that China could be using it to spy on Americans. And cereal companies have unleashed an army of lobbyists to Washington DC to convince the FDA that they should be able to LIE to consumers. 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. Republicans in Florida, well, they’re trying to out crazy one another with their legislative proposal. And we’ll tell you about two pieces of legislation that’s gonna send shivers down your spine. The government’s getting closer to banning popular social media app TikTok over concerns that China could be using it to spy on Americans. And cereal companies, well, they’ve unleashed an army of lobbyists to Washington, DC to convince the FDA that they should be able to lie to consumers. That’s what they’re asking to do. All that and more, it’s all coming up right here on America’s Lawyer. Don’t go anywhere.

A proposed bill in the state of Florida would require any blogger who writes about the Florida government to register with the state, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment. But that doesn’t mean anything to this yucklehead right here. This is, why don’t you pick up with Mr. Brodeur, who I don’t know, maybe he never took civics. Maybe he’s never read a book. But he comes up with this idea that if you are a blogger and you criticize the governor, or you criticize the cabinet, or you talk about some bad thing happening in Florida politics, then by golly, you need to, you need to register, and you need to tell the, every time, every time you tell the story, tell them what the, tell ’em about the story you told. This is the craziest. I can’t even say it. It’s this goofball Brodeur really believes that this is possible in America in 2023. Hell, maybe it is. What do you think?

Farron Cousins: Well, anything is possible, unfortunately. And that’s the really terrifying part about this, because two years ago we would look at a story like this, it’s not even gonna make it to the floor for a vote. But now with everything we’ve seen, who knows? I mean, this could be the next big challenge at the Supreme Court. But this legislation that Mr. Brodeur here put forward late last week, basically says, listen, if you’re a blogger, which they don’t even clearly define blogger.

Mike Papantonio: It’s so vague.

Farron Cousins: But it, but it certainly applies to anyone.

Mike Papantonio: Are we bloggers because we do a show?

Farron Cousins: I think technically we would fall under that category because.

Mike Papantonio: Hey, let me, can I announce right now, we’re gonna be your first test case because we’re not gonna do a thing that passes in this legislation. We’re gonna test the case. Go ahead and pass it. Let’s see how you do with it. Go ahead.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. So what you would have to do, you know, what we would be legally required to do is every month on the 10th of the month, we would have to submit a report, each and every one of us listing the title of the story we did, when it was published, where it was published and how much we were paid to write that story or to do that video.

Mike Papantonio: Like somebody pays us, right?

Farron Cousins: Right. Which would include, you know, any YouTube revenue, Facebook revenue. Because what they want to do is try to say that bloggers, and he actually said this in an interview, bloggers are basically lobbyists who lobby with their words.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, so I see this goofy stare on this guy right here. I can see him saying, yeah, this is a good idea.

Farron Cousins: Well, it’s gotten so bad that even Newt Gingrich, you know, Mr. Contract with America came out over the weekend and had to say, listen, this is, this is his word, insane.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: What these Republicans are doing in the state of Florida has gotten so bad that, you know, the old guard, Newt Gingrich has come out and said, you got, you guys are insane. What is happening here is not normal. You can’t do this.

Mike Papantonio: We expect this from Trump.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. It’s nutcrackery, man.

Mike Papantonio: All right, governments across the world are banning the popular social media app TikTok, because they believe China’s using it to spy on them. You know, the United States last week got one step closer to giving President Biden the power to end the app in this country. Okay. This is way crazy in and of itself. Now, first of all, I really do believe that they’re doing a lot of bad things with the app. I do believe they’re spying on us.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: You know, there’s a thousand things that scare me about TikTok. But to say we’re gonna pass legislation that lets the president of United States unilaterally decide, I’m going to ban it. Okay. Now we’re already banning TikTok in US government offices, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Pick it up from there.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, this is terrifying and it’s moving forward at lightning pace right now. You’ve got Democrats and Republicans joining forces to say, Biden needs to have the authority to be able to do this.

Mike Papantonio: Oh my God, that’s.

Farron Cousins: Or maybe, you know, the other reports say, maybe we’ll give the power to the Secretary of State. But either way, this opens the door for the next administration, whoever that may be and it could be a very terrifying one to say, oh, okay, well, we’ve got this power, I don’t like Facebook. I’m going to ban Facebook. I don’t like Yelp. Let’s get rid of Yelp because they’re using location services.

Mike Papantonio: You are putting unchecked, unilateral power in the hands of the president or whoever it is at the time, to say, I don’t like this. We’re gonna get rid of it. But don’t you see the real problem here? This is such an unsophisticated approach to the problem.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: First of all, I believe they’re stealing our data all over the country. They’re ripping stuff off from us left and right. Scientific data, military data, personal data, health data. I think the Chinese are just loading that up through TikTok. You know, there’s pretty good data to show that’s, that that’s happening.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: I get that. But you, but there’s other ways to deal with this besides this legislation that says, hey, we’re gonna create a new, you know, a new guy in charge. If he doesn’t like what you’re doing, he’s gonna end it.

Farron Cousins: Well, and you know, why would they think that TikTok is the only method that this is taking place? It’s happening on Twitter, it’s happening on Facebook, it’s happening, you know, know through Google. All of these social media outlets. If they were to ban TikTok by the end of the week, we’re gonna have 20 apps that do the exact same thing right here available. That’s the way this works.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: So to target this one specific one, just because it is, you know, based out of China, it shows that we’re operating not out of a genuine concern for our privacy data, we’re doing it out of the xenophobic.

Mike Papantonio: What’s the difference? Okay. Remember all the crazy MSNBC Russia’s coming, Russia’s coming? Why is the media not reacting the same here, the same in this situation when we know that it’s going on? Look, I don’t mind there being some regulation across the board. You can’t, you can’t, you know, there’s equal protection argument. You can’t center on them. You gotta do it across the board. Second of all, the idea of we’re gonna put it in one person’s hands to make that decision is crazy. It’s ludicrous. It’s like they’ve never taken a civics class when they wrote this. Here, but I will tell you this, you know, first of all, I’m kind of torn on this story because I think a lot of the, a lot of what’s being said about what’s happening through TikTok is absolutely true. It’s not guesswork anymore. They have pretty good proof of it.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: But here’s what China says. I love this quote. It says, a US ban on TikTok is a ban on our ability to export American culture and values to a billion plus people and to use our worldwide web to tell you, to tell the world about American culture. That’s the Chinese answer to what’s going on here. You think, you buy that?

Farron Cousins: No. It’s their way of sucking up. Like, but wait a minute. If you ban us, we can’t tell everybody how awesome America is. And don’t you want that?

Mike Papantonio: How will they ever know about Honey Boo Boo? Huh? You know, they’ll miss all the opportunity to understand Honey Boo Boo quality social media. Crazy story.

Can you believe it? After a public pressure campaign that’s now spanned years, Eli Lilly has announced that they’re gonna cap the price of insulin to just $35 a month. A major win for consumers. Not hardly. This is the worst PR scam I’ve ever seen. Let me begin with saying this. It costs $7 a vial, $7 a vial to create this insulin. Right? Now, they were trying to sell it for, the numbers are staggering, 200, almost $250 per vial. Pick it up from there.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. This is 100% a PR stunt. It is not even really a win for consumers because technically they didn’t change their policy. It was always $35 per month. The way they figure this out is they do these incentives and the rebates when you go through insurance. So even though you see the sticker shock of, you know, $200 for the regular Eli Lilly insulin, you were not paying that. What you’re paying for, of course, are the more expensive additives, because sometimes the insurance won’t cover the original one. So this is all a big smoke and mirrors type thing. Eli Lilly always had this policy. They’re just trying to get the public, they’re trying to get Bernie Sanders off their back, is what this is.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Let’s talk about, let’s talk about insulin just a little bit. This is a product that has been around for almost a century. Okay. The people who developed the product gave it to a university in Toronto and said, just use it. It’s not ours. It’s free. You take it, you help people with it. The truth is, then you had Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Nordisk, all of these awful people that run the pharmaceutical money making process says, hey, well, we’re gonna buy it and we’re gonna, we’re gonna make it so expensive that at some point people are having to cut down on the amount of use. They’re actually cutting their use in half just so they can make it. Bernie Sanders comes out, he says, uh-uh, you got some splaining to do. Soon as they do that, they come in here with their lies. Their lies are this, oh, we, this is expensive because of R and D. We’ve had research and development. There’s been zero research and development. It’s been around for a century. There’s no, there’s been no, there’s been no scientific advancements at all. It’s the same product that that character gave away almost a century ago. And now all they’re doing is raping American consumers who are sick with diabetes and we’re not doing a thing about it.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And this is kinda like the Moderna story we talked about a couple weeks ago. Bernie Sanders threatens the CEO to explain why you’re jacking up the price of the COVID vaccine. Then finally Moderna’s like, okay, we’re not gonna do it. Bernie Sanders puts all this pressure. I mean, back in his 2020 campaign, he traveled across the border to Canada with a group of diabetics to witness them firsthand having to buy insulin in bulk in Canada because they couldn’t afford it here in the US. So he has been at the forefront of this for many, many years. He put the pressure on them. And he’s smart enough to know this is smoke and mirrors. So I don’t think he’s done either.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. They’ve been sued and here’s what the suit says, that they’re saying, Mr. and Ms. Lilly, you met with the other manufacturers. You talked about and discussed what they were charging. You came up with a price fixing scheme. You sold that price fixing scheme to government. You did it in a way that you increased the cost of your product from $25 to $275 over this period of, this period of time. It’s price fixing, it’s antitrust. They’re gonna get sued. And you know what? I’m gonna have the opportunity to take the depositions. Interesting. Just happens to be, I will be taking those depositions and I promise they will be a blood bath because there’s no defense to what these folks are doing. And the very fact that they’re making this look like, like some, like they really care about us. That they’re trying to really give us a break is nonsense.

Farron Cousins: Right. And as you pointed out, it only costs $7 to make a vial of insulin. They would turn a huge profit if they turned around and sold it for $9, is what the reports tell us.

Mike Papantonio: Right. Well, that was how it started out.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Started out, well, we’re gonna charge a reasonable amount because people will die, you know, they’ll die without their insulin. And people are having to use half amounts, just cut their amount in half, which is extremely dangerous.

Farron Cousins: I mean, we’re talking about what, 7 million people in this country that are on insulin daily?

Mike Papantonio: Yes, yes.

Farron Cousins:: If they only paid a $2 markup on these vials, you’re talking about $14 million for every vial these people made make.

Mike Papantonio: Pigs.

Farron Cousins: It is, yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Pigs at the trough. That’s what’s working here. Mr. and Ms. Lilly, Eli Lilly, pigs at the trough. That’s what you are right now and you know it.

Okay. So American politicians want you to think that the threat of China spying on you through TikTok is a serious danger. But at the same time, they’re trying to renew their FISA powers so that our own government can spy on you more easily. Talk about this story. You have followed this from the very beginning. I’m gonna hush. You do this story. I tell you what, this is amazing to me.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. This is absolutely one of the biggest cases of hypocrisy we’ve ever seen. Obviously, you know, following 9/11, we had the sweeping changes to our FISA law here in the United States to where our intelligence agencies can go and do this bulk gathering, phone calls, text messages, emails, you know, computer data without a warrant.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: And it’s, it expires every couple years. Congress has to renew it and each time it comes up for renewal, you hear the same arguments from the civil liberties groups, a couple of certain senators, Ron Wyden is one of them who say, listen, you’re using this to spy on Americans. You can make all the arguments you want that, oh, but we caught, you know, three terrorists in the last five years using this. You’re gathering up data of millions of Americans. This is the same thing Snowden told us about. This is a bad program and you’re spying on us.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. I mean, we, this has been around. Here’s the bad news. They don’t care. The American public doesn’t care if they’re spied on anymore. I don’t know. It’s like a cultural change that took place, you know, in this country. Assange, they think Assange is some kind of awful guy because he discloses the amount of spying that the US government’s doing. Snowden, they, oh, he, send him to Russia. Who the hell cares? He was disclosing the amount of spying that goes on. But if what people don’t get is all the numbers show, I mean, across the board, the American public has so, been so desensitized to this, they don’t care if they’re spied on. I mean, that’s a simple, that’s the simple truth.

Farron Cousins: Well, right. And the telecom companies of course, push this big time. They send their lobbyists to DC to start taking everybody out to fancy dinners and golf resorts because they want this to still happen. Because they get huge money from the federal government to turn over this data, again, no warrants. You don’t have to go to a judge. Here’s your data. Give me all this money.

Mike Papantonio: It’s worse, it’s worse than FISA. The other day I was working on, I was working on lead to Crossroads, Clapton’s Crossroads, I’m just sitting in there playing. I use the, you know, I’ve got, I guess I had my phone there. Maybe I got the computer turned on and I’m working on Crossroads. Well, okay, I close everything up, set my guitar down, turn on Pandora. You know, the first song that comes up? Crossroads. Now tell me there’s not something, I mean, is that, what are the chances of that kind of coincidence? And so it’s not just FISA. It’s we’re being spied on in every kind of way and we don’t care anymore. Maybe you care. I do care. But most people don’t care.

Farron Cousins: Right. And we’ve sat here, we’ve done stories, you know, recently about your Roomba, your vacuum that is now owned by Amazon, by the way. It’s sending the data about what’s in your home.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Back to these massive corporations who of course can then turn it over to the federal government without a warrant. Thanks to FISA. It’s all connected and people don’t understand that.

Mike Papantonio: Some people are so comfortable that they have, what is Amazon, what’s that thing?

Farron Cousins: Alexa.

Mike Papantonio: Alexa. Okay. Alexa runs everything about their house. It turns on their lights, it turns on the television. It’s all over their house. And they’re getting the same kind of thing I just described about, that happened to me. But I just, it’s so amazing to me that people really don’t seem to care anymore.

Farron Cousins: No, they, they don’t. And it’s all that post 9/11 mentality, I’ve gotta be safe and I guess I can give up all my civil liberties to do that.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Yeah.

You know all that sugary cereal that millions of Americans eat every day, well, it’s not exactly healthy, but thanks to a loophole in FDA regulations, they can still be labeled is really healthy, good for consumers, good for your children, good for your health. And now the FDA wants to change that. Some of the biggest cereal makers are spending millions of dollars to make sure that they can call it healthy. Pick it up.

Farron Cousins: This is a truly bizarre story because it’s not something people would typically think about. Like, what do we care about cereal? Well, we’re lying to consumers is what these cereal companies want to continue to do. They’re going to the FDA, they’re spending millions on lobbyists to tell them we’ve gotta be able to lie because if we can’t slap that healthy label on, I mean, look how brightly colored the sugar is, then we can’t sell it. And we’re talking about cereals that typically studies have shown children do, you know, double the serving size, which means they’re getting as much sugar for breakfast. It’s the equivalent of eating just a Snickers bar for breakfast.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. So, so here’s their argument. Well, first of all, the craziest argument is, you know what constitutionally, we have a right to lie. We can lie to consumers. It’s our constitutional right to lie to consumers. Yes, we are lying to consumers and it’s okay and you can’t change that. That’s the first argument. The second argument is, you know what, we’re really doing this for the American public because poverty stricken people, they wanna make it more affordable and accessible for people who can’t afford a lot. So give this to the kids, let ’em fill up on sugar, send ’em off to school and everything’s gonna be okay. Some of it falls on the parents, right? I mean, some of this really does fall on the parent. A parent reads this, Fruity Pebbles. I mean, Lucky Charms. Don’t you say, well there’s, you know, probably some sugar here? Don’t you at least check that out? But the problem is they’re selling it as a healthy, safe product for your children.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And look, there’s some vitamins in there, you know, they do pack it in there. But it’s the sugar that of course is the problem. I mean, diabetes is an epidemic here in the United States and these cereals sure as heck aren’t helping that. And to argue that, you know, as a, you know, producer, you have the right to lie. That’s no different than a car manufacturer saying, listen, there’s a good chance this car could fly.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: I mean, maybe you wanna buy it because it could fly.

Mike Papantonio: And constitutionally we can lie to you.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: So try to fly it and if it doesn’t work, we’re still okay.

Farron Cousins: You just gotta go really fast off that cliff. It’ll fly for a little bit.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But that’s where we’re at. And these, unfortunately these manufacturers, you’re talking about Post, General Mills, Kelloggs, they’ve got a good chance at being successful here because they’ve successfully avoided this loophole closing in the past.

Mike Papantonio: The real ugly part of this are the freaks that are doing this for them. Talk about, it’s this really shady kind of PR group. They were the same people that argued on behalf of the Oxycontin industry.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Saying, oh, this is, you know, you don’t have any problems with this. This is not gonna be something that’s addictive. These are the same people that the cereal industry, they take ’em. Okay. The Oxy, the Oxy experience killed 150 people a day for what, two decades. Now let’s talk about this because we wanna make your little seven year old Freddy into a sumo wrestler. We don’t care if he’s morbidly fat. We don’t care if he gets diabetes because it’s our right to lie if we wanna lie.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. It’s this group, it’s called the Washington Legal Foundation, which sounds like a very, oh, well, they, Legal Foundation. Of course they’re good.

Mike Papantonio:: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: No. What it is, is really just a lobbyist organization. Like you said, they fought on behalf of the opioid manufacturers. They’ve done all kinds of things with the corn refiners. You know, sugar, sugar, sugar, pills, pills, pills.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: That is what this group does to make sure we keep those on our streets.

Mike Papantonio: But don’t you see the connection here? How, how it’s almost dark humor. This is this, this creepy Washington organization works in the dark. They worked in the dark on Oxycontin knowing that they were, that 150 people a day were dying from Oxycontin. Now let’s move over to little seven year old fat Freddy who’s eating two bowls of this every morning and then off to school and he ends up with diabetes, he ends up morbidly fat. And what are you gonna do about that? It’s our right to do it. We, we have a right to do that.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. It, it’s truly disgusting. Even just from the humanitarian aspect of it, you know, you like to talk about it this time, this all the time, excuse me. These people go home from work and they sit down and the kids are, how was your day at work? Oh, it’s great. I fought to make sure that poor people become morbidly obese and end up with health problems later in life.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. In other words, you’re talking about the people that work for this organization.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: That’s your good day, right? I had a success today. We’re gonna have more little fat Freddy’s around, seven year old sumo wrestlers. We’re gonna create a whole generation because we’re gonna sell Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles. And you know what? We’re gonna argue we have a constitutional right to lie to the American public to do it. That’s that story, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: It is.

Mike Papantonio: The Democratic party could become illegal in the state of Florida if a Republican lawmaker has his way. A state representative has introduced legislation banning the Democratic party and forcibly switching voter registration of any registered Democrat. Wow. Isn’t this another question of where the hell is the Florida governor DeSantis? What, what the story we just did was what, meatball head that they’re starting to call him?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: He’s starting to look like meatball head. Why would you allow this to happen? Why would, why wouldn’t the governor show up in Tallahassee and say, what the hell, what are y’all trying to do? First of all, you got a blogger story where you’re trying to register bloggers. If they talk about government, they talk bad about government. You’re gonna fine them. Now this story, where we’re gonna try to do away with the Democratic party based on the fact that the Democrats, and it is true, had a long history of supporting slavery.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, they were the party of slavery leading up to the Civil War and even after the Civil War.

Farron Cousins: Right. And that’s the thing is, you know, nobody disputes that. We all understand that. There was a big realignment of the political parties in the early 20th century, then again after the civil rights movement. And that’s when the Democrats moved into, we’re not the party of racism anymore and Republicans, Southern strategy. We know the rest. There was a difference in the parties. But Republicans always want to go back to that whole Civil War thing of, well, you guys supported slavery. Look, if you gotta go back 160 years to attack the party, then you don’t have an argument.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But this would, I mean, what he says in the bill, Blaise Ingoglia is the guy, he says, if your party has a history, if you’ve ever supported slavery, you are hereby banned from having this party in the state of Florida. So all of your voter registrations, as soon as this bill gets signed, immediately switch to no party affiliation or independent. You can have that choice. But this would mean no Democratic primaries in the state of Florida. Nobody allowed on a ballot with a D next to their name, which would include presidential elections.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: This is election rigging and its voter disenfranchisement. But more importantly, this is scary as hell. This is Nazi stuff.

Mike Papantonio: I, I wish in this picture they got my, my hometown is Arcadia, Florida and Port Charlotte and Okeechobee and Sarasota. It’s not, it’s all of Florida. Here’s what happened in Florida. Okay. Charlie Crist was a terrible candidate to run under the Democratic ticket. It was a route. By the way, where is Charlie now? I mean, somebody send in a comment. If you’ve seen Charlie, please let us know. Okay. So this route takes place. It gives this governor DeSantis the idea that he can do anything he wants to do. And he tells legislators, you know, go have some fun with this. And this is, but it makes, it makes him look like, like meatheads. It does make him look like meatheads to even come up with such a thing.

Farron Cousins: It really does. And what’s funny is, you know, this story and the first story we talked about with the bloggers, this all happened within the same four day span down here in the state of Florida.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: During that time, Ron DeSantis was traveling the country giving speeches in different states for his presidential run that he’s, hasn’t announced, but we all see it. But so he, like, he left and then he comes home and realizes the kids have just been throwing a big party all week.

Mike Papantonio: Like Home Alone, man.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Macaulay kid, you know.

Farron Cousins: Except the problem is he’s not looking at it as a problem. He’s back, he’s like, let’s keep it going.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Now here, DeSantis can win. I mean.

Farron Cousins: That’s scary. He can.

Mike Papantonio: There’s very scary thought he can win. If you load up with Haley and some of these other lesser Republicans, splits the ticket, that’s his best shot. That’s the best shot for Trump. But the point is this, unless something weird goes like, happens like that, DeSantis can win. He will, he will beat the hell outta Newsom from California. It’s, it’s gonna be Florida versus, versus California. It’s gonna be middle America right in the middle of all that and it’s gonna be the difference because he’s appealing to middle America. But the point is to me, why, if you’re serious about becoming president of the United States, why don’t you walk into the house there in, and walk into legislature and say, have you guys lost your frigging mind? Would you please stop acting like children? I don’t know. I don’t know why he’s not making a decision to do that.

Farron Cousins: I, I think it’s because he’s good with everything that’s happening. And that’s of course what makes it more terrifying. And like you said, he won his reelection by the biggest margin we have seen.

Mike Papantonio: 20 plus percent, I mean, it was.

Farron Cousins: In decades here in the state of Florida, even in presidential elections, we haven’t seen a landslide like that.

Mike Papantonio: But why, but he’s giving that up, don’t you see? He’s giving that up by letting these fools in Tallahassee come up with idiotic ideas like this or the blogger scheme where if you’re a blogger and you talk bad about the governor, you can be fined. I mean, really? Don’t you just say, hey kids, go home. I got it from here. I don’t know. Farron, thanks for joining me.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: For more than a hundred years, institutions have been popping up in America promising to put troubled teens in the right track. But all too soon these teens end up being subjected to what can only be described as torture in these institutions. Joining me to talk about that and what’s happening is Caleb Cunningham. Caleb, let me ask you right off the bat, people don’t even know about this. They hear well, so-and-so was sent to a reformatory of some kind. They have all kinds of words for it. Why don’t you lay this story out for me a little bit.

Caleb Cunningham: So essentially this stuff has existed for more than a hundred years. I know you did a great show on the Dozier school, and that’s not a one-off. You know, you’ve got 80 dead children in unmarked graves, in Dozier here in Florida and that’s happening around the country. These children are being subjected to unimaginable cruelty under the guise of wilderness therapy, of conversion camps, of reformatory schools. They’ve got a lot of different names, but what they’re selling is this miraculous snake oil. That something is wrong with your child and we can fix ’em.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Caleb Cunningham: We can fix ’em.

Mike Papantonio: Send them away and just give complete control to us and we’re gonna fix ’em. Just like you mentioned Dozier, there’s graves everywhere where we don’t even know where the children are buried.

Caleb Cunningham: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Where they were beat, they were raped, they were murdered and they were put in graves in that Dozier area. Right there in Marianna, Florida. But people don’t understand, this is an industry. Okay.

Caleb Cunningham: Oh yeah.

Mike Papantonio: This is not just one off. This is an industry. Talk about the industry of this whole idea of, you know, troubled exploited teen industry.

Caleb Cunningham: And it’s big money in it. You know, there’s about $23 billion of public funds going to this because it’s not just parents who are being lied to. It’s juvenile judges, psychiatric professionals, things like that, that are being lied to by these people. And it’s big business. It’s for-profit companies running private prisons for children. These, these hell holes. Again, I apologize for the foul language, but that’s what these are.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Caleb Cunningham: These are terrors that we are allowing to happen in this country and they’re profiting off of it.

Mike Papantonio: Well, okay, let’s back up on the idea. It started out where, you know, maybe a Catholic church would say, we have a place you can send a troubled teen. We’re gonna work with them. That was a disaster. More abuse cases. The Mormon church did the same thing. Anytime you see that lining up, it’s usually bad. Has a bad ending to it. But this is even worse because you’ve got Wall Street.

Caleb Cunningham: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Wall Street saying, hey, we can make a lot of money with these troubled kids. It doesn’t make any difference what we do to ’em because nobody ever finds out. Basically, they’ve gotten away with a lot for a long time, haven’t they?

Caleb Cunningham: They absolutely have. And what, and like we saw with the abuses with the Catholic church or the Boy Scouts of America, these kids, they have a built-in excuse and say, oh, they’re troubled. Oh, you can’t believe what they say. And so when the abusers get caught, they blame, they blame the victim as we see time and time again. And it’s the same abuses, but it’s systematic and it’s disgusting because you have a culmination of no regulation or little regulation, money and children. So predators are attracted to this. Negligent people are attracted to this. And like you said, Wall Street money is backing a lot of this because they see big money.

Mike Papantonio: And that’s important because regulators are nullified. There’s no, the regulators, if you just look at Dozier, there were no regulators. If you look at this, the school up in Philadelphia where the judges were getting paid, they were getting kickbacks to send these kids to this, to this reform school. They called it, I don’t know what they referred to it, but it was reform school. So they caught these two judges, they, both of ’em in prison right now. But that kind of stuff goes on all over this country. And the problem is the media pays little attention to it until something terrible happens. But tell us how, tell us about the corporate, give us the name of the corporations. What are the corporations that are involved in this?

Caleb Cunningham: So I wanna talk about one specifically. They used to be called Sequel. Then they change their name to Vivant. And now they call themselves Brighter Path. Right.

Mike Papantonio: Why do they keep changing their name?

Caleb Cunningham: Because they keep getting in trouble.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Caleb Cunningham: We keep finding out about it. News reporters put it, bring it to the public’s attention. And so they change their name and there’s no regulation to stop ’em from doing this. So they rebrand. They rebrand and they’re really good at that. One of their most recent and most egregious offenses, to your point, was a 16 year old kid in Michigan named Cornelius Frederick. He threw a sandwich in the lunchroom. Seven adults crushed him to death for throwing that sandwich. He laid on the floor for 12 minutes, his dead body, while the nurse looked at him before they called for emergency personnel.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Caleb Cunningham: He died. They crushed that child to death for throwing a sandwich.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. That’s one example. But we’re hearing, we’re handling these cases all over, you’re handling, you’re handling these cases all over the country. And the stories that we’re hearing are the same stories. It’s usually the same offender because the hiring practices of these places, you know, they put a mirror under their nose if there’s condensation, yeah, you got the job. The psychiatrist and the psychologists that are keeping ’em there, they’re a target. I just want to, you know, public to know. That’s a target for us. We’re going after these schools and I’m wondering what can people do? What if you’re in a community, you’ve heard rumors, what should people be doing about all this right now?

Caleb Cunningham: Well, the old adage is true, if you see something, say something. Don’t let your loved ones get tricked into this because there is an entire marketing program designed to lie to you, to cheat you. They give other parents discounts on tuition if they write these fake referrals and testimonials. And Congress has known about that. They did a report in 2008 about these kids that have been dying, the kids that have been hurt, the kids that have been sexually assaulted and they didn’t do anything.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Caleb Cunningham: The only thing that has changed since 2008 is they’re more profitable than ever. They’re more profitable than ever.

Mike Papantonio: Well, isn’t it, it’s the equivalent of the private prison system.

Caleb Cunningham: Exactly.

Mike Papantonio: This is a knockoff on that. Only we’re gonna imprison kids and we have a better chance at abusing them because what they do, and here’s what everybody’s missing. If you’re a family member and this has happened to you, who’s your target? How about the people who, the people who decided to put him there, the child there. The people who are the psychiatrist or psychologist who’s supposed to be helping them. Instead they’re having a complete opposite effect. We’ve got cases where kids are committing suicide because the harm is so bad and they don’t feel like they can ever get outta the problem. Right?

Caleb Cunningham: Exactly. And this company is bragging about, Sequel in particular in 2017 in public filings, bragged about that they estimated their value at $423 million. They were in 19 states, they had over 9,000 children in that one company’s programs. Because it is a private prison.

Mike Papantonio: Has anybody prosecuted ’em? I mean, have they been criminally prosecuted? Because these stories are story after story and we, we hear it because they’re calling us now. People that, you know, we did a little bit of a story on this and people are calling now and the stories, you know, they’re remarkable. The question is, how did that happen? And the, the answer always is we didn’t know, the parents, we didn’t know. They covered up. The shrink there on campus was telling us that it’s our child’s fault. The law enforcement are saying it’s our child’s, it’s the child’s fault when they turn up beat up or put in solitary confinement. This is a terrible story. I hope you’ll really, really go after these people as hard as you can, Caleb. Okay.

Caleb Cunningham: We’re gonna dedicate all our resources to it. And we’re gonna bring them to justice and hopefully bring some peace to these children and their families.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Thanks a lot. Thanks for joining me. Okay.

Caleb Cunningham: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week, but all these segments are gonna be available this coming week right here on this channel. And you can follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer where we tell you the stories every week that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers won’t let ’em tell those stories or their political connections are so tribal that they don’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.